Goonhammer Reviews Warhammer 40,000 10th Edition – Part 3: The Leviathan Box & Models

You’ve been waiting for months, and it’s finally here: the tenth Edition of 40k. Promising a simplified (but not necessary simple) rules framework, more clarity than ever, and a complete overhaul of unit rules, this new edition is poised to be the best one yet, taking everything learned over the last three years of 9th edition and giving us the tightest rules yet.

In this multi-part series we’re going to go through the game rules, how 10th edition is played, and offer our thoughts on the good and bad of that plus some tactical insight every step of the way. There’s a ton to cover here so we’re breaking it up into more manageable chunks to make it easier to read and browse. For quick navigation, you can use the links below (links will be added as articles are published):

A new edition pretty much always brings a new launch box alongside it, and this time around the Leviathan box set is your entry point to 40k. This gives you access to a whole bunch of new rules and a whole bunch of new models, so let’s open it up and take a look at what’s inside.

Huge thanks to Games Workshop for providing our team with copies of Leviathan for the review.

What’s in the Box?

Credit: Rockfish

As you can see – many miniatures and a fancy looking book and card set alongside them. Even more so than in previous editions the miniatures are the focus here – there are tonnes of them, sprue after sprue of Marines and bugs. You get the Leviathan Rulebook and Mission Pack alongside them, but that’s mostly it – you’re picking this up because it gives you the key rules for the new edition and a lot of Marines or Tyranids.

That does bring us to our only gripe about this box, which we’ll get out of the way up-front – no Datasheets. We assume this is because they’re going to be made available online (in fact, they may even be available as you’re reading this) but part of the fun of opening up a box like this is being able to slam the contents onto the table and start getting games in. We assume this is intended to prevent a repeat of what happened with Eradicators in 9th Edition, where the datasheet in the box was missing some limitations that were added in the codex, making them absurdly good early on, but we think that could have been avoided by including some simplified datasheets in the box that were explicitly just for games with the contents only. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it does feel odd in comparison to the Age of Sigmar Dominion box.

The Rules

Before we get on to the meat of the article, which is going to be lots of photos of amazing miniatures, we should talk about the rules that are in the box. You get two things here – the hardback Rulebook, and the Leviathan Mission Pack.

The Rulebook is great – it contains all the Core Rules, a tonne of lore and model photos, and also an in-depth Crusade section providing a narrative take on the conflicts of Leviathan. The book quality continues 9th Edition’s trend of being very high, and in an interesting (and smart) move the Core Rules section uses separate page numbering from everything else, so a page reference within them will be the same whether you’re working from the book or the free PDF. No more multiple page references in our Ruleshammer articles and in FAQs, something we’re very thankful for.

The Leviathan Mission Pack and the Crusade rules are both topics big enough that we’re giving them their own articles – stay tuned for them going up shortly after this one!

Space Marines

Do you like Space Marines? We like Space Marines. Oh goodness me do we like Space Marines. Our team have staged a multi-pronged assault on this half of the box, and you can see the results and their thoughts below.

Apothecary Biologis

Apothecary Biologis. Credit: Rockfish
Apothecary Biologis. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: This guy has enough pieces to make you think it’s a full normal kit, until you notice the pegs and sockets of course. Nothing too terrible about the build though, despite how intimidating it could be from number of parts if this is someone’s first time building a model it should still go well as everything goes together well. The only caveat is that you gotta be careful with the cable from the wrist computer to the blood capsule as mine snapped in the middle while pushing the model together.
Worth calling out that you aren’t committed to their basing detail as the model is fully rendered separate from it, so making it match your existing basing scheme shouldn’t be too hard if you can find a suitable hero rock for the raised foot.

Jack: This guy is easy enough to build, but is a bit awkward to sub-assemble, as part of the left arm is attached to the torso and part is a separate piece. As that’s the arm that would traditionally have a chapter colored shoulder pad, it becomes a little annoying to mask.

Apothecary Biologis. Credit: Craig “MasterSlowPoke” Sniffen

Craig: I airbrushed my shoulder pads first, and then covered them with two pieces of Tamiya masking tape, and had no issues spraying the rest of the model white. In a pinch you can use some poster tack or silly putty as a low tech masking solution. The build of mine went fine, and you have no issues painting the head separate here. The peg in the left arm probably gave me the most trouble, probably worth using glue there.

Blood Ravens Biologis. Credit – Soggy

Soggy: Wait, you lot aren’t immediately using glue on everything? Today I learned. I painted this one up very quickly without subassemblies, which made painting the inside of the barrel a bit of a tight squeeze. If I had more time I’d definitely look into being a bit more clever with this one.

Ballistus Dreadnought

Imperial Fists Ballistus Dreadnought. Credit: Jack Hunter

Jack: I mostly like this dread, but am not in love with the legs. They’re in a very tall pose, and coupled with the bulk of the arms being in line with the shoulder joint rather than a bit lower like on a redemptor ends up feeling a bit top heavy. Fortunately, I had a redemptor in my bitz box, and just built the legs from there. They’re identical and I didn’t need to do any extra work. Beyond specifically the pose of the legs I loved this, and particularly like having the whole front torso as a single piece as it eliminated some common panel gaps.

Ballistus Dreadnought. Credit: Rockfish
Ballistus Dreadnought. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: I have a very mixed opinion of this model, it’s absolutely fantastic compared to the last time they did a ETB dread but it’s still… a bit plain? That might be a bit too mean as I still really like the model because its a cool loadout that is well detailed, but without limbs to reposition you might find a bit of repetition settling in if you were to do multiple. This isn’t helped by the pose they give you out of the box, which is entirely functional and looks way better in person then then previews imply, still it’s just kinda standing there. Just one last minor thing to nitpick, but I think the lil skull on the chest plate eagle kinda goofy.
The build is pretty good like everything in the box, everything went together smoothly and it makes wish the multipose dreads armor plates were like this rather then a bunch of small pieces that inevitably have a gap. You could probably pose the torso by clipping the peg that sticks up from the legs to reposition the upper body, but that and rotating the weapons up and down are the extent of customizability.

If you’ve painted a brutalis or redemptor before you won’t really find any surprises here once you start getting the paint on, everything is nicely accessible and well rendered so you won’t have any trouble there. I had the minor issue that there wasn’t really anywhere that I wanted to put my salamanders flame motifs, you could do the entire side armor ‘wings’ as if they were shoulder pads but I was worried that would be too much black particularly with the weapon casings right there. This is very much a me problem though, and isn’t really anything to complain about.

Blood Ravens Ballistus Dreadnought. Credit – Soggy

Soggy: I’m a very simple creature who loves chonky bois, so I’m happy to see a new flavour of Redemptor. As the others have mentioned the ETB pose on this one is a bit stale, but I’m sure we will see a fancier kit within the year. One incredibly minor point to note is that as is the arms aren’t  directly interchangeable with other Redemptor Dreadnoughts – the tab on the shoulder of the older models needs to be removed.

Blood Angels Ballistus Dreadnought. Credit: Fowler

Fowler: By this point we are definitely running short on new words to say about the dread! I would highly recommend clipping the bottom peg off that sticks the model to the base. It’s a personal choice, but the default position feels way too far back on the base for me. With the peg gone, you can reposition it to a much better spot.

Captain in Terminator Armour

Imperial Fists Terminator Captain. Credit: Jack Hunter

Jack: Lovely model, but not particularly sub-assembleable – which means painting the cape is a pain. Fortunately he doesn’t have to be on the hero rock base, though feet have a 1mm height difference. I don’t like the iron halo. The peg for the head is annoying to clip out, but once you do so it’s easy to swap a different head in.
Liam: Yeah this guy rocks, but is kind of annoying to build – I found his fit to his hero rock tight, in a way that made him surprisingly difficult to jam onto it. There’s also just a lot going on here, painting-wise, between all the bullshit he has attached to him and the dead Tyranid on his base. Still, he’s worth it.

Black Templars Marshal in Terminator Armor. Credit: SRM

SRM: Your mileage may vary with the dead Tyranid bits on this guy’s base, but with a bit of elbow grease you can put him on a different piece of Hero Rubble to make him suit your army’s narrative. I fortunately was able to put him on a scrap 32mm base while painting, letting me get up into his cape, which is otherwise a challenge on a base so large. Assembling him is a bizarre experience; the arms sit on pegs with these big hoops, and get locked into place by the pauldrons. His head pegs in, but some deft clipper/knife work you can dig that peg out and put your own head of choice in there. I went with Helbrecht’s helmet after seeing a few Templar-flavored Photoshop mockups float around the Internet. I also removed his Iron Halo and replaced it with the dead dude from the Black Templar Marshal kit, and added a few Templar bits to what is already a pretty blinged-out model. I wouldn’t want every dude in an army to have this much going on, but for a Marshal, I think it was fitting.

Captain in Terminator Armour. Credit: Rockfish
Captain in Terminator Armour. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: This is by far the most straight forward model in the box conceptually, take a angry screaming guy give him big armour, a sword, and a gun, then plonk him atop something he murdered. For all that he lacks in a unique concept, this is still a really great execution of the idea, as a bonus I didn’t really encounter any hiccups in the build or painting phases on this guy. All in all, just a classic dude and its hard to go wrong with including one or two of those in a marine force!

Pendulin: Truth be told, I was initially unimpressed when I saw the new Terminators. My first experience with Space Marines was Primaris marines in 8th edition, so these old timey Terminators felt antiquated and weren’t my jam. However, having built and painted the Terminator Captain, I can see the appeal. Big time.

Blood Angel Terminator Captain
Blood Angel Terminator Captain. Credit: Pendulin

This model is big enough to let you breeze through some of the larger areas, but still has plenty of interesting details to catch the eye. His right pauldron, for example, was a joy to paint with the yellow-and-black stripes. Slap on a Blood Angel transfer, do some weathering, and you got yourself a great looking shoulder.

Blood Angel Terminator Captain
Blood Angel Terminator Captain. Credit: Pendulin

Not only was this the first Terminator I’ve ever painted, but this is also the first time I’ve ever painted the little shields some marines have (I think the term is “tilting plates“) with anything more than flat colors. I’ve always been intimidated by the intricate designs I’ve seen on other people’s marines, but decided to have a go at it with this model. Turns out, it’s way easier than I expected, and totally worth the extra effort.

Blood Angel Terminator Captain
Blood Angel Terminator Captain. Credit: Pendulin

Overall, it’s a great model to paint and I love seeing how each of us had our own separate takes on it.

Blood Ravens Terminator Captain. Credit – Soggy

Soggy: Love this model and pose, although I wasn’t a fan of the head that came with it and swapped for one in the bits box. As mentioned by the others having to paint this with the cape on was a bit of a pest.

Infernus Marines

Infernus Squad. Credit: Rockfish
Infernus Squad. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: Fitting for being a battleline unit, these are fast to build with straightforward poses and a reasonable number of details for a basic set of dudes. If there is anything to be mentioned about them, it would probably be that they do have a feel that they exist mostly to serve as a means of getting a Tacticus armoured troop like unit into the box. They look great and I love a another source of flamers for my salamanders but you gotta admit they kinda feel like a kitbash of the intercessor box with a lot of leftover flamers.

Infernus Squad. Credit: Rockfish
Infernus Squad. Credit: Rockfish

Craig: I am a notoriously slow assembler and I think I cleaned and assembled 5 of these guys in little over an hour.

Blood Ravens Infernus Marines. Credit – Soggy

Soggy: Intercessors with yet another gun. Nothing super exciting or unexpected here, but looking forward to purging some stuff with them.

Librarian in Terminator Armour

Imperial Fists Terminator Librarian. Credit: Jack Hunter

Jack: I love this guy. Probably my favorite model in the whole box. He’s got a very powerful pose, I could easily leave the whole left arm while I was painting so I could do it in yellow, and he just has a super imposing presence. The only negative was that you definitely have to put the head in before finishing assembly, so reaching the left side of his face was tough.

Terminator Librarian by Craig “MasterSlowPoke” Sniffen

Craig: I really wanted to paint the head separately, so I only very loosely fitted the three pieces you use for the torso so after painting the head/inside, I could pry it back apart and put the head in without damaging the paint. In hindsight, I don’t think it was particularly necessary, you shouldn’t really have an issue painting his face in there.

Librarian in Terminator Armour. Credit: Rockfish
Librarian in Terminator Armour. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: This is by far my favorite of the two terminator armoured models in the boxset, perhaps not as physically imposing but fare more interesting to me. While he isn’t in that unique of a pose, the details that they put into the rest of him more then makes up for it. Even if you were to ignore his great big molten axe this model has no fear of disappearing amongst your terminator squads with his fantastically engraved armour giving him a nice bit of texture along side the icons and embellishments of his office.

Primaris Lieutenant in Phobos Armour

Lieutenant with Combi-flamer. Credit: Rockfish
Lieutenant with Combi-flamer. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: I quite like this model on its own terms, but where you can get away with de-nidifying the rest of the models in the box without too much trouble, there’s absolutely no way around it with this guy. Ride hell or highwater, this guy is committed to murdering Tyranids, between the trophies on the model itself and the foot being split between his leg and the dead Neuroloid, getting rid of it all will really be a bit of a challenge if you are the sort not to like having anything opposing faction specific on their models.
I will admit the build on this guy is a bit worse then the other models, nothing too terrible but the right arm didn’t feel very secure so I’m not sure if it will stay without glue. There were also a few steps where you really had to both apply force and jiggle the various parts of the model to get all the gaps to close.

Craig: If you want to avoid the Tyranid parts on this model you’re probably going to have to donate a model’s worth of parts from the Incursor kit regardless, or at the very least hide his foot behind a pile of rocks, Liefeld style.

Sternguard Veterans

Imperial Fists Sternguard. Credit: Jack Hunter

Jack: These are my favorite models in tacticus armor made yet. They aren’t quite as busy as bladeguard, but are still clearly veterans, and all 5 poses have great motion. They were all easy to build – I left the right arm/gun, head, and backpack separate while painting.

Sternguard. Credit: Rockfish
Sternguard. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: These are a great example of how far we’ve come since the ETBs of 8th ed with their stiff poses and minimal details. Each is pretty well packed with every kind of visual interest you can think of, veteran honors, spare mags, even slings that go across multiple pieces.

Sternguard. Credit: Rockfish
Sternguard. Credit: Rockfish

I will comment that of all the models in the box, these are the ones that I the most concern for their fixed loadouts. While with the consolidation of combi-weapons I’m not so worried as I might have been in 9th, I still doubt that a mixed loadout will really be the right play for most people. Hopefully there is a multibuild on its way so you can do a nice 50:50 mix of loadouts in a box of those to end up with two filled out squads.

Sternguard. Credit: Rockfish
Sternguard. Credit: Rockfish

Craig:  The only sin is that these models are on stuck relatively tiny 32mm bases. They would feel better to me to join their brother Bladeguard on 40mms. They feel positively cramped in a way that the identically sized Infernus marines do not.

Blood Ravens Sternguard. Credit – Soggy

Soggy: These are great ETB kits with just enough details to mark them as veterans before it gets boring.

Crimson Fists Sternguard Veterans. Credit: Corrode

Liam: Yeah, fantastic models, if a little busy. It took me right up until the morning of this post to get the last one painted. I love them, though, and can’t wait to use them on the table – though they’ll be appearing alongside my old metal ones, who they absolutely tower over.


Imperial Fists Terminator Squad. Credit: Jack Hunter

Jack: 🍆Great models, paint up super easily. Only thing to watch out for is if you’re painting the helmets separately, as each one goes with a specific body. Either mark them or clip the pegs as you’re building so it doesn’t matter as much.

Black Templars Terminators. Credit: SRM

SRM: There was a moment when I was painting these models where I thought “Do I really need to paint Terminators again?” I’d already painted 15 of varying flavors for my Templars and wasn’t feeling that enthusiastic about them – I figured the classic kit was fine. Then I did a size comparison and instantly got it. These are, quite literally, head and shoulders above their previous, softer, squatting incarnations. The only option you have with this kit is whether to use the bare head or helmeted head on the sergeant. I went with the bare head for some extra variety. Assembling them is an absolute breeze, and the mold lines are few and far between. There’s a few smidges of weird goopy 3D extrusion detail in inconspicuous areas like the bottom rear of their shin armor, but generally these models are pretty gorgeous. They’re also a blank canvas for you to add your own details and squad markings. In my case, I had a search through my Black Templars bits and was able to make a suitably decorated group of Sword Brethren Terminators with this crew.

Terminators. Credit: Rockfish
Terminators. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: Lil story time, I was going to buy some terminators way way way back when I started this hobby around the start of 8th, and I had even already painted up a land raider for them to ride but then I saw a set of the existing kit in a game at my local store, and that was a shock. The first marine I ever painted was the freebie single intercessor that they gave out as a promotion of some sort and then I got into the army proper with the Dark Imperium box, and boy did that ruin the rest of the old range for me. Standing there in a store looking at the tiny lil angry dudes that were being pushed around, I couldn’t really align what I was looking at with the depictions that the cultural zeitgeist had instilled into me, there’s no way that those were really the imposing terminators from lore. Their lack of performance in that game didn’t really serve to halt the dissolution of my desires to possess such a iconic unit either.

Terminators. Credit: Rockfish
Terminators. Credit: Rockfish

Fast forward to now, and here we have a take on terminators that feel like they might actually live up to the depiction that grew in our minds. They are just big enough to feel substantial and with suitably zero-shits-given poses they look right for terminators, I also appreciate that they didn’t go overboard with packing these down with extra details that might have distracted from the new design.

Terminators. Credit: Rockfish
Terminators. Credit: Rockfish

I can’t say I have any major complaints about building and painting the unit, other then maybe to say that for their size they have rather a lot of recesses to shade. Weirdly they don’t really have that gravis thing where it feels like there are ten thousand edges to highlight, so its nothing too onerous at the end of the day.

Blood Ravens Terminators. Credit – Soggy

Soggy: Probably my favourite marine unit in the set. While they are just normal terminators, this is a great upgrade to an iconic unit – it’s great to see terminators towering over marines again. As a result this does mean they are out of scale with the old ones, but once you have some of these new ones I don’t see you going back.

6′ vs 5’11. Credit – Soggy

Blood Angels Terminators. Credit: Corrode

Liam: I loved, loved, loved these. Much easier to paint than the Sternguard, too, as there’s a lot of big flat areas – perfect for sticking decals on, like the back of their power fists. Also they look just amazing in red.


Leviathan - Space Marines. Credit: Rockfish
Leviathan – Space Marines. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: I am not entirely sure I was sane when I decided I was going to get every marine model in the box done in time for this article, but hey, I managed it. The biggest complaint I might have about the box as a whole is that there is maybe a relatively weak theming going on here, there’s the terminators and friends block, but nothing else really ties together or feels like it might be a force fighting together. There isn’t a firebase the dreadnaught is chilling with, the Lt is off on his lonesome doing cool dude shit, the Sternguard and Infernus bros can kinda be part of the forward line I suppose, but the Apothecary Biologis? He just took the wrong bus and now is trying to get along with the people at the party he gatecrashed by accident and is wishing he had some gravis buddies to drink with.

I would say this is far more of a expansion to a existing army rather then the start, everything in the box slots in with some unit or group of models in my collection, but they don’t really make sense as a core to anything other then the termi blob. Doesn’t break the fact that they are all fantastic models and it makes the box worth picking up just for that, just go into it with the expectation that you will need to fill in some glaring gaps.


Every release box has to have Space Marines, and it also has to have something for Space Marines to fight. This time around they’re up against the forces of the Great Devourer, as the Tyranids bring a variety of re-imagined classics and brand new bugs to bear.

Rockfish has, as ever, painted pretty much all of this. Corrode has built lots of them, so also has thoughts on the models, and Pendulin is brush-in-hand, not sleeping, frantically painting these bugs even as this article goes live. What a lad.

I almost managed to finish the whole box, but alas the last sprue of termagants and ripper was too much -Rockfish


Tyranid Barbgaunts
Tyranid Barbgaunts. Credit: Pendulin

Pendulin: Of everything in the Leviathan launch box, I was looking forward to these the most. Something about their stance gives me the vibe of a pack mule, some nightmarish beast of burden, saddled with an unbearable weapon almost as large as they are. And the model does not disappoint.

Tyranid Barbgaunts. Credit: Pendulin

Liam: For some reason these completely passed me by in the preview posts – not helped by there being nearly 50 models on the Tyranid side, with some updates of classics in there and a bunch of awesome new big bugs as well. The “gaunt” in their name suggests something much smaller than they are – in reality they stand on 40mm bases and are easily the size of a Primaris Marine. The three-legged stance gives these guys some real heft; they look like they’re struggling under the weight of their oversized guns.

Barbgaunts. Credit: Rockfish
Barbgaunts. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: These are a funny set of models, I both really like them and feel they are a bit off in some ways, they have a very distinctive look to them that almost makes them feel single pose with the restrictions on how they can hold that big weird gun. I do love how off-putting they are the more you look at them, the brain bug is just kinda slorping the brains of the carrier and then the gun bug having its own lil tail and the body plan of a nid so its clearly a critter in of itself.

I will comment that these models are a bit of a drag to paint, they are remarkably dense with details and armor carapace layers, it makes the painting process feel just a bit long as you are working your way through the full unit.

Barbgaunts. Credit: Rockfish
Barbgaunts. Credit: Rockfish


Neurogaunts. Credit: Rockfish
Neurogaunts. Credit: Rockfish

Liam: On the opposite end to the Barbgaunts, the Neurogaunts are tiny little guys. Interestingly there’s 11 of them, and one is significantly bigger than the others. We’ll have to wait and see if that translates into any kind of rules impact.

Rockfish: These lil fellas are adorable, look at their teeny faces and baby limbs. Like puppies. Delightful.

These are a fantastic example of both how few parts you can get away with on a per model basis and probably the best example of a unit perfectly sized to be on a 25mm base. I don’t really think there’s any complaint you can really field about this kit, they are at exactly the level of detail you want for a bunch of little (presumably) cheap models and you can throw them together in minutes.

Neurogaunts. Credit: Rockfish
Neurogaunts. Credit: Rockfish

Pendulin: Eeeeeeeee! *clapping noises*

Tyranid Neurogaunts. Credit: Pendulin

Look at these little business bugs! They are all perfect, every one.

Neurotyrant and Neuroloids

Neurotyrant – Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: The tyranid range has had a handful of larger versions of regular units as characters for a while now, like Broodlords being jumbo Genestealers, but the Neurotyrant takes it to the next level. You can clearly see where the idea starts as a Zoanthrope and then just turns it up to eleven, then snaps the knob off and goes all in on b r a i n s. Not content to stop at their own huge brain and outboard neural boosters integrated into their carapace, this model has a pair of all brains and tentacle buddies that it can send out to spread the good word of the hive mind.

This is such a wildly over the top psyker beast that I can’t help but fall in love with the visuals, and honestly the kit is pretty good too. There is some fiddling with getting all the limbs in and around each other, but the build was still pretty quick and satisfying. One future consideration I will call out that’s not inherently a problem, this model shares a sprue with the screamer killer similarly to the Sterguard and the Apothecary for the marines. What this means for the future of both models on the nid side is really hard to say at the time of writing, but I expect it will probably mean that at the vary least it will be a weirdly expensive model to get a hold of from GW rather then the secondary market if we go off what happened with stuff from the last edition boxset.

Brainsquid is love.

Brainsquid is life.

All hail the brainsquid.

Neurotyrant and Neuroloids
Neurotyrant and Neuroloids. Credit: Pendulin

These models are absolutely great, although I was expecting it to be a lot larger. Granted that he still towers over even the chonkiest of marines, but he looked like he’d be a table-defining centerpiece model, when really he’s about as tall as a Dreadnought.

Normally I hate models that have modelled terrain. I want to base models how I want to base models, and I don’t need no designer sculpting some ruins for them to stand on, thank you very much. But I’m actually quite glad they went with modeled terrain in this case. I’ve seen enough models where spindly tentacles are haphazardly glued directly to the base, begging for the slightest touch to snap them in half. With the Neurtotyrant having a strong connection to the pipe below it for support, this model not only looks great, but is nowhere near as fragile as you might expect.

And if the pipe really bugs you, don’t worry. It’s a separate piece of plastic that the Neurotyrant basically slots into. It would take some conversion work, but if you don’t want the pipe, you can build the model without it.


Psychophage – Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: This model rules, it’s a giant squid faced monster that’s chowing down on a marine while vomiting forth a sketchy cloud from its back. It’s worth touching on a comparison from the first time the model was revealed that I will admit is pretty apt, this eldritch friend is basically the hivemind making a biological Venomcrawler look alike. Does that diminish the model any? Of course not, it’s a fantastic model that brings a great hungry menace to the nid range.

The model has a bunch of little details that are easy to miss, like this guy isn’t having the best time. Credit: Rockfish

As for building and painting the model, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it basically being two giant two halves which will inevitably have a hairline gap down the middle if you don’t want to spend a while filling it, its not the worst of these GW has done but if you have a lighter scheme it might be fairly obvious. The clamshell design also means that getting a brush inside the mouth is kinda impossible, if you were to take a peek down it’s gullet you won’t find a particularly nice paintjob but it’s hidden in shadow so nothing too bad in the grand scheme of things.

Pendulin: That hairline gap absolutely bugged me. It gave me the most trouble of any model in the whole box. I went back and forth with sprue goo, filing sticks, a moldline scraper, and even after all that, I’m still only somewhat happy with the results. That being said, the model being two giant halves that snap together does mean the model is, well, it’s a snap to build. For a model this big, I was expecting dozens of small parts, but it was surprisingly few, and they all fit together (except for the hairline gap) fantastically.

Tyranid Psychophage. Credit: Pendulin

As with the rest of the Tyranid models in this box, it’s a joy to paint. Not only do you have the big carapace armor which you know and love on all Tyranid models, but you’re also given this huge belly to work with.

Tyranid Psychophage. Credit: Pendulin

I absolutely love painting surfaces like this big bug’s big belly. Airbrush and Contrast paint will get you 90% the way there with 10% of the effort. Toss in a few details to catch the eye, and you’re golden. It builds fast, it paints fast, it bugs fasts.


Screamer Killer – Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: Pictures really fail to convey how huge this model is, the carapace vents peak at a centimeter or two over the top of the Dreadnought in the same box and of course the arm span is like double the width of its counterpart. It’s Big Boi Season when this guy is around and the classic fexes look a bit puny next to it, it can even give the existing big nids a run for their money. To give a reference to a existing kit, the Screamer could just about put their chin atop Hive Tyrant’s head and is many, many times as wide, remember that this on the same base as the Ballistarius! 

On more subjective stuff, I will be the first to call out that it’s head looks very goofy, but beyond that the screamer is about what you would expect from a big bug in the Tyranids range, big clawed limbs, stompy feet and a pose that implies carnage. Speaking of the existing range, this model does have one issue of permeance that I mentioned in the section on the Neurotyrant, there’s a big question as to what the future holds with it sharing a sprue.

Termagants and Ripper Swarms

Termagants. Credit: Rockfish
Termagants. Credit: Rockfish

Rippers. Credit: Rockfish

Liam: The Termagants and Rippers are a single frame (or rather three small frames) together, as is tradition. You get ten Termagants and a single Ripper Swarm per full set of sprues, and the Leviathan box has two of these for twenty and two total, respectively.

The Rippers are four to a base, and they fit together in pairs with a join at their tail/tactical rock area. Meanwhile, the Termagants come in four parts each – the main body and head, a left arm, a gun arm, and then some kind of side piece with a leg and a secondary arm. They’re beyond trivial to clip, clean, and build – which is nice for a cheap horde unit like this. They stand up particularly well compared to their xenos predecessors in this particular slot in a launch box, the Necron Warriors, which have a quite fussy join in the torso.

Comparing old to new Termagants, the main difference is the fineness of the detail – they’re very clearly the same thing, just with 20 years of extra modelling experience to make everything a little bit sharper and more defined. If you’re considering painting a hundred of them that might make you sweat a bit, but personally I painted all of mine with Contrast and they take to it really well.

Termagants and a Ripper Swarm. Credit: Corrode

Pendulin: These new Termagants are easier to build, better looking, on a larger base, and with more realistic proportions. Primaris Termagants. They’re the upgrade I didn’t know I wanted.

Tyranid Termagants. Credit: Pendulin

When I first saw the preview, I initially thought refreshing the Termagant sculpt was a waste. The originals were fine. Sure, maybe a little less detailed than modern sculpts, but they still looked good. Now that I have them side-by-side, the difference is night-and-day. These new sculpts are an improvement in every single aspect and I enthusiastically recommend picking them up, even if your swarm is already flushed with Termagants.

Rockfish: I can’t say I’ve really painted that many of the old termagants, a mere six or seven kits worth, but I’ve done enough to say that they really really needed the update. While the design holds up, like the other nid infantry from the era the old kits were more mold line and gap then model at times with a ton of seams and softened details.

Termagants. Credit: Rockfish
Termagants. Credit: Rockfish

Honestly the new kit is many times faster to get through then the old, with the crisp details, lack of brutal mold lines, and varied poses you should find these a breeze to get through. I found that a blob of ten was something like five-ish hours, so if you skipped some of the highlights and really go quick you could probably get them out even faster then that. Perfect for big blobs of squishy models!

As for the termagant’s sprue-mate, Rippers are similarly faithfully updated versions of the original models. You might find yourself wanting to cut some of the basing bits that they are attached to out, as they seem like they would get repetitive.

Termagants. Credit: Rockfish
Termagants. Credit: Rockfish

Winged Tyranid Prime

Winged Tyranid Prime. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: If we are to be honest with ourselves, of all the models in the nid side of this box, this is by far the weakest aesthetically. That doesn’t mean its a bad looking kit by any means, but its awkward and a bit ungainly looking with the wings below the arms and it clearly being in a walking around pose rather then in the act of landing or leaping off. You can also tell I struggled to find any any angle that quite works in pictures, a issue that’s not so apparent when you have it in hand. Like a number of modern GW kits it seems to be intended to be providing visual interest from any angle, but I don’t think it quite sticks the landing.

For having complained about it for a paragraph, this is still a lovely model to build and paint. Accessibility to the details is great and there’s nothing that feels half rendered like you might have seen in ETBs of yesteryear.

Pendulin: I can only echo Rockfish’s sentiments here. The model is neat, but feels like an older design with awkward posing. Especially when placed next to something like the Psychophage or Neurotyrant, both of which look fantastic at just about any angle.

Winged Tyranid Prime. Credit: Pendulin

Also you might notice that the tongue on mine is a bit different than any other. My tongue was actually snapped off and missing from the box. Must have gotten damaged in shipping or packaging. However, I was able to clip off a spare tongue from an old box of Tyranid Warriors and, with sprue goo to the rescue, attach it without too much fuss.

Winged Tyranid Prime. Credit: Pendulin

Von Ryan’s Leapers

Von Ryan's Leapers. Credit: Rockfish
Von Ryan’s Leapers. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: These were the first models I tackled when the box turned up at my place, and holy shit did they sell me on the nid half. Genuinely these are some of the most impressive models out of GW in the last few years, the build is fantastic but the real accomplishment has got to be how they hid mold lines. I almost couldn’t find any when I was working through them, and basically the only clean-up the parts needed was scraping the gates clean. 

It’s worth calling out that these are WAY bigger than they looked in promotional shots, they absolutely tower over normal Primaris models and look suitably menacing when doing so!

Von Ryan's Leapers. Credit: Rockfish
Von Ryan’s Leapers. Credit: Rockfish

Liam: Yeah, these (along with some others, like the Barbgaunts above) are much bigger and more impressive in the flesh/plastic than they are in promo shots on the Internet. It’ll be interesting to see if we do get a new plastic Lictor down the line, and if so what that model looks like size-wise, because these are easily bigger than the old one and they’re supposed to be a smaller strain of the same kind of bug. 

Pendulin: I was confused the first time I saw these models. “Oh cool, Lictors are getting a new sculpt!” But no, they’re just smaller Lictors. Firstborn Lictors.

Tyranid Von Ryan’s Leapers. Credit: Pendulin

Smollness aside, these are some pretty great models. However, the armor on the top of their back is a pain to paint. They all raised their talons above their head just perfectly to block easy brush access. It’s not impossible to work around – those arms are rather spindly, but it’s something to keep in mind. And as Rockfish mentioned, a few inconveniences in painting are more than made up by their ease of assembly. Really, that holds true with most of this box. Extremely well designed, and a blast to paint.


Leviathan Tyranids. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: If my biggest complaint about the marine side of the box was that it didn’t feel like the start of a force, rather an expansion to one’s existing collection, then nids managed to stick the landing beautifully. While its clearly a bit of a eccentric set of models, the only one that really feels out of place is the Prime as it’s missing something to lead amongst a force of units that look like they are happy to be getting on with whatever their personal schtick is.

Pendulin: This box is a slam dunk for anyone looking to get into Tyranids for the first time, or looking to expand their current collection. Fresh takes on classic models, great looking new units, it’s all here. And with there being 47 Tyranid models in Leviathan, you get a lot of bug for your buck.

Wrap Up

We’ve got plenty more Leviathan content still to come, so stay tuned to Goonhammer for coverage of the mission pack, Crusade rules and the datasheets for the units in the box.