Have you picked up the new Leviathan box and are still looking for a paint scheme for your Tyranids? How about my unique take on Hivefleet Kraken. In this step-by-step tutorial I’ll show you how to combine easy techniques like zenithal basecoating /slapchop, Contrast & Speedpaint and some well-placed highlights to create a real eye-catcher on the board – without having to paint yourself to death.

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This tutorial assumes that you are familiar with the fundamental techniques of painting Warhammer miniatures. I will guide you step-by-step through the paints and techniques I utilized. Since my paint collection is quite varied, I will offer suitable alternatives from the current Citadel paint range [in brackets] whenever I use a paint that is not from Games Workshop or is out of production. However, if your goal is to replicate the exact outcome displayed, I suggest expanding your paint collection.

You’ll find a list of all the paints used in this tutorial at the end of the post.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan featured image

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken

Priming & zenithal basecoating

For this model, we begin by creating depth using zenithal airbrushing, gradually transitioning from dark to light. If you don’t have access to an airbrush, an alternative approach would be to use Colour Forge’s Ruinous Red primer, followed by applying thin coats of Wraithbone spray from above. Alternatively, you can basecoat the model with Gal Vorbak Red and gradually build up drybrush layers of Rakarth Flesh and Pallid Wych Flesh, adopting a Slapchop-inspired technique.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 1

Prime the model with your favourite black primer. I used AK Interactive Fine Primer Black.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 2

With an airbrush, basecoat the whole miniature with Warpaints Air Chimera Red. Make sure to cover every nook and cranny.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 3

Next, apply a zenithal highlight of thin coats of Warpaints Air Gnome Cheeks, again with your airbrush. Spray at a low angle.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 4

Spray another zenithal highlight, this time at a high angle, with Warpaints Air Bleached Bone.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 5

Drybrush the lower, downward-facing areas of the model with Warpaints Air Gnome Cheeks to bring out some of the detail.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 6

Give the upwards-facing parts of the Termagant a subtle highlight of Vallejo Model Color White [or White Scar]. A soft makeup brush works best for this.

At this stage, paint the texture of the base. Apply a basecoat of Mechanicus Standard Grey, then paint the small rocks with Corax White, before carefully drybrushing the texture with Corax White as well. Once dry, apply an all-over wash of a 1:1 Warpaints Strong Tone / Dark Tone mix thinned with a little bit of Contrast Medium [you can also use a 1:1 mix of Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade or thin Ratling Grim with Contrast Medium to a wash-like consistency]. Feel free to adopt the basing style according to your gaming table or board.

Applying Contrast & Speedpaint

Now that we’ve completed the zenithal basecoating, we can move on to applying the base colours using Contrast and Speedpaints. Personally, I prefer to begin with darker shades and gradually work my way towards the lighter colours.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 7

Give the hooves, claws, and carapace pieces on the Fleshborers a coat of Speedpaint Murder Scene [or Flesh Tearers Red mixed with a little bit of Leviathan Purple].

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 8

Carefully paint the carapace with Flesh Tearers Red. On larger models, you might want to apply a second coat on larger flat areas for a more even result.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 9

Paint the “ammo” details of the gun symbiote with Speedpaint Purple Swarm [or Luxion Purple].

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 10

Pick out the Termagant’s and gun symbiote’s eyes with Aeldari Emerald.


How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 11

Paint the mouth, tongue, and joints with Speedpaint Aged Hide [or Guilliman Flesh].

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 12

Paint the Fleshborer with Speedpaint Peachy Flesh [or Reikland Fleshshade].

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 13

Dilute Speedpaint Familiar Pink 1:1 with Contrast Medium [or use a 1:3 mix of Doomfire Magenta and Contrast Medium] and use this mix to glaze the front half of the Fleshborer and its “cables”. Also, glaze the fleshy joints.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 14

Repeat this process with the same mix, but only glaze the upper ends to build up a pink gradient.

At this stage, the model is painted to a battle-ready standard. If you want to muster your Tyranids forces quickly, you could skip all the highlighting and jump straight to step 31.

Adding highlights

This is the most time-consuming stage of replicating this paint scheme. Feel free to simplify it as desired. For instance, instead of applying three highlights to the carapace, you could opt for a single highlight of Wild Rider Red, or Wild Rider Red combined with the dot highlights of step 17.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 15

Give the carapace an edge highlight with Vallejo Model Color Vermillion [or Evil Sunz Scarlet with a little bit of Wild Rider Red].

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 16

Apply an even finer edge highlight, this time with Vallejo Model Color German Orange [or Wild Rider Red mixed with a little bit of Lugganath Orange].

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 17

Add small little dots with Vallejo Game Color Skin Tone [or Flayed One Flesh] to the sharpest edges of the carapace.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 18

Highlight hooves, claws, and darker carapace of the Fleshborer with Khorne Red.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 19

Apply an even finer highlight of Pink Horror.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 20

Add small little dots of Warpaints Centaur Skin [or Pink Horror mixed with Fulgrim Pink] to the sharpest corners of the darker carapace, hooves, and claws.


How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 21

Layer the eyes with Sybarite Green, leaving the eye sockets dark.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 22

With a very fine brush, paint a thin pupil of Incubi Darkness to the gun symbiote’s eye.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 23

Mix Sybarite Green about 2:1 with Reaper Master Series Dungeon Slime [or just use Moot Green instead of mixing] and highlight the eyes.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 24

Add a dot of Reaper Master Series Dungeon Slime [or Moot Green mixed with Dorn Yellow] to the Termagant’s eyes, and also highlight the lower right third of the gun symbiote’s eye.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 25

Highlight the purple details of the gun with Dechala Lilac.

Highlight the fleshy parts

Given the gradient we’ve achieved from salmon to pink on the fleshy sections, it’s important for the highlights to blend into each other as well. I begin with a base of Model Color German Orange for the highlights, mixed with Pink Horror and Game Color Skintone on my wet palette. The exact mixture varies depending on whether I want to highlight the pink regions or the lighter areas, adjusting for a lighter or darker blend accordingly.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 26

Mix two parts of Pink Horror with one part Vallejo Model Color German Orange [or the the Wild Rider Red / Lugganath Orange mix from step 16] and highlight only the pinkish areas of the gun, joints, and tongue.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 27

With pure Vallejo Model Color German Orange [or the the Wild Rider Red / Lugganath Orange mix from step 16], highlight the midtones of the fleshy details.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 28

Mix Vallejo Model Color German Orange [or the the Wild Rider Red / Lugganath Orange mix from step 16] about 1:1 with Vallejo Game Color Skin Tone and use this mix to highlight the most pronouned, upwards facing features of the fleshy parts.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 29

Add a few tiny dots of Vallejo Game Color Skin Tone to the tongue to create reflections. This will help to make the tongue appear more wet.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 30

With the 1:1 mix of Speedpaint Familiar and Contrast Medium [or use a 1:3 mix of Doomfire Magenta and Contrast Medium], glaze once more over the the ends of the gun and “cables” to help blending the pinkish highlights better into the model.

Final details

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 31

Paint the mouth and teeth with Black Legion. You could also just use any thinned black instead.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 32

Layer the teeth with Mechanicus Standard Grey.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 33

Edge highlight the teeth with Grey Seer.

At this stage, I carefully examine the pale chitin regions of the Termagant model for any errors or spills that need correcting. To rectify these issues, I create a mixture of Reaper Master Series Leather White [or Pallid Wych Flesh], a touch of Gal Vorbak Red, and a small amount of Two Thin Coats Doom Death Black [or Abaddon Black]. I use this mix to cover the affected areas. For lighter sections, I primarily use Leather White, while for the darker portions of the zenithal basecoat, I incorporate more Gal Vorbak Red and black. Using a wet palette greatly aids in this step, as it allows for seamless transitioning between different shades.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 34

Wash the chitin with Dreadful Visage. Make sure you don’t let the Contrast paint pool on flat areas such as the tail, and use a damp clean brush to soak up any excess while the paint is still wet.

For larger Tyranid creatures, you might get a better result when you thin Dreadful Visage 1:1 with Contrast Medium and apply two coats instead. This will help you control the pooling better.

How to paint Hivefleet Kraken Tyranids Termagants from Leviathan - step 35

Paint the trim of the base with Two Thin Coats Doom Death Black [or Abaddon Black].

Finally, I sealed the model with Vallejo Acrylic Gloss Varnish. Once given plenty of time to dry, I added a coat of Green Stuff World Maxx Mat Ultra Matt varnish. If you don’t have an airbrush, I recommend Mr Topcoat Premium Flat. If you struggle to find the perfect matt varnish, I’ve compiled a few of my favourites here.


Hivefleet Kraken Termagants painted by Stahly

And here is the completed model – plus another Termagant painted with the same guide. Unlike the more sepia-coloured chitin of the “official” Hivefleet Kraken paint scheme, I chose a more muted and greyish hue. Perhaps an adaptation to the dusty grey of the bleak urban warfare that the base hints at?

Hivefleet Kraken painted by Garfy

If you’re looking for a more traditional take on Hivefleet Kraken, Garfy has you covered in this tutorial.

Garfy also made tutorials for Hivefleet Leviathan and Hivefleet Behemoth, you can check these out by following the links.

Let me know if these tutorials have helped you out, either here in the comments or why not post the result over on our friendly painting Discord channel.

Paints you will need for this tutorial:

Garfy's Get a Grip banner 760x100 px

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Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If so, leave a comment or reaction below, and if you got any questions, leave them here so I can answer them for you.

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