Project blog: Tau Superheavy Walker (Completed)

Post long term projects you have devised for your Tau or other hobby projects.
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Project blog: Tau Superheavy Walker (Completed)

Post#1 » Jan 19 2008 01:26

Hi guys,

OK this is my first project blog, implemented mainly so that I can ask questions as to the best way to go about things during the process. This is my first major scratchbuilding project so it's sure to have a lot of questions!


So after my first game of Apocalypse on Monday night I'm really excited to play more. The problem is that my Tau army isn't exactly "Apocalyptic" - even if I field every model I can only ring up just under 2000 pts (Monday's game had both Jas' and my own armies combined). I wanted to add something suitably legendary, not just more battlesuits or hammerheads (I am painting my last battlesuit right now and am really sick of them!).

At first I thought that the solution would be a Tigershark AX-10. It's a whole 750 points of super cool looking Tau heavy flyer. But then I got to see the rules for it and was quite disappointed (I've got another thread somewhere here that was discussing that a little while back). I don't want this thread to turn into a "talk Zac into buying a Tigershark" thread so lets just say that I'm off the idea.

Whilst the Apocalypse game was great fun, there was one distinct thing that I thought was missing. Titans. Sure, we had a couple of baneblades and plenty of tanks on the table, but there was no single awe-inspiring unit to attract all that rediculous amounts of firepower ;)

So I think to myself, "why not build a Tau titan". Now, I've read through my fair share of Tau titan debates and came up with the following solution: this won't be a Tau titan. It will be a Tau Superheavy Assault Walker. Basically take the broadside and scaling it up 100 times.

So can I ask that the fluff Nazis please refrain from making Tau titan legitimacy comments?


OK first things first. The main idea was to make something that would counts-as a Warhound. So a large Tau walker with 3 structure points, 2 void shields and a set of super carnage weapons. I was inspired by some concept art found here: and then set about sketching some ideas. I'll skip all of the initial crappy sketches (I'm not that great of an illustrator) and jump straight to this:


At this stage I had begun thinking about weapons and have pretty much decided on the following fitout:
- Dual rail cannon (counts as double-barrelled turbo laser destructor)
- Plasma missile launcher (counts as plasma blastbun rapid fire only)

I know that arming with two double barrel turbo lasers is best but I didn't want to be too cheesy. Plus I thought that the sketches with 2 sets of railguns looks a bit excessive. I think a single turret will look better than the two I had originally planned.

Oh and on the topic of void shields: Although the Tau do have a decent understanding of energy shielding (shield drones for example), they also know enough about the Warp for their starships to at least initiate a Warp dive. Based on this I would expect that they could replicate the Imperial void shield technology for their own use (they use a similar concept as a forward deflector shield on their starships). I suppose they would just name them differently. Any suggestions? Ether deflectors?

I'm very happy with my leg design and think it fits in with the Tau aesthetic well enough. The chassis will need a lot more refinement though...

I started drawing up the template for the legs in the CAD program I use for drawing PCBs at work. The idea is to do a plasticard framework in a similar style to this:

Here is a picture of a cardboard prototype. Just for sizing. Dammit I forgot to photograph with a model! Oh well it's actually about 130mm long and 60mm diamter. I think the size is good and the ping pong balls will work well for joints. Just have to find out what glue to use on them.


Once the plasticard frame is done I'll fill all the gaps with auto filler or something and then smooth it all up. The idea is to just make the one leg and then cast the rest. Progress will probably be pretty slow as I have a very full time job during the week.

I need to get a new knife and a circle cutter before I can do too much work on the actual leg. Will order one on Monday. A bunch of materials like plasticard and polyfilla too....

Comments and suggestions welcome!

Last edited by mangozac on Sep 04 2010 05:31, edited 3 times in total.

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Post#2 » Jan 19 2008 01:50

I think you have a great concept going.

Your design is similar to the "lobster" I've seen floating around, which was based on a Tau Devilfish, with a few defiler components added for effect.

The sketches you've come up with strike me as more Tau-like than the Gundam models floating around as stand-ins for Titans. More organic as opposed to "giant-robot-of-mega-death-with-ZOMG-number-of-gunz."

However, rather than "counts as" an imperial titan, why not go to town and make up your own rules/weapons?
According to Apocalypse rules, its perfectly legal. You're plasma Missile pods could use barrage blast markers, with "X" shots.. You're Rail cannons might use the HUGE blast marker.

Judging by the size of the leg you've given us, this will be a rather large model.

I think you should build the legs in two pieces though (and maybe + toes) so that you can move the legs into other positions.

Anywho, good luck with it! I'll be watching closely.
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Post#3 » Jan 19 2008 02:03


Seriously, they have a HaloClix Scarab model that'd probably work the trick with some modification. My FLGS is selling theirs for 250 USD, but it could be worth it if your scratch build falls through.

It's like...perfect.

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Post#4 » Jan 19 2008 03:12

I like the concept a lot and could easily see it be realised with a devilfish body.

As some extra inspiration:


Something worth exploring in this case too is the legality of placing Sniper Drones in the drone mounts of a fish (they fit perfectly, I checked :biggrin: ). No more heavy fire restriction... Sounds good to me. Not to stray too far off topic but there should a rule to mount sniper drones to Skyrays and Hammerhead. Since they're "only" strength 6 they would be considered defensive. Mmm, all of a sudden Railhead takes on a whole new meaning.

Looking at the size of the legs you've already got prototyped though, what kind of scale are you thinking about, especially considering you're planning for a super heavy.

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Post#5 » Jan 19 2008 04:06

Wow guys thanks for the feedback. To be honest, I wasn't expecting people to be so positive about it - now that I think about it I don't know why...

@ Anuk:
I haven't seen the Lobster but I can imagine what you mean - I was initially contemplating basing the chassis of a Devilfish. The non-Gundam look is exactly what I was going for. When I first started thinking about the design aesthetic I did a bit of research into exactly the style required to pull off Tau vehicles. It is, as you say, quite organic, but there is still a solid current day military base the the design. It's about curvy, but bulky curvy ;)

I admit that I probably would prefer to do new weapon systems. I just thought it would be easier doing counts-as ones. I'll have a think about it.

The plan is to have a similar volume as the warhound. The leg will be built in 3 pieces - the foot, lower leg and upper leg for complete posability.

@ Ryzouken:
I'll have to check out this Scarab model, although it sounds way too expensive. Thanks for the tip.

@ Dark Gear:
Thanks for the inspiration - it's much appreciated. It's actually quite hard to find inspiration for multiped walkers!
I've never been a fan of the drones on vehicles. I'd rather have the weapons properly mounted on the vehicle....

I don't have a solid idea of the scale. Will just see how it pans out.

Thanks for the comments guys!

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Post#6 » Jan 19 2008 04:52

It looks like a great idea, and I have nothing I can find in the planing that won't work. So in a word "Yoink!"

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Post#7 » Jan 19 2008 07:01

mangozac wrote:@ Anuk:
I haven't seen the Lobster but I can imagine what you mean

*waves a magical wand*

Da Daaaa!


And more linkies
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Post#8 » Jan 19 2008 09:55

sorta reminds me of the zoids series sort of like this guy


Note the use of railguns in the horns and the back mounted missile silo things.

Based on the size of what your building this thing must have ship scaled rail cannons and would probably be like a defense laser or stronger in game terms. Plus it can move? (probably better to have it stay in place since its guns have unlimited range.)
It would have numerous drone burst cannons spread around its body with classic overlapping arcs that the tau are known for in their ships. Tau weapon batteries are known for being able to hit in many directions and overlap arcs to bring maximum fire to bear. Pretty much enough fire power to kill anyone who tries to assault a moving mountain.
I could see this being actually used by the tau. It's clunky but unmoveable. It's the kind of weapon you use to form city defense grids and surface to orbit fire. It would be good for holding off IG titan attacks on tau cities or large numbers of conventional enemies. Mantas can F things up but they can only strafe. This thing can sit back and take pot shots from a hundred miles away or more.
It's a landship that makes Leviathans look like russes.
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Post#9 » Jan 19 2008 10:17

impressed with the ideas you guys are coming up with, dark_gear, what is that mini. I like it!
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Post#10 » Jan 19 2008 10:18

Lone Ranger wrote:It's clunky but unmoveable. It's the kind of weapon you use to form city defense grids and surface to orbit fire. It would be good for holding off IG titan attacks on tau cities or large numbers of conventional enemies.

Agreed. It definitely strikes me as more of a stationary defense platform more than a "fast" scout titan!

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Post#11 » Jan 19 2008 02:15

If you're thinking of a slow and ponderous style walker, let's not forget the grand-daddy of them all...The Monkey Lord.


Kai : The walker was reviewed here. Pay particular attention to the pics on the side of the page to see details of the legs. The vehicle is from a tabletop rpg and strategy game called Heavy Gear(no relation to my online name :P ). After a bit of research I found the kits hereand herebut they are discontinued. Too bad since the build quality seemed very good.

There was one great find however, the blog of one the Dream Pod 9's designers. Turns out he loves Tau and he posted some of his sketches. Near the bottom of the page there's a very cool XV/Krootox concept that would be a great build. There's tons of other mecha stuff from his sketch book too.

Two more examples of walkers from the Heavy Gear line.
Image Image

Enjoy the linkies and let's see some progress on that walker. :biggrin:

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Post#12 » Jan 19 2008 06:51

Wow guys thanks for all the ideas! Especiall dark_gear with all of those great pics. Feel free to post more as I'm not having much luck trying to find inspirational artwork :-(

I was having trouble trying to work out what the main chassis will look like. I'm slowly getting a clearer idea in my head though and I figure I'd better get all those kind of things planned before I start work on anything.

The points about the function of the walker are quite valid. The railguns don't actually have an unlimited range (96" IIRC) and they aren't quite ship-scale weapons. They are basically the same units fitted to a tigershark.

I understand the use of multiple drone-controlled turrets, but I don't think they will fit into the aesthetic that I'm going for so I'm not that keen on them. Plus they don't provide that much firepower.

I envision it as support for the main spearhead of an invasion. All of the battlesuits and hammerheads would run up the front. This walker would plod it's way up behind the main force, along with the broadsides, etc to provide high power support against things like enemy titans, other superheavies, and even as a siege engine against fortress walls.

And I think some people are scaling it up a little more than I expect. It's not as powerful as a Manta. And nowhere near as large as an Imperial Leviathan. Just on par with a Warhound titan.

So perhaps I'll deviate from the warhound rules more and reduce its speed down to 6" max. I was thinking of adding a couple of networked markerlights so perhaps I could add them in place of the extra speed...

I'm going to do a little more thinking as to the second weapon system. I think I'd prefer some kind of underslung cannon rather than missile launchers...

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Post#13 » Jan 19 2008 10:07

3 things...

Wouldn't a long-barreled railgun be a 108" range not 96?

I'd say either missiles (think mega missile pods) or ion cannons as a secondary weapon system would be cool.

And finally,
Drone turrets packing burst cannons or smart missile systems for close in defense would make sense, similar to the secondary weapon systems on the Hammerheads for example.

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Post#14 » Jan 21 2008 04:13

You should use VDR rules.

You could use the VDR rules.

A TL "D" Class long range rail gun with extra large blast (mega + titan killer + long barrel + tl + blast)

302.5 pts

Code: Select all

       STR  AP  Range  Notes
Solid   D   1   108"   Heavy 1 TL "D" Class
Sub-m.  7   3   108"   Heavy 1 TL 10" Blast

Also rather than using normal void shields, the IA Apoc Manta has a 4+ invuln rather than normal shields.

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Post#15 » Jan 21 2008 04:32

Isn't this the "Modelling & Converting" section of ATT? :D

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Post#16 » Jan 21 2008 11:29

I guess people just got sick of discussing lists and mathhammering weapons to death.

Give a gamer a chance to build his own (insert name here) while getting creative feedback from a talented group of like-minded players and all of a sudden, discussion really flourishes.

But that's just a theory :P

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Post#17 » Jan 21 2008 02:35

dark_gear wrote:If you're thinking of a slow and ponderous ...
...Two more examples of walkers from the Heavy Gear line.

Enjoy the linkies and let's see some progress on that walker. :biggrin:

I think the brown one on the left has a good look to it. Looks similar to the concept sketches.

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Post#18 » Jan 21 2008 07:23

dark_gear wrote:I guess people just got sick of discussing lists and mathhammering weapons to death.

And this was the reason that I wanted to just stick with the warhound rules/weapons counts-as. I'm not keen on doing a VDR either. To me a VDR unit of this size is just cheesy and I want to avoid that.

I'm planning on a set of heavy burst cannons as the second weapon system using the same stats as the vulcan mega bolter. Think Ghost in the Shell Fuchikoma/think tank style ;)

The design has been undergoing some serious revisions. I've pretty much got new concepts for the whole thing and have found some great concept art to base it off (very Masamune Shirow inspired). Hopefully I'll get newer sketches up later in the week. I said at the start progress would be slow but I'm a perfectionist and wont start on it until I have everything planned.

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