For the Tyranid half of my Warhammer 40k: Leviathan box, I decided I wanted to pick one of the lesser-known hive fleets to pledge my allegiance to. Hive Fleet Kronos’ colour scheme immediately stood out to me, so I read up on their lore. This minor Tyranid hive fleet splintered off from Hive Fleet Leviathan and specifically adapted to battle daemons and other forces of Chaos. Kronos’ psychic connection to the Hive Mind is so strong that it produces an aura of null power around its invading swarms, causing agony for psychically active foes and leeching their spiritual energy. Kronos aims to avoid engaging its targets in close-quarters combat, being far more adept at slaying them from range.
As there are so many Tyranids in the box (almost fifty bugs of various sizes!), I decided early on that I wanted a paint scheme I could use to quickly and efficiently complete the whole swarm. For me, that meant selecting some Contrast Paints in order to combine a few stages of the painting process (as not only do they provide a vivid basecoat but they also add in the shading for you - all with just one coat!). Obviously you’re free to tweak my recipes as you see fit, by doing more or less highlights and shading. Here’s my guide to how I painted them (using Citadel paints unless specified otherwise):
I primed my Tyranid models using a can of Grey Seer spray. This neutral colour is a great choice for when you’re planning to apply Contrast Paints to your miniatures.
All About That Base
Now it’s time to have some fun with Contrast Paints! For all the areas of flesh, I used Black Templar. On the chitin armour pieces covering their backs, legs, and heads, I applied Flesh Tearer’s Red. And for their weapons, claws, and tongues, I grabbed my pot of Terradon Turquoise. I also used a couple of traditional basecoats on the tiny areas of the models. I painted their teeth with Leadbelcher and filled in their eye sockets using Sybarite Green.
Highs And Lows
To highlight the Tyranids’ flesh, I used Administratum Grey. I also added markings with this same colour to add a bit of interest and realism to the bugs. I painted some simple dots on the side of their head, the tops of their legs, and running down the end of their tail. For the strong chitin panels, I started with Mephiston Red on the edges, using a series of dashes on the rear-facing ones to create a pattern. Don’t worry about being too neat with these brush lines, as they’d look unnatural anyway if they were too uniform. Once I’d gone all the way around with the Mephiston, I did a smaller highlight using Evil Sunz Scarlet. Then I painted a really thin highlight of Wild Rider Red, trying to keep within the lines of the previous stage. On the parts that I’d earlier coated with Terradon Turquoise, I gave them a standard edge highlight with Sybarite Green. I placed a tiny spot of Dorn Yellow inside the green of their eyes, and finally I washed their teeth with Agrax Earthshade and put a small line of Stormhost Silver on the tips.
Mini… C’est Fini
And there you have it - a friendly space bug to add to your army. This colour scheme can be used across all the Tyranid models in the Warhammer 40k: Leviathan box set, you just need to identify which areas are the flesh, chitin, and claws/weapons. For the Tyranids that have extra parts, like wings or tentacles, you could paint them to match one of the other areas or pick a complementary colour. I chose to do mine with a gradient from dark to light grey. If you’re looking to expand your swarm even further, you could add in some of the impressive newly released models, such as the Norn Emissary, Lictors, Biovore, or Deathleaper.
I hope you’ll join me again for another painting guide in the future. Message us on social media @ZatuGames to show us your painted Tyranids - we’d love to see which of the Hive Fleet Kronos you’ve chosen to side with (or if you’ve been really creative and made up your own!).