How to Paint Hive Fleet Snagglepuss – PantsOptional’s Method

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After spending most of 2017 painting Iron Warriors for Horus Heresy, I had a desperate need for colors other than dirty gunmetal, black, and hazard stripe yellow. The teasers for the 8e Tyranid Codex had just started coming out around the time that I was looking for something else to paint, so clearly this was destiny and not simply that I was easily swayed by marketing. Careful consideration bore out Hive Fleet Snagglepuss, which was designed both to be easily painted and to help identify homophobes at my local store.

A Tyranid Broodlord model
Broodlord of Hive Fleet Snagglepuss


The entire model starts with a white primer and a thin layer of white over that. The skin is an incredibly simple two coats of Seraphim Sepia over the white. I don’t know what you call those weird ribbed bits that seem like they’re opened up under the skin layer, but I call them “Screamer Pink with a Druchii Violet wash.” That same pink-purple also applies to any other odd fleshy/membrane bits such as spore cysts, adrenal glands, or wing membranes as well as tongues. Teeth are a pretty standard Ushabti Bone and usually get covered in Blood for the Blood God, while eyes are Moot Green with the larger eyes getting a slight hint of Lamenters Yellow around their edges and a cat-style pupil done in black Micron pen.

Carnifex of Hive Fleet Snagglepuss


This is what I wanted to shine. After comparing various options I settled on a couple of layers of Emperor’s Children with Carroburg Crimson lining the joins between carapace plates and other recesses or nicks. The edges and ridges of the plates get a line of Fulgrim Pink and I use a reasonably fine brush to start making thin triangular lines leading to the plate edge much like Rockfish described above. After this, Synapse creatures get a line of White Scar running down their spine ridges to serve as a quick visual guide.


I didn’t want the weapons to distract from the main colors so any claws, guns, hooves, and other fighty bits are a base of Skavenblight Dinge with a highlight of Stormvermin Fur and recess shading of Agrax Earthshade. Any carapace pieces like on fleshborers get the pink carapace treatment, tendon-y areas get the pink-purple, and Moot Green for any eyes.


Like everything else, the bases are pretty simple. There’s a layer of Abbadon Black thrown down over the primed base and around the rim, then that gets covered by Astrogranite Debris.

After that dries, I put down a layer of Agrax Earthshade all over the base, and follow it up with a drybrush of Tyrant Skull applied lightly enough that the raised areas pop but not so much that it makes the whole thing look like dirty bone. Contrast?! If I had to do it all over again (and with the advent of the 9e Codex I may just have to add some new bugdolls) I would probably start with a Wraithbone spray, Skeleton Horde on the skin, and Volupus Pink in the tendon bits. It probably wouldn’t save too much time but frankly I blew through a truly stupid amount of Seraphim Sepia making these and I’d love to avoid that again. I haven’t really experimented with the Contrast pinks outside of my beloved Volupus but I don’t think any of them would really work to provide the same shock pink. In summary, Contrast is a land of contrasts.

This article is part of a larger series on How to Paint Tyranids. To return to that series, click here.