Tyranid Warriors – Fluorescents, and Lessons Learned

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t feel great about posting “gift” miniatures for people because I want to make having that physical item special, and make something about that gift be more genuine and unique for the person receiving it. That being said, while I don’t want to do a whole gallery on these, I think there were lessons learned that I want to communicate to other folks doing painting of the sort – a cautionary tale, if you will. We all know that I have a penchant for making glowy miniatures, and when I decided to make XenonMage some Tyranid Warriors I decided I wanted to experiment and try something new.

Pictured: Some Necromunda objective markers and some fancy, glowy bugs.

Where this becomes a cautionary tale is that, since I’d worked with glitter flakes to great success before, I decided to invest in fluorescent powder for nails that would make objects glow in the dark. The powder worked brilliantly in that sense, if I’m being honest, but there were a lot of problems with the process that I didn’t anticipate. When I worked with glitter flakes, I wasn’t expecting them to be water-soluble and was immersing them directly in hardcoat or similar varnish, watered down slightly, and applying relatively thin. After basecoating the models I tried to instead use the fluorescent powder mixed into the secondary color, Vallejo Olive Green, and slowly building it up in light layers. I used a touch of Lahmian Medium as well to keep it from being too strong or gumming things up.

Pictured: The fancy, glowy bugs doing their thing.

Alas, the opposite happened. The fluorescent powder, which I anticipated would be water soluble once I mixed it in a blend with water, Olive Green, and Lahmian Medium, was not water soluble. With every layer, more of a chalky texture built up on the carapaces to the point where pieces would fall off entirely when I wasn’t careful. Eventually I salvaged things by applying lots of Hardcoat and Vallejo Fluorescents for finishing, but I feel like these would have turned out better if I’d made better use of test models. The lessons learned are thus: Fluorescent powder is not water soluble or a layer paint, and also, ALWAYS use test models. I can ultimately feel good about this, though, because I made the mistake and wrote it down, and as both Adam Savage and XenonMage herself would likely point out, that just makes it science.

“Tyranids warriors are the most adaptable of all the Hive Mind’s bioforms. They are efficient killing machines with the ability to employ a wide variety of bio-weapon symbiotes.” – Tyranid Warriors, Games Workshop.

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