"What is mercy? Does it taste like marrow?" - Phage, Tyranid Hive Mind

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Biomorph Conversions - Wings

Wings are cool, but there are downsides, this summarized on my Tyranid Rules page.

Wings You Can Buy

  • Hive Tyrant
    • Bloodthirster wings (Tyranid-Players Yahoo! group, Paul Mikusi)
    • Wyvern wings (Tyranid-Players Yahoo! group, Jason)
  • Warrior wings
    • Warhammer Dark Elf Dark pegasus wings
    • Warmaster High Elf Dragon Wings
    • OOP Vampire Counts Winged Nightmare Wings...
    • Winged Nightmare (old WHFB model) Warmaster
    • Orc wyvern wings (Tyranid-Players Yahoo! group, Carmachu).
    • WHFB Demon Prince wings (Tyranid Yahoo! group, "Curtis").
  • Cheap wings
    • Chaos Dragon Wings for Warmaster, part numbers: 120101004 & 120101005, but they have "chaos rot" on them ("Talon" and "slannmage2002")
    • Undead Zombie Dragon for Warmaster, part numbers: 120701105 & 120701106 ("slannmage2002")
    • " I found some rather inexpensive wings from a non GW source: Reaper Minitures (http://www.reapermini.com/) Dark Haven 25mm Heroic Scale Figure Line Model #2444 (Gharun Demon) MSRP $5.95 SEE PICTURE AT: http://www.reapermini.com/photos/dh/2444.jpg I still haven't tried the conversion, but I think the size it right. I'm planning on getting a digital camera real soon so I can post pictures of all this stuff I talk about!" -- Hive Fleet Void

Wings You Can Make

Making Insectoid wings - Materials

  • Feathers - there are fake butterflies for sale. They have wings that are basically clipped feathers that have been dyed/painted with a butterfly color. This could actually work, but it's not my first choice for now.
  • Translucent mesh (e.g. Tulle) - I saw a fake dragonfly with wings that appeared to made form a dense fine white mesh that was painted/sealed and a crappy pattern was painted onto it. This could work. The only similar mesh I could find was Tulle, which is the fine thin stuff used frequently for wedding decorations and can be found in a variety of colors and sizes in the wedding/bridal section of a craft store. You might need to create a frame to support this, or perhaps just painting/soaking with thinned white glue will be adequate to stiffen it.
  • Cellophane/Clearphane - I found some of this that was iridescent, which could be very cool by itself, but it might require a supporting frame, like wire.
  • Real wings from an insect such as a Dragonfly (see below)
  • Shrink wrap, Saran Wrap (tm), etc. - Basically, wrap it around a frame and heat it. (thanks to Ming-Hua Kao)
  • Dried polymer on a wire frame
    • Flower-making craft kit from Toys R Us
  • Printing out the pattern onto an appopriate media (from Keith Vaughn)
    There is a fairly good method of trying to get perfect insect wings for dragonflys and other insects.

    Some of the old fieldbooks for insect identification have pen & ink drawings of various insects, including dragonflies, and show details of the veining in the wings. It would be a simple matter to copy this on a photocopier or simply scan them into a computer. There are a couple of methods to make the wings. These field books can often be found in public libraries.

    1. Transparencies for overhead projectors are clear and would serve as clear membranes for the wings. They can be ran through a copy machine or an inkjet. Stiffening can be accomplished by a couple of fine, black-painted wires superglued to the undersurface. If the wing has to have color in it, just I would suggest a paint from a craft store that is used for stained glass effects.

    2. Or using printable decal sheets with a clear backing, you could use an inkjet copier to give color to the wings. This can be put on a clear styrene sheet that has been cut and then bent to shape in hot/boiling water. The decal can be then be set and gloss coated afterwards.

  • Plain clear plastic cut out - A modeler, which goes by the monnicker "Teatime", has tried this approach but with an extra bonus - he threw wings on his Termagants and made Gargoyles out of them. [Gargoyle picture 1, Gargoyle picture 2]

Making Dragon Wings

I only have one good idea - Make a support structure for the wing and place a "skin" of putty over the top and bottom (Kneadatite blue-yellow is probably best). For the support structure you can use the wall of a soda can or thin plastic. The former will of course be more readily malleable.

Using Dragonfly Wings for My Flying Hive Tyrant

What could I do?

  • Insectoid wings - my first choice, since the number of limbs on a bug are not affected by the presence of wings, unlike birds, mammals, and reptiles.
  • Bird wings - will probably look too strange
  • Mammals - skin flap or something. I considered this, but vicious flying squirrels come to mind and that's just silly.
  • Dragon wings - I don't like this because I don't think Dragon wings are fragile enough to fulfill the game mechanic that causes automatic wounds on Winged Tyranids.

Mere weeks after discussing with my wife how appopriate Dragonfly wings might be in size and scale for a Hive Tyrant, we happened up a wounded/dying one on our way out of a restaurant. My wife, a biology grad student, captured it, froze it, and dissected it for me. Marriage rocks! :-)

Check out the detail. Try modelling that!


  1. I coated each side with four thin coats of Folk Art Acrylic Sealer, spraying once from each of the four sides, back and front. DO THIS IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA!
  2. That seemed to deal the wings well without obliterating detail or damaging them. Little hairs on the carapace got a little fuzzy with acrylic sealer, but it looked somewhat interesting.
  3. There was no good way to place the entire assembly on the model in question, so I carefully clipped down the middle of the carapace, following a natural seam. This left me with two halves.
  4. The wings will definitely interfere with the painting process, so I am waiting until I paint the model before I go any further.
  5. Paint the model.
  6. Dab the wing joint on the brush applicator of the rubber cement.
  7. Apply the wing joint where you want it and hold for a few seconds; if that is inadequate, brace the wing as needed and wait for the glue to cure properly.
  8. Here's my winged Hive Tyrant.