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"Non-humanoid alien design studies for miniatures" Topic

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10 Jun 2009 7:19 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Non-humaniod alien design studies for miniatures" to "Non-humanoid alien design studies for miniatures"

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28mmMan10 Jun 2009 7:08 a.m. PST

Here are two I am working on. Non-humaniod enough? Interesting in any way?

The first is a take on the classic space squid
This one will have a beak under the face fingers, some hardened back plates that are grown shell sections, and I am playing around with a skid or platform for rapid land movement

The second is a nod towards hard science fiction rather than trying to make a man fit inside
The head drops down to present a hardened upper neck/head area, multiple eyes for low light 360* vision, and a fully prehensile tail with 5 long dexterous fingers

jpattern210 Jun 2009 7:32 a.m. PST

Both are nice, but I *really* like the second one. I'd buy multiples if it was available.

commanderroj10 Jun 2009 7:43 a.m. PST

No criticism intended, but just an idea on the second one. i thought, why not put the "head" on the tail and a big mouth at the end of a shortened torso?

wminsing10 Jun 2009 8:06 a.m. PST

2nd design is absolutely fantastic! Please continue to develop it- I can see a lot of potential.


28mmMan10 Jun 2009 8:17 a.m. PST

Thanks for the comments, I am really happy with the second one myself. After I drew that one the ones that followed paled and were put away.

I have started the second ones in 28mm and I will start a 15mm in the next couple days. Work on a couple poses, equipment, etc..

Commander I am going to pass on the head swap at this time, but if you want to work out the idea and email me I will be happy to draw it up and see how it truns out for a different alien.

atomicraycafe at yahoo dot com

Eli Arndt10 Jun 2009 8:40 a.m. PST

28mm Man,

Your Penta Kai looks really cool.

I have been doodling non-humanoid aliens for a bit and recently started working on a design to try and use some 15mm camels I had laying about.

The design I came up with is very similar but it had the long "neck" apendage at the other end for obvious reasons and still has a head on the end of the neck. I also gave it grasping hands on the forelimbs and fine manipulators in the form of long "whisker" tendrils off the head.

It's fun to try to come up with alternate, non-humanoid designs and I am glad that you are developing some into miniatures.



28mmMan10 Jun 2009 8:46 a.m. PST

Emu I worked out several based off the camel form. The one I liked the best was to cut the head off, reduce the neck by 75%, return head to neck, and place t-rex mini arms tucked up near the upper chest area.

But to be honest the camel form works well for mounts…lots of conversion options there…even the Quar mount is a camel type base and that one is interesting.

jdpintex10 Jun 2009 9:14 a.m. PST

The first looks good in style but the physics of such a species doesn't seem right.

The second is very good. However, I would shorten the legs as they seem very vulnerable on a creature that has armor/retracting head. I'd also add a second tentacle/arm thingy.

Top Gun Ace10 Jun 2009 9:18 a.m. PST

I prefer the squid.

Would love to see some of those produced.

A couple of tentacles with slender, but sharp claws like yabbies (crayfish), or some shrimp have would be a neat option too. Not the big, bulky claws, but ones about the same diameter as the tentacles.

The anti-grav skid/skiff would be nice, but I like them on foot, er, tentacles too, especially for hand-to-hand/hand-to-tentacle combat.

15mm and 28mm scales, if you please.

Goldwyrm10 Jun 2009 9:54 a.m. PST

The second one is more interesting since squids have been done in so many forms already. Another idea would be to have a large eye on each side of the body above the legs and just have the neck end in a wide mouth, possibly with mouth barbels like a catfish.

Space Monkey10 Jun 2009 10:07 a.m. PST

I prefer the squid… but I'm a sucker for anything with tentacles.
The second one is interesting…

I'd want both of 'em.

wminsing10 Jun 2009 10:14 a.m. PST

I actually am quite taken with the head on NHE #2 and would like to see if carried forward. A second tail might work, but I think one would be adequate.


28mmMan10 Jun 2009 2:19 p.m. PST

I appreciate the input on changes…but the Penta aliens will be staying as is for now…but I do welcome other non-humanoid alien designs.

I will post a couple more tomorrow…I have gotten six or seven new ones that look promising.

28mmMan10 Jun 2009 8:09 p.m. PST

Well I have many many insectoids. To be honest I like the Spugs, Nids, and a few others.

The tough thing with Insectoids is to avoid the common failings of organic equipment, rubber suit, and not making it weird just to be weird.

Arthropods as a whole are some of my favorites as a whole and insects in particular.

I have a couple really good ones, I will clean up some of the best ones and scan them in.

Front runner is one based on a land mantis shrimp picture

tnjrp10 Jun 2009 9:52 p.m. PST

Well, the Penta does look very promising. Not personally fond of the Squid tho I suppose they might be more sellable, what with their cross-gaming pontial as Victorian scifi "War of the Worlds" Martians.

28mmMan11 Jun 2009 5:52 a.m. PST

Turnip :)

I agree that the squid does present crossover potential. Hopefully the one will carry the other and allow for more to be produced.

Thanks for the interest and please keep the ideas coming…I am working with a handful of TMPers on their non-humanoid alien ideas…hope to provide images soon.

Binhan Lin11 Jun 2009 6:59 a.m. PST

The Penta Tenta Kal has some potential but the overall physiology doesn't look balanced.

Unless the tail is immensely light, it looks like the center of balance is somewhere over the rear legs, which would be odd as the rear legs are not substantially larger than the front legs (i.e. as in kangaroos).

Second, the legs are far to close together to be able to walk efficiently (i.e. there is no room to swing the legs back and forth) and the point of long legs is to be able to move quickly (i.e. horses, fast dogs, etc. all have long skinny legs) unless there is some sort of weird splayed leg thing going on where the front legs hang outside and can reach back further past the rear legs. (Physical example -if you kneel on the ground and put your elbows in front of your thighs, you will note that your arms can only swing back as far as your thighs unless you put them towards the outside of your torso). The other alternative is that the rear legs somehow pull up in front and between the front legs sort of like a rabbit, but again if this is the case, then the rear legs should be the driving legs and again would be much more substantial than the front legs and the feet would be much more streamlined so they don't catch on the front legs.

Also the short length of spine seems contradictory to the length of the legs – animals built for speed usually have longer, more flexible spines. (But this decreases as overall weight increases since the spine needs to provide more support and thus is thicker and loses flexibility). For a roughly human sized creature, unless it is extremely dense, you would expect roughly 1/3 of the gait length to come from flexibility of the spine and 2/3 from the length/reach of the legs. In this design, it appears that the creature has neither leg range or spine flexibility. Again, if it is unusually dense, then you might justify the lack of leg motion, but then if it is that dense, it would be built more along the lines of a rhino or elephant with a broad, wide stable leg placement.

The inability of being able to take long strides also doesn't coincide with the hooves for feet as hooves are generally designed for fast, quick motion (i.e. smallest weight at the end of the leg).

The prehensile tail seems like a good start, but it appears to be far too meaty to be of real use unless it is boneless like an elephant trunk. A bone structure would seem to limit it to only being able to reach the back half of the creature, which would limit the usefulness of the appendage.

If the tail is boneless, then it probably doesn't need all that mass and a tentacle more like a squid arm or be thinner with less taper like an elephant trunk. In addition, by reducing the weight of the tail, it makes more sense from an energy use point of view, as it seems long enough that it would drag on the ground unless actively held in the air. (One reason elephant trunks mostly dangle, they are heavy) so unless there is some type of callus or thickened skin underneath the tail, the creature would constantly have to lift the tail or suffer damage from it being dragged on the ground. (try lifting your arms over your head for 10 minutes without resting it on a surface.) Thinning it out might be an option as squirrels constantly have their tails in the air (but then again, they have very limited flexibility). You could also try bending the torso more horizontal so that the tail was more suspended like a scorpion tail. (Crustaceans and insects are weird with the whole exoskeleton thing so parts hang differently on them, like having really splayed legs).


tnjrp11 Jun 2009 7:02 a.m. PST

28mmMan 11 Jun 2009 6:52 a.m. PST:


The Governator says: "You arrr!"

Anyway, just send you three sketches of my alien designs to work from. They aren't really "publication quality" as of themselves tho, just roughs so you can get the idea what I was thinking.

28mmMan11 Jun 2009 8:16 a.m. PST

Binhan, I agree absolutely. For this alien it was a matter of inspiration rather than direct function. I fell victim to "it looks cool". The hips are too close together, and there are some balance issues. I could say that this is a modified species and this is the end result…something along the lines of geneticaly altered for a specific function…but I will leave it at just because.

I will seriously consider reducing the bulk of the tail, as I had already felt it was a bit much; but it fit with the flow of the draft drawing so I kept it. As well as a few other points of interest.

Thanks for your interest and response, both are welcome and appreciated.

By the by Binhan do you have any ideas of your own for non-humanoid aliens?

Turnip… :) Hyvää päivänjatkoa Miten sanotaan … suomeksi? Soittakaa poliisille! Soittakaa poliisi! Ilmatyynyalukseni on täynnä ankeriaita

Personal logo Dances With Words Supporting Member of TMP Fezian11 Jun 2009 2:35 p.m. PST

I like…….TENTACLES…..(but you sorta already knew that, didn't you???)

but they are right about it passing for a 'cephalopodian/crustacean' sorta thing…as an 'alien' OR an 'Elder thing'/Mythos/D&D monster candidate….

the top THIRD reminds me, somewhat of the Erideki? from Star Frontiers VOLTURNUS series…(which had several 'cool aliens'/squid/crustacean etc things…)

I give it 5 out of 7 TENTACLES!!!

Sgt DWW-btod

28mmMan11 Jun 2009 3:09 p.m. PST

I do not remember the mentioned Erideki. I looked through my stuff and I do not have the Volturnus module.

But 5 out of 7, from such a tenticular personage as yourself, for a have drawn first stage draft, I accept.

Thank you thank you

I am considering putting the space squids on a small beach ball type of arrangement…centered under the main mass of tentacles to give support, height, a place to store fluids, etc.. As a sculpted miniature it would be barely visable under the mass of limbs but would be interesting to play with the idea of it…their static chairs could be semi-spheres that they sit upon instead of in. Hmmm Got the creative juices going.

I was working through a short lunch break a had another neat one come to life. I will work it out on paper and scan in later on Friday with a couple others.

It does have head/face tentacles and is really weird but functional looking…

tnjrp11 Jun 2009 9:36 p.m. PST

It's a little problematic to comment on the detail of the Penta as there isn't much background on the world they evolved on.

Not sure about the center of the balance issue particularly, the body would seem to be comparatively bulky depending a bit on how thick the torso is. There's only a side angle shot to work with after all and one can't tell if this is the regular standing posture or if the tail normally drags for example.

I agree the legs do look a little cramped as the feet look to be rather close to each other. One solution to keep the basic shape would be to make the cross section of the body sharply triangular so the front legs would fit between the rear legs better. I would think the creature would then be able run fairly efficiently in a leapfrogging manner, throwing it's rear legs to the front and mostly using the front legs as "levers".

28mmMan12 Jun 2009 3:37 a.m. PST

Very true and right on the money TNJ. I was working on other poses last night. I had designed the Penta with a flatened tail and off set hips. I will post when I am happy with the drawings…and the initial sculpts, which have changed slightly.

I was also working on a couple other aliens but to be honest I need to focus on the sculpting arena so I hold off on these, otherwise I will keep drawing and not sculpting. And while creatively productive drawing does not put minis on the table…and baby needs new shoes.

So on to the Penta and the space squid.

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