Monday, May 2, 2016

Finished - Tau Barracuda

Finishing the Barracuda was a giant task. I had to relearn how to paint in the my Tau style all over. It had been way too long since I had painting an icy blue Tau of this size. I finished the Tetras and Remoras but they are not the same as painting something this big. Really the only practice that I had was the Sunshark and the Riptide and those were super long ago. I had to invent new ways of painting this scheme.

I sprayed the mini white then, rather than basecoating Fenrisian Grey, I used Celestra Gery insted. I then painted on the areas that I wants Fenrisian Grey. Next up was washing with Drakenhof Nightshade the touching up with Fenrisian Grey. That gave me the a good base to work from. After that it was just dialing in the amount of Celestra Grey that I wanted showing before a final highlight of pure white on the hard edges.

I used a broken line on the white highlights but tried to make it look like shiny glare rather than jagged metal, I also had to highlight rounded edges to create the illusion of reflection.
Overall this is a very difficult mini to paint. The best ones that I have seen are airbrushed and I think that is the way to do this.

Another thing that made this mini hard to paint was the moving parts. There is a missile bay underneath that slides on pegs and slots. It is held in place by two slats of resin that look like downward-facing vents. All they do is keep the missile bay from falling out completely. It is a snug fit when it is bare resin but when it is painted the fit is so tight that it tears the paint off the edges. I did not account for this and am unable to close the bay reliably without damaging the paint. For now, my solution is to leave the bay open.

The bay also made it hard to anticipate how much of the inside under the bay would be visible. I painted and shaded the edge but as it turns out, you can see down into the bay pretty far. I don't have pictures of this, but the white insides ruin the illusion of depth in the bay.

Like with most of Forge World vehicles, the Tau Barracuda has a visible cockpit. It is usually not a big deal to throw a magnet or two in there and make it so that the hatch is removable but here the cockpit is also removable. I put a magnet in the bottom of the cockpit that holds it into the hull of the ship. Then there is a visible magnet on the cockpit that holds the hatch onto it. There was also a small hatch on the back of the larger hatch. It would have been awkward to try and magnetize it and for almost no purpose. I just glued it in place.

I am only painting one of these so I knew that I would want to magnetize the weapons. It also makes it easier to track weapons being blown off. I have already written about my A-10 Warthog inspirations in a previous post. I am happy that I did it. In retrospect, I don't know that the alternative weapons will every see table time. The Barracuda is pretty cheesy even with the basic rules. even in friendly games, a flying Rail Gun may be too much. It is still nice to have though.

I had to glue the turrets in place. The primer did not stick to the resin very well and was rubbing off even in the painting process. My concern was that the paint would wear off and look ugly. It pained me to lose the rotating turrets but I got over it quick.

I also magnetized the sponson weapons. I only had one idea for alternate sponson weapons and that was Marketlights. I had some casts of Markerlights from a Skyray. I threw some magnets in the back and they were good to go.

I suppose I could put some Plasma Guns or Missile Pods in there but those do not seem like Barracuda-style weapons. It already has hill-mounted Missiles and to add in more missiles would make it feel like a flying Missile Broadside.

The base still needs work. The plan is to make a little diorama out of it. I have not decided on the specifics. Maybe a Tau warrior taking cover and looking up at the flyer with dead enemies and razor wire.

I like that this mini is finally done and the mounting. I am short on specifics but I do love this mini. It is rare and really stands out in a Tau army where the current meta seems to be Riptide spam. I have wanted one of these for years and to have it in my collection even if it sits on a shelf forever makes me happy. I am pleased with how the screw-and-bolt mounting came together. It was my first try at it and for the most part it came together well. I could have mounted the nut a little more flush. I am concerned that if the plane torques at all the nut will rip out.

I am not pleased with the red markings, the awkwardness of the Rail Gun and some of the highlighting. These are all pretty nitpicky. I could have been more steady and consistent with the red stripes. I have never done them thig big before and they got away from me. I am not sure how I made them look so good on the Sunshark but they look like they belong on that mini. On the Barracuda, they look really forced and tacked on. I think that it is because I tried to vary the size too much and there are too many big striped. A big stripe and a small stripe look better together.

The Ion Cannon and the Heavy Burst Cannon fit seamlessly into the cupola but the Rail Gun does not fill the space adequately. It looks ok fromt he top and bad ass from the side. Head on, it looks really stuck on like an afterthought.

I was not very consistent with the with of my highlights of Celestra Grey. I did much better on the Riptide and the Sunshark. I blame it on the over-abundance of seemingly random lines that divide segments. Compared to other Tau vehicles, they are so many differently-sized panels. There are also lots of corners, acute angles and odd places to paint. I just had a really hard time being consistent.

This mini is currently out of print but goes for about $100 if you are lucky on eBay. I feel like the paint job is pretty good though not a typical Tau color scheme. It took a tremendous amount of time to finish, special techniques and a custom base. Once that base is finished it will estimate that this mini took over 40 hours to paint. Even at $2 per hour that is and $80 paint job which I feel comfortable estimating this at. Included in there are the magnets and extra bits.

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