I went to a swap meet a few weeks back at a local store and traded for a Tau lot that included some Forgeworld 40k Tau Broadsides. When checking out the parts for the first time this week (beyond just making sure they were all there before), I did a quick test fit of the shoulder pads of one of the broadsides on my Tau crisis suit models. I do rather like the results. The bare shoulders were in a way a necessity for two reasons previously as I didn't have enough after doubling up for my Farsight model and I also needed a way to distinguish the various ranks visually. Unfortunately I only have a single pair of shoulder pads (the second broadside was missing them) but I did some mspaint magic to show how doubled pairs would look below:
I do rather like how they look with them on. It seems like the shoulders blend visually with the thigh armor as well as give it a bit more of a samurai anime look as well. I've contacted Forgeworld to see if I could buy extra but assuming that won't be the case (I've never heard of them selling bits) I've gone in the meantime with one pad each on the left shoulder as with the original model. I had to sculpt a tau symbol to place on the 2nd flat shoulder pad. Now, the normal suits will have the smaller pad, the squad commander will have the larger pad, and the army commander will have the pair of larger pads. I hope to take some pics tomorrow of the modifications as I'm currently waiting for my first attempt at modelling with milliput to set.
I also did some more research that confirmed my suspicions about USMC paint schemes. It seems like the only variation was on the company level applied in the field and that the tanks left the factories in the same olive drab color as US Army vehicles. I really don't see myself applying a camo pattern to these suits as I already have on in my normal Tau army to distinguish the "scouts" (the pathfinders and their various derivatives with markerlights). I leaning at this point to just continuing my existing paint scheme but the original Farsight Red (with Russian decals) is still an option as is a weathered winter camo look.
Thanks for reading and that ends the update about big shoulder pads! :)
edit: I figured I'd just update yesterday's post instead of making another very related one. Here is a lower down shot of the completed models. I used Milliput to make a second tau symbol for the bare shoulder pad and I filled in the empty lip on the other shoulder pad with milliput. I also used some liquid greed stuff to plug the casting holes in the finecast.
I found last night an example of a Tau army done up in the weathered winter style pattern I mentioned using above (but without the soviet decals of course). I'm really glad I found it because I never would have thought that it would look in practice so different from what I thought it would in theory. The painter did a really good job completing the scheme but I in the end think that grizzled look is where I'd want to take my Tau now that I've actually seen it done by someone who likely did a better job than I'd have been capable of (especially on a first try).
I've decided to go with the US WW2 style mentioned earlier but I plan to embellish these models with more decals as well as USMC markings instead of the US army cavalry ones the main force has. Things like cockpit markings, danger and radiation warnings, flags, etc. I plan on making the suits a mix of tank and airplane style decals with the olive drab base color and some edge highlighting.