Sidestriker is the newest member of Old Shatter's Cadre of Warriors. He's been added to my army because he is a cheap Shas'El (89 points) that can deep-strike down to pop vehicles and transports with his Fusion Gun and Missile Pod, alternatively, I can attach him to the Deathrain squad to bolster their firepower and courage.
Fluff-wise, this Tau noble is known for his reckless heroics and daring assaults on enemy tanks. Old Shatter Hand's has brought him in to replace the late Centurion who fell in an intense battle on Thoth. Tau Commanders tend to draw their command structure from family members and Old Shatter is no different. One of his brothers has recently sworn to protect him in battle as a Shas'Vre Bodyguard and Sidestriker is second cousin to Old Shatter, younger and more flamboyant. He gets that from his mother's side.
Looking at this conversion, I would give it a difficultly level of 3 on a scale of 1-5, due to the work that was done on the jetpack. I've sawed the two jets off the back-pack and glued them together. This leaves the XV8 Torso with a huge hole in the back, so I used plastic card to fill that in and glued the jets to that. This leaves a gap in the side of the jets and I filled that in by saw off the intake on a Space Marine backpack and fiddling with it until it fit in the holes on the side. This also adds some more detail to the jets. The two fuel tanks on the upper-side of jetpacks are the ammo-feed for vehicle mounted burst cannons, not the XV8 burst cannon.
The chest was bulked a bit with the fuel canister from a Tau XV8 flamer that I sawed in half. Doing so made the piece become more like a panel rather than a box sticking off his chest. The cod-peice is from a Tau Piranha pilot's shoulder pad. I don't put those shoulder pads on my pilots as thye just look cumbersome in that small cockpit.
The helmet is much like Old Shatter's, using a target-lock and a normal XV8 helm, but the cheeks were filled out with pieces from two Fusion Guns. I cut off the ammo canister and sawed in half to make a nice rivet or disc for the side of the helmet. It helps bulk out the helm without making it look just like Old Shatter Hands. After all, this XV8 suit is a different model.
The knee pads are super easy. They are XV8 shoulders. You simply cut them off and then file them down until they fit right. If you get some Broadsides or forge world suits, you'll end up with extra arms like for conversions like this.
The gun-mounts look cool, don't they? Now where did I get those armor casings. Obviously they are Space Marine bits. In fact, they are now kind of hard to find. These casings came from the Apocalypse Armor upgrade sprue. The piece is used to cover some Space Marine sensory bits. I cut it in half and used both pieces to give Sidestriker's weapon some protection.
Next time I review some conversions I am going to look at our Shas'la, the infantry and pilots of the Cadre. There are lots of little conversions here and there you can do to make your army unique. As an update, this weekend was a productive one for me. I've finished my third Tau Piranha and Sidestriker is nearing completion already.