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Armies of the Jungle: Hive Fleet Ravana  by Patrick Eibel
In the From Idea To Reality series, we chronicled the process of creating an army from scratch.  In this series, we will showcase the finished results of our labors – the completed armies (as much as any 40K army can ever be considered “completed”).  By detailing how the army was collected, how the background and color schemes were developed, and how the army is used on the battlefield, we hope that this series will provide inspiration for those interested in collecting similar armies.

The release of the new Codex: Tyranids has led me, as I am sure it has other players of the Bugs, to revise their army lists (and purchase a few new toys!).  All of these changes means that it is time to revisit the Armies of the Jungle entry for my Tyranids.  The first change you may notice is that I am using the name “Hivefleet Ravana” instead of its previous name, Hive Fleet Azhdarcoid.  When I originally did this article, I was not sure how the Hive Fleet would fit into our Jungle universe, and I wanted to use something original to set them apart.  After several battles with Kenton’s armies, it seemed that my Tyranids would fit right into the background story that we have created, and, anyway, I like the name Kenton came up with better.  I view the old name, “Azdarchoid,” as the scientific name given to the particular strain.

Army List 
When I finish getting everything I want for the army, it should total about 6,000 points worth of Buggy goodness.  I will list out my entire army, marking entries with an “x” if I do not have them yet. 

  • Hive Tyrant  w/ two sets of scything talons, wings, adrenal glands, Leech Essence, Paroxysm, Old Adversary 
  • Hive Tyrant   w/ heavy venom cannon, adrenal glands, regeneration, Hive Commander (250 points). Accompanied by 2 Tyrant Guards  w/ rending claws and scything talons
  • Tyranid Prime Warrior  w/ lash whip, bonesword, deathspitter, adrenal glands 
  • 2 Lictors 
  • 3 Zoanthropes 
  • 3 Pyrovores 
  • 3 Hive Guard 
  • Four broods of 12 Genestealers each. One w/ Broodlord 
  • Two broods of 24 Hormagaunts each, w/ toxin sacs 
  • One brood of 18 Termagants w/ fleshborers
  • 2 Tervigons  w/ scything talons, Catalyst, adrenal glands, toxin sacs, and cluster spines 
  • Brood of 6 Tyranid Warriors  w/ deathspitters, rending claws, and adrenal glands 
  • Brood of 6 Tyranid Warriors  (x) w/ boneswords one pair each), and adrenal glands 
  • Brood of 6 Tyranid Shrikes  w/ rending claws, scything talons, adrenal glands, and devourers 
  • Brood of 6 Tyranid Shrikes  w/ rending claws, scything talons, and adrenal glands 
  • Brood of 6 Raveners  w/ scything talons and rending claws
  • Brood of 18 Gargoyles (x)
  • Harpy  w/ heavy venom cannon (x) 
  • 2 Carnifexes  w/ heavy venom cannons and scything talons 
  • 2 Carnifexes  w/ twin-linked devourers, scything talons, and adrenal glands
  • Mawloc 
  • Tyrannofex w/ rupture cannon

Some of Hivefleet Ravana, Pat's Tyranid army 
Click on the thumbnail for a closer view

Modeling and Painting
I began this army by buying a friend's collection of 2nd and 3rd Edition figures, which have since gone out of production. To keep a consistent look to the army, I have tried, whenever possible, to use figures from that time period.  eBay has been invaluable for acquiring older models.  In general, I avoid purchasing painted miniatures, as you are paying more for somebody else’s color scheme (which you will just paint over, anyway), but sometimes you have to take what’s available (two of my Raveners came with Dark Angel Green bodies with purple talons before I repainted them). 


Pat's Broodlord and his Genestealers
Click on the thumbnail for a closer view

Using the out-of-print models creates a visually unique army, although because the models are so much smaller than the current line, particularly the Hive Tyrants and Carnifexes, I sometimes have to clarify what some figures are. For example, currently, I am using my old 2e Hive Tyrant as my Tyranid Prime.  To model a Tervigon, I am using one of my old Screamer-Killer Carnifex models with some “eggs” (the tops of some spore mines) by his feet, and a Termagant “hatching” nearby, using the hive node bit from the Macragge set.
Since I use old Carnifex models for Carnies, I can use the new one for the Tyrannofex: I just put a venom cannon in each hand.


Carnifexes. Click on the thumbnail for a closer view

When looking over the new codex, I realized that one of the problems that fast units like Hormagaunts would have is outdistancing the Synapse creatures. Giving Warriors wings and making them Shrikes seemed like a great way to have them move along at roughly the same speed as the fleet units.  I used the more-recent plastic Warriors because they would be easier to convert, and they look cooler than the older models.  I did a search for wings on the GW Online Store and decided on using Terradon wings from the Warhammer Fantasy Lizardman line.  I had to cut a bit of each wing off to simplify the join with the Warrior body, but I think the end result looks pretty good.


Tyranid Shrikes with scything talons and rending claws
Click on the thumbnail for a closer view

The winged Hive Tyrant took a bit of work as well.  I used the Third Edition model, but had to pin all of the parts keep them together.  The wings are the plastic dragon wings after a failed attempt to use Manticore wings (which were too small.) 


The winged Hive Tyrant: a beast to put together
Click on the thumbnails for closer views

Background And Color Scheme
The Tyranid line of models are really monstrous and alien looking (and evocative of a certain alien movie), so I briefly considered painting the army in tones of black and gray.  At the original Fall From Grace, I had helped a friend paint some of his Tyranid models, which had an interesting Dark Angel Green, Camo Green, and Bleached Bone scheme, but I couldn’t remember exactly how it was done.  In the end, I decided to go with a variant of the Leviathan color scheme presented in Codex: Tyranids, mostly because some of the models I had purchased initially were already painted along those lines (Shadow Grey on the Bodies, Bleached Bone Claws). 

I refined the technique for painting the army into a series of drybrushed layers. By using a dark tone, a mid tone, and a light tone, the layers create depth. There are three schemes used for most models, four if the model has wings.

1) All body bits (the fleshy skin, not hard carapace plates or exposed meaty areas) are painted Shadow Grey, then drybrushed with Space Wolves Grey and Ghostly Grey (which is no longer made, but you could use a mix of Space Wolves Grey and Skull White). 

2) All claw bits, including teeth, talons, and all gun-like weaponry, are painted Bestial Brown and then drybrushed Bleached Bone. 

3) All carapace bits, the ridged plate areas on the backs, legs and arms of most of the larger Tyranids, are painted Chaos Black, then Liche Purple is applied to the edge of the ridge, then Fortress Grey is drybrushed across the purple to add some definition and contrast. 

The exposed interior flesh (the patches of bumpy sinew on the hands, arms, and legs) are painted Liche Purple before the Ghostly Grey layer is done.  The Ghostly Grey then can be applied over the area as a contrast to the purple.  Alternatively, if the drybrushing gets too thick over the area, purple ink can be applied to seep into the cracks, leaving the gray color as a highlight.

4) For the models with wings, the arm part of the wing is the same as the body and the wing is painted Chaos Black, then drybrushed Codex Grey and Fortress Grey.

Since the color scheme I used is very similar to that of Hivefleet Leviathan, it made sense that my Hivefleet would be a mutated strain.  I imagine that the strain gestated on a homeworld high in ozone, or some other bluish element, that caused the armies’ bluer coloration.  It is also possible that the coloration is some sort of camouflage developed to blend in with an ice world or cobalt wastes. 


Raveners with scything talons and rending claws 
Click on the thumbnail for a closer view

Using The Army
When it's completed, I'll break the army up into two 3,000 point detachments.  One detachment is a swarm army that has Termagants, Tervigons, Hormagaunts, and Raveners, and uses speed and superior numbers to overwhelm the opponent in close combat.  This detachment gets fire support from Hive Guard and the Tyrannofex.  The other detachment is the alternate deployment army, with infiltrating Genestealers, mycetic pod-dropping Zoanthropes and Pyrovores, and the Mawloc.  This army uses the Hive Commander and Lictors' abilities to ensure getting on the board by Turn Two or Three. 

So far, I have only had a few games with the new codex.  In particular, I used my "swarm army" option against a Chaos Daemon army, and my guys won handily.  It was particularly sweet to see Termagants, juiced with adrenal glands and toxin sacs provided  by the Tervigon, take down a Daemon Prince in two rounds.  I am looking forward to trying out the other detachment soon.


Zoanthropes; Old -school Termagants and Hormagaunts
Click on the thumbnails for closer views

Armies of the Jungle
List of Armies


First posted October 2007. Updated April 2010
 

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle