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40K: Big On The Tyranid Big Bugs

6 Minute Read
Oct 14 2017

There are quite a few Tyranid Monstrosities that we want to make an appearance – Bring on the Big Bugs!

The Tyranids are a wonderfully alien and different race in the 40k universe. They consume genetic material and evolve rapidly to overcome whatever challenge is against them. In the larger 40k universe they have also had access to some larger, more specialized units to assault their enemies. Today, we’re going to be looking at a handful that we want to see kits for. Starting with the biggest of them all – the Bio-Titans!

Tyranid Bio Titans



The Dominatrix is a Tyranid species which exerts a controlling psychic aura to bring lesser Tyranid creatures under its will, allowing the swarm under its command to operate with uncanny efficiency and tactical ability. However, a Dominatrix is extremely rare and only seen in the most advanced Tyranid swarms.

A Dominatrix possess a large array of Bio-weaponry and packs a colossal mass, dwarfing that of an ImperialSuper Heavy Tank. It has an intelligence akin to that of a mighty Hive Tyrant, and the link it has to the Tyranid Hive Mind surpasses even the Hive Tyrant’s.

A Dominatrix is a gargantuan composite creature of nightmarish proportions, equipped with ripping claws and fangs, and a stunning profusion of symbiotic weaponry. Dominatrices are the brood queens of the Tyranid hordes, their children spawning into all the different Tyranid classes. Inside her rides a Norn Queen, with all the gene sequences of the galaxy’s most lethal creatures, ready to be spliced and twisted into new monstrocities.

Because of the importance of a Dominatrix, which is also the most powerful link to the Hive Mind a horde has, they are strategic targets of the highest priority. Destroying a Dominatrix can decide whether a planet falls to the Great Devourer, or is saved.


The Dominatrix is one of those massive Bio-Titans we keep hoping for – it did actually have a model back in Epic 40,000. Games Workshop would probably have to redesign the model to be appropriate on the tabletop in 40k but they could take the core idea from this model and fill it out.


The Viciator is a massive Tyranid Biotitan akin to the more well-known Hierophant.

Not much is known about the Viciator. It was from the Warhammer 40,000 CCG and it was just listed as a cousin of the Hierophant. We do have this bit of art work to go off of however. Based on that, it looks very similar to a Hierodule. Because of the vagueness of this Bio-Titan, it could be a perfect template to create something in the tyranid lists that could be a larger Lord of War entry.

Tyranid “Warmachine” Size Creatures

This class of Tyranid includes the larger species like the Haruspex, Hierodule, and Exocrine. There are still many “Big Bugs” in this class that have not had a model however.



A Dactylis is a large Tyranid creature designed to launch Spore Mines from long range with machine-like precision. It’s forelimbs are long, multi-jointed and covered in corded tendon and muscle that make a distinctive cracking sound when used to hurl its payload.

When the Imperium initially encountered the Dactylis, it’s ammunition was a parasitic creature known as a Bile Pod which fed off glands at the rear of the Dactylis’s cranium. In effect they were similar to a Poison Spore Mine. In more recent encounters the Dactylis has displayed spore-generating colonies of bacteria on its cranial glands which are now able to provide a variety of ammunition.

The Dactylis had a model back in Epic and it also had a larger version from Armorcast way back when. It had the unique ability to fling Spore Mines much like a catapult. An update to the look and theme of this model could be really cool. Currently if you want to have a Spore Mine generator you can go with a Sporocyst. But having a mobile artillery piece like a Dactylis could be cool.


A Malefactor is a large Tyranid assault creature that is able to transport a brood of other Tyranid creatures into battle under its thick carapace. It is surprisingly fast and is armed with Acid Jets and Frag Spines.

Another “warmachine” style Tyranid that had a model previously, the Malefactor had the unique ability to transport brood of other Tyranid creatures. The Malefactor functioned similarly to how a Land Raider would with the big difference being it could crush your enemies in assault after delivering it’s payload. That concept fits perfectly in 8th edition as the line between creatures and vehicles has blurred even more.

(Note: that other “Big Bug” in that picture is the old Exocrine. That’s quite the redesign, don’t ya think!?)



The Nautiloid is a massive species of Tyranid. Carrying a massive shell resembling that of a snail, its mid- and rear-limbs are fused into a pseudopod and Lash Whip combination.

This creature was dreamed up for the Warhammer 40,000 CCG.  It seems more like a feeder beast that would help with the “clean-up” step – ferrying bio-mass to reclamation pools. It seems like the inspiration for the Toxicrene in a lot of ways. If this unit ever does see the tabletop it would probably need a massive reworking of it’s combat role.


The Viragon is an enormous Tyranid worm-like organism capable of tunneling through the ground akin to the more well-known Trygon.

We already have the Tunneling Mawloc and Tyrgon – but the Viragon seems like it was designed to do more than just be another tunneling Tyranid. Also, looking at the artwork,  don’t know how effective it would be at tunneling…the Tyrgons and Mawlocs have spines that would help them move underground. Their bodies have a good curve to them as well that seem like tunneling would be plausable. This one looks a lot like another organism from a different game altogether.



The Cerebore is a large Tyranid organism equipped with sacs to transport smaller creatures into battle, similar to the roles fulfilled by the Haruspex. It is equipped with a hardened exoskeleton on its back for protection and multiple tentacles to fend off attackers.

If you’re reading that description and wondering why it references the Haruspex – that is because the Haruspex wasn’t always “just a pretty face.” Many of these larger warmachine sized Tyranids also functioned as transports for other, smaller Tyranid organisms. These land-whales would make their way to the fight and drop of their payloads as well. Based on the description and battlefield role, it’s hard to argue that it hasn’t been replaced by the Tyrannocyte. If it does make a comeback, the Cerebore would need to be completely redesigned – but that is fine by us!

There are a ton of Tyranid Species that could be redesigned to work on the tabletop of 40k. You can check out an even larger list at the Lexicanum.


What new Tyranid creatures do you want to see? What older ones would you love to see redone?

Author: Adam Harrison
  • Privateer: Talks Craelix & Elias Gade