Custom Tau Army: Bio-Tech Tau - SCULPTING [Update: 02-08]

Post long term projects you have devised for your Tau or other hobby projects.
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Xauk
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Custom Tau Army: Bio-Tech Tau - SCULPTING [Update: 02-08]

Post#1 » Nov 16 2013 07:56

My friend invites me to a friends house. I don't know these older kids, but I tag along for the ride.
The top floor of the big house features a big attic with a high ceiling.
In the middle of the room stands a table four meters long and two meters wide.
On top of it lays a fast landscape of a futuristic city in ruins.
Little shot-up bunkers rise from the ground. High walls broken in half by some unknown power. Debris everywhere.
On top of a power plant sits some sort of radioactive pool with fluor-yellow liquid.
I take a closer look and discover tiny figures standing in the shadows. Watching the streets.

I was intrigued.

-- My first contact with Warhammer 40k. I'll never forget that moment. --



Image







Reason why I'm doing this project and log.

For the last 2 years I have been working on a concept for a custom Tau army.
I have always bin interested in the world of Sci-fi and its wonders. I have taking up the hobby of scratch building and I took a tumble down the rabbit hole on that one. Also I have taking up the hobby of sculpting and this also is to my liking. Playing with the concepts in my head and trying to put them down on paper is nice but my true goal is to make them come to life trough these 2 mediums.
Also I'll be using the technique's like:
Hand-Drawing (always a powerful tool, although such a hasste at most time)
Photoshop painting (just getting started on this, so don't shoot me down please :))
Zbrush (3D program I love working with. Give me 3D over drawing any time! Just getting starting with this as well.. So don't expect brilliant modelled and finished pieces)

For this project I've set my self some strong Goals. This will help me maintain focus on the projects I've planned. A lot of the things I want to accomplish are going to be new to me and so they are going to present challenges. The main goal for me is to have a few models designed and modelled with a proper paint job. From there we can look at some more ambitious projects.

Modelling: Converting, Sculpting and Scratch-building.
- Convert Battlesuits.
- Design and model custom Battlesuits.
- Convert normal units.
- Design and model custom units.
- Design and model custom Drones.
- Design and model custom Vehicles.
- Design and model custom auxiliary units.
- Design and model custom New World planet lifeforms and creatures.

Basing, Terrain and Diorama's.
I have almost no experience with this area and I would love to make some realistic looking Terrain.
- Realistic looking bases with multiple types of environments.
- Realistic looking terrain (mostly for the Diorama's or basing)
- Diorama's with realistic looking nature, urban buildings and alien world environments.

Painting
I have no experience with painting so I have my work cut out for me and a lot to learn
- Painting all of the models and pieces of terrain.

Threat build-up:
This project has a lot of sub-projects. So to keep organized I'll show you the Category a particular project belongs to; Modelling: Converting, Sculpting and Scratch-building. Basing, Terrain and Diorama's or Painting. Then the Projects Unit Category ans Units Sub-catergory. Then the Project name, background story and Concept sketches. Next are the WIP pictures and log and finally the finished piece.








Table of content: "Birth of the new world":

1: The war with the Hivefleet Gorgon.
2: The 4 Ethereals.
3: Bio-Tech Technology: Fuse-program (+bio-tech labs)
4: The fail-safe programming by the Ethereal High Counsel.
5: The betrayal and the Assassination attempt on the 4 Ethereals.
6: Finding a New World
7: Resurrection of Ethereal "Stardrop" and "Stormburst" on the New World.
8: New World: planets, culture, philosophy, creatures,
9: Fuse-Tau and there Units.



The Birth Of The New World


1: The war with the Hivefleet Gorgon.

With the war against the Hivefleet Gorgon well under way, the Aun'bork'an'retha is desperately looking for a way to turn the tide in the Empire's favor. The weapons race forces the Earth caste to come up with ever more advanced weaponry to overcome the threat of extinction.

2: The 4 Ethereals.


From the Prime world Sept Fal'shia come 4 Ethereals, claiming to have an unusual and extreme answer.

3: Bio-Tech Technology: Fuse-program (+bio-tech labs)

On the world of Ya'vior'li, known for its hostile environment and low population count, the Earth caste, under the guidance of the 4 Ethereals, labour on the secretive Bio-Tech Program for over 2 decades. The program's ultimate goal is to alter the DNA of exceptional Shas' to become compatible with Bio-Tech augmentations developed in conjunction with them. The cellular bonding between the Bio-Tech(or "Fuse") cells and their own is irreversible.

These "Hybrids" show greatly increased strength, speed and tenacity. Reaction times show a vastly improved neural network.=. If wounded, their bodies are able to stabilise there condition and some are even capable of rapidly regenerating their Fuse tissue. Their minds undergo a change as well. With the Bio-Tech cells in their brain, they are capable of accessing an extensive source of information preprogrammed within them.

With the immediate threat of losing the war with Hive fleet Gorgon, the Aun'retha request a demonstration of the new Bio-Tech program and its potential power. If the Y'he are able to adapt and evolve so quickly, after all, then why should this be the Greater Good's weakness?

For several months, the Fuse Program is tested in the Bio-Tech laboratory facilities. Hundreds of Tau, from all 4 castes, volunteer for the honor of being one of the first open live trials. With their cellular fusion complete, the test subjects are ready for the next phase of the program.

The anatomies of the warriors are mutated as they grow access points for the bio-tech augmentations. Entire limbs fall off as they are rejected by their owners' bodies, that there may be enough space for the enhancements to grow or be grafted. To many of the subjects, their new forms are barely recognizable as the pure-blooded Tau they used to be.

With an astonishingly low failure rate, the Fuse Program is deemed a success, and soon there are combat tests under way. The subjects prove to be very capable of managing the Fuse upgrades. Although some have to adjust a little more then others, they are more than happy with their altered bodies.

After lengthy and plentiful dialog between the Aun'bork'an'retha and the 4 Ethereals, the decision is reached to go ahead with the Fuse Program. 10.000 Tau from the Fire Caste, moved to the command of the exalted quartet, are chosen to be the first to be fused. With the entirety of the Counsel backing them, and the faith of the Empire lifting them, the 4 supervising Aun feel the need to join their troops, and subject themselves to the same fusion therapy. In the name of the Greater Good, the newly-ascendent Ethereal-Generals request that they lead their new kin from the front lines.

4: The fail-safe programming by the Ethereal High Counsel.


As the order is given for the thousands of Hybrids to be created in the new Bio-Tech labs, the Aun'bork'an'retha preemptively set a killswitch into the fuse-cell programming. This "sleeper virus" would activate shortly after the fused individual's 30th cycle, causing a grisly demise. The discovery of this failsafe sparks a conflict between the Tau empire and the Hybrids, decimating the already meager population of Ya'vior'li.

The Aun'bork'an'retha panic, and order a preemptive strike on the lives of the 4 Aun'O. The hits on commanders Stardrop and Suntaker are successful, and force the Hybrids to surrender. Following this shaming defeat, the newly dubbed "Ru'auk'tau" are banished, and flee into the Silent Territories in the search of a new home.

When the Hybrids find the new star system, the remaining of the earth caste struggles for many years to remove the sleeper virus from the coding of their fuse cells. Their success allows the Ru'auk'tau to finally shed their curse and prosper. They continue to design and alter new "programs" for their fuse cells, creating as much variety and uniqueness in their offspring as any natural world.


5: The betrayal and the Assassination attempt on the 4 Ethereals.

6: Finding a New World

7: Resurrection of Ethereal "Stardrop" and "Suntaker" on the New World.

8: New World: planets, culture, philosophy, creatures,

9: Fuse-Tau and there Units.



-- I'm not much of a writer. This is roughly the main lines for the story. I hope it's understandable. I'll be refining the ins and outs of the background in the upcoming few weeks. Please feel free to tell me what you think and if you feel the need to give me feedback/criticism/pointers or questions, your more then welcome!! . --
-- I'm in my 3rd year of university of arts and couldn't be more busy but I've put these 4 units up for your eyes to see and I hope that they're to your likings. Without further ado: --

The Units of the New World







Caterogy picture: Modelling



Etherials:



Ethereal Cyber Commander L'shas'ka: "Stardrop"
(Shas'ka: Composite Word; Meaning; “Fire Caste Strike” or “Star?”. L: Meaning; “To drop”.)

Background:
Ethereal O'linshaska
twin brother "redsun"

Concept sketches:
Image
WIP pictures:
Image

Image

Image

Appearance:
With his body cybernaticly inhanced and strongened he stands taller then any other tau.
His upperbody and head are hardwired to a highly technolagical robotic metal frame.
His costum suit is build aspacially to support his cybernatic body in combat.
Thick armour around his upper legs.
(lower legs are robotic or suit)
The upper body of the suit is big and contance a build in jetback system.

Weapons:
- SMS rockets on shoulders
- custom Burst cannon on right arm.
- custom Fusion blaster on left arm
- Jump pack on back
- 2x shield/attack drones

With bodyguards:
- Honnor Cyber units in power armour.



-Ethereal 2:
Ethereal Cyber Battlesuit commander "Suntaker"

Concept sketches:
Image

Appearance:
3 heads build in the main body off the suit. drone AI build hard-wired inside all his systems, right hand long sword (+burst canon), left hand shield (+burst canon), utility arms with sub machine guns, shield drones, combat drones)

Background:


Weapons:
- right hand: long sword + shield
- left hand : longsword + shield
- utility arms: Sub-machine guns build in.
- 2 jetpacks on back
- sms rockets
- 2x shield/attack drones
- multiple scout drones (swarm of small scout drones and repair drones)

With bodyguards:
- Cyber Battlesuits with long pulse staffs
- Cyber Battlesuits with range weapons
- Cyber Battlesuits with shield arms
OR
- Drone controlled Battlesuits






Caterogy picture: Modelling



Power Armour units:

Heavy support:


Heavy burst canon Unit (XV-designation)

Background:
During the war against the Hive fleet Gorgon the Firewarriors needed a heavy support unit to keep the monsters at a firing distance. This suit needed to be way smaller then a Crisis suit to be able to assist in small corridors and dense urban and fauna environments. Also it needed to be able withstand heavy incoming fire and stand it's ground to continue it's protective and supportive role. The earth castle engineers designed the suit to have high value armour at the cost of jet pack capability. The left side of the suits armour is even heavier then the rest of the suit. The pilot will often position himself sideways to expose its heavier arm and shoulder pad, witch has a build-in tactical visor to oversee the battlegrounds wile it's head stays protected behind it.

The "Fused-cells" have altered the body's of the pilots to be able to operate the big suits.

With a Heavy burst canon suit in your squad you are guaranteed of a high level of tactical support. Taking position in the middle of the battlefield, holding off the enemy by obliteration their forces with it's massive burst canon.
These suits can be dropped from high flying drop-ships, giving support to pin down Firewarriors, clearing a path to freedom.


Concept sketches:

Image

WIP pictures:

Image
Heavy Burst canon suit XV- center front Scale indication view

Image
Heavy Burst canon suit XV- front and back view





Caterogy picture: Modelling


Drones


First class Drones (firewarriors squads and power armour sized drones):

burst cannon drone

Concept sketch

Image

WIP pictures

Image

Image

Image







Group shot sneak peak:


Image








-- I'm not much of a writer. This is roughly the main lines for the story. I hope it's understandable. I'll be refining the ins and outs of the background in the upcoming few weeks. --
-- I'm in my 3rd year of university of arts and couldn't be more busy but I've put these 4 units up for your eyes to see and I hope that they're to your likings. --


Please feel free to tell me what you think and if you feel the need to give me feedback/criticism/pointers or questions, your more then welcome!


Last edited by Xauk on Aug 02 2014 10:11, edited 14 times in total.

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CoffeeGrunt
Shas'Ui
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Posts: 1122

Re: Creating a custom Tau army: - Bio-Tech Tau. - A New World.a

Post#2 » Nov 16 2013 08:07

Those are some pretty sweet conversions, especially the gun drone! The Techno-Organic look also really reminds me of the Combine from Half Life.

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Xauk
Shas
Posts: 128

Re: Creating a custom Tau army: - Bio-Tech Tau. - A New World.

Post#3 » Dec 02 2013 04:54

CoffeeGrunt: - - I'm very pleased to hear you like these conversions. They are still work in progress but they are coming along nicely. Yes, the combine,real nice armour and sinister. they have a bio-tech vibe going as well.

This drone is the fist of many to come in it's family. This burst canon one was the first to be developed during the war against the Gorgon Thyranids. Later, on the New World after their banishment the earth castle developed lots more; - shield drone - scout drone - sniper drone - stealth drone - SMS drone - flamer drone - double railgun drone - popping drones (berried underground and triggered when enemy passes by in proximity) - medic drone (used by combat medics.) -engineer drones (used by combat engineers.)

Xauk.

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happy_spike
Shas'Ui
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Posts: 210

Re: Creating a custom Tau army: - Bio-Tech Tau. - A New World.

Post#4 » Dec 02 2013 05:42

I'm very interested to see this move past the concept stage. I think this will be one of the project logs that will be eagerly watched over it's progress, I'm intrigued..

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Xauk
Shas
Posts: 128

Re: Creating a custom Tau army: - Bio-Tech Tau. - A New World.

Post#5 » Dec 06 2013 09:18

happy_spike: -- thank you for your kind words. The project is still in its concept phase, but these 4 units are out of the prototype stage and onto production in the bio-tech labs on the New World. I'm so eager to show you some more designs. Lots to come. I'm in the middle of my studies, progressions is slow. projects to come are: - Combat jetbike - AI battlesuits. - Synthetic units - Drone controlled patrol ship.

May I ask you what part or unit you like the most?

Xauk.

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Xauk
Shas
Posts: 128

Re: Creating a custom Tau army: - Bio-Tech Tau. - A New World.

Post#6 » Dec 07 2013 11:54

Caterogy picture: Modelling


Drones


First class Drones (firewarriors squads and power armour sized drones):

burst cannon drone


First created a base for the top layer and then created the top of the drone with the panel line pattern. - Quite hard to make them look symmetrical. came out good enough for the first time.
In the future will try an even more Tau-ish panel line pattern.

Image
Image
Image

Need to sculpt the bottom of the upper dome and the bottom of the lower part. - then make a mould of it all so I can recast it for mass production.

Xauk.

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Che Gue'vesa
Gue'El
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Re: Custom Tau army: Bio-Tech Tau - A New World [Update: 06-12]

Post#7 » Dec 09 2013 03:11

A huge project you got there Xauk, but I do not doubt that you will provide us amazing results!

Keep up the great work!

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Xauk
Shas
Posts: 128

Re: Custom Tau army: Bio-Tech Tau - A New World [Update: 06-12]

Post#8 » Jan 06 2014 08:24

I've been working on a proper combat bike for the last few months.
This concept mesh is what I've done so far. For a long time I've searched for a way to combine the bio-organic look with the aesthetic of the TAU.
I hope that this ship has done that and there will be more to follow.

I hope you like this Bi0-Tech look.


Caterogy picture: Modelling


Vehicles: Jetbikes


- New world Combat jetbike:

- - Reaper - -


Background:

These jetbikes are a new type of vehicle used by the Bio-tech Tau on the New World.

The earth castle engineers have developed a a way of fusing hardware with synthetic bio-tech matter. Basically what they did is create a synthetic Bio-tech organism that is comprised of a artificial intelligence core that can grow synthetic muscles to support movement. These bio-tech cores can be used to create all kinds of formations.

A basic Bio-tech core and muscles, a BTC-M1 (Bio-Tech Core - mark.1) can be upgraded with more muscles formations. These can then grow access points to support Regular armour plates and hardware.

(On the concept sketch you can see the synthetic muscles on the top of the jetbike in blackish colour. Imagine underneath the regular armour plates resides the BTC-M1 core that holds all the hardware in place with it's synthetic muscles system.)



Tau that fly a REAPER are warriors that are breeded for combat in the skies. Their synthetic bodies are able to withstand the insane g-forces that the combat jetbike throws at them, while their minds function at the highest operating level. They soar though the air at overwhelming speeds while obliterating their enemy with utter precision.

Flying in tight formation with other members of a REAPER squad launching surprise attacks, each releasing a deadly salvo of armour piercing rounds from their burst canons into the flanks of the enemy.
One of their favourite manoeuvres is to clime with their jetbikes to death defying heights high into the clouds, only to come plunging down ninety degrees at great speeds, engaging there burst canons right on top unexpected enemies from above.
Pre-targeted marks will only see a glimpse of their twin-linked burst canon barrels when they pop-up behind a mountain ridge.
While flying at great speeds the greatest of the pilots are able to spin their REAPER jetbikes 360 degrees while maintaining a forward motion without losing control, taking multiple targets out while doing so.

These jetbikes are made for combat, but they are often first choice for patrol missions to secure high value structures and temporary forward basses. Also they are commonly spotted guarding troop transports.

Engine: Air is sucked in trough the front of the ship. Guided underneath the pilot seat to the powerful turbines of the engine in the back. Heat vents on the side of the craft prevent overheating. The main propelling exhaust provides forward motion, while four side ones give the ship its manoeuvrability and agility.

Combat display screen: The 2 drone sensor areas on board feed the pilot battle information directly onto the display screen. High value targets pop-up in bright red, landmarks and tactical data is displayed.
With it's HMD (helmet-mounted display) build in to the pilots helmet feeding him tactical information, thereby allowing him to obtain situational awareness and/or cue weapons systems to the direction his head is pointing.

Weapon holds on the side: There are two cargo areas on the side of the ship. These can fold open to reveal a variety of weaponry for the pilot to use on foot. Rifle, hand guns, grenades and other battle equipment. The left side holds two scout drones that can be launched in flight. (I'll make a detailed version of this system in zbrush to show what I mean.)


Concept sketches:
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

This is the concept mesh sculpted in Zbrush. This model will be used to create the hard surface model in Zbrush later on.
Everything is subject to change. But the main idea and proportions are there.

Please leave a comment.

Xauk.
Last edited by Xauk on Jan 07 2014 08:13, edited 3 times in total.

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Che Gue'vesa
Gue'El
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Re: Custom Tau Army: Bio-Tech Tau - COMBAT BIKE [Update: 07-01]

Post#9 » Jan 07 2014 03:32

It looks amazing, like a smaller version of your combat-ship, but not all the pictures are showing!

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Xauk
Shas
Posts: 128

Re: Custom Tau Army: Bio-Tech Tau - COMBAT BIKE [Update: 07-01]

Post#10 » Jan 07 2014 08:20

Dear Che Gue'vesa, Thank you! :) I've been working on this concept for a long time and it's my first love; jetbikes. I haven't seen a proper one out there (except mister Crilio drone bike ofcourse) I really feel that the TAU could use some more of these awesome machines. I'm glad you like it. What part of the design do you like the most? Xauk

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Che Gue'vesa
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Re: Custom Tau Army: Bio-Tech Tau - COMBAT BIKE [Update: 07-01]

Post#11 » Jan 07 2014 08:30

I really like the point, that the driver is not sitting on top of the bike but instead he is sitting more 'inside' the bike which gives him more cover and makes him less vulnerable.

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Bitterman
Shas
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Re: Custom Tau Army: Bio-Tech Tau - COMBAT BIKE [Update: 07-01]

Post#12 » Jan 07 2014 09:17

I really like the design - except the "fans" on the exhaust, they don't look very Tau to me. But the pose and the shapes and the general arrangement of the piece are all good.

My only other observation would be to come back to the role of a jetbike in a Tau force, both in fluff and on the tabletop. With what appears to be a twin-linked Burst Cannon, it outguns a Piranha without its drones, and a Piranha is a two-man vehicle, not just a bike. My question - as with so many Tau jetbike ideas - is: "why would the Tau bother with the Piranha, or the Tetra, or even Crisis suits, if their jetbikes carried the same firepower but were smaller, faster, and more manoeuvrable?"

In my view (and this is of course just my view), a Tau jetbike ought to offer something different than what the Piranha/Tetra already do. The infamous "sniper bikes" are one example of that - I'm not super-keen on the implementation in that specific case, but I give their creator top marks for coming up with something that wasn't just a better, smaller Piranha. While I do very much like your design, a unit of these things seem like they would be just like other units we already have available, just better (or if you pointed them high to compensate, worse).

However - your mention of cargo holds on the bike gives me pause for thought. A jetbike with light weaponry, or even none at all, would make an excellent transport for a Fire Warrior or Pathfinder to get into position, at which point they dismount, get their Pulse Rifles out of the hold, and fight on foot. Kind of like a dragoon; a genuinely unique unit (or unit upgrade) that eludes direct comparison with existing units. It would mean losing the weaponry you've designed, but for me - personally - it would have a more believable role in the army.

Hope that feedback is useful... ignore it if you're simply deliberately and intentionally going specifically for a combat bike, in which case, you have designed a very nice one. :) It's just a unit I have trouble believing in. I'd like to see a Tau jetbike offer something other than simple combat prowess.

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Xauk
Shas
Posts: 128

Re: Custom Tau Army: Bio-Tech Tau - COMBAT BIKE [Update: 07-01]

Post#13 » Feb 07 2014 02:29

-- This project log is espacially set up for me to learn sculpting, scratchbuilding, basing and painting. The goal is to have a few units custom made and painted for the purpose of coolness and my love for sci-fy and miniatures. --

Have done a real attempt to sculpt my commander "Stardrop" Useing greystuff (procreate professional sculptors putty) this stuff is really good.

Cyber Commander O'lshaska has been assassinated and his body is blown away from the waist down. Only his torso and part of his right arm remains.

Here we can see him resurrected and operating his custom battle armour.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Tell me what you think of the sculpt. Critacism and feedback are welcome.

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Xauk
Shas
Posts: 128

Re: Custom Tau Army: Bio-Tech Tau - SCULPTING [Update: 07-02]

Post#14 » Aug 02 2014 10:10

Good Afternoon ATT.

I hope everybody has been good the last few months. Happy gaming, sculpting and painting!
I've got some new sculpts to show you and I hope you could tell me what you think!

I know that they are custom units and you might not understand why I make them, but I hope you can look at them and appreciate the sculpting I've done on them.
I'm getting more and more confident in giving shape to my custom models and also the speed has increased the last few months.

On to the modeling:





Caterogy picture: Modelling


Power Armour units:

Heavy support:

Cyber Bodyguard unit


Concept sketch:
Image

Image

Image

Image

I've done some casting of little parts so I can use them to create custom units for my Tau troops.
I want to use as much tau bits I can use on a unit but at the same time sculpt as much as I can.
I wanted to create a custom suit unit that has a very dark and futuristic atmosphere.

Please tell me what you think.

Xauk.
Last edited by Xauk on Aug 05 2014 03:31, edited 1 time in total.

O'Da'Cova
Shas
Posts: 58

Re: Custom Tau Army: Bio-Tech Tau - SCULPTING [Update: 02-08]

Post#15 » Aug 03 2014 01:04

Hey Xauk, just a quick warning, your photobucket images in the most recent post aren't linked properly or they have been disabled. But other than that the rest of the thread is great!

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Xauk
Shas
Posts: 128

Re: Custom Tau Army: Bio-Tech Tau - SCULPTING [Update: 02-08]

Post#16 » Aug 05 2014 03:35

Thank you O'Da'Cova, I have edited the post and hopefully the pictures are showing. Thank you for the support :) Xauk

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