Vas'Quez Tau
The Tau Of Vas'Quez 4

     XV 88 Broadside Commander Singing Pond

When the two new Etherials, Swift Snow and Bright Day were shopping for protection on their mercy mission-mission to Vas'Quez Four, one wanted a fast battlesuit commander, and one wanted the most powerful battlesuit commander possible. The fast commander was the respected Worthy Destiny, but by then they had used up all of their outstanding favors. This left them forced to settle for a newcomer, somebody fresh off the creche, and hope for the best.

By sheer luck, they got a ringer - XV88 Broadside Commander Singing Pond, voted most likely to blow crap up by his Broadside Basics class, and winner of the Aun'Va Pre-Memorial Amateur Battlesuit Targeting Championships. In short, Singing Pond has natural talent.

Singing Pond has not yet realized that the amazing opportunity he imagines he has been given, in being personally hand-selected by low-ranking Etherials for a SEEKRIT MISHON is in actuality not a ticket to the big time of Tau Command, but instead a one-way slow boat to obscurity on a dead-end planet in the middle of nowhere. This is a good thing.

You see, Singing Pond is what humans would call a 'hot head'. He gets really excited about blowing things up with those massive rail guns of his, and he calls his Smart Missile System 'Lil Song' and talks to it when he thinks nobody is looking. He may not be all there in the head, even if he is top of his class. Let's just say that they were happy to let him go, despite his scores.

And this just might become a problem if, say, in the middle of a battle, he realizes, sitting there in his obscenely beweaponed battlesuit, that he has been -in terms of career- not so much advanced as (as the humans are wont to put it)... screwed. Totally, irrevocably boned.

It is worrisome that Tau weapons targeting systems have such a simple, elegant and easy to use interface.

About the Miniature:

I  chose to mount the smart missiles on the shoulders, rather than on the forearms, because I felt it made more sense, and because it looked more like a proper anime mech, which -of course- is where the style of the Tau derives. This also freed one arm to be mounted with a nice Shield Generator, always a good thing on a machine that is heavy and expensive.

To underscore the feeling of weight and power, I built Singing Pond's battlesuit very low to the ground, and set it in a ponderous stomp. To accomplish this, I cut away part of the back pack that powers the Rail Guns to allow the left leg to be positioned far to the rear. I wanted a wide, heavy stride. I also used a bit of metal sprue to add a handle to the top of the right missle launcher, as though it were an option that could be replaced easily.

I really like the way the glowing Broadside railguns in the computer game version of 40K, Dark Crusade look in-game, so to give some of that feeling I did a bit of careful drybrushing of light blue glow over the rails in my model. I brightened them towards the middle, and blended them to dark at the ends, giving, I think, a very energetic look.

I also carefully lined all the edges with a pale color to bring out the shape of the model.

Here are my two best battlesuits together, fresh off the Tau freighter, looking agast at the barren wastes of Vas'Quez 4 for the first time, and wondering how the smeg they ended up there. You can see the existential horror in their battlesuit optics. 

It's easy to imagine them, the veteran and the cadet, turning back to each other and involuntarily shrugging with their battlesuits, before stomping off in sullen mood, after the fool Etherials that brought them here.

About the Army Card:

It is possible that Commander Worthy Destiny is my most powerful unit. However, that said, for a close number two slot, Singing Pond absolutely makes the cut.

I think one of the main reasons I was losing game after game of 40K is not just that I was not using my units to their potential, but also that I simply did not have the right units to express the true power of the Tau. The Tau are defined by their battlesuits, and these wonders are such that one general-function battlesuit (Far Dawn) is not sufficient.

The addition of two mighty, specifically purposed battlesuits, maxed for their function has made all the difference in the world.

Singing Pond is basically artillery. This mech can hit anything, anywhere, at will, twice, with one of the most powerful guns in all of W40K. One re-rollable strength TEN, AP ONE (no saves at all) hit that can burst a light tank, smash any lesser vehicle, and instantly vaporize any single figure on the map regardless of how many wounds it may have.... this is power. Fearsome, terrible power.

And this is before the Smart Missle System kicks in. Four strength five, AP 5 missiles soaring out, and all of them have artificial intelligence, so they can zoom around terrain, see at night, and hit any damn thing you want. Sweet does not even begin to describe it.

Now, Singing Pond is vulnerable, he is weak at close range... but there is the argument that it is going to be very hard for any unit to get close to him.

It is an argument I intend to try to win.

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