Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Converting the Tau XV8 Crisis Suit, Part 1

Hey FTGT readers, Ron here with another Tau modelling article.  This one will take a look at the trusty, albeit dated, crisis suit.

When the new Tau codex came out, many Tau players lamented the exclusion of a model update to this little guy, and admittedly the vertically challenged, robo-chicken, XV8, model seems a little out of place at the fancy new suit party.  One look at the new Commander XV8 finecast model and you can see the missed potential.

My first step in giving this guy a proper update lead me to the internet.  While there are many great conversions around the web, most of these turn the XV8 suit in to something else entirely.  I want something that matches the art - and really does justice to the artwork in the Tau codex.  The XV8 in the artwork is a thing of beauty - the proportions look good, the poses are dynamic; It doesn't look out of place next to its newer siblings - who all stopped to pose for this family photo:
Decidedly less metal poultry vibe

To my pleasant surprise, after taking a ruler to the artwork, I noticed that this was drawn almost exactly to scale (sized up 2x).  The torso in particular matched exactly.  So I set about placing to-scale dimensions on the artwork.
All dimensions are in centimeters

Next I took dimensions of the actual model - which I have already hacked apart in preparation for the conversion.
All dimensions are in centimeters
As you can see - the torso (height and width) matches exactly to the codex art - along with the lower arm (of all things).

Another interesting thing I noticed as I began this process is that the XV8 Broadside kit comes with 3 heads. One of which is this one:
Left: Old XV8 head.  Right: New head in Broadside kit
It may be pure coincidence - but this new head has the exact same dimensions as the codex artwork.  Rest assured this will be used in my conversion.

Now this won't be a quick/easy conversion - but with the convertibility of the XV8 kit (i.e. lots of flat smooth surfaces), a sharp exacto, plasticard, puty, and a blue print with exact dimensions, it is entirely doable.  I hope you guys enjoy following along in this process, and are inspired to undertake your own conversions.  Look for part 2 here!