Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tau Fire Warriors - Bork'an Sept

So to kick off the new segment of Tutorial Reviews, I picked the Tau Firewarrior step-by-step from All Things 40k. As was the intent behind the review concept, I followed the tutorial to the letter, and then rated it off of three different categories; Artistry, Clarity, and Teachability. These three categories then get broken down into an overall mark out of 5. So let's get started; here's what the Firewarriors should look like (painted by the author):

Let's get started, shall we?

Artistry: - 8/10

This is a great looking bunch of models, and the photos are very well done. I never had a problem with clarity of the actual photos (All of which were nicely in focus) and the idea of adding the paint pot to the picture was a good one. When all is said and done, these Firewarriors really pop, with a cool, crisp finish that you don't see often with lighter coloured armies.

In terms of technique, I really can't fault much; these are very good minis, with a stellar paintjob. My only incongruity (In my experience with the tutorial) is that for the tutorial writer to get Space Wolf's Grey to cover in one coat, he must have laid it on really thick. I naturally thin down my paints, and as such they needed a second coat.

In addition, the writer does a stellar job on creating lenses for the Pulse Rifles and backpacks, but didn't put eyes on the Shas'ui... lets see the whites... er, oranges of those eyes! Other than those few nitpicky issues, however, an entire army done up in this colour scheme would look AMAZING on the tabletop, and would turn some heads.

Clarity: - 8/10

The writer is no slouch to creating tutorials (As showcased by the 15 or so he's written to date), but this one isn't always the most clear. It's a very simple and straightforward job he's done, easy to follow most of the time, with only a few hiccups along the way; some steps go into that detail, but others (Such as working on the Shas'ui's topknot), are merely a picture with some dialog. For intermediate painters, this shouldn't be a problem at all!

Sometimes though, there are times when you're left wondering what the intent of the step was, or whether or not you've completed it fully. For advanced painters (and intermediate ones), this isn't really a problem, as we're fairly certain of how he went about getting each effect (Washes, etc). A novice, brand new to the hobby, might have difficulties if they've never used this sort of thing before. This isn't for lack of trying on the writer's part, or elitism, but merely an oversight.

Teachability: - 7/10

This tutorial flip-flops back and forth between being better suited for an intermediate painter and an expert, as it doesn't try much to teach a new painter how to achieve the effects pictured in the tutorial. While this may give newcomers pause when attempting thier Bork'an Firewarriors, it is hardly an issue to higher level painters due to the simplicity of the paint scheme. (And the well documented photo log).

Where the writer really gains points is at the end, when he goes into teaching mode for the snow effects, going step by step and out of his way to get a good effect for the finished project. I for one found it very helpful, as my snow flock would have looked sludge-like and poor had I not followed his advice.

Given that this Tutorial pioneered new ground, however, and was innovative given its lack of prior source materials... since GW seems to think we all want orange Tau, I feel that it did an excellent job preparing me (An intermediate painter) for the task ahead.


I believe that this Tutorial is a very good one, and is far better than the Games Workshop Tutorial, which only gives users a picture of the Bork'an to go from. I feel it is best suited to Intermediate, or Advanced painters, given the less structured form of it, but the paint scheme is simple enough that new painters should be able to follow it without too much trouble.


Last Thoughts:

My experience with this tutorial was a largely positive one, and I will be continuing to follow the basics of it while working on my Tau. Needless to say, I will have to adapt it a bit for the purposes of Crisis Suits, Devilfish, and all other forms of units in the army. In addition to the tip about the Space Wolf Grey I mentioned earlier, I also suggest taking some undiluted Brown Ink and adding it to the Shining Gold part of the Pulse Rifle (Which I too have no idea what it is!). This adds some definition to it and adds to the high contrast look of the model.

My Result!

And now that you've read my thoughts on the matter, what about yours? Have you used this tutorial? Found ones like it, that are better/worse? Got results of your own to show off?


  1. Thanks for the positive review! I must say, seeing your models at the bottom was an eerie experience, you stuck to the tutorial very closely.

    Criticisms noted. It's actually nice to hear feedback on where I need to improve or elaborate.

    On the SW grey, I've gotten a lot of response on that. It was only one coat, and I didn't lay it down thick, so to speak ... I think I just had a "fluke" pot. It went on like a foundation paint.

    I'm planning on doing separate tutorials on crisis suits, stealth suits, and vehicles. The crisis suits so far have deviated a bit in that I also use Asurmen Blue wash to pick out some crevices.

  2. I'm glad you approve!

    That's great luck with the SW grey; then again, mine may also be much thicker than yours, depending on the mix.

    I'll be watching in the future for those crisis suit tutorials! Keep up the great work!