Monday, June 17, 2013

Tau XV8 Finecast Commander Review and Conversion

In my continued mission to assemble an entire 2000pt Tau force before the 29th of June, I opened up my new finecast Tau Commander for assembly.

This guy is a refreshing update to the XV8 chassis.  The arms and legs have been elongated and the posing is dynamic.  With how good this guy looks he has the negative side effect of making your existing XV8's look even more dated.  The bigger drawback of this model is that it is finecast - limiting the pose unless you are willing to undertake a substantial conversion.    It also introduces all the potential flaws associated with finecast - mold shift (where two parts of the mold haven't been lined up perfectly), bubbles, wonky straight lines, etc.  With a model made up of primarily straight lines - this can be worrisome.  In terms of finecast quality, the commander I received was all right...literally - it had two right legs and no left....

When my commander was packed - I received two right leg (and arm) sprues, but did not get the sprue with the left leg, shoulder pad, and support system.  The casting of what I did receive was fair.  Lots of bubbles, a few instances of mold shift, and some troublesome straight lines - not unworkable, but fairly labor intensive to assemble.  Needless to say, I called up GW to see what could be done.  The customer support experience was extremely pleasant - the operator apologized and told me they would send out a replacement and I would not have to send the old one back.  I was unsure if the replacement would arrive in time for the gaming weekend Chandler, Evan, and I are planning for the 29th, so I decided to put together what I could of the commander I had.

The heavy rail rifle shoulder pad in the new broadside kit fit the bill for the missing shoulder pad with some trimming (I had assembled the broadside kit it came from with HYMPs).  

Broadside shoulder pad with no modification
Broadside shoulder pad trimmed down
After cleaning up the commander's right leg I realized that, for the most part, it was nearly identical on both sides.  So I set about converting the second right leg into a left.

I cut the hip joint out of the leg, removed the outer toes on either side, shaved off the knobs at the knee, and cut below the knee joint (so I could repose the leg).  I then glued all the pieces together as they would be on a left leg.

I was pleased to find that my replacement commander came in 3 days after the phone call - allowing me to use the actual right leg as a guide.  The second finecast commander cast was near flawless - with few bubbles, no mold shift, crisp lines, and most importantly - all the legs and parts.

Although I had a second kit in hand - I was already near the end of my conversion so I decided to finish out the right leg to complete my first commander.  Next up was to do some putty work to make the top of the thigh pad look, (as close as my limited putty skills allow) like a left leg - then to glue the leg on the model.  Below is the finished product.    

I added the bonding knife to conceal the putty work further
Well what do you all think?  Was the transaxial reassignment surgery successful?  I'd love to read your questions,comments, and salvaged model stories below!  Thanks for reading!


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