Monday, June 22, 2015

I've been Working on the Tyranid swarm.

I've been Working on the Tyranid swarm. All the live long day.

Working on a Tyranid swarm due to the large model count is sometimes a daunting process to handle and complete. This post is a look into how I go about working on my swarm so hopefully the entire swarm comes together finished at some point to a fully primed army and hopefully a fully painted army.

Say then I'll be working on the swarm in the month of May

During the month of May I tried to take my extra time and pour it into working on my various Tyranid models which were in various stages prior to painting. I consider the various stages of prior to painting different as it helps me segregate tasks during projects. I don't believe I had a general plan in mind as I worked on what I felt like or what was available. All together I ended up working on my Tyranid Bitz Box, all of my remaining Termagaunts, a brood of Lictors, a Carnifex and a few boxes of general Tyranid models.

The overall plan past the month of May and beyond is to get my Tyranid army at least to the point where every Tyranid model is primed and ready for painting. The path any Tyranid model undergoes while getting ready for painting is moderately complex. For the most part I will omit what I do and just go over what I did and discuss some of interesting fails and wins which occurred.

My initial idea was to work on the Carnifex, but a mishap during spray painting caused a huge time sink so the Termagaunts were bumped up.

Gaunts Gaunts Gaunts ...

I knew I had about 30 confirmed Termagaunts and a few broken Termagaunts perhaps as well. Termagaunts and Hormagaunts both share the same flaw of a very thin base connection which can break very easily especially in paint stripping. I use a lot of care and caution, but mishaps happens so its not a big deal. I did have a large brood of Spinegunats and I wanted to change them back to Termagaunts. I could never get the glued Spinefist arms dislodged from their sockets so I eventually gave up on them and remembered trashing them.

I already had ten Termagaunts in the painting process so getting the other 22 Termagaunts up to par should be easy. I got the next ten through the paint stripping process easily enough with a few minor fixes to be made afterwards. When I readied the last ten Termagaunts for paint stripping I found an unexpected surprise of hidden reinforcements.


I was searching under my cabinet for my paint stripping materials being the usual cleaner, gloves, and old tooth brush I discovered a small sealed plastic tub stuffed under the cabinet among the other cleaning materials. Upon visual inspection it was a sealed plastic container similar to what I had used in the past filled with dirty cleaner with what appeared to be models sloshing around in it. Upon further inspection of the sealed contents I discovered the models where in fact Gaunts and the more interesting fact was they were Spinegaunts.

While the initial second batch of ten Termagunts were paint stripping I inspected the contents of the mysterious tub of hidden Gaunts. In the tub I found twelve Spinegaunts. I remembered throwing out all the Spinegaunts, but perhaps I must have had a change of heart and thought hopefully with time the cleaner would dissolve the glue. With much amazement the glue did dissolve, Spinefist arms dislodged, heads and necks came apart, glued seams had split, and even some body sections came undone. Twelve Gaunt bodies equals twelve Termagaunts so my Termagunts numbers just got bolstered by twelve. This is immensely helpful as I always have to wait for some of my initial Termagunts to die in order to breed more, lol. Now I can afford to breed as many as twelve Termagaunts as needed and not wait for the initial numbers to decline.

I had no idea how long this tub had been under the sink, but my wife told me she got tired of it sitting on the kitchen counter and stored it under the cabinet. I can't blame her, but in a way I am glad she did it as it proves with time glue can be dissolved from plastic models.

Reinforcements 2.0

Finding the Gaunts was a joy, but I also found something I wasn't expecting either. In the murky cleaner I found hidden at the bottom of the tub an entire brood of three Lictors. These were my only three Lictors which needed to have cheap black spray paint removed from them for a long time. I checked to confirm they were my only three and they were. I wondered when I must have placed them in the tub, my wife said they were in there for some six months, but she tends to be over generous on time descriptions, lol. If they were in there for sometime, then they were in there prior to playing some of my last 40K games with my Tyranids in 2014 and I never noticed they were missing. The Lictors were in the same state as the Gaunts, completely stripped of paint and glue. The glue had turned to a white powder substance which could be easily scraped off after it dried. This proved with time the cleaner would remove glue from metal as much as plastic. As to what type of glue it was I want to say it was either older GW glue or Zap Gap glue.

Prior to finishing up all tasks involving the Termagaunts I ended up organizing my Tyranid Bitz Box and some other boxes with various Tyranid models.

Tyranid Bitz Box

Organizing this beast wasn't to difficult as I had expected or trying to put of the work on doing for a long time. I have nice large box with round tubes in various sizes which all connect in it. I took some time and got some needed sorting done. In this I was able to find the necessary parts for changing the naked Gaunts to Termagaunts and locate a missing Termagaunt head I needed for one which lost it's head during paint stripping. My Tyranid Bitz Box is not as versatile as my Space Marine Bitz Box and that is mostly because Tyranids don't have much unique bitz compared to space marines.

Tyranid Working Bitz Box

There were two boxes one could considered I was working on Tyranid models from. If I was a Tyranid mad scientist these would have been my organ trays and surgical dishes. I needed to clean them both up and condense them to one as I needed more room overall on my storage shelf. Once again I did some sorting decision making. I ended up placing any bitz I could into the bitz box and any leftover models in various stages of assembly in the working bitz box. This makes it the task of keeping up with what projects are being worked on a bit easier. I did find a spare Spinegaunt in the mix so I started a new paint stripping tub and guess what he got tossed right on in. My Termagaunt strength just grew to 43. Dude!

Tyranid Plastic Tub

This plastic tub with it's ugly pink lid is the home to many of my Tyranid army's combined forces. There are broken metal models, broken plastic models, bitz, assembled plastic models which don't have a foam home, other assorted game accessories. How to deal with this madness was the question? I did the best thing, I dumped it out and spread everything around to see what I had to work with.

The game accessories consisting of a template set and reminder markers bound to the Tyranid army stayed in the tub. If I found any bitz they were few and they would have gone to the bitz box. Most assembled models stayed in the plastic tub. This is where the majority of my Genestealers live. Some assembled models went to the paint stripping. There were about four Warriors in there with garbage weapon options offering no help of ever being selected for a game. If I could get the same success in removing glue like before then I'll take it. I have no reason not to try because I can't remember the last time I used Warriors because they suck. They have plenty of time to discover how long it takes to remove glue. There were some broken models like a metal hive Tyrant and Carnifex which have tons of caked on glue. Any attempt to salvage them will need to see the glue removed as well so to the paint stripping tub they went. This tub needed a purging so I am glad I got it done.

I found a Gaunt with a Heavy Venom Cannon modeled to it. Back in third edition you could mutate the Gaunts to carry low strength heavy weapons which was cool. I've kept it around for nostalgia purposes, but the model isn't serving any purpose so he went into the stripping tub. This Gaunt will make Gaunt number 44. Sweet!

* Update

All of the models I placed in the tub for glue dissolving and paint stripping have been in the tub sealed since late May. I checked the tub visually without opening it on 06/21 and the Warrior's torsos had disconnected from their tails. Glue was dissolving. :)

Bolstering the Swarm

With 20 Termagaunts initially to prep for spray painting and now 32 Termagaunts to prep for spray painting I had some work to do. Overall the task was lengthy due to the enormous amount of mold line removal and minor amount of fixing broken models. I purchased and assembled the majority of my Termagaunts well before I gave a serious damn about removing mold lines so I am sort of paying for it now, but the extra effort to remove the mold lines is worth it. I didn't put to much into removing the mold lines, but enough to get rid of the majority of the noticeable stuff. Termagaunts come and go on the table top so they are not worth a tone of time. Fixing broken Termagaunts to me really depends on where the break happened. If I can salvage the foot I will and sometimes I cannot so some fixes are just a piece of pin material.

Here is a small example of a foot pinning where I was able to salvage the foot. The break is near the foot so I can save it.

Here is an example of a leg pinning where I was not able to save the foot or the plastic slot for the slotted base. I added a pin from the ankle through the base which makes a gap. With some base material most will never notice at all. Bonus all the white material is dissolved glue residue.

Lictors Rising

With the Lictors parts emerging from the murky depths of the paint strip tub it was time to prep them for spray painting. The Lictors being metal and smaller in number tend to be more noticed (I suppose) so I took a little more focused approach. I actually found some flash still stuck to a few of the Lictor parts neatly tucked away and hardly noticeable. I scraped away a lot of older dissolved glue as well which will make assembling them much easier.

I really wanted to give the Lictors some nice new scenery bases like the previously worked on Hive Guard. This brood does not see much use so the cost is not justifiable and I have their original bases which are fine. The assembly process went great and I tried to give each Lictor a different pose. The scything claws are really sweet and somewhat better than their successor models. I discovered I lost one of the smaller right arms in the paint stripping process. I think I may be able to clone one of the claws with a mold and green stuff. If I can't clone the claw perhaps a pair of Rending Claws from the older monstrous creature sprue will suffice. I did find out the rending claws from the monstrous creature sprue are roughly the same size so they will do.

The Demise and Resurrection of a Carnifex

With my huge success with paint stripping my Termagaunts I turned to my Carnifex somewhere in between to deal with the mishap during the spray painting. I know everyone says beware of over spraying a model and it never seems to happen BAM it happened. I noticed I had oversprayed my Carnifex along the upper carapace vents and legs obscuring the detail of the inner flesh parts.


 I fully understand how to spray paint a model so please refrain from offering any how to spray paint advice.

I sat on the mishap for quite some time as to what to do as the carapace had been magnetized. I broke apart the legs and soaked them for a bit, but apparently Army Painter spray paints are a bit tough to remove. If the carapace soaks long enough to remove the spray paint, the glue may disolve and dislodge the magnets causing a much bigger issue.

Chef's Inspired: Greenstuff Stuffed Carnifex Carapace

I finally devised a plan to not only allow the Carnifex to soak fully, but also for the magnets to be largely protected from falling into the inner carapace. I did so by removing the upper carapace where I knew there was a small access hole I used prior to gluing the magnets in place. For a long time my daughter helped me roll a lot of green stuff into small lines where it was stuffed through the small access hole. Using a thin tool I shoved the green stuff towards the general direction of the magnets. A lot of green stuff was stuffed into the carapace adding weight to the carapace, but more then enough to compensate for all the magnets being protected. I still had reserved feelings for the magnet's safety, but in the end I ended up soaking the Carnafex in the cleaner for about two weeks. It could of soaked longer, but I removed the Carnifex to in hopes play a game of 40K, but the game never happened.

When the Carnifex was removed from soaking and had time to dry fully I noticed a few changes. Some of the magnets had come lose, but in the sockets where they sat I saw green stuff blocking the magnet from moving into the carapace. A lot of areas where glue would have been used had turned to the same powdering white color which again could be scrapped away. This meant the cleaner took only about to weeks to dissolve glue and the glue used on this Carnifex could have been combination of GW, Zap Gap, and perhaps Locktite. The major area which was displeasing was only a certain amount of spray paint had come loose which was the sole purpose of the paint stripping. Although not all of the paint was removed, enough was removed to bring the details out of being obscured. Sadly some portions on the legs were gone, but I could live with it.

Some inner flesh detail recovered.

More inner flesh detail recovered.

Some inner flesh detail recovered. The small bulb on the tail unsure if it was truly lost.

Some carapace vent inner flesh detail recovered.

Some carapace vent inner flesh detail recovered.

Chef's Served: Marinated Greenstuff Stuffed Carnifex Carapace

I really wish I had taken pictures.

Working on the Carnifex to reset the magnets I discovered all the major glued seams where coming apart so I actually will little effort disassembled the entire Carnifex completely. I took some time to clean off dissolved glue and paint and checked out the green stuff stuffed carapace. Looking at all the green stuff in the carapace felted like taking part in a dissection of some sorts as the green stuff looked like organs, or the dissolved parts of the Carnifex's many victims. The plan worked and seeing it after it worked was cool. I didn't think to add green stuff on the opposite side of the magnets, but that was due to me gluing the carapace together many years before. When I magnetized my other Tyranid Monstrous creatures I had taken to adding greenstuff into the loop.

I was able to reattach the magnets so the magnetized arms would fit together in good positions. The cool thing about the spray paint mishap is the head and magnetized arms came out fine and never needed to be paint stripped at all. The Carnifex is waiting to be spray painted now and then be fully assembled and finally it will be ready for painting.

Reinforcements 3.0

Towards the last few days before my vacation I figured I should try and assemble one of the models from the Deathstorm boxed set I got for Christmas. I ended up pulling out the new Broodlord. The model had a fair amount of cleanup work to do, but it was otherwise great model to assemble. This model looks like it will be very fun to paint. One day it will lead the rest of the Genestealers with my other two Broodlords. This will be my third Broodlord and all three Broodlords are different.

Well this is the end of this monstrous amount of thoughts. If anyone made it this far I thank you for reading and I hope it was enjoyable and educational somewhat. I really don't have any hopes for anyone to read some a massive post, but these kinds of posts are what blogs are for right.

Next post I will be able to the contents of the paint stripping tub and some general progress on my Lictor brood.

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