Wednesday, 3 February 2010

[HOBBY] Tyranids - Painting the Swarm!

Hey all,

It's that time of the month again (no pun intended!) for the From the Warp collaborative blogpost, and the topic is... the new Tyranids!

What I thought we'd do is open up a bit of a discussion over a couple of things, first up, since we want to show some of our stuff off, I thought we'd cover how to paint Tyranids - firstly with the club's resident Tyranid monstrous Creature, Angryman, and then my attempts from starting the army a while ago (which have since been assimilated into Angryman's Nid Swarm).

Hive Fleet Behemoth

These guys are Angryman's Hive Fleet, painted in Behemoth colours and in his own words:
Spray painted chaos black, once dry I’ll paint the fleshy parts with mecrite red, touching up the carapace or any bits you don’t want red with chaos black. I’ll then use devlin mud to wash over all the red fleshy parts.

I will get Ice blue and dry brush (dip the end of the brush in the paint and wipe 99% of it off) and dry brush the carapace so that the ends and raised parts then get a light layer of ice blue.

I’ll repeat this with skull white but an even lighter dry brush on top of the ice blue one. For the eyes I’ll use snot green (just a little bit to show they have eyes) and I’ll paint the tongue in the same colour.

For the teeth I’ll paint them codex grey, then skull white then dry brush them with bleached bone. For any claws I’ll dry brush them (using the above technique) codex grey and they a very light dry brush with skull white down one edge of them. for the spine fists I dry brushed the ‘wire’ and the fist part liche purple then lightly dry brushed over that with snot green

Hive Fleet Hydra
This was at one point, and may be in the future, my personal Hive fleet, named after the Hydra as I couldn't come up with another name and it was my favourite Imperial vehicle, also a mythical creature.

It's been a while since I painted these and things may have changed but it went a little something like this:
First off, they were undercoated in chaos black and given an all over basecoat of Graveyard Earth (this was before Foundation paints).

The next step was to give the full model a wash of Chestnut Ink to shade the crevices and give the entire thing a sickly shine.

Then, the Carapace and bone areas were painted over with Kommando Khaki (if I remember correctly) and then stippled / heavily drybrushed with Bleached bone to give the effect on the Carapace similar to insects.

Teeth and claws were then rest back with Chaos Black.

Eyes, weapon tubes and anything resembling poison was painted with Snot Green.

Hive Fleet Kraken

This guy technically isn't part of a Nid swarm anymore, but I'm sure you'll see where he belongs in a couple of weeks... so apologies for the rather cropped image.

He was painted up in the style of Hive Fleet Kraken, but needing to be painted extremely quickly! So as follows:
The first step was to undercoat him in Black, followed by painting all the skin with Dheneb Stone, then the Carapace was Mechrite Red.

The tongue was painted Ultramarine Blue, and the Claws, teeth and eyes were Chaos Black.

I then washed the entire model with Badab Black wash and voila. Done.

Overall, the schemes are extremely quick to paint, since a lot of models require painting and I'm no doubt intending to carry on painting Hive Fleet Hydra colours when / if I return to the Tyranids.

I think really the key points to painting Tyranids are:

- Speed, pick a scheme thats fast to paint, but also one that allows you a bit of extra time on special / larger models. I found some things look quite good on Gaunts, but awful on the Genestealers I painted.

- Drybrushing. Drybrushing the Nids helps so much, since a lot of the weapons are compact and pulled into the body and also with not many flat areas, they pick up drybrushing really well.

- Inks / Washes. The tyranids have a lot of crevaced areas that Inking works a treat on. Also, when using inks it gives them a slimey feel, handy if you want your Tyranids to be more Space bugs than space Dinosaurs.

- Foundation Paints. When these guys were released things got ramped up significantly... anyone who painted Hive Fleet Behemoth colours before foundation paints, I take my hat off to you!

So how do you guys paint your Tyranids, or if you're not a Tyranid player, do you have any ideas on what Tyranid paint schemes look / would look good on the tabletop?



  1. Well I have good theory on painting Nids it quick efficent. Spray white. wash carapieces nails teeth etc with wash of your choice. for the main body colour if you want bone was with devlan mud or orgyn flesh. Put this on thickly then highlight with bleached bone the carapiece colour of your choice and pick out details eyes etc. Ideal method for batch painting only wish ultramarines were as easy.

  2. i think the biggest challange to overcome with painting nids is accepting that you will be painting a helluva lot of models, i suppose the same goes with orks though

  3. i'm looking for a suitable paint job for my nids
    if anyone knows a really good scheme please tell me