The T’au Empire are by no means the good guys of Warhammer 40,000, but, as far as 40k goes, they might be one of the less-bad guys. They live under strict totalitarian rule with an even stricter caste system, meaning life under T’au rule sounds just as bleak as that of an Imperial serf. And that’s before you get to all the railguns and plasma rifles.
A particularly horrible aspect to the T’au way of life is its treatment of alien races. The empire trades its advanced weapons and technology in return for unyielding fealty, especially in the arena of war. There’s an even darker side to the T’au’s treatment of its auxiliaries, though, like the Vespids, a race of winged insectoids that fight alongside the T’au despite fundamental ideological differences.
Allegations of mind control aside, Vespids are often forgotten in favour of T’au’s most iconic ally, the Kroot. Kroot are some kind of featherless, bipedal avians that canonically absorb the traits of other species by eating their flesh, resulting in the colloquial term Kroot Carnivores. That said, on the tabletop they’re distinctly underwhelming, and little of their considerable lore is represented in their rules.
This has given Kroot somewhat of a cult following within Warhammer. Not to the extent of Squats, 40k’s take on dwarves, but certainly more than some established factions. There are currently four units you can field on the table, which rises to six if you include specialist games. The mainstay are the regular warriors, Kroot Carnivores, who are led by Shapers, and accompanied by Hounds and gun-toting Krootox. Forgeworld makes a Knarloc, a large beaked creature seemingly related to the Kroot, and Kill Team added some specialists to the fray, but options are still limited.
But Games Workshop may be hinting that the Kroot is getting a range refresh, if rumours are to be believed. The recent Rumour Engine image clearly shows the barrel of a Kroot Gun, which has whipped fans into a frenzy.
Hardcore Kroot nerds (I can say that, I’m one of them) have scoured other teasers for signs of carnivorous life, ending up looking more like the Pepe Silvia meme from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia than any futuristic general. Some of the evidence found is thought provoking, if not entirely convincing.
The quill-laden cloak is a great spot, although I remain to be convinced about the pouch and lettering. The hand has that iconic two finger-two thumb Kroot grip, but it looks more like a Blood Bowl Ogre or something to me, thanks to the armour and scale. Still, fans are referencing half-a-decade-old leaks that reference a standalone Kroot codex, and at least hope for a range refresh.
The current Kroot models are 22 years old, having been released with the inception of the T’au army. In my research for this article, I realised that they were priced at £15 for 15 models, and Shapers were just £4, and now I want to dissolve into a puddle of tears and inflation. But they’re long overdue a refresh, and I can only imagine the hype around some fresh plastic with active poses and numerous customisation options. The original range hasn’t aged too badly, in fairness, but the more recent Farstalkers are more varied and exciting in their execution.
I’d love for a full Kroot release, complete with plastic Knarlocs, more weapon options, a host of refreshed units, and a codex of their own, but it’s unlikely. At the very least, though, I can see a plastic Krootox and Shaper on the horizon, but plenty of Kroot fans are crossing our fingers for much more.
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