WiP Report and Tutorial:

Tyranid Lictor, North American GD 2010 Slayer Sword Winner

by Todd Swanson


I started working on this miniature with the intent of entering it in the 2008 Los Angeles Golden Demon competition. I didn’t get very far and decided to put it off till a later time. In 2009 I was working on a bigger more ambitious project (mounted chaos lord) and realized that I would not have it completed in time for the 2009 Chicago Golden Demon. I decided to shift gears at the last minute and resurrect the Lictor project as I thought I would be able to finish it, which I didn’t. I was really disappointed to go to Games Day that year with no entry. Three months before 2010 Baltimore Games Day I decided that my goal would be to finish the Lictor and I am very happy that I managed to do it. I must thank David Rodriguez who coached me on the painting of this miniature over two years. He was extremely patient and understanding with my stop and go approach.

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1 & 2 – This is the start of the base. It is a Games Workshop 40mm round base with the sides filed round. The triangle column that rises up is constructed of platicard with a core of brown stuff putty. The metal rod is a paper clip that goes down through the triangle column then bends at 90 degrees and goes under the full length of the base. It serves as the pin that will go up through the Lictor’s leg to attach it to the base, and also is attracted to the magnet on the display base to hold the miniature to it, all while adding strength to the base. On picture 2 you can see that the back of the triangle column has black Milliput that I filed smoothly to match the round shape of the base.


3 – I removed some of the plastic on top of the base as I wanted to add depth for the Imperial Guardsman. You can now see the paper clip that runs under the base that was mentioned in picture 1. The bottom of the base was covered with a thin sheet of plastic card and all the gaps were filled with Green Stuff so that when I poured the water effect it would not leak through the bottom of the base.

4 – I added some details to the top of the triangle column with Brown Stuff. I also added the Imperial Guardsman casualty. In this picture it obvious that he is incomplete, but I knew that when the water effect was done that you would not be able to tell.


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5 – This is the decking that the Lictor will be standing on. It was fashioned to a round shape to match the base below. In the Lictor’s world the decking goes on beyond the limits of the base. The back of the triangle column and the sides of the wire mash were painted black to represent this. The paper clips plug into two holes I have drilled in the side of the triangle column. I am basically creating puzzle pieces that perfectly mate to one another. This piece had to be removable so I could paint the base under it, but I needed to build it at this stage to figure out how the Lictor would stand on the base. It is made from some plastic I-beam and mesh from an envelope holder. The Electrical box is brown stuff with some small copper wire.

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6  – The top deck is fitted to make sure that everything will work together.

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7 – The base has been painted using the same techniques I used to paint the Plague Lord Festus. This base was actually done right after I finished that mini back in 2008. Note that the decking has not been glued in and can be removed for future steps.


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8 – I took a piece of white plastic card as a base, and then supper glued a black thin piece of plastic card around a 40mm base as a template to get the round shape. This will be my form for when I pour the water effects.

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9 – The base is put into the form, minus the decking, as this would have been in the way. I wrapped the black plastic card in rubber bands to hold it tight to the base. There is a gap in the black plastic card where the triangle column is. My goal was to maintain the round shape of the base and have a seamless transition between the water and the triangle column. Once the base was in the form I cut the black plastic card so that it did not overlap the triangle column. I used posted tack to put on this seam to keep the water effect from oozing out.

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10 – I use Envirotex for water effects as is gives a great result and is really hard to mess up the 50/50 mixture. I mixed the two part resin water effect in a disposable plastic cup. I have added some dark green paint to tint the resin just after I mix the two parts together. I plan on doing two separate pours on the base. If the bottom layer is darker then the top layer it will add the impression of depth to the water and also hide that there is a bottom to the base.

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11 – I don’t like to wait around for the resin to cure so I speed it up the process by using a hair drier. Let it cool a little and the resin will be thicker when I pour, which makes it less likely to leak out a thin crack. You would get the same results by mixing the resin and waiting an hour.

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12 – After the resin has been poured I cover it with a cup to keep any dust or hair from settling into the resin.

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13 – The first pour is done. Notice how you can’t see that the casualty is just lying on a piece of plastic. I wanted to have the Imperials Guardsman water bottle floating next to him. I painted this and the glued it to the top of the first coat of resin.

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14 – This is after the second pour of water effects. I tinted this with the same green color but not as much, again to add depth. Be careful adding paint to the water effect as a tiny bit will go a long way. Notice how the water bottle appears to be floating next to the casualty. While the resin was still in liquid form I put a couple of drops of dark red paint in the abdomen area of the guardsman. I then used a tooth pick to swirl it around in the areas I wanted blood. When the effect was done it really does look like there is blood floating in the water.

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15 – The base is finished and the decking in glued in place.

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16 & 17 – I decided to add some items (wrenches and scanner) to the base that helped tell the story. The guardsman is working on the electrical box and using his scanner to detect any threats. The Lictor is stealthy and by the time the guardsman gets a warning bleep from his scanner he is dead.

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18 – This is what the Lictor looked like when it started. All that mattered at this point was that his feet would stand on the base properly. I replaced the original hands with larger ones from another Tyranid model.

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19 – I re-sculpted most of the back plates on the Lictor to make them thicker and change the shape to my liking. I added some hoses from the new hands to the wrist, and horns on the head as well as tail.
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20 – I have started the flesh. The left leg is done except for several glazes I will apply to add depth.

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21 – In this picture the Lictor close to being finished. I have the habit on constantly converting, even if I have started painting. In this case the Lictor needed more tentacles on his mouth and some small spikes on the top of his shell. I was also experimenting with how I would paint the skins shape around the fingernails. Originally the skin was straight but I like this way much better.

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22 – The painting of the back shell is about half way done.

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23 – Metal models usually chip when I paint them and I am always looking for ways to handle them while painting. Here I took some foam and wrapped the arm so that I could hold it.

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24 – The arms are done except for the gloss varnish that I will apply to all the cracks between shell segments .

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25 – I have taken some white poster tack and used it to fasten foam to the top of the shell so that I can handle the Lictor without chipping the paint. Poster tack is great since it will pull off the miniature and not leave a film or pull off the paint.

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26 – I used the hole in the leg intended for the paper clip on the base to temporarily fasten the Lictor to a pin vice for painting. At this point I only have minor details to do on the body.

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27 – The arms and Rippers ready for assembly.

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28 & 29 – The slime on the tentacles was achieved with contact cement and a tooth pick. I used Elmer’s contact cement that comes in a blue 1 fl oz tube. This was very difficult to get right so I do recommend practicing before using on a painted mini. After you take some form the tube you will only have about 30 seconds before it has dried enough to not work. I would put a tiny dap on the toothpick and place it on one of the tentacles. I would then move the toothpick (creating a string) and touch the tentacle I wanted it to attach to. After I finished adding as many of these as I wanted I applied several layers of gloss varnish mixed with a little green paint. I used this technique on the top arms where there are flesh strings but used gloss varnish mixed with red paint.

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30, 31 & 32 – I really like seeing these pictures side by side. It reminds me that in the beginning of a project everything looks horrible, but do not be discouraged and give up as the finished product could be amazing.

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33 – The Lictor is finally finished! I hope that this article was helpful and will inspire you in future projects!