Tuesday 10 January 2017

Tyranid Hierophant Bio-titan - Painting progress

A few months ago (back in September I think!) the Hierophant Bio-titan I ordered finally arrived.

Cue rough progress photo
Just so we're clear, he didn't arrive in this state but was a brand new kit in need of much building. And what a task that turned out to be! Having read from several sources that these guys are notorious for bending/warping under their own weight I knew that I would have some work to do if I ever wanted to be able to use him on the battlefield.

To begin with, I had a look around online to see if there were any tutorials I could follow. As it turns out there are several, and, by cross referencing, I formulated a plan to construct my own Bio-titan. The main difficulty is the strength of the legs compared with the weight of the torso (a huge solid lump of resin); in an attempt to remedy this, I cut each leg into 3 pieces using a razor saw and then drilled and inserted 2mm steel pins. I also sawed the front claws in half and pinned them using paperclips.

After that was done (including bending one of the legs back into shape using a hairdryer) it became the usual task of building a resin model. All the usual cutting, bending, pinning etc. In the end, I went a bit pin happy with this thing, pinning all the limbs, the head, both mandibles and even some of the larger carapace spines!

Once the main build was complete I used plenty of green stuff and Apoxie Sculpt to fill the gaps and iron out any casting flaws and air bubbles. The Hierophant was surprisingly gappy when built (common with ball and socket joints) and I used up plenty of putty filling around the arms and legs.

After all of that it was time to build the base. For those that don't know, these models are too large to be supplied with a base so it is left to the intrepid hobbyist to make their own or go without. One look at the Hierophant should be enough to convince you that a base is very, very necessary. I have seen plenty of different examples online of people making large circular bases out of timber. Whilst this would work pretty well for a display piece, I was unconvinced of the ability to maneuver something like this on the battlefield. That and I'm not totally sure that the added weight of a hefty piece of mdf would do this model any favours. In the end I opted for two layers of thick plasticard, stuck together and cut to shape, this helped with the rigidity of the finished model and also allows it to maintain a reasonable footprint (for a titan!)

After the base was formed and the Hierophant was fixed down (cue more pins and glue) it was getting on for late October. Excessive amounts of Chaos Black spray were applied (Abaddon black?!) and then it was down to me and my big brush to get some colour on it. Unfortunately, at this point I encountered a minor snag. The recesses in the Hierophant's carapace are so deep and many that I found it virtually impossible to paint them with a normal brush. After a little trying and frustration, the project was shelved for a later date.

A couple of months later and in stepped the mighty Blazmo of Tabletop Apocalypse fame. Wielding his airbrush, he generously agreed to hit up the Hierophant with a coat of red paint (and as it turned out, a little white and some grey too!) So, on Christmas day we sat down in the bathroom with our respirators on and got down to business (now there's a sentence I never thought I'd write!)

Since then, I've carried on painting with great enthusiasm, finishing off the red basecoat by hand and then applying my usual black wash. At this point, I've almost finished the white basecoat to the chitinous areas which means that the model isn't too far from completion! Tune in for the next episode when I hope to be able to show off the finished article.


  1. I look forward to seeing the beast completed! It certainly is a sight to behold!

    1. I look forward to finishing it! It would probably go faster if I hadn't been distracted by the new tech priest over the weekend and started building him instead!!

  2. That is incredible. I always wondered if they had issues standing...I guess when you are sitting on 2mm rods, it helps a bit. :)

    1. Thanks Greg, hope to be able to show off some finished photos soon!