Scientists aren't known for their product design skills and this is prevalent in the Droid design. Form didn't have to follow function, all that was needed was function. I've been trying to solidify what I think Droid Mk 1s look like for some time but in essence they are a very boring looking humanoid robot. That's it. The more flashy I tried to make them, the less like a simple killing machine they looked.
So I decided not to try and render the Mk 1 (my attempts at modeling them are pitiful) and instead I did an arty thing to give an impression of a robot rather than a strict picture. An impression along with descriptive test should be enough!
The best thing of all is that I can just get on with doing other Icar stuff now because this had become something of a block for me. Next to finish the texture mapping for the Cruiser.
Just noticed this. I like it better than a 1:1 'realistic' approach because it communicates some of the deeper essence of the thing it depicts.
Wyndham Lewis's version of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorticism could provide a rich seam for some of the more symbolic & imaginary aspects of the droid(s): frightening, apposite & ... useful. Shudder.
I suddenly have a bunch of old WWII posters in my head, like "When you trans-warp alone, you trans-warp with droids!" and "Loose telepathy atomizes star cruisers!"
As to the early appearance of droids, humanoid would be a good starting place - it lets them interface with most of the human world and use the equipment as soldiers use it. However, perhaps the joints are rather over-sized and visible hydraulics are around them, trading vonrablity to damage for ease of replacing the parts quickly. Perhaps add and extra joint and length to one or both arms so it can stick its appendages around corners or backwards easier than a human. Rather than smooth armor or skin, crisscross it with small clamps or piticanny rails so things can be screwed on easily. Add webbed feet to help distribute its metallic weight and swim (or think like snowshoes).
There is an old engineering joke about the human body - "what incompetent urban planner would rote a sewage system through and amusement park?" So the droids might have all those changes that make sense, but are not the way we evolved.
On the flip-side, go for the uncanny valley affect. Make it perfectly human, then make a bunch of small changes that the engineers don't notice initially that are just wrong. The eyes are out of proportion with the face and too high up. (Most people try to draw eyes near the top of the head, despite being near the middle of the face since they tend to be the part we focus on most.) Make the mouth over exaggerated - like a clown - a move meant to ease seeing their "emotions" or interfacing, which instead make them look like they're trying to eat you. Hands out of proportion or too gangly, since it was too hard to shrink all the little joints.
Think first year art student rather than engineer for this approach.
Games of imagination are never truly done. Yet tomorrow we shall start another one.