Thursday 18 July 2019

Big batch painting - Over forty Tyranids

Well there's a post title I never thought I'd write! Historically I've been awful at batch painting. I've never attempted more than about five models at a time and never successfully completed any of those. I just find (found?) it soul destroying, seeing so little 'real' progress whilst mindlessly applying basecoats etc.

Boom! 41 Tyranids painted as a single batch!
So, what gives? How was I able to crash out such a huge number of models in a couple of weeks. Well, unfortunately there's no single factor involved here. Frankly I'm kind of stunned to have managed it myself. But here's a little summary of my ability to suddenly do batch painting:

1 - Lowering the quality.
I'm always loath to drop the quality of my miniatures. They are expensive things and deserve the best quality I can manage. I certainly apply this attitude to all my other armies, so what's different about the Tyranids? Well, for one, a lot of these are Ebay rescues which had a hard life the first time around, so they're cheap and not in the greatest condition. This certainly helps to break the attitude of painting them to your best standard. In addition, I knew that to complete a batch of this size in a reasonable time frame I would have to drop the quality a bit. This doesn't mean they're sloppy, it just means sacrificing a few details and using simple painting methods. This brings me on to....

2 - A simple paint scheme.
My Tyranid scheme was concocted over ten years ago when I was just getting back into painting. At that time, two factors were paramount. It must be easy to paint yet look decent, and it must use as few colours as possible (I was a starving student at the time). This definitely helps when it comes to batch painting because the models are basically a couple of basecoats and some washes (with a few details picked out). Simple = fast.

Hormagaunts from the batch. Incredibly simple but effective.
3 - Accuracy and experience.
This is one of those things that only comes with practice. The more you paint, the better you get and the fewer mistakes you make. This means far less time cleaning up after applying a wash or basecoat.

4 - Inspiration.
My brother Blazmo (of Tabletop Apocalypse) had just completed a batch of 20 troopers for his Steel Legion forces. They are far more detailed (and better painted) than my Tyranids which got me thinking, if he can do it, why not me? In addition, we talked about doing a meatgrinder type game with successive waves of Tyranids assaulting a beleaguered Steel Legion force. Obviously to pull this off, I needed to have lots of Tyranid infantry! 

That all pretty much sums up how this came about. Even though I sacrificed quality a bit, I'm still really pleased with the finished batch. I guess quantity really does have a quality all of its own.

They ain't pretty, but they're painted.
As you can see from the above, they aren't the most beautiful things I've ever painted. But they'll certainly see plenty of battlefield action and hopefully revitalise my interest in Tyranids. Here's to the next batch!


  1. They are perfectly suitable for table top standards and a nice striking scheme enmasse. Great job, I’m thinking with contrast paints a large batch of Genestealers is in order for my fledgling Cult.

    1. Cheers Siph! I'm looking forward to getting them out on the table soon. I did consider trying contrast paints for these, but I didn't fancy adapting an existing scheme.