At Long Last!

The painting of my Hive Tyrant is complete! Well, except for his base, that is.

Here are some assembled shots under terrible light:

Overall, I think he looks nice. He's not as stunning as I wanted him to be, as I skimped on reposing, resculpting, and conversion. As others have said, I should have started small with troops bugs instead of a showcase model. That would have allowed me to get my paint schemes down before applying them to a centerpiece model. I'd wanted to hack apart his limbs and repose them into a more fluid and dynamic pose, but was simply too logjammed to do so. It was a "if you don't start now, you'll never start at all" situation.

Despite that disappointment, I'm pretty impressed with what I've done, as he's my first fully painted non-Marine model since 2007. I had this crazy idea to start a WHFB Orc and Goblin army a few years ago, and finished the skin tones on ONE Orc before abandoning the idea, hence the "fully painted" qualifier.

The only obstacle left for this guy is a base. Last night I mixed together equal parts craft paint and Liquitex Resin Sand medium and slathered it on a spare 25mm base to see what it would do. This morning, it was dry but very glossy. I didn't get a chance for a picture, but it basically looks like shiny mud. I'm sure Dullcote would bring the shine down, but I'm not sure the effect would carry to a 60mm base, or even a 40mm base. Originally, I'd wanted a loamy, fertile earth base with tufts of grass (easily done with static grass) and some random stumps and plants. I don't want to use resin bases because I don't want to sink the money into them for a Nid force that may end up containing a lot of small models. Plus, I've not found anything so far that I felt really hit the nail on the head for a convincing jungle earth look.

Some Google searching shows some poorly done jungle bases where gamers have simply glued tufts of tall grass, aquarium plants, and vines all over the base with the model planted squarely in the middle. I'm thinking that less is far more in this situation. I'm not sure I can get plants and grass to look right on these muddy bases, but will have to give it a try. If that fails, I will probably have to go back to the basic sand bases I use for my Marines, but with a different color and more liberal use of rocks, grass, and plants.

I put half a second coat on my Sternguard Marine last night as well. The rumors regarding bikes as troops in the new Marine codex are contradictory. Some say you only get one unit, some say you get as many as you like. I'll wait the two weeks to see, and then decide how to proceed. Regardless, I'd like to finish this 5-man Sternguard squad as soon as I can.
The rumors are that Kor'sarro Khan and the White Scars chapter tactics will be spectacular for running a Marine Bike force. On one hand, I'm thrilled that Marine bikers will be getting a small shot in the arm, but I'm also dismayed that it's a chapter tactic. When I first saw the chapter tactic rumors, I swore I'd only every use the Ultramarines tactic while fielding my Ultras, regardless of build. The idea that I can run better bikes by simply selecting a different tactic makes that vow very hard to stick to. I've railed against people cherry-picking chapter tactics in the past, though my beef is/was more with Blood Angel and Space Wolf armies being run under the new Marine book rules. But, the opposite happened when those two books were released (Marines run as BA/SW), so I guess it wouldn't be totally hypocritical of me to use the White Scars tactics when wearing blue paint.
It's a decision I'll make in a couple weeks.


  1. The big guy is looking great and it's quite an accomplishment. Big models can be fun and infuriating at the same time. All that extra surface area can be daunting.

    I'd like to see some bold highlights on the model. Your skin tone and carapace work, though great, is very subtle. Without some bold shadows and highlights where appropriate it all just blends together. Correct me if I'm wrong but you generally paint with an eye more towards realism? The catch there is so much of it gets lost on the table at arms length. Sometimes you just have to exaggerate things to so they get picked up on.

    As for the Marines, do whatever works for you. As we were saying on the forum about something related, don't let a paint job and GW dictate your game play. If you want biker Ultras and the White Scars chapter tactics are more suiting, have at it. Why punish yourself and try to fit the square peg into the round hole?

    1. Yeah, I am aiming for as realistic as I can with these models, considering they're giant space cricket-dinosaurs.

      I upped the contrast of the highlights on my Marines to good effect, but I'm torn on whether to do so on these Nids. I don't want them to end up as cartoony as my Ultras, with blocks of color and defined edges. I was concerned that I may have over blended the model, and erased a lot of the dark tones as I went along.

      Of course, I'm doing myself a disservice by taking these quick shots directly under a light. If they don't look better in my final shots, I may have to resign myself to the fact that I painted an army that is best viewed at three-foot distance, and not cross-table distance.