So much so that not only was I determined to convert one of my own to match this artwork, I even felt the need to tell Jes about my plans when I met him for the first time at a Games Day Canada in the early 2000's.
That was my first-ever Tyranid conversion, and the first time I ever tried sculpting on models. I was a bit hamstrung by my materials (greenstuff was expensive and came in small quantities, so I worked with plumbers putty :P ), but I didn't make out horribly!
Fast forward to early in 2021, when someone approached me with a commission to make not one but THREE Tyranid Lictors for them, all inspired by the unique Tyranid creature known as Deathleaper.
Since Deathleaper has always held a special place in my heart as the creature was initially created by the now-defunct Games Workshop Canada team, I JUMPED at the opportunity.
My next bit of insight came for the overhead mantis-style talons that are so iconic to Lictors. These are usually longer and more slender than your average scything talon arm, and when people use standard scything talons for them, it never works for me.
Once I'd trimmed the wing membranes from them, they were the perfect things for representing the overhead mantis scythe arms. But I knew I wanted to bring in more of Roberto Cirillo's cool Tyranid sketches into the build, and there's one particular sketch that has plagued me for years: his depiction of the Lictor's mantis claw with additional grasping digits on it and an end that looked like it could fire out as a flesh hook.
And that is precisely what I tried to replicate on the Tyranid Lictor Prime.
The last bit that I really wanted to get right was giving the Lictor Prime a head that didn't read as just another Tyranid Hive Tyrant and was a little closer to Deathleaper. I accomplished this with a face full of tentacles, compliments of the Greenstuff Industries tentacle roller (tell them Modern Synthesist sent you: https://www.greenstuffindustries.com/store/p1/Tentacle_Maker_Tool_Box%2C_Wave_1.html ), with a piece from a Venom cannon feed in there to be what the tentacles mounted to, and then some little mandibles using the smallest, vestigial scything talons from the Zoanthrope kit.
Ok. Enough blathering about build. Here's the finished Tyranid Lictor / Deathleaper Prime:
And there he is absolutely dwarfing a standard Tyranid Lictor!
So those are my two beefy Tyranid Deathleaper-inspred Lictors on the far left and right, with a standard Lictor between them, as well as a conversion from putty-pusher extraordinaire, Greenstuffing, which actually helped inspire some aspects of my own conversions.
This version was meant to have a similar pose to it's Lictor Prime big brother: upright and ready to strike!
I also used this pose to illustrate how the mantis claws (Also inspired by Roberto's sketches for this one) deploy as you see the one on the creature's right is retracted, while the one on the left is firing out its flesh hook grapnel.
For the second Lictor-sized Deathleaper, I wanted to explore a pose that read more as "stalking" or "coiled menace," so I elected to have this one perched on a piece of terrain, with its mantis claws folded up.
And here's a shot of the whole happy family together, ready to head out to their forever home!
Hope you like them! And if you've got any questions about them, please leave them in the comments here.
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