Privateer: Designing Mortenebra, Numen of Necrogenesis

Privateer’s art director shows us the how the Master Necrotech got her kickass new look.

In her new form Mortenebra has transferred into a larger, powerful mechanikal body that better suited for warfare than the last one. This body is more machine than flesh and provides her with more tools. The new design presents a more intimidating, insect-like version than the last. This new form is a real formidable foe. Art director Mike Vaillancourt walks us through the process of creating the Necrotech’s new character art…


I almost always start off by generating a bunch of silhouette sketches to get a feel for how I’d like the model to look on the table and to explore its shapes.

In reading the description, the first thing that came to my mind was a combination of a silverfish and the feel of a hatching cicada. Based on that, I roughed out these silhouettes. The awesome part about designing in silhouette is that you can immediately get a good feel for what the character might look like on the table. I liked the upper body of B, the wasp-like waist of E, the pincers of E, and the legs from B. The group agreed, so I quickly bashed together this silhouette.

With an approved silhouette, I typically proceed to line art.

This is as far as I got before other work tasks starting kicking my butt. Playing off of the note about Convergence, I tried to incorporate in a bit of the Art Deco look to the top of the backpack. This detail ended up getting scrapped, though, and I ultimately decided to let Carlos have some fun.

In this first sketch, I thought he got the basic idea of the shapes I was thinking about, and so I had nothing to add.

He then sketched up this next image. The first note is that I wanted to bring back Mortenebra’s mechanical arms, and the claws in this sketch lost the long, sharp, and pointy feel of the pincer claws. The central smokestack above her head also wasn’t working—it was overwhelming the upper torso and making her too advanced. To pare that down, I requested Carlos remove the central smokestack and lengthen the pincers (mechanical arms and highest set).

One last note was that Mark Christensen (Production Manager) was terrified by how complicated the back side of the centipede body was (sketch not pictured), so the proposed fix was to throw a piece of cloth over the top to simplify that area in casting and add a smooth area to break up the shapes. I’m positive I provided a quick sketch over the top to help with details…but that file has been lost to the digital ether.


See What’s Next & Get a Look at the Awesome Final Product

  • marxlives

    They did a really good job conceptualizing this model. I like her title “Numen of Necrogenesis”, I am interested in seeing how this plays out lore wise with Convergence.

  • Kinsman

    Really wish they would stop with the need for unique silhouettes. Just give us great models. Sometimes it works, but sometimes you get Kallus.