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Retrofuture Mars is a cold world, a dry, harsh world--but not quite a dead world, yet. Survival is tough, and most of the remaining fauna is gaunt and quick.
The Martian Ravener has an ecological niche approaching that of our Earth coyote or tiger. Here, one stalks a pelgrane.
It must be stealthy, for the pelgrane is easily startled and can fly.
A pounce, and a clean kill! The ravener will first drain the corpse of precious liquids before consuming it, bones and all.
This meal will last it for Earth-months to come.
The Ravener is not a tool-user, but it is cunning, and has been known to mimic the calls of other species, and even Martian words, to lure prey closer.
Humans were surprised to find that such a predator in a resource-scarce world would need--and could afford--horns!
The Martians could have told them, but the Weinbaum expedition found out on their own.
Weinbaum's Cloaker! (the Martian name cannot be properly pronounced without the telepathic emphasis).
A flying apex predator that haunts sandstorms and windswept canyons.
Ingenious countershading means it appears like the dark, starry sky from below, and a cratered field from above.
Martian children, sporelings, and buds are taught from early age to watch for sourceless shadows.
Humans and their Space Ape pals are learning the same lesson!
The Ravener is a Hound of Tindalos, 50289 with the head removed and swapped out for a GW demon skull and Ork mandible from their Skullz box, glued onto a neck made out of sprue. That body is lean and athirst all right, perfect for Mars!
I've been having fun lately painting base discs up as planets and moons. Hard to have too many of those for space pulp backdrops.
Also! here's Princess Auriate, from Bombshell's Babes line. The elaborate headdress and boots, plus the saber, make her a perfect fit with her imperial sisters Azeemah and Khoshta.
Turnaround, but not in great focus, sorry.
Here are the sisters together:
An Imperial Princess lives a life of extreme luxury, but not one of ease. She must be prepared to prove her superiority over any subordinate humanoid (trivial) or savage beast (depends on the beast).
This is a challenge: a poisonous Desert Worm. It's also venomous!
Couple of bonus shots:
(I've had these finished for a while and THOUGHT I'd posted them already, but the search engine can't find them.)
In the ancient days when the Solar System was young, the Martian Empire spread far and wide through the local outer spiral arm before the Veiled Catastrophe ended their hegemony. They built miracles and left behind marvels. Sometimes they left behind colonies. A few of these, such as the ancestors of the Andromedan Dominion, flourished. Others saw the colonists die off, to be replaced aeons later by evolved descendants of flora and fauna brought along during the terraforming (Martiaforming?) process.
Still others suffered resource collapse, and the colonists relapsed into centuries of barbarism. Witness one such case.
Here are representatives of the Skull-Fang tribe, wielders of the sacred xolchu knife-axe (similar to our huckable Earth mambele knives):
And here their great rivals, the spear-wielding Moonspike tribe.
Skirmishes between the two are a way of life since time immemorial. Only the greatest warriors go without a shield, preferring instead to dual-wield their own weapons and those taken from the enemy.
Even in their reduced state, though, they have not lost the Martian intellect. Between clashes their bards create great sagas and carvings of incredibly advanced mathematics. Their shamans have deduced nuclear and relativistic physics from first principles. There simply isn't enough smeltable metal left to put their designs to use.
Three local years after the disastrous First Contact with outward-expanding Earth forces, a temporary alliance of the tribes managed to build a working hyperdrive out of scrap metal bits and a stolen ray gun. Since then, their ballooning fleet of pirated ships has been kept in check only by internal struggles. Kinetic projectiles on gravity-slingshot orbits are their specialty, and the shock of having your ship depressurized by a knife thrown from several light-seconds away is one few spacers are prepared to deal with.
More 15-mm goodness, this time 15mm in size. These are just little guys! I couldn't resist the singular eye and writhing tentacles.
I haven't decided yet what role they should play, but they are very alien aliens.
More angles of the three:
I feel like they have some kinship with the three-eyed ASSIMILATOR from Antediluvian, though, and wanted a color scheme to suggest it.
They are probably, like my other cycloptic aliens, remote phylogenetic relatives of the Illyrians.
Just weird little guys!