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Something A Little Different

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Link below to work by Polish artist Jakub Rozalski.  He is a "painter" in the true sense of the word.  He does excellent landscapes, populated by war machines and werewolves.  Go Figure.  But...he's good at it!  :biggrin:

 

http://designyoutrust.com/2016/12/bizarre-paintings-of-mecha-robots-attacking-east-european-peasants-of-the-early-20th-century/

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Wow, I'm impressed, very nice paintings, full of imagery and meaning. Thanks for posting this one!

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Super wallpaper source! This alt-history epic would look cool in a computer game.

 

Looks like there is an RTS game in-work, based on the Scythe board game: http://iron-harvest.com/

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I love the desings and the drwaings, so Steampunk!! But those machines are so huge even a Zep will kill them with bombs.

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This is awesome and thank you for sharing these photos. I love mechs. ...

 

Hey Saisran (or anyone): Are there any good mech based anime's you'd recommend?

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also seems a bit like "Steamboy", as well.

 

There's a "war of the worlds" follow up anime that I've seen on (iirc) Netflix. Lots of large mecha to counter an 2nd Martian invasion

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Among my very favourite comic books of the moment is a French series, "Les Sentinelles", sometimes nicknamed "Robocop in the trenches": super-soldiers during World War One. I name this series here for matching with the theme: "Early 20th Century military steampunk / retro sci-fi", and because according to several articles in 2014, it was once planned to develop an anim film after the books. Yet by the end of 2016 things seem to evolve in a different direction; either delayed or cancelled, too bad anyway. The couple of dark paintworks below were actually studies for this project.

 

The pitch, characters, and events... A few years before WW1, a fringe experiment by loosely supported elements of the French Army, known as the Sentinels Project, tried to take a decisive advantage from newly synthesized and still highly secret Dexynal, a powerful, yet very addictive steroid increasing immeasurably strength, stamina, reflexes, and painlessness. Some testers just received injections, but the first tests often had human guinea-pigs turn murderous or suicidal (or both). Other testers, never more than one at a time, combined Dexynal with a battery-powered endoskeleton enabling them to carry super-heavy armor – as well as the terrible weight of the batteries themselves. All of these super-soldiers in turn were given the same generic name of "Taillefer" (Ironcutter), and were tested during colonial minor operations. The most critical flaw was that even carrying 400lbs in batteries, the battery life was ridiculous, and the "super"-soldiers ran out of energy in the middle of the battlefield. The Project was terminated with drastic consequences for its promoters.

 

On the eve of WW1, the Sentinels Project could get a second wind when a young and brilliant scientist, Gabriel Féraud, develops a very light radium-powered battery, with virtually unlimited life. Yet Féraud is a pacifist and refuses to sell his invention to the military. As the War breaks out, Féraud is mobilized, and critically wounded during the first fights. The promoters of the still unofficial and unsupported reborn Project manage to recover his carcass and extort from him the secrets of his battery, in exchange for the promise that they will rebuild him. He ends up cheated, for after long and painful clandestine surgical operations, he comes back to life as the new Taillefer: a mechanical monster. Now that's a trauma – for he is no Robocop: the body is Taillefer's, but the mind is still the pacifistic man of science's. Meanwhile, the Féraud family has been informed that Gabriel has died for his country. He knows he'll never try to see them again.

 

Taillefer has four artificial limbs, an artificial spine, and a full endoskeleton supplying him with Dexynal. His almost complete armor, full-face helmet included, is bulletproof at any range; he can lift guns and throw trucks, he once fires heavy artillery at shoulder like a bazooka (quite badass!); his hydraulic hands can tear steel, his feet can crush concrete. Féraud is now a living lethal weapon, and he hates that. Still a pacifist at heart, he tries whenever possible to neutralize enemy threats and protect friendly troops without loss of human lives. Yet he sometimes lets him fall into the ambient madness; it then takes time for him to recover from this new trauma, and to accept what he has become: Taillefer.

 

The second, chronologically first Sentinel, Adjudant "Djibouti" (real name unknown), is a career NCO who took part in the first tests of the Sentinels Project. A steady supply of Dexynal had turned him into a junkie, and he was dropped by the Army when the Project was aborted. Deprived both of Dexynal and of his only family, Djibouti once fell into dereliction and morphine addiction. Reincorporated as the Project was rebooted, he first acted as Féraud's guardian angel then Taillefer's mentor. Not wearing any prothesis or armor, his body just receives constant supply of Dexynal that keeps him a beast of war. Even without steroids, Djibouti is a natural-born warrior with innate tactical sense he proves more than once. Physically, with his Goliath build, heavy yet sharp profile, scars and ugly grin, he rather looks like Marv in "Sin City". Djibouti is nicknamed after the first place where he "wasted dudes" (there were lots of other such places thereafter).

 

The latest-arrived Sentinel is an aristocrat pilot whom Taillefer and Djibouti met during the Battle of the Marne. A loud patriot, young Baron Hubert-Marie de Clermont can't refuse when offered a way to serve his country more efficiently. He becomes Pegasus, a kind a Rocketeer, with a removable solid propellant jetpack fixed directly to his spine. Strengthened with Dexynal, he is able to blast enemy aircraft like a human shell. IMHO, Clermont is a highly improbable yet quite interesting mix of Cyrano de Bergerac and Sonny Tuckson: a bombastic and big-sounding red-haired dwarf with a musketeer goatee, he is steeped in patriotic, aristocratic and chivalric values that appear more and more outdated along that War. His disillusionment, in the layers of gas at Ypres and in his own exhausting runs at Gallipoli, gives him a more human dimension. Djibouti uses to mockingly refer to Pegasus as "Robin".

 

During the Battle of the Marne, the Sentinels have the same catalyzing effect as Vasily Zaitsev in Jean-Jacques Annaud's "Stalingrad". At first, we see a hopeless army, where demoralized soldiers just seek to get out alive of an irretrievable disaster. A lost cause… The Sentinels, with but limited action by themselves (a still non-violent Taillefer as a standard-bearer marching resolutely through storms of bullets to dumbfounded German machine-gunners), prove a formidable morale boost to the soldiers around them, enabling a local success that proves pivotal for the decisive victory on the Marne. The new heroes are loudly praised by the propaganda papers, stopping the rot.

 

Of course, war is an arms race, and the Sentinels soon have to face an enemy response to the threat they represent. Übermensch is a German officer willing to avenge his sons killed by the French super-soldiers on the Marne. Steeped in old values, he hates this dishonourable new kind of war, but wants to chastise the French monsters with their own inhuman weapons. Injected with massive doses of German-made Dexynal obtained through espionage, he soon becomes much more powerful than Djibouti or Taillefer, able to swing a terrifying heavy mallet – but also much more addicted, forced to permanently live into an over-armored airtight suit filled with a gaseous form of Dexynal. Übermensch confronts the French trio at Ypres in 1915, but as a first raw response, he's finally no real match to them.

 

Landed at the Dardanelles (Gallipoli) with the ANZACs, the Sentinels are to face a much more dangerous opponent, the Ottoman super-soldier Scimitar, equipped with German technology: heavy armor, jetpack, and two firesabers using the same solid propellant, able to cut in Taillefer's armor, and which can be turned into close-range flamethrowers. Also dressed with style, he is actually my favourite super-soldier. The propaganda artwork at the bottom illustrates the usual distortion of facts at war, as Gallipoli is wrongly depicted as a victory. True, the French supermen enabled the last ANZACs to re-embark alive against all odds, making theirs an Aussie wisdom in original language: "It's not over until it's over". Yet the three of them were unable to overcome Scimitar, who dominated the confrontation.

 

Voilà. Four books at the moment. An amusing point, somewhat referring to media coverage in films like Paul Verhoeven’s "Robocop" and "Starship Troopers", is that each book ends with a few old newspaper-looking pages of propaganda, praising the feats of the Sentinels. Touched up black and white photographs, watercolored lithographies. Very immersive, very steampunk.

 

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