Rus'el wrote:Your kit-bashing and conversion skills are some of the best I've seen.
Thanks Rus'el! That is one of my favorite parts of this hobby and I'm glad folks like it!
Now, my dear Tau'fann, I never thought this day would come, but now I can declare:
My current list for the ARC-16’s is complete! You can believe that there was much celebrating and Ky'husa to be had back at the Training Dome. So with that said, let’s show the final product!
Are there spots that are a bit sloppy, yes. Are there some areas that could be improved, yes. Do I care right now? NO
. I was getting super burned out working on this thing, I felt it best to get it to a good standard and then fix the little things later. Oh and I removed the Sept symbols from the sides because I would like to try some freehand, but not at this time.--Mobile Gun Platform--> TX-6.2 “Assassin” Hammerhead <>Shas’Ui Sa’cea Dak’e – Tank Commander<
>Shas’Ui Sa’cea Aloh – Pilot<
>Shas’Ui Sa’cea Dua’vre – Co-Pilot<Info:
To operate the war machines of the Tau Empire is a considerable honor. The exploits of the mighty Hammerhead Gunship are renowned to all enemies of the Tau; its powerful railgun able to sweep aside even the heaviest of armor or hardiest of foes. But at times, even the strength of the Hammerhead can be found wanting.
Such was the case during the campaign to sterilize the ice world of Tun’dara. The Y’he on the planet had been driven there by an Eldar fleet, who mysteriously vanished once the beasts made planet fall. The Tau, who only had a few research teams and their defending Shas on the surface were caught off guard and forced to flee underground while their ships in orbit retreated, sending a distress call to any nearby cadre’s. Fortunately for them, two ARC’s were operating in the area and were able to quickly come to their aid.
Requisitioning any nearby vessels, the ARC’s headed straight for Tun’dara. Shas’El Lar’shi of the ARC-16’s prepared to spearhead the assault, executing a powerful Mont’ka right into the heart of the Tyranid invasion. The ARC-15’s led by Shas’El Nem’ro, were to be positioned behind the 16’s, playing the role of the patient hunter for any Y’he that would pursue. It was hoped that this swift attack would limit the spread of the Y’he and contain them.
As the ARC-16’s neared their insertion point, they were shocked at what they now faced. Five Hierophant bio-titans strode across the frozen wasteland, surrounded by millions of smaller creatures. Realizing that a direct, close range attack would prove disastrous against such a massive foe, Lar’shi wisely opted to abort the mission and reconsider a plan of attack.
But that was not the only complication. The surface of the planet was experiencing a massive blizzard which made flight extremely difficult and the Kor were reluctant to send in their pilots as Tyranid air assets could still operate with some efficiency. The local Fio also reported that valuable relics had been located beneath the surface of the Tyranid invasion point and were of great importance to the Empire.
With their options limited, the two commanders coordinated their Hammerhead assets to provide the heavy support needed. But upon examining the data they had gotten on the swarm, they soon found that there were far too many large Tyranid that would require railgun rounds to bring down. If the heavy support focused on the Carnifex’s and Trygons, the Hierophants would do far too much damage and vice versa. With no chance of getting reinforcements soon, the commanders knew that something would have to be done quickly, lest the Tyranid gain too much of foothold.
It was during the planning meeting that a Fio spoke up. Fio'El Fal'shia He'Bentu B'Ga, a lead engineer who had been temporarily working with the newly formed ARC-15’s on upgrading their weapon systems, offered a solution. One of his pet projects had been a modified Hammerhead chassis which he designed to handle larger weaponry. Along with that, B’Ga had been working closely with Fio’El Ro’Va of the ARC-16’s on a new, heavy Railgun system which was capable of delivering special ammunition. Of course, none of this equipment had actually seen combat, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Reluctantly, Lar’shi gave the go ahead for the Fio to make the preparations.
The experimental TX-6.2 was designed to provide a cadre with specialized heavy support when faced with LSA’s (Large Scale Aggressor’s). Gue’la Titans, Be’gel Stompa’s and all sorts of superheavies had become a great threat to the Empire’s expansion. And while air assets were usually available to eliminate these threats, there were some instances where they would not be available (the situation on Tun’dara is a perfect example). The TX-6.2 would then be able to fulfill their role by providing heavy railgun support, but could also easily work alongside the cadre against standard foe.
To add to its versatility, the Railgun itself is designed to use several types of ammunition, similar to the Pulse Submunitions Rifle used by the famous Shas’O R’alai. Toxic Covix rounds to combat biological foes, powerful Submuntion Clusters to cut through infantry, area effect EMP rounds for handling multiple vehicles and of course the standard railgun round. With the tank being able to change its load out depending on the enemy faced, it was given the nickname “Assassin.”
Structurally, the tank was much wider than a normal Hammerhead to compensate for the mass of the weapon. Instead of only having the usual two rear engines, the tank was equipped with an additional two front engines, which would improve the forward acceleration of the vehicle. The back engines were then repositioned to compensate for the wider size. A larger, anti-grav generator was then installed, giving the tank the needed lift.
While the results of these modifications would make the vehicle slower than its standard counterpart, its increased killing power was deemed a fair trade off.
While elements of both ARC’s were sent out to hold back the Tyranid tide, the Fio furiously worked to prepare the tank for battle. It soon became clear though that only a veteran crew could handle such a unique vehicle. This task fell to Tank Commander Shas’Ui Dak’e, pilot Aloh and his co-pilot Dua’vre. These three Sa’cean’s were the last surviving tank crew of the ARC-16’s who fought on Ge’nesha. Their skill was renowned and they were the perfect fit for such a dangerous assignment.
Dak’e and his crew have served together since their first assignment inside a Hammerhead. Over time, their bond has become stronger; each member knowing the habits and idiosyncrasies of the others. They have become so in synch with each other that they have been able to defeat enemies that would have overcome a normal crew. It is not doubt their strength as a team which allowed them to survive the horrors on Ge’nesha during the final push to eliminate the remnants of the Tyranid swarm. The crew had requested to man a Hammerhead that would operate on the front lines, despite having fought against the Tyranid non-stop for an entire week. The situation, though, was desperate and command needed every resource they had.
Using superior coordination, the crew was able to send their vehicle into the heart of the Tryanid assault, destroying several of the monstrous creatures before they could fall upon the Tau lines. The most notable kill can be seen in this snapshot taken at the battle. Here, Dak’e and his men killed a particularly large Trygon just as it emerged near Tau lines.
How they survived the subsequent counter attack is nothing short of amazing. Weaving in and out of the swarm, pilot Aloh maneuvered the large vehicle right in the path of some of the more vicious Tyranid bio-forms. When the beasts would charge them, Aloh would quickly fell back, his other crewmen firing the Hammerheads weapon systems as they retreated. This tactic was copied by other tank crews and succeeded in removing the close combat creatures early on, thus allowing for the Tau long range weapons to destroy the more advanced bio-forms. Following the battle, Dak’e and his crew were highly commended for their bravery and were among the first to agree to the cadre’s new assignment to operate as one of the newly formed Advanced Recon Cadre’s.
Their bond, however, does have its negative aspects. The crew is the most insular and withdrawn of all the ARC-16’s, rarely choosing to associate with anyone except for Lar’shi. This has led to many others in the cadre developing a dislike for their strangely distant ways. Many claim that they have succumbed to their own form of the iur’tae’mont and that their disconnect with reality is only beginning. Whether this is true or not has yet to be determined. But one thing is for sure. Where one would expect such a crew to be jovial and bonded like a family, looking into the eyes of these Tau reveals a cold, emotionless acceptance of their role; almost as if each member knows they are only one mission away from death.
When the preparations were finished, the TX-6.2 “Assassin” pattern Hammerhead was unveiled to the tank crew and the two ARC commanders. While the ARC-15 commander Nem’ro was impressed by the design, Lar’shi was doubtful of its effectiveness. He felt that it was too ungainly to operate with any efficient speed or maneuverability, remarking,
“The love child of a Hammerhead and Piranha has no place on the battlefield.”
Fio’El B’Ga, however, saw it as a step forward in the Empire’s use of the Hammherhead gunship and he was not about to be discouraged by the commanders rude comments. Ignoring Lar’shi, he walked the crew through the new additions and how to use them effectively. With a little practice, Dak’e was confident his men could handle it. With that, the ARC commanders ordered all of their assets to converge on the Tyranid location and prepare to attack.
The cadres had succeeded in containing most of the Tyranid, the severely cold weather contributing to their success. Upon receiving their commanders request, the forward elements began pulling back to meet with their main forces, the Y’he hot on their hooves. The plan was simple: execute a Kau’yon against the bulk of the Tyranid forces, using the now retreating forward elements as a lure. Once the position seemed like it would be overwhelmed, the Tau would fall back to the next defendable position which would already be occupied by the other cadre. This would hopefully continue till the Y’he could be whittled down enough to allow for Mont’ka strikes on their flanks.
Lumbering from the backlines, the Assassin loomed over the other Hammerheads, its crew preparing the railgun with the experimental Covex Toxin round, a chemical weapon designed to disrupt the Tyranid nervous system. The other Tau prepared their weapons and obliterated the first swarms of Y’he to appear from the icy storm. Soon though, the Tau became hard pressed to hold back the tide.
But through the sea of chitin Dak’e spotted a large Hive Tyrant that was controlling most of the Gaunts on the left flank. Spinning the railgun about, the Assassin targeted the beast and fired a round, striking it dead center in the chest. The round passed through, but also released the toxins into the creatures body. Within moments, the monstrosity fell to its knees and collapsed dead. Seizing the initiative, Lar’shi personally lead several squads of battlesuits into the now disorganized left flank and quickly eliminated the large group of disorganized Gaunts.
The Tau plan was working, but would soon be put to the test when the first Hierophant reached their lines. With its massive bio-weapons ripping apart battlesuits and tanks alike, it was clear that it needed to be eliminated as soon as possible. With a steady hand, Dak’e aimed the Railgun at the first monster and fired. The round hit the creature in its chest, shattering through its carapace and coming out the other side. But instead of collapsing like the Tyrant had done before it, the beast continued unabated.
The cadre began falling back, struggling to keep the swarm at bay. Pulse weapons chewed through seas of Gaunts, missiles and plasma destroying swaths of Warriors and Genestealers. The mighty Railguns though, were being taxed to their limits. The appearance of the Hierophants forced the heavy weapons to focus on such a dangerous target, preventing them from providing the support for the cadre that they needed. It was hoped that the Assassin would be key in overcoming this expected disadvantage. But it now appeared that they would have to find a new way to kill these monstrosities.
But as they were falling back, the Hierophant that was hit began to slow down, struggling to keep its balance. The poison was working, albeit slowly. Without hesitation, the Assassin jetted forward, requesting a squadron of Piranha to provide protection for it. Using the same techniques as they had on Ge’nesha, the crew hoped to locate and infect every bio-titan as soon as they would appear. The poison would not kill them outright, but it would effectively remove them as being a threat for now.
However, despite his prolific piloting skills, Aloh found that this new design was not as nimble as their old Hammerhead and soon found themselves being overcome by the swarm. But his co-pilot Dua’vre was not sitting idly by and coordinated with the Piranha to make best use of the squadron’s flechette dischargers to thin the mass of creatures before they could get too close. This tactic helped to keep the tanks in the clear till each of the Hierophants could be hit.
With the largest threat out of the picture both the ARC’s, along with the local defense cadre’s, continued their mobile warfare till the swarm was eliminated piece by piece. Once most of the Y’he were neutralized, the Assassin led the cadre’s Hammerheads and Broadsides toward the poisoned Hierophants. Together they obliterated the beasts one by one, the tank getting to experiment with several other types of ammunition along the way.
With the last bio-form dead, the research teams had been saved and the Assassin’s performance received high marks by the crew and even from the reluctant Shas’El Lar’shi. B’Ga could not have been more pleased and made sure to collect every piece of data the battle had given him. Armed with this new information, he would submit it to the Fio’ar’tol for consideration. Hopefully, his experimental design would see more use by other cadre’s in the near future.
The Fio was of course eager to approach Shas’El Lar’shi to get his opinion of this vehicle that had “no place on the battlefield.” The reluctant Shas’El grumbled that he may have been a bit too quick to write the design off so soon and agreed that it did perform well above expectations. With his pride intact, B’Ga made a deal with Lar’shi. He could keep the Assassin for regular use in his cadre, as long as combat data would regularly be sent to back to him to further his research. Lar’shi could see the value of this new weapon and agreed to his terms.
When it came time to choose the crew that would be assigned to this behemoth, there was little choice to be made. Dak’e and his men have been operating the Assassin ever since, proving themselves to be the scourge of many Y’he invasions; the lumbering form of the tank a welcome sign to any beleaguered cadre that the ARC-16’s have come and no Y’he will stand in their way.
So there you go! The very last background link and model this thread will see (with the exception of a final group shot). Yes, that’s right. Once I post the family photo and say some well deserved thank you's to a few members, I will no longer be updating this thread. But does that mean that the ARC-16’s are done and over with?
Not by a long shot.
Coming soon to a thread near you!
C&C, as always, is welcome. (But if it’s about what I should change on the tank itself, then I will listen, and do it another time.