Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review: The Design of the new Nids

Greetings Archivists!

The wait is over!
The Fleets have gathered the spawning vats have brooded, the nornqueens done what ever they do best, the biomass has been reshaped and flung at us.

Tyranids have been my biggest love on the tabletop battlefield. And though I can't look back on such a glorious past as Master Moloch does, I still feel like being a strong part of the Tyranids history. So, with this experience on my back I want to turn on the new models today.

1. I haven't seen any of the models up close, so I can only work from the pictures provided by Games Workshop. But since they leave almost no corner covered, I feel its a good place to start from.
2. I have no love for the companys HR-management, price- or IP-policy. I haven't seen rules, point costs or anything game related.
So I am working from what I am seeing and that are some pieces of creature designs, that are at this point the latest in a constatly growing and on going evolution of space monsters.
3. From time to time I will eventually slip into one of the above mentioned, since, especially financial reasons, have their influence on the design process the moiniatures have undergone. Please forgive me, but I never claimed to be objective.

General apperance
Well, when I looked at the stuff they have thrown at usfor the first time, my first thought was... not so impressive. Flying monster... check. Big Bugs... check. Some medium sized stuff... check.
Nothing of the rather excotic rumours like zoanthrope-boxes or drop pods have made it into appearance.

The pictures leaked a while ago got me excited. For about 10 seconds. Then I turned back on the Nomads I am painting up for Infinity right now. Something that would have never happend 2 years ago.

So, with a pretty low expectations I had a closer look at the single models yesterday.

Well, what do you expect? A new head design? Something extraordinary?
Sorry... nope.
The warriors were the reason I started with Tyranids in the first place. I just love these models and though they are a thounds (felt) years old, the concept still works. I got used to it, it doesn't blow me off the roof, but iti is like meeting an old friend.
In his new car.
The subtile changes, well, better additions, they have made are design wise straight in line. The extremities are the same proportion. Even with the new weapons they got. When you comepare the swords to the scytals they even out pretty well. This way the model doesn't get top or bottom heavy and gains a pretty solid appearance.
The prime follows a pretty simple, yet effective idea, orks base their civilisation on: The bigger is the boss (makes it ieasier for snipers :))
 Adding the Prime to the box is a nice idea (though I figure everybody has made their own by now, one way or another).What really conviced me are the details here.

The glands now actually fit on the model wiithout GS-Work or sawing of pieces. I know the old ones were made for a couple of different models, but I have seen enough poorly fixed glads in my hobby life.
A nice addition is the tail tip aswell. I loved that in the fex sprue and seeing that on y warrior seems... right.

Nothing spectacular, but the additions made fit nicely and enhance the general apperance. The heads got no big change, which is a minor let down in my book, since on of the most important part of a model is the face.


 Hive Guard/ Tyrantguard
A good friend of mine bough a ton of the old (old as metal-old old) Hive Guards, since "he liked" the model.
I have to admit, the old model was "surprising" back then, but got old pretty fast. So when I heard a bout "new" models, my expectations were... again... pretty low. (aside the fact that the fluff for the hive guardsis pretty... random at best...)

But I couldn't be wronger (about the models... not the fluff).
As I said, to me the face it the most important part of a nid. These models don't have eyes (Gger proved to us that this is step one when you want to do something creepy). Plus the carapcace shielding their eyes are kind of boxy, giving the impression of a visor. Very cool
The weapon is the next striking thing on the HIve Guards. For the first time I can remember the weapon is longer that the arm it is mounted to. This gives the whole thing a great appearance, like is tis actaully a rifle of some sort, that the creature gets its arm attached to. Not the otherway around. The Guards left arm, with the split lower arm is an ace idea aswell (Use the 360°) .
I can't say much about the game efficency of the "harpoon weapon" but especially the tip makes me think of the pain this would cause, once you get hit by it. A very strong visual message transported here: You will get hit by a spine with claws that sends you into an electro-shocky death, if you aren't killed by the impact.

The general appearance of the beasts, especially the nuckle-walking aspect looks way more believable and supports the image of a close to unstoppable force coming at you.

The Tyrantguard works the same way, though their "hands" are much bigger. The "tearing an ultramarine to pieces"-arms are a bit to much for me (though i don't fancy ultramarines), bu the rest give the Guards a quite dynamic appearance, as if they can keep up with hteir master.
The weapons they sport range for me from really innovative interpretation of the syctals to the WFT? leach-tentacle-whip. Don't get me wrong, I am all in for tentacles, but that whip seems googfy not creepy. 
The shouldguard on the otherhand is a pretty simple yet effective way to support the purpose these beasts were made for.
A really nice touch was the chtin-carapce. Looking pretty ordinary on the first spot, I know, but when you turn the 360° Image to have a better view on the middle limb you will see what I mean.
The nids have sometimes the problem of having their chitin carapce "glued" on. Simon Egan came up with a solution for this on his first forge world models (the hierodules... just in case...). The carapce here is hold in place by something that looks like a clamb would use to keep its shell shut. This texture found its way onto the Tyrantguard... pretty cool, if you ask me. 

The feeling that doesn't leave me alone when looking at the new guards is thet the designers had a really good look at these aswell...
Aside from some minor points, are really well done concept.

Harpy / Hive Crone
First I  have to tell you that the Hive Crone is called in german "SCHWARMDRUDE"!


I know, starting from the "hierdule" down to the "crone" all the words have wierd meanings and stand for old wierdo-women. But who on earth would name something "Hey drude, we is my car?"
Enough of this. Lets have a look at the models.
I can tell you from spot on: I don't like the Harpy.
The stuff on the back looks like she has some serious fungicidal problem. I know, there might be some fluff-reason for this spiky crap, but I bet you could have solved that in another way.  Combined with the weapons, the torso gains somuch optical weight, it looks more like a bumblebee, with the same flight skills.  Seeing such a thing in RL would probably make you giggle, since its histerical flapping with the wings to keep it aloft would look to funny.
The syctals on the end of the wings also could have been left away for my taste.
I like the Spores though.
Looking at the details, something comes to mind: The face looks like a carnifex. The weapons aswell... the fungual desease could grow on a fex aswell... if you rip of the legs and stick wings to a fex you get this...
Especially the head looks like any other generic Tyranid an is the other side of innovative.
The mouthy things in the bottom left, where prbably the spores are pooped out of, look nisty though.

Conclusion 1:
Harpy? Booh! Would not but that model for another fex headed wingy thing. The Spores are cool, but would not convince me.

The DUDE ( I will call her Dude from now on) on the other hand is something comßpletly different.
This picture and the 360° show a streamlined, flat and aerodynamic beast, that I can imagine roaming the sky like the dragons in al those fantasy movies do. Designwise it is the complete opposite of the Harpy.
Where the Harpy has its spike-mushrooms sprouting, the Dude has low profile vents that suggest hollow-boned structures like birds have.
Where the Harpy has pistolero stiled weapons, the Dude has something very progressive. Arms that are hardly recognisable as such, closely stuck to the torso, holding sacks that grow back to the mainbody. One could ask why those sacks aren't "within" the chest... but that wouldn't create the picture of how the thing works.
Where the Harpy has lazy Spores hanging around, the Dude has something that looks like the niddy equivalent of a rocket. 
Where the Hrapy has a close to meaningless tail-tip, the Dude has something that looks capable of picking up Dreadnoughts, taking them up to the sky and letting them fall down again. Or slashing something to pieces, while passing it by.

The only let down, again, is the head. What is that tounge good for? Burning it with bioplasma? And the head is the same old boring nid-head, that could belong to a fex aswell.

Conclusion 2:,
The Harpy sucks the Dude rocks. It is like they didn't have the courage to go really innovative ways. But they made their first steps on that road.
And since I am such a fan of the Dude:

Though I can't help myself to see alot of similarity between then above and my Odonata I build... years ago...
Haruspex / Exocrine
I will  start with the Exocrine first, since it is easy:
The most surprising and spectacular thing about the Exocrine is the fact,t hat it is the first Tyranid model in plastic with a shut mouth. It is still smiling like a kid on its birthday, but it doesn't even sport that ridiclous tounge other models have. Aside from this "novelity"the exocrine looks like Biovore should have looked like when Roberto Cirillodid the "THE SKETCHES" back in 4th edition.
I still would prefere Mr. Pinks Version over this one.

I have saved the best for Last.
The Haruspex

What can I say? At first I thought: Nice... tentacles.
As you might have read ealier, the face is themost importan tpart of a nid for me.
That for, I have tried over the years to come up with as many viaration in that spot as possible, without destryoing the whole nid-image.
Some people might say, the haruspex looks like a frog. But I think that is due to the rather wierd angle the picture above was taken. Using the 360° Gw provides us with, you can see that the body shape is rather that of a bulldog than a frog. The low back and hind-legs make the creature to appear stable yet dangerous.

Ofcause the centerpiece is the head. Better, what is left of it. 6 eyes and the head plate suggest a place where te head should have been. But if you look past those tentacles (that remind me of pictures, only slaanesh worshippers know) you still kan make out the overstreched skin that appeares to be reduced to sinews, holding together the claws and enableing them to snap shut in a crushing, devouring, wet sound.

The middle and the front limbs work great for the purpose the creature was designed. The middle limbs suggest the sudden movements with which the creature would bolt onwards, the crushing clwas are a refeshing new variation of the old crabby ones.
The picture that really sold the model to me was the following:
Here you can almost draw thelies the designers had in mind onto the model. The drushing claws visually  suppport the great clwas that sprout from the mouth. Everything seems to draw the eyes of the observer into the center, were the gribbly tentacle things await.
If you know someone who has an old Armourcast Haruspex look at it from the same angle. You will notice, they almost look the same. Though the old Haruspex didn't have such a great maw.

The only question the model leaves unanswered is... were does al that food go? Such small hips.. :D

As with the Harpy/Dude this box is full of controversity. The Exocrine surely is a good place to start for a gribbly conversion, if it is necessary gamewise. The Haruspex has everything a good Tyranidmodel should have: Visual supported endless terror with not much you recognise, which enlarges the terror.
Again, in favour of the better of both concepts:

General Conclusion

I would say, if I hadn't started nids yearts ago, I wouldn't for these models. The Haruspex is probably the most innovative model GW has done since the invention of the Carnifex in plastic.
The next step is to wait and see what the codex will provide us with.
All in all, I have to revise my first impression. The models have way more surprising cool stuff that the first glance would give away. On the other hand is the mindblowing OMFG affect still missing.

Still Tyranids are still the most innovative Army/race out there in Tabletop-Land, but while other Companies feel brave enought for real progressive and innovative concepts, GW seems to be rather conservative, which is really a shame.

So, what do you think? Did the stuff I said change your opinion on the new models?


  1. I may be calling my crone bumble now lol

  2. Hi Hydra,
    I'm very late in commenting, I'm only just now catching up on the blogs I've wanting to follow. I've been able to save up and buy most of these new kits.

    I fully agree with you about the warrior kit. All of the new pieces are really nice, but I was a little disappointed with it. They put effort on the cool new swords, lashwhips, rending claws and prime pieces. Sadly almost all the older pieces were left as they have been since 2001 and if you have a lot of warriors all the scything talon arms; deathspitter arms; and tails all having the exact same bend looks really odd. And it was a missed opportunity to change the gates and joins on the torsos. Plastic moulding has come a long way in 13 years.

    I'm a real fan of the tyrant/hive guard for the same reasons as you, the heads, middle limbs and weapon arm are all great. And the extra height means they fill the 50mm base well but don't look out of place with their older metal versions. I like the idea of the extra armour on the tyrant guard and the damage, I dislike the shape of them though. They seem out of place to me. (And yes the lashwhips are silly rather than scary or dangerous. Lucky the warrior kit has nice ones. :D )

    With the harpy kit I didn't consider using the extra spikes even for a second. (The may be handy for terrain though.) I'm right there with you on all points. The only thing that bothers me a little is a gaming consideration. The model is big and impressive and those two things are all out of proportion to characteristics of them in game.

  3. (Wow, that reply was getting long so I thought I'd better start another one to finish off. ;) )

    I liked the haruspex and exocrine kit, until I bought it, and now I fully love it. There are some brilliant details which are sadly hidden in amongst other details. First up both creatures have 2 spines! They are concealed behind those big beautiful middle arms.

    The 2 spines makes obvious sense for the exocrine - the gun is smarter than the big brute it is grafted to. And I actually like the closed mouth (we don't see enough of those on critters bigger than termagants) and the slightly gormless expression shows that relationship perfectly to me.

    At first the second spine on the haruspex puzzled me, then I realised the symbiont is the mouth! All those mandibles are formed from the legs of the mouth creature, and that is a seriously clever idea. The mouth parts look good and perfectly scary, but they hide the grasping tongues true length and horror. I can't think of any way the sculptor could have shown off the tongue and double spines so I can't fault them.

    Mr Pink's exocrine painted by Mr & Mrs Molcoh is a work of true beauty. And it fits exactly with the White Dwarf 256 rules for it too. There is nothing about that piece that I don't think is brilliant! The rules have changed with the new codex and I reckon the citadel kit shows well the reduced wounds and armour save better on the battlefield she has now.

    The other bonus is now the exocrine and haruspex are in the codex I can use those giant bricks of armorcast resin that I've been collecting over the years.