Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Concept Sketches From Yesteryear: The Dreadhulks


Posting about the early digital sculpts of Steve Jackson's Ogre minis got me remembering about my own take on the subject.

I scanned some rudimentary sketches years ago. Didn't even bother cleaning them up. Just raw graph paper scratchings, really. The basic concept was pretty apparent. Giant unmanned tanks with gobs of weapons plastered all over their heartless hulls, seeking to destroy all forms of bipedal life. Nothing that hasn't been done in sci-fi lore at least three times already.

The armored hulls had sensor eyes on them, in arachnid-like patterns, to give them a more detached, alien-like feel.

I came up with support craft, a-grav flatbed skiffs, that could be loaded with missiles for fire support, or Vermin, small infantry bots that could be used for urban assaults or close-in defense. Heavy Vermin would have been mech-like walkers.

My text description, also from years ago, was this...

Appearing on the fringes of human space, a new breed of combatant emerges: the sentient killing machines called the Dreadhulks. Drawing inspiration from such predecessors as Steve Jackson's Ogre series of games, Fred Saberhagen's Berserker series of novels, and Keith Laumer's BOLO series of novels, the Dreadhulk concept also emerges to purge the stain of humanity from the universe.

I read a few of Fred Saberhagen's Berserker series of sci-fi novels as a lad. The Berserkers, as you may know, were sentient mobile star fortresses and ships that were waging a war on all Life. Mankind, and a few alien allies, were among the few to stand up to the killing machines. Visit your library, and look some of the books up. They're great reads.

Same with the Bolo novels, from Keith Laumer. Sentient tanks that are considered Continental Siege Engines, capable of swatting targets out of orbit.

So, as a mix between the Ogre/Bolo/Berserker concepts, I came up with the Dreadhulks. I didn't invent the term Dreadhulk. It actually originates in an old sci-fi art book I read as a kid, called Tour Of The Universe. Wonderful art, and an immense source of inspiration when I was in my early teens. Here's a link to a copy for sale on Ebay right now.

Here's a Dreadhulk, a giant armored vehicle left over from a long-dead alien race.


You can actually buy the original (so it appears) here at this website. Les Edwards is the artist. Here's a blog that shows some more artwork from the book.

So, that's that. Just a peek into what I hope to machine up someday, and make reality.

Have a good Thanksgiving, too.

Best,
JBR
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