Back in mid 1976 (when I was a senior in high school, and when Metagaming Concepts still existed), I was contacted by Howard Thompson to do some artwork for their new wargame "Ogre", designed by their hot game designer Steve Jackson. Mr. Jackson went on to found SteveJackson Games, which is one of the most successful and innovative game companies in existence. ( click here for my portrait of Mr. Jackson )
I received this crude sketch, and a set of the draft rules describing the awesome robot tanks. All I knew was that the behemoth would display two main guns, six secondary guns, twelve antiperso, six missiles, and lots of treads.
I of course instantly spotted the similarity to Keith Laumer's BOLO continental siege units, being a big fan of his novels. I re-read the novels, admired the cover illustrations (not particularly useful) and let them percolate. I then got every tank book from the library I could lay my hot little hands on, and picked the brains of my local tank experts. Sadly, although a featureless hemisphere makes the perfect tank, it is visually dull. So I just played around with different ways of sticking the required items onto a tank base.
I had, of course, read the collection TALES OF TIME AND SPACE which featured Keith Laumer's classic BOLO short story "The Last Command", illustrated by Harvey Kidder. I'm sure that image was an influence but it does not really look much like my final image.
One fine day, I was drawing without even thinking and this picture popped out. This had the two ingredients that made the classic Ogre "look": the massive, sloping, invulnerable looking front, and the two main batteries set in ball mounts, looking like huge evil eyeballs. I believe the ball mounts were inspired by the ball joints of the robots featured in MAGNUS,ROBOT FIGHTER comic books.
This is how the final product turned out. It does make me cringe nowadays,as it was drawn before I had even attended art school. Be that as it may,about once every year, somebody at a convention or a person on the Internet recognizes me as "the guy who drew the Ogre". Andy Warhol said that everybody will be famous for 15 minutes. I guess I blew my moment of fame when I was in high school.
Steve Jackson had this to say:
"Many people over the years have commented on the unique look of the Ogre. I had nothing to do with that, execpt to say "Neat!" when the original drawings came in. The man who set, for all time, the appearance of the Ogre is Winchell Chung. In 1976, Winch was a gamer and fan-artist who had contributed some drawings to The Space Gamer. Metagaming asked him to create a cover for OGRE, and I sent him a smeary, impressionistic red-and-black sketch of a battle scene. But my tank was just a big tank. Winch added the tower and the bulging fron turrets, and tied it all together into the menacing and memorable whole."
And Flunky is correct, in the underside of the Ogre there will be visible bulges for the drive train.
For a fellow with a fascinating imagination, I made an illustration of his concept for a Steam punk Ogre.
Be sure to visit Christopher Shields' Ogre website, it has lots of expansion material for the Ogre game. His essay on the Ogre artwork was for me a facinating look into how my artwork has touched another. Thanks Christopher.
I haven't really done any substantial game illustrations since then (except for a few items in the extraordinarily awful POWER AND PERILS by Avalon Hill). But here is a picture I did for a game called SEDS that never came out. And here is a pictureof my ChampionsSuperhero character, and a cheesecake SF nude I did when I was bored one day. You might also want to print out copies of these hit sheets for a Mark V Ogre, and a Mark VI "Armageddon" Ogre. Slip them into a document protector and check off damage with a grease pencil.
*--- WINCHELL CHUNG ----* + ogre o mk-V * /-I'm nobody------------------------\ |Nyrath the nearly wise | . +. | * . ' | Nobody at all. But the secrets of | | firstname.lastname@example.org | .* \\_/|\_// + | universe don't mind. They reveal | | | ___/(o)|(o)\___ | themselves to nobodies that care. | *-----------------------* ####"""""""#### \--OUTER LIMITS: "Galaxy Being"-----/