Friday, September 30, 2011

Fiat Lux

Jason Soles brings us this wonderfully creepy candle holder. As with all his work, the rich texturing gives a wonderful sense of decay and corruption.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Cthulhu Heirloom

Sophie Klesen brings us this beautiful silver and garnet Cthulhu necklace. The quality of the sculpting is amazing considering the small scale of the piece. If only every cursed family heirloom could look this good.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It Feeds

Eric Brown brings us this alien leech specimen. I love the clinging drops of preservative fluid, like it was just pulled from it's storage container.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mongolian Death Worm

The gifted Markus Bühler brings us this detailed recreation of the insidious Mongolian Death Worm. It was the winning entry in a cryptid photo contest held in conjunction with a cryptozoology seminar in Berlin.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cthulhu Fhtagn! McKittrick Edition.

The prolific Jason McKittrick brings us this Iron Age Cthulhu idol.

"The idol is believed to depict the infamous Great Old One Cthulhu. If this belief is correct then the sacrificial victim may have been a member of an ancient Cthulhu cult dating back to the Iron Age. The depositing of the body with the idol into the bog may have been an attempt by superstitious cultists to appease Cthulhu for a perceived offense.

Analysis of the idol has yielded more questions than answers. A metallurgical study returned no matches of any known substance on earth however the item seems to possess attributes of both iron and copper and is completely resistant to rust or patina. Researchers have suggested the unknown alloy to be of possible celestial origins."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Houle Edition

John Houle brings us this well done Cthulhu idol. He'll be casting copies off this clay master.

I really like the stylized interpretation of the wings. It's a nice compromise between treating them as a surface feature of the body and showing them fully extended, something that creates a weak point in resin castings.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Classic Era Los Angeles

Some vintage newsreel footage of Los Angeles in the 1920s. The same account has dozens of other period films that give a real feel for the time.

The Prop Master

The Atlantic has a great interview with propmaker Ross Macdonald, the man behind some of the most iconic paper props of the last two decades. It includes an overview of the projects he's worked on, including his current gig producing period documents, paper goods, and ephemera for "Boardwalk Empire". The article includes some all-too-brief glimpses at the techniques used by a master like Mr. Macdonald.

"Water is my first go-to technique for aging documents. I also have lots of different stains that I use," he says. "Shoe polish is one, others are water-based. Heat is good too. Typically to age a single page, I'll get it damp, spray or blot on a couple of stains, wrinkle it and fold it, and then press it against an industrial hotplate. Some stains are activated by the heat. The intense heat flashes the water into steam, which seems to loosen up the fibers of the paper a bit. Then I might wrinkle it, and rub some graphite powder on the corners and sand them. Some guys use an airbrush to spray on faux stains. I prefer man-handling stuff and staining it in ways that quickly replicate the real process by which documents get aged. When I'm aging a book, I bash it lightly with a sculpter's mallet, rub lots of different stains into it, and wrinkle and smooth out every single page."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Prop Porn

Back in July I featured Mark Cordory's incredible Cthulhu costume without realizing he was a professional propmaker. The galleries at his website feature dozens of cool examples of his work, including some amazing props created for the Dr. Who television series. It's one of those places where you can lose track of time just browsing through all the entries.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Eye of the Dragon

Don Simpson brings us this draconian artifact, crafted from deer antler and a glass taxidermy eye.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dem Bones

I don't normally flog products, but based on the amount of email I've received looking for cheap skeletons I thought I'd pass this along. If you're in the US the Walgreens drugstore chain has a gorgeous prop skeleton available for just $30. You can find a huge thread about it at the Halloween Forum. This appears to be the same style of skeleton recommended by Allen Hopps in his excellent corpsing tutorial.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Egyptian Mummy

Bryony Tidball brings us this well preserved Egyptian mummy. Something like this would make an ideal showpiece prop for a live-action game. They're not only relatively easy to make, but fit right in with the resurgence of interest in Egyptology during the classic era. And all kinds of odd little amulets and charms have turned up in the wrappings of mummies.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Flesh and Blood

Stacey Ransom demonstrates how to create faux flesh for an animal carcass. This would be ideal for recreating a cannibal feast or the results of a shoggoth attack. With the ready availability of cheap realistic skeletons it's easier than ever to make a partially devoured body.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fantasy Abacus

Artist and propmaker Tim Baker brings us this abacus for a non-human numbering system. It's a wonderfully alien design.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Book of the Skull

The gifted Jason Soles brings us this skull-bedecked tome . The embellishment is a resin cast of a muskrat skull, while the cover texturing was done using epoxy putty.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Vampire Killing Kit

"GoreanLord" brings us this handmade vampire killing kit. There's a lot to like here. The vials are actually sealed, so they won't spill all over the interior as soon as the case is picked up, the pistol isn't an obvious reproduction, and the missal and bible look period. Those may seem like small details, but the very nature of a kit like this invites close physical examination. The more believability you can incorporate it into it the more successful it is.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Steampunk Robotic Claw

After seeing dozens of "steampunk" props consisting of junk haphazardly epoxied together it's refreshing to see one that demonstrates a sense of craftsmanship and artistry. This massive robotic claw was created for a live action event from Forest Argent. The quality of it's construction and finish is just outstanding. There's a bit of a Warhammer 40K feel to it, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Seal

RamageArt brings us this protective seal from the television show "Supernatural" . The carving is quite nice, but I'm not so sure about the finish. An ink wash would help unify the colors and give it a bit less of an artificial feel.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Creating Copper Finishes

FitchenFoo brings us this incredibly in-depth look at creating copper finishes. He's coming from the direction of scale modelling, but his detailed examination of various techniques is equally applicable to prop creation.

"There’s Copper leaf, Sophisticated Finishes Copper Patina set, Apple Barrel “Pure Bronze” (looks like copper), Tamiya Acrylic Copper, Mr. Metal Color Copper (there’s also a Mr. Color Copper that I haven’t tried/bought), Alclad II Copper, Hawkeye/SnJ Copper Polishing Powder (they also make a paint that I’ve not tried/bought yet), Mig Productions Fantasy Pigments Copper, PearlEx Antique Copper and Sparkling Copper, Autumn Gold (copper) Rub n’ Buff, and of course copper sheet, rods and tubing. I’ve tried every one of these for one project or another. Every one is useful in some way, but combined they make some great colors."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Trophy Skull

Monte Ward brings us this carved Dayak war trophy cast from a real human skull and then embellished. What makes this is the fantastic patina.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lovecraftian Lollipops, Wave 2

This isn't directly prop-related, but I really like Cryptocurium's work. They've released wave two of their Lovecraftian lollipops, featuring an Elder Thing, Shoggoth, Hastur, and the Necronomicon. These would be great for a Lovecraft-inspired Halloween party.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Making a Silicone Sheet Mold

The talented Allen Hopps brings us a video tutorial on creating a silicone sheet mold. This technique would be ideal for creating all kinds of amulets and small artifacts. He also includes ordering information for getting your own supply of casting silicone.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dagon Mask

This well done mask of Dagon was created by Richard Svensson for an un-produced indy film. The linked article includes some fascinating WIP shots.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fossilized Fae

An intriguing fossilized fairy brought to us by artist Tony Rice. I'm surprised there aren't tool marks on the bones from the Fae's well known cannibalism.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Larvae

From the collection of the Surnateum, the dangerous aquatic carnivore Eucerna thanathos Müller. Australia truly is the most dangerous continent.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Outpost 31 Patches

John Carpenter's "The Thing" is arguably his best film. Unfortunately, it didn't do well at the box office and started a failure cascade in his career that he still hasn't recovered from. That's sad considering the massive following the film gained on home video, a fanbase large enough to motivate the same studio system that wrote off the original to move forward with a prequel.

More than a few critics have called the film Lovecraftian simply because it features a monstrous creature with flailing tentacles. A few have even recognized that it plays with the same themes of the alien other and contamination that Lovecraft explored. I'd go a step further and say it serves as an interesting sequel to "At the Mountains of Madness". I'm not alone in that feeling, since the leaked script for Del Toro's ATMOM seems to owe more than a small debt of inspiration to "The Thing".

All that leads up to this nicely done fan project, an extremely limited edition patch for Outpost 31, the film's setting.

Here are some other takes on the same subject matter from another thread in the same forum.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Guts

Gorey Corey at the Effects Lab Forum brings us a tutorial on creating yards and yards of intestines. Admittedly, there aren't many occasions when a pile of innards is de rigueur, but the technique can be used to make all sorts of ropy, organic props like tentacles and vines.

All of the materials are readily available. If you have difficulty finding art latex, or are on a particularly tight budget, you can use latex carpet adhesive from a home supply store and thin it with a bit of ammonia.

"After the layers are dry and you are pleased with how they look you'll take the paper towels and roll them up to about the thickness of your thumb, the paper towels should be distorted and "lumpy" in parts. Now the tricky part you might need some one to help, place the paper towels on one edge of the latex strip and start to roll the whole thing up like a burrito, dried latex will stick to itself. Leave the ends open and some paper out the ends. When you're done rolling it up squeeze the whole thing in spots so it looks like intestines. I spun them around like a moron and that seemed to help alot."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Grunge

Stacey Ransom offers up a great aging technique using spray adhesive and powdered grout. I've used a similar method, but wasted a lot of time blending colored powders from charcoal and chalk pastels ground in a spice grinder. It never even occurred to me that such a cheap and readily available supply of colored powders was available.

"One of the easiest methods for aging glass, mirrors, silverware or any other materials is to lightly spray the item with spray mount (aerosol glue) and then use a sifter to dust the item with dirt, baby powder or any other fine powder. Powdered grout (found in the tile/ceramics section) comes in a HUGE variety of colors, such as browns, grays and greens. Pick the smallest, cheapest bag – you won’t need much. Spray mount can be found at any hardware store or art store. Get one with a “light” hold."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Joyner Edition.

Lee Joyner brings us the Key of Cthulhu, a very anthropomorphic take on the dread elder god. One of the signs of just how good a sculpt this is can be found in the eyes. There's not just a sense of life, but a blend of intelligence and menace. Even talented sculptors can struggle to pull that off.

Thursday, September 1, 2011