The Tau Empire force I have now is pretty expansive. Nearly 5000 points in various stages of assembling, priming and painted-ness. I'm heavily working on them now in preparation for a July Apocalypse game.
Below are shots of some of the first minis I painted after being away for so long…so forgive the amateur look! I look at them now and I think "wow! I've improved!"
Orange Squad -
This Firewarrior Squad was the first 40k unit painted in my adult years. I went for a really simple paint scheme and as you can tell, I didn't even bother painting the bases (It drives me nuts!). You can also see that I broke canon by giving my Tau pink faces instead of bluegrey. I don't know why I did this…I think it's because I didn't really know how to paint the faces so that they didn't look like the armor!
Right now, I explain it away by saying the 3 pink-faces are albino triplets serving in the same unit. Take that fluff-activists! I even buy the bonding knife to represent the brotherhood!
The Devilfish came later, though you can still see my lack of confidence and frustration with painting orange and highlighting it. I think I actually wound up just dry brushing yellow on the orange! Looks muddled…but hey…they were my first unit!
This unit came second. I got better with highlights and painting on this unit, so I'm pretty proud of their look. To avoid the whole-skin painting challenge, all my squad members are helmeted (who goes into battle without a helmet anyway? Only crazy marines!). Again, it's a Devilfish with 12 Firewarriors.
My strategy with FWs has always been keep them safe in their DFs until I can get close and lay waste to a weakened target. The addition of the SMS to the Warfish in the Tau Empire Codex made the eventual "Fish of Fury" fairly effective against weakened MEQs units and very effective against GEQs (Ap5 weapons rule!). They rapid fire pretty well and when supported by Pathfinders and Railguns, they do an excellent job of clearing an objective.
They suck in CC though...and with 5th edition making CC even more deadly, I worry about my sad little "warriors." I have no idea how they might work in 5th edition. I imagine preserving them for the 5th turn is the best strategy for winning...since they score...and Kroot tend to die very quickly for me.
One thing I'm considering is the Devilfish Gun Drones instead of SMS. Now with any unit contesting in 5th, the Gun Drones become annoy-devices in the late game. 2 drones don't really do much, so I don't imagine many players to pay attention to them...but they can still contest! 12inch movement on turn 5 to contest...and if that doesn't work...well then all I've lost are 2 drones. We'll see how that works!