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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chaos Corner Interviews: The Hivemind (Part 1)

Welcome back to the Chaos Corner. We have a real treat for you, my faithful readers. I have, at considerable difficulty and danger, managed to commune with that most awful of Xenos. A thing most foul, most destructive- a totally alien and inhuman force. That's right, I've managed to commune with the "Shadow in the Warp" itself, the Tyranid Hivemind! A one on one interview! This is going to be a doozy!

Hahaha! The truth is, this particular branch of the gestalt consciousness is one of my closest friends, Pete. This guy is certainly an old pro at Warhammer 40K. He has been in the hobby for nearly 2 decades now. Pete is the guy who got me into Warhammer 40K in the first place. We were both at college, and he happened to be looking through the old Citadel Miniatures Yearly Catalog (remember those?). I asked him what it was- he explained it to me quickly but with great enthusiasam. Then, he showed me the various races in that Catalog, and that was it... I was hooked. Done. I became a 40K fanatic, as I am now. All thanks to this guy.

Pete's hand-made lava table is incredible! Pictures don't do it justice!
Beyond getting me into this hobby, Pete has been incredibly influential on me and other gamers in our neck of the woods. Pete's painting skills are tremendous- he has a great eye for detail. Pete is also an expert converter and greenstuff sculpter. He has also been generous helping others in painting and modeling (Pete has helped me on many occasions). Pete has also built battle tables- these are works of art. He has constructed a desert table, MY city table, and his masterpiece- a lava table. He has consummate skills and an encyclopedic knowledge of all things 40K, so I figured that it would be great for him to share some of his experiences, thoughts, and insights into the Tyranids, an army which he has been deeply involved in for years. Without further ado, let us begin part 1 of the interview with Pete:

Q: When did you first start collecting Tyranids? What initially attracted you to them?
My Daemon Prince is in a spot of trouble!
Pete: I was first summoned by the Hivemind in high school.  I have always loved monster movies starting with the classics from Universal to the King of the Monsters Godzilla.  The Aliens rank right up into the top 5 of my favorite creature features.  When I read the description of how the Tyranids operate I was hooked.  Since then I've seen three generations of 'Nids' come and go.  There is just something so appealing about an enemy that you cannot reason with.  Hell, even a Chaos Marine can talk so there is a chance, albeit a slim one, that you could negotiate . Nids don't talk, they don't care;  they just do what they do.
"Nids don't talk, they don't care;  they just do what they do."

Q: And why did that particular aspect appeal to you? 
Pete: I suppose the thought of "they do what they do" also appeals to me because I have spent my academic career studying biology and evolution.  Nids are evolution gone rampant,  Nature overthrowing the machinations of Man, Eldar, Ork, or whatever else they find appetizing.  Brings to mind the old adage about fooling with mother nature. 

Q: How would you describe your painting technique?

 Pete: Sloppy, with a hint of obsessive compulsive I suppose would be the best way to describe it. Most of what I do is rough over-brushing and inks.  Having to do a swarm army I try to focus on overall effect rather making every Gaunt a Golden Daemon winner.  Of course I do lavish a little extra care on my larger critters.  I think I'd rather differentiate my particular army from others by my conversions rather than my painting.

Notice the fine detail work.
Q: What made you pick this particular paint scheme?

 Pete: I like the colors red and black.  The Really light gray stripping on the carapace came out of necessary.  When I was working at the hobby shop and I had just purchased my 3rd edition Tyranid army box and my original intent was to use Codex Gray as the carapace highlight color.  When I went to the paint rack I discovered that the Codex Gray was sold out.  What I did have was Space Wolf Gray and Skull White...

Q: Wait... are you saying that because they didn't have a paint at the hobby store you actually changed your ideas regarding your color scheme?  

Pete: Yep! Impatience won out and I after I painted the first few "test"  Gaunts, fully intending to repaint them when the Codex Gray I had ordered finally came in, I discovered that I really liked the contrast between the warm colors of the red exoskeleton and the cold highlights of the Space Wolf Gray;  So it stuck. It was a "happy accident" if you will- that happens a lot in this hobby. I recall, when doing my lava table, I used resin for the the lava and I thought I had messed it up. But, after a bit of work, it turned out great. If I had followed my first thought, I might have scrapped it. Happy accidents happen, as I said. 

Q: How would you describe the evolution of Nid models themselves from when you first started collecting to the present?

Notice how the paint scheme makes them a cohesive whole.
 Pete: I think the line has become far more cohesive as the model line has evolved (no pun intended).  In the pre-3rd edition days every type of model had a differing texture and personality.  The old "Screamer Killer" was basically a walking egg while the old Lictor was almost "over textured".  Both great models in their day, but also wildly divergent, especially since they were supposed to be of the same race. They were so divergent, in fact, that not even a unified color scheme or similar basing could make them look like a single army or race.  

Q: And how did 3rd edition change that? 
Pete: 3rd edition marked a renaissance in the Tyranid models, along with a 100% overhaul of every model in the Tyranid line.  For the first time you could see the biological interrelationships between the different organisms in the Tyranid swarm.  Gaunts, Tyrants, Carnifexs (Carnifi?) all shared similar traits (i.e. hooves, 5 plates on the head, etc.).  These Games Workshop design guidelines served to solidify the look and the feel of the Tyranids.  I look at every model and I get the same impression:  "Hungry little killing machines". The army has maintained that philosophy ever since, which has been great for the Tyranids. 
It looks like Pete's Tyranids are having yet another good day...

Well, that's it for Part 1 of our interview with Pete the Hivemind. Be sure to check back soon for Part 2, which will include Pete's musings about the current (and controversial) Tyranid Codex. Until next time!! 


  1. Well done my friend! You even manages to make it seem like I knew what I was talking about. I cannot wait to see second half of our discussion.

  2. Of course you know what you're talking about! I had no hand in that- I just asked the right questions. What did you think of the pics so far?