British comics lost an icon this week with the death of Carlos Ezquerra – the creative genius behind Judge Dredd and Johnny Alpha. Carlos’s character designs and universes underpin a lot of subsequent science fiction – including Warhammer 40,000. Two years before Games Workshop gave birth to Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, they were dabbling with science fiction miniatures such as this trio of Strontium Dog characters.
Left to right: Wulf Sternhammer, Johnny Alpha, Gronk.
I’ve been painting this triumverate of bounty hunters with an eye on Warlord Games’ new Strontium Dog game. Excitingly they can also be shoehorned into modern Necromunda with the recent bounty hunter rules.
The miniatures are from Citadel’s 2000AD range produced for the 1985 Judge Dredd: The Role-Playing Game. Though technically Johnny Alpha and Judge Dredd inhabit separate universes, they have crossed over several times for reasons of awesome.
Johnny Alpha and Judge Dredd, Judgement Day, 2000AD #799.
The Rogue Trader universe borrows a lot of its overall look from Carlos Ezquerra’s artwork. The amount of time and artwork the Rogue Trader rulebook spends on the (non-Chaotic) random mutations tables is testament to Strontium Dog’s influence. There’s a lot of Strontium Dog wargear that pops up in the forty-first millennium too, such as gravchutes, stasis grenades and electro-mauls.
But wait – there’s more…
The Rogue Trader Mystery
There was a mystery for almost thirty years about the miniature that appears in a single murky black-and-white photograph on page 11 of the Rogue Trader rulebook.
The mystery figure, top left corner.
The figure never made it into production, appearing only in this photo. Only in 2013 did details of the figure emerge thanks to Steve Casey’s Eldritch Epistles – it was a one of several Judge Dredd figures that had been converted and cast up in-house to playtest the upcoming Rogue Trader rules before actual miniatures had been made.
Inquisitor Ezquerra and Johnny Alpha.
I plumped for white and papal purple to spin the figure as an Imperial Inquisitor. (It was tempting to paint him in green and yellow trousers, as if it’s Johnny improvising a disguise as an Imperial Inquisitor.) He’s so wee. being from 1985 when sculptors tended to 25mm scale, that I built up his base to help him keep some sense of imposing Imperial authority over the rest of the Imperium’s servants.
More vintage Crimson Fists coming soon!