Speed Painting Tyranid Hive Fleet Kraken

When it comes to hordes, few armies do it better than the Hive Fleet! Here’s how speed painting Tyranid can get you a Kraken army on the table in no time!

Unlike our Behemoth or Leviathan tutorials, this Kraken  guide is all about speed painting.  Of course, you can paint Kraken to an higher standard.

However, sometimes you just want to field a horde of painted models on the board.  And like every Tyranid player knows or will learn, painting 200 Gants is quite the task.

Speed Painting Tyranid Hive Fleet Kraken

And when it comes to speed painting tyranid, Kraken is the hive fleet of choice because we can use the skin color to jumpstart the shell color.

And this is what speed painting is all about, it’s not really how fast you move your brush around as it is with your choice of technique and a little planning.

Base Coat  Colors

Our base color is where it’s at, and we are going to use it both for the skin and for the shell.

We are focussed on speed, so starting on Leather Brown is best because you can use the shaker can and get the horde base coated in no time. Make sure you touch up any area that your shaker can did not cover properly with a brush.  You want this base coat to be clean and opaque.

Next, we highlight with Skeleton Bone with our airbrush.  We want to highlight both the skin and the shell at this stage.


Unlike our battle ready Tyranids, we are painting the shell first.  This is because the skin is much easier to touch up at the stage, and the steps we have left are not prone to big mistakes.

With Skeleton Bone again, we can edge highlight the shell.  This is optional, but it will make a big difference in the finale result.  It mostly comes down to how much time you want to sped on your models…  not everyone wants to be speed painting tyranids to the same level.

Next we Apply contrast to the shell.  In the video we use Volupus Pink, because I enjoy the purply-pink look.  If you want the classic Kraken look, opt for the Flesh Tearers Red contrast instead.


Because the contrast is potent stuff, take a minute to touch up the skin for any red that bled over the shell.  You can do this with the Leather Brown, because those areas will usually be where the shaded parts of the skin are.

We want to bring some color to the flesh, as well as blend the leather brown and skeleton bone together a bit.  The transition can look quite stiff otherwise.  To do this, we will glaze over the flesh with Seraphim Sepia.

We want one thin and even coat across the model, so don’t be too heavy handed here.  We don’t need to create extra shadows like a wash would if you let it pool, we really only want to tint the colors we have and smoothen it to make it look more natural.  Well, as natural as face-eating space bugs can be anyway…


As with most speed painted schemes, the eye-catching details is where the money is.  This is what turns our simple model into something interesting.

We are going for a light and flashy green, that will pop very well next to the carapace color and muted tone of the flesh.  Because it is that important, we spend more effort on this color than anywhere else on the model.

Start with a base coat of Moot Green, that you highlight with Flash Gitz Yellow.  Glaze this with thinned down Warp Lightning Green, and you are done!


As with the rest of the model, the base should be something fairly easy to do and easy to replicate.  We went with a dark metallic base because they are easy to make or buy and very straightforward to paint.

Any dark base would work well for this scheme, as it will make the bone color of the flesh stand out.

Share your thoughts