Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Fiend of FeeJee

John Glenn brings us this non-traditional FeeJee Mermaid.  The heavy armored scales are a very different take from the traditional neo-Victorian depiction, but go really well with the presentation.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

More Tentacle Fun

Let us have a moment of silence for the pool noodles that sacrificed their lives for the cause. You will not be forgotten!

Last week I posted some shots of the awesome textures produced when you slash a pool noodle with a razor knife and then blast it with a heat gun.  I picked up a few more pool noodles this weekend to try and refine the process.  My ultimate goal was to produce a nice looking tentacle prop.  Here's a look at some of the text subjects.  As tentacles, these suck.  The melting process is too uncontrollable to get a taper down to a point along the length of the noodle. 

If you want eyestalks, the results aren't half bad.  To get the polyethylene foam to wrap around the eye, in this case a ping pong ball, you have to slash the plastic both vertically and horizontally along one end.  Once the plastic is soft you can compress it it into a bulge by pressing the end into a glass plate.  Then carefully insert the ping pong ball into the still hot foam and press it into the central cavity of the noodle.  I would strongly advise wearing some stout leather gloves when handling the semi-molten plastic. 

This is the closest I could get to a tapered tentacle shape.  This particular piece was made with a no-name dollar store noodle.  The plastic foam is noticeably less dense than noodles available at most big box stores.  Trying to cut a taper into the noodle before it undergoes heat treatment is an exercise in frustration.  I think it's doable, but you'll need something like a giant pencil sharpener to do it.  I can see using a length of PVC to fit inside the central channel of the noodle, and then rotating it around that.  An electric foam cutting knife, essentially a heated length of wire, could then trim the end of the noodle to the angle of your choice.

This piece was made from a "Funnoodle"brand noodle produced by Jakks Pacific.  They sell the same noodles under a variety of brand names.  The foam formulation is much denser than the cheapo dollar store versions and produces more prominent ridges when heat is applied.  This would be make some nice tabletop wargaming terrain. 

Another "Funnoodle" piece.  The plastic melts perpendicularly to the direction of surface cuts, producing the surface ridging effect.  Multiple short, shallow cuts produce the eye-shaped openings.  Longer, deeper cuts result in the stacked ridges along the top.

While the technique didn't give me the results I wanted, it would be ideal for producing vines or tendrils for a home haunt or low budget film.  If you only lightly melt the surface after slashing the noodle the texture is almost identical to a palm tree trunk.  They'd be great for some cheap scenery at your poolside tiki bar.

Oh, one last thing, and it may be the coolest part of this whole series of experiments.  I wondered what would happen if you stuck a light source inside the central channel of the pool noodle.  The results were pretty impressive. 

Polyethylene foam has absolutely amazing light transmission properties.  I suspect the even illumination is because of the multiple facets of the internal polyethylene cells.  The entire length, about 14", lit up with the light from a mini-Maglite LED flashlight powered by two AA batteries. That's from a very modest 3-watt LED.   With a string of LED lights threaded through the center you could get the entire length of a pool noodle to glow.  Just imagine the cool effects.  How about a bio-luminescent plant?  Or a glowing fairy mushroom?  A wizard's staff?  Thanks to the flexibility of the polyethylene foam you could even incorporate it into a costume.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fresher is Better

Artist Adolf Lachman bring us this intriguing humanoid specimen, still fresh from "collection". 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Child of Innsmouth

Brandon Croslin brings us a work-in-progress shot of his Deep One sculpt.  The texture work on the spines is excellent.

Amulet of the Bloody Tongue

Cryptocurium rolls out the Amulet of the Bloody Tongue in a new limited edition.  The piece depicts the avatar of Nyarlathotep worshipped by the infamous Cult of the Bloody Tongue in Kenya.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Momento Maori

Ash Robles of Reliquary Impressions brings us this very nice mummified tribal head.  She's one of the best gaff artists working today.  What really sets her work apart is how well she grasps the anatomy of her subjects, particularly the nose and eyelids.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

When Cthulhu Walks the Earth

Ancient texts say that one day the stars will be right and Cthulhu will walk the earth once again.

That day appears to have arrived. Artist Julien Montfalcon brings us this immense Cthulhu costume, created for a French LARP. This is just the latest creature he's crafted. Browse the rest of his gallery for some amazing work.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Marc Clancy brings us this surprising technique for creating wounds using yarn and latex.  I've seen yarn used on gaffs to produce veins and arteries, but I never thought of using it on skin.  The one caveat I would share is to avoid doing this on any location with body hair.

TIP: Here's an easy way to make veins using red cotton or wool. This technique has been around for many years but I've never seen anyone use it directly on skin. Pull some red wool apart so you see the individual fibres. Stick them down to your skin with prosaide or latex. Use a needle to adjust the shape while the glue is still wet. I made a quick infected zombie bite using this technique but you could use it anywhere.

Iron Rations

Man, this brings back memories.  Down the Rabbit Hole brings us his attempt to recreate classic-era "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" iron rations.  I can remember many a Saturday night spent deciding what kind of dungeoneering gear to purchase.  Iron rations were a perennial favorite not only as sustenance, but as handy trade goods for intelligent monsters. 

Being a decrepit old Grognard, I think Gygax patterned iron rations after the ones from the Napoleonic era. Those were mostly hardtack and portable soup, a primitive form of dehydrated broth. The quality of both was highly dependent on the budget at the time they were procured.

My thanks to Mike Jenkins for bringing the project to my attention.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Schlitzie's Oddities

Please join me in welcoming Schlitzie's Oddities as a sponsor. Proprietor Benjamin Dodds offers a variety of original artwork and props. That includes an excellent Deep One bust, video game items, and classic-style gaffs.

The Nameless City

Mike Jenkins has released a free annotated version of Lovecraft's "The Nameless City".  The PDF is a helpful introduction to some of the potentially vexing words and grammar of the Old Gent.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Lady of Innsmouth, Redux

I featured Sheryl Westleigh's "Lady of Innsmouth" sculpture last month and was delighted to see she's moving ahead with the project.  You'll find more information about the run at her Kickstarter page.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Solution in Search of a Problem

When I need to relax there are few things more rewarding than melting things with a heat gun.

Today I was goofing off with a spare pool noodle and tried slashing it across it's width with a razor knife before gently melting the surface.  The result was a really interesting ridged texture interspersed with bubbly gaps.  Here are a couple of shots I squeezed off before my camera decided to call it quits.  The piece is about 13" long and roughly 2 inches in diameter.

It's a really bizarre organic effect, but I'm not quite sure what it would be good for at this point.  If I was still into tabletop miniatures this would be ideal for some quick and easy Tyranid-syle terrain pieces.  With a nice three tone paintjob and some strands of clear epoxy it would have an awesome, gooey appearance.

It would be great for some kind of tentacle or tendril, but I need to figure out how to taper the effect along the length of the noodle.  The one I was using had a hole running through the middle, so melting it down to a point wasn't possible.  If I can get my hands on some solid pool noodles without a hole I think the technique has some real possibilities.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Cthulhu Plaque

Jason McKittrick returns to our pages with a limited run Cthulhu wall plaque.  It's a reissue of the one in the first "Parcel of Terror", this time in a very nice antiqued copper finish.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dragon Fossil

Artist Sarrah Wilkinson brings us this nifty little dragon fossil.  The bones were crafted from polymer clay, while the bed is air dry clay.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cthulhu Necklace

S.D. Williams returns to our pages with another piece of Mythos jewelry.  This time it's an impressive Cthulhu necklace.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cheap Molds and Casting

Mark Montano brings us this handy tutorial on making homemade casting putty using cornstarch and caulking silicone.  This would be ideal for short run projects that don't justify the cost of professional silicone molds.  Via Eric Hart's Prop Agenda.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Revenge of RobCo

In the span of 60 seconds several dozen propmakers were effectively put out of business last night.

The occasion was Bethesda's E3 presentation of their upcoming projects, with a heavy focus on the release of "Fallout 4".   One of the most surprising revelations was that the latest Fallout will be out on November 10th of this year.  Normally game developers start hyping their wares years ahead of time.  Making the big reveal five months before release?  It's unheard of.

More importantly, at least from the perspective of propmaking, they revealed the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition, and it's a doozy.  The package features a full-sized, ultra-detailed wearable Pip Boy prop. Then they went one step further, revealing it will hold a smartphone with a fully interactive app recreating all the functions of the in-game device. 

And, just like that, all those propmakers selling Pip Boys saw their market collapse. Browse Ebay or Etsy and you'll find Pip Boy props going for hundreds of dollars. Or at least you would have before last night. Now?  Who's going to buy one from a garage creator for $250 or more when you can get an amazingly detailed and fully functional Pip Boy, along with the game itself and a very cool carrying case, for $120?

I have very mixed feelings about this.  As a Fallout fan it's fantastic.  Thanks to the efficiencies of industrial production I'll be able to get a Pip Boy for the price of a dinner out.  On the other hand, it's hard not to have some sympathy for the propmakers who've invested hours of time creating props that are now obsolete.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Totem of Cthulhu

This Cthulhu totem is brought to us by Laroche.  Hand carved from birch. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Journal of the Red Hand

Morbid Curios brings us the Journal of the Red Hand, the memoirs of a puritanical sect of vampire hunters.   I love the cover treatment and its multiple levels of transparency.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Welcome to New Vegas

Abby Lusk brings us this recreation of the welcome sign from "Fallout: New Vegas".   Since Mr. House takes a dim view of people nicking his property, you can avoid the wrath of the Securitrons by creating your own using the same off the shelf sign Ms. Lusk used.

Update: Fixed the link to the original Reddit thread for the sign.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Promises, Promises

Whadya know.  It turns out you really do have to honor your Kickstarter commitments. I just wish it wasn't the Lovecraftian board game "The Doom That Came to Atlantic City" that ended up setting the precedent.

In its first case involving crowdfunding, the Federal Trade Commission has taken legal action against the deceptive tactics of a project creator who raised money from consumers to produce a board game through a Kickstarter campaign, but instead used most of the funds on himself. The defendant has agreed to a settlement that prohibits him from deceptive representations related to any crowdfunding campaigns in the future and requires him to honor any stated refund policy.

This is very good news. Erik Chevalier is a despicable, dishonest shyster, but he's sadly not alone.  There have been far too many mismanaged Mythos-related Kickstarters.  Hopefully this means creators will start taking their responsibilities more seriously.

The Targaryen Collection

R. Cali knocks it out of the park with this collection of every single piece of jewelry ever worn by Daenerys Targaryen in "Game of Thrones".  They were an anniversary gift for his very lucky fiance.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Old Paper

Raven sent over a link to this excellent collection of aged paper textures from Jojo-ojoj on DeviantArt.  Browse the rest of her gallery and you'll find more resources, including some useful book cover textures.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Hand of Glory

Groundpig.geo brings us this Harry Potter inspired Hand of Glory.  The skin texturing of the sculpt is quite nice.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Wyvern Skull

Brian Richardson brings us another one of his ultra-detailed anatomical gaffs.  This time it's a wyvern skull, built up on a high resolution 3-D printer. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Sedefkar Simulacrum

I was happy to see there's a new Kickstarter underway for the "Sedefkar Simulacrum" from Chaosium's "Horror on the Orient Express".    It's one of the defining original artifacts created for the tabletop "Call of Cthulhu" game, and the quality of the work from sculptor delphes desvoivres speaks for itself.  I have a feeling that years from now fans who don't get on board will be kicking themselves for not getting a copy. 

I also wanted to mention that although the Simulacrum project is licensed from Chaosium, they have no involvement beyond that.  It breaks my heart having to point that out, but the meltdown of the company's "Horror on the Orient Express" Kickstarter has cast a pall over everything associated with it.

That's a damn shame, but they brought it upon themselves.  There's absolutely no excuse for not giving people what they expected, in the time frame they expected it, in return for their pledge.  I say that as someone with direct experience running a Kickstarter.  I was frantic because my promised shipping date had to be pushed back two weeks.  Seeing people who supported Chaosium having to wait years still infuriates me.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

To the Mountains of Madness

Terry Dyer brings us something I never thought I would see- a customized 12" action figure of William Dyer from "At the Mountains of Madness".   It really hits all my buttons, since I was a huge action scale collector back in the 90s and early 2000s. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Fallout: Arkham? The Haunter of the Vault?

I mentioned on Wednesday that there wasn't anything Lovecraftian about Fallout 4, but I may have been mistaken. 

Take this with a grain...no, an entire bucket filled with salt.  I was contacted by an anonymous source who claims to have knowledge of the project.   According to them there is a non-trivial amount of Lovecraft-related material in the main game, and more is included as part of at least one DLC package.

If true, it's something I'm very happy to hear.

That said, I have considerable doubts about the validity of that information.  For one thing, leaking it  is what video game developers refer to as "a career ending move".   Talking about it is a huge risk in light of the NDAs signed by everyone involved with the actual game.  Beyond that, with all the media attention the trailer generated there's a huge demand for more information about the game.  To be quite honest, this isn't the venue to release a tidbit like that.  Not when you could contact someone at a major website and create a firestorm of attention by leaking it to them. 

But man, it would be really cool if it's true.

The Skelos Skull

Mr. Zarono brings us this intriguing artifact- the Skelos Skull.  For something that started life as an off the shelf Halloween skull it's quite impressive. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dem Bones

Copper Centipede is back with a new selection of Mythos items in a bone finish.  I'm a big fan of his sculpts, and the miniature figures in bone would make great faux-netsuke props.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Happy Annexation Day!

Today we celebrate the annexation of Canada by the United States on June 3, 2067.  At least, that's the date it happens according to the "Fallout" timeline.  Today also happens to be the day Bethesda is expected to release the first look at "Fallout 4".  In honor of the occasion we bring you the work of Chris Hockett, who's amassed a stunning collection of historical artifacts.

If you're curious, a countdown is currently underway at the official "Fallout" website. The clock runs out at 10 AM EST.

Update:  And the trailer is out.

I know this isn't Lovecraftian in the slightest, but I love the retro-futuristic style of Fallout. It's the same appreciation for classic design that first attracted me to classic-era paper props.

That said, one of the interesting things about the Fallout 4 trailer is the home it takes place in. Based on the interior, and the later shots of the neighborhood, there's a good chance it's a Lustron House, or the Fallout universe equivalent of same. The panelized walls have a rather distinctive appearance.  Now that we know the game is set in the Boston area that suggests Vault 111 is located N/NW of Brookline, MA.

There just happens to be a cluster of Lustrons in Brookline. They aren't listed in the National Register because most of them were extensively remodeled over the years. Given the history of using real world locations in Fallout it seems likely having a bunch of Lustrons show up in the trailer isn't a coincidence.

With that as a starting point, and knowledge that the bombs fell on October 23, 2077, we can assume the crowds of people running towards the vault are heading N/NW. How? Their shadows. Based on the position of the sun in the sky on that day the sequence first shows them running west, then heading up a N/NW trail to the Vault entrance. From the angle of the shadows the bombs started falling in the mid to late-morning time period.

Here's a picture from the first part of the sequence, showing both the distinctive Lustron wall panels and the shadows:

Based on that information, there's a good chance Vault 111 is located atop the hill N/NW of Brookline High School in this Google Maps topographic view.

Then again, I could be reading far too much into a simple artistic choice by the animators. Heh.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fetish of Ipos

The talented Jason Soles returns to our pages with a fetish dedicated to Ipos.

This device bears The Seal of Ipos, the Twenty-second spirit. He is an Earl, and a Mighty Prince, and appeareth in the form of an Angel with a Lion's Head, and a Goose's Foot, and Hare's Tail. He knoweth all things Past, Present, and to Come. He maketh men witty and bold. He governeth 36 Legions of Spirits. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Cornish Pixie Skeleton

Are fairies real?  Despite the efforts of fey deniers the case for their existence is overwhelming.  Now Dan Baines at Lebanon Circle Magic brings us what may be the final, undeniable piece of evidence the skeptics have long demanded- an actual pixie skeleton.
The series of images show a miniature partial human skeleton. The skull, spine and ribs are present although the limbs, lower jaw and pelvis are missing. A five pence piece is also present in the images to give an indication of scale. If these are genuine then this is the smallest humanoid remains ever discovered, but how did they appear in a falcon nest?

The mysterious man who sent in the images works for a birds of prey rescue centre in Cornwall. As well as caring for sick and injured birds part of this gentleman’s job is to monitor nests of protected species for annual breeding numbers as well as preventing eggs from being stolen by collectors. During a routine check he climbed a tall tree to inspect the nest when something amongst the twigs and feathers caught his eye.