Monday, November 30, 2015

The Innsmouth Look

This outstanding Deep One hybrid mask comes to us from professional makeup effects artist Anthony Kosar.  The finish work, including those incredible eyes, just knocks it out of the park.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

He Watches from the Wall

Scott Conner at Evil Grin FX brings us this work in progress Cthulhu sculpt.  The piece was apparently a wall hanging that never went into production.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Stein Edition.

Lance Stein brings us this very nice primitive-style Cthulhu idol.  I believe this was carved from real stone, but it may be plaster.  His gallery has close to a dozen other idols  you should take a look at.

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Hint of Things to Come

The perk magazines in "Fallout 4" feature some covers of interest to Lovecraft fans.  I suspect that the "Astoundingly Awesome" pulps foreshadow the DLC content that will be released next year.  Based on these two I think it's safe to say at least one will feature an underwater adventure touching on the Mythos.   A few others hint at a potential trip to the moon.

You can find a full gallery of all the magazines over here.  The resolution is a bit low for prop versions, but weathering can cover up a multitude of sins.

If you're really into potential Fallout/Mythos crossovers, this thread over at Reddit has me geeking out on the lore of the "Cabot House" quest in FO4.  Beware, it's filled with some very big spoilers.

Tools of the Trade

Ethis Crea brings us this very nice set of prop medical tools.  It's part of a costume, pictured below, for the "Birdy,Birdy" project.  That crow mask is terrifying.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Seafaring Life

One of the great things about Mythos gaming is that resources for better understanding the period are so readily available.  I've gushed before that the single best supplement I've ever purchased was a 1922 edition of of "Winston's Cumulative Loose-Leaf Encyclopedia".  For the price of a few game books a period encyclopedia isn't just an invaluable resource of information, but an incredibly immersive prop that players can consult as needed.

I've also taken to trolling through the Internet Archive for public domain books covering subjects of interest.  I still dearly love physical books, but since I picked up a Kindle reader I find myself reading even more than before.  The sheer variety of contemporary works from the 20s and 30s is stunning, all of it absolutely free and just a click away.

If you're at all interested in period exploration and seafaring I'd strongly recommend downloading "The Log of Bob Bartlett".  He's most famous for being the Captain of Peary's ships during multiple attempts at reaching the north pole, but his autobiography also touches on his early experiences as a fisherman and merchant mariner.  It's filled with interesting details, including the reasons so many sailors hated bananas and the dangerous flammability of pemmican.  The later chapters involving the pole attempts and the wreck of the Karluk, trapped by polar ice as shown in the picture below, are absolutely riveting.

One issue I should mention is the casual racism and sexism of the text.  By contemporary standards Capt. Bartlett is a monster, filled with disdain for women and the Inuit.  "Problematic" doesn't come close to describing some of the passages he's penned.   But just a few paragraphs after describing the north's native population as "barbarous savages" you'll find him expressing an obvious affection and respect for their abilities.  It's a very weird dichotomy that pops up again and again in period accounts of expeditions under grueling conditions.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ika Tane Amulet

Gage Prentiss brings us this Maori amulet of protection from the "fish men".  Sadly, it wasn't enough to protect the sanity of it's unfortunate owner.
The Jade talisman was confiscated from a young deckhand named Jameson at his admission to the Sussex Lunatic Asylum in 1848. He had been commissioned on the Clipper ship, Cricket, during its trade circuit to New Zealand and Australia. Jameson had purchased the amulet from a Maori merchant who traded in jade. The Merchant had said it would protect him from the Ika Tane, or Fish Men, that lived in cities off the coast. Jameson was found a week later aboard the Cricket, near death from exposure, hiding in a large coil of rope. All other hands had vanished. Jameson had claimed that the Ika Tane had "calmed the sea with frog song" and "taken everyone on board under the waves." He claimed that the amulet had saved his life, and was loath to be separated from it. Investigators were at a lost to piece together what happened on the Cricket. There was no sign of violence, or theft from the valuable cargo. The mysterious amulet passed hands many times, and over the years, others like it have surfaced all over the world.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fallout 4 Magazines

L1b3rtyprime brings us these recreations of the new perk magazines from Fallout 4.  If you're a Fallout fan you really have to check out his site.  In the two weeks since the game was released he's banged out over a dozen outstanding prop versions of items and weapons from the game.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Father of the Necronomicon

The talented Joe Broers returns to our pages with a statuette of Abdul Alhazred, the mad Arab behind the Necronomicon. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Muninsheim Edition.

Muninsheim brings us this nicely done Cthulhu idol and accompanying sacrificial blade.  I really like the calligraphic-style inscription on the base.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Fonts of Tékumel

If you're an old school gamer you've undoubtedly heard of Tékumel, the game world created by professor M.A.R. Barker.

During the 70s Dungeons and Dragons was developing a milieu that was heavily influenced by Tolkien's European viewpoint. Barker went in a much different direction, creating an incredibly detailed world based on more esoteric Eastern traditions and history with a sprinkling of weird fantasy. To this day it's probably the most fleshed out gaming world ever created.

One of the really fascinating parts of Tékumel is that it features multiple, fully developed languages and scripts.  The Tékumel site includes half a dozen fonts based on those writing styles, including the Tsolyáni script pictured here.  They're fascinating in and of themselves, but from a prop making perspective they have the advantage of looking appropriately alien and being truly obscure.

Here's a "Quick Brown Fox" map of the reverse Tsolyáni font using all caps.
While the fonts are a real treasure I'd suggest browsing through the rest of the archive as well.  You can spend hours immersing yourself in a truly unique world.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Ark of Cthulhu

Hawanja brings us the Ark of Cthulhu.  The green version is detailed with polymer clay, while the red version is a resign casting.  Just click through to see the full sized image collage.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Crafting Kremvh's Tooth from Fallout 4

Steven C. Bear turns a slab of MDF into a recreation of Kremvh's Tooth in this detailed build video

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mummified Samurai Head

This beautifully done mummified samurai head comes to us from Reliquary Impressions.  Quite a few gaffs like this just add a layer of flesh to an off the shelf medical skull.  The work here goes way beyond that, with excellent anatomical detail.  Take a close look at the interior of the eye sockets, the nose, the lips, and the ears.  Those are areas regularly neglected by less skilled artists. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Medieval Mythos

Robert Altbauer brings us this medieval-style illumination of a historic confrontation with a shoggoth.  I love the idea of historians assuming things like this are metaphorical images, while more Mythos-aware researchers know what's really going on.  Mr. Altbauer has a number of similar illustrations in his gallery

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Black Pharaoh

The gifted Greg Onychuk brings us this bust displaying the two faces of Nyarlathotep in his Black Pharaoh form. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fallout Plasma Rifle

When you have real talent, as the AntiLily does, you can turn this...

...into this in just a matter of days.

Speaking of which, "Fallout 4" has three Lovecraftian quests I think Mythos fans will enjoy. One of them involves a potentially world-ending artifact from Lovecraft's "Nameless City" in the Arabian Rub'al Khali, the same place Abdul Alhazred learned many of the secrets revealed in the Necronomicon. I know Bethesda won't go there, but it would be amusing to find out the cataclysmic nuclear war was just clearing the field for the return of the Old Ones.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Necronomicon

This work in progress shot of a new Necronomicon comes to us from the talented AlexLibris.  I can't wait to see the finished product. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Weapons of the Wasteland

"Lb3rtyprime" brings us an amazing selection of prop weapons from Fallout.  This is one of the best collections I've seen, both in quality and quantity.  I expect we'll be seeing a flood of reproductions from "Fallout 4" in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The First Mythos Propmaker

Joe Broers brings us this outstanding bronze-finish bust of Clark Ashton Smith.  In addition to his considerable literary and artistic achievements he was arguably the very first Mythos propmaker.  All of us since owe him a debt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Lovecraftian Wasteland

"Fallout 4" is out today.  I don't want to spoil anything, but it has significantly more Lovecraftian content than 3 and much of it is located exactly where Mythos fans would expect.  I really hope the rumors that at least one of the DLC packages is heavily Lovecraft-influenced are true.

Update:  And the Dunwich Building saga from 3 continues.  This is a genuinely disturbing location.

Behold, the Crawling Chaos

Jason McKittrick is teaming up with artist Michael Bukowski for a special limited edition tribute to Nyarlathotep.  The chaos crawls forth this Friday.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Leather Journal Tutorial

Katie Startzman has an easy to follow tutorial for creating a small leather journal.  It's a project that anyone can handle, and the result would make a great LARP spellbook or chronicle.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Gearing Up for "The Expanse"

I'm a big fan of  "The Expanse" series of novels. The stories are being adapted into a television series by the SyFy channel, but don't hold that against them.  The first two novels are outstanding semi-hard science fiction, and the second features one of the best portrayals of the thought processes of a power armored soldier ever written.  Sadly, the overall quality steadily declines as the series progresses.

Concept artist Rob Cavanna was commissioned by a fan to design a costume for Amos Burton, a hard-assed engineer aboard the corvette "Rocinante".  That included not only basic clothing and gear, but a selection of custom designed patches.  The results are pretty awesome, and you really need to click through to see the high resolution image.

I've loved this kind of detail oriented, lived-in future since "Alien".   That's the first media property I can think of where logos and signage were an important part of the production design.  Mike Jenkins has recreated dozens of examples over at his blog.  Browse around and you'll find designs from the "Alien" series, "Blade Runner", "Firefly", and more.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fallout Industrial Fist Prop

Chunk-a-Nuke Props brings us this recreation of the Industrial Fist from "Fallout: New Vegas".  The blade actually spins, powered by a salvaged CD drive motor.

Three days until the release of "Fallout 4" and I'm merrily riding the hype train.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Magic Torch Prop

What self respecting mage would use a simple piece of burning wood to light his way?  Rawring Crafts brings us this well done magic torch prop.  The clever illumination system uses a light source in the natural wood handle shining up through a selenite crystal. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Necronomicon

The talented AlexLibris brings us his take on the infamous Necronomicon, all in hand-crafted leather.

Nordic Shield

Fev Studios brings us this recreation of the Nordic Shield from "Skyrim".  The piece measures a hefty 30" across.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Larval Form

Mikey Rotella is a professional effects artist.  He sculpted this little beastie for the "Mazerunner: Scorch Trials" movie.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Fate of Atlantis

ArtifactDig brings us this very nice tableau of their props based on the "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis" video game.   I miss Indy.

The Coming of the King

Lena Karr's boyfriend wanted something special for Halloween- a King in Yellow costume.
Due to my passion for costuming, the aforementioned boyfriend requested I put together a King in Yellow costume for him. Specifically the version of the King in Yellow which appears in the Call of Cthulhu card game. It definitely got a lot of attention, even if very few people were actually aware of the book or the character. I've attached some photos for your perusal.
The results are impressive.  Here's a look at the original depiction from the "Call of Cthulhu" card game and Ms. Karr's fantastically well done interpretation.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Long Live The King

This interesting take on the King in Yellow comes to us from Mexican artist Fernando Bonilla. 
The figure is made from a modified resin angel, adding epoxy clay, green stuff in the thinner parts and is painted with acrylic Politec.
Repurposing an angel figure is a brilliant idea.  It's a perfect time to take advantage of all the Christmas stuff currently flooding into stores.

It Bites

We bring to you today the skeleton of an unidentified parasitic worm from a private collection. The specimen was originally collected in the Congo during the Du Bois Expedition of 1932-1933. The creature was removed from the intestinal cavity of an unfortunate porter who died during extraction. According to contemporaneous records both the worm and the porter's body underwent extremely rapid putrefaction at the time of death, far beyond anything even the hot, humid climate of the jungle could account for.

The anterior portion of the creature is approximately 2" in diameter and displays quadrilateral symmetry, with four sharpened mandibles projecting from the bony structures of the head. The mouth structure is well preserved and shows signs of an eversible proboscus used in feeding. The body is approximately 26" in length and consists of dozens of papery, cartilaginous segments.

Experts were unable to provide a definitive identification based on the creature's skeleton. It matches no known species, but appears to have a number of structural similarities to the parasitic invertebrates of the genus Pentastoma. Complicating definitive placement in that group is the sheer size of the specimen. Both contemporary and fossil examples of the genus have a maximum length of 6", far shorter than this variety.

Oh, how I love the ickyness of the toothed worms.  For this piece I built on the techniques used for last year's Tillinghast specimen.  The body is a lightning whelk egg case I picked up on Ebay.  The head is a mix of real mouse and mole bones, sculpted Apoxie Sculpt, and some Games Workshop Tyranid bits.

The bones are incredibly delicate, so they had to be reinforced to survive any kind of handling.  I accomplished that by flooding them with super glue and then spraying each one down with accelerator to kick the reaction.   The result is a surprisingly strong structure formed as the liquid cyanoacrylic fills the pores and voids inside the bone.

The biggest hurdle of the project was producing a consistent surface finish.  Getting the multiple materials to match required two coats of ivory, a detail wash of burnt sienna, and a highlight layer of matte white.  The final treatment involved dusting down the whole piece with some powdered ochre pigment and then going over it with a dampened Q-tip.  That removed the powder from the high spots and allowed the resulting "mud" to flow into the low spots.

If you like it, my little friend just happens to be available on Ebay.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

...And My Axe!

 Eyeballs Studio has posted a complete build log for their very nice dwarven axe.  A big part of what sells a build like this is the detail work.  The bolts on the head and studs along the haft are all crafted from EVA foam.