I think the Codex describes the dominant colour of Tau armour as being essentially a camoflage layer, with accents in the Sept colour. I didn't really feel like doing that though. Maybe its too long painting Eldar and Space Marines who don't tend to care too much about blending in. I just thought turquoise with a nice orangey brown would make a nice contrast.
I noticed that the paint job on the box model for the Riptide used proper metallics on the screws on its shoulders so I decided to try that too. It doesn't look bad, but, tbh, dances a bit too close to the too-far line. They stand out a little, is what I mean. I thought about putting more gold elsewhere, but decided it wasnt' absolutely necessary. And, as I hinted earlier, I had really had enough of this model.
I saw the base a good opportunity for contrast and had to scour the stands at Salute a few weeks back for suitable scenery. The weird red plant-bloomy things are resin casts. The flock is clumps of something autumnal from MiniNatur. The clumps come with glue on the bases but they are not super sticky. I can see them staying on for a while but need a bit of PVA at some point in the future.
The legs were a real pain in the butt to get right. I clipped off the positioning pins the model comes with to make it more poseable and even took a picture of the wife balancing on a stool so I could line up all the joints the way I wanted. Even then, and even though the model is supposed to be poseable, I could not get quite the dynamic pose I wanted. For one thing the gun on the right arm is so bulky you can't really make it do anything but point straight ahead. You could maybe get a sort of flapping action too, but thats about it. I also had problems with getting the feet to stay stuck to the slates on the base. Eventually I also had to realign the model as I felt the pose I had hid too much of the pieces on the base and by then I had superglued the ankle joints. So it looks cool enough, but its a compromise.
The real trick, when painting such a large model in so few basic colours, is knowing how much to paint with the accent colour. Too little and he looks like a giant mecha-smurf. Too much and the brown takes over, negating all the time and paint spent making him turquoise. Again, I used the box art as a guide. Whoever painted the GW show-model is a pro - why not learn from the best?
The end result is a nice looking model with enough contrast to engage the eye and draw it in. I hope.
I also magnetised all the weapon options. So as well as a choice of main gun, there are three shoulder options that are easily swappable. I'm not in favour of tailoring at all, but its nice to know you can just flick a weapon off if you feel like varying the Riptide's tactical role.
As for the paints used: the base is GW's Stegadon Scale Green, a layer of Sotek Green, and a final layer of Temple Guard blue. these were all airbrushed on top of a black base coat to get natural shading. I line- and edge-highlighted with mixes of Temple Guard and Bleach Bone. The brown parts are Vallejo's Beasty Brown, highlighted with Vomit Brown (the old GW paint). I also brushed Gryphonne Sepia and a mix of Asurmen Blue and Badab Black into the applicable recesses for shading where it was needed.