Here is a quick update of my current work. 4 suits and two fish are at hand painting stage. At this point their base coats look like hot dogs and mustard (thanks for the reference Joe) The one fish is fully modded out. Insides are painted, everything is magnetized, side doors and top hatch are hinged, LED railgun and engine thrusters, modular for HH,DF,SR load outs. I figure I will do this just once and get it out of my system because it really makes for a long project. I also managed to make the other fish skyray compatible as well.
I recently got a Badger Renegade-Velocity airbrush, and it blows my old Aztec brush out of the water. Long times before clogging, very forgiving on mixed paints, and quick on color changes. The level of detail I can achieve has lead me to more experimenting in shading, though I'm not quite proficient at it yet. I managed a slight shade through black base coating and a white base coat on certain parts, but its clear that I need shadow/highlight colors to reach a full affect. While this isn't necessary on the suits, such as this one, because I hand paint in the end resulting red. But hand brushing shadows and highlights on the vehicles can really ruin the look on such flat surfaces. Hopefully I can get the hang of doing it with the airbrush to deal with an otherwise annoying step.
There are some fun modficiations in this group. The most obvious is the deepstrike suit. As I've had some slight success with a lone deepstriking sunforge suit (twinlinked flamer/ Air frag burst 'Vre variant as well) in the last few games, I've decided to model a specific suit for the job. I've spent some time sanding down almost all of his corners to go for a bit of aerodynamic feel to it. His raised height will single him out and generally mean he will have nowhere to hide. I might lower his stand just a bit, and base in a bit of vehicle roof as a simulated target (probably out of a plaster mold like previous ruined terrain! I love that technique!) But honestly, his job is rather suicidal, so I don't feel much remorse in lessening his life expectancy.
This group will nearly complete my current Tau collection. Only some newly converted pathfinders, half done firewarriors, and broken crisis suits remain. After I still have some army-wide tweaks to bases, freehand symbols, and weathering, but these can be done at a leisurely rate. I'm much more excited to continue work on my Christmas XV-9 and prep it as a GD entry!
Trying 8th Edition
7 months ago