Hi-yo, Quicksilver!

The original Stryker image done for the first Battlebox releases of WARMACHINE.

A couple weeks ago I tweeted that I’d gotten roped into doing the concept art for the next incarnation of one of WARMACHINE’s most iconic characters, Commander Coleman Stryker. The truth is, I wasn’t roped into it so much as presented with the opportunity. It took about three seconds for me to process the idea and agree. Stryker is, after all, a character very close to my heart and represents the very beginnings of WARMACHINE.

In terms of development, the original Commander Coleman Stryker is the first warcaster ever created. He became the baseline by which all other warcasters were compared to and balanced against. In a sense, both mathematically, and conceptually, Stryker represents the closest thing to an ‘everyman’ that a warcaster can be. He’s not ‘the best at what he does’ like the two-gun-slinging Caine, nor is he imbued with the powerful arcane abilities that Haley possesses and develops over time. He’s good at what he does, don’t get me wrong, but he was created with the idea that he’s well rounded and adaptable to a multitude of situations, relying on no single strategy for success. And fictionally, this is represented in the character as well. He’s the consummate soldier and an admirable leader, the kind of guy you want to follow into battle. While victory is his goal, the preservation of life and humanity are his foremost concerns. He’s gallant, shining, brave and ready for anything. At least he was…

Something unique about the WARMACHINE and HORDES miniatures games is the way we’ve woven the sweeping story into the game itself, primarily reflected in the character models. The big story, the one we call the ‘meta story’ started about nine years ago in our first expansion book, Escalation. Through a brief anthology story and several vignettes and snippets of fiction, we exposed the characters of the warcasters. We got to know them better, get inside their heads a little, and we got to see the beginning of their ‘character arcs’.

Andrea Uderzo’s magnificent rendering of Stryker in Prime MkII.

According to the screenwriting guru Syd Field, there are four building blocks or aspects of character, which people like to lump together with the term ‘characterization’. These aspects are a point of view unique to the character, an attitude reflecting how he interacts with life and challenges, a need, want or desire that motivates the character through the story, and last but not least, change. No, not a pocket full of coins. We’re talking about character change. The thing that ultimately connects us to a character in a dramatic situation is our observation of how that character deals with a problem and ultimately changes (or doesn’t in some cases) in order to achieve a resolution to that problem. (Am I getting too heady here? Better get some caffeine…)

So, back to Escalation. We’ve got this character, a hero of his nation, a man revered as much for his courage and martial prowess as he is for his sense of justice and mercy. He’s a veteran of numerous battles and engagements  and has certainly experienced both victory and defeat, but his character is never daunted nor tarnished because his only desire — to protect the kingdom that he cherishes — is utterly selfless. And then he’s confronted by something he’s never had to deal with before. His past wartime experience was always by the book. The rules of engagement were clear and everyone abided by those rules. Then came Khador’s invasion of Llael and everything got turned on its head. As Cygnar mobilized to assist their allies to the north, the long simmering theocracy of the Protectorate of Menoth seized the opportunity to strike at Cygnar’s unprotected flank. The result was chaos that spilled over the confines of any battlefield and quickly devastated the lives of innocent civilians caught in the line of fire. Coleman Stryker was rudely awakened from the dream that war could be a noble method of resolving conflict and forced to face the cold reality that there is nothing noble about it. He watched helplessly as ruthless Khadoran soldiers murdered and looted a defenseless village while Protectorate militia massacred fleeing civilians simply to make a point about their difference in theological preference. This was a war without boundaries, an ugly war like Stryker had never experienced before. Witnessing this inhumanity without the power to stop it became the catalyst for Stryker’s change.

Stryker served a just an honorable king, a service he’d been proud of over the ten years since he’d aided Leto in usurping his brother’s throne and leading the nation into an era of prosperity. But Leto’s code prohibited any action considered inhumane, and this is the catch 22 that Stryker found himself mired in. The enemies of Cygnar were willing to do anything to crush them, but Cygnar had no way to defend against such ignoble actions while still upholding the nation’s values. Realizing he would only be leading men to their death as his beloved country crumbled around him, Stryker laid his sword down at the feet of his king and resigned his command unless he be given the freedom to seek total destruction against the forces that threaten Cygnar’s people.

And so ends Act I of Stryker’s character arc. Met with the catalyst for change, Stryker reluctantly embraces this new reality and makes a decision to change his personal code in order to seek a solution to the problem of his nation. Ultimately, Leto has no choice but to give Stryker his leash, and what happens next becomes the subject of much heated controversy between those following the saga of the Iron Kingdoms. Stryker, the once shining knight of Cygnar, becomes the monster he is trying to defeat.

In retrospect, as the creative director driving the plot of the meta-story, I realized we moved a little too fast from the Escalation chapter to the next expansion installment, Apotheosis. If I had the chance to do it all over again, Escalation would have been a bit more of a prologue and a chance to get to know the characters and set up the conflict, and there would have been another book inserted before Apotheosis in which we take these characters to the brink like we did with Stryker. I think the controversy that stirred around Stryker and what he became in Apotheosis was largely due to the fact that we moved from the starting image of this character so quickly into something completely opposite. It might have felt a little like a bait and switch in terms of his fictional presentation. On the other hand, it was a very dramatic shift, and the fact that it polarized people to the character means that it struck the right chords. Our take on the events in the Iron Kingdoms is that nothing is black and white, it’s all grey area and one’s opinion of a situation is entirely relative to his or her position and point of view. In other words, people SHOULD disagree.

Epic Stryker in full battle rage.

So with a his newly appointed station to Lord Commander giving him authority above the law of the land, Stryker decides that the best defense is a good offense, and he sets out to offend his enemies in every way he can. In doing so, he offends some friends as well, namely his mentor, Commander Adept Nemo, when he uses his newfound authority to confiscate a suit of prototype warcaster armor against the old man’s wishes.

He proceeds to march across Cygnar, rounding up civilian sympathizers of the Protectorate (specifically, anyone that worships the Protectorate’s god, Menoth), then shipping them off to a prison island. It’s a dark turn for our once gleaming hero and obviously not something the Protectorate’s religious tyrants would ever expect from Cygnar. Then Stryker leads a brutal assault against Sul, a city filled with the downtrodden and oppressed citizens of the Protectorate. Stryker’s metamorphosis is underway. He has officially become the monster he wants to destroy. It’s a conscious choice, one born of noble intent and complete self-sacrifice but it’s a dark path and comes at the price of Stryker’s soul and very nearly his life.

His sights locked on a particularly vile priestess of the Protectorate, Feora, Stryker lets vengeance take hold of his actions. But Stryker’s hubris comes back to haunt him when the prototype armor goes on the fritz. Were it not for the quick intervention of Stryker’s least favorite ally, Caine, he would have been skewered on the ends of Feora’s fire-breathing blades. So consumed by his rage at this point, Stryker learns nothing from the close call and shirks the aid and counsel of his friends, determined to destroy the entire city.

An early version of the Stryker in-game model by WhiteMoon Dreams.

There are readers that empathized with Stryker, realizing he was doing what he thought he had to do in order to protect Cygnar from destruction. Others were disgusted with his actions, disappointed and let down that the noble hero could fall so far from grace. But that’s the point. In order for Stryker to achieve his own apotheosis, we would first have to destroy everything that he was. I hear players of the games criticize the fiction from time to time, claiming that the stories aren’t dramatic because the main characters don’t die. But I’ll argue that physical death isn’t nearly as meaningful as spiritual death, and right then, Stryker was on the express elevator to hell.

When we next meet up with Stryker, he’s cornered Feora in a temple full of Protectorate civilians seeking shelter from the battle and he’s about to get the vengeance he’s been seeking. But  Feora commands a warjack to unleash a barrage of rockets to cover her escape, bringing down the temple on top of the heads of the cowering Menite civilians. Suddenly, Stryker is hit with the realization that the civilians of the Protectorate are in just as much need of protection from their tyrant leaders as his own people are back in Cygnar. And herein lies the final fork in the road for Stryker’s soul. Pursuing Feora and leaving the civilians to die means completing his transformation into the monster. The blood of innocents on his hands can never be washed off. Victory would be his, but there would be no return to the man he once was. Instead, he places himself in harm’s way, buying time for the civilians to escape as the temple comes crashing down to bury him alive. The path of darkness has led him to new enlightenment just before he finds redemption in death.

Okay, not real death. Symbolic death. Death of a particular existence, illustrated in the action of being buried alive. We all know Stryker lived or I wouldn’t be getting the chance to concept a new model for him. But the change the character goes through over time, from courageous hero of the people to a monster, to being reborn, enlightened with the ideal that no existence is worth the compromise of values, humanity, or one’s soul is a defining theme of WARMACHINE and in my mind makes Stryker the very heart of WARMACHINE. He might not be your favorite character — there are so many to chose from, after all — and you might not even care for Cygnar as a faction, but as both a game piece, and as a fictional character that has endured and emerged victorious in the battle for his very soul, Stryker is the touch stone by which all other characters are measured in this setting.

And that’s why there was never a question about whether or not I’d do the concept art for his next incarnation.

If you made it though that long winded essay, you must really be interested in what exactly Stryker’s next incarnation actually is — that’s the real reason you’re reading this! I’m sure some of you have guessed it by now, anyway. The big change is that like the latest version of Vlad, Stryker will be mounted. Rules-wise, I’m not at liberty to speak much and honestly, I’m not sure exactly where he’s sitting in development. But the concept brief calls for his horse to be clad in heavy powered armor and there’s a suggestion that Stryker’s own armor might be heavier than his original epic version, by virtue of being mounted on the horse. Presumably, Stryker’s prototype armor has been tuned up by Nemo and he’s no longer a danger to himself, so there’s an opportunity there for some visual change. The brief also suggests that he retain his iconic blade, Quicksilver II (now you get the title of the blog!). I’m thinking this is the right call as I haven’t been able to come up with an idea for any other weapon that feels right in his hands.

It’s quite a few years back when we wrapped Stryker’s character arc in Legends, after he killed Hierarch Voyle and repelled the Protectorate invasion. He’s long overdue for a new model incarnation and this will be a return to the shining knight, but representative of the change he’s undergone. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure yet how I’ll approach it. There’s something missing in the idea that I haven’t discovered yet— the pose of Stryker atop the horse, some affectation of his armor? Would it make sense for a warcaster to carry a pennant into battle? Or is he dual wielding Quicksilver with his disruptor pistol like his original sculpt?

Concept art for Epic Stryker

I got a lot of great feedback on the Eiryss 3 concept and it was a fun process to sift through and harvest the suggestions, several of which found their way into the final concept. I’m interested in what you’d do with Stryker’s new image and look forward to sharing this creative journey with you again.

 

 

 

113 thoughts on “Hi-yo, Quicksilver!

  1. Looking forward to seeing where you are taking the next stage of Coleman Stryker. He is and always has been my first choice of Warcaster. Many have scoffed at that idea, many have just flat out laughed at my choice, many believe there are so many better choices and so many other Warcasters with the ability to win faster and more convincingly. Personally, I really don’t give a damn about all that. I care about the character, the lore behind the legend, the hero before the fall and how he carried the weight of the Cygnar nation upon his shoulders.

    The reason why I love playing Stryker as my Warcaster is simply this – to win with him means you have to play the PERFECT game and I love being held to that type of standard as a tabletop strategist.

    One request Matt – please make sure he’s wearing his goggles at the end of your design development. Stryker without goggles is like rolling triple ones.

    • To be completely honest though…I don’t see Stryker thematically as a mounted leader. I always felt that he was always a ground pounder; leading troops from the very front of the line with his boots firmly on the ground and Quicksilver in hand. Kind of like how Captain America lead the P.O.Ws back from prison to the friendly HQ in the movie.

      As cool as I think he would look mounted, it seems contrary to what he truly is as a Warcaster; a well-footed soldier with a passion for leading his troops by example.

      • I actually don’t disagree. Funny enough, I’ve written three WARMACHINE screenplays that will never be read by anyone again, but two of them concern Stryker as the central hero. When writing those, I always fancied that Stryker actually hated horses (or at least being on them). He’s much more comfortable around soldiers and warjacks. I even wrote a scene where he’s got no choice but to mount up in the interest of time, and he hates it — kind of his version of Indiana Jones’ contempt for snakes.

        That said, I think there is a very cool army to assemble with a mounted version of Stryker and a couple units of Stormknights along with Laddermoore. While he’s definitely a ground pounder, his background is as a storm knight, and there’s nothing more knightly than that armor clad warrior atop a steed.

      • “Goggles down” = business time!!! Thanks Matt – I think all Stryker players will be glad to see “It’s Go Time” Stryker with the goggles down.

        And I dig the whole horse thing as you described. Perhaps there was a reason why he no longer desired to mount a steed in combat. Maybe…it was because he was on a horse, instead of being directly on the ground, that caused the death of someone close to him? Maybe his horse reared-up and threw Stryker off when he was going to cast a spell like Earthquake…that went awry and ended up killing civilians – thus the “never again” attitude of riding a horse unless he absolutely “had to” in order to save a life?

        I always dig those moments in storytelling where fear, induced by failure, tests the hero and his ability to overcome that fear by soul searching and reaching deep down into his own psyche and finding that heroic spark again.

  2. Stryker truly is one of those characters people do get up in arms about (a sign that he’s more than a cardboard cutout). He’s personally one of my favorites in the WARMACHINE world.

    As far as artistic suggestions I’d love to see him posed with his sword out before him, urging his Storm Knights forward. I might be in the minority, but I’d prefer goggles up on his forehead like the current starter box version of his first incarnation. I also wouldn’t mind seeing a reconfiguration of his coils and whatnot. Probably not a dramatic shift, but one illustrating Nemo’s handiwork.

    Good luck, Matt. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

      • You know what to do if you’re torn on the goggles. Just like Vlad 3 and Eyriss 3 you can always offer 2 heads. One with goggles up the other with goggles down and maybe some kind of helm or face mask.

  3. Matt,

    Barring any real knowledge of his rules, I’d love to see less lighting stuff tossed on him and take him more traditionally armored. More Sword Knight than Stormblade, as it were. He’s a warcaster, and as such there’s some kit that he has to have, like the boiler, but if the description reads that his horse’s armor is powered, would the horse have an arcantrik turbine and boiler? Could the whole horse be a giant mechanical construct he commands as PART of the armor? I’d like to see those things explored in his new incarnation as the newly-restored paragon of Cygnaran virtue!

    • The horse will actually rely on the same tech as epic Stryker’s armor possessed, so no boiler, per se. Rather, a storm chamber a la Nemo. I have no idea where I’m going to put that…

      • You could do mini coils (like the Stormwalls rear generators) situated all through the horses armor as to not make it look too bulky and it would help as to keep the horse powered if one of the coils got damaged in some way.

      • Either fanning down the rump (looking much like the Thunderhead) or maybe a horizontal mount, half-inset in the armor with paneling around it to indicate a maintenance hatch (I hope that makes sense).? Anywhere else and it seems to me that it would pose a physical threat or hindrance to either the rider or the horse itself.

      • There’s always where the horses mane would normally be for a compact generator as if nemo had it more compact, and maybe some coils in between the Armor plates on the mount!

  4. I can see Stryker standing in the stirrups on the back of a horse reared back on its hind legs pointing Quicksilver at the enemy.

    • I don’t like the idea of the horse rearing back. We already have laddermore doing that, least of all 3Vlad. I think he needs to be either at rest, leading with his sword, or at a full gallop swinging.

  5. Mounted casters are hard, visually, to distinguish themselves from the mass of the horse. Kraye does it with the confederate hat and the “horse with no name look” Vlad does it with his Epic Spear of Awesome, Kreoss and Vyros, well, I’ve not seen models yet, so I can’t speak to it. Making Stryker look awesome, I could totally see him pulling the inverse of Epic Irusk, and toting a banner, either on a lance, or its own banner all together.
    I think a very Templar Image of him, helmet down, (of course, with goggles) banner and sword could look very cool. He’ll need the padding for the ‘lectro leap I’m sure he’ll have.

    I can’t wait to hear more on the Cryx Caster, in due time, as well!

    • I love this idea of the banner. I think it would be cool for him to be in a non-action pose. Quicksilver held at his side with his righ hand and a banner held up in his left with his head looking at the banner as a constant reminder of what he’s fighting for.

  6. Nooooo! Not mounted! Please? Seriously. Please don’t put him on a horsie.

    Stryker is easily my favorite Cygnar caster, both for his back story and his in game excellence. I really love the evolution of his armor between prime and epic versions. For a newer, more epic Stryker I’d love to see even more of a move towards the tech break throughs that Nemo has managed. Maybe making Quicksilver into an uber version of a Stormblade’s Storm Glaive? Just having those cool coils and the like would be sweet.

  7. I have to admit I envisioned Caine on horseback with the new mounted gun mages before I ever imagined Stryker taking to a horse.
    While dual-wielding might be interesting, it would be tough to control the horse with no hands during a battle.
    I would go with reigns in left hand, Quicksilver in the right, and Stryker is rearing the horse back on his hind legs with the horses head pulled to the left, as he himself is striking down and to the right with his sword. As if attacking someone who had charged him on foot from his right side.

      • He would be a dragoon, he can telelport off his horse only once during the game, but then the horse is gone.

        Mounted charge for 11″, teleport another 8″, then shoot things 12″ away. 31″ threat range sounds fine to me. But then again, I could be biased.

  8. Perhaps it might convey the ‘this one is good again’ if his face were more exposed like pStryker rather than slightly more cowled up like eStryker? A pose conveying ‘leader of men’ might help?

    If Vlad can have two heads who’s to say Stryker can’t when Matt wants him to?

  9. Go Stryker! Stryker has been my favorite caster since I started playing Cygnar again a couple years ago (before that it was Caine). I tend to use Stryker1 in most of my games, and have recently actually begun winning with him. Practice makes perfect.

    Ok so I’m all for Stryker being mounted. That would give him more flexibility. Could you possibly do a Sword Knight mounted unit and give him Elite Cadre? Or make him a Warcaster unit with a couple of mounted Sword Knight bodyguards. That would be awesome. Magnum is an awesome weapon, and I don’t think it would need to be changed. Or you could drop magnum and upgrade Quicksilver II to Quicksilver III and give it a ranged electrical attack. Give Stryer Assault so he could use the shot on the charge. Goggles up or down doesn’t really matter much to me, but a helmeted version would be nice to see. The mount could be an amazing black stallion. Majestic and yet dark (given his past). Not much else I can think of at the moment, but I’m sure you’ll come up with something. Good luck Matt, I don’t have epic Stryker, but I may have to after checking him out in War Room.

  10. Matt.
    I believe in Stryker’s current state of rising from the ashes, not only will he have newfound resolve but in addition will be looking at things now with utmost clarity. He would be able to,with the help of Nemo forge his disruptor pistol into Quicksilvers frame. Using a pistol and sword mounted is too unwieldy quicksilver is very iconic, I think this is a logical upgrade to a gunblade. Still using the Quicksilver form but adding disruption coils along the sides.

      • I know it’s a bit late to really be much of a suggestion, but I just imagine Quicksilver being divided in half down the blade and rebuilt with hinged bars holding the blade together. Stryker presses a button and the two halves of the blade pop apart and there’s a big coil in the middle that gets exposed so it can be fired as a ranged weapon (not that it couldn’t be designed to do so without the change. I just think it would look cool).

  11. Try a mechanical horse. It worked for a certain anime vampire hunter and I think it would great here with coils for the horses main and a giant war horse frame of body to it. A dragoon for a warcaster would be a new direction to go as well. Then all parties would be satisfied in the horse or no horse camps.

  12. I may not be thrilled about the horse but at least my idea about a Storm Glaive-ish weapon seems to be good. Heck, who am I kidding? It’s Stryker. Y’all could put him on a bicycle and I’d still choose him first 8 times out of 10. 🙂
    Maybe go for the classic cavalry charge pose with the saber/lance extended and the rider leaning forward over the horse’s neck? Too often miniature wargaming cavalry are poncing about like they were in a dressage arena and not on the battlefield. Give him that “hell for leather” look and you can’t go wrong.

    Any chance of Ol’Rowdy getting a refresh while you’re at it? After all Stryker keeps upgrading and improving the old beast at every opportunity doesn’t he? And let’s be honest, he’s looking a bit dated compared to the new plastics. Can’t have that, can we? 😉

    • I couldn’t agree more on the epic cavalry charge pose. Of all the mounted miniatures I’ve seen over the years, I feel like the Storm Lance leader is the only one who really feels like he’s skewering someone on that lance. I feel like cavalry models need a sense of speed, so Stryker leaning over the horse, urging it on as he smites the living crud out of some poor sap would be great. As an example, someone at FLGS converted eAlexia on the aforementioned Storm Lance leader’s horse, and good gravy is it an intimidating model. When she charges your caster, you feel like they’re doomed before a single die gets rolled. That’s the feel I’d love to see Stryker have. He is the shining embodiment of Cygnaran might, and no evil shall stand in his way…

    • That is some out of the box thinking, which I appreciate! Does anyone remember the Galaxy Rangers cartoon? I always loved those mechanical horses.

      • I know this is more about the character than his rules but he should have a special action called ‘Turbine Charge’

        For every 2″ his horse charges the turbine in the horse stryker gains a power token. He can then immediately spend up to as many power tokens he has to increase his STR by one for every token spent. Any remaining power tokens grant one ARM each for one round.

  13. I think that Stryker on a horse is natural progression and greatly look forward to the model.

    As to pose, most cavalry models from most mini ranges have the “im gonna stab you with this big stick” pose. ie weapon forward pointing at he enemy. the notable outlier is Kraye who has the lonely horse in a desert theme.

    Personally I’d like to see Stryker with a “leading from the front pose”. ie riding high in the saddle, with quick silver drawn behind him to convey speed. his other arm could be pointing in front of him (ie. get them). The basic idea is to give him a sense of speed and command rather than “this is my big stick” (which the previous model does oh so well).

    As to powering the mount armour, why not “simply” attach the horses armour to Stryker’s turbine rather than creating a separate turbine for the horse itself. Stryker’s turbine could then be redesigned to accommodate the extra power requirements.

    • Awesome idea with the power source. Not sure what that means for the horse if Stryker were to dismount…maybe he just doesn’t get whatever arcantrik protection the armor provides. Cool idea, though. I like that the armor and power source are customized specifically for this role, rather than Stryker just getting up on a horse in his regular duds.

  14. I think if Stryker is going to be on a horse, his armor should be more flexible, smaller, sleeker plates. If Quicksilver is going to remain a two handed sword (or become a spear) he will need the ability to pivot and turn quickly for casting spells and shooting his pistol. So have all the new tech that Nemo can give him, but make it more compact and sleek, like making the turbines smaller and more compact, but maybe more of them, Like Tony Stark after his first iteration of the iron man suit.

    I have always thought, that it takes more work and talent to keep characters alive rather then just killing them off when you don’t know where else to take their story. Just because a main character dies does not mean the fiction is all of a sudden good.

  15. If you’re going for a more “knightly” look for Stryker, what are the chances of giving him a shield? He can wield Quicksilver 1-handed right?

  16. It’s a thought I’d considered and we do now have multiple precedents for a warcaster with a shield, although at one time this was considered a no-go.

    • Make it similar to a Lancer’s shock shield, or Centurian’s polarity shield. Not only does it fit Stryker’s theme of combining offense and defense, but an electric shield would have all the little interesting mechanikal doodads that make cygnar armor and weaponry unique.

  17. For the coils — a row of smaller coils along the horse’s neck. Sort of like the Drakhun’s horse has a bladed “mane,” Stryker’s could have a voltaic one.

  18. I really like Stryker. I liked that he went through his ‘Darth-Stryker’ phase, and it made sense. I think in many ways his reasoning was correct in many respects. Cygnar was, and is, being eaten alive by everyone in the world seeing the chance to take advantage and acting on it in pure self-interest at the expense of others. If they would give no quarter and use every dirty trick to win, then he thought he needed to do the same to have any chance of competing. In the end, he decided that he, and Cygnar, didn’t want to be like them. Which made sense as well.

    This left one option: simply being better.

    Stryker is the kind of guy that plays a game of warmachine and knows that the guy he is playing against is taking liberty with measurements, lying, twisting rules, and generally being a bad sport just to win. In the end, instead of cheating back, Stryker just digs deep and plays a flawless game. He can do it because by not being a cheater, he doesn’t take shortcuts or lie his way out of hard situations, and the end result of his world view leaves him as someone who has learned to fight back and win with one hand tied behind his back.

    Technological advancement seems to fit this theme. Cygnar is technology. They push themselves to be better and better, but not at the expense of others. They have dug deep and they are starting to roll out their super weapons. Not because they found a new low to sink to, but because they found a new height to drive themselves to. Storm Striders are technological marvels, Stormwalls are triumphs of design work and industrial capacity that are perfectly designed machines and not some ‘me-too’ rushed copies.

    To me, the vision of Stryker 3 is the vanguard of that Cygnarian superiority. He isn’t a screaming maniac looking for a battle to charge into. He is calm, collected, in charge, and someone who you never ever want to get into a fair fight with. To me, that isn’t an action pose, but a pose that has to show ‘calm but unbreakable’. That pose of calm unbreakability needs to then be wrapped in an aura of superiority through technology, as shown by his armor and the horse’s armor. A superiority gained by working together to advance the state of society through knowledge.

    Kraye is amazing, and he isn’t galloping and firing his rifle or a similar action pose. He just exudes a weary caution, that just feels like he is ready to shoot if the situation warrants it, but he busy sizing the situation up and isn’t going to start rashly shooting for no good reason.

  19. Another vote for the mechanical horse idea. I was even thinking that before reading the other comments. I think a massive lightening powered mechanical steed would be absolutely amazing. The blue glow from the eyes, sparks crackling at the hooves, as a mechanical warhorse fueled by arcane lightening thunders across the battlefield….where’s my sketchbook, that’s almost to awesome for words to describe. Plus it fits with Stryker’s dislike of horses and would be something very unique in the Warmachine universe. One of my favorite things about Warmachine is the way it bends tropes, I think that a construct horse would accomplish just that.

    • Oh yeah, I also thing that a Shield would look cool, but I play Menoth because I like knights…so my opinion might be a tad biased on that one. 🙂

  20. Stryker 3 sounds like an awesome idea! I am not so sold on the horse idea, though. As my favorite character (him and Asphyxious are tied, two polar opposites to me), I love any inclusion in the game, fluff, whatever. The horse does not fit what I know about his character. Yes, he was a Storm Knight, but a Storm Lance? Vlad makes sense since he is a Horse Lord, but I don’t see it. I trust your direction about him; you created him, after all. On to my opinions on ideas of design, a lot of it is echoed from above.
    I would have his armor be lighter and sleeker. Real life technology is that things get smaller and less bulky (computers, cell phones, etc), so it would follow a line of logic for Nemo to create a lighter, more resilient armor.
    He should come with two heads, like Vlad and Eiryss 3. I am of the “goggle down” crowd, but options are always fun to have. I would say if it is possible, have his armor allow him to show his freaking face! eStryker’s head sits like a turtle in his armor. If he’s a hero trying to regain his country’s respect, his face should be seen. Gillian’s hide their face, heroes do not (Batman and any super hero are excluded). His armor can still have the same shapes and designs, but make it so he can eat a sandwich without too much difficulty.
    His pose on the horse should be a natural one. The game has too many models on rearing-up horses. I won’t even list them, there are so many. I like the Storm Lances and their speedy gallop pose; I would say aim for that. Stannis Brocker has his two-handed Caspian Blade, that should be avoided. He should fit in stock Battle Foam trays, too!!
    An idea about his horsie’s armor being powered is maybe give Stryker’s armor a larger arcane turbine on his back, and have it be attached by a cable to the horse’s. That way it keeps the horse’s armor sleek looking.
    One more final idea is perhaps pleasing both sides of the fans is making him like a Dragoon in the respect that he has a mounted and dismounted version. Give him the same number of health boxes, just break it up. That way people get both. I’d pay money for that.

      • You’re killing me, Matt!! Then in that case, may his body be a separate piece from the horse like Vlad3? That way the people who are chomping at the bit to get him (Ha! Unintended pun!) can transport him without the need of investing in more foam. And since you liked my Sandwich joke so much, I think I will have to put one on his base.

    • Seconded. Watch out for the Stannis Brocker clone. With Brocker having a caspian blade, and Stryker the same. Putting Stryker on a horse could lead to some crazy duplicity.

  21. Stryker is my favorite and most successful caster in the game. Only Darius comes in close to him.

    The horse is fine – In action pose would be great, like Toughaloes with axes swing back or off to the side, (like he’s about to make a strike while mounted)

    The sword – I modified my eStryker model by taking pStryker’s sword and glueing it to the end of eStrykers sword to give him the dual blade. Here is a link to the forums with it – http://privateerpressforums.com/showthread.php?112749-Can-I-see-some-Dark-Cygnar&highlight=Cygnar

  22. Hmm…for the x-factor, what if he sort of cuts the ground.

    That is, he’s got his off hand holding the reins in front of him, dominant hand swinging the sword in a sort of uppercut motion.

    Then the epic base shows a fissure in the ground ending just about where the sword would have left it, and maybe the beginnings of whatever electric wave he is zapping with?

    Also, I agree with the poster above (Noah). Stryker is a great character, for pretty much the reasons he stated. I was very happy when he redeemed himself in the temple.

  23. Stryker has been a very interesting character to follow. He has been the poster boy of Warmachine and to see his character fall so far from where he once stood from a moralistic standpoint was excellent. His actions with Ol Rowdy in the Temple showcased his ability to recognize a changing situation and make the choice to change with it. For all purposes he took on a God-like being in Legends and save for a great show of bravery was getting his butt whopped. For all his prowess and technology, he was simply outmatched by a guy using his fists. If there was more time I would have loved to seen more of Styrker’s inner feelings of this as it was really the first time he faced a foe that he couldn’t outmatch. This could have been another great moment for him to really reach inward to drag himself from down deep and find another change about himself, thus perhaps this new version of his character.

    This also brings me to something that I think would be a very interesting tie in to this new version and perhaps could effect the rules or look of the model. Legends concluded with Stryker felling a God made flesh really, but he had to take up a weapon of such power that it literally scarred him in his attempts to wield it. The Harbinger’s blade scorched his hand or hands with its divine power that even though Stryker was able to use, his touch was ultimately rejected. This was after all a weapon of the True Faith and not ment for his “unclean” hands. I would hope that such a thing would not easily heal and its scars would linger for some time. Perhaps this new version of Stryker still carries these wounds even if they are slight now. Heavily reinforced gauntlets or just a single gauntlet to show that his hand/hands still require some attention for him to perform at his peak. Perhaps even a MAT/RAT decrease by 1. If not in his model, then I would hope that this would still linger in the fluff for his character even if its nothing more than a mention of lingering pains within his knuckles that pained him from time to time.

    As far as a pose for the new model, I think the Khadorian MoW Drakun is a good source for inspiration. Have Stryker new steed rearing up in the classic pose with Stryker holding Quicksilver II aloft in one hand and his other holding the reigns to pull himself into the beast so as to remain balanced. I would say Styrker should even have his mouth agate as if yelling a cry of defiance to all those that would stand against his beloved kingdom or perhaps a rallying cry to inspire the troops around him. Also, since he is now mounted and I loved Matt’s idea about Stryker kinda hating horses, could this be in the fluff somewhere as I assume his mount will be a named horse and should have some back story of how they both had issues with the other at first and still do in some regards. Im not saying we need a Conan punching a Camel moment, but something to give this great idea a little nod.

  24. Let me say that Epic Stryker is my absolute favorite caster. I like to imagine he is a man of action and leads from the front, especially if he is to be mounted. I like the idea of him standing up in the reins charging forward with Quicksilver down to his side as if he is about to ride by cleave a bunch of foot soldiers. I personally love his armor now but maybe go with the new “ball” style that Nemo seems to be into. Balls are the new coils. I could also see the horse having the sort of turbine look to its shoulder armor like the Thunderhead’s interior torso has (like it speeds up the horse, Stryker does have the spell velocity after all).

    P.S. I vote for goggles down.

  25. I really like cavalry models when they are done nicely, so I am looking forward to seeing the concept art for this incarnation of Stryker.

    My recommendation would be to leave one hand free/open for the reigns if he is going to wield Quicksilver, as cavalry going into melee needs the extra control of the horse. Wielding weapons in both hands make the model seem too busy, unless it is ranged weapons, where there are ample precedents.

  26. I do not usually find myself commenting on blog posts, but since Stryker is near and dear to my heart like I’m sure he is for most responding, and I certainly do enjoy voicing my thoughts on things here it goes…

    I believe it was said best as “The Stillness within stillness is false, true stillness is found in motion.” – Nyss blademaster teaching (Blighted Nyss Swordsmen card) Whether or not this is mean to be some profound comment on the fundamental nature of movement or a reference to the resulting stillness of death from action taken, I think that taking it as the former makes an interesting point. In art and in life it isn’t the guard standing stoically at Buckingham Palace that conveys stillness, but snapshots of motion we gain glimpses of through our eyes or through the quick work of a camera. A droplet of water the moment before it falls from a leaf, the face-distorting blow of a boxers punch, the hair of a lead singer whirling above their head in concert, or a long coat billowing in the wind. They’re all rather cliche images that people have been taking or creating for countless years, but that’s okay because they resonate with us. The captured moment of clear imagery gives us everything we need to know about the moment, relative speed, intent, emotion, and dimensions of the space being moved through. Usually we get even more then seeing the act in motion would tell us as it blurs by. Maybe that’s why most people love certain panning still/slow shots from the fight scenes in The Matrix movies, or why Edgerton’s classic photo of a bullet passing through an apple is so widely recognized (even if unattributed).

    I agree with Noah above who said, “To me, the vision of Stryker 3 is the vanguard of that Cygnarian superiority. He isn’t a screaming maniac looking for a battle to charge into. He is calm, collected, in charge…” Where I disagree is when he goes on to state that such a thing could not be an action pose. With the picture to be painted I don’t think it could be anything BUT an action pose, but like Noah said not a ‘screaming maniac’, but a calm, almost serene leader of men (dare I say it… protagonist?). In that, the only image that comes to mind is of Stryker leaning forward into the wind rushing by, his steed head-down in full gallop, with one hand on the reins and the other grasping high on the hilt of Quicksilver extended out to the side, leading not just a charge but THE charge with barely a word needing to be spoken to signal the command, if one at all. A leader of men, a man one wants to be lead by…

    …but maybe that’s just me.

    In regards to the look of the armor and gear, I think the link from Stryker’s armor/generator/boiler would potentially look great, give us a little insight into how it might work, and solve some design problems. Armor wise I think it would be compelling to see something taking some aesthetics with the storm[noun]s (or even sword knights) while still primarily retaining the look he’s kept from his previous two incarnations to give hints towards his past and reconnecting with that previous life for his future. The shoulder pads and helmets seem to be the most distinctive parts of the storm armor, though I have no inkling as to how to pull those off (especially the helmet without obscuring that crazy mane he’s got going on). As for storm chambers on the horse, what if instead of being mounted vertically they were cut in half then turned on their side so they look set into its armor?

    That’s all I’ve got for now or at least all I can remember, which is probably for the best. If this post ends up being as long as I suspect it will be then I apologize for the length, I would have written a shorter letter but didn’t have time. 😉

    • As if I didn’t already say enough, I think that Kraye’s pose does actually have a lot of motion/action in it, just not fast or overt action.

      P.S. After having looked at all the cavalry models for Warmachine and Hordes there are only three that seem to be holding their reins, High Exemplar Gravus, the leader of the Legion Raptor unit, and the Legion Sorceress on Hellion (which is also the only one with reins actually sculpted on).

  27. The first thing I think of with Mounted Striker is LESS power sourse on Striker himself. Take the horse and put a wide flat Lightning Coil on either side where a Saddlebag might normally go (Or a series of 3 small pointing upwards in that location), along with a power System on top of the rump. Then run cabling to Striker’s armor, which is high quality but only has a minimal sized Power Pack for operating off the horse. This gives Striker an increased power source while leaving his upper torso armature free of having to deal with the Power Pack of Doom, thus increasing his usable strength.

    To me this would be the best reason to use a Horse as a Tech Warcaster.

    This idea would also work with a Mechanical Horse, which I think is cool.

  28. Hmm, to add my 2 cents to some of the ideas above, I also like the mechanical horse idea, maybe it is even Ol’ Rowdy itself.

    Pose wise, I’d also side against the reared back, actual “Hi Ho Quicksilver, Away” pose, as Vlad just did that and Laddermore has a similar pose as well. Someone mentioned above a charging pose with his sword drawn and back, I like this idea assuming its not too close to what Intercessor Kreoss turned out as. Standing tall in the saddle I think could give him some more visual distinctiveness. I’d have his other hand gripping the reigns though. Particularly practical if hes not a huge horse guy as you imagine.

    Alternatively, he could have a more at rest, calm general pose, the horse slowing down to a trot, quicksilver held loosely downwards to one side, his other hand lifting up his goggles as he surveys his forces.

  29. It should be noted, that a knight in shining armor, need not be clad in pristine depiction, to as a character accurately reflect his ideals. Stryker as a character possess a great deal of potential when portrayed in the sense of a Byronic hero as opposed to the typical knight-errant often seen in literature or other mediums of fiction. He possesses a conscience, one that may defy the societal rules of his kingdom, but one yet that defines his morality. He can be ruthless in his pursuits, his arrogance fueling the fires of his emotional crusade, yet his senses of mercy and justice stay his armored hand. Stryker is a figure of autonomy. Given a carte blanche to do as he deems necessary, with the sheer power of the Cygnaran military backing him, he treds the thin line of the gray perspective so widely espoused within Privateer Press’ narrative fiction.

    Which brings about another point. Bravery, courage. These are traits we ascribe him rather haphazardly. Once again, I suggest that Stryker need not be that simple. Is Stryker brave because he is a man of measurable courage? Or is Stryker brave because his nation requires him to be? Duty may in turn be its own driving force in the character of this warcaster, and it is a quality that is further exemplified by the devotion to the protection of his fellow Cygnarans especially whilst on the battlefield. His civic duty of preservation of life extending farther than the reachs of his home kingdom as evidenced via his protection of Menite civilians.

    Stryker’s past is a muddled one. Matt Wilson has touched on a varying number of important factors. However, there are a variety of those less seldom suggested. Lets take a look from an objective lense shall we? Consider, that Stryker’s youth most likely was rough. His late childhood and early teens befallen in a time of the Scharde Invasions. A time further complicated due to Vinter Raelthorne IV’s “Edicts Against Unlawful Sorcery and Witchcraft”.Simply being born with the potential to manipulate focus would have been precarious to say the least. A contention further accented with the Corvis Coven Witch Trials later in his teens. By the age of 19 Stryker is already knee deep in the bloodbath that is the Lion’s Coup. A decade later, Khador invades Llael. A decade that none the less potentially contained combat. With the death of Rynnard di la Martyn, tension between Khador and Cygnar would be further tightened. The Llael invasion and further battle of Sul are already detailed by Matt, however, it never hurts to reiterate the horrors Stryker witnessed. From Voyle’s willing sacrifice of his people, to the incineration of Myrr, Stryker has dealt with a great deal of heavy losses and pyrrhic victories. This is a man whose colleagues draw near to the end of their lives or otherwise are poisoned leaving a mere shadow of their former selves.

    Due to this Stryker arguably feels a great burden on his shoulders. He’s been fighting wars for his people for almost 15 years. He’s lost companions. He’s had empty victories. He’s smelled too frequently the odor of burning flesh. He’s seen the souls of his allies yanked from their body to fuel machines from an abyssal creator. Regardless of how courageous and brave he may be. Regardless of how formidable his mental bastion may be. Stryker is probably beginning to feel the wear and tear of a life spent in battle. A viewpoint further accentuated within the fluff of Colossals, where news as simple as “Haley left Corvis before the battle” is a relatively large surge of relief.

    Which leads us to how I feel he would be best depicted. Battle-worn and weary. Perhaps a small slouch in shoulders, perhaps his weapon angled downward by his side. Something, just anything, to show the the trials the man has faced over his years in military service. Perhaps add a buckler to his left arm or something. To represent his increase in armor and steadfast hold to the “knightly” ideal. Maybe have the arm holding the reins resting, slack, against him. The long ride ahead a dreary prospect for the war-torn veteran. The taste of moonshine that is war has long since worn out its welcome on Stryker’s lips.

  30. I don’t play much Cygnar, nor do I play much stryker just because that’s the meta swing at the moment; but I do like, as you said, the spiritual death and rebirth aspects of stories. Where a character finds themselves and who they are. Don’t lose that. 🙂

    If stryker is going to be weilding anything, It’d have to be a caspian blade. I can’t see him giving up his signature weapon (style/type) to do that. Also as others were saying, the mounted thing could be sort of Out of Character for Stryker. With the advent of 3Lylyth and her super santa sleigh of death, I think you could do a 1 horse chariot, and have stryker commanding from the back. If you had a dude driving the chariot so he could attack/command, that would satisfy the ideas of a mounted caster, but keep the ideas of your movie with his aversion to horses.

    The sculpt should be of him commanding the charge though. Stryker is a page 5 kind of guy who wouldn’t hesitate to get into the thick of things with his army.

    As far as WM scripts/movies. I’ve been writing things too! I have a buddy of mine who reads scripts for a living (no exaggeration). And I’d be interested in seeing some rock ’em sock ’em warjacks on the big screen. My e-mail is attached, and however informal this is, I’d LOVE to read your scripts.

  31. I believe the original Stryker is said to be both a champion of Cygnar and a devout morrowan isn’t he? I’d love to see a little nod or reminder towards his re-commitment to said values, though I’m not entirely sure how.

    Almost random things that come to me are a morrowan shield (probably out for not being a big enough Cygnar symbol I guess), a pendant, pennant or even a few ribbons ala constance. Maybe little morrowan symbols somewhere on the suit? I don’t really know.

  32. Really interesting article – I cant help but be reminded of William Blakes collection of Poems on innocence and experience. I still remember my english teacher explaining that neither the innocent characters or the experienced characters outlooks could match the higher consciousness of the reader or the poet who created them and as such both where flawed.

    I like this idea of a higher state of consciousness and if this reformation coincides with Stryker getting a horse then why not. I like the idea of him being more of a knight and could maybe picture him taking on a role like that of Dalinar in Brandon Sandersons Way of Kings – give him a strict moral and traditional code of conduct that he strictly adheres to in order to ensure that the rage doesn’t turn him from soldier into monster.

  33. How about his left hand holding the reigns across his chest, slightly leaning off to the right of the horse with Quicksilver drawn-back as though Stryker is about to decapitate someone?

  34. Goggles down, for sure.
    Stryker is the kind of guy who’s always leading from the front, and this pose should reflect that attitude. He should have Quicksilver re-designed (again) with a handle more suited to a cavalry model, like a saber handle. He should have the sword drawn back in a ready pose, and a hand out pointing out his next target/ urging his troops forward/ casting a spell (Arcane Bolt ftw!). Not unlike his first alt. sculpt, just swap the gun for an open hand.

    Holding a weapon in both hands on horseback would be really weird, now that I think about it- an overhanded swing would be insanely tricky while riding. Pass on that.

    Let’s have him on a good thick horse, too- I’ve got 2 Stormlances and a Venger that have had to be put down because of broken ankles.

  35. Does the horse need to be living or could we get some kind of lightning-chambered horse-jack? Perhaps even a mechanikal pegasus? Something to really hammer home both th nobility of the character and Cygnar’s technological and innovative edge. As to pose, I think firing his pistol while raising Quicksilver to the heavens would be awesome.

    Looking forward to seeing concept sketches.

  36. I love the idea of a mounted version and I’m also extremely attached to the the old “groundpounder” Stryker. I’m sure this will make the model makers and the accountants at Privateer have a heart attack, but…….is there any chance of having Stryker3 have a mounted version that has the option to dismount at some point during the game? Crazy talk, I know.

    Also, goggles: 2 head options would be my first choice, if not then goggles up. Thanks for listening!

  37. Although I’m a Menite at heart, stryker is an iconic character for me as well. Of all those (dirty) Cygnarans, Stryker is probably my favorite, both in story and in game terms. I think your rather lengthy description is spot on.

    As such, I think his model should reflect this. The “knight in shining armor” feel definately suits him, and the calm, collected pose is definately the better one. Perhaps sword in one hand, reins of his horse in the other. A shield on a saddle-sling perhaps? You see this often, as it allows for better horse handling with the shield hanging at roughly knee-height from the saddle. The horse itself should be either standing or pose slowly walking, head lifted up a bit (not hanging like kraye’s).

    The horse itself could be partly mechanical; a trusty steed saved from the butcher by replacing crippled legs with mechanical prosthetics (like Haley and Magnus with their arms), or completely mechanikal borrowing from the stormstrider/stormwall.
    whatever you do with the horse; dont attach it to stryker’s power source. This means the horse would completely crash the minute stryker steps off, especially if it has really heavy armor. Not the most useful trait if you want to use the beast again sometime, and I doubt Khador would give stryker one of their Destriers that doesn’t need a power source.

    Stryker himself should match the heavy armor of his horse, i think, at least in design style. It’s a choise between mobility, maneuverability and flexibility and heavy protective armor. Sadly, in practice, they are mutually exclusive. So either it’s b@d@ss armor or flexible and nimble, but not both.

    Whatever you do with him, he needs an attitude of “I will F**K you up bad”. He plays without cheats, but he will make it personal.

  38. I definitely think his pose should be leaning off to the right, in mid-hack-n-slash. Stryker is awesome, and a traditional ‘charge!’ pose, I think, should be tossed aside for something more ‘in the moment of action’

  39. This whole essay was a nice read, not just the “new shinies!” preview at the end. Thanks for that.

    I have to agree with other posters that a shield sounds philosophically and thematically appropriate for a knight in shining armor. I loves me some Constance Blaize though and I wouldn’t want it to be too similar.

  40. I totally picture Stryker3 galloping full speed leaning into the horse with his 2 handed sword pointing forward using 1 hand. Not sure if I would do a closed mouth being calm and cool or a battle yell a la the Trollbloods Warwagon gunner.

  41. I’m new to the game and just now absorbing more of the story so take what I say with a grain of salt. I did read the original post and most of the replies here before writing my own.

    While I like the idea of a mechanical horse I lean towards a living horse. My caution would be to make sure that when looking at the model we see Stryker and “whatever-the-horse-is-named” rather than allow Stryker to be overshadowed by the steed.

    Perhaps the horse was something that is needed for him due to wounds. Maybe he can’t keep up on foot anymore and needs the horse simply to keep up with his army. Looking at the “spiritual” arc of Stryker’s story perhaps the horse also somehow reminds him of the need to be flexible and move to where he is needed on the field. Being on a horse puts him physically above the regulars on foot which while a separation could also be a source of inspiration for the troops.

    I’ve been torn on the idea of a banner or something like that. I lean towards “no” as he doesn’t seem to me to be the blind faith flag waving Cygnaran that he used to be. On the other hand if that inspires the troops to charge or rallies their courage then perhaps it would serve a greater purpose. I would rather the model and pose itself be the banner of inspiration that would rally the troops.

  42. First I too vote for googles down under the condition that Stryker looks like he’s charging into combat. It makes sense from a practical standpoint as well. I really think that the charging Stryker fits the theme of a brave man who inspires his men with action. Someone getting into the thick of things. Sorry that’s rather vague but I’m having trouble putting into words the idea other than, “Striker looking like a stoic badass, readying his sword as he seeks to protect his homeland.” Either way, I look forward to killing him in game with Makeda 3 and her Sexy Squad of Ancestral Guardians.

  43. Regarding the Goggles issue: Why not have both? Just have two heads packaged with the model so people can have what they want.

    Regarding the Horse issue: My first thought was Stryker two-handing a Nomad’s sword and cleaving anything in his way. It would be broken. It would be over-the-top. It wouldn’t be the right thing to do. Honestly, I don’t think he needs the horse. It was just him in Prime. It was just him in Epic. It should stick with that.

    Regarding the Pose issue: Definitely doesn’t need to be mid-attack pose like eStryker. On a horse or not, I’d like to see something that strikes someone with a sense of leadership. Maybe Quicksilver mkII in one hand pointed forward, Disruptor Pistol in one hand down by his side, and a flowing cape on the wind with the Cygnar emblem on it. Also, have him stepping forward, symbolizing his movement out of the darkness and toward the light.

  44. I think the mechanical horse idea is a great one in that it works better with the actual modeling and also with fluff. It would be a lot easier to work in the storm coils on the mechanical horse (and a less hokey looking end product) in that you don’t have to attempt to work them into a real horse’s armor that is just strapped to him. To simplify that mess, the storm coils could be housed in a mechanical horse whereas on a real one they would need to limited to the armor on it (they couldn’t actually be sticking out of it). A real horse can only carry so much weight without looking like it will keel over and die or like a pack mule. A mechana-steed could carry Stryker in as heavy armor as you would like! Plus you can make a beefed-up mechanical horse (I picture a Clydesdale) without being limited to making an exact scale model of a real horse (i.e. Kraye, even though I love the model).

    Have you considered making Stryker overlooking the battlefield by way of adding a scenic base that would be the opposite of Kraye’s? Kraye is leading his horse down the rock as if the mood is “time to strike.” Maybe, Stryker could almost be going the other direction to find “this is how we strike.”

    Last but not least, and I know everyone will get mad but maybe throw in a helmet option? 🙂 Enough rambling from me.

  45. If you want to do something a little different to the other mounted models, instead of having him weilding quicksilver somehow, it could be sheathed/strapped to his back. You could have some kind of action pose on him and the horse running forward (similar to the storm lance leaders horse), (he’s very low, hunched over as if really moving and dodging incoming fire) and he could aiming his ranged weapon (magnum? or whatever new pistol he gets) either ahead or to the side.

  46. However you design him, please look up images of actual people swinging two handed swords from horseback and base his pose on that. Too often characters are given odd weapons on horseback and no real thought is given to how they will use them. Will the horse need special plates to protect it from his swinging blade? Doe he need to grip the weapon in a special fashion in order to use it properly mounted? Does he grip the reigns in his teeth or have some tech-device mounted into his armor that helps him guide the horse while he uses his hands for his weapon? As for the horse armor power generators, maybe they mounted in housings sort of like saddlebags?

  47. Another option for having a hand free, maybe his new armor has a beefed-up sword arm that allows him to weild Quicksilver II one-handed.

  48. Most cav is in that “on the charge” pose. I wouldn’t mind seeing him at rest with his sword laid across his pommel or even on his back with the idea that he’s either giving a speech to his men or surveying the enemy before an attack. It might give him more of that steady leadership and thought rather than the fury of a charge.

  49. I would like to see the horse in the process of leaping over a wall/fence – forelegs tucked up and rear legs outstretched about to leave the ground (the rear legs could actually be off the ground if you use the wall as the point to connect model to base). Stryker would be leaniing forward with one hand controlling the reins while the other holds Quicksilver down by the side of the horse.

    This gives a nice dynamic pose that stands out from all the other cavalry models to date.

    • Further to the above – after more thought – you could have the horse (as it has powered armour) actually crashing through the top portion of the wall.

      Quicksilver could be swept back more to align with the rear legs in the pose.

  50. I have a few pieces of input. One, I’d be a fan of a sleek helmet with goggles up, or even built into his helmet that can slide down. I mean how badass did Russell Crowe look when he put on that spiked helmet in “The Gladiator”. But I agree that he would have more character if we can see his eyes. Also, if his mount attack has even a moderate POW, you could put long slim blades going down the length of the upper portion of the horse’s two from legs. If the mount has electro leap, give those slim blades an electric center like a storm glaive. Also, I too would like to be able to paint the eyes of the horse a bright vibrant electric blue, but I’m not a fan of a purely mechanical horse. A compromise could be to put the horses armor covering the horses face or eyes. Now we can make his eyes blue and he even looks like a mostly mechanical steed. Additionally, I don’t like the look of stirrups, I think it would be very different and cool if there were sections of the horses armor to fit Stryker’s legs and feet. Logically this would not work because the armor moves too much while riding, but I don’t care and think it would look great! I’d also like to see Stryker’s sheath for Quicksilver attached to the horse. For his gun, you could consider building it into the horses armor in the head or neck region. Or if you build his gun into his sword, you could put a his index finger on the trigger on the handle of the sword. I think the horse should be semi-large and muscular if its to carry the weight of all that armor. I would like to see Stryker in a semi calm state holding reigns in left hand, looking 45 degrees off to his right out at the ongoing battle, not down like he is fighting someone lower than he is. While holding his sword in hand in a relaxed position down at his side with elbow slightly bent. I think thats all the input I have for now. Whatever you come up with I’m sure we’ll love.

  51. I’d love to see him with a helmet on, something to make him fit in a little more with the Storm Knights that he hangs out with all the time. Perhaps it can be an optional piece like the Great Prince of Umbrey’s sculpt?
    His Epic sculpt was (from what I understand) supposed to tie him in a little more with the Storm Knights, but he didn’t really fit in. So yeah, definitely a helmet. 😀

  52. Thank you so much for the write up Matt. I have always felt that good guys make the best villians and vice-versa. Watching that shift in fundamentals has always been the best story for me. Seeing paladin slowing warped into the things he hated the most or seeing a character like Darth Vader realize what he had become and at least with his last breath redeem himself.

    Jokingly most people like to call Epic Stryker Darth Stryker due to brief decent into the “Dark Side” and honestly it was a compelling story to read and Stryker in both forms has been one of my favorite caster to play (especially eStryker). I can wait to see the concepts for him and further information about him.

  53. Dual wielding, light armor, goggles up

    Dont make clunky armor that blocks his face like estryker. It seemed out of proportion.

  54. How about not actually having him on his horse? i know it might sound odd, but how about a foot in the stirrup, a hand on the saddle pommel and his blade pointing yonder at an angle to the horse?

  55. I think the shield discussion is a really nice idea that plays into the changes in the character, and would distinguish him greatly from his previous two incarnations. What is this Stryker about? The Lords Commander was rage incarnate, all-out offense, his morals left lying in the dirt in his haste to deal with his enemies. This new one has learned the dangers of that – there are prices he will not pay, lines he will not cross. He threw himself into danger to save people he saw as his enemies, civilians who needed his protection. Taking up a shield doesn’t simply show his determination to defend himself, but the role he has taken upon himself (Lord Protector Coleman Stryker?).

    I also think a mechanical horse would be sorta cool, especially since its power source could actually be connected to Stryker’s, giving Nemo lots of opportunity to do funky SCIENCE!! to Stryker’s new armor without worrying about silly physical restraints like Stryker not being strong enough to carry it all on his back. Plus, if Nemo is like ‘Here’s the Mark 3 armor… But part of it is a horse…’, Stryker has a reason to get over his reluctance about being mounted in the first place.

  56. Stryker has been my favorite character and caster since I started playing Warmachine five years ago and I have always enjoyed his story.

    For his third incarnation I think a symbolic addition to his new sculpt would be a shield like the magno shield of a centurion. If Stryker1 was noble and had a support play style and Stryker2 was angry with an aggressive play style then adding a shield on Stryker3 could be a visual metaphor for his return to being a protector.

    I would also like to place a vote for googles down simply because if he has them down something intense is about to happen. 🙂 I look forward to seeing what I’m sure will be great work.

  57. I love the ideas of two heads and a mechanical horse. The mechanical horse would also solve the boiler problem as it could be located partially or fully inside the mount.

    As for pose something that would go with our existing stormlances would be nice.

  58. The way I am envisioning it would see him as not being a horse fan. However…

    Give him a Clydesdall (sp?) style of horse. Large and broad with Tesla coils of its own. Have the armor be over pronounced and heavy looking. Perhaps even make the horse itself mechanical. As if a Steam-jack-horse! Or a Tesla-Coil-Horse (like Thunderhead).

    Have the saddle/barding have grooves made to house the large leg armor of Stryker with large clamps over them. Effectively he is strapped into the saddle, unable to get be unhorsed. Remember, what Holmes said about horses, “Dangerous at both ends and tricky in the middle!”.

    Then have a single large tesla coil on the horse with cables hooking into his armor and then to the end of quicksilver too. I see him leaning forward, mouth open in a should, left hand on the rains and right hand holding Quicksilver II down and back to form a vaguely aerodynamic shape.

    As for his armor, maybe make him less bulky and more articulated? Since his armor was tuned then perhaps it could look more supportive of a free range of motion? (Afterall he isn’t Vlad with his Character Unit of Shoulderpad 1 and 2).

  59. Man, this sounds cool. Imagining Stryker on a Thunderhorse with Quicksilver held toward the enemy, signaling his forces to attack. For his left hand, maybe drawing his pistol from its holster?

  60. I think the difficult part of a mounted model is that if you want speed and power, it’s very almost impossible to impart a sense of control or austerity to the rider. I think a cool pose would be something Paul Revere-ish, stand in the saddle, leaned over the neck of the horse. Stryker with an intense look of concentration on his face as he hold quicksilver back and slightly out to the side in preparation for a devastating side-swipe. Have two turbines situated on the horses front haunches, angling backwards to lend a further air of speed. A nice banner or cape bearing the Cygnus flowing out behind him would be nice as well. The narrative would be less a man restored to a secure place of authority and more a man seeking redemption, with something to prove, intervening as fast as possible in defense of his countrymen, heedless of the danger to himself.

  61. This idea sounds kind of silly, but what about Centaur Pants. A kind of mekanical harness, similar to Darius’s Steam Armor, that Stryker sort off plugs into. That way he gains the speed and height of a cavalryman, but retains his preferred foot soldier fighting style. I imagine this would work better, if it works at all, with just two horse legs instead of all four.

  62. I will probably be in the minority on this one but due to where I imagine Stryker to be I would like a much more static/stoic version of Stryker maybe with his weapons sheathed. In my head I see him in that position where he is walking to the front of a formation getting ready to give his men “the speech”. Not sad/depressed but more contemplative.

    Also I know Stryker has one of the most iconic faces for Warmachine but instead of goggles up/down it might be cool to do a helmet for him seeing as he is now mounted and has new and improved armor. Seeing Vlad3 with his helmet/crown was cool.

  63. The idea of having a mounted Stryker is awesome!
    As a Cygnar player I can’t wait for him to come out.
    I would really like to see him in a super epic pose,
    It would be cool if the horse was rearing up on its hind
    legs, while Stryker swings Quick Silver over his head.
    With the horse mane and tail whipping around along
    with Strykers robes. I’d really like to see his face opened
    up with lots of detail, and I’d prefer his goggles on his fore head
    or dangling around his neck. It would be so much more epic if
    you could see his glaring blue eyes. And please don’t make
    the armor to bulky. I’m sure you’ll do a great job, Good luck Matt!

  64. I think you should make him a dark knight to follow his story arc, he went bad but is here to be a good guy. i think of charcters like darth vader and batman who have that dark bad guy look but in the end are heros.. id like to see stryker go down that road visually as it would ‘fit’ his charcter. it could be something as somle as a hair and expression change with a menacing looking horse…. now that wold be bas ass!

  65. I loved this article. I would love to have a quick run down on each Warcaster/Warlock’s history like what was done with Stryker here…sounds like a project to put Doug Seacat on right away!

  66. As far as Stryker3 is concerned, the idea of two heads is great, Quicksilver has always reminded me of the Zanbato from Rurouni Kenshin, a “Horse Slayer” sword, having him mounted really firms this idea in my mind. I could see him charging through a cavelry unit cutting down horses and riders alike.

  67. I’ve been playing Warmachine for a while now and the only Cygnar caster(s) I’ve ever used has been Stryker. Really got in touch with his character. For the pose rather than an action pose such as charging or looking like he’s about to make his move, go for him being at rest or even worn out with Quicksilver being held limply in his dominant hand, shoulders sagging, his goggles hanging from his neck. He did come out of the battle- no slaughter in the Thornwood battered and bruised. I mean, a frickin’ Kraken fell on him. Have him show it.

    • Okay, maybe not fall on him. But Stryker still took a hit that should have killed him. If it weren’t for Constance and Gallant, he might not have made it out of the Thornwood. Anyone who’s read the fluff in Colossals has to admit that.

  68. Hello there Mr. Wilson. I’m new to warmachine, but I’ve found that the models help boost morale… I think the state of your army is a direct reflection on you. If my stryker doesn’t look great or is painted poorly, I don’t feel so great. But if I run a war caster like the one shown http://mattwilsonprime.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/EpicStrykerConcept.jpg. Well, I’d feel like a badass.
    My only qualm with the current lord commander stryker figure is his expression. I understand it can’t be happy but grim determination opposed to disgust fits my idea of him much better. and his body looked to big, Keep up the great work!

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