DEPARTMENTS

Monday, March 9, 2009

Really Alien Aliens

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So, as I fiddle with the 15mm sci-fi project and try to cool my jets on the approach to game Storm, I found myself thinking about the aliens that make it into miniatures and I realized that for the most part, they all seem to be a lot of the same ol' same ol'. Now, this is to be expected, to a degree, as miniature companies are going to produce what sells. On the other hand, however, if you never build it, how do you know if they will come or not?

To my limited recollection, we have had a countless slew of aliens wannabes, anthropomorphized animals, mythological races in space (eldar, squats, space orks, etc), and near humans up to the gills.

Jon at GZG has given us a couple of good ones with the Phalons and the new Ixx. These fall, along with the Spugs from Spriggan, into what I call "Bugs with Guns". Other than these, it's all pretty much more of the same. If I've overlooked something, it's either because it didn't register or I haven't seen it.

I guess the question comes into my head as "Why don't we see more really alien aliens?"

Some of the most popular sci-fi games RPG and tactical have featured truly alien species, but they seem to always fall shy of the sculpting table. Where are out aliens with odd-numbered limbs or geometric central masses? Where are out stilty aliens? What happened to our aliens that barely register as sentient because they are just that odd?

What's funny is that even some of the obvious ones can't even seem to fly. Every gamer fanboy (no insult intended, just a description) worth his dice bag and catch phrase t-shirt (of which I have many)either does, or at one time has fancied feline aliens, or space wolfmen or busty amazonian warrior chicks, but how many of these do you see getting serious consideration in sci-fi miniatures? I have even had an on again off again crusade, myself, to get a line of hi-tech "raptoroid" dinosaur-inspired aliens into production, but even the intoxicating blend of dinosaurs and laser guns doesn't seem enough to lure producers into action.

I imagine that there are some aliens that simply defy casting, not sculpting, but production casting, but surely there has got to be some more room for innovation in sci-fi aliens miniatures. I surely hope so, because I sincerely doubt we need another bio bug menace or robotic terror horde.

-Eli

P.S. If anyone could ever bring to life anything even remotely similar to the bugger from the Alex Ries pic at the top of this post, that would just be aces in my book.

14 comments:

  1. I imagine that truely strange aliens might be difficult to cast, but also I think it has to do with our, humans that is, interpretation of what life should look like.

    As to space dinos check out Khurasan Miniatures as they produce space dinos in their sci-fi range.

    Great picture BTW.

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  2. Wish I could ake credit for the pic.

    I would agree with your arguement on human perceptions and prejudices and their effect on the creative process of making up aliens.

    I am not so sure it has as much to do with miniatures production. I think the pruduction comes down to market which tends to move along conservative safe lines dictated by gaming's relatively small market and slim profit margin. Add to this the restrictions of production techniques and materials and you tend to strain out a lot of the inovation and truely alien designs.

    BTW, I have seen the Khurasan minis and they are cool, but more T-rex thug than cunning raptor soldier. They are also in 28mm. It would be nice to see Khurasan turn some of it's 15mm talent to sci-fi.

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  3. Irregular Miniatures does some 15mm lizardmen (haven't seen them), as does Stan Johansen - his were originally done for Space Opera, I believe. Stan also does Ursoids which look kool.

    Eureka did have tigermen and raptors in their Club300 but these seem to have disappeared - I'll have to check with Nic as to why these are gone.

    I want caninoids, felinoids and tool-using hexapods in 15mm as I want to game semi-Travller type games. Even Big Green Martians (Peter Pig) can pull duty as Sydites:)

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  4. David,

    I was the one who put in the request for the raptoroid aliens. I even did up some pose sketches. Not sure why they went poof.

    I have seen Stan's alien figs and they do look passable if not a bit limited in range. The ursoids are on my list. His lizardmen are a bit too cumbersome for me.

    I would love to see something like the hexapods or anything odd like that (as the pic for this post will demonstrate).

    GZG's new Ixx figures are nice and on the list too. They may be bugs, but they are different enough from other stuff and they carry GUNS.

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  5. Khurasan Miniatures is working on some cool new designs but they are still in the hands of the sculptors at this time.

    I;d like to see some of the Stan Johanssen Starguard Dreenoi bug eyed bugs in 15mm.

    Give them their due, Battle Stations do produce some off the wall (or off this world) aliens!!!

    Cheers
    Mark

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  6. Mark, check out Critter Commandoes. Last time I looked, they had some 15mm guys who looked a lot like the Dreenoi.

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  7. Mark, do you have any idea what Khurasan is working on?

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  8. Have checked with Nic at Eureka and basically if there are no pre-orders for 12 months, he assumes the design won't fly and pulls it. Which is a pity as I recall the tigermen had got over 500 pre-orders.

    Apparently, the Victorian Martians may be pulled next, primarily because of no new pre-orders but mainly as Blackhat does a Martian range and there are some available through Peter Pig's 'Age of Magic' (?) range.


    Do you want to try the raptors through Wargames Factory's Liberty and Union League? http://www.wargamesfactory.com/leagueindex

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  9. David,

    Thanks for checking on that for me. I am not all that huge a fan of the Club style processes anymore. Generally, they really rely on stumbling on that one thing that everybody wants, a few fanatics grab on to, or that idea that the designers really dig but have not thought of before. I honestly think it's an experiment that has resulted in infinitely more failures than it has successes.

    I am now more a fan of supporting independent producers, or working directly with producers and manufacturers to try to generate new lines.

    As for Wargames Factory's newest incarnatin fo the Club, thecompany is a bit too new and unproven for me to put too much faith in their Club. Also, they don't have all that much exposure.

    Thanks again,

    -Eli

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  10. Hi Eli

    I am lucky to be in a priviledged position with a couple of companies, where they have let me into at least some of their plans and have shared concepts, greens, test castings etc.

    Unfortunately, and I'm sure you can appreciate, I'm not always at liberty to divulge.

    If Khurasan and Black Autumn both follow through on their plans for sentient alien races we are going to have a fantastic selection to choose from.

    Cheers
    Mark

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  11. Thanks for the headsup on the Critter Commandoes 'Dreenoi" http://www.teamfrog.com/images/insectonsquad1.jpg

    But are they actually 15mm? And if so, they're expensive for the numbers I would like to field.

    BTW, I agree with you on supporting and working with independant manufacturers.

    Cheers
    Mark

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  12. I have no doubt about Khurasan delivering, They sound like they already have stuff to go. Black Autumn seems to have a good amount of spirit in their project, but I'm a bit concerned with the release plan.

    I can appreciate your position of caution with the information you might have on up-coming releases, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask.

    The Dreenoi look to be in their 25mm range, which is really too bad.

    As for the seeming deluge of 15mm sci-fi releases that appear to be just on the horizon, even if they produce just one or two new alien races, that's a huge step in the right direction.

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  13. I hope you fellows will also get behind the RPG with 15mm`s. That is a great concept, becuase players can have a good selection of monsters and when I am done PC`s to fight them. They can just use dry erase boards for the game, if that is all they have. The best RPG`s have miniatures supporting the combat. IMHO, and 15mm is perfect for this on many levels. :)

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  14. I would disagree on the BEST RPGs using miniatures, but I can definitely appreciate the benefit of using them in some situations.

    I don't do much sci-fi RPG, but will keep it mind if/when I do

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