Thursday, 16 January 2014

Another Army: James's Tyranids

Today marks the first "Another Army" post of 2014, and I thought what better army to showcase this month than the latest force to join the ranks of 6th edition codexes?

James is a good friend of mine, you may know him as the Tyranid player that has beaten me time and time again in my own battle reports. He is a veteran hobbyist in every sense of the word, having been a massive fan of Wood Elves and Empire in Warhammer Fantasy Battles as well as having played pretty much every army going for 40k. After many years in the hobby he fell in love with Tyranids and hasn't even given mind to anything else. No new games or codexes have detracted from his one goal of having a massive Tyranid swarm of his own devising and the love for his army is clearly evident in how well thought out and painted his 'nids are.

The flare of thinking up ways to make an models stand out that lives in myself also lives in James. We both have a very like minded approach to our models, including always having flying bases based and not left clear, always thinking of little things that make a model feel more alive and interesting ways of interpreting how his minions would work in a real battle. Indeed many were the times that we both sat down pre/post battle or on our off days just talking about ideas we've had for our own armies. Many of those ideas have taking form in James's army as you will see in the rest of the post.

Creepy Crawlies

The army is just brimming with subtle suggestions and reoccurring ideas, one of the biggest being that James has created his army with the overlapping theme of bugs and insects, highly fitting for an army of 'nids. But unlike a lot of armies James did not splash out all his best ideas on the big stuff and has added some neat little touches on the minion models. Take his Termagaunts to the left for example. If you look closely you'll notice that the tails are bent whereas the basic sprues have straight tails. By using a lighter and softening the plastic James has been able to look his gaunts look more dynamic and alive. The carapace (as with all his models) has also been finished with 'Ardcoat to give it a shininess and, well hardened look. James stated that he wanted to avoid metallics for his purely biological army (with a few exceptions that suit the swarm's background) and everything is painted with a fleshy palette in mind.

But it's not just the Termis that get the dynamic pose treatment. Take a look at these amazing Hormagaunts that were modelled to look like they were leaping out of the terrain straight for a killing blow.

Whilst we're on the subject of minion gribblies, here's some eye candy Spore Mines and Hive Guard.

4 different kinds of spore mines fully painted

Hive Guard

Monstrous Appetite

I hate to pick a favourite model in another person's army, but James has completely understood my choice. By far my favourite miniature in his Tyranid force is the Flying Hive Tyrant, the pure amount of thought that went into the modelling and painting of this miniature is absolutely staggering and mind blowing and it completely sums up the entire army's theme in one go. Firstly James decided to paint the Tyrant in a much whiter colour than the bulk of his force. He told me that this was done to make the Tyrant look like he was illuminating with synaptic energy, something he has incorporated elsewhere in his army (his Zoanthropes will have the same colour in mind and his Warriors have "synaptic spots" on their temples to name a few examples).

The one thing that really strikes out with this model however is the two Gargoyles that come out from underneath the wings. When asking James why he did this, he told me the effect was two fold. It is an interesting take on representing 2 twin-linked devourers for his choice but also it reinforces the whole vision of Tyranids as a swarm. It's an amazingly simple idea that is both practical and visually pleasing.

Slime & Shadows

The Tervigon for anyone who couldn't tell in my battle reports is my absolute arch-nemesis. I would hate it if the model wasn't so damn gorgeous. James has declared that he only wants the one Tervigon in his army because he doesn't want to be "that guy" but utilises the Tervi as that model that your opponent wants to kill but usually has more pressing targets. It was only fitting then that he went all out on this one model. The slime was created using green paint a UHU glue, strung between fleshy lips and teeth to give the impression of repulsive xeno bodily fluids. The spawning sac beneath the Tervigon is drenched in green ooze to make the new born Termagaunts look slimey and not prestinely dry/clean. Extra PVA glue was blobbed on the base and painted below to further give this impression and the extra Termagaunt on the base was added just to add to the swarm look.

Of course James kept the slime theme going as he painted venomous looking poison on the tips of his Venomthrope's tentacles.

One of the swarm's more interesting models, in my honest opinion has got to be the Deathleaper. Keeping the whole insect vibe going James has painted it green to make it look like a praying mantis, but he didn't stop there. He strategically placed slate beneath Deathleaper's leg and blended the colours to look like it's blending in with the rock. A fantastic idea that is subtle on the battlefield but really adds some flavour.

The full Deathleaper model

Deathleaper's camouflage

So, what now?

James's Tyranids are already sizeable and some may consider it "finished", but as a hobbyist myself I can safely say that an army is never "finished". With the release of the new Tyranid codex James has told me of his excitement of seeing how the army truly plays in 6th edition and has splashed out on some of the new models, including a Harpy and an Exocrine.

But before that all takes effect, James is also interesting in adding units he wouldn't consider most of the time to his army for the sake of fullness and also to give him a few new ways to play his army, new tactics to try out as it were.

Swarmlord WIP

Amongst the works in progress is the Swamlord, or as I like to call it "that nasty thing with 4 swords that keeps killing all my damned Immortals". It's getting a lick of paint at the moment. When asked "why is it orange?", James responded that in the insect world, the most dangerous of species wear the brightest and most vivid colours, and what is more dangerous than the Swarmlord?

Fair point.

Of course the Swarmlord isn't the only giant bad boy in the works. Check out this Trygon that has been modeled to look like it's bursting out of the ground.


Finally, no Tyranid swarm would be complete without some Genestealers. To keep with the dynamic look of the army James managed to get hold of the Space Hulk Genestealers which are being made 40k friendly.

So that's it for this edition of Another Army, I hope you enjoyed it. There are more armies out there that I have had interest to do a spotlight on, but for now I am going to allow James's Tyranids take the spotlight they so richly deserve a bit longer. Until next time!

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