Sunday, June 30, 2013

And the Hits Keep Coming

Back in the 1950s folks were pretty sharp.  That's why my small town has a power substation protected by a massive fifteen foot high dike between it and the local river. And it's no simple earthen berm, but a fully reinforced bulwark used as the foundation of a state highway.   The river can get a little rambunctious so they prudently planned on keeping the power on even if the river should top it's previous high water mark during flooding.

What they didn't plan on is the water coming from the other direction. 

Early Friday morning a freak storm dumped about four inches of rainfall on the area between midnight and 6 AM.  That, unfortunately, followed a week of steady showers that had already saturated the ground.  Around 5 AM three small creeks that run through town, and drain roughly 24 square miles of hill country above the valley, jumped their banks and went for a bit of a morning walkabout. The water came roaring through the streets, overwhelming the storm drains and flooding roughly half the town.  Including that wonderfully well protected power substation, surrounded by a protective wall that would keep it safe and dry during even the worst river flooding.  Except the wall only covered three sides and the water wasn't coming from the direction of the river.  It was rollin' down Main Street and right into the "protected" dike area.

From all accounts the results were quite spectacular, particularly when six feet of water flowed into the massive transformers.  Nothing big blew up, which we should probably be thankful for considering the largest ones are ten feet high.  But a transformer the size of a hefty microwave can sure make a bang when it goes.

So the entire town has been without power since Friday morning.  Our house didn't suffer any flood damage, but not having electricity has been a major hassle.  Hopefully we'll have some juice later today, but for now I'm sponging off the WiFi at Denny's to explain why things might be a bit light for a while.

Upstate New York is supposed to be a bucolic enclave where nothing every really happens.  Having two disasters in one year is seriously harshing our mellow. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Eowyn's Shield

"Buffalo Bill" brings us this detailed recreation of Eowyn's shield from "The Lord of the Rings". It's crafted from real wood with a resin boss and metal edging.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Horde

Copper Centipede has been busy calling up an army of Cthulhus.  It's interesting to see all the variations on a basic theme, including the effects of different surface finishes.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Building R'lyeh

Rev. Marx returns with a tutorial on using cold porcelain. He's using it to sculpt a custom "Settlers of Catan" board featuring the sunken city of R'lyeh.

"I read on one of the recipes that using 3/4 cups of white glue would make it less sticky to work with, so I cut back on the white glue by just a bit after my first batch. Just mix all these ingredients together in a pan and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. I also added a few drops of black food coloring so that the finished product would not come out white. That way if something chips or breaks the base color will be grey, which is less obvious. Some sites call for mixing this concoction over a low flame on the stove, which is what I did for my fist batch, but that requires you to stir it constantly and it takes about ten minutes to congeal. Also, clean up of the pan and spoon between batches was rough."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Polymer Clay Casting

Jason Rippetoe sent over a link to this handy tutorial on Board Game Geek. "Sunshiny" demonstrates how to use polymer clay molds to cast prop coins and medallions.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Shaun Gentry was kind enough to share this work in progress shot of his latest project, a bust of Dagon. There's a lot to be learned from seeing something like this, from how to layer on detail to the effects of different tooling techniques.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Numenor Map

Tóbal took a break from his usual sculptural work to bring us this well done map of Numenor from Tolkien's writings. As usual his presentation is wonderful.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mythos Voodoo Dolls

The prolific Jason McKittrick brings us these Mythos voodoo dolls

I'd love to see more props blending the mythos with other religions.  Lovecraft's own stories show it to be aggressively syncretic, insidiously embracing both Protestant faiths and Voodoo.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Järvinen Edition.

Finnish artist Pyry Järvinen brings us this stone Cthulhu idol. The worn surface texture and stylized details are outstanding.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shukutei Biomed

Yesterday's foray into Cyberpunk reminded me that I've had this floating around for a few years. "Shukutei Biomed" has been my go-to evil corporation for tabletop gaming since the 80s, showing up in campaigns for Cyberpunk:2020, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, and 2300 AD.

The logo is handy for paperwork, while the ID card is a convenient plot token.   Opening the picture links in a new tab should allow you to download the full resolution versions.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Militech Crusher

Harrison Krix brings us another amazing creation- the Militech Crusher from the in-development Cyberpunk video game. The prop is based on the design from the teaser video for the game. That in turn was based on artwork from the old pen and paper Cyberpunk:2020 RPG.

I was a huge fan of the original game from R. Talsorian and actually ended up writing for one of the Chromebook collections. If the video game comes close to capturing the feel of the trailer it's going to be great.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Map Aging Tutorial

Janet at "It's a Little Like Magic" brings us an excellent tutorial on aging a pirate map.

Monday, June 17, 2013

In Search of the Ancients

"Dusk Abomination" brings us this well done prop tableau featuring the artwork of Francois Launet.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Vintage Egyptian Postage

Here's a classic era (1922) Egyptian postage stamp ideal for period correspondence.  Just print and trim to size with a perforating pattern cutter.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dragon Bones

This nicely done dragon fossil was on display at a Ren Faire in Ohio. Half an hour with image search couldn't turn up the original artist. Not the most realistic of presentations, but it's a great sculpt. I'm even more impressed by the casting. It looks like there are so many undercuts that it had to be assembled from pieces cast in separate molds.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Collected Talismans of the Cthulhu Cult

Joe Broers brings us this incredible display of talismans associated with the Cthulhu cult. He's been sculpting variants and running off a few copies every time he has resin left over from a pour. The result is this fantastic museum-style display.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Curious Case of Mr. Li

It's not the best alien gaff ever made, but I don't think it's creator deserved to go to jail.

"Shortly after he proudly posted photographs of his alien on the internet, he was arrested by the police for five days for "fabrications" that "disturbed the public order".

Mr Li was forced to admit that he had indeed sought to use his model, held together with chicken wire and glue, to mislead his fellow Chinese about the existence of celestial creatures."

It boggles the mind this was worthy of official attention. Gaffs, and gaff based hoaxes in particular, have a long and proud history around the world. Alien bodies are a huge part of the UFO subculture, challenged only by the Bigfoot fans in terms of the sheer number of "specimens" that pop up.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Amulet of Akatosh

Christian G. of Peregrine Studios brings us this recreation of the Amulet of Akatosh from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Skullbird Edition.

Skullbird brings us this nifty Cthulhu idol designed for buyers to apply their own finish. Scroll through the entries and you'll see how the same basic sculpt can have wildly different appearances based on the paint scheme.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fetal Specimen

The talented Carim Nahaboo brings us this nicely done fetal specimen. The paint job and acrylic finish really brings it to life, so to speak.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Golem Icon

Fox Henderson brings us this de-animated golem. The jagged cracks are a nice contrast to its clean lines.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Tesla Artifacts

The prolific Jason McKittrick is doing another limited edition run. This time it's a pair of artifacts discovered among the belongings of Nikola Tesla after his death. Given the Mythos awareness demonstrated by these items it's not surprising his personal papers were seized by government agents.  There have long been rumors that his ideas were a strong influence on Crawford Tillinghast.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bottled Nightmares

Ekron Studios brings us these bottled bits and bobs. I like the grungy, serial-killers-shelf finish on the jars.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I wanted to apologize to everyone for the somewhat iffy updating schedule I've been on over the last few weeks.

Back in March it became apparent that my long-suffering back needed some serious attention. It's currently held together with a variety of hardware, and despite some reasonably strenuous physical therapy the musculature was actually growing weaker instead of strengthening. One side effect of that dysfunction was an almost continual series of chest pains in addition to the discomfort in my back I've grown used to. While scary, those pains turned out to be harmless.

Ultimately, all of these problems sprang from my weight. After the first round of repairs my level of physical activity dropped precipitously and I became far too sedentary. That caused me to pack on the pounds, triggering more back discomfort, which made it even harder to be active. Lather, rinse, repeat and you get my weight blowing up by over a hundred pounds, and I wasn't a small man to begin with.

That lead to the rather harsh realization that if I didn't get the problem under control I was facing a really crappy future. The weight was going to put increasing strain on my back, which was going to become even more painful and out of alignment, which would make any physical activity more difficult. That cycle would ultimately end with me being in a wheelchair, or worse.

All that culminated with me adopting a serious lifestyle change. Since March I've been on a daily workout schedule that included light cardio, stretching, and weight lifting. I wish I could say it's been a wonderful experience filled with happiness and joy, but it hasn't. It's been painful, exhausting, and frustrating.

Few things are more humiliating than someone that could be your daughter cheerfully encouraging you to do some light stretching...that leaves you walking like a zombie for four days. Or the equally cheerful guy adding "just five more pounds" the the bar. It hurt. Like a son of a bitch. Not the pain of injury, because they're far too careful about form and posture for that to happen. No, this was the quivering ache that shows up a day or two after the workout, the sign of muscles long unused.

Worse, these cheerfully sadistic little helpers dragooned my family into their evil machinations. All that work is useless unless your body has time to recover from it, and that means sleep. Eight hours worth, every night, no matter what. And they don't care that you get up every day at 3 AM, and have for years. That just means you have to be in bed, and tired enough to fall asleep, by 7 PM. That leaves precious little time for anything.

As a result I haven't been able to devote nearly enough time to the blog, much less any ancillary projects. For that I apologize.

On the other hand, all that pain and misery is worth it. Not only because it's going to keep me out of a wheelchair, but because, after all these weeks, I'm actually starting to enjoy it. Today I noticed that for the first time in my adult life my shoulders are actually wider than my waist. Sure, it's only by about a millimeter on either side, but it's still pretty cool. More importantly, I've strengthened my lower back and legs enough that my pelvis is shifting into it's proper orientation instead of being tilted.

Mind you, I'm an old, out of shape geezer. If *I* can get these kind of results in just four months I can only imagine the benefits to someone younger. I don't want to give a "Come to Jesus!" speech, but if you're struggling with your weight there's no better time to make a change than right now.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Clutch of Cthulhus

Copper Centipede brings us this collection of Cthulhus. Cthulhi? Regardless of the proper plural term, it's cool to see someone working with authentic materials.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Demonic Device

"Clayjase69" brings us a work in progress shot of his demonic device. There's some wonderfully layered texture work in the central pyramid.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Edemonium Edition.

Gothic design shop Edemonium brings us this absolutely amazing Cthulhu idol carved from mammoth ivory. I can't find a specific artist credit, so I'm assuming it was an in-house project. What a fantastic one of a kind item.

Saturday, June 1, 2013