What's the rationale behind differently-colored helmets, armor plates, etc?

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Arka0415
Shas'Ui
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Posts: 2155

What's the rationale behind differently-colored helmets, armor plates, etc?

Post#1 » Jul 27 2017 06:43

Calling all lore masters! I'm trying to paint my army with the classic Tau Sept color scheme. That's regular ochre armor with some parts colored white and burgundy. For the various ranks, here's what I can remember:

Fire Warriors:
Shas'la - No alternate colors
Shas'ui - White helmet, middle plate of large shoulder-pad white
Shas'nel - ??

What white elements would a Fireblade have then?

XV8s:
Shas'ui - Smaller antenna on head is white
Shas'vre - White head
Shas'el - ??
Shas'O - White head, left shoulder has white panels

What white elements denote a Shas'el vs. a Shas'O?

Finally, a few unanswered questions. Why are some parts colored burgundy? Is it just aesthetics? Also, why do some Tau units have a mix of white and burgundy Sept Markings in the old art? And finally, sometimes Broadsides are shown with all white heads (even though some are 'ui and some 'vre) and sometimes Commanders are shown with regularly-colored heads. What's up with that?

Reference:

XV8 Squad: http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/ ... L/$_57.JPG
XV8 Shas'ui: https://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/wa ... 0114051852
XV8 Commander: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/war ... 0502124947
XV8 Art: https://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/wa ... 0114073723
Fire Warrior Art: http://www.zoom-comics.com/wp-content/you... 00x375.jpg
XV8 Commander: https://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/wa ... 0220054850

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Panzer
Shas'Saal
Posts: 3548

Re: What's the rationale behind differently-colored helmets, armor plates, etc?

Post#2 » Jul 27 2017 07:36

Arka0415 wrote:Calling all lore masters! I'm trying to paint my army with the classic Tau Sept color scheme. That's regular ochre armor with some parts colored white and burgundy. For the various ranks, here's what I can remember:

Fire Warriors:
Shas'la - No alternate colors
Shas'ui - White helmet, middle plate of large shoulder-pad white
Shas'nel - ??

What white elements would a Fireblade have then?

XV8s:
Shas'ui - Smaller antenna on head is white
Shas'vre - White head
Shas'el - ??
Shas'O - White head, left shoulder has white panels

What white elements denote a Shas'el vs. a Shas'O?

Finally, a few unanswered questions. Why are some parts colored burgundy? Is it just aesthetics? Also, why do some Tau units have a mix of white and burgundy Sept Markings in the old art? And finally, sometimes Broadsides are shown with all white heads (even though some are 'ui and some 'vre) and sometimes Commanders are shown with regularly-colored heads. What's up with that?

Reference:

XV8 Squad: http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/ ... L/$_57.JPG
XV8 Shas'ui: https://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/wa ... 0114051852
XV8 Commander: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/war ... 0502124947
XV8 Art: https://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/wa ... 0114073723
Fire Warrior Art: http://www.zoom-comics.com/wp-content/you... 00x375.jpg
XV8 Commander: https://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/wa ... 0220054850


Shas'la: no specific Sept color other than the stripes
Shas'Ui: Sept colored antenna (+ Sept colored shoulder guard iirc)
Shas'Vre: Sept colored helmet (+ Sept colored shoulder guard)
Shas'O: Sept colored helmet with stripes in armor color (+ Sept colored shoulder guard)

Would need to check the rest in detail once I'm home but I think there's no real difference between Shas'O and Shas'El (Shas'Nel is even below Shas'El) except for their reputation among other T'au.

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Kakapo42
Shas'Vre
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Posts: 947

Re: What's the rationale behind differently-colored helmets, armor plates, etc?

Post#3 » Jul 27 2017 07:36

The reason is that the official GW studio colour scheme changed over the editions.

The system you list for Crisis suits, for example, is NOT the original T'au colour scheme. It's a revised version for the 6th edition codex. In the original T'au colour scheme for 3rd edition all Crisis suits had completely white helmets with red sept markings, regardless of rank, while commanders had dark red helmets with white sept markings (again regardless of whether they were a Shas'O or Shas'el).

Then in the 4th edition codex this was changed, so that the regular Crisis teams had sand-coloured helmets with white sept markings. This was also the point at which the dark red panels disappeared from the GW studio models. This was finally changed again to the 6th edition paradigm of white helmet aerials for Shas'Ui Crisis battlesuits and fully white helmets for Shas'vre, before the studio focused on a completely new colour scheme from Vior'la in 7th edition.

Incidentally, the Vior'la colour scheme has also changed - originally it was grey urban camouflage with green optics and white Sept markings, and was the secondary GW studio scheme displayed on the vehicle boxes, then for the 4th edition codex that colour scheme was modified and given to Sa'cea and the Vior'la colour scheme changed to a series of greens with red Sept markings, which mutated into white with red Sept markings in 7th edition (which, somewhat ironically, looks the same as the GW studio scheme for ships from T'au in Battlefleet Gothic).

For your unanswered questions:

- There is no in-universe reason for the dark red parts on the original GW T'au colour scheme - it's just for aesthetics to break up the sand-coloured areas (which is why they're not on any of the Firewarriors and Pathfinders, as that job is done by the dark brown undersuit areas on those models).

- The original artwork closely followed the main GW studio colour scheme, and so featured the dark red areas also.

- The classic Broadsides all have white helmets because, as mentioned, in the original T'au colour scheme all major battlesuits had white helmets, except for commanders who had dark red ones. The 'antenna for Shas'Uis and full helmet for Shas'Vres' thing was invented for 6th edition.

- Commanders in the original colour scheme have dark red helmets to distinguish them from the rank and file Crisis suits - it's an inversion of the white helmets with red Sept markings that the Crisis teams had in the original colour scheme.

Arka0415 wrote:What white elements would a Fireblade have then


If you go by the 6th edition colour scheme, the Fireblade essentially has the same markings as a normal infantry Shas'Ui - the central shoulder guard panel is white, and the standard model isn't wearing a helmet. Thus it's safe to assume that any helmet would be the appropriate Sept colour too - that's what I did at least.

Arka0415 wrote:What white elements denote a Shas'el vs. a Shas'O?


In the original colour scheme, none. When the Tau were first released in 3rd edition there were no rules for Sept markings, and indeed you were encouraged to invent your own system for your army (vehicles were a different story, and Codex: Tau contains a very comprehensive guide on grav-tank markings, though even that focuses mostly on serial numbers, insignia and other such informational details rather than the 'stripe and dot' Sept markings). The only guideline given was that markings stay consistent across the team in question. Since the 6th edition codex forgot about Shas'els, there is no hard rule for what differentiates them visually from a Shas'O.

EDIT: And as for why the original colour scheme has two colours for Sept markings, it's because originally there were no fixed Sept colours either. The GW studio army from T'au used white and red Sept markings, the GW studio army from Vior'la used white Sept markings, and a showcase army by painter Mark Owen used red Sept markings and was from Dal'yth. The way to determine what Sept they came from was by the logos applied to battlesuits and vehicles. The pre-set Sept Colours most are familiar with come from the 4th edition codex and supporting media, expanded on by the 6th edition codex.
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Arka0415
Shas'Ui
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Posts: 2155

Re: What's the rationale behind differently-colored helmets, armor plates, etc?

Post#4 » Jul 27 2017 08:40

Kakapo42 wrote:The system you list for Crisis suits, for example, is NOT the original T'au colour scheme. It's a revised version for the 6th edition codex. In the original T'au colour scheme for 3rd edition all Crisis suits had completely white helmets with red sept markings, regardless of rank, while commanders had dark red helmets with white sept markings (again regardless of whether they were a Shas'O or Shas'el).

Then in the 4th edition codex this was changed, so that the regular Crisis teams had sand-coloured helmets with white sept markings. This was also the point at which the dark red panels disappeared from the GW studio models. This was finally changed again to the 6th edition paradigm of white helmet aerials for Shas'Ui Crisis battlesuits and fully white helmets for Shas'vre, before the studio focused on a completely new colour scheme from Vior'la in 7th edition.


Thanks!! Do you think there's a way to stay true to the old 3rd Edition look, while still differentiating Shas'ui from Shas'vre? I figure I can keep the heads the way tey should be in 3rd Edition, and use the shoulders for WYSIWYG to differentiate the ranks? Maybe something like this?

Shas'la - Nothing special http://pro.bols.netdna-cdn.com/wp-conte ... _kroot.jpg
Shas'ui - White head, red shoulder https://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/wa ... 0114073723
Shas'vre - White head, white shoulder (Can't find a source but this would seem right?)
Shas'O - Red head, red shoulder http://kofler.dot.at/40k/units/Tau_Commander.gif

Sheeb
Shas'Saal
Posts: 47

Re: What's the rationale behind differently-colored helmets, armor plates, etc?

Post#5 » Jul 27 2017 09:07

Truth is its all aesthetics. So paint however you want. I like the differentiation of the different ranks by helmets and marking so i do it too. It's thematic and visually appealing painting-wise.

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Panzer
Shas'Saal
Posts: 3548

Re: What's the rationale behind differently-colored helmets, armor plates, etc?

Post#6 » Jul 27 2017 10:27

Sheeb wrote:Truth is its all aesthetics. So paint however you want. I like the differentiation of the different ranks by helmets and marking so i do it too. It's thematic and visually appealing painting-wise.

Not really. Well not completely at least. Some people like to paint their army true to the fluff (many actually) so it's more than just aesthetics.

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Arka0415
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 2155

Re: What's the rationale behind differently-colored helmets, armor plates, etc?

Post#7 » Jul 27 2017 10:40

Panzer wrote:
Sheeb wrote:Truth is its all aesthetics. So paint however you want. I like the differentiation of the different ranks by helmets and marking so i do it too. It's thematic and visually appealing painting-wise.

Not really. Well not completely at least. Some people like to paint their army true to the fluff (many actually) so it's more than just aesthetics.


See, I'm stuck right there. I'm trying to go the true-to-fluff route, or at least true-to-fluff the way I remember Tau being back on the cusp of 4th Edition. My memory is hazy about that though and it's hard sift through all the different pictures online. In addition, we need to differentiate our Shas'ui/Shas'vre for WYSIWYG purposes.

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Panzer
Shas'Saal
Posts: 3548

Re: What's the rationale behind differently-colored helmets, armor plates, etc?

Post#8 » Jul 27 2017 10:49

I don't understand why you want to paint them according to outdated fluff, but that's up to you. I can only provide knowledge of the current fluff. :D

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Kakapo42
Shas'Vre
Shas'Vre
Posts: 947

Re: What's the rationale behind differently-colored helmets, armor plates, etc?

Post#9 » Jul 27 2017 02:25

Arka0415 wrote:
Thanks!! Do you think there's a way to stay true to the old 3rd Edition look, while still differentiating Shas'ui from Shas'vre? I figure I can keep the heads the way tey should be in 3rd Edition, and use the shoulders for WYSIWYG to differentiate the ranks? Maybe something like this?



I see two options for this. The first is to use a different pattern of dark red panels to mark out Shas'Vres - using a red shoulder as you say.

The second option is a little more subtle - you could mark out the Shas'Vres with contrasting red Sept markings on the white helmet. This is done on the Firewarrior Shas'Uis (or at least the one in the original GW studio army wearing a helmet), and they are applied on some of the major battlesuits in the original GW studio army but not all of them (the Broadsides are missing them, for example). Thus, you could probably apply red Sept markings to just the Shas'Vres and still keep the colour scheme close enough to the original from 3rd edition.
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