Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Tau: Working with Skyrays - Part 1 (Quick Tip)

Whilst plodding (and I do mean plodding - progress has been way slower than I'd have liked) through building the models for my Tau army, I discovered what appears to be the most generously put-together GW model kit I've ever seen; the Skyray.

Now I've owned my Skyray for a few years now, but until now it has stayed, unbuilt, in its box. As a result, this post may be a little out-of-date as GW may have changed the contents of the kit. I don't know if they have or not - apologies if they have.

Anyway, when I unboxed it, the first thing I thought was "Oh no! They've given me a Hammerhead in a Skyray box" - top of the pile was a sprue containing Ion Cannons and Railguns.

But no! That Sprue is there because it also contains some parts which are common to both kits, namely the burst-cannon/missile-pod drones and the underslung sensor array that goes at the front of the mini.

Ace!

Looking at it a little harder, more possibilities opened up.

The tank is, of course, built on the ubiquitous Devilfish chassis:
The chassis - sensor-pod and turret not installed.
The sprues that chassis come on are Devilfish sprues. As previously mentioned the Hammerhead Sprue is in the box, and of course so is the Skyray sprue. That means that you can build all of the following parts without having to modify anything:

If you stop short of glueing them into place at this point, you will find that they will all just quite nicely drop into the hole in the top of the Devilfish chassis.

So you can have:
A Devilfish
or:
A Hammerhead with a Railgun. You can just see beyond the Railgun that the Devilfish turret drops in to the Hammerhead turret.

or even one of these:
A Hammerhead with an Ion Cannon.
or one of these (as you'd expect):
A Skyray. Naturally.

Now, if you also have a Devilfish kit or another Hammerhead or Skyray, you can probably already see possibilities opening up. You could build them all as Devilfish. You could field a Hammerhead and a Skyray by dropping the appropriate turrets into the Devilfish. The possibilities are manifold and all can be just swapped and changed without glue, from one game to the next.

But it's not all roses.

GW are not known for unstinting generosity. They stinted (is that a word?) here too.

The Devilfish normally carries gun drones. The Hammerhead and Skyray don't come with any of these so if you want to field your tank as a transport you'll need to find some from somewhere, or purchase an upgraded weapon system for your transport.

In addition, some modelling skill is going to be required. You may notice that in the above Hammerhead photos the weapons are hanging limply on the turret. They are designed to be glued in place. 

Also, the underslung turret does not lend itself to easy swapping and as the Devilfish sports a burst cannon and the Skyray and Hammerhead carry a sensor array, some work is required to make them interchangeable.

I'll cover how to overcome those problems in a later post (as soon as I've worked it out!)