“Monster May(hem)” (week 1)

Monthly challenges are a great way to get you to paint or do all those gaming related projects you’ve been meaning to do for ages but you always end up putting off for some reason. Well this month Keith over at “Dead Dicks Tavern*” is running a “monster month” (I’m calling it Monster May(hem), I dropped so many hints but….😒).

Anyway basically you have to paint up at least one monster in the month of May, easy right? Well on looking about my un-painted pile there was a decided lack of monsters (or at least any that I was desperate to pigment!). So I cast about for something to do, then I remembered a film that was on the UK “Horror” channel in the early morning a couple (or possibly few) weeks ago (I really can’t keep up with the days at the moment!), “Island of Terror” a hammer production from the sixties starring Peter Cushing and featuring some tentacle swinging slug like creatures called “Silicates”. Long story short, the island in question was overrun with these “nasties” and… well if you haven’t seen it I won’t spoil it for you, I think it is on “Amazon Prime” so give it a watch.

So I thought why not try and sculpt something along those lines (they were definitely not a man in a rubber suit, more like a prop dragged on a piece of string!). But rather than try and just replicate the ones in the film I thought I’d put a bit of a spin on it and make an original monster a bit bigger than the movie version (but still only 28mm man sized). So here we go.

Right to begin with I like to get a (very) basic shape to work upon so a blob of greenstuff was mixed and a shape not dissimilar to a “peardrop” sweet was made and then flattened on the bottom by pushing it onto a piece of plastic (it is actually the plastic the greenstuff comes rapped in so doesn’t stick to it), I then pushed the end of a paintbrush into the front where the tentacle will be added later. I don’t do any drawings, everything is planned and stored in my head (probably the least reliable place to store anything but..), so all the detail will be worked out and added to this as I go, it might grow in size yet, or might not, we’ll see (I’m making this up as I go along!).

Next I wanted a long wormlike tentacle to snake up from the front of the body. Now you can buy a rather ingenious bit of kit from the US to make these, but I don’t have one of those and I’m too tight to buy one, so next best thing…a comb! I rolled out a tapered sausage 50mm long then carefully picked this up and rolled it gently again, this time down the teeth of a comb, this will give you the “segmented” look of a worm. I then carefully shaped this into an “S” shape and left this and the body to dry overnight.

Next morning I had another look at my pieces and decided that the body was too small so mixing up some more putty I added another layer over the top of the first one making it now about the size of a rounded “brazil nut”. I also added the “stinger” bit to the end of my “worm”, this was just a small piece of putty rolled into a teardrop shape then after it was attached to the worm it was flattened out, and curled slightly, then a tiny ball of putty was dropped into the middle of the front “face” and a hole was pushed into this using my pointed colour shaper, to form the “mouth?”. Note that I used a small peg to hold the worm upright while it dried.

Preparation for the next major stage came the following morning. I want to add a “ruff” or “skirt” around the base of the figure to represent what it would move with, but I also want it to flow over the surrounding terrain. Easiest way to do this, build the terrain first! So I looked at making a base for the figure, I looked at a few different sized bases but in the end went for one of the 60mm x 40mm “m.d.f” bases I’d bought to mount the “skimmers” for my “Barsoom” army on, but to make it fit with the rest of my 28mm stuff that is generally based on two pence pieces, I marked the corners of the base by drawing around said coin and then sanding the corners round along the marked lines. The base was then covered in “Tetrion” filler, and a few cat litter stones were glued in place to add interest. Given that I now had the size of this new base the body was lengthened again to fill it better.

Next day it was time to attach the body to the base. This was done by rolling out a sausage of putty, long enough to run right around the base of the body (I drew around the body with pencil onto the base first, see previous photo), then laid this down onto the base just outside and around the pencil mark. Next I pushed the body down onto the top of the putty sausage, and then taking a small knife tapped and dragged out the “hairy/tentacles/legs/whatever” in a fan like pattern. I ran them up over the edges of the cat litter rock as if they were flowing over them. I also added a blob of putty to the back of the “stinger face” just to thicken it up and so I could add a little detail here.

The outer shell on the body was next on the list, so a large ball of putty was mixed up and I then began by running a thin sausage around the two back plate areas, leaving the front edge that would be under the next plate open. These were then filled with a flattened piece of putty roughly the right shape to fill the area. These were then pushed and flatted out with one of my colour shapers leaving a small ridge around the edges. Then I took some tiny balls of putty and after attaching them by blending around the sides with a cocktail stick and pointed colour shaper, I flatted the tops to make boney lumps. I also roughed up the rest of the surface too give it a more shell like appearance. As I had mixed up far too much putty I decided to crack on and do the next set of plates too (not something I would recommend as it is easy to muck up your earlier work while messing with this next bit!). Anyway these were done just the same as before but with the back end slightly overlapping the first pair.

I began today by drilling out the hole that the tentacle pushes into. Then basically repeated the above process on the front plates, only this time I made the “infill” pieces thicker as I thought the slope on the front was a bit too shallow. More lumps and bumps were added to these and then once it was dry and hard I simply glued the tentacle in place and “hey presto” one monster to paint for “Monster May(hem)”, (seriously guys I’m not gonna’ let this go till it sticks, just go with it!).

This has been a fun and simple build, there is really nothing difficult about this, give it a go yourselves.

Painting next, so till then… Stay safe, cheers Roger.

This entry was posted in 28mm fantasy, 28mm Pulp, 28mm sci-fi, fantasy, Monster Mayhem, sci-fi and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to “Monster May(hem)” (week 1)

  1. “Simple build, there is really nothing difficult about this”… Easy for a master of the green stuff to say, Roger. Personally, I’d rather you cast that ‘beauty’ up and sold me half a dozen, LOL!!! Awesome work, my friend, you really are awesome at sculpting imho – and a Peter Cushing/Hammer House of Horror monster to boot!!! Marvellous 🙂

    • Thanks Simon, it really is a pretty simple bit of sculpting, these no worrying about scale, or difficult areas like faces or hands, I would say this was well within the skills of you or any of the readers of this blog, just a bit of patience is needed not to rush things. But all the techniques are basic (as I’m sure Dave will confirm).

      As to getting it cast up, well to be honest it would be a heavy lump on metal, so would really need to be resin for the body and metal for the neck. But those days are behind me now, I just knock these things out for fun.

      It had to be retro for me didn’t it! and as Keith specified no “men in rubber suits!” (my speciality) this was the first thing that I thought of.

      Cheers Roger.

  2. Brilliant! An excellent contender for Monster May(hem) I’d say! 🙂 The trick with the comb to get the tentacle texture is a great idea!

  3. Matt says:

    I’m in total awe at people who can sculpt greenstuff this well. I can barely use it to fill gaps, and my attempts at using it to create flagstones on bases usually end up with fingerprints everywhere.

    I too felt that Keith missed out by not calling it Monster Mayhem 🙂

    And I’m definitely going to watch Island of Terror, I love those 60s British horror movies.

    • Thanks Matt, “Blobs and Sausages is all it is”, as I always tell anyone who’ll listen. I used to work with a chap who sculpted the most gorgeous 100mm tall Napoleonic figures out of Plastercine, and he always said it was just a case of keep prodding and pushing at it till it looked right.

      One piece of advise I would give is, buy a good quality colour shaper or better still a few, with the black rubber tips (not blue) failing that a rubber tipped eye shadow applicator. they will allow you to smooth the greenstuff and remover any fingerprints.

      I know Monster May(hem) is a cool name right?

      Do give the movie a watch, the effects are naff by today’s standards (but better than the Sci/Fi channels), but I love those sixties horror movies, I watched one this morning called “X the Unknown”, and enjoyed that too.

      Cheers Roger.

  4. angrypiper says:

    OK, Dammit. It’s Monster May(hem) henceforth! I didn’t pick up on the hint, obviously…
    I agree with Simon, Roger…easy for you is impossible for some of us. I hate green stuff, as you well know, and I’m in awe of guys like you and Dave who can work magic with it. How the hell do you guys get it so smooth? Do you wear gloves? How do you not hate it with every fiber of your being as I do???
    Can’t wait to see this painted up, and now I’m watching the movie for sure. Thanks also for the heads up about Hammer stuff on Amazon Prime….it’s going to be a Cushing/Lee weekend at the Piper house…

    • Finally!I keep throwing these gold nuggets out there and no one picks them up!! 🙂

      Seriously though it’s your challenge, your name, (I’m still calling it Monster May(hem) though).

      I know you hate the greenstuff with a passion, but this would work just as well with milliput, sculpy, whatever you prefer, all I can say is that the colourshapers I keep banging on about really did change the way I sculpt for the better, and are three of the best things I ever bought, they are how I get it smooth (Dave probably has a different technique, I know Bob Olley does) but you just have to keep at it till you find what works for you. Sorry this isn’t the magic answer I’d like to be able to give, but it’s all I’ve got.

      A Cushing/Lee weekend sounds like a brilliant idea, two of the true greats of cinema in my books!

      Cheers Roger.

  5. That is really cool! What kind of putty do you use? That looks like a great hobby. Haha, like I need another one! I make miniatures in addition to writing, cross-stitch, drawing…..

  6. Michael Awdry says:

    Amazing! This is so good Roger, I also just lost twenty minutes of my life on Youtube initially watching the 3 minute trailer for Island of Terror before drifting off to some Star Wars based shenanigans. Anyway, I digress, fabulous monster, well done Sir.

    • Thanks Michael, I can think of worse ways to lose twenty minutes, watching an episode of “Melissa and Joey” for instance?

      See now you need to go lose one and a half hours of it watching the whole film! 😉

      Cheers Roger.

  7. Roy says:

    I want one! No, I reckon I want five! Or, maybe, as Simon says, half a dozen.

    Roger, sell the image rights to Dave so he can cast them in resin and sell them to Star Trek and other retro sci-fi fans.

    I’m thinking, have them activate and work like a multi-wound zombie, perfect for someone playing solo games … and sold off all his zombie miniatures. Doh!

    This looks blooming brilliant!

    • Thanks Roy, but sorry too late, he’/it’s already been undercoated and the first couple of colours have gone onto him now, however if you really want one/some I’m sure Dave would be able to knock up a much better one in next to no time!

      Cheers Roger.

      • Roy says:

        You’re alright. Just a mad, spur of the moment idea that came to mind on seeing your sculpt.

        I’ve four miniatures, converted to resemble two television characters and two film characters from ‘apocalypse’ -type shows, planned on playing 7ombieTV with them – then sold off all the zombies, as I realised that it looked like a possible Pandora’s box of expenditure. Thing is, I really want to have a use for these four miniatures, as I’m quite invested into the whole ‘television production’ backstory that Crooked Dice’s games use (blame Simon and a WSS magazine article!) and have kept the terrain I was planning to use, but have no ‘monsters’.

        I saw your sculpt. Had a ‘light bulb’ moment. Ate my dinner and started thinking “Tremors” – as in the film(s).
        Four ‘survivors’, ordinary every-man -types. Isolated location (as it means I don’t need lots of urban scenery or terrain or miniatures). Monsters that hunt using sound or vibrations (so I can use the zombie mechanics from zombie rules).
        All I need are some suitable monsters. And not a horde of them.

        Have looked on CP Models’ website. Nearest thing they have to what you’ve made is some “Shoggoths”, though I prefer your model. Had already thought about asking Dave how much it would cost to create something akin to your sculpt, with your permission.

        Its all a case of putting the idea in the back of my mind and letting it simmer.

        Oh, the miniatures I’ve converted are the Allie and Boyd characters from the TV show “Day 5” and, from the novel/film, “Blindness”, Woman in Dark Glasses and Man with Black Eye Patch. Simple conversions using Mantic Walking Dead miniatures, but I reckon they look like the people/characters.

      • No problem Roy, I’m sure if he thinks there will be a market for them that Dave will oblige you and Simon. You do of course have my blessing (not that you need it).

        Otherwise have a go at making some yourself, they really aren’t that difficult. If WSD was still going I might have been tempted to see if I could do a run of them, but now I really just do stuff to see if I can or if I need one (like this thing).

        I might have read the same article recently tbh. Simon is a right tease!!

        Must admit I don’t know either Day 5 or Blindness, but Tremors is a total classic! There was someone who sculpted a “Graboid” a couple of years back and showed it on TMP don’t know if it went into production though, but it would be a really cool mini!

        Cheers Roger.

  8. Very cool Roger – I especially liked the WIP write up. The comb idea is brilliant. Filed away for the next time I want to sculpt (which won’t be for a while!). Cheers!

    • Thanks Mark, glad you liked the write up, I’m never sure if I explain things clearly enough.

      It is a good little tip isn’t it (sometimes, just sometimes I hasten to add, I actually impress myself!), and one I will hopefully be using again at some point.

      Cheers Roger.

  9. That looks Amazing mate, very skilled I would say.

  10. Carrion Crow says:

    Apologies for thr delay in commenting, Roger, but I feel I’m just going to echo everyone else – this is very cool and I would definitely buy one or two, if they wete available. How big is the beastie, as it’s hard to tell from your pics?

    • Thanks Jez, that is fine you can heap as much praise on to the pile as you like😄.

      As to the size of it, well it is mounted on a 40x60mm base and is about 50mm tall (base bottom to tip of stinger|), hopefully I will be able to put a 28mm fig in the photo next Saturday, that will give a better reference to scale it too.

      Cheers Roger.

  11. Pingback: Weekly Updates? – War Across the Ages, and other dark horrors

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