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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