Tau Fire Warrior Armour Build


TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
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405th Regiment Officer
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S068
Many of my suits and props builds are chosen based on nostalgia. What Greater [Good] nostalgia in crafting is there than taking a trip down to what got you into painting in the first place?
40kTauTactica-Mar13-Image8r.jpg


A little under 20 years ago I got into Warhammer 40k and played a fair bit before moving onto other game systems. Here we are a few (five) rule sets later for the game, and I haven't played it in ages but I'm going to build a costume from the franchise as a "quick" build. I've done some digging around the internet to find pepakura files or 3D files for this to use as a base and I had some luck with the Obscurus Crusade forums for finding some low poly pep files but they didn't quite seem salvageable for my purposes.

So the plan is fairly simple, jump into Fusion 360, model a bunch of parts, convert them to 2D pep layouts and then make them in foam. The beauty of this costume is the already fairly simple geometry of the armour plating which will make speed building rather simple. The only pieces I will 3D print are the helmet, possibly a few greeblies and some props.

As per usual this first post will be an index to the rest of the build as well as a log of cost of materials and time spent.

Helmet - Awaiting Paint
helm1.png
Modelling - 2 hours
Print Time - 34 hours
Assembly - 1 hour
Sanding - 4 hours

Chest - Awaiting Foam Putty
torso-bitz-fire-warrior.jpg
Modelling - 2 hours
Assembly - 5 hours

Shoulders - Awaiting Foam Putty
Warhammer-40k-Tau-Fire-Warriors-Fire-Warrior-Shoulder.jpg
Modelling - 2 hours
Assembly - 6 hours

Rucksack - Awaiting Foam Putty
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Modelling - 1 hour
Assembly - 10 hours

Belt/Cod - Awaiting Foam Putty
images (2).jpg
Modelling - 1 hour
Assembly - 2 hours

Thighs/Knees - Awaiting Foam Putty
warhammer-40k-bitz-tau-fire-warriors-strike-breacher-team-legs-e-kneeling.jpg
Modelling - 1 hour
Assembly - 2 hours

Gaiters - Awaiting Progress
warhammer-40k-bitz-tau-fire-warriors-strike-breacher-team-legs-b.jpg

Hooves - Modelled
images (4).jpg
Modelling - 1 hour

BDU and Neck Seal - BDU Purchased
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Pulse Pistol - Awaiting Paint
images (1).jpg warhammer-40k-bitz-tau-fire-warriors-strike-breacher-team-weapon-v-pulse-pistol.jpg warhammer-40k-bitz-tau-fire-warriors-strike-breacher-team-weapon-v-pulse-pistol_2.jpg
Modelling - 2 hours
Print Time - 22 hours
Assembly - 1 hour
Sanding - 3 hours

Pulse Rifle - Awaiting Paint
Warhammer+40k+guns+strongyellowbigtau+pulse+rifle+with+ammobigstrongyellow_008082_6460908.jpg
Modelling - 3 hours
Print Time - 45 hours
Assembly - 2 hours
Sanding - 4 hours

Ta'lissera Bonding Knife - Awaiting Paint
Bonding_Knife.jpg images.jpg
Modelling - 1 hour
Print Time - 14 hours
Assembly - 1 hour
Sanding - 2 hours

Pulse Grenades(6)- Awaiting Paint
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Modelling - 1 hour
Print Time - 18 hours
Assembly - 0.5 hours
Sanding - 2 hours

Scanner/Comms Doodad - Awaiting Progress
101962614_warhammer-40k-tau-fire-warrior-team-12-painted-models-.jpg
 
Last edited:

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Member DIN
S068
As a fellow Tau player of 16 years I can get behind this costume!
You're in way deeper than I am then :lol: I started building my army in 2001 and then moved into the LotR Strategy Battle Game around the time they released the Return of the King stuff. That being said, I will always fight for the Greater Good.

Updates on modelling progress though. This week is chaos of birthday events for me since a bunch of local nerds are all born in November for some reason. That being said I've still managed to get a bunch of parts bashed out and ready to go for printing and unfolding. Because I'm a glutton for punishment I started with the more complex parts (helmet and chest) and did some dead easy models (rucksack and rifle) while chatting with the Discord crew.

The helmet is an interesting challenge since the Tau aren't human and have a slightly different skull profile which means a possibly awkward fit that doesn't line up great for things like vision through that monocle-esque visor. The current plan to combat the limited vision aspect is to use a piece of transparent black acrylic with a mirror tint backer so that it looks opaque from the outside but I can see out. To supplement the limited vision I'm using this as an opportunity to test an in-helmet viewscreen for a project for next year. The camera will be hidden within the lower "lens" of the helmet, processed through a Raspberry Pi Zero and fed out to an Adafruit TFT display which will sit on the interior right side of the helmet. Because of the mounted hardware, the helmet will be 3D printed for rigidity of the mounting points.
Fusion Helmet.png

I will need to design a neck seal that wraps high up the back of my head and covers over my ears so that I can securely mount the aerial but that will be a to-do list item after the helmet is printed and test fit.
ArmorsmithHelmet.png


The chest plate started out as a simple box and through the powers of Fusion360 and the Edit Form tools it became more torso shaped with details added via the magic of projections and plane cuts. The unfolding process was relatively simple and I'll likely split a couple parts off of the giant structure that it came up with as one continuous piece for the sake of printing and fitting on standard foam sheets. Plenty of heat forming will be done to properly shape the chest but overall it looks really nice and easy to make which is a bonus.
FusionChest.png ArmorSmithHelmetChest.png
ArmorsmithUnfold.png


The rucksack was dead easy since it was a case of measure the mini with vernier calipers, figure out an approximate scale factor and then draw a bunch of rectangles with the sketch tool. This is very low detail currently since I'll be adding greeblies, lighting and edge bevels as I assemble it all in foam. The powerbank for the suit to control the Raspberry Pi and lighting will be living inside here most likely and then be fed up through the chest and under the neck seal but I'll see what the scale of various belt pouches work out to later on to see if I can relocate the suit power source.
FusionRuck.png
ReferenceBook.jpg

ArmorsmithHelmetChestRuck.png


Lastly just for fun, big honking long-gun because science-y energy weapons design of the late 90's/early 00's was all about sleek and the opposite of Grimdark. Also another easy model to make. This one I'm not 100% on the medium of the finished piece but I'm leaning towards a 3D print as well so that it's easier for electronics installation and painting order of operations. The fun thing about this piece is that there is canonically the small cylinder forward of the trigger that is the power cell used to charge the plasma and I'm totally just running with that as the housing for my removable USB power bank.
FusionPulseRifle.png
ArmorsmithHelmetChestRuckRifle.png

So now it's onto the easy parts to model, some rather planar shoulders, bracers, thighs and belt plates. After that it's just fun extras too! Wish me luck!
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
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Progress continues on the project in both the planning and build stage. So far this week I have modeled the shoulder plate and unfolded it for foam work and completed a test print of the helmet shell.

For the Fusion work it was fantastic to have a miniature on hand and several reference photos of the parts so that I could get accurate measurements and compare measurements to canvas images to make sure that everything lined up correctly. Modelling these shapes to help reduce complexity of the foam file and save resources in Armorsmith when unfolding I keep large sections on the back filled in solid since they can be disregarded and then thicknesses of material isn't necessary to account for at modelling time before scaling on the avatar. Fillets and chamfers are also used sparingly since they can be added using a rotary tool later on.
Fusion Shoulder.png ArmorsmithShoulderUnfold.png

ArmorsmithHelmetChestRuckRifleShoulder.png


So far the helmet test works well, my chin and cheeks are contained within the faceplate as planned and there is room for connection points with the neck seal. Visibility as expected is not great and makes it feel like there's an eyepatch on my right eye. There's definitely room within the bucket for small fans and the planned screen, camera and controller. Does it look weird? Most definitely. Is it as accurate as I can do as a human pretending to be a fish person? Maybe. Once the earpiece and neckseal are on hopefully it'll read "Tau" more.
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This weekend I'll hopefully be able to bash out the rest of the models for the armour and start working on foam pieces.
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
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S068
The Christmas and Birthday Blast of late November and December is over, I'm recharged and building stuff for my 2020 con season again. An update on the modelling of stuff so far is the main goal of this post since I've finished everything except the hooves and the Comms Doodad. Several sections have been printed and I'm going to be blasting through a bunch of foam work today so I'll be posting results soon.

The legs and belt attachments were modelled as low poly as possible to help keep the unfolding process as easy as possible. Overall the shapes are simple since there's a few bevel cuts, a few recessed lines and we're off to the races.
FusionLegs.png


Rounding out the torso pieces is the right pauldron, bracers and the hand plate. I currently have the bracers mirrored like on the miniatures but I might add a phone case for the sake of comfort.
FusionRightAtm.png

The bonding knife I'm going to leave as one solid object as opposed to a knife and a sheath to make prop checks life easier. A slot is cut in the pommel for the ribbons that wrap around the handle on the miniatures sculpts. I'm going to wrap the handle with a leather-like material and let the ribbons float free for some dynamic movement on this rather form fitting armour.
FusionBondingKnife.png

The belt has plenty of room for small details such as pouches so I'll be adding two cannisters of Photon Grenades. The grenades slot in and out and as long as I'm not doing any handstands should be able to stay in the holder without falling out.
FusionPhotonGrenade.png

This is where the issue of having five fingers comes in when Tau only have four. The Pulse Pistol grip is one of the... less comfortable props I've made to hold. Basically for this one I need to have terrible trigger discipline or squeeze a pinky into the grip to keep scale accurate.
FusionPulsePistol.png

And there we have it. I'm off to go cut out some armour bits.
ArmorsmithAll.png
ArmorsmithAll2.png
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Member DIN
S068

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Member DIN
S068
What happened to Lonk?
Don't worry about Lonk, I've picked up the majority of the fabric and new tools that I need for him and I've started work on prop planning. This one just has a sooner deadline so it gets more attention.

Progress of the weekend. The only foam pieces that remain to be built are the chest plate, cod, rucksack and bracers so I think I did alright for two afternoons. Another few evenings and I'll have the foam work finished and I can move onto painting armour pieces. Anyone for progress photos?

Pulse Pistol
It's fun, it's awkward to hold but I like it a lot and am eager to start painting. On a prop that I made as a Christmas gift I tried the copper Vallejo Liquid Metal and I think I'll be using that here for the circular bolt. If you haven't tried them yet, give them a shot for sure.
DSC_6778.jpg


Photon Grenades
Small and simple, definitely look like pokeballs.
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Knees
Not too exciting, little boxes that I managed to make out of the "maybe pile" of foam offcuts from previous builds.
DSC_6769.jpg DSC_6770.jpg DSC_6771.jpg

Thighs
A good bit of detailing and practice for this out-of-practice foamsmith for inside angle cuts and doing valley cuts on the reverse face to make sure everything on the front side looks good.
DSC_6772.jpg DSC_6773.jpg DSC_6774.jpg

Belt and Handplates
Not pictured because boring simple shapes.

Shoulders
The right shoulder is another simple box with 30° bevel cuts. The left shoulder, man, this thing was a mess of darts and valley cuts to get the proper shape. To get a clean circular shape I used a mix of the band saw for cutting and rotary tool for smoothing out sections not reachable with that. I changed the original plan of following the mini exactly and did the Vior'la Sept crest for the shoulder to match the planned colour scheme.
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It's big. Mannequin torso for size reference.
DSC_6785.jpg

Asymmetric design freaks, eat your heart out.
DSC_6786.jpg
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
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These look great! Gonna be so cool
Glad you like them! I just need to figure out how to mount the giant pauldron comfortably.

Hot damn this is looking good!

(Also love the old sheet with "vomit brown" for Tau sept)
The old Citadel Colours naming system was definitely more inspired, huh? :lol:

Smally update from stuff that was worked on yesterday. I pulled the Bonding Knife off of the printers as well as the helmet aerial.
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Most of yesterday was spent cleaning up the model for the Pulse Rifle, hollowing it out, adding internal supports and cable runs for lighting. Two of the sections which make up just over a third of the length of the rifle are currently printing and ready for cleanup this afternoon. Printer maintenance was also on the to-do list and I ripped apart Old Greg the Tevo Tornado and gave a good cleaning to the bits.
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
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405th Regiment Officer
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It was sanding week so I've been working on cleaning up a couple of buckets as well as a bunch of props. Luckily in that time I finished off printing the Pulse Rifle which will be my primary prop for this costume. It's rather large, 1:1 MA37 for scale.
DSC_6793.JPG


The magazine is removable and the cylinder underneath the trigger is a hollow pressure fit shape that holds a 2200mAh USB power bank got the lights. Because it's long and I'm clumsy, steel rods are run through the length of the barrel to help prevent future heartbreak. I've glued all major assemblies together and sanding everything in preparation for painting and electronics install.

On the foam armour front, I just have the rucksack and some small plates for the spine and abdominals left to build. The chest plate was interesting since Armorsmith didn't quite produce the cleanest unfold but with a bit of creative adjusting of the giant paper patterns (12 11"x17" sheets) I managed to get something together that matches the miniature that I'm basing this off and it fits. In the image below I haven't included the gasket for the neck (red sharpie line for where the Velcro goes) which will be connected with Velcro so that I can fit my melon through. I'll probably also be cutting a split in the underarm and creating a Velcro attachment there for ease of getting in and out of the torso, squeezing and spinning shoulders is fun and all but throwing out your back for a costume is not cool.
DSC_6815.JPG
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Rucksack tomorrow which means playing around with the bandsaw some more to get those perfect 45° cuts to match up corners perfectly.
 

xXDashIVXx

Sr Member
It was sanding week so I've been working on cleaning up a couple of buckets as well as a bunch of props. Luckily in that time I finished off printing the Pulse Rifle which will be my primary prop for this costume. It's rather large, 1:1 MA37 for scale.
View attachment 283238

The magazine is removable and the cylinder underneath the trigger is a hollow pressure fit shape that holds a 2200mAh USB power bank got the lights. Because it's long and I'm clumsy, steel rods are run through the length of the barrel to help prevent future heartbreak. I've glued all major assemblies together and sanding everything in preparation for painting and electronics install.

On the foam armour front, I just have the rucksack and some small plates for the spine and abdominals left to build. The chest plate was interesting since Armorsmith didn't quite produce the cleanest unfold but with a bit of creative adjusting of the giant paper patterns (12 11"x17" sheets) I managed to get something together that matches the miniature that I'm basing this off and it fits. In the image below I haven't included the gasket for the neck (red sharpie line for where the Velcro goes) which will be connected with Velcro so that I can fit my melon through. I'll probably also be cutting a split in the underarm and creating a Velcro attachment there for ease of getting in and out of the torso, squeezing and spinning shoulders is fun and all but throwing out your back for a costume is not cool.
View attachment 283236 View attachment 283237

Rucksack tomorrow which means playing around with the bandsaw some more to get those perfect 45° cuts to match up corners perfectly.
That chestpeice looks like a monitor. Change my mind...
models_monitor.png
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
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405th Regiment Officer
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Small update on the last big piece of construction. The rucksack is ready for paint and electronics install. Maple syrup for scale.
DSC_6851.JPG


At this point I'm pretty much good to go for foam putty and cleanup for paint on all pieces. and just need to figure out a foam neck seal and bicep mounts for the big goofy shoulder plate.
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
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405th Regiment Officer
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Space Communist Fishmen have weird physiology which includes hooves for some reason. As Dirtdives will tell you ad nauseam is that I have a weird damn body as well so I guess this is a match made in heaven.

I didn't quite know how to make a hoof that was not on full digitigrade stilts while keeping my height relatively unchanged and everything proportioned to the reference miniature. Enter creative footwear and the power of the black ninja fabric. For these I'm using a combination of a skill I have and one I don't. The skill I have is 3D printing. The skill I don't have is walking in heels.
unknown.png
DSC_6856.jpg


Through their powers combined I've ripped a scan of a Tau foot, split apart the important section, hollowed it and made holes to put this awesome pair of $6 thrift store heels inside. Since they're violently red I'll use the theatre technique of black fabric over the protruding heel so "you can't see it" and preserving the illusion that I have a weird hoof thing from most angles.
DSC_6867.jpg
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I have practiced walking around in these and it's not the most comfortable thing but I can reliably do stairs which is good? Also I can Slav Squat so meme mobility is an option for this Space Communist Fishman.
DSC_6857.jpg
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xXDashIVXx

Sr Member
Space Communist Fishmen have weird physiology which includes hooves for some reason. As Dirtdives will tell you ad nauseam is that I have a weird damn body as well so I guess this is a match made in heaven.

I didn't quite know how to make a hoof that was not on full digitigrade stilts while keeping my height relatively unchanged and everything proportioned to the reference miniature. Enter creative footwear and the power of the black ninja fabric. For these I'm using a combination of a skill I have and one I don't. The skill I have is 3D printing. The skill I don't have is walking in heels.
View attachment 284520 View attachment 284515

Through their powers combined I've ripped a scan of a Tau foot, split apart the important section, hollowed it and made holes to put this awesome pair of $6 thrift store heels inside. Since they're violently red I'll use the theatre technique of black fabric over the protruding heel so "you can't see it" and preserving the illusion that I have a weird hoof thing from most angles.
View attachment 284518 View attachment 284519

I have practiced walking around in these and it's not the most comfortable thing but I can reliably do stairs which is good? Also I can Slav Squat so meme mobility is an option for this Space Communist Fishman.
View attachment 284516 View attachment 284517
But is it slav squatting if you are using heels? Hell's make it so you are using your toes instead of the full floor of your food. This means you are the capitalist spy!
 
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