Crappy Conversions, Part 1: Tau Ethereal


I am not a big converter of models thus far in my gaming career, but I am always full of ideas on how to make stuff look cooler or create better versions of the sometimes questionable models that are ‘officially’ put on the market.  The major obstacle in my way until now has been the lack of skills to make these ideas a reality.

However, since this blog is largely about the trial and error of painting miniatures to a basic gaming standard, I have decided to jump in the deep in with both feet and just have a go!  If they turns out rubbish, it shouldn’t really matter – i am still only aiming for a ‘gaming standard’ with these conversion, and at least I will be better inform my next effort!  So, with my excuses firmly aid out I have decided to start small with a Tau Ethereal Conversion.

Needless to say, I am not a fan of the ethereal models.  I don’t know what it is about them that puts me off specifically, but part of it is definitely the price! £9.50 for a single model that will spend more time on the shelf that on the table?  No thanks!

Apart from thriftiness, I also wanted something that would have that spiritual feel to it, in contrast to the harp militaristic aesthetic of the Tau in general, but not something as overblown as the official models (who look a bit like Native American Indians crossed with Catholic Bishops).  Here goes nothing!


Step 1: Spares

So not only do I want to achieve a distinctive aesthetic, but I also want to build the model  cheaper than the official model if possible.  To this end, I ordered two bits specifically for this model from the good people at bitsandkits, namely the torso and spear.  Both are from a high elf mage or something (I forget exactly what) but with a bit of alteration they should give me what I need (hopefully).  All other components are spares form the pathfinders set.


Step 2: Preparation

The torso needed to have all the elf symbols scraped off it, mainly on the chest plate and stomach but I also wanted to get rid of the swirly thing on the left thigh as it doesn’t look very Tau-ish.  This I did quite badly, as you can see, but it didn’t matter too much as I would be hiding the worse of it under other things.


Step 3: Assembly

So I start putting it together, beginning with the arms.  These required A LOT of filling and cutting to fit, and I wasn’t massively happy with the end result, but for a first attempt i decided it would do.


Next up the head.  I went for one with a pony tail to make him look a bit more spiritual and ethereal-like, but it fitted really badly due to the pronounced collar on the torso.  Next time I will go for a baldy or a top knot head I think.  I also used a bonding knife to cover up the damage to the left thigh area


Finally I added a couple of Tau pouches around the midriff and set the spear/honour blade in the left hand.  I had to cut the middle section out of the honour blade to get rid of the elf hand, but in hindsight I should have just scrapped it away.  This lead to me positioning the cut in the middle of the hand to try and hid it/keep the shaft straight, but it ended up way too far up the shaft and looks very unbalanced.  I also trimmed the edges of the blades to make them a bit straighter and less elf like.  I also left the elf feet intact for stability – my plan is to cover them up in rubble on the base anyway.


Fire warrior for scale



Well, not the greatest effort in the world but I am satisfied with it as a first attempt.  The aesthetic is still a little too elf-like for me, and I think I should have spent a bit more time altering the torso and finding a better blade substitute.  I am hoping that painting will hide a multitude of sins with this chap, but we will have to see how that goes.

However, where I am most happy with this project is in the cost.  The only outlay was for the torso and spear, and so the total cost for this ethereal is….49 pence!  For me, this outshines any modeling flaws and makes the project worthwhile.  Now, on to the painting…..


3 thoughts on “Crappy Conversions, Part 1: Tau Ethereal

  1. I’d call it a success. I like the look of it way more than the normal Ethereal, and that’s the important part I feel.

    Hobbying is all about trial and error. Most of us don’t have disposable income to throw away at testing stuff out, so we’re stuck with having one chance at it. Hit or miss, it’s a learning experience and I always stand by my old work, even when I’ve since learned better, for that reason.


    • Thanks Thor. I guess when you have the miniature in your hands it is too easy to focus on the little bits that look slightly wrong or not as cohesive as you would have liked. However, I have just finished priming it and it really does come together much better even with a single block of colour. Will post the fully painted version up soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • We are our own worst critic. When you build it/paint it, you know all the mistakes you made in the process. However, to the casual observer those mistakes are usually overlooked.

        I do it too, get worried about my mistakes and point them out to people. It’s not an easy habit to break.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s