So, the last time I tried making this army, I failed. Miserably at that, and I would rather not think of the rather crude paintwork/models I did back then. To this end, I decided to redo it, fitting the vision I had for an army within the Enclaves, as engaged by the Orks in the midst of the War of Dakka.
It is not intended to be a clean army when completed, as Orks provide a significant front to protect alone, and resources would be scarce, thus requiring a significant amount of scavenging and repurposing of old equipment, and taking advantage of any new technologies that are smuggled into the Enclaves. This army really was jumpstarted by the new codex, and the Breacher Teams with the Pulse Blasters, which are an extremely Enclave like unit to utilize, brutal in the close quarters combat that would often occur against the Orks.
This army, specifically is fighting in a more desert climate, and as typical of any Tau force, the armor is repainted to fit the environment, although it will be beaten and worn, and the Cadre's Strike, Breacher, Recon and Marksman Teams will be hard pressed in the mesas and canyons that consist of their battlefield against the greenskin menace. Enough on the fluff and concepts, let's get to the primed models, consisting currently of two six man Pathfinder Teams, a four man team with three rail rifles, a Fireblade, and of course a Riptide.
Fire Team Aurora
Fire Team Kindred
Marksman Team Wrath
The idea with all of my pathfinders was to give each of them some sort of shawl around their shoulders/upper torso, as a protective element against the wind, plus it just worked well. In addition, each squad has had most of their pulse carbines slimmed down with the grenade launchers removed. These models are nominally a mix of three kits, the old metal pathfinders, the new plastic pathfinders, and the now old fire warriors, with a few of the models sporting modified legs made by chopping one side off of a set from one kit and transplanting it to the other. Most of them are also sporting the fire warrior helmet instead of the pathfinder helmet, which was a mixed stylistic choice and simply not possessing the spare helmets to give them the proper helmets, plus its fitting for a more rough and tumble force that would need to scavenge what it needed.
This model was a lot simpler, being a conversion from the previous project, consisting of a Pathfinder hand in place of the bonding knife (which is wielded by a Pathfinder Shas'ui) and swapping out the head for a Pathfinder one, a lot more grizzled looking set of features instead of the weird shouting half smirk the stock head possesses. Finally there's a little bayonet halberd piece on the end of the pulse rifle made from sheet styrene cut to fit and trimmed, but its hard to see in this image.
Riptide Shas'vre [REDACTED]
The piece de la resistance, the big boy of any Tau army before the Stormsurge popped up to take over that. Of note is that the Tau symbol on the chest and the shield generator were removed, the one circular bit from the Riptide sprue replacing the torso emblem, and a shield generator replacing the one on the shield generator (Mildly redundant there.) I also added a couple armored plates over the outer edges of the front intakes, taking the idea that it was some sort of defensive feature done to protect it. In my current written fluff, this Riptide is an early prototype model, which explains the lack of the Tau emblem detailing, and also allows for some additional bits to be present, such as what I've labeled the 'Defensive Array,' which consists of a pair of Drone aerials trimmed to fit and some photon grenade launchers mounted underneath the reactor part of the torso. A compact point defense laser and fragmentation grenade system is basically what I'm using to explain the suit's melee attacks, and not that it's actually fighting in melee. Whilst the HBC didn't get any changes, besides being magnetized, the Ion Accelerator got a few more distinct changes, primarily being the removal of the raised section on the bottom half of the barrel, which is retained on the top barrel, along with a lengthened shroud over the top, giving it a little more primitive styling, as fitting its status as an experimental model.
There's also some additional detailing on the upper torso, primarily consisting of an armored access hatch to the Nova Reactor and some sort of compact relay that hasn't been yet integrated into the suit directly, a symptom of its age as a battlesuit.