Thursday, 2 June 2016

Space Lizard Mercenaries from the Outer Rim

One thing that Citadel has never really done very well in 40k is to create alien modelss. Forget about the extensive list of aliens described in Rogue Trader. When you actually get down to looking at the models produced, up until around 1990, 40k aliens comprised of space elves (Eldar), space dwarfs (squats), space ogres (ogryns), space halflings (ratlings), space zoats (um, space zoats), space slann (er, space slann) and space orcs (orks). With very little imagination, GW had simply ported all of its fantasy races into the new setting; perhaps leading to references to 40k as a science fantasy rather than a science fiction game.

Look - Elf,Dwarf, Goblin, Orc...er, giant alien fishman...

Genestealer cults provided the first inkling that there might be actual aliens inhabiting the 40k universe, and the Tyranids are as alien a race as you can think of. We went back to fantasy archetypes however, with the space undead (Necrons), and it’s only latterly that the blue-skinned, Manga inspired Tau have provided anything much different.

I like aliens. I want my fringe world setting to be populated by a range of alien travellers, traders, mercenaries and associated scum – those races not accepted by mainstream Imperial society, but at large in the lawless dark corners of the universe. Not unlike Mos Eisley in fact!

Not all aliens fit the 40k aesthetic, but I was recently looking at the Kryomek civilians range, currently in production by MSD Games. The bulk of the figures, sculpted in the early 1990s by Bob Olley, retain a great Rogue Trader vibe. Having purchased a decent selection of the figures, I decided to start with a pair of my favourite cute little aliens to start things off.

The Oranssii xenos race are mammal-like reptilian humanoids. Standing a bulky 2m tall or more, Oranssii have scaled hides, long tailed and clawed feet. They lay eggs, but suckle their young once hatched. The colour of Oranssii hides is most striking – both males and females possess vibrant orange coloured heads, leading the race to often be referred to as “citrus noggins / nogs” or “orange bonces”. Oranssii females have a dull brown and lightly mottled hide, whereas the males sport vibrant blue-green scales across their entire body. Darker and more intensely coloured males are considered to be more successful, dominant and desirable by females. 
 
Ky-lisko and Azk-lisko are Oranssii siblings, hatched from the same brood. The brother and sister are currently in the employ of Abdul Goldberg. They have travelled widely in human space, plying their trade as smugglers and guns for hire. While Azk-lisko is the more powerfully built and martial of the siblings, his sister is a much more canny operator. Ky-lisko is a competent conversationalist in Imperial Gothic and a shrewd negotiator. She has an eye for a beneficial deal, a nose for danger, and is ably supported by her less sharp brother.
 
 
This pair of aliens come from packs Aliens with Bolters 1 and Aliens with Bolters 2, alongside another 4 aliens I will get to at a later point. The figures are clearly based on the same underlying sculpt – an approach which was very typical for the time. Bob obviously started with the naked female sculpt, then added rather more clothing and armour to create the second variant.
 
I wanted to make it apparent that this pair were of the same species, but also to ensure that they looked quite different. I googled some images of reptiles with different colours for the sexes, and hit upon the striking red headed rock agama lizard. I liked the way that the orange heads clearly made them the same species, while the body colour was so different.
 

Painting the pair was pretty straightforward. Ky-lisko got a dappled dun colour hide and the orange head. The dun colour was GW Rakarth flesh, washed with some browns and then highlighted by adding GW Pallid Wych Flesh. I gave the head a couple of sepia washes, before hitting it with an orange glaze to deepen the colour.
 
 
With Azk-lisko, I repeated the orange head. The hide was pretty much exactly the same approach as for Ky-lisko, but with a Scaly Green base and blue washes.

The local law enforcement agencies finally catch up with a pair of wanted xenos criminals.
 
Overall I'm pretty happy with the results, and I think I have a nice looking pair of alien mercenaries to use!

20 comments:

  1. I agree with your sentiments completely Jon, about the disconnect from RT to the minis produced. The positive for us is that WE get to populate the universe with whatever WE choose to imagine it with. It's a very fortunate position to be in really, isn't it!

    I like your scary additions too :)

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    1. Absolutely! Its a huge opportunity to be able to craft the setting to suit. Glad you like them :)

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    2. I was completely unaware of MSD games or the fact that they were producing Kryomek minis. I was under the misinformed notion that Scotia Grendel were the only one's producing their stuff. Thanks for the tip, I'm now off to investigate what they have....and try to resist buying some ;

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    3. Yeah, it seems like MSD picked up the Simtac element of the Kryomek range. Check out the Simtac section of the Bob Olley Wiki for photos if you need - the MSD website is missing a few.

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    4. Yeah, will do. I just finished having a look at their site and noticed that their missing quite a few pics. Puzzles me as to why you'd not try and advertise your minis better if you want people to buy them?

      I'll head on over to the Wiki, thanks again Jon :)

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  2. Very nice mate - yeah, more aliens needed for sure! Can't have a wretched hive of scum and villainy without 'em :-) Lovely additions, and great work on the skin tones dude - looking forward to seeing what else you've nabbed from the range!

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    1. Thanks mate! I got over excited and ordered about 10 blisters. There's lots of tasty stuff to play with :)

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  3. Great paint jobs on obscure figures... pretty much what we expect from Axiom. ;)

    Bob sure does sculpt some great aliens, including the drantkh.

    And those Arbites had better watch out, I do not think these xenos will go quietly... (such thinking is probably why I armed my Vigil with a heavy webber)

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    1. I do enjoy exploring some of the dusty, cobwebbed corners of the hobby! Obscure, unusual stuff holds a special draw I guess.

      Those Arbites are probably in for a bad time ;)

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    2. Certainly beats seeing another plastic space marine with yet another codex paint job! (not that there is anything wrong with that)

      It is a bit hard to make out in the "official" pictures, but are any of the other "aliens with bolters" of the same species?

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    3. In the two packs of aliens with bolters, there are 6 figures comprising 3 pairs. I think these are the only two of this species.

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  4. Cracking work on the aliens!

    The Kryomek range has got some great sculpts in it and its a bit of a shame that its so rare to see them painted!

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    1. Absolutely - I couldn't find any painted examples of these two...or any of the galactic civilians for that matter. They're excellent figures and well worth getting painted.

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  5. As a kid I was primarily interested in the alien and robot Star Wars figures. The lack of such in the Action Force/GI Joe ranges was why they never grabbed me the same way.
    So seeing more figures and concepts like this is particularly enjoyable.

    The Fantasy Flight RPG books cover a few more of the environments on the edge of the Imperium, where Administratum and Ecclesiarchy influence is more limited. The few that I have seen are a good read for those of us with an interest in the less travelled edges of the Imperium.
    Dan Abnetts Eisenhorn trilogy is a recommended read too.

    Anyway, early morning ramble over, great work on some decidedly odd but lovable models. They have a little of that man-in-a-suit vibe that feels so authentically pulp sci-fi to me.

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    1. I'm with you cheetor! I love all the aliens in Star Wars. I should give Eisenhorn a go - you're the second person to recommend them this week.

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  6. Love the way you painted the miniatures. Cheers, Karl

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    1. Thanks Karl! I was hoping for a bright eye-catching scheme that still made them look like the same species.

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  7. Really interesting aliens and well painted :D I did not know about the aliens done by MSD Games. I was looking for some xenos for my rogue trader games too. :)

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    1. Thanks! Its well worth checking the range out - there are some great models :)

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  8. They are much more than 'nice looking'. Good idea to look to nature for inspiration as mother earth has the best colour schemes :)

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