Brainstorming Scratchbuilt Nids

As I get further and further into the planning for this Nid project, the more I think I might need a notebook for all my little thoughts.
Today I've been thinking about the ability to scratchbuild/kitbash some of the more annoying-to-buy models. Little stuff like spore mines and rippers. These are little add-on models that are used in units that almost nobody fields, but they run upwards of $1.50 USD per model? That's insanity!
As a result, I'm thinking of ways to simply scratchbuild them using Greenstuff and Nid bitz.

Spore mines are easy. Use the little extra detail bitz that come in almost every kit, and either add them to a small ball of Greenstuff, or glue them to a small brick of sprue, and use GS to seal up the blank areas, like putting crust on a pie or a skin graft on a burn victim, or maybe leather on a rugby ball? All of this mounted on a length of paperclip or brass rod, or even another length of sprue, which is then attached to a base. Use long ropes of GS to make progressive layers of tentacles drifting down from the "ball" and concealing the rod/sprue. Simple enough, and will likely look pretty good. Add small details to the skin of the mine, and done.
I'm also looking at Gaunt spinefists for this purpose. They have some nice detail, and with proper cutting, I think I can put a couple at an angle on a piece of sprue, and make a double-mohawk-looking spore mine.

As for Rippers, I've been looking at either Warrior faces or Gaunt heads. The Warrior faces will probably work best. Start with a face, remove the flesh hook tongue if it has one. Crown the head with a Genestealer armor plate. Slice off a Carnifex tongue from the long-tongued head and use it as a base for adding overlapping plates to the body until you can join it to the head. Fill any body gaps with GS, and add small textures like pores or what have you with some tools. Then, cut the thumb claws off of several spinefist bits and Gaunt arms, and arrange them in order from large to small. Add small knobs of GS as needed to form joints, and then press matching sockets into the GS. Apply legs to body, and body to base (probably with thin paperclip wire painted black), repeat 3-5 times.

I'm also thinking making Ymgarl Genestealers is stupid easy when you just cut off their lower jaw and apply a couple rows of tentacles.

Those are my ideas for now. I found a tutorial on making kitbashed Zoanthropes someplace, but can't find where I stashed the link...


  1. Since Rippers are so bad and come with tons of Tyranid units, my experience is that they can be found relatively cheaply on ebay (though conversions using spare heads would obviously be cheaper, your time has to be worth something, right?).

    Ymgarls are simple, as they don't have to have a specific head. Dwez over at 40addict crafted his own using tentacles, whereas I just use the classic genestealers as "normal" 'stealers, and the new bulkier ones as ymgarls.

    Zoanthropes are far too pricey. I've seen some kitbashes from the warrior kits in the past, but haven't loved any. There is another alternative that looks good and is pretty cheap: http://warhammer39999.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/cheap-zoanthropes-6-pack-of-alien-brains-from-trollforge-available/

    As for mycetic spores, if you'll excuse the plug, I'm quite fond of my own, and they were simple and inexpensive: http://warhammer39999.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/death-from-above-mycetic-spores/

    1. I'll have to keep looking via eBay. I've not seen any that aren't overpriced so far. I think the price surged a tiny bit after Fritz did his Ripper Spam army post on his blog (which was awesome).

      I've seenthose Zoanthrope standins before, but wasn't a huge fan. I don't thinkt hey'll fly round here in our "big" events either. GW models only for our painting competitions. I'm not sure why I mentioned tham at all, as I don't even plan to field any. Should this ever actually turn into a real army, and not just a modelling/art project, I'm going for a list that's heavy on bitey-stabby units, and light on ranged (though there are some ranged options I find hilarious, or a no-brainer, like throax swarms or Ravener chest guns).

      I do like your spore idea. I'd stumbled across a GW tutorial in one of the catalogs archived over at Stuff of Legends. They made theirs out of pink foam cut to shape and pitted with a carving tool or chisel, but those barnacles are very neat. Are they durable?

  2. RE:Spores

    I've had them for going on 2 years now, and I don't use them all that much--but I do use one particular model in almost every game, as the ride for my Doom (I like that one because it's a smaller footprint). In all of my games, the only damage to the piece was I broke the claw off a 'gaunt emerging from the sac. There's no damage to the barnacles themselves.

    In nature, they grow on the harshest of terrains and stand up to all sorts of abuse. I've a feeling they're the most durable models I own...

  3. Reasonably priced:


    For now.

    1. Ah, thanks. I was busy when it was ending, so didn't manage to get a good bid in. Next time!