Ian’s Workshop – Tau Riptide

Blimey, over halfway through April already! Where does the time go? I’ve been lax in updates, so to fill the void, here’s a special guest article (hopefully the first of many) from my good pal Ian.

Greetings all! I’ve been asked to write up a review about the Tau Riptide battle suit which I recently bought. The second I saw this sexy lump of plastic I knew I had to buy one; I’ve always been a big fan of the 40k Tau models and have found them very easy to build and convert. I hope after reading this you pick up on a couple of hints and tips that I’ve learned over the years.


It’s very clever how much they pack onto the sprues. And holy cow they have numbered everything! Putting each part together with the guide was a piece of cake.

Here are the parts laid out and unmodified.
Here are the parts laid out and unmodified.

I was really pleased to see these little tags on the joints. If you want to assemble it in the basic stock pose they make gluing it together child’s play and provide strong support. But there was no way I wasn’t going to tinker with this model….


After cutting away all the tags I glued on magnets for the nova reactor shield and weapons. This way I can pack the model into a smaller package for transport and change weapons between games. This does however mean I can’t use the little tube bit to connect the gun to the arm as the magnets extend the distance of the two holes. A fair trade, in my eyes.


Me and Gareth (Shit! My secret identity revealed! – Tzaph) differ greatly in how we paint miniatures. I like to paint each part separately before building so I don’t miss anything. It does mean I have to be careful when building but it’s a lesser evil than an unfinished model.


Five days later and everything is painted. I decided to paint the suit as a Transformer, and I picked Metroplex who is the size of a city, and one of my favourite Transformers characters. It felt right. Guess this makes my Riptide an Au-Tau-Bot, ooooh lololololol.

metroplex big

The main colour was white over everything, a heavy brown wash over everything to get as much detail as possible. Several layers of white paint built up again and again making sure to leave lines around everywhere the wash found to really break the model up and make it stand out. A dark grey and dark red was also used on alternating parts with a touch of highlighting to add a bit of variety to the colour scheme.

I generally pick three colours when painting a model; it stops you over-complicating everything. One time I was painting model using over fifteen paints on each! Life is too short and models are too easily ruined by going over the top. Keep your colours simple and your painting time short but productive.

“Talented son of a… ” – Tzaph

As an extra treat I used liquid green stuff to fill in the Tau logo on the front of the shield and on the chest of the suit. On the shield I used watered down white paint to make a smooth layer then painted the Autobot symbol. It’s a great little bit of detail but isn’t so over the top that it would spoil the model. Little touches like this can really help make your finished model distinctive.


I did all the usual Tau line marking on everything, and wrote “Metroplex” in Tau letters on the right shoulder pad.


An epic model needs an epic base. I used a broken Land Speeder, melted it with a hair dryer to make it look bent up, took some bits of tree from across the road and ta-da! Nature often provides far better bits then I could ever make. I painted the stand black and put bits of bark around it to help hide it and give the illusion the suit is jumping over the Speeder. It also provides support the model’s feet and stops it from falling over. I really didn’t want to glue the model to the base so this was a fantastic solution.

And here it is in all its glory, Metroplex!


I gave the drones the smart missile systems rather than the smaller ones they come with. Why do drones needs little wings and only be armed with three missiles? Seems pretty inefficient. I gave mine six!

Ease of building: 8/10

Detail: 9/10

Final Verdict: This is a fantastic kit, fully poseable and very well designed. Follow the guide and you literally cannot go wrong, it even warns you about the tags. The small head is a bit funny but I guess it looks right, and it does mean you can use the spare head parts for the Crisis Suits; bonus! This is a really well thought-out kit by GW. Where possible they have hidden a lot of the joins, especially on the suit’s chest. Take your time, and you will be rewarded with a fantastic centrepiece for your army.

I loved every minute building this and I’ll probably build another one soon. But for now I hear Pathfinders calling me so until next time, have fun and happy modelling



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