If you know me or my work at all, you will know of my love for Star Wars and, in particular, the alien reptilian species, the Trandoshans. For decades, the bounty hunter Bossk from the Empire Strikes Back was the beginning and end of what Trandoshans were. Over the years, the species was fleshed out, and more examples of these space lizards can be seen in various comics, toys, and cartoons. When I began working on the Fantasy Flight Star Wars games, I made it clear I wanted to paint as many Trandoshans as they would give me. What I didn't tell them is that I had a plan to establish a look at feel for the armor and attire for the Trandoshans I would illustrate. I am not sure if anyone noticed or cared, but I went about coming up with my take on a Trandoshan esthetic, and I wanted to use today's post to share what I had been working on and how the designs varied and what they meant.
Everything began with a quarter-page illustration that focused on the AT-PT walker, but since it was described as having two Trandoshans in it, I quickly made them the piece's focus. Here is that piece.
I do not recall how the Trandoshans were described, but I envisioned them as a scout group for a military-level operation. I don't think the Trandoshans had a standing military during the Empire, but if they did, I saw them wearing heavy armor, camouflage, and long, scaled armored coats. There is still some mix and match going on, but they are moving light in hostile territory with a walker for support. While I still like how this piece turned out, I knew my look for the Trandoshans was still not realized.
This piece, the Trandoshan Hunter, was where the look for the Trandoshans finally took shape. This was the second of my Trandoshan pieces for FFG and was the first to allow me the room and freedom to focus on the figures and attire and to explore their clothing and equipment. These pair of space lizards are very much in the vein of Boosk. They are hunters and prepared for anything. They are armored, have plenty of bags, pouches, and bandoliers, and have an array of weapons and devices on their gauntlets. I am pulling from established Star Wars motifs and styles as well as throwing on a lot of my design choices. I still look to this piece as a prime example of 'my' Trandoshans.
Continuing what I had established, this piece, which highlights a rifle and not the figure, shows off some of the same design choices. Wires, cables, and lights adorn the powered gauntlets that likely bristle with hidden weapons. The layered shoulder and arm armor make a return and there are plenty of straps, bandoleers, and pouches for all your space lizard needs.
While this Mercenary painting was my final contribution to the Star Wars games, it holds true to what I established. The armor and equipment should look familiar at this point. The focus of this piece, the knife, was something I wanted to work into most of the other paintings, but the knife was always lost due to which thumbnails were chosen or that, in the end the knife didn't work in the composition. Here it finally is out and upfront. I felt like Trandoshans would always have blades on them, especially the more villainous of their population.
While I was establishing a dominant look for the Trandoshans, I didn't want that to become the only look. Depending on the portrayal in the assignment, I wanted to give them each their own look and purpose.
For the Exploring Froz piece, I wanted to have a Trandoshan more in line with a scientist or first responder. The planet of Froz was completely decimated and these individuals are evaluating the destruction and looking for survivors. I imagined this Trandoshan to be wearing something lighter but still armored. They likely need to cover a lot of ground and will have to overcome many types of rugged terrain. The arms are exposed for easy climbing, but the body is still protected. Less about weapons and more about survival.
In Fool Me Once, I wanted to depict two Trandoshans on the job. These two are working the starport and more for show than action. They have little to no armor, but they have their blasters, some straps and belts, and some gauntlets. They have a waist sash that has the colors of which Hutt employees them and to show off who controls the starport. If you will be paying bribes to get that illegal shipment in, you need to know who the credits need to go to.
While the piece was titled Rival Explorer, I wanted to depict a Trandoshan that was neither obviously good nor evil in their dress and depiction. They are merely a rival to the players in the game. This is a neutral depiction of a Trandoshan and should be an example of the non-warrior members of their species. Likely they are pulling influences from many other planets and species and whatever is better for function in the field.
Lastly, we have Passk. He needed to be over the top and fancy. He needed to be very much not like the other Trandoshans that I have painted. I shared some of the design choices for this piece before, but the primary influence for it was the wild red outfit I had my Trandoshan wear in Star Wars Galaxies. The attire in the game was but a starting point, and I pushed it as far as I was allowed to get this look. It was a fun exercise.
As an added bonus, here are a few images of me posing for Trandoshan reference. You might notice some similar elements in each image and how they translated into the final paintings.
That's all for another exciting Monday on the blog. See you back here on Wednesday! Until then...
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