Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Cthulhu Cake

Cake artist Alice Pittion is the creator of this rather stunning Cthulhu cake. I gotta tell 'ya, given my dislike for everything cute-thulhu I never in a million years thought I would be praising something like this, but the sculpt and finish work is extraordinarily well done.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Innsmouth Look

Most interesting of all was a glancing reference to the strange jewelry vaguely associated with Innsmouth. It had evidently impressed the whole countryside more than a little, for mention was made of specimens in the museum of Miskatonic University at Arkham, and in the display room of the Newburyport Historical Society. The fragmentary descriptions of these things were bald and prosaic, but they hinted to me an undercurrent of persistent strangeness. Something about them seemed so odd and provocative that I could not put them out of my mind, and despite the relative lateness of the hour I resolved to see the local sample - said to be a large, queerly-proportioned thing evidently meant for a tiara - if it could possibly be arranged.
- H.P Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth

This nicely done Innsmouth hybrid costume, complete with the distinctive jewelry mentioned in "The Shadow Over Innsmouth, comes to us from Hellequine d'Olt.  There's a reason the Deep Ones were able to taint so many bloodlines despite the grotesqueness of late-stage hybrids.

Edit:  I showed this to a friend who had a brilliant thought.  In a world where the Mythos is real there's a good chance the Deep Ones would target the Furry demographic.  "Fishie" art, "Fishie" costumes, "Fishie" conventions...the mind boggles.  Legitimize it as a kink community and you would have a never ending supply of converts for the Cult of Dagon.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Thing in a Bottle

This curiously humanoid specimen comes to us from Josh Hardie.  The suspension is a water clear rubber product.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Alien: Isolation Props

If you're a fan of the "Alien" franchise I would highly recommend playing "Alien: Isolation".  The developers spent months combing the Fox archives to capture the aesthetic of the original film, including props and sets that appear fully realized inside the game.  Now James Pocklington brings us physical recreations of the virtual props from the game, themselves based on the physical props from the movie.  Browse his gallery for a closer look at his work.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hail to the King

Artist Damien Brooksbank is ready to don the mask of the King in Yellow.  The texture work has a wonderfully corrupted feel.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Evergloff Edition.

Artist Oliver Evergloff brings us this work in progress shot of his Cthulhu idol.  I like how the upper body and head flows into the mass of facial tentacles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hail Tsathoggua!

He was very squat and pot-bellied, his head was more like a monstrous toad than a deity, and his whole body was covered with an imitation of short fur, giving somehow a vague sensation of both the bat and the sloth. His sleepy lids were half-lowered over his globular eyes; and the tip of a queer tongue issued from his fat mouth.

This faux bronze idol of Clark Ashton Smith's Tsathoggua comes to us from artist Richard Svensson.  The patina is quite nice.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Horror in the Museum

The gifted Joe Broers returns with the idol of Rhan-Tegoth from "The Horror in the Museum" by H. P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Deep Ones of Amsterdam

How did a tiny polity noted for herring production suddenly become the center of a globe spanning naval empire?  And why was "religious tolerance" such a hallmark of their culture?  Historians and economists have their own explanations, but Creamy Lyptus has discovered an intriguing clue to another possibility.   These curiously fishy adornments are found within Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk ("New Church").   The natives of Innsmouth surely would have felt right at home.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Big Wheels Rolling

The Chinese wheelbarrow is one of those wonderful bits of historical flavor I love about the classic era.  This particular illustration comes to us from the "Shanghai" pages of the New York Public Library's digital collection

Well into the modern era a huge amount of China's land transportation was handled by a massive network of roads and trails designed for these unique, mono-wheeled carts.  They're the kind of thing any adventurer in China, in particular those taking part in Chaosium's "Masks of Nyarlathotep", would run into on a regular basis.

It's an ingenious design capable of carrying huge loads because all the weight is supported by the single large wheel.  The operator simply steers and provides the motive force.  That's in contrast to the traditional western wheelbarrow, which forced the user to continuously lift roughly half the weight.  The single wheel also made infrastructure maintenance considerably easier.  Two and four wheeled carts needed a full sized road that required constant grading, drainage, and repairs to stand up to heavy use.  Chinese wheelbarrows only needed a six inch wide trail to support the single wheel, something even the smallest of villages could manage.

If you're curious to learn more Low Tech Magazine has a detailed, in-depth article on the subject  you'll enjoy.  I'll warn you ahead of time that if you start browsing the site you could easily lose track of time.  It's filled with engrossing looks at "primitive" and early industrial technology.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Lobe Edition.

Artist Jonah Lobe designed this beguiling Cthulhu idol.  It's a great interpretation of Lovecraft's original description, but I'm a little disappointed with the quality of the casting.  If you look at the detail shots you'll see quite a bit of ridging left over from the original 3D print.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Necronomicon, Loebel Edition.

This incredible take on the Necronomicon comes to us from artist Morgan Loebel of Morgan's Mutations.  This is how you take the trope of a face bound into the cover and turn it into something awesome.  Follow the link for a video that gives a more detailed look.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Have a Very Hastur Holiday

Last year I was quite surprised to find myself falling in love with a set of Lovecraft-themed Christmas cards from Studio WonderCabinet. My disdain for anything cute-thulhu is no secret, but their whimsy and craftsmanship won me over.

Now they're back with a set of holiday cards dedicated to the King in Yellow.  The artwork is even better than last year and demonstrates they really get this particular part of the Mythos.  That includes the subtle use of the Pleiades in the illustrations.   The Kickstarter campaign is already successful with close to a month still to go.  Given the quality of their work and demonstrated ability to successfully execute a project I hope you'll support it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Glowing Fungi

Following up on last week's post, here's the finished (for now) version of the glowing fungus prop. Each of the stalks is a length of foam pool noodle slashed with a razor knife and then hit with a heat gun to form the twisting, organic skin. They were then bound into a group using zip ties looped through the foam along the bottom. The illumination is provided by a set of battery powered LED light strings strung through the hole in the middle of each noodle. The entire cluster is roughly two feet high by two feet wide.

On the positive side it looks cool and pumps out a lot of light. Given how bright it is I was surprised how long each strand could keep running on 3 AA batteries. I tested it for ten hours straight and didn't see any appreciable dimming. Based on that experience the manufacturer's claim they'll run for 48 hours seems believable. With that kind of run time this would be ideal for any kind of outdoor LARP or display.

That said, I'm not altogether happy with it. What I really wanted was a cluster of glowing mushrooms with caps, but I couldn't find a decent technique for creating the tops. The best results were from clear shower caps filled with polyester fiber fill. They looked relatively realistic and provided a nice diffused light, but their size couldn't be adjusted without a great deal of effort.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Goblin in a Bottle

Well, not the whole goblin.  Just the head, courtesy of Ukrainian artist Alice Tochylovska. There's so much to like about this piece.  The sculpting is wonderful, the presentation can't be beat, and those eyes are incredible. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Haunted Cabinet of Curiosities

The gifted Dan Baines returns to our pages with a bizarre cabinet of curiosities featuring a collection of haunted objects.    Despite the aged appearance it's a high-tech piece of kit featuring a self-opening lock, animatronics, and an interactive spirit communication module.  Each of the artifacts on display has a story.  I suspect hearing them all would make for quite an evening of entertainment.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Enexus Edition.

Enexus created this nicely done Cthulhu idol as a prop for an upcoming videogame.   Thanks to the wonders of 3D printing that means it's just a few clicks away from being a physical prop, something I still find amazing.  What a glorious time to be alive.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dungeons & Dragons Puzzle Box

Brian Stone brings us an intricate puzzle box created as a prop for a tabletop Dungeons & Dragons adventure.  While the woodworking required to pull this off is rather intricate the mechanism at the heart of the box is a basic, off the shelf combination lock. I'm a big advocate for using physical puzzles in games

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Bottled Bit of Nastiness

Netherworld Oddities brings us this wonderfully gruesome teratoma specimen.  This is the kind of thing that maxes out my personal squick meter.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Rusting Foam

Bill and Britt Doran of Punished Props have a great tutorial on adding a rusted finish to foam weapons.  The video includes one technique using only paint and a second employing metal powder and patina solution.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

It Glows

Remember the heat treated pool noodle experiments from last year?  I've been fiddling around with them again, adding a string of LED lights inside the central core of the noodle.  The final prop still needs some tweaks, but the effect is pretty cool.

The Red and the Black

Mille Cuirs returns to our pages with this well done grimoire in red and black leather

Monday, October 10, 2016

Bottled Bloodworm

This gruesome little bloodworm specimen comes to us from artist Joen Bager.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Traveller Imperial Navy Patches

Mark Urbin brings us these embroidered patches from "Traveller", the classic pen and paper RPG.  The Sunburst is worn on all Imperial uniforms, while the blaze is for staff attached to the Regina sub-sector government. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hippocampus Specimen

This specimen of the rare and elusive hippocampus is brought to us by artist Tayler B.  The piece is cast in translucent platinum silicone and then airbrushed.  Browse the rest of their Instagram gallery for more examples of mythological beasties brought to life.

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Mark of Cthulhu

This Cthulhu brooch in faux bronze comes to us from Russian artist D-Ardent.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Wood Troll Trophy

Cody Snyder brings us this wood troll captured in the wilds of New York.  The long war against the fae continues...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Alchemy Notebook

Lisa Laughy of Ninth Wave Designs has spent over a decade working on this very nice alchemy notebook. She's shared over two dozen of the illustrations, all of them in a colorful, syncretic style combining a variety of cultural influences.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Origin Unknown

The talented Dogzilla brings us this bulbous creature.   The detail work is just amazing.  Even more impressive, the skin is translucent and the entire piece lights up.  Follow the link for a look at the illumination in action.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Prop Spellbook Kickstarter

Steven E. Metze has an interesting Kickstarter up for a prop tome and accompanying LARP rules. The books are quite impressive, with fully illustrated interiors and hand-bound leather covers. Take a look at the campaign video for a peek at what's available. You can see the spellbook has a nice heft, the binding is solidly constructed, and there's a nice look at the interior text and illustrations.

One thing I want to draw particular attention to is just how successful the Kickstarter already is. It's blown well past the original goal of $3000 and is currently at $22,000 at the time I'm writing this. Anyone familiar with Mythos-based Kickstarters, and their abysmal track record, would recognize this as a danger sign. Far too many projects, most notably the notorious Masks of Nyarlathotep Prop Set, collapsed because they were too successful.  The original rather modest goals were well within the capability of the creators to fulfill, but as the sheer number of patrons soared it became increasingly difficult to meet the pledge promises.

With those concerns in mind, and my natural leeriness of Kickstarters, I asked Mr. Metze how he planned to handle the success of his project. Under it's original target he was looking at producing roughly 30 hand-bound books by the end of January, but at this point the project requires blocking, binding, packing, and shipping at least 140 books within the same time frame. I found his answers very reassuring.
Right now I have 18 people (15 with prior bookbinding experience, 3 'interns' as it were) plus me lined up to work on book binding. I also noted that shipping costs may have been part of the reason for other Kickstarter issues. Shipping costs have been factored separately now (I don't know if that is a change to kickstarter or not) and I'm aiming mostly at flat rate box shipping, so I think that minimizes that risk as well.

The fact that Mr. Metze has already anticipated these issues bodes well for the project overall. That,combined with his real-world management and logistics experience, alleviates the concerns I had about the possible implosion of the Kickstarter.

Please don't think I'm being overly negative about the project. Quite the opposite. The spellbook is a beautiful piece of work that accomplishes the holy grail of tomecraft- a period-appropriate binding with a fully illustrated, artistically unified interior. That is a major achievement that Mr. Metze should be congratulated for. More importantly, he's demonstrated an awareness of issues that have dogged similar prop projects and planned ahead to avoid them.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Return of Cthulhu

Earlier this year Gecco Direct was offering up a resin kit of Paul Komoda's impressive Cthulhu sculpt.  It didn't take long for that project to sell out, but they've now brought it back in the form of a pre-painted statue.  The talented David Dill is handling the paint application and you can see the results for yourself. 

What's really surprising is that the finished statue is only $60 more than the original resin kit.  It's still pricy at $260, but that's a relative bargain for a piece like this.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Skyrim Dwarven Lexicon and Welkynd Stone

This nicely done tableaux of a Welkynd Stone and Dwarven Lexicon from Skyrim comes to us from Binary Reflex.  I'm not sure why, but I've always had a thing for glowing crystals.

Update: A commenter pointed out that the Welkynd Stones are from Oblivion, and don't actually appear in the more recent Skyrim.  

The featured props are available as both kits and finished items from Reaction Designs Metalworks.