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

Home Page - Gaming - Warhammer 40,000 - Tyranids - Painting - Hive Tyrant with Wings

Hive Tyrant (Wings)

Finally! I have painted and given wings to my flying Hive Tyrant, "Lightning".


  • Hive Tyrant
  • Paint Brushes
    • For painting, Winsor & Newton Number 1 and Number 2
    • For applying white glue to base, Number 4 Sable
    • For brushing off excess sand, a stiff small nylon brush
  • Basing materials
    • Fine sand
    • Elmer's white glue
  • Wing materials
    • Sealed dragonfly wings (details on this page)
    • Elmer's Craft Bond rubber cement
    • Fine snips (the finer the better)
  • Paints
    • Primer - Citadel Colour Black Primer
    • Basecoat - Citadel Colour Dark Angels Green
    • Purple shades - Delta Ceramcoat (DC) Eggplant, Wisteria, and Lilac Dusk
    • Green shades - DC Black Green, Dark Foliage Green, Medium Foliage Green
    • Orange shades - DC Pumpkin, Yellow
    • Yellow shades - DC Yellow, Bright Yellow
    • Sand shades - DC Mudston, Sandstone, Antique White
    • Red shades - DC Mendocino Red, Bright Red, Tangerine
    • Bronze - Citadel Colour (CC) Dwarf Bronze
    • Dirty wash - CC Chestnut Ink
    • Bloody stump shades - DC AC Flesh, Black Cherry, and White
  • Folk Art Glass & Tile Medium


Starting with an assembled and pinned model (details here)...

1. Spray praint with CC Black Primer

2. Spray paint with CC Dark Angels Green

3. Separate into upper (head), middle (torso and limbs), and lower (legs, pelvis, tail, and base).

4. Touch up missed green spots with Black Green, mixed with Folk Art Glass & Tile Medium.

5. Paint purple regions. I did this portion as follows, mix paint and water 4:1, e.g. 16 drops of paint and 4 drops of water. I then used the stop sign approach to shading, using DC Eggplant, Wisteria, and Lilac Dusk, and the intermediate shades.

Here he is with just the Eggplant coat on the skin.

6. I rushed a bit and this approach resulted in harsher shade transitions. This was also related to the drying time of the paint. I washed with a 1:3 paint:water mixture of Eggplant twice before taking the edge off the transitions. I found a single wash of 1:2 paint:water worked fine for another portion. Remember, you can always wash again, so starting more dilute than you think you will need is safest.

7. Now onto the green. For this once I wanted to try out a modification on a more advanced technique I had read about, wet on wet blending. I used a ratio of 8:2:1 paint:water:glycerine. This dried slowly and I was able to return to portions and add the next shade before the first shade had dried completely. This resulted in remarkably smooth transitions. I used DC Black Green, Dark Foliage Green, Medium Foliage Green and the intermediate shades between.

8. With the flesh and chitin painted, I moved onto the orange markings. I used 8:2:1 paint:water:glycerine again. I painted with numerous tiny short strokes painting perpendicular to the plate edge. This produced a rough, feathery edge to the markings. I went over the markings three times with DC Pumpkin, then highlihted with 1:1 Pumpkin:Yellow and finally a touch of Yellow.

9. Finally, I painted the marine leg armor stumps. I went with red colors in honor of the Red Talons, a custom Iron Hands chapter my friend plays. I used DC Mendocino Red, Bright Red, Tangerine, and the intermediate shades. I painted this a little sloppy and it ended up looking a little dirty and worn, which was nice.

10. There are small strips of ribbing on the outer thighs and inner and outer arms. I painted these with DC Yellow and highlighted with Bright Yellow. Be careful.

11. Bronze! I stippled all of the chitin with CC Dwarf Bronze. Tedious, but a nice effect in the end. I also did some straightforward drybrushing on the talons and the biomorphs (toxin sacs and adrenal gland). The teeth and eyes were given heavier bronze coats.

12. The marine legs have a Terminator Honor, which is a little object like a prize ribbon. I highlighted the round seal part with DC Pumpkin. The ribbon parts were painted DC White and washed with CC Chestnut Ink to make it look dirty.

13. Stumps! I originally made the legs with two short pins sticking out of them, to be remnant bone. I pressed two small balls of putty onto the pins and shaped them so that a tiny portion of pin still protruded and the putty looked like passable gobbets of flesh. I painted the blobs DC AC Flesh, then painted the protruding pin pieces DC White. Finally, I painted DC Black Cherry around the bone bits to simulate savaged muscle and sinew.

Yes, it's a little stark, but it's a pretty small detail in real life and I worried that a wash to mimic blood would obscure the gory detail. (and yes, I took this picture at the end)

14. The model was assembled. There was a little gap at the pelvis/torso joint, so I pushed a small ball of putty onto the pin, pressed the pieces together, and shaped the putty. I then pulled the pieces apart, applied 5-minute epoxy to both sides of the putty and pin, then put them back together, shaping the putty as needed until the putty and glue cured. I then painted the strip of putty with multiple coats of DC Eggplant.

15. Basing! I painted on dilute Elmer's glue,1:1 glue:water. I dipped the base in sand, waited for it to dry, then repeated.

16. Once dry, the sand was painted with liberal amounts of DC Mudstone 1:1 water:paint. After a short period of drying, it was highlighted with DC Sandstone and then Antique White.

17. The model was sealed with my usual approach.

18. Finally, the wings. This was the nerve wracking part. I finally decided to clip them from their carapace and glue them in place with rubber cement. I think this is crucial for long term wear, because the rubber cement will give without tearing the wings to shreds and the wings are light enough that rubber cement is adequate. Note in the picture below that I used whatever was handy to support the wings while the glue cured.

And here he is on the battlefield!