I find it slightly bizarre that today marks the 75th anniversary of the death of Howard Phillips Lovecraft and I spent the evening sculpting something based on one of his most famous works. I’m also reading The Arcanum which has HP as a character at the moment and once i’ve posted this i’m off for a chapter or two before bed but I had no idea the anniversary was today until my twitter timeline started to fill up with comments so it shows I follow all the right loonies.
In the meantime my sculpture clicked tonight as my lil Cthulhu suddenly took shape due to the eyes being popped into place and something in my mind sliding into gear.
A last quick link to add some more anniversary fun to the mix, Francesco Francavilla’s tribute to Lovecraft https://www.francescofrancavilla.com/gallery/lovecraft_b_w.html
Days cycled to work: 52
Days tramped along in snow and ice: 2
Days driven: 0
I’ve started slapping some bits of sculpey around in the last few evenings so thought I would chronicle my adventures in the creation of my little ‘thulhu.
First up was a night of cranking the sculpey. As this stuff is more than 10 years old its gone a little hard around the edges, fortunately its been kept in an airtight box in my nice dark, cool cellar so its still usable. I’ve heard tales of the stuff being delivered where its like slime, dripping with oils and viscous matter but I’ve only ever seen it ‘soft’, ‘slightly hard’ and ‘don’t drop that on your foot if you want to keep your toes’. In the process of cranking it through I managed to break the gears for the widest setting on the pasta maker so I was reduced down to no3. Fortunately this seems to work pretty well as it pulps the sculpey up well.
Snigger now and get it over with… All done? Good. The armature beneath that item is the top of an old jelly bean dispenser with a rod of metal inserted firmly into the top. It stands around 7″ from base to tip and is nice and firm so there won’t be any sagging. (Impressed I managed to get through all of that without saying erect?)
A couple of hours work gets me to this point where I am starting to block out the basic shape, there is a head, basic position of the legs and bulking out the body. I’m working off a few reference images, mainly a Bob Eggleton painting of squidhead, but i’m trying to get this one to be something that has come out of me rather than someone elses design. I’m basing the design on Lovecrafts description of the statue from the story “Call of Cthulhu” and there are hundreds of other peoples interpretations and they all follow the same basis. Squatting tentacled horror, hands on knees, cryptic runes/text around the base… Fairly normal for your everyday run of the mill ancient slumbering evil god.
While working on the shape I jabbed myself on one of my tools and managed to get blood all over the place. Funny thing is it was only a tiny stab wound but the blood wouldn’t stop, probably because the tool was quite sharp and this morning it was really tingly.
Days cycled to work: 48
Days tramped along in snow and ice: 2
Days driven: 0
Back in the late 90’s, as I was finishing off my art & design degree, I stumbled across some RPG books down at the Sunday boot sale at Portman road. It was the core rulebook from Mutant Chronicles along with the Capitol expansion rulebook. Being a collector of random rubbish, I bought them and took them away much to the annoyance of Mr Gibson who had seen them but didn’t buy them there and then as he later told me.
Anyway, what is Mutant Chronicles and why am I blogging about something over 10 years ago? If you are still awake and reading this then i’m shocked but the answer is that its a techno scifi/horror roleplay set in the future where humanity is fighting against a dark corruption that is filling our solar system. A dark and somewhat nasty evil known as Dark Legion which comes from another dimension (aren’t they always?) is slowly shutting down advanced technology leaving mankind struggling with a bunch of reanimated corpses banging on the door and the solar system being fought over by five main corporations which boil down to USA, UK, Germany, Japan and a 5th corp which somehow still has advanced technology that works. Add to that five factions in the Dark Legion and a ‘church’ like faction directly opposed to the Dark Legion, you have a fairly broad mix of styles to base roleplay games, table top battles, card games and assorted merch on.(More and somewhat more sensible descriptions are on the Wikipedia entry for Mutant Chronicles).
Around this time I also found out that John Carpenter was trying to get a film based on the IP off the ground an even found a few makeup tests based on this while scrounging the web at college (man I filled up those floppies with some gack back then) which fired me up for the idea of an epic war film set in the future with dead stuff and steampunk styled technology and remember that this was back in 96 or 97 long before a film with the name ‘Mutant Chronicles’ shuffled onto the big screen in 2008 (more on THAT in another post) As one of the courses had a ‘free module’ where you could spend your time writing your own brief and then trying to justify why it was a good idea, so I decided to create some maquettes based on this concept as if I was part of a design team for Mr C. At then end of the four week block I had produced three of these models based on characters from the books and also from Golgotha which was a Mutant Chronicles comic series with art by the mighty Simon Bisley (more on this rather important fact in a later post as well) so without much more farting around I give you my take on a Necromutant.
This cheeky chappy is the equivalent of a zombie in a horror film except with a sword… and armour… and not wanting to eat you. OK not like a zombie. More of a footslogger. I wanted to make one of the bad guys and give him some form of movement, slow shuffling but also to make him look like he wasn’t stupid. This guy is a grunt but just happens to be dead.
Yeah you mother loves you even if noone else does. The idea is that these guys are the dead from battles and brought back to fight for the Dark Legion and the Dark Apostles.
The main figure is sculpted in Super Sculpey with a wire armature. The base show the symbol for the Dark Legion and is MDF with about a dozen layers of black car paint sprayed over to give it a glossy finish. Paint on the figure is mainly Citadel acrylics.
Coming soon, the second figure… Mitch Hunter.