Army Showcase: Rockfish’s Tau

The player: Matthew “Rockfish” Herrington
The codex: T’au Empire
Points: Pictured Models – ~1400, Total 3000+
Collecting since: February 2017
Instagram: mpherrington (link:


The Past: I originally entered the hobby as a bright-eyed naïve youth at the end of 7th, having struggled to decide between Tau and Tyranids as my first army, the choice was made when I was strongly advised that “Tyranids blow ass”.  So using the excuse of it being my birthday, I ordered myself a big ole pile of minis and dived right in! My initial painting skills were about what one would expect…

There are way worse first models, so I honestly cannot complain too much.


… but I managed to end up with somewhere over 2k of respectable stuff. Unfortunately I don’t have particularly impressive period pictures, so have a cherry-picked example.


My lighting skills left something to be desired, and I had just learned of an ‘airbrush’ which is totally the best OSL.


This brings us to the months before 8th dropped and with it the first signs of my army ADD beginning to show itself. I would spend the next year building up the ubiquitous army of Marines and returning to my other first love – Tyranids! Then the Tau codex was announced, accompanied with leaks and drama, and I was feeling the siren’s call once again. I returned with plans to one up myself, I was going to do the army I could have only dreamed of previously; it was going to be a theme that had not been done before (I am sure it had been done before) and I might have even had the skills to pull it off!

The Present: Having discovered water effects with my Tyranids and probably having seen too many swanky WWII dioramas, I went for a beach assault theme. Since I was still a student and not willing to strip all my effort from only months ago, I painted with the expectation that I would still use the existing army where possible. This was also immediately after the codex was released so I jumped on getting a Riptide, quad FB Coldstar and as many Fire Warriors as I could stand to paint. I did permit myself some fun models of course, like the modified Piranha which I still think looks baller given how simple it was!

I mostly was going into the army with a loose concept of what I wanted and too much optimism as to how fast I could paint, which resulted in a bit of variance over the course of the army. I initially had weak highlights and battle damage; I improved the contrast a bit in the later models by boosting the highlights, but this was at the expense of battle damage as I felt it was too much extra work. In retrospect I probably should have kept it, since some of the models are a bit plain and it was not actually that much extra work.

Unfortunately, I will confess that this was the point when I lost attention with the army and bounced between a bunch of random things in the Warhammer hobby and outside of it. This brings us up to the present, when yet another siren has begun their enticing song…


The Future: The Greater Good is looking A M A Z I N G, possibly one of the most exciting PA books so far (I might be biased), and I am extremely hyped to take it out for a spin. The possibility of new playstyles from the Farsight Enclaves together with a gaggle of stratagems and relic alternatives has me excited for a brave new world of mobile Tau being something in the reach of scrubs like me. Plus, I already have a small backlog of kits, and the army is begging for some Crisis Suits so who am I to argue?

I have had some more experience painting since I last touched the army and I am planning to make some adjustments to the scheme, nothing quite as major as the first-time mind you. Mainly I am going to boost the contrast on some of the highlights and maybe add a bit more variety to the bases, I was also planning on adding the battle damage back in as well.

Once I finish my current backlog of Tyranids, it’s Tau time baby! The one distraction is that Adeptus Titanicus just had a swanky starter box go up for preorder and I may or may not have dropped some money on stompy robots…