Monday, 15 March 2010

Tyranid Tactica and Conversion: Mycetic Spore

Mycetic Spore ... turn two I cry "Tennis Ball of DOOOOOM"

If you haven't voted yet, then add your contribution to the vote on the right over which anti-mech option I should consider in my horde. As an aside, I'm addressing a missing monstrous creature that needs serious attention.

Mycetic Spores...

Hang on, a 40pt monstrous creature that can land like a drop pod ... ie on target (or near enough) to cause serious damage and harm ... I like it! Let's not get carried away ... the Spore ain't no Carnifex. But 40pts for the delivery method alone is worth it. Included I get a 3W, 3A lash whipped and shooty bomb ...

The biggest thing that caught my eye was the S6 6" range 6 shot gun ripper tentacles. Is is just me, or it that actually a better option than the Lictor. The lictor might get an 'autoplace', but I'd take six shots at BS2 over his 2 at BS3 any day! In addition, I just popped the hatch and dropped another MC, 20 genestealers or Doom of Maladie in your backyard. That's a lot of thinking for my opponent going on there!

So it's a bit like getting a 2-for-one deal. I get to drop 'the doom' at point blank, while at the same time I get to drop some random shooting on something nearby. Top choice for spore inhabitees:

#1 'Dooooooom of Malantai': The only defence against Doom (inside or out of a transport) is movement or mass lascannon fire. Dropping the doom at point blank means you'll get two turns of 'munchy munchy psychic powers' before the fire power starts dropping like confetti. The Doom WILL probably die ... but he'll take a whole turn of shooting to do it. Even so, giving him a MC golfball to hide behind ain't a bad option!

#2 'Zoanies': Yes Zoanthropes at point blank range! Dropping in a combination of the Doom, Zoanies and Gaunts/Stealers can be a great way of ruining someone's breakfast. Don't let them get pick off from a distance, get up close and personal!

#3 'Oh look, Devilgaunts': You've got to buy at least 10 gaunts anyhow (for a Tervigon), so why not 10-20 devilgaunts (that's devourer armed gaunts) dropped in at point blank. 20 Gaunts will fire 60 S4 shots at 18". That's 5 'Spesh Marins' dead or 13 Guardsmen. Guess that means that the objective is secure??

#4 'Good Ole Warriors': Yes, why take Shrikes? It's a copyright infringement, 5 pts extra and they only have a 5+ saving throw? Sticking Tyranid Warriors (normally led by a Prime) in a great big Spore is a great way of delivering choppy choppy death in the back yard.

The also rans...

Carnifex: Ok so this fellas now Tervigon conversion fodder ... because a Carnifex in a spore is more than a regenerational Trygon? The Trygon has more attacks, more rerolls to hit and S6 +2D6 is as dangerous as S9 +2D6 against all but the most nasty Deamon princes. Ok, so the Carnie can fire when he steps out of the spore ... but so can a Trygon?

Hormagaunts: I prefer to play my hormagaunts 'fast and loose', these guys are the distraction that you have to pay attention to. 6pts for superfast cannonfodder is great, and if the enemy ignores them, their high attacks will ensure they pay to regret it. Against Mech armies these guys are a cheap (and quick) bullet shield ... 2pts for adrenal glands?? Don't make me laugh!

Genestealers: They may be cheaper, but the 5+ saving throw ain't great, making these guys flamer-fodder in most games (as they should be!) My problem with them deep striking? Well you are better of infiltrating if you have a plan, or flanking if you haven't. Either way is better than a 'boo and stand very still' surprise.

Building a Spore - My Approach...

I had a look around the interweb and spied a few 'Mycetic Spores' that looked more like a present than a threat! The Easter Egg spores didn't exactly fill me with enthusiasm. Therefore I went back to the drawing board. My background in water purification and my other half being a parasite doctorate ... I quickly discounted 'egg shaped' and went towards 'ball shape'. After all, even reptile eggs are round and only birds (and some mammals) produce the 'oval' shape.

Crucially for me, I wanted to build something more like an Oocyst of a Zygote Crytosporidium. This is a particularly nasty water borne parasite which grows a hardened shell in order to fend off dessication or chemical cleaning processes (like Chlorination). Take a look at the following link and you'll get a clear idea about the life cycle of this bug... LINK

Oocysted Crypto ... in deep space?

Crypto has a particularly nasty stage where it can estimate if the 'coast is clear' (ie: no chlorine) and then it splurges out the side of the cracked Oocyst in a particularly unpleasant manner.


Size: Tennis Ball sized polystyrene ball - 50p
Based: Plastic Card stencilled to shape as a 60mm MC base.
Rubble: Cork
Breakage: Knifework complemented by polystyrene cement and super-glue
Ageing: Enamel Spray black basecoat.

I think you'll agree that the 'tennis ball' size is spot on for housing a Carnifex or 20 genestealers. The size is also about right for hiding MC's behind while avoiding the overblown cover allegations of the larger 'easter eggs' designs.

I'd like to claim some 'genius' or 'brilliance' in the build, but it literarally came down to working with the effects of the different glues and paints on the Polystyrene. Simple rule ... anything that ain't acrylic paints will wither and eat your polystyrene ball!

I cut the large holes into the ball ... I wanted to give the impression of a self activated biological acid eating away the surface... which works pretty well. I scored very slight 're-entry burns' and crash scars around the base of the ball. I then glued the cork and ball to the base.

After drying (well during actually, I was impatient!) I then superglued in the Carnifex head, scything talon (that's sclicing its way out!) and the various fronds bursting from the holes in the surface. At this stage I noticed the 'burnt effect' and went back over the 'scoring reentry' with pippet strokes of superglue. The melted/burnt effect was very good. After this I added so PVA and plastic glue as 'gloop' about the Carnifex exit.

I wasn't aware that the enamel paint I used to base all my models would 'bite into' the polystyrene (I think the rule of thumb is to assume everything will!) ... but the finished effect looks brilliant!

I have to say, after painting, that this 'tennis ball of Dooom!' is the grossest thing I've created so far for the nids... even beating my rippers!

Let me know what you think!