I always liked Tyranid Warriors - there is something about these creatures that screams both "ferocious beasts" and "intelligent alien menace" at the same time. As soon as I heard the rumours of a new Tyranid Warrior kit, I went and bought the old one... Why? I expected the new kit to cost more and not include any Rippers (since Rippers are not included in most of the new Tyranid kits). Turns out I was right on both accounts (though the price rise is justified by the quality of the new kit).
Painting these monsters was a lot of fun, since they are a nice compromise between the small horde models that make you feel like a copying machine, and the larger bugs that are fun but difficult and time-consuming to paint. The models look nearly the same as the new kit, though I find the lack of optional bits... disturbing. I prefer the old biocannons more though - in the new kit, the Barbed Strangler looks nearly the same as Stranglethorn Cannon. Here, it is pretty much unique.
The choice of weapons in the old kit is lacking as well, though in 6th edition environment, shooting is the way to go anyway - so I armed them with Deathspitters and a Barbed Strangler. I like the idea of ranged bioweapons, for me it's something that makes Tyranids different from other science fiction staple aliens, and that really hints at their alien intelligence. My favorite part about bioweapons are the eyes - I mean, those living rifles have real eyes on them, how cool is that?
Since I got two kits, I have also converted a Tyranid Prime - note the options for that were very limited in the old kit; the new one wins here hands down. I have given it a pair of Rending Claws, Adrenaline Glands and a very special head, which I converted using the tentacled head from the Genestealer kit. To make it stand out more, I've built it on a higher base, and added some worm-like Tyranid creatures under it - I know they don't look exactly great, since I don't work with green stuff a lot, but they still add some atmosphere!
The result looks almost Lictor-like; I guess I could even proxy it as one. I planned to play the creature with Regeneration, but since the 6th edition codex opens up so many new options, I'm not decided yet - the huge claws could work well as the Maw-Claws of Thyrax, and the head conversion could represent the Ymgarl Factor or even the infamous Norn Crown. Regarding the claws, I should have probably go for a ranged weapon - but these claws look so much cooler!
Since there is not much of difference between all the warriors (in the old kit, anyway), I tried to make them unique through basing. I've scrapped my idea of a nearly consumed death world and instead went with a contrasting, dark green jungle theme. Static grass, aquarist plants and even pieces of sponge were used, as well as my original Ripper-like worms, made of green stuff and termagant shoulderpads.
Finally, here is the back view of the pack. I've worked on these models over few months (in fact, the first Warrior was done one year ago), and the way I paint their chitin slowly changed - the barbed strangler model (right one on the picture under) and the Prime being the newest examples. I'm trying to improve, though I still see the Tyranids as a challenge to my skills.
In summary, the old models certainly lacked close combat options as well as customizible bits, though their design still looks fresh, and they had the added bonus of having Rippers included in the kit (still got to paint these little beasts). I had much fun working on these four, and building the Prime was truly a challenge. Now I'm still wondering how I should build the two Warriors left - thinking about boosting the Warrior unit with two more deathspitters, or building one with a venom cannon (to variate him with the Strangler one), or use the Prime as a standard Warrior in another pack of three Warriors (perhaps close-combat oriented). Options - there are so many of them! Guess that's the beautiful thing about Warhammer.