I've already talked about these briefly. The new models aren't especially pleasing on the eye but they are growing on me. What I'm hoping is that, given their size and the fact that they're clearly modelled around a devilfish hull, they'll be AV12. The only problem is that if they are then they're sure to be pretty pricey. If they're armed well enough that won't be an issue but perhaps they'd be better as AV11 and cheaper. What we're seeing about weapon loadouts is interesting so far though.
The fighter is described as being able to take on either ground or air targets. The burst cannon on the front can be replaced with a missile pod but this is presumably not twin-linked. It sports a couple of seeker missiles in hidden compartments (cool!) but we've no word yet on how they'll be fired as it doesn't appear to have markerlights. Finally, there's the quad ion thingy. Firstly it's able to rotate 360 which is a good start and will help it take on other flyers without needing to hover (assuming it can). Ion weapons can apparently overheat for more strength so maybe it'll be a decent anti-flyer gun. There's talk about thrusters (which I assume replace the drones of the bomber) which makes me suspect it will have Hover.
All in all they look promising. Hopefully Vetock won't screw them up like the DA ones. The key things really are armour values, weapon strengths and points cost. Those things in the wrong combination could cripple them before they even take off.
There isn't much new information from what we've already heard but from a modelling point of view it seems like they'll be extremely posable. The article talks about pinned joints for ease of assembly but with the ability to snip the pins off more more poses. Seems like a pretty good system as it plays to modellers of varying ability. The model itself is fecking huge. Looking at the size comparison chart and the shots of it surrounded by crisis suits, I'd say it's easily the biggest 40K model we've seen outside of FW.
It appears to occupy the Elites FOC slot which could be a blessing and a curse. It's good that it isn't Heavy as that's always been a bit crowded for Tau. Trouble is, it'll probably have to compete with Stealth and Crisis suits (assuming these can't be made into Troops somehow). That means to include more than one you'll likely be sacrificing core units.
Seems like it can fit all the support systems and secondary weapons that a crisis suit can. Assuming it's an MC and therefore able to fire two weapons it could be pretty devastating. Again, the effectiveness of this unit will come down to cost and weapon strength (although I suppose you could say that about anything!).
An extremely poor set of characters in the last book meant very few people ever fielded them. Farsight is back with a new model and it seems he still has his splinter faction. He may still have the issue of being a combat character in a shooty army but we'll have to see. There's little other mention of Shadowsun or Aun'va. Frankly Aun'va couldn't be made any worse but with little talk of Ethereals in general it's hard to know what direction they'll be taken in, bubble effects seem to be likely. Shadowsun was just featured in a Black Library book so I'm hoping they do something interesting with her.
The new selection of mini characters are intriguing. I like the idea of a Pask style tank commander. Hopefully he'll make a hammerhead worth taking again. The firewarrior and pathfinder characters are hopefully upgrades rather than HQs to prevent the FOC from being too crowded.
Kroot and Vespid
I'm somewhat relieved to see that they're (almost) definitely in the new codex. Remains to be seen how useful they are but at least I'll have a use for my Kroot models. I had an interesting thought that perhaps they can be taken as a Tau only allied detachment but I don't see any signs of HQs so doesn't look like it.
The thing that people seem to be most upset about is the original talk of more alien allies seems to have disappeared. Personally I think it's a good thing as I didn't want the core Tau army to be diluted down to a kabal of random species. It's a shame the Vespid models haven't been redone (at least from the WD pictures) as they're a bit dated looking now. The Kroot can hold their own nicely though.
I'm a little disappointed that there don't appear to be any new alien units at all. The rumours of Kroot HQ and big monster things seem to be false at the moment unless GW is going to do a second wave at some point?
Looks like the Disruption Pods have been toned down a bit which I think is reasonable. If they stay at 5pts for +1 to jink then I'll be happy enough. Pretty sure they'll increase in price though, although I wonder if they'll be included in the tank cost in a similar way to smoke launchers of SM vehicles. I'm interested to see what they do about the other vehicle upgrades but there haven't been rumours on them yet.
The skyray will hopefully be getting a new lease of life. It's always been one of my favourite Tau models and was certainly mediocre in 5th and worse in 6th. I'd hope that it'll compete with the broadsides/hammers but I have a feeling it'll still lose out.
The most important thing for me is that Devilfish get reduced in a price a bit. With the lack of mech armies around it'd be interesting to see how the meta-game responds to what has always been a fairly mechanised force. With the prevalence of plasma these days, AV12 is stronger than it was.
I was hoping for a pathfinder tetra style vehicle to appear but again there aren't any signs of that. The piranha blurb talks about it using "stealth and speed" to act as a recon vehicle. Be interesting to see how they turn out because I own three of them and I'd love to be using them again.
Seems like the army wide special rule will be Supporting Fire which I believe is related to Overwatch. If so then I'm pretty happy as this, combined with photon grenades (if they still exist as defensive) should mean that there's some protection from assaults. I was wondering how they were going to address that weakness and it seems Supporting Fire is it.
One thing you can't escape from the new pictures is the sheer number of drone types that are cropping up everywhere. Whilst I hate flying bases most of the time, I'm pleased to see some new drone variants are coming out. Not much on the rules for them has surfaced yet but I expect we'll see them taken in large numbers.
Markerlights seem to have remained pretty much unchanged. I'm hoping they've removed the restriction on who can benefit from their effects so that squads can boost their own firepower. Perhaps like the auspex in the DA book? I'm pretty sure they're going to remain Heavy which is a shame but there's not really been confirmation on this. Pathfinders will almost certainly have improved though since there's a new boxed set so GW will be wanting to shift them. Hopefully their compulsory devilfish is now an option as the rumours suggest. Be interesting to see how the new weapon options e.g. the ion rifle fit in to their role. The main thing is that hopefully they can be made into troops somehow.
I'm pleased to see that there are a bigger range of weapon types. Seems like the pulse weapons are staying the same but with the ion and rail weapons getting new varieties hopefully there'll be more options in terms of loadouts.
General Release Thoughts
The prices are, as I've said, a bit ridiculous as always. The riptide is certainly a huge model but £50 is obscene for a single figure (plus drones) especially when a dreadknight is £33. Otherwise everything else is priced as you might expect. The new commander is costly though, as is Farsight, and isn't all that different to the current XV8 range.
Otherwise I'm going to have to wait until I actually see the codex myself to decide how good it will be. I never really trust the rumours this close to a release as people can say anything and it will be believed because potentially people will actually have the book. The other issue is that people don't read things properly, an example of this being that people thought Screamers hadn't changed in the new Daemons book until someone actually read it properly. It's only just over a week til I'll have it in my hands though and I'll certainly post up my first impressions of the book pretty soon afterwards.
My Tau Army
I've got a fairly solid collection of models at the moment and the vast majority are painted to table-top standard. The new book will almost certainly inspire me to revisit them and improve their paintjobs but the question is what will remain and what will have to change. I'm looking forward to tomorrow when we can study the models properly on the GW site.
Broadsides are the most obvious source of problems. I don't really fancy buying the new ones at £30 a pop but since they're significantly bigger and on a larger base I can see this causing issues. Additionally if the missile-tastic build is worthwhile I might end up getting some of the new ones. At least I can potentially convert my old ones back into crisis suits again.
On the subject of crisis suits, I really wish I'd magnetised. From past experience they're not easy to break apart once assembled and I'm almost certain to need to change their weapon loadouts. The other problem with my suits is that the first few I assembled are in terrible, boring poses. Once I've got the new kits out of my system I'm almost certainly going to want to repose them if possible.
My tanks should be alright as I've got three devilfish and a skyray/hammerhead. I can't see me needing more Devilfish unless they get a lot cheaper. I may end up buying another skyray/hammerhead kit though if they're both equally good.
My pathfinders are half the proper metal models and half just converted fire warriors. I can see me needing to get the new kit for the new weapons and drones so I may end up making them back into fire warriors again. The question for fire warriors is whether rifle or carbine will be better. All of mine have rifles so I really hope they can stay that way.
I've already got a Farsight model so I'm unlikely to be tempted by the new one but it depends on how effective he is anyway. So what will I actually be getting on release day? Well, the book of course but after that I'm not sure. I want to study the rules before I take the plunge on a Riptide or the new flyers. I'll probably stand in my FLGS and read the rules on release day and make a decision their and then. If the Riptide is even half decent I'll want one just to have a massive model on the table!! Pathfinders and the new characters are a little more difficult to decide on though.
I'm already looking forward to updating my Tau army though and just hope my supplies of the old citadel paints are sufficient to paint all the new kits!!