Tau Empire XV104 Riptide Battlesuit review

The XV104 Riptide is the latest Battlesuit to have been developed by the Earth caste. It stands twice as tall as the XV8 Crisis Suit but retains the fluidity of movement typical of all Tau Battlesuits.

The Riptide Battlesuit box contains a multi-part plastic kit featuring 108 components which provides parts to make all of the weapon and support system options from the new Codex, two Shielded Missile Drones and a Tau transfer sheet

It is always nice to tackle a larger kit from time to time as there is often much less fiddling with smaller pieces involved in the build. Construction of this kit should be a lot easier than many kits, especially for those of us who are not blessed with slender fingers.

Tau Empire XV104 Riptide Battlesuit Sprue 1
Riptide Battlesuit Sprue 1
Tau Empire XV104 Riptide Battlesuit Sprue 2
Riptide Battlesuit Sprue 2

In fact it turns out that the Riptide kit is so simple to build that there is little to mention in the construction part of this review, certainly there is little to criticise. The instructions are clear and parts fit together with little fuss.

Tau XV104 Riptide Battlesuit
Tau XV104 Riptide Battlesuit

One feature of the build to note however, the Riptide has “location pins” on the hip joint of the legs which hold the legs in the default pose, but these can be snipped off, freeing the ball joint and making a greater range of poses possible. This is a great idea – for a quick and easy build use the pins – to build something a little more unique, snip them off. The knees and ankles also have some movement complementing this flexibility at the hip. The arms are basically ball sockets also allowing a wide range of positioning.

The Smart Missile System, Fusion Blasters & Plasma Rifles, the additional weapon systems, could be easily magnetised to allow weapon swapping. The main weapon, either Heavy Burst Cannon or Ion Accelerator, also looks magnetisable as they attach underneath the arm, but there is a small pipe that runs between the weapon and arm that might make this slightly tricky. However this can either be left off or could potentially be pinned or magnetised separately if desired.

Tau XV104 Riptide Battlesuit size comparison
Tau XV104 Riptide Battlesuit size comparison

Visually, I have to say I’m undecided on the Riptide. Some of the weapon options look like after thoughts rather than parts of the kit – specifically the Fusion Blasters / Plasma Rifles than can replace the default Smart Missile System. Also the head is out of proportion with the rest of the Battlesuit – I know what the designers were doing here, they were thinking “It is simply a group of sensors so why should it be bigger on a bigger suit” and this is only a personal gripe, but it does look odd / unbalanced.

I want to just quickly discuss the fluff (background) for a moment. From a personal perspective I’m not happy about a few things in the new Tau Codex and the Nova Reactor fielded by the Riptide is one of them. In previous Tau Codexes I have always had the feeling that the Tau were cautious in battle (not cowardly but cautious), for example they do not sacrifice Tau lives without reason and more to the point their plasma technology has always specifically been low Strength but stable. We now have numerous entries in the Codex for items, like the Nova Reactor, that can be overcharged or used with a risk to the Tau that uses it. To me this seems to go against what we have been told of the Tau in the past. With that said, if putting your life on the line is for the “greater good” who am I to argue?…

Lastly, value for money, at £50 RRP the Riptide represents reasonable value for money, for a Games Workshop kit. Looking at it compared to the Slaughterbrute we reviewed a couple of months ago it is a much more substantial model at the same price point, whilst compared to the Broadside we reviewed yesterday it is at least double the size for less than double the price.

Summary

The Tau XV104 Riptide kit is a pleasure to build and contains parts for all of the various options that are included in the Tau codex.

The kit is highly pose-able and lends itself to magnetisation/weapon swapping, so you are not stuck with only a single build.

Visually it is not my favourite model from the new release but that is just down to person taste.

All in all a very nice kit indeed!

Overall score: 8/10

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Tau Empire XV88 Broadside Battlesuit review

The XV88 Broadside Battlesuit which is, by default, equipped with a twin-linked heavy rail rifle is the tank hunter of the Tau Hunter Cadres.

Looking at the box, the new Broadside is much more dynamic looking model than it predecessor!

This multi-part plastic kit contains 91 components and a Tau transfer sheet with which to make a Broadside Battlesuit and two Drones. The kit comes with a Shield Drone and Missile Drone.

Broadside Battlesuit Sprue 1
Broadside Sprue 1
Broadside Battlesuit Sprue 2
Broadside Sprue 2

Taking a look at the sprues I was struck by the level of detail on this kit, especially with the leg architecture, the rear cooling unit and ‘particle accelerator’, which all look great.

Completed Broadside Battlesuit
Completed Broadside Battlesuit

On construction, the Broadside kit is easy to build, the various parts generally fit together snugly and require minimal pressure to hold together. There are a couple of build issues with this model, however. There are a large number of small plates and pieces that seem unnecessary in places – such as the heavy rail rifle being in 9 pieces, this could have been less. Also, the model lacks posability – the positioning of the legs is fixed, which makes the high-yield missile-pod equipped version look strangely posed. This is a shame as Crisis Battlesuits are fantastic for conversions.

One piece of advice with regard to putting the Broadside together – if building a heavy rail rifle equipped suit, the arms should be dry-fitted and then glued to the body before attaching the heavy rail rifle. If this is not done, the heavy rail rifle overbalances the model and the arms droop as the glue dries. Finally, a very, very minor gripe – Parts 25 & 26 are labelled the wrong way round in the manual, these parts are the two fore-arms used on the heavy rail rifle build. This is a small error and is easy to notice.

Broadside Size Comparison
Broadside Size Comparison

There are a good number of options featured in this kit. Of note are the 3 different heads, one traditional battlesuit head, a more ‘techy’ style head and a curved one (featured). Also, as with most recent Games Workshop kits, all weapon & support system options from the codex are present on the sprue, including the 2 drones.

Once built this kit looks amazing – the heavy rail rifle version being one of the coolest looking models from any army in the Warhammer 40,000 range. An unfortunate side-effect of this high level of awesomeness is that the new Broadside makes the standard XV8 battlesuit model look very dated. I was really hoping the VX8 would get a re-sculpt with the release of the new codex, switching to under-slung weapons would have been a big plus on the XV8.

Although this is not a gaming review – I feel a quick note on the Broadside in the game is required. Tau veterans will have noticed that I have talked about a heavy rail rifle rather than a rail gun in this review, I’m sorry to say that the Broadside no longer totes a rail gun, rather a slightly lower strength (strength 8) heavy rail rifle. On the flip side it is now only about two thirds the points cost that it used to be.

Finally on to value for money, at £30 RRP – this is an expensive kit, several pounds more than the kit that it replaces. That said, you do get a lot more for your money in terms of model size and options.

Summary

All in all this is a very good kit. It looks great, is enjoyable to build and includes a good number of options.

However, a certain amount of conversion work is required to make a squad of 3 suits look suitably diverse.

Overall score: 9/10

9-10