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January 18
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Etongi Soldier Study by MikeDoscher Etongi Soldier Study by MikeDoscher

This is a somewhat painterly study of the equipment and bearing of a soldier of the Etongi Protectorate, a faction in my ‘Iron Road’ stories.

I’ve been wanting to improve my painting skills for some time, and also explore how to do some kind of techno-barbaric armor that still allows the wearer to get something approximating a cheek weld. I was looking at the character design for Solidus Snake and wondered if it were possible for him ever to shoot a gun accurately. (I know, I know, ‘rule of cool’ and all the other mantras, blah blah blah.) It was just that I was seeing more and more wild helmet designs combined with realistic carbines with reflex sights, and it seemed like that was painting the art into a corner. There’s a big difference between realism and the appearance of realism, but I was wondering if there was a solution I could salt away for later. Eh, maybe this is it and maybe it isn’t…either way it was fun to explore the shabbiness and bric-a-brac of the Etongi.

Maybe it’s, uh, post-post-apocalyptic?

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:iconmr-obsidian:
Mr-Obsidian Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014
Hmm, a possible work around:  Why not have some sort of breastplate armor that has a cup-shape built into it, up near the shoulder joint.  Then, instead of the standard rifle butt, the rifle would have a butt that ended in a sphere.  When wanting to aim down the gun, the soldier would just snap it up so that the ball clicked into the armor's cup.  In the Solidus Snake example, maybe the cup would be up near that vertical neck armor?

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:iconmikedoscher:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Professional General Artist
That's a possibility, but there are a few difficulties here. The biggest being the inability to fire prone, or without the armor. It might be better to use some sort of reflex or long eye relief sight and dispense with the stock entirely. Armor has so many ergonomic questions that I'm glad this faction has so much of a ragged, piecemeal look to it that I won't have to contend with them. :) Yours is an interesting idea though, and something I could see working well elsewhere.
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:iconndgmtlcd:
ndgmtlcd Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014
He really looks like a real soldier, and not one of any known army. So your painting is a success.

This comes to my eyes, right after another artist drew another realistic soldier in a totally different vein:

sc4v3ng3r.deviantart.com/art/S…
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:iconmikedoscher:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you. I like that drawing you linked as well. I had read a synopsis of the story last year, and it seemed like there was a lot that could be done with it.
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:iconthethey:
thethey Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014
When it comes to writing and illustration I'm pretty focused on verisimilitude. Whenever I think of or draw an authoritarian army infantry or paramilitary-police enforcerment I give them a riot gear apperence, they use suppressive fire with sweepers. It makes them seem careless and indiscriminate, it reduces their target to a mundane task. Dehumanizing. I think you've got the right idea, the Metal Gear games have become a parody of themselves.
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:iconmikedoscher:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014  Professional General Artist
I find myself shadow boxing with verisimilitude in my own work. I like to include mundane and grounded elements to help ground the process and psychology of characters, but there are a variety of larger-than-life elements that could easily overwhelm everything else if they were taken to their logical conclusion.

The Etongi Protectorate is meant to be many things in the story, and while not protagonists they're meant to be comprehensible, if not particularly sympathetic. They're mostly humans, and things that were once human, perched between abysses and holding their own. The 'banality of evil' is sort of a go-to theme for groups like this, but I also temper that with a sense of 'worse things waiting', to steal a phrase from Manly Wade Wellman. The Protectorate did not become what it is from any obvious and irrational malevolence, but rather from circumstance: The Iron Road is spawned by war and battle, and this road is walked by both the heralds and victims of these things. The Etongi are prepared for these things, and can often deal with them on equal terms, though them preparation has warped them and made them other than what they thought they once were. They're sinister, but also tragic and a little absurd.

The Metal Gear games are aesthetically interesting to me. It's like the absurdity is a sort of framing device, as if it's a recreation of events from a second or third hand source long after the fact, and the player is the end link of a long game of 'telephone'.

I wish you luck with your own work.
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:iconthethey:
thethey Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014
I have to run to work and I'll get back to you on this. But just let me say for now while it's still fresh in my head. When it comes to verisimilitude you have to think in terms of inductive (bottom up) and deductive (top down), and not confuse world building and fictional histories with the actual story. Use a trick from dogma and religious thinking, but keep things tite... simple is playful. Also, in a more compact form your "Protectorate" are antiheros, that is to say they are a product of their environment... but they seem to sound like tragic anti-heros, so at the mercy of their enviornment. I would write a character into the story that all the shivering soldiers look up to, some one hard as nails that gives them hope.

Thank you. My work is morphing into something I don't quite understand all the time, that's process though. The trick is absorbing it into your new work, even if it means you have to cut something out. I've had these two characters on the shelf for 4 years, they've just resently taken shape and been given purpose by the story developing.
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:iconjailgurdnegative:
jailgurdnegative Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014  Hobbyist
Solidus looked pretty cool, but as for him being able to shoot accurately, I didn' t really think about that. haha.
Your Etongi guy looks realistic in both appearance and style. 
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