With the introduction of the Swarmlord in the 5th edition codex, people are just crazy for Tyranid bone swords. The madness has gotten so bad that the bonesword/lashwhip from the standard Hive Tyrant box sell pretty routinely on eBay for about $22. I’ve even seen two boneswords and and a lashwhip go for over $50 (before shipping).
Keep in mind, these are just two bits from a model that retails for $49.50. Since many places sell GW products at 20% off, you can expect to pay just shy of $40 for a Tyrant (new)–so more than half that cost is wrapped up in his whip and sword!?? I won’t lie, I’ve considered buying Hive Tyrants en mass to sell off their weapons on eBay. Alas, I only bought one Tyrant and sold the weapons, making $25.50 for them. All in all, not bad, but that did leave me without a sword/whip to use for my own Tyrant…
Since it’s clearly the best combination available for them to take in assault, I had to find an alternative. My plan was to purchase some sword arms off Ogre Kingdoms boxed sets and convert them up. That would’ve taken effort though and, of course, I’m not the only one out there that wants more swords. Out of necessity springs invention, and it was only a matter of time before mass-produced swords started popping up. Some examples include:
- Chapterhouse Studios with fin-style Boneswords & spinal lashwhips
- BigRed’s post on BoLS on making boneswords & lashwhips
- Resin swords from Paulson games
Chapterhouse’s solution is very unique, but the weapons look more like fins than they do swords. Likewise, the appearance of their whips seem too rigid–which is sad, because they do come up with a lot of quality sculpts. I think they just missed the mark on these, trying to stay away from the GW IP Banhammer. On the other hand, Bigred’s post, while inspiring, still required work on my part, plus access to more bits than I had in my bits box. So, if I was going to have to purchase models, why not purchase a finished product?
So that left me with Paulson Games’ solution. I’m sure there are plenty of other available options, and even some more that I’ve seen, but when I saw these guys on eBay, I immediately had to snatch some up. In my experience though, people tend to raise their prices to make up for the listing fees charged on that notorious auction site, so I looked to see if I could find him online. Paulson’s no exception. If you purchase two “monster boneswords” on ebay, you’ll pay $10… the same swords on his website are only $8. Granted, this isn’t a huge savings, but every little bit helps.
All in all, I found the prices to be reasonable for resin work. His Tyrant swords are higher than Chapterhouse’s variant, but his warrior-sized swords are slightly cheaper. When comparing him to Hord O bits (the now defacto standard of ebay sellers), Paulson swords are still cheaper (and require less effort, to boot). Shipping charges are $3 for unlimited amounts of resin swords, so that too, is reasonable. Despite being “back-ordered,” they only took a week to arrive, so I’ve no complaints in that department either.
When they did arrive, they looked like the photo to the right. Naturally, I expected a certain amount of flash on the blades, but really this was a little more than I anticipated. Still, it didn’t take very long to clean off, since most of it was paper thin, and in the process of cleaning I managed to avoid damaging the weapons almost entirely (though the first bonesword I cut out, I confused the spike on the end of the hilt with modeling flash… OOPS!). After about a half hour of work, I’d managed to clean up all of the swords into what you see in the picture to the left.
Again, I was pleased with the amount of effort. The only issue now was that I didn’t have enough arms to attach these swords to the bodies. I suspect that Paulson doesn’t sell the swords with arms to differentiate himself from GW, and claim that he doesn’t make the swords specifically to work with Tyranids, it’s just decidedly convenient that they’re the right size for Tyranid Warriors. Of course, it’s decided inconvenient for us gamers that we have to find arms to fit. Fortunately for us, Tyranid warriors use the same size arms as termagants, and every termie comes with entire too many combinations. Given that spinefists are practically worthless now, I just chopped the hands off each of them, and pinned the swords into place.
The boneswords fit them perfectly–almost as if that’s what they had been designed to do *cough*. After an hour or so, drilling holes, cutting pins (eg. paper clips) to length, and gluing each sword into the arm, the end result came out something like the photo to the right. Keep in mind, that the background ist still showing the same 1″ scale. I’ve also left some genestealer rending claws in the photo as I’ll be converting these up to use on my warriors as well, but that’s for a later post.
For the Swarmlord’s arms, I used heavy weapon variations from the Hive Tyrant box. One Tyrant comes with left & right arms for both the Venom Cannon and Barbed Stranglers, and they’ll both work for the purposes of this simple conversion. Since I had a spare VC arm though, I used two of them, but I don’t forsee you having problems if you use the ‘strangler instead.
For the left arm, I just cut away the hand, like I did for the warriors above. For the right arm, there was more work involved. Since the heavy weapons for MC’s have two hands that hold up each gun, I had to cut the lower one away entirely. I had tried to use a modelling knife to do this, but wound up giving up in favor of the speed of a dremel. This left the edges rough, so I’ll have to go back and putty up the arm to look right. If you look closely at the final pictures below you can see the imperfections (which is putting it mildly).
The end result is a Swarmlord and a set of warriors I can be proud of. I suspect I might have to convert up an Alpha Warrior (err… Tyranid Prime) as well.
All in all, I’d give Paulson Games’ boneswords a 4.5 out of 5 for execution. As of this week, they also seem to have lash-whips for sale on their site too. Right now, I’m debating on whether I order them, or go with BigRed’s tutorial from BoLS… Either way, I should get my wallet out…