“Counts As” Tyranids

 As of this moment, there is a clear discrepancy between the number of new units in the new Tyranid codex and the models available on GW’s site.  By my calculations, there is no model for any of the following units:

  • Hive Tyrant w/ Wings aka Flyrant
  • Swarmlord 
  • Tervigon
  • Alpha Warrior
  • Parasite of Mortrex
  • Doom of Malan’tai
  • Ymgarl Genestealers
  • Landing Spore
  • Shrikes
  • Flying Rippers
  • Harpy
  • Tyrannofex

Some of these models are relatively simple conversions (Flyrants and Ymgarls), some of them are available through Forgeworld (Flying rippers and Flyrants), and GW is sure to release models for at least some of the rest, but it’s likely that several units will simply never have an official model.  More importantly, there’s no model that we can use right now! 

Rather than waiting months in the hopes that a model does come, we’re left with a couple of options:  Convert our own, or find a suitable proxy (or “counts as” model).  There are already some really spiffy conversions out there for some of the new models.  Some examples of good conversions are:

I’ve worked up some ideas on drop pods and Tervigons as well, but not everyone has the time, patience, and/or skill required to make suitable models for everything (myself included)… so that leaves us with finding suitable replacements.

With the GW line of models, there are some options available.  You may look to the Epic line, or out of print Tyranids.  Some thoughts for counts as there include:

Likewise, Zoats, 2nd Edition Zoanthropes, or Epic bio-titans all might work for these units with little to no need for conversions.  Unfortunately, many of these models are hard to get (check ebay), and often their classic style doesn’t mesh well with the newer range of bugs.  For these reasons, I’m opting to chose models that weren’t made by GW.  Specifically, I’m looking at models for the game “Hordes,” by Privateer Press.

I know some of you will cringe away in horror a the thought of using non-GW models: “Whaaat?!?  That’s not even tournament legal!!!” 

Well, guess what?  I can count on one finger the number of GW tournaments I’ve attended…

“One… One tournament!  Ha ha ha ha… “

Ok, where did that come from? 

As I was saying, I’ve only ever been to one tourney and never played in a GW store (which might have something to do with the fact that Alaska has never had a GW store, mind you…).  I suspect there’s a fair amount of hobbyists out there that are in the same boat, and this post is for them.

So, in digging through alternate selections last year for lictors (since I hate the GW model with a passion), I stumbled upon a “Raek” from Privateer Press (see below for pictures).  The carapace and teeth on the model closely resemble those of GW’s Red Terror, and the overall feel of it is very Tyranid indeed.  The claws are a throw-back to more of the 3rd edition bug line, and the armor plates work really well with my current method of painting—they’re also the right scale.  Granted, this model is much smaller than GW’s Lictor, so I may be accused of “modeling for advantage,” but nobody’s said anything negative so far.  Mostly people point at it and wonder where I got such a cool model.

Well, with all of the new units, and no models, I naturally found myself digging through Privateer Press’ website looking for more suitable solutions, and I’m pleased with what I’ve found.  So please, in fact, that I went ahead and purchased a few for myself.  When they arrive, I can post pictures for scale.

For the sake of convenience, I’m going to list some suggestions of their models and what they look like suitable replacements for below:

Angelius / Seraph– These could work as a Flyrant model, but it doesn’t have a lot of potential there to me, because Forgeworld already produces a flying Hive Tyrant, and GW also sells dragon/Balrog wings as bitz, I doubt many people will need a substitute for that model (personally, I used a 3rd edition Hive Tyrant combined with a  LotR Felbeast).  I purchased an Angelius to use as a “Harpy.”  Likewise the Seraph would make a reasonable representation of the “Parasite of Mortrex” (Note to self: pick up a Seraph).

Carnivean – You know, I’m not sure what to use this guy as.  He just looked cool, so I bought him, figuring I could size him up when he arrives.  At $40, he’s a rather pricey model (comparatively to other Hordes models), so I suspect he’ll be fairly large.  Hopefully on the magnitude of a Swarmlord, but perhaps he could be used as a Tyrannofex as well?  Only time will tell on this one…

Raek – As stated, I purchased a couple of these to originally use as Lictors, since I’m none-too-keen on the existing model.  Unfortunately, I’m not very keen on the new Lictor rules either.  So, I might have to find another suitable option.  I might use one as a Death Leaper, or maybe even a Venomthrope (which has a model, but it’s insanely goofy looking and presumably top-heavy).  If people didn’t raise an eyebrow for “modeling to advantage”before though, I suspect they might cry foul at this.

Teraph – When I was looking for Lictor substitutes before, this guy also made my short list.  Not only did he have the carapace, but he also had six appendages and a rather scythe looking tail.  Ultimately the Raek’s similarity to the Red Terror won me over though.  Now, with the new models abound, I picked up two of these critters to use as um… I don’t know what precisely.  Good thing I wrote it down!  Now… if only I could find that piece of paper…

They do have other models that might work as alternatives as well.  I’d encourage you to check them out.

I’ve resigned that the models I’ve purchased won’t be tourney legal, and will likely prevent me from playing at the (fictitious) local GW store, and I can accept that.  The upside is they’re cool models at a reasonable price, and are an easy way to expand my gaming horizons into another sector.  Maybe one day I’ll give the Hordes game a shot—now that I have a good base of models to start with.  Until then, I have six less models that I have to convert for my Tyranid army.

“Six!  Six Less Models!  Ha Ha Ha Ha!..”


Count picture meshed with Lictor bastardized by yours truly (ph34r my l33t photo-editing skillz).  All other pictures from Privateer Press.

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