Back in the day, videogames were harsh and unforgiving like killer DMs. Centipede was typical of the shooter-type games of this period. You had a limited range of movement, and enemies advanced on you at an ever increasing pace until you could no longer keep up and were killed. This particular gaming paradigm has re-emerged with the advent of simple app based games, and seems to be as popular as it ever was.
|1980 vs. 2012|
For the videogame, we can see that the passage of 30 years has resulted in a marked improvement in the visual appeal of the game.
The giant centipede has also undergone a change over time. In the Monster Manual, giant centipedes are said to be about 1' long. Under the newer D&D classification, giant centipedes are now monstrous centipedes, and 1' specimens would be considered tiny or small. The modern giant centipedes are now really giant giant centipedes.
The miniatures closest in appearance to the monster described in AD&D are the giant centipedes from Citadel (Fantasy Specials FS39), Reaper (Dark Heaven Legends 03256), and Heritage (Dungeon Dwellers 1267).
The Reaper and Heritage centipedes scale out to 3' long, while the Citadel centipede is probably about 5' long. Not perfect, but the size is in line with that of prehistoric members of the Myriapoda subphylum that could be anywhere from to 3' to 8' long.
Larger centipedes are the D&D CMG Giant Centipede (Dungeons of Dread #56) on the left, and the HorrorClix Centipede (Nightmares #020) on the right. They are probably what is typically considered a giant centipede nowadays.
The DDM centipede has a decent pose, but the color selection leaves a bit to be desired. The mauve underbelly of the HorrorClix centipede is also a bit questionable, but I like this centipede a lot because of the legs and antennae.
And speaking of antennae, I don't think centipedes look right without them. These centipedes have been modified by adding antennae made from bent staples.
While I prefer the smaller giant centipedes, I'm not against having centipedes that tower over humans. I just think of them more as being supernatural creatures like Japanese centipede yokai.
The largest example is the Ral Partha Mukade Centipede (Bushido 53-918).
The legs and mandibles on the mukade have an angular appearance that is not very natural looking. I rounded the mandibles out with a file, but I just left the legs because there were too many to fix. I also added some whisker-like antennae which are typical of the omukade portrayed in Japanese prints.
I would have liked to add a mane as well, but I decided to preserve most of the miniature's original appearance because of its relative scarcity.
Finally, there is the Cryx Cankerworm from Privateer Press (34057). It's not really a centipede, but it's close enough. I bought the miniature because I liked the Cryx faction design aesthetic. It reminded me a lot of Clive Barker's cenobites from Hellraiser, and Tsutomu Nihei's silicon creatures (珪素生物; keiso seibutsu) from Blame!
I painted the carapace off-white just to be different, but now I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to paint it dark colored like everyone else.
I also modified the face because I wanted the model to look more like the concept art by Andrea Uderzo, with a visor instead of goggles, but I couldn't quite achieve the right appearance.