Six months or so ago, my friend Graham Apperley got in touch with Ian and arranged to buy a few pieces of GW artwork. I had always assumed Ian Miller's pieces were well out of my price range, but when I was given the opportunity to buy the sheet below, I jumped at the chance:
|Sheet 2: Note the flamer crew, robotic dogs and preponderence of weird prosthetics
What you are looking at is an A3 sheet of concept sketches for "Hive Gang Scavvies" by Ian, drawn in 1989.
The sheet is one of a series of five wonderful sheets, providing a rather different take on Scavvies as envisaged by John Blanche (published in WD131) and sculpted by Jes Goodwin:
|Scavvy concepts by John Blanche, published in WD131 (Nov 1990)
|Scavvy sculpted by Jes Goodwin. Wonderful paint job by archae opteryx
Jes Goodwin's figures, based on John Blanche's concepts have a rather different feel to Ian Miller's more sinister, spiky, organo-robotic approach. Ian was kind enough to collate his thoughts on his work on the Scavvies back in 1989. I'll hand over to Ian to talk us through it:
|Sheet 1: Ian has explored a range of robotic claw arms on this sheet
I did the hive gang study sheets in isolation with just a brief explanation / suggestion in the Brighton office of GW Books (as was). All I knew about the gangs was that they were an up and coming feature.
Design wise I did what seemed appropriate at the time. I sent the designs off to Nottingham when finished and never heard another thing.
|Sheet 3: The figure on the left has "stilts for sewer walking", while the small sketches on the right are for a "flying gun raft / magic carpet"
In truth, I never saw John's designs, nor how they were presented as actual model figures. If my contribution was in any way meaningful or helpful, I never heard.
|Sheet 4: I always wondered how scavvies got around; now we know it is by "pipe bikes", "main duct cruiser" and personal hanging backpacks!
|Sheet 5: This detailed character sheet is now in the collection of Graham Apperley
Having spoken with Ian about the Scavvy study sheets, I commented on the close family resemblence to some of the characters he drew for James Herbert's 'The City'. In fact, some of the images have been published on the same page of Ian's recent artbook 'The Art of Ian Miller'. Ian confirms that "they did indeed provide a basis for some of the characters / elements in The City".
|Pages from 'The Art of Ian Miller'
So there you go - a tantilising glimpse into what the Underhive might have looked like. Many thanks to Ian for taking the time to chat about the images - perhaps one day someone might attempt to translate one or two of the designs into miniature form!