Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post long term projects you have devised for your Tau or other hobby projects.
Co'da
Shas
Posts: 100

Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#1 » Jun 05 2015 09:50

Edit: I'm going to co-opt myself here and turn this first post into something of a resource for any future searchers who might be interested in Fi'draah/Phaedra from a modelling perspective. I'm only going to state things as they are observed in Peter Fehervari's books. I'm not going to say "this is how it is on Phaedra", because we don't know that. We only know what we have seen, and we have only seen one theatre of war, the Dolorosa continent.

Phaedra, aka Fi'draah
Phaedra is an oceanic jungle deathworld. Fungus is extremely pervasive, and extremely infectious and corrupting. This is NOT Chaos taint, but rather the planet itself.

The Tau have been involved on Phaedra for some 50 years, as has the Imperium. Phaedra is an extremely undesirable posting, for a number of reasons, and used as something of a dumping ground by both combatants. Read Sanctuary of Wyrms and Fire Caste by Peter Fehervari for more information on why and how this war is the way it is.

Tau on Phaedra
Tau forces on the planet are called the Wintertide Concordance, and are nominally under the command of Commander Wintertide, but are effectively commanded by Por'o Dal'yth Seishin.

Wintertide's personal sigil is a black geometric snowflake on a white circle, and his colours are white and black. His sigil is sometimes worn by troops on Phaedra.

Gue'vessa are called janissaries. They use pulse carbines (as opposed to Imperial weapons) and have used an open-topped transport called a Cuttlefish.

Kroot appear very susceptible to Phaedra's taint. At least one kindred has "gone native" and is known as Canker Eaters.

Vespid appear quite common. This may indicate a resistance to Phaedra, but this is never stated.

Tau skin can take on a yellow tinge on Phaedra, as well as being susceptible to boils and insect bites. This is only seen on one individual, but hardly any creature is completely immune to Phaedra.

Fire Warrior, Pathfinder, and jannisary armour is described as "mottled black", and black, with "rubberized grey" undercloth.

Drones are white.

Vehicles are white.

Battlesuits are white with black panels.

Stealthsuits are black, when not cloaked.

Optics are red. (As seen on the cover of Fire Caste.)

On a handful of occasions, red is used (on a Shas'ui's helmet, a battlesuit head, and Fire Warrior helmets) to indicate rank. (Note that there is no mention if these troops are from Vior'la.)

Tau on Phaedra have only been seen employing Kauyon, and make heavy use of auxiliaries when doing so. They have a very decentralized approach to war on Phaedra.

Crisis suits have only been observed deployed in pairs*. One one occasion both were armed with a fusion blaster and flamer; on another, only the flamer was mentioned.

Single Broadsides have been observed deployed on their own.

A Hammerhead was seen to hide underwater.

The primary Tau installation in Dolorosa had a wall comprised of white, hexagonal plates. While resilient to Phaedra, they were not immune and did show signs of wear.

*Except under special circumstances.

I think that's everything of relevance from an army-building perspective, but if I've forgotten something, please mention it and I'll add it. This post is going to remains spolier-free, however, spoilers might appear in discussions further down the thread, so be aware of that if you want to read the books. Which you should do anyway! They're very good.






I don't like painting. I'm not at all good at it, and I get easily frustrated, knowing my models won't look very good. I have an mostly-unpainted Lizardmen army to attest to that, and I never even tried painted any of my 40k stuff.

My attitudes about the hobby have changed a lot in the past few months, and, through another game, I've started painting again, a little bit. I haven't touched a brush in probably ten years. What I've been painting lately has been cars (for Dark Future, incidentally), and I found - much to my surprise - that I really, really enjoyed it. So I figured . . .

Image

It was very difficult to keep painting even this far. Turns out I still don't enjoy it, and still get frustrated at myself. But, there's no way to improve unless you practice, so I'm going to keep going, as much as I hate what I've done.

I had a black basecoat, and used a Bleached Bone, and then a Bleached Bone+black wash. Initially all I wanted to do was a black basecoat and a gunmetal drybrush on the armour, to be a shipboard theme (a la Kel'shan), but I didn't quite have the colours, and decided against metallic. It's been a long time since I bought paint. :roll: Instead I tried following the steps in "How to Paint Tau" (with the colours I have available) and, well . . . Honestly I feel the mini is ruined and I'd be better off starting again on an entirely separate one.

But, I just started reading Peter Fehervari's Dolorosa Coil series, and am in love with his descriptions of Phaedra. The grey-green landscape stuck out to me as similar to what my paint job wound up looking like, and now I think I may be able to salvage this mess by painting the mini in Phaedra colours. But I'm not sure what those colours should be.

What colour armour would Tau use on Phaedra? Should I leave the armour grey-green and paint the undercloth? Or leave the undercloth and paint the armour? And, regardless, what colour should I paint whichever one I do paint?

Thanks for reading, and letting me share my awful painting.
Last edited by Co'da on Jun 12 2015 09:19, edited 5 times in total.

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MODELGLUE Eio'Y
Kor'El
Kor'El
Posts: 1283

Re: Trying to paint (and Phaedra colorscheme suggestions)

Post#2 » Jun 05 2015 10:31

What you have done here is actually quite the desired effect that some mini painters go for. I wouldn't call this one a write off at all.

I think, because you have come this far with what sounds like an easily replicable process, you should keep the cloth portions of the model in the current state and then do the armour in black. You can edge with a grey and highlight with a lighter grey. Red bezels, lenses, etc would set that off nicely. Just be careful with your application of black or whichever colour you choose to use and keep your paints wet.

Others may chime in with alternate advice, so keep your chin up and hang around for more hobby goodness.

Co'da
Shas
Posts: 100

Re: Trying to paint (and Phaedra colorscheme suggestions)

Post#3 » Jun 05 2015 10:43

modelglue wrote:What you have done here is actually quite the desired effect that some mini painters go for. I wouldn't call this one a write off at all.


:eek:

That's not something I ever expected to hear about my painting! Thank you very much!

modelglue wrote:I think, because you have come this far with what sounds like an easily replicable process, you should keep the cloth portions of the model in the current state and then do the armour in black. You can edge with a grey and highlight with a lighter grey. Red bezels, lenses, etc would set that off nicely. Just be careful with your application of black or whichever colour you choose to use and keep your paints wet.


I was thinking black. Partly because it's quite forgiving (provided I don't slip with the brush.) I don't actually have any grey or, even more of a problem, any white, at least not Citadels. Will Citadel paints work with other acrylics?

Regarding the red, I was thinking of purple Elsy'eir sept markings anyway, mostly because I have an awful lot of Liche Purple.

modelglue wrote:Others may chime in with alternate advice, so keep your chin up and hang around for more hobby goodness.


This is the biggest part of this project for me. Even if I hate the end result, I need to get my head to a place where I'm comfortable just doing the painting. As bad as I may be at painting, that can always improve with simple practice. It's much harder to improve my mental blocks, however, and that's what I really need to work on, so thank you for the encouraging words. :)


Edit: Well had I waited a few pages I would have found, in Fire Caste, mottled black armour. And white drones, oddly.

Co'da
Shas
Posts: 100

Re: Trying to paint (and Phaedra colorscheme suggestions)

Post#4 » Jun 06 2015 08:17

And even further in Fire Caste, there's more talk of armour, with grey undersuit, black armour, and Wiintertide's blacks and whites. Well, I still like the grey-green I wound up with.

Image

The armour has been painted black. Pleasingly, I only slipped with the brush in a couple places, and didn't go too thick most of the time. I had a lot of trouble with the shoulder guard, the paint is definitely too thick there. Which is why I'm sharing this angle. :crafty:

Where should I go from here? There was mention of "mottled" black armour and I kind of like that idea. Will another Bleached Bone+black wash carefully applied achieve that look? Or would it be better to stick to drybrushing and highlighting?

And also... what to do with the gun? You can see near the end of it where I tried giving it stripes, but immediately reversed that decision.

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MODELGLUE Eio'Y
Kor'El
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Re: Trying to paint (and Phaedra colorscheme suggestions)

Post#5 » Jun 07 2015 06:16

I think a fine brush will give you the best results when using a medium grey highlighting system to accent the edges of the black armour. You can go over that at the high points with a lighter colour grey.

Use the same brush to apply a wash in a neat and controlled manner where the armour meets the cloth/fatigue material. Using that will soften the transition slightly and will lessen the starkness of the current state (which is only natural to have at this stage).

If you are feeling adventurous or motivated I think the business parts of the gun would look best in a colour of your choice, to compliment your scheme, or in black. But if you decide black, go ahead and do that before you proceed to the next stage of panel highlights and crevice wash.

It can seem tedious to do all this work to one model, but once you have a set system in place you will find that assembly line style painting is best. It goes by very quickly and you can accomplish quite a bit just concentrating on one little item at a time over 12-24 Fire Warriors.

Co'da
Shas
Posts: 100

Re: Trying to paint (and Phaedra colorscheme suggestions)

Post#6 » Jun 07 2015 08:53

modelglue wrote:I think a fine brush will give you the best results when using a medium grey highlighting system to accent the edges of the black armour. You can go over that at the high points with a lighter colour grey.

Use the same brush to apply a wash in a neat and controlled manner where the armour meets the cloth/fatigue material. Using that will soften the transition slightly and will lessen the starkness of the current state (which is only natural to have at this stage).

If you are feeling adventurous or motivated I think the business parts of the gun would look best in a colour of your choice, to compliment your scheme, or in black. But if you decide black, go ahead and do that before you proceed to the next stage of panel highlights and crevice wash.

It can seem tedious to do all this work to one model, but once you have a set system in place you will find that assembly line style painting is best. It goes by very quickly and you can accomplish quite a bit just concentrating on one little item at a time over 12-24 Fire Warriors.


I really like that idea of an area-specific wash, I'm definitely going to do that. I think I'll do the gun in black, and then proceed with the highlight and crevice wash, and maybe try some sept markings on it?

I continue to thank you for your advice and encouragement. And I really do see what you mean about developing a system. Working on this one model there have bee a lot of periods where, if I had other models ready, I wouldn't be left sitting waiting for paint to dry!

Co'da
Shas
Posts: 100

Re: Fi'draah WIP

Post#7 » Jun 08 2015 04:18

Will a mod please move this to Project Logs? I want to expand on what I've started working on here, and not start another thread.

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MODELGLUE Eio'Y
Kor'El
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Re: Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#8 » Jun 08 2015 07:37

Consider it done.

I can't wait to see more progress, but I understand that time is precious and I am patient. :)

Co'da
Shas
Posts: 100

Re: Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#9 » Jun 08 2015 08:29

Thank you!

I'm currently out of white paint (and thus can't make any grey... which I also don't have), and so am stalled at the highlight stage, but I'm going to try to get some more Fire Warriors to this point over this week.

Sadly, I'm now done Fehervari's Phaedra stories. :sad: But they've had a lot of good information about the Tau stationed there. Black armour(/mottled black) and grey underarmour for Fire Warriors/Pathfinders; red squad and helmet markings (maybe Wintertide was Vior'la?); white vehicles, drones, and battlesuits; red optics. Wintertide's personal sigil of a black, geometric snowflake on a white circle. I might have to print some transfers of that, no chance I can paint something that detailed freehand. Once I get up to vehicles (if I do, I don't really know how much money I want to sink into this, honestly, not beyond what I already own), I will paint them white with black details, but I'm definitely going to make them look old and worn. Phaedra marks everything as Her's, after all. And even though they don't actually fight alongside the Tau anymore, I might convert some Kroot into Canker Eaters.

Phaedra's position as a dumping ground of unwanted troops, even for the Tau, could certainly make for a visually interesting army on the tabletop. Multiple sept markings could appear across the army.

I'm also thinking of just making Fi'draah a sept. After all, the Tau were actively engaged in combat there for 50 some years, literally a generation or more, and no one back home cared too much about the planet. I know it didn't become a full-fledged sept, but given the . . . laxity of oversight, I think it's more than possible a few Tau were born there.

But, regardless of the feasibility of that, I'm thinking of dark indigo as a "sept" colour, or at least unifying army colour. My reason for that coming from the Imperial Guard stationed on Phaedra, who make use of a locally-derived drug called Glory, which leaves indigo stains. I was thinking Fire Warriors from Fi'draah (or those that come to associate with it) certainly wouldn't use Glory, but they might use it for warpaint, and it could then evolve into a sept colour, as others did.

Seishin
Lore Shas
Posts: 15

Re: Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#10 » Jun 09 2015 08:27

Greetings Co'da,

I just wanted to say I'm honoured that you're thinking of designing a tau army around the Phaedra look and perhaps even philosophy.
I love the idea of including the Canker Eaters as auxiliaries. You might even consider a tainted Crisis Suit! I actually bought some tau models myself with this intention,
but I fear my painting days are long behind me. Time is a brutal overseer...

Back when I wrote the novel I actually drew the snowflake symbol of the Wintertide coalition (yes, I took the project VERY seriously).
I tried to match the aesthetic of the established tau iconography as closely as I could and think it works quite well, though I'm no graphic designer.
It was never included in the book, so I've ended up using it as my personal logo (e.g. it's my avatar on Goodreads).

Not everyone was enamoured by my darker take on the tau, but I believe it's a valid one under the extreme circumstances of the Phaedra conflict.

I very much wanted to follow up Fire Caste with a novel about the factions left stranded on the planet after the formal war ended. One faction would have been
an alliance forged from the tau forces scattered across Phaedra. They'd probably have been led by a high ranking Earth Caste scientist who'd turned away
from the Greater Good altogether. Unfortunately this was deemed too eccentric in the current creative climate at GW so the closest I could come to continuing the
story was my the Adeptus Mechanicus short, 'Vanguard'. This featured the tau as antagonists only, however I did hint at what was happening to them due to Phaedra's
influence. You might find it interesting and I'd be curious to hear if you recognised the three survivors from the novel…

All the best to you,

PF

Co'da
Shas
Posts: 100

Re: Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#11 » Jun 09 2015 09:57

:eek:

Thank you for responding to this! I'm honoured that you would.

I've loved your Phaedra series. I had my eye on Sanctuary of Wryms for a while, and when Vanguard came out I decided to read them all.

The seriousness you approached this project with absolutely shows. The Arkan felt like a regiment that had been around since Rogue Trader days! You presented a very complete setting, and a very full one. None of the Guard regiments that showed up in Fire Caste were famous, but each one had me wanting to know more about it, about the Lethean Revelation and the Arkans' Thunderground, even the Konquizatores at the beginning.

I think you did a great job with Wintertide's symbol, as well. It definitely has a Tau style, while still being a bit different, like everything on Phaedra. I imagine if Fi'draah had become a proper sept they may have changed it a bit, but as a personal/army mark, it fits right alongside Farsight's. In fact I'd like to see more commander markings like this.

I personally really enjoyed your darker take on the Tau. When Tau are presented as badguys, it's usually either Aun'va twirling his moustache, or the species collectively flipping through 1984. What you presented was Tau placed in a strange situation, and confronted with some truly dark and mad things - without those things being Chaos, for a blessed change. The idea of less desirable Tau being used to... ah... accomplish what was accomplished, really struck me as genius. These weren't Tau that went "Heck with the Greater Good!" These were Tau left out on a mudball for 50 years fighting a war they didn't understand, without leadership they understood.

Yes, you have "bad" Tau, but they went bad after 50 years of what drives humans mad in months! Plus, this isn't Shadowsun we're talking about. These are the dregs of the Tau, which, well why wouldn't there be such a thing?

If I can wonder a little off topic for a moment, I'm an avid Transformers fan. IDW has been running a Transformers comic book since 2006. For a while the series was written by someone who viewed Transformers as completely alien. They don't eat, sleep, have religion or relationships, they don't do anything like humans, and, he felt, this made them very boring. His run is widely viewed as the worst of the series. Following him, a new writer took over, and made the Transformers eminently human, and the series now competes with "real" comic books in terms of sales.

Presenting aliens as aliens without human traits is well and good, but if you want to make TRUE aliens, then it's going to be a very complex story, because the reader will have no way of connecting to them.

The Tau are aliens, yes, but your portrayal of them was much more compelling than many, many others. They aren't robots (an ironic thing to say, given the above point), and they can break.

I very desperately hope you get to tell more Phaedra stories. After all, we only saw the Dolorosa conflict. There's plenty of planet left! Hopefully you will have the opportunity to tell more radical stories through Black Library. After all, the Emperor stealing his power from Chaos!? They're not adverse to the bizarre, sometimes.

I did recognize the three survivors, and wow you went dark with the one of them!!! After "214" I had to flip back through and see if any other names seemed familiar, but I didn't catch any.

Co'da
Shas
Posts: 100

Re: Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#12 » Jun 10 2015 10:14

Built a couple more Fire Warriors to continue to develop the paint scheme, as well as my painting in general. I moved about a year ago and my bitz box became a bitz bag, which made finding parts difficult, yet, oddly Phaedran. I've got to work with whatever I can find.

Assembly went okay, although I don't know how people use superglue and like it. I'm badly missing my Testors plastic cement. . . . more on that directly.

Anyway, on to painting tonight (after giving the glue a full day+ to cure) and, not even done the first coat on the first mini - I push him right out of his arms. Pop. Suddenly I've got Taubaddon.

It's my own fault for trying something different, I guess. I wanted to paint the minis separately from the bases, so I wouldn't make such a mess of either and then have to go back and constantly balance mistakes, but I'm just not used to painting without a base. Instead I stuck the minis to paint pots with bluetack, but Fire Warrior hoofsies are teeny.

I'm beginning to understand the frustration commanders on Phaedra must suffer. :-?

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Calmsword
Shas'Ui
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Re: Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#13 » Jun 11 2015 02:44

@Lore Shas'Ui

Much like what Co'da's doing, I was interested in the Confederates seeming 'power armor' did you draw inspiration from anything in particular or have an idea as to how to mod?
~Good Hunting

Seishin
Lore Shas
Posts: 15

Re: Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#14 » Jun 11 2015 05:53

Co'da - I appreciate the kind words. It means a lot when readers pick up on these themes and details because it goes a long way to vindicating the work that went into it. I honestly could have written a more straightforward action novel in half the time it took to write 'Fire Caste' (which went way over the original deadline.)

Whether it's entirely successful or not, I wanted the novel to be a serious, complex and passionate work, which inevitably irritated some readers.
The last minute title change to something it wasn't really about didn't help! If you're curious, there's an interview about it on the Hachisnax review site.

Also, many thanks for collating and organising this information on the Phaedran campaign. It's nice to see it all documented like that.

As an aside, the tau on Phaedra were likely sourced from various septs and probably included some from Vior'la who'd shown unstable, overly aggressive traits. Wintertide's 'origin' was deliberately left a blank by O'Seishin so that tau of every sept could claim him as one of their own, hence binding them to him more
closely.

I had another Jhi'kaara short planned that would have explored the Wintertide myth in more detail. Set shortly before Fire Caste, it was going to focus on her rebuilding a Janissary team after her disastrous foray into the Coil. I was particularly interested in her sense of being an outsider, closer to her Gue'vesa - and most especially to Phaedra - than her own kind. The Wintertide myth would have played a big part in that.

Did you figure out who the third ghost in 'Vanguard' was? Roach was easy and the '214' clues gave away Van Hal. The third wasn't the Saathlaa, Mister Fish.
There's a lot of strangeness going on under the skin of that story...

PF

Co'da
Shas
Posts: 100

Re: Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#15 » Jun 11 2015 06:24

And I (and all of us!) thank you for interacting with the community like this. And I'm eagrely waiting for Hachisnax to post the rest of the interview!

You could have written a straightforward action novel, but we'd all be the poorer for it. There's nothing wrong with books like that, they're great fun and some are very well written, but the Black Library's full of them. It's refreshing and interesting when they take a risk on something a bit different and let writers like you stretch their creative legs on a project like Fire Caste. The work and attention to detail you put into these stories shines through.

I tried to collate information that wouldn't spoil anything. Mentioning a Hammerhead popping up out of the water might constitute a spoiler, but it's a cool move we've never seen, but something they should definitely be capable of. I hope I've not missed much. I read your Phaedra stories (it would be nice of BL to put together an anthology, like they have for other "warzones") all very close together and wrote this mostly immediately afterward, so I think I got everything. Anything you can or want to add will definitely be welcome!

The fact that the tau came from different septs was apparent, or rather, a reader could certainly infer it, largely thanks to the varied nature of the Imperial side and the way O'Seishin talked about things to various characters.

May I ask, how do you feel about the idea of tau born on Phaedra?

More of the Wintertide myth (and Jhi'kaara) will always be good. I still hope you get to write the next story about that scientist.

I did figure out the third ghost! That's the one I thought was so dark. I was very, very shocked by it, and it added a lot of emotional impact to a very short story.
Last edited by Co'da on Jun 11 2015 07:27, edited 2 times in total.

Seishin
Lore Shas
Posts: 15

Re: Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#16 » Jun 11 2015 06:27

Calmsword - My original intention with the Arkan Confederates was to create a regiment that was disastrously unsuited to the planet it was posted to,
hence showcasing both the callousness and stupidity of the war. The Steamsuits were going to be the most extreme examples of this - unwieldy metal armour on an ocean world where the most solid terrain is swampland cannot be a good idea...

Some of that is still in there (e.g. the scene where a Zouave sinks like a stone), but for the most part I decided it would be too depressing, hence I improved
the suits. Besides, they offered too many opportunities for unusual action scenes to waste! In the final balance they're temperamental and difficult to master,
but effective under the right circumstances. This let me write the match up against the Crisis Suits, which showcased archaic, 'home-made' tech against something that was state-of-the-art.

To my mind Lightning Suits are a poor man's version of Space Marine power armour and the bulkier Thunder Suits are roughly equivalent to Terminator armour, though far less sophisticated. These 'poor men' I'm talking about are likely hustling for coins on street corners...

Visually my closest inspiration for the Thunder Suits was the Big Daddies from Bioshock, but obviously there's a strong Steampunk theme running through the Arkan, both visually and philosophically. Because I'm not exactly fond of religious fanatics I wanted to create a regiment that stemmed from a world that wasn't enamoured of the Imperium's repressive, atavistic creed. If it weren't for their extreme individualism the Arkan would make fairly logical recruits to the Tau Empire.

PF

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MODELGLUE Eio'Y
Kor'El
Kor'El
Posts: 1283

Re: Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#17 » Jun 11 2015 06:35

The dialogue and preceding/inspired project log are making me want to add the literature to my collection. I have to agree with Co'da regarding your interaction with the community Seishin, I haven't read your work yet but I feel almost obligated* to by the way you are taking time out to add to our membership.

*In a very enthusiastic sense.

Co'da
Shas
Posts: 100

Re: Fi'draah/Phaedra development

Post#18 » Jun 11 2015 06:41

I cannot recommend them highly enough, modelglue. Out Caste, Sanctuary of Wyrms, Fire Caste, and Vanguard, have made for a wonderful look at a fascinating new corner of the 40k world.

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