Armies of the Jungle: The Kurindans

In this series, we showcase armies used by your humble Jungle Guides. 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.

First Sergeant Jeremiah Zumwalt had seen—and killed—many foul xenos over his decades of service to the Imperium, but he had never before seen these: purple reptilian humanoids accompanied by a variety of green monstrosities, and towering over all of them, a charcoal-gray beast with jagged dorsal spines, whose plodding footsteps actually made the ground shake beneath Zumwalt’s feet, and whose roars threatened to burst the eardrums of him and his men.

Not that First Sergeant Zumwalt knew why these aliens were here. As on almost every other terrestrial planet in the galaxy, nickel was a common metal here on Esmarkka IV, used mostly for making steel. The bastions and the small garrison of troops here were in case of raids by wandering human barbarians on this sparsely-settled world, and even so, they had not been necessary for several years.  

Yet now, this mine was under a determined attack by a horde of xenos, cloaked in swirling green gas that made shots go wide, and a living nightmare large enough to blot out the sun. 

Introduction

I was only a small child when I first saw this on TV, which I thought was the absolute coolest thing ever:

That is, of course, the Gorn from the original Star Trek series.

Several years later, I encountered the Lizardmen from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and because they were so darn cool, I, as a DM, frequently threw them at my players.

A few years after that, I came across the various Lizardman Warhammer fantasy figures, and it was then and there that I decided I had to have them in a 40K army: the “Kurindans.”

I can easily see Lizardmen playing a part in the 40K universe as a race of “primitives” with little technology and naught but numbers and tenacity on their side. Because Lizardmen are not officially part of the 40K game, I applied the rules from the Tyranid codex to my reptilian warriors.

Why Nids? Because they’re a low-tech race that relies on close combat, just like the Lizardmen from the Warhammer fantasy game, and thusly, I could minimize or even negate the need to do any conversions to the miniatures. It’s pretty easy to convince opponents that a Lizardman Saurus Warrior figure with an axe and a spear is the equivalent of a Hormagaunt.

Kurindans charging Orks across a snowy battlefield

Army Background

“The Kurindans” is my version of Lizardmen in 40K, and does not attempt to replicate either the Lizardmen/Seraphon army or “fluff” from the Warhammer games (original, or Age of Sigmar). Nor does it try to tie in with the Slann-like “Old Ones” mentioned in other fluff.

Kurindans are warm blooded, hatch from eggs, and though not unintelligent, lack much of the human capacity for creative thought and independent decision making .Kurindans have an irrational hatred of all other races, and almost always attack if they perceive themselves to be stronger, devouring the slain and enslaving the survivors.

The Kurindans are unlike the other powers of the galaxy. Though they once had a small empire before falling into barbaric decline, they–unlike the Necrons–have no desire to reclaim it.

Nor are they fighting for survival, like the Aeldari. Unlike the T’au and the forces of Chaos, they have no interest in battling the Imperium for supremacy.

Kurindan Megasaur facing off against a Heldrake

They care not for looting and pillaging, in opposition to the Drukhari and the Orks. Though omnivores, they are not trying to consume all sentient life, as are the Tyranids.

Instead, the Kurindans are on a quest. Led by !Klrt*, a recently-elected tyrant-king of exceptional strength, intelligence, and (for Lizardmen, anyway), charisma, an enormous band of Kurindans has begun traveling among the planets of their former empire, gathering together their scattered people. Sometimes other Kurindans have been swayed by !Klrt’s oratory; usually, they submit only after !Klrt defeats their leader in single combat.

*The exclamation point at the beginning of “!Klrt” means that when speaking the name, one should press one’s tongue against the roof of the mouth and release it, making a sort of clucking sound.

!Klrt is no mere warlord: he has a vision for the Kurindan race. Once all the Kurindans have been united under him, they will set off for a distant world named only in the most ancient myths. What do they hope to find once they finally reach this place, if it really exists? Certainly not safety and a chance to rebuild (this is 40K, after all, not Battlestar Galactica.)

No, at the end of their quest, they hope to find redemption–and the destruction of the entire universe.

!Klrt insists that the only reason the cosmos has ever existed is so that the Kurindans could rule it, with all other races subjugated as slaves. The Kurindans were on their way to attaining that goal when they began to fight among themselves, and lost their empire.

Having fallen, their people are no longer worthy to live, and neither is the universe that was to be theirs to rule. Therefore, the Kurindans and the universe must die.

Kurindans on the march

Mere suicide or allowing themselves to be destroyed by any of the inferior beings–humans or the various aliens–that infest the galaxy would be even more shameful. The only way for the Kurindans to redeem themselves is to travel to the home world of their supreme deity—The Slayer of Gods”report their failure, and accept his punishment.

So great will The Slayer’s wrath be, !Klrt claims, that it will destroy the physical universe. Those Kurindans alive today are surely doomed, but all might not be lost.

If, in their course of their journey to The Slayer’s world, the Kurindans continue to display their bravery and skill at arms, The Slayer might—might–concede that their race still had some small worth. Perhaps, after a long time, the Slayer will re-assume his female form of The Cosmic Mother and re-create the universe and the Kurindan people, allowing them to try again to fulfill their destiny.

!Klrt has convinced untold millions of Kurindans to follow him on his apocalyptic quest. While this quest may sound utterly mad to more philosophically sophisticated cultures, it resonates well with almost all Kurindans who hear it.

!Klrt’s followers are gripped by the same xenophobia that grips all Kurindans, but additionally, they are motivated by religious zealotry, convinced that the more “aliens” they kill, the more likely The Slayer of Gods will deign to re-create the universe.

Types of Kurindans & Allied Beasts

The Kurindan people have two species: a small, agile race—Imperial records usually refer to them as Newts—and a larger race, usually called Troglodytes.” In battle, both races are used as foot soldiers in often-large groups called “rampages.”

A few of the more experienced, battle-hardened Troglodytes ride reptilian mounts that Imperial forces have nicknamed Dracosaurs. These mounted Troglodytes serve as captains, directing others.

Dracosaurs possess intelligence comparable to a horse, and have powerful jaws and razor-sharp claws. Great Dracosaurs are larger and often are able to spit highly-corrosive acid.

!Klrt, Tyrant-King of the Kurindans, riding his Great Dracosaur

When they lost their empire, the Kurindans also lost their knowledge of spaceflight: no matter. On more than one occasion, !Klrt and his forces have commandeered alien starships and forced their crews to take them where they want to go.

They also have been able to call upon the warp-manipulating abilities of mutant psyker Kurindans—usually referred to as Shamans”to create temporary wormholes through the space/time continuum, allowing whole armies of Kurindans to literally walk from one planet to another.

Progress along the quest has been slow. Often, captured starship crews attempt to rebel, sabotage their ships, or are simply killed and eaten by the Kurindans after landing.

The wormholes created by Shamans are difficult to create—requiring a great expenditure of psychic energy—and do not extend very far in astronomical terms (stretching, at most, from one solar system to the next closest).

The Kurindans do not possess any significant technology, but they are aided in battle by several species of reptilian creatures, in addition to Dracosaurs, from their home world. These beasts have varying degrees of intelligence and can accept commands from Kurindans. Imperial forces who have encountered these creatures have given them descriptive nicknames, used below.

Certain Newt leaders are accompanied into battle atop winged, dim-witted brutes called “Anklyodons,” who seemingly feel no pain, and are tremendously destructive. Newts also guide the enormous “Carnosaurs” and the even-larger “Megasaurs,” who are tasked with simply spearheading the Kurindan advance and crashing into the enemy.

Carnosaur of the “Cottonmouth” variety, first encountered during the Qellizarr VII Incident

Hydrasaurs are large, voracious creatures with multiple heads and snapping jaws.  Hydrasaurs are approximately as intelligent as gorillas and can fulfill simple orders with minimal supervision.

Venosaurians are bloated creatures that seep liquid- and gas poison–harmless to Kurindans and their attendant war-beasts, lethal to all others–from their pores. Venosaurians are naturally able to levitate thanks to the posion gas bladders within them, and they often skulk in the rear of the Kurindan force, looking for counterattackers and protecting other units.

Finbacks” and “Spikers are squat but hardy, and are powerful fighters. They are intelligent and can communicate with the Kurindans and other beasts that serve them. Four-armed Saurodons slink ahead of the main army, ambushing key enemy units and disrupting operations.

A Saurodon (with a Newt minder) sneaking behind enemy lines

“Pterodans” are very large flying brutes with powerful breath weapons.  Finally, there are “Titanosaurs,” which rival Imperial war machines in size and destructive capability.

A Titanosaur battling Tyranids

Collecting the Army

I started the army more than 15 years ago, and though I would like to say that I took a calm, rational approach to purchasing the figures, that would be a fornicating lie.

What I actually did was flip madly through Codex: Tyranids like an eight-year old with a toy store catalog, exclaiming, “I want one of those! And two of those! And six of those! And some of these!”

After scribbling down what unit types I liked, I went to the Lizardman section of the Complete Games Workshop Catalog and Hobby Reference, 2004-2005 Edition (remember, this was a long time ago) and picked out models that could represent those units.

While I was doing that, I spotted certain Lizardman figures that I liked very much, so I went back to the Tyranid book and picked out units that I could apply those models to. A very circular process, the final result of which was that, like many of my other armies, this one grew larger than I had planned. Embarrassing, but there it is.

Modeling and Painting

Once I received my figures in the mail, I built them and based them. I added a few more from other sources as time went on. Here’s a list of the figures I use, what I call them in my Kurindan army, and what Tyranid unit type they represent:

Miniature Kurindan Army Unit Tyranid Army Unit
Warhammer Kroq Gar on Carnosaur “!Klrt on Great Dracosaur” Tyranid Prime
Warhammer Lizardmen Kroxigor “!Klrt” Broodlord
Warhammer Lizardmen Sauruses “Troglodytes” Hormagaunts/ Genestealers
Warhammer Lizardmen Sauruses on Cold Ones “Troglodytes on Dracosaurs” Tyranid Warriors/ Tyranid Shrikes
Warhammer Dark Elf War Hydra “Hydrasaur” Haruspexes
Warhammer Vampire Counts Nightmare “Saurodon” Lictors
Warhammer Lizardmen Temple Guard “Troglodytes” Genestealers
Warhammer Lizardmen Skinks “Newts” Hormagaunts/ Termagants
Warhammer Lizardmen Salamanders/ Razordons  “Finbacks”and “Spikers” Tyranid Warriors/ Tyranid Shrikes
Warhammer Lizardmen Slann Mage Priest “Venosaurian” Venomthropes
Dinosaur toy w/ Skink “Carnosaur” Tyranid Prime/ Tyrannofex
Dinosaur toy figures “Carnosaurs” Exocrines
Dragon toy  w/Skink “Anklyodon” Hive Tyrant w/ Wings/ Haruspex
Rodan toy figures “Pterodans” Harpies
Godzilla toy figures “Megasaurs” Trygons
Large Godzilla toy figure “Titanosaur” Hierophant Bio-Titan

Seeing as how my Kurindans already break the WYSIWYG rule just by being a proxy army, I had little compunction about breaking that rule again when it came to weapons and biomorphs. I did not attempt to model deathspitters, venom cannons, cluster spines, what-have-you. Instead, I said these were all breath weapons.

Because I was working on other 40K projects, I commissioned my friend and fellow Jungle Guide Patrick Eibel to paint this army for me. I thought that Pat’s very gritty, realistic, “natural” painting style would much better suit the Kurindans than my clean, “cartoony” style.

My only requirement was that I wanted the Kurindans painted purple. Why purple? Because it’s one of my favorite colors, and it’s not one you often see in 40K games.

Though I hadn’t asked him to, Pat wisely chose to paint the various Kurindan monsters green instead of purple, which gives the army some contrast. I painted the Spikers, the  Carnosaurs, Anklyodons, Pterodans, and the Megasaurs, which I found after Pat had finished the army.

A lot of the monsters are not official GW minis. The Carnosaurs and Anklyodons were toys my kids weren’t using. The Pterodans are inexpensive vinyl Rodan figures, and the Megasaurs are inexpensive plastic Godzilla figures; I think both types perfectly embody the theme of the army. They stand over 6″ high, much bigger than any of the Lizardmen figures.

Purists may sneer at using toys for models, but then, sneering is what many purists do best, and it makes them happy. I’m happy with how I didn’t have to assemble the toy figures (some of those GW kits are a PITA to put together), how they look painted, and how I saved a heap of money.

Carnosaur with Newt rider

Current Army Lists

I’ve experimented with a number of army list configurations. The nice thing about using non-standard models is that I’m not locked in to a single role for them: if I don’t like how they perform, I can assign them a new one. In the past, for example, I’ve said that all the Slaan Mage Priest figures are the equivalent of Zoanthropes, but since then, I’ve switched them to being  Venomthropes.

I have a very large collection, and as of the time of this writing (September 2020), it’s divided into three armies, each of  about 120 Power Rating (I recently decided to give up using Points Values). All of the lists use the Gorgon Hive Fleet Adaptation of Adaptive Toxins, which allows each unit to re-roll wound rolls of 1 in the Fight phase.

Each army is built around a theme: the first list is all about speed.

Kurindans Army List #1: “Leapin’ Lizards!” (One Battalion and one Auxiliary Support Detachment)

  • Two Newts w/ Anklyodons (count as Hive Tyrants w/ wings and monstrous boneswords)
  • Two rampages of  Troglodytes (count as two broods of 24 Hormagaunts each)
  • Three rampages of Newts (count as three broods of 15 Hormagaunts each)
  • Two rampages of Troglodytes on Dracosaurs (count as one brood of four  and one brood of six Tyranid Shrikes, with deathspitters and venom cannons)
  • One rampage of Finbacks and Spikers (count as eight Tyranid Shrikes w/ two pairs of scything talons)
  • Three Pterodans (one in an Auxiliary Support Detachment; count as Harpies w/ stinger salvoes and two stranglethorn cannons)

The second list is Genestealer-heavy, using my favorite Nid HQ unit.

Kurindans Army List #2: “Purple People Eaters” (One Battalion Detachment)

  • !Klrt and !Tkri (count as Broodlords)
  • Four rampages of  Troglodytes (count as four broods of 14 Genestealers each)
  • Two Saurodons (count as Lictors)
  • Three Hydrasaurs (count as Haruspexes)
  • Three Carnosaurs (two count as Exocrines, one counts as Tyrannofex w/ fleshborer hive or rupture cannon)

The third list uses my big monsters, and features another favorite HQ unit.

Kurindans Army List #3: “Actually Godzilla” (One Battalion Detachment)

  • !Klrt w/ Great Dracosaur and !Gmbi w/ Carnosaur (count as Tyranid Primes w/ deathspitters and boneswords)
  • Three rampages of Troglodytes on Dracosaurs (count as three broods of three, three, and four Tyranid Warriors with deathspitters and venom cannons)
  • Two rampages of Newts (each counts as two broods of 20 Termagants w/ devourers)
  • Three Venosaurians (counts as three Venomthropes)
  • Three Hydrasaurs and two Newts w/ Anklyodons (counts as five Haruspexes)
  • One rampage of Finbacks and Spikers (count as eight Tyranid Shrikes w/ two pairs of scything talons)
  • Three Megasaurs (count as three Trygons)
Kurindans and Chaos Space Marines

Any of these armies can be augmented with a Titanosaur, which counts as a Hierophant Bio-Titan, and is pretty much an army in its own right. Its stats are below; GW recently increased its Power Rating to 100 as part of their 2020 update.

The model I use for it is a 12″ Godzilla figure, whom I’ve nicknamed “Big G.” He was last seen busting up a whole bunch of Space Marines led by my neighbors, the “Becker Boys.”

Using the Army

It was a painful learning process to find the army configurations that interested me but were also successful on the table. As mentioned, I have, in the past, tried units that I have since moved away from: Tervigons, Hive Guard, Zoanthropes, Gargoyles, Raveners, and Carnifexes.

Some units–Lictors and Tyrannofexes–I used before, dropped because they weren’t effective, then came back to when the 8e Tyranid codex was released. You never know what you’re going to get when Games Workshop comes out with a new version of Codex: Cucharacha.

Troglodyte and !Tkri , an enormous, mutant Kurindan

I learned long ago from my pal Ken “Fabulous Orcboy” Lacy, the smartest guy I’ve ever met, that Nids are all about force multiplication.  One of a particular unit might not be all that, but two is often good, and three (or more) is usually great. This is true for other 40K armies, of course, but seems to be more so for Nids.  I’ll let Ken explain why in his own words:

Taking multiples of a good unit makes it harder for opponents to easily prioritize them as targets for firepower. This is important enough when you have plenty of vehicles and transports, but even more important when you rely entirely on your critters, and don’t have an additional layer of protection between them and enemy dakka.

It works particularly well for big, tough, nasty things that can get to where they need to be quickly: one Land Raider is a target, but two or three are a nasty threat, because few armies have the firepower to handle all of them in the same turn…and the turn after, they’re down your throat.

The main downside to the three-Land Raider army is point cost. Nids can do the same thing for a lot fewer points with (for example) three Trygons.

Also, since some of the Nid units are designed to synergize with others, taking more means more synergy, means more force multiplication.  

Anklyodons aren’t smart enough to be afraid of Heldrakes

Conclusion

So there you have it.  I really like the character of the army and how it’s turned out. I can’t wait to test it with the 9e rules!


When I’m not playing or blogging about 40K, I’m writing killer SF/F  for young adults, and adults who are still young. And now you can get my novel Lost Dogs–the story of the end of the world as seen, heard, and smelled, by a dog–for free!  

This Wasted Land, my latest novel, isn’t your typical teenage love story.  It’s more like: Boy meets Girl –> Evil Witch takes Boy –> Girl goes to get Boy back.

My first novel was Dragontamer’s Daughters, like Little House on the Prairie…with dragons.  With Jungle Guide Patrick Eibel, I created Our Wild Place, a children’s book about the joy to be found in exploring Nature.

Visit kentonkilgore.com, and follow me on Facebook for frequent posts on sci-fi, fantasy, and other speculative fiction.  You can also catch me on Instagram.

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