I logged onto my favourite Tau forum (Advanced Tau Tactica, known as ATT), and the main page had the logo above on it. This looks interesting I thought, so I clicked in. It was competition to get the creative juices flowing, there were prizes but the best thing would be loads of Tau generals coming up with new ideas and conversions.
I had also noticed that my Tau painting (Commander, Ghostkeel and Breachers) was really getting anywhere, and hopefully this would kick start my painting. Without a tournament deadline to focus me on getting things painted my entruisiam for painting had dryed up. I was hoping that the competition deadline would get me going.
The competition started in Aug, I came across the competition late August, and the deadline to get submissions in was the 30th Sept (for the observant among, yes that was yesterday, as we were barred for posting publically about our entry until the deadline had passed).
The aim of the competition was to build a new unit, including a fan codex dataslate for the unit. Here's a link to the full rules.
The forum moderators and helpers had done a great job producing templates for the dataslate, but also stressing that the competition was for new units, and encourged the 2nd page of the dataslate to include fluff and more information to increase your chance of winning.
It definitely sounded fun, so I considered what unit I would like to make, but really it came down to what weapon I would like to see more of. It was the Rail Rifle:
In the 5rd edition codex, and the main place to get it was Sniper Drones, which in that codex could be purchased as 1-3 separate units for 1 heavy support slot ,each unit comprising a controller and 3 drones. However even with nice stats of a Str6 AP3 shot the Sniper Drones could not compete with the other heavy Support slots, particularly the Broadsides and Hammerheads. Also back in those days before the ally matrix each Heavy Support slot was crucial as you couldn't just start another detachment and in most cases were limited to 3 choices.
Rail Rifles were also available in pathfinder teams as experimental weapons. They had the Gets Hot rule to show that they occassional killed the bearer from a power surge, and you could only take 3 per unit of pathfinders (but at least they came with a target lock so you didn't have to fire at the same target you were marker lighting.
In the 6th edition codex the Sniper Drones unit configuration changed and their weapons were changed to Long Shot Pulse Rifles (still a very good unit that I use all the time). The Rail Rifle with the Pathfinders had lost the Gets Hot rule, but also lost the target lock so they had to fire at the same target as the marker lights. Also joining the Rail Rifles were the experimental Ion Rifles (which could still kill the bearer if overcharged). I think this was at the time that the profile changed to be AP1.
So the Rail Rifle is now a weapon that puts the Plasma Rifle to shame. Both are rapid fire, but the Rail Rifle has 6" longer range, and 1 lower AP. However it was still never seen on the battlefield, as at 26 points for a model as tough as a guardsmen is to much, particularly as most opponents would already be trying to kill the pathfinders as they are a source of marker lights.
So the premise of my entry would be to consider what the next stage of field testing for the Rail Rifle would be.
So who should take this lovely weapon into the next stage of field testing. The pathfinders already had the task of marker lighting, so who could make the best use of the Rail Rifle.
Well that will be in Part Two, coming in over the weekend,
If you can't wait, follow this link to the Competition thread, voting will take place between 3rd October and 7th October, so there should be the reveal of the entries some time over the weekend. Not only will you be able to see my entry, but there should be loads of great ideas and conversions to look at :)