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SPACEFUTURE: Martian Ravener (headswapped 50289) and Weinbaum's Cloaker


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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.
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It must be stealthy, for the pelgrane is easily startled and can fly. 

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A pounce, and a clean kill! The ravener will first drain the corpse of precious liquids before consuming it, bones and all.

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This meal will last it for Earth-months to come.

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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.
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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.

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Weinbaum's Cloaker! (the Martian name cannot be properly pronounced without the telepathic emphasis). 
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A flying apex predator that haunts sandstorms and windswept canyons.

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Ingenious countershading means it appears like the dark, starry sky from below, and a cratered field from above. 

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Martian children, sporelings, and buds are taught from early age to watch for sourceless shadows. 

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Humans and their Space Ape pals are learning the same lesson!

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****
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! 

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Thank you all! 
 

19 hours ago, Grand Slam said:

I'm gonna have to remember that trick with the skulls ..great mod! Lovely paint job, too.

I'm really digging the concept behind the cloaker.

The Ork jaw doesn't fit all of the Skullz, but it's very satisfying when it does. I can tell you the Kroot skull is also particularly effective, especially if you're going for a piranha aesthetic.
Wish I could get a better angle on the Cloaker's underside without the base getting in the way. I appreciate it; countershading is useful in many ecosystems!
 

On 5/1/2022 at 3:00 PM, Iridil said:

Another great story and reimagining of miniatures - I love this ecosystem!

On 5/2/2022 at 12:51 PM, Samedi said:

Always good to learn more about the ecology of Mars!

Thanks! It's desolate and rugged--lichen and redweed are at the base of it. Lots of little trilobite/pillbug/beetle/horseshoe crab-like grazers; many mass extinctions and desertifications have whittled the biodiversity down to body plans proven to work.
 

On 5/1/2022 at 2:40 AM, Glitterwolf said:

Awesome conversion!

Good paintjob!

Excellent storytelling!

 

Love it!

On 5/1/2022 at 9:03 AM, Chaoswolf said:

Very cool conversions on some unique critters, and nice story telling to go with it. :winkthumbs:

Keep it up!

On 5/1/2022 at 2:44 PM, Darcstaar said:

Quite the evocative short story.

I steal only from the best! Pretty sure one of Stanley G. Weinbaum's short planetary stories featured something like a Cloaker. (Looked it up--a Blanket Bat, from Ganymede. Different ecology, similar form.) Early D&D was inspired as much by pulp sci-fi as fantasy, so the D&D Cloaker probably came from Weinbaum in the first place, plus the horrible things from Clark Ashton Smith's "The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis." 

Weinbaum and Smith's stories are also a heavy influence on my Retro-Venus's planetary predatory jungle. Tremendously inaccurate, but much more fun than the truth.

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