Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Scratchbuilt Tau Barracuda flier

Yup, you read that right! I've gone and smashed another conversion out..
I was thinking about how the Dark Angels seem a little bland to me in the new codex - don't get me wrong, I've got plans and all the models I need are built and painted so I'll be playing.... but in the meantime I began looking to my other armies.

Spurred on by finishing my Nids - I now have two forces that need work - Eldar and Tau.
My Eldar were an Iyanden army, but I got rid of my Wraithguard and am now left with a smattering of units that could be made into a decent Footdar army, or I could run a fast and thematic Jetbike army with a Seer Council and Baron/Hellion mob allies.. That'll look big pimpin'..but it's also not as cool as fucking huge rail guns!

Tau, well, I have all I need, plus can plug certain gaps with allies so they just need an airbrush camouflage overhaul. Plus, I do love the massive amount of shooting I can put out with Tau.

So I put together a list.
Something like this below, assume all Crisis Suits have Black Sun Filters and Drone Controllers with Gun Drones to eat bullets (obv this is where poss, assume all legal selections)

Commander - TL Missile Pod 
Bodyguard - TL Missile Pod 
3 x TL MP Suits
3 x TL MP Suits 
10 Fire Warriors 
10 Fire Warriors 
8 Fire Warriors 
Barracuda Air Superiority Fighter 
Piranha - Fusion, Disruption Pod

Piranha - Fusion, Disruption Pod
2 x Broadside
2 x Broadside

Space Marine Allies 
Libbie, Null Zone, Avenger
10 Sternguard, Drop Pod 
Sniper Scouts 

Aegis Defence Line - Quad Gun 

The only thing that is missing? The Barracuda - £73 from Forgeworld OR.... dig into an over large Tau bitz box with a huge volume of bits in it..

We're not going to focus on the list here.. more on how I built my bad boy flier.. it doesn't look like the one above from FW, but it does have the same kind of Tau lines. It is longer than a Hammerhead, but sleeker and is correctly armed so I think it'll do.

So we have an Ion Cannon up front, two Hammerhead engine blocks, Skyray missile 'wings' and burst cannon drone attachments. Simple start...but it certainly looks more X-Wing than Barracuda.

The scale is right though. It is slighter than the broad, circular nature of the Necron Nightscythe.

The wings are wider, the build is longer.. but it has less visual mass.. I mean the Cron flier seems larger, but still has that gaping gap in the middle of it, not having much actual cockpit of anything.. certainly no transport capacity ..

The Barracuda has no transport, is only a 2 HP, AV10 flier .. this is the equivalent of a pissing Land Speeder, so I am happy to keep it this size really.

Any bigger and it may seem to imply that the flier is capable of more than it is. It is only a light flier and this is reflected in its rules - it has the "Agile" special rule, which adds +1 to its cover save, meaning when it jinks it saves on a 4+... not bad, but certainly not enough to keep it alive long. When bolters can bring you down, you know you are in trouble - no access to Tau vehicle armoury either to purchase Disruption Pods :( lol

Next stage is to lay out the part that I plan on using. I fill the body of the flier with 2 Piranha bodies, as well as working on the curving lines of the fliers hull by incorporating an inverted pair of Piranha wings - the drones to house the TL Missile Pods necessary to fill out the fliers weapons array, conveniently in this build they are located in a very similar location to the FW model. Decent.
I use a Devilfish exit hatch as it curves in the right places to add bulk and detail to the underside of the ship as well as providing a framework for the engine blocks and piranha hulls to join together, adding structural integrity to the build .. lol...

This while process has taken about 3 hours so far.

It doesn't seem like much does it? lol..

Three hours of staring at a huge mess of sprues and random shit on my floor.

Then a plan comes together and I get traction on the build.

As you can tell, the Ion Cannon is just placed next to the flier, in the end, I've underslung this bad boy so that the nose of the Cannon just pops out (about as far as it is in the picture) from the front of the flier.

By doing this the profile is streamlined, more authentically aeronautical and it also emphasises the flaring of the wings out to the wider burst cannon mounts.

My biggest issue? The pilot gap in the front piranha pilot seat. I can fill this.. but neither of my current solutions look right.
I've put in the top of a drone, but it then starts to look like there are too many circles - breaks up the smoothness of the fliers lines. Other solutions leave little gaps.. I am thinking of just popping in some plasticard and then adding extra little Tau details..


  1. That looks great already, what if you cut between the two pilots and extend that part, so there is a gap between the pilots which you can fill with plasticard, and have also two seperate pilot domes.

    1. U mean two levels of pilot, or just extend the green piranha hull to create a slight space between the two.. Since u said that I have thought about adding a third pilot down below. Like a pilot and the two other dudes are his gunners..

    2. I meant extend the hull, also a third pilot would be cool!

  2. Nice job Ven looks really good bro

    1. Thanks dude..just gotta figure out how to get it on a flying stand..

      Bits of sprue I guess?

    2. hmm it needs to be very sturdy though. I think you might need to invest in an actual one .. lets investigate .. ebay $9 .. Not great.

      Plasticard made up into an X (the old cut down the middle and slot it to make the X add some glue, maybe greenstuff for stability, flaps at the bottom etc..) and some old 60mm base with weight?

  3. looks really interesting. i would use bits of sprue to hold it together internally if you are able to. of and invest in a dremel, filing down those bits is going to be a total bitch without one.