Tyranid Terrain WIP

UPDATE:  Finished pictures of this project can be seen here.

No plan seems to survive contact with the enemy.  I’m putting together some Tyranid terrain for a table at a local shop.  What they want is some “man-height” hills with brood nest features.  Also, because the table is supposed to represent the inside of a Tryranid hive ship, he wants some large organic sacks that large Tyranids would grow in and hatch from.  This won’t take long as I have done some similar pieces in the past.


Starting On “Hills”

The “nests” in these hills are the seed pod for a large flower.  I found these in the dried and silk flower section of a craft store.  They are usually Two to four inches thick and have a long stem.  I used my hobby saw to cut off enough to let the nest rest just below the surface of the hill.  Then to make it sem a natural part of the piece, I used drywall patch to fill any gaps, smooth the edges, and blend the nest into its surroundings.

Here are some pics of the hills underway.


They’re “Pods” People

Here are the “pod” pieces for the store’s Tyranid table.  The even grey coloring comes from using GW spray texture as a first primer.  It helps blend some details together and will help keep the broad smooth surfaces from looking inorganic.  Resin effects will be added after primary painting is complete.

Plastic “easter eggs” of various sizes were used to make the sacs.  Most eggs of this type come so smooth that they are poorly suited for use as painted terrain pieces.  Too help adhesion of the paint and detail materials, I sanded the eggs with coarse 100 grit sandpaper.  Also, I cut the bottom off each egg so that there would be a flat attachment to the base.  This is stronger and, if you cut the eggs at different angles, allows them to be positioned in different poses.  they seem to be more natural if the placement and angles are less uniform.

The “foamy” stuff is expanding insulation foam that comes from a spray can (I use Great Stuff brand) you can find at most DIY and building supply centers. Lots of folks will just spray the stuff on and pray that it goes where they want and then doesn’t grow too big.  I actually spay the foam onto  scrap piece of cardboard and then apply it to the piece with a short flat stick.  Tongue depresser size “craft sticks” are great for this.  Use the stick to press foam up against the base of an object to make it appear to be growing out of the surface.  Smear thin layers of the foam on the base to give it a living, organic texture.  When everything is dry, I will fill any egregious gaps with some drywall filler or wood putty.

The Squiggly lines on the sacs are hot melt glue applied in one to three layers.  Parallel lines were made with the glue to establish the “lip” of the opening of the sac.  Different shades during painting and some resin “slime” will make the openings stand out.


Primary Painting Underway

Here are some pics of the Tyranid terrain while some of the early paint is done.  Still no resin or detailing done.  Hope to be done PDQ.


Detail Painting And Preparation For Resin

Just some detail painting to bring the pieces to life.  Resin will drip from the lips of the egg sacs and pool around some of them.  Also, the broken / hatched egg will be filled with a resin that I will give a greenish tint to.  you will also see that the inside of the nests have been painted green so that the tinted resin will appear deep when filled.

To tint your resin you can use either paint or ink.  Paint will give you a “cloudy” look where ink is clear.  Start by mixing your resin per the instructions and safety information that came with it.  Be sure to wear eye protection (there is a really gross story I could tell here).  To tint the resin, I generally add 2-3 drops per ounce that I have mixed up.  You will want to stir this in gently so that you don’t add any more bubbles into the resin.  If you get a lot of bubbles, bang the cup onto the work surface several times to get them to the top.  Blow gently across the surface of the resin (or use a hair dryer on cold) to pop the surfaced bubbles.

Because resin has a short working life, and because I didn’t want to get any on my camera, I don’t have any pictures of the acctual application process.  Sorry.



For pictures of the finished pieces and the table they go with, click here or on the photo below.

Feel free to leave comments, suggestions, or questions.

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