Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Up From the Depths

Mike Jenkins sent over a link to this outstanding project- a 3-D printed skull from the classic "Creature From the Black Lagoon".   Jason Eaton smoothed out the print with a solvent wash, sculpted additional details with epoxy putty, and adapted an off the shelf cloche as a display.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Miskatonic University Alumni Package

Update: I'm temporarily sold out. I may have about two dozen additional sets available, but without the notebooks. I'll have a better idea on that number in a few days.

Since it's founding in the 18th century Miskatonic University has been one of the most influential and prestigious schools in the United States. It's students and faculty have traveled the globe, earning a reputation as tireless researchers and scholars without peer. Their willingness to quite literally go to the ends of the earth in their quest for knowledge has produced a body of work of unparalleled quality and depth. With that comes a sense of pride, in both the individual and collective accomplishments of the school's alumni.

We're proud to offer this collection of keepsakes in honor of that unquenchable spirit.

The Miskatonic University Alumni Package

The package includes nine items- three Miskatonic postcards, a pocket field journal, 4" embroidered patch of the University seal, 1.5" brass keychain, 4" varsity-style embroidered patch, a cloisonné lapel pin, and the "Bookworm" Mythos Merit Badge.

The keychain is 1.5" in diameter (not counting key ring) and features a mirror-polished brass and black enamel finish.

The handsome cloisonné lapel pin is 1" (2.5 cm) in diameter and would look perfect on your Miskatonic varsity jacket. It's constructed of solid brass and fired enamel with a butterfly clasp backing.

The 4" (10 cm) patch is embroidered on a tough cotton twill backing that will last for years of use, and the heat-sensitive adhesive makes it easy to iron it on to the garment of your choice.

The varsity-style embroidered patch is 4" across and has a an iron-on backing.

The "Bookworm" Mythos Merit Badge is given to those who've delved into forbidden tomes.  It's sized at the Boy Scout standard 1.5" and features an iron-on backing.

The included paper goods consist of three vintage-style postcards of Miskatonic University locations (Orne Library, Front Campus, Middle Campus)and a pocket field journal. The journal measures 3.5" by 5" (8.89 cm by 12.7 cm) and has a saddle-stitch binding, 1/4" rounded corners, a heavyweight cover, and 32 pages of high quality lined paper. All materials are 100% recycled and the cover designs are printed with environmentally friendly soy ink.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Fallout 4 Gauss Rifle

Show and Tell Props is responsible for this amazing recreation of "The Last Minute", a unique gauss rifle from Fallout 4.  Their construction thread at the RPF includes a detailed build log.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Nuclear Chaos

The "Eye of Azathoth" from Jason McKittrick that I mentioned earlier this week is now available at the Cryptocurium Etsy page.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

ASP Sentry Gun

Filmmaker Calum MacDonald brings us a Grendel MDK mounted on an ASP (Autonomous Sentry Platform) tripod.  The system is just one of the many weapons available from the gunrunning main characters of his "Outer Spiral Arms" web series. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Special Delivery

The good news is that I arrived home this evening to discover the "Bookworm" Mythos Merit Badges had arrived. Here's what the original concept looked like.

And here's the actual patch. These are sized at the Boy Scout standard 1.5".

That means all the hard goods are now in and just need the postcards and such inserted for the final package.

Here's the bad news.  The "Bookworm" patches were supposed to arrive on Monday, so I'm running a little tighter on my schedule than I expected.  That's not a major issue, at least not yet, but I'm going to have less prep time than I'd planned on.  The bigger problem is that my order of Priority Mail packages is also running late and may not arrive until Friday.  I've cleaned out the local post offices so I can get a solid start on orders, but it's still cutting it a bit close for my tastes.

That said, it looks like I'll start taking orders on Saturday instead of Friday morning.   That will give me time to take some decent product shots and bundle up the first batch so they're ready to go once I print out address labels.  I'm a big believer in getting packages in the mail as fast as possible.

The Eye of Azathoth

Jason McKittrick returns with another well done Mythos artifact- the Eye of Azathoth.  It goes on sale this Friday at the Cryptocurium web site.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Pod

How'd you like to find this in a dark corner of your home?  Special effects artist Patrick Magee brings us this Giger-ish pod

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Avner Vampire Killing Kit

Over the weekend Kaminski Auctions offered up this vampire hunting kit at an estate sale.
Rare mid 19th century vampire slaying kit, hand made brass inlaid plate inscribed "Nosferatu," includes: two crucifixes, assorted Bibles, hand forged knife with bone handle, wooden mallet with wooden stakes, two sets of rosary beads, pinfire pistol, eight bottles of holy water, garlic, six silver bullets, and mirror, 6" h x 17" w x 11 1/2" d. Provenance: From the personal lifetime collection of Mark Avner of Lake Worth, FL and Buffalo, NY.
Surprisingly, it appears it didn't receive a single bid.  I have a feeling collectors are finally realizing all of these kits are fake.  It's certainly fair that the creators make a reasonable amount of money, but  the days of Blomberg-style kits going for tens of thousands of dollars at auction are over. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Anatomy of the Elder Things

Artist Kurt Komoda has created what could well be the definitive look at the anatomy of Lovecraft's "Elder Things".  Working from the detailed description in "At the Mountains of Madness" he builds up a well thought out take on what they actually looked like, including the troublesome "wings".   The biggest issue there is that we're used to winged creatures, like birds and insects, having lateral symmetry.  Attaching them to radially symmetrical organisms requires some involved mental gymnastics.
No matter where on the torso they are attached, I also have a problem trying to figure out how they fold up. They can't just open and close like a paper fan and still have a 7' wing spread- unless they attach near the top of the torso, below the gilled bulbous neck and then extend down to where the lower bulbous neck ends (see figure A, below). 
   Lovecraft's drawing and notes (above) confuse me because the sides of the torso have this jagged edge, like a pinecone or something. I think those are the wings folded up. On the left side, there is an arrow which points out to the note: (circled) "Fan-like expansible to 7 foot spread." And then: "veined  ?????-membraned comb-????. At tips- ends of veins are spore cases." So, those could be the serrated edges of the comb-like wings somehow sticking out of the furrows, but....I don't see how those would unfold....unless the tubular veins extend each time, but I doubt it.

Go check out the full article.  It's filled with beautiful illustrations, including some inventive motion studies.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Soles Edition.

Jason Soles has been crafting Mythos-related works for decades.  His latest is a Cthulhu idol that will be a premium in an upcoming Kickstarter project.  These are the raw castings fresh out of the mold.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Hydra

Copper Centipede returns to our pages with this stylized idol dedicated to the three-headed Hydra.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Vintage Apartment Floorplans

If you've played Chaosium's "Call of Cthulhu" it's likely your character has visited more than a few urban flats, from cramped hovels to high end luxury suites.  If you've wondered what they were actually like you'll want to visit the New York Public Library's digital collection.  The New York City Apartment Buildings archive not only has dozens of apartment floorplans, but a look at the hardware and features they were outfitted with.   The collection includes builder's catalogs with the actual plumbing, lighting, and decorative fixtures used in vintage buildings.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Alien Skulls

Artist Dominic Qwek brings us a beautiful set of alien skulls available as resin castings. Browse through the gallery to get an appreciation for just how anatomically detailed these are.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Almost There...

The Miskatonic Alumni Package is almost ready.  Despite all the hassles with the varsity-style logo the patch looks awesome.

All that's left now is the "Bookworm" Mythos Merit Badge, awarded to those that have delved into forbidden tomes.  The whole impetus behind it was an attempt to get out of my comfort zone by embracing the mainstream, cheesy take on the Mythos.   And boy, did I embrace the cheese...

Don't worry, I don't plan on doing too many non-canon friendly items.  There's already more than enough of that sort of thing.  The merit badges are just a bit of fun between friends.  If the delivery schedule holds I should have the package up for sale next Friday and take orders over the long Memorial Day weekend. 

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Vague Edition.

Sadan Vague brings us one of the most unusual depictions of Cthulhu we've featured.  The Great Old One is not only noticeably female, but pregnant. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Eyebot Paintjob

Brazen and Bold Productions is in the homestretch of their Fallout eyebot project.  The latest gallery entries feature priming and painting the prop robot.  The next step will be weathering it down.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Wilderness Adventuring in the 20s and 30s

Spring is here, and I've already started checking to see when the muddy trails of the Adirondacks will be dry enough to use. In the meantime I've been indulging my interest in vintage camping. The latest gem to come to my attention is "Trail Craft" by Claude Powell Fordyce from 1922. It's available in almost any format imaginable from the Internet Archive.

The book covers every style of wilderness travel, from lightweight trekking to "might as well bring the kitchen sink" car camping. As such it's a good introduction to the equipment and mindset of adventurers in the classic pulp era. If you're into vintage gear porn you'll definitely love it. Here's the author's take on basic backpacking gear.


1. and 2. The Duluth Pack Sack, with the head strap and center suspension shoulder straps, is best.

3. The hunting unit for the knapsacker requires a small gun, with collapsible stock, its ammunition, a cleaner, and gun grease.

4. The silk shelter tent is weather-proof and yet gives the acme of comfort.

5. The chief enjoyment of hike trips is the independence they afford.

Duluth is still making quality packs today, although they're increasingly catering to the hipster market. The "authenticity" of canvas and leather is a lot more bearable when you're schlepping a laptop to the coffee house rather than lugging it on your back. That said, classic materials are still ideal for trips into the backcountry via canoe, horse, or motorized vehicle. The gear may be heavy as hell, but it's well nigh indestructible.

You'll find guns are a regular and expected part of period wilderness trips. In most cases their intended purpose was provisioning, with protection a secondary concern. Wild game was a customary part of the menu for anyone spending time away from civilization.

The unusual collapsible firearm recommended by Mr. Fordyce is Marble's Game Getter. It's a delightfully strange gun that could fire .22 and .45 rounds as well as .410 shotgun shells. By all accounts it was surprisingly accurate.  Sadly, it's a controlled weapon these days because the shotgun barrel measures less than 18" in length.

The book's look at motor camping is pretty interesting. Archeological and scientific expeditions into the wilderness are a regular part of pulp adventuring.  In Lovecraft country there's a good chance those parties would be traveling by car. 

I was surprised to learn that most vintage cars had unexpectedly good off road performance. In hindsight it makes sense- what passed for roads in the 1920s would be considered trails by most drivers today. Vehicles could range almost anywhere there was a reasonably firm, clear path thanks to a combination of light weight, three point suspensions, and a huge amount of suspension and body flex. This classic newsreel footage gives you an idea how insanely capable the damn things were. Just bring along a mouth guard to deal with all the bouncing and shimmying.

It didn't hurt that drivers were expected to perform their own maintenance when anything went wrong.  Service stations were few and far between, so you were on your own.  Most manufacturers included a comprehensive tool kit on board designed to service nearly everything on the vehicle.  Here's the one included in the purchase of a Model T.

Oh, and there's one more section of "Trail Craft" you'll find interesting.  An entire chapter is dedicated to our old friend adhesive plaster, the proto-duct tape of the classic era.
Adhesive plaster is a cheap, strong binder that will conform itself to the shape of any substance. Thus we mend with it splintered gunstocks, broken tool handles, broom handles, chair legs, whips, canes, umbrella handles, jars, and bottles. Even lead and iron waterpipes can be temporarily repaired by its use. Employed to bind a wood split or to hold a loosening ferrule of a fishing rod, it prevents the loss of a day's sport. Further, bowlers, fishermen, golfers secure protection to the fingers and hands by putting adhesive plaster strips over the parts most likely to be blistered, sore, and chapped. Being a non-conductor and waterproof, it is useful in making and repairing electrical apparatus and in insulating wires for troublesome short circuits about the automobile.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Shape of Things to Come

Svetlana at Kamui Cosplay has an incredibly in-depth look at the latest generation of hobbyist thermoplastics.  In contrast to things like styrene and ABS these craft friendly sheets are moldable at low temperatures.  Her overview includes details on flexibility, surface texture, stretchability, and paint adhesion for various formulations of Worbla, CosplayFlex, Thibra, and Wonderflex.

Today there is a whole industry dedicated to produce materials made especially for costume makers and cosplayers. Additional to EVA foam, thermoplastics like Worbla and Wonderflex have been the go-to for armor makers for quite some time. So naturally other companies started to notice the potential of this growing marked and developing their own similar crafting products. I guess by now you’ve probably all heard of Cosplayflex or Thibra and so I though it would be a good time to give you an overview of a few of these newcomers.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Secret Origin of Fallout's Synths

I've discovered what could well be an incredibly well hidden easter egg in "Fallout 4"...or just an amusing coincidence.   Whether that demonstrates my cleverness, or the fact that I have way too much free time, I leave to you.  Heh.

Here's the logo to "The Institute", the shadowy masters of robotics technology in "Fallout 4".

This is a breakdown drawing of a second generation Synth.  They're pure robots without any self-awareness or functionality beyond their programming. 

With that body form in mind, take a look at this comparison shot.  On top is the Institute logo.  Below it, the logo of another cutting edge robotics manufacturer. 

Here's a closer look.  What makes this second group particularly interesting is that it also had issues with killer robots going rogue and gaining sentience.

It's the logo of "Nova Laboratories", taken from the identification plate of their first generation robotic soldiers.  These insidious machines were equipped with brutally effective laser weaponry and designed to carry out kamikaze attacks using nuclear weapons.  Sound familiar?

Here's the robot the ID plate was attached to.

That's right.  The whole Institute mess started with SAINT Prototype 5, better known as Johnny 5 from the 1986 movie "Short Circuit".  Despite the primitive technology of the time even this robotic assassin could effectively disguise itself as a human.

The screencaps of the "Nova Laboratories" logo are taken from the very well done opening credit sequence.  What's telling is that the computer aided manufacturing in the film is now garage technology.  That certainly wasn't the case back in '86.