How to Paint Leviathan Tyranids

Leviathan is one of my favorite scheme for Tyranids, because it is quite striking and easy to do.  You read that right, a mostly white scheme that’s easy to paint!

As with most tyranid schemes, we are using three strong colors to complete our look.  We are looking for a white skin, purple carapace, and something contrasting for the venom/eyes and other doodads.

How to paint Leviathan Tyranids

The most interesting part of the Leviathan paint scheme is that it is all based on purple, there’s not a big contrast between the carapace and the flesh.  This makes the army not only very cohesive, but also, much faster to paint.  Two ‘nids, one stone, so to speak.

As such, if you are painting your full army, I strongly suggest starting with Alien Purple color primer from The Army Painter.  This is the best way to speed up this whole process.


Just like with most of the Tyranid schemes, we start with the flesh part of the model.

As mentioned above, we are starting on a clean purple base coat.  The video uses Phoenician Purple because we are only doing a single model, but Alien Purple is the superior choice here.

Next, we highlight broadly with Celestra Grey.  This should cover 90% or more of the model, leaving purple showing through  a lot of the grey, and pure purple only in the deepest recesses, if at all.

Lastly, we highlight with Ulthuan Grey, an off-white.  This is a real highlight, where we only hit the top parts of the model and blend it with our Celestra Grey.

For larger monsters and characters, you can come back with Ulthuan Grey and edge highlight some of the areas around the joints.


For the carapace, we start by touching up our base coat of purple that was hit by the airbrush spray form the previous steps.

If you’re following the video, this is Phoenician Purple.  If you’re doing this the smart way, Alien Purple.

Next we highlight our Leviathan tyranids’ shells with Genestealer Purple.  This is a light purple that’s not too bright.  We use a matte tone to keep our model somewhat brooding, despite the light color palette.

Lastly, we shade the carapace with either Nuln Oil or Druchii Violet.  Druchii violet will give our purple a more vibrant tone, while the black will only darken it and keep it matte.  This is up to your personal preference.


For the additional details like eyes, veins and toxic and poisonous bits, you have two options.  Either a color that blends in with our scheme our something that contrasts vividly.

If you opt for something that blends with the scheme, like a simple Volupus Pink Contrast on these details, it will make the white the main color of the army.

If you want something more eye catching, go with light green, like moot green highlighted with Flahs Gitz Yellow.  This will contrast with the purple that’s across our entire model.


This scheme is very flexible when it comes to basing, and almost any color would look great. Because of the white, I like a darker base, like the dark metallic one we used.

There are a few exceptions. Green would contrast quite a lot, and a snow would perhaps overload your models with white.

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