Tyranids, New School Style!

 I made reference to this way back in my entry called "Tyranids, Both Old and New" - I was going to paint up one of the Genestealers from Games Workshop's old Battle for Macragge set for a painting competition. Well, I managed to squeeze in some time while prepping a few figures and waiting for primer to dry, and cranked this guy out in about four hours spread out between last Monday night and Tuesday:

 I was aiming to paint him up something along the lines of the color scheme on the cover of the recently-released GW Codex: Tyranids, but the red turned out extremely pink and the bluish-purple turned out pale blue when highlighted initially (I should've known, given the colors I was using). I just ran with it...

 After I put the primary color down for the skin areas I realized that desaturating the chitin colors by adding grey might help - so I ended up giving the whole figure a wash of the skin shade color. After building up and shading the blue-purple I went back and added in Khaki for highlights on the red and blue instead of anything yellowish or white, which worked moderately well. It's still a funky color scheme and I wasn't wanting to waste time by drybrushing thinned Khaki by itself after the fact to get it a bit closer to the Codex: Tyranids cover art, so again I just ran with it... It'll probably be a while before I get around to vague plans to convert up a Tervigon and a modified Brood Lord, and then crank out a whole bunch of 'Nids, but I think I'll stick with this scheme. It's not amazingly difficult and could be painted assembly-line style, which is what I was aiming for with this guy to begin with - more of a "high end tabletop standard."

 I'd also like to add that Liquitex Flow Aid is the whip - I tried it out with this guy after buying some of the stuff a few weeks back. The top of the base was painted with nothing more than a highlight color and two shade colors thinned down with my "new and improved" wash thinning mixture. I think it's a keeper!

 Any comments or suggestions? I wasn't aiming for anything overly fancy here, but I liked the color scheme on the cover of the newest Codex: Tyranids. With the exception of the color transition across the chitin areas, everything else was painted more or less using thick washes and then highlighted (the chitin was done the same way, only I started with red across the board and then went back across with progressively darker blues before highlighting).


  1. I really like the blend on the edges of the carapace. A bunch of these guys on the table would look nice.

  2. very nice, I really like the overall color scheme. I'm glad that it didn't turn out the way the cover of the codex. That's basically hive fleet leviathan. But this, this is unique.

    Off topic: you have to help me figure out a colour scheme for my space marine army i'm going to paint. I don't know what two main colours to do. I don't want to make a codex army (example, ultramarine, slamanders, etc.) I want to use something that you don't usually see on the table top. I've just been brainstorming two colours that would go well with eachother but i can't come up with anything. either it's been used or I don't like the colour combination. I need serious help!

  3. @ Faith and Fury - Just drop me an email and give me some ideas as to what you're looking for theme-wise, and maybe I can help.

    @ everyone - Thanks for the comments. I didn't like this guy to start with and he didn't even place in the competition (although I'm not too fussy about that, I'm just happy to have finished him up) - mostly that he started out in wierd pastels. I do think I'll run with this for more Tyranids, though, eventually. It's fairly replicable and ought to work out well enough in an assembly-line paint routine.

  4. Hi Tin,
    I'm trying to go for a similar look painting my Space Hulk stealers but I'm not sure I understand what colors you used.
    What I had in mind:
    1. use a pale skin color (pinkish) as a base
    2. apply a red/blue wash
    3. highlight with bone white or something similar (you mentioned khaki?)

    I know this post was in a while but maybe you still recall and/or have some suggestions.

    1. I've got my 6th/7th Ed. Tyranid scheme recipe wrote out on a note card - I do that for all my stuff, more or less. So yeah, even 4 years later, I could revisit that scheme so long as my paints are still valid and I wanted more matching figures.

      I looked up the card this morning, but I'm writing now during a work break. The color scheme was mostly washes over a basecoat or an easy basecoat plus highlighting for the sake of quickness. I'll get you the specifics when I get home.

    2. So the recipe I used on this guy is as follows:
      * Prime figure white - I have used Krylon Flat White Primer for years without exception
      * Basecoat entire figure with 1:1 Vallejo Model Color Deck Tan/thinner (here's where an airbrush would be ideal versus brushing by hand - that's where 4 years along gets you)

      * Wash with mixture of 2 parts Vallejo Game Color Khaki/1 part Games Workshop Red Gore/8 parts thinner
      * Wash with mixture of 1:1:8 Red Gore/GW Scorched Brown/thinner
      * Wash towards inner areas with 1:2:8 GW Tallarn Flesh/GW Codex Grey/thinner
      * Paint striations/layer with 1:4 GW Regal Blue towards inner chitin parts
      * Glaze with previous Tallarn/Grey/thinner mixture to blend colors together and shade

      * Wash skin with 1:1:8 VMC Deck Tan/GW Tallarn Flesh/thinner
      * Wash with 1:2:8 Tallarn/Grey/thinner
      * Add 2 drops of GW Scorched Brown to prior mixture and paint into depressions/crevices on skin

      Like I said, I was aiming toward quickness of painting and assembly line painting with the color scheme. This guy was the color test for a planned Tyranid force, but I moved on to other things.

  5. Thanks a lot, really useful! So I see you're making your own washes with thinners, right? I use Vallejo washes, so far, they've really worked great. I'll try to mix up something similar to your washes - I have a few ideas :)



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