Vas'Quez Tau
The Tau Of Vas'Quez 4

     Fire Team Wind Of Autumn featuring Commander Stormwind

If there is one thing that improves Vas'Quez Commander WarmRain's outlook, it would have to be Stormwinds's Wind Of Autumn Fire Team. These are professional, decent, experienced and worthwhile troops, and Commander Stormwind is both in his prime and sound of mind. So what went wrong?

On a diplomatic mission to deal with a human colony, Commander Stormwind did not trust the human colonial governor. This proved to be true when the Water Caste ambassador was captured for research, and the entire situation turned out to be a trap laid by agents of the Holy Terran Empire.

Someone had to take the fall for the ensuing debacle, and despite the fact that Stormwind (Shas'El Vas'Quez Sha'is'Kor) and his team rescued the Water Caste Ambassador, somehow they were blamed for the whole mess. Rumor is that the Water Caste fellow was the one who blamed them. But that's all sand under the bridge now, because Fire Team  Wind Of Autumn is doing time - service - on the frontier planet of Vas'Quez.

Mission Commander WarmRain both feels sorry for, and depends upon, this competent fire team, and secretly hopes to impress their leader, Commander  Stormwind, who she likes.

Stormwind, for his part is just trying to do his job, and keep his people alive. So far, so good.

About the Miniatures:

I wanted Commander Stormwind (Above) to stand out, so I built him large and in charge, shouldering his second weapon. The Markerlight on top of the heavy Pulse Carbine resting on his shoulder was scratch-built. I didn't have the means at the time to buy parts from Games Workshop's mail order, so I took a bit of plastic sprue and carved the Markerlight system by hand, using an X-Acto blade. The hardest part was carving out the two metal rods that link the front of the unit with the back of the squarish device. I think, overall, it looks identical to what one would get off the shelf.

I used a rock, and plenty of green stuff, to mold the Stormwind's leg and arm positions so that it gave him a little extra height. I think that the shoulder-mounted Pulse Carbine acts almost like a flag, making him stand out from the rest of the troops.

I also painted his head with small, almost Tenctonese spots, which I imagine denote age in Tau. Stormwind is early middle-aged in my mind, young enough to be a good soldier, old enough to be a great soldier.

I tried to produce a lot of character in this 12-man team, so I have members cleaning their pulse rifles, squatting to take scanner readings...

...and even some just looking to the sky in frustration. These are supposed to be trained, hardworking troops put into a very unhappy situation, yet doing the best they can.

All the Fire Warriors share the common Vas'Quez mark, which is three teal stripes. These are most often painted on helmets, or in the case of the Kroot, right on their forheads as war paint. I tried to give the effect of war paint in any case, suggesting the idea that the Tau took their three-fingered hands, dipped them in paint, and drew them arcross their helmets as part of a bonding ritual.

About the Army Card:

Fire Warriors are the backbone of any Tau army, and the reason is simple: from 30" away on the table, this team of 12 warriors plus my Shas'Ui commander can pump out 12 strength 5 shots, doubled to an impressive 24 shots if within 12". That is a lot of firepower.

I gave all of my Fire Warriors Photon Grenades to obviate the bonuses that would be used against them should they be charged, which likely they are going to be at some point if I am not careful.

I gave Stormwind EMP grenades in hopes that he just might take out a tank someday.

The Bonding Knife made sense, because I want my group to hang in there and not run away, or at least always regroup if they do; this is my core unit, the right fist of my Tau army.

That said, they have, in play, run away far more often than I would like. Boy do I suck with dice.

I am satisfied with the illustration of the helmeted warriors, but my depiction of  Stormwind himself leaves a bit to be desired, I think.

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