Friday, 26 February 2016

The Giant Robo Alphabot, part five

It's time for two more entries in the robot alphabet. Today's pair have a distinctly retro feel, both hailing from the same decade. Actually, not just the same decade, but the same year. Each of these machines first appeared in 1957. Or rather they didn't, they were invented much later, but their backstories saw them both spring into action in an imaginary, alternative 1957.

So 1957 is clearly a good vintage for giant robotic things. But what's the significance of that year? If you're not sure then the answer can be found somewhere in the text in one of the images.

Also, as I've said before, if you're partial to a bit of Pinterest then clicking right here will allow you to see all the existing posters in one place.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Gunslingers, mercenaries, bodyguards, agents and adventurers

To simplify the extensive list of professions in the title, this post is basically about people who carry guns. People who carry guns and could be found within my Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) Imperial hive city, Kruenta Karoliina Arx Rotunda.

I decided I wanted a bunch of guys who aren't Astartes, Astra Militarum or Mechanicus. Instead they're private bodyguards, mercenaries or independent Imperial agents. The kind of hard cases who would be hired by noble houses, merchant guilds, Inquisitors and Rogue Traders, to ensure that bumps get smoothed, and lumps get liquidated. The kind of characters that often crop up in Dan Abnett's excellent Inquisitor books (the Eisenhorn trilogy, the Ravenor trilogy, and, at the time of writing, the first part of the Bequin trilogy).

Some of them will be ex-Imperial Guard, some will be gangers or members of criminal cartels, while others may even have undertaken rare martial training at specialist scholams. Doubtless they are all very dangerous in a civilian context, though it's unlikely any would match up to an individual Astartes or Custodes legionary.

As with most of my scratched together conversions the basic models come from a variety of places. There are three that started life as Urban War Triad Retainers with Naginata Pole Arms (a lot of the excellent Urban War range appears to be out of print now and this is the only picture I could find of the original models), three that are basically Games Workshop kit bashes (trying to use up some of the myriad pieces left over from my 'Dredd' style Arbites project), one from Mike McVey's Sedition Wars range and a Grymn Pilot from Kev White's Hasslefree Miniatures.

All those basic miniatures suffered a bit of chopping and/or repositioning, before I got down to the fun part of the job: covering them in extra weapons, packs, armour plates, cables, heads and belts etc.

Did I have any idea what I was trying to achieve? In this case, surprisingly, yes. For a few of these characters I took my inspiration from the video game Destiny. Looking at the images on this Google search of Destiny concept art, the game is very close in tone to WH40K. Could Destiny have originally been inspired by WH40K?

If so, then in my 28mm take on these things, I suppose the circle is now complete.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Rogue inspiration

Anyone who knows me will have noticed I'm something of a fan of the comic 2000AD. That's because it's not just awesome, but also, at least partly, responsible for the fact that I'm now a grown man who writes about science fiction in his spare time.

When I was a kid one of my favourite stories was Rogue Trooper. A genetically engineered soldier bred to fight in the harsh, chemical environment of the war-torn planet Nu Earth.

I recently bought the graphic novel Jaegir. It collects a new story set in that old Rogue Trooper universe. Specifically the part of the universe occupied by the Norts. The Norts were the heavily militarised, fascistic, totalitarian bad guys of the original story. They had the best gear, legions of crack troops and a seemingly non-existent moral code. What makes Jaegir so interesting is we get to see how these guys operate away from the warzone, in their cities and homelands.

The comic is written by Gordon Rennie (who has also written a handful of novels for Games Workshop and the script for the video game Killzone) and drawn by Simon Coleby (who drew Inquisitor Ascendant for Games Workshop and whose work keeps getting better and better).

If you haven't read Jaegir yet, but were a fan of the old Rogue Trooper I can thoroughly recommend it. It's note perfect in it's depiction of the Norts behind their frontlines.

The Norts are, generally, not very nice people. But their uniforms are kinda cool. That's cool in an oppressive, authoritarian, dystopian kind of way, of course. Upon reading the comic I was struck by the similarities of Nort officers with another oppressive, authoritarian, dystopian science-fiction universe. So struck that, as a short project and a little break from my 'Dredd' style Arbites Enforcers, I was inspired to build an officer for the denizen part of my city project. I took his tunic from the guy in the top left panel of the middle image and much of the rest of the uniform from the man in the bottom right of the third image.

I figured the resulting character could easily be found among the higher echelons of Kruenta Karoliina Arx Rotunda social circles, or perhaps aiding a local Inquisitor in deciphering anomalous fleet dispositions, or just assisting the Arbites with an incident where the clues keep pointing to one of the sprawling military establishments.

For those with an interest in this kind of thing, the head is from the officer that comes with the Baneblade tank, the body and legs are from a Dark Vengeance Chaos Cultist, the bolt pistol once belonged to a Space Marine Scout, the sword probably comes from a Marine of some kind, and the arms were scratched together with whatever bits I had lying around.