Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Kroot Tyranid Hunters return! Kitbashember - Week 1

This post is a double zombification: resurrecting the Modern Synthesist blog from its long slumber, and resurrecting one of my smallest projects that seems to have achieved surprising reach across the internet.

Specifically, that time I created a Kroot Tyranid Hunter for Nuffsaid/Brother Pink's birthday.


I made one, always intended to make more, but then just kind of put the idea on the back burner and some things that should not have been forgotten, were lost to me over the years. 

The internet, however, remembered.

Of my top three posts on this blog, the first two of them are How To Sculpt articles, and the third is my Kroot Tyranid Hunter post. Whenever I post photos of the above model, I always get a tide of people from all corners of the net saying "you're the one who made this!? I've loved this model forever!"

Though I loved the idea of Kroot killing Tyranids and harvesting their parts to use as weapons as armour, partially in reverence to the Tyranids as alpha hunters, I never really expected how that concept could catch on with others.

Though I never made any further Kroot Tyranid Hunters at that time, I never stopped thinking about them. I had a bunch of ideas, and all I needed was a kick in the ass to get them out into models.

Enter Kitbashember, a community hobby challenge hosted on Instagram very much in the vein of Inktober, if you're familiar with that one. Two bright-eyed, enterprising hobbyists by the name of and Chaos_Coolist came up with the idea of challenging hobbyists to create a 10-person killteam in a month, basing the models off a list of prompts. And, with that, #Kitbashember was born! (I recommend you hit that link as you don't need an Instagram account to browse the amazing creations)

This was it: my chance to get back to the Kroot Tyranid Hunters!

I started off with a Trooper, picking up on classical gladiatorial armour style, and some of the hallmarks of Kroot Tyranid Hunters that I'd ironed out with that first model back in the day:

Some notes on the choices I made/background behind them:

Among the Kroot Tyranid Hunters, your rank is shown by the skull you sport on your right shoulder. This is usually the skull of a creature you yourself have hunted. As this guy is a lowly trooper (an initiate, really), he's sporting a ripper skull. As you see the other members of the squad, you'll see that the ranks go ripper < gaunt < genestealer. That's mostly because any larger skulls would dwarf the Kroot wearing them!

In terms of kit, this is pretty standard kit for a run of the mill hunter: Crossbow, Shield, and blade. There are more specialized troops that carry other equipment, but this is the usual. That meant developing a design for a Kroot crossbow, and I'm pretty happy with what I came up with using a kroot rifle, savage orc bow, and a couple of bits from the Admech Ruststalker kit:

There should be a bowstring on the finished piece, but due to the speed of this challenge, I had to move on to the next member of the squad: my heavy.

(for some reason Google photos hates me right now, so I an only wrestle out the following less-than-helpful photos of him :/ )

For the heavy, I wanted to portray a slightly larger kroot, so I based him on a Khorne Bloodletter demon model. Ideally I would have modified his legs a little to make them look less squat and more krooty but, like I said: this is a hobby challenge. Time ran out. Corners were cut. That also applies to the armour plate application for this one. Had I more time, I would have scoured my bits box to find the best fitting Tyranid plates. However, I was under the gun. 

Speaking of guns, I'm pretty happy with his! I've never loved the Devourers in the Carnifex/Hive Tyrant box as they looked far too small for a monstrous creature. I wanted a BEEFY devourer of the type we saw on the old, metal Tyranid warriors (the dude on the left with the cone cannon).

Brother Pink got me half way there when he mounted a bloodletter head on the end of a deathspitter:

...but I thought I could still go beefier, so I combined that design with two Carnifex devourers.

NOW we're talking!

That being said, there's still greenstuff work that needs to be done on the cannon before it's done. I liked the idea of the Kroot wielding it ripping it off a Tyranid, shoving his hand inside, and squeezing away at different nodes until he found the one that made it fire (picture Kara Thrace/Starbuck inside the downed Cylon Raider, if you're a BSG fan). That means we need a lot more gribbly bits hanging off the things butt end as it looks far too clean now.

Oh, and before we were talking about rank being shown by the type of skull a team member sports on the right shoulder? You'll see this heavy has a gaunt skull on his, so he's a little higher up the seniority.

What does it take to achieve a Genestealer skull you ask? Well, then you must have a level of skill that you could be considered a leader of the pack, someone like, say, a Priest?

I was going to go with a Champion model, but my Norn Queen talked me around to the idea of a Priest being much more interesting. Like all of the models so far: given more time, I'd do more with him, but I'm trying to keep myself to the intended schedule to keep firing on new ideas and not getting bogged down in obsessing over details. One thing, though: due to a lot of feedback about that sword being too big, I've removed it and am trying to come up with something more priest-like for him to carry. I'm open to any suggestions!

I could go on about him, and why I made the choices I did, but I'm already two days behind when I wanted to have this posted, so please ask if you have any questions, and I'll handle them in the comments below.

Expect another of these posts next week, as I track my further progress on the Healer, Grenadier, and Psycho/Feral models from the prompt list.

However, since I'm running late, and since I've given the blog very little love of late, here's a bonus for blog readers: a sneak preview of the nearly-completed Healer model, who is harvesting some tasty bits from a likely-still-living Tyranid victim so he can heal up his Krooty friends >:)

Until next week!


  1. Really really cool Kill Team!! :D

  2. Amazing stuff! I particularly like the Priest model.

    1. Thanks Sir! I still need to figure out a replacement for his right hand. I'm thinking some kind of rattle....

  3. I'm happy to see these guys return! I always love your conversions! Thanks for spending your time to show us these, we all really appreciate it!

    1. Thank you! I post so much more to social now that it's good to hear that some people are still checking in with the Blog.

  4. Awesome stuff. I love kitbashed miniatures. You can add me to the list of those who liked the original conversion since I saw it. I have pinned all the conversion images.
    Now I just wish Kroot were available in Kill Team.

    1. Well, your wish is Games Workshop's command with the most recent White Dwarf!

      The only problem is that the Kroot Kill Team rules are the most vanilla of vanilla :(
      No special weapons or anything >:(

      And I'm glad you're liking the conversions. And, good news! The original has been painted by my brother and is now here with me, so I'll be able to get some shots of that up soon.

  5. Oh my God! It's awesome. Please, don't stop and permit me copy your ideas for my nids.

    1. Dude! Please! Copy away!

      I'm glad you like my stuff :)

  6. I wish you posted more than once a year :(

    1. Awww! I feel like this is the saddest comment ever!

      And I DO post more than once a year! You just have to check out my Instagram:

      You don't even need an account :)