Saturday, September 7, 2019

Giant Goldfish

from Goldfish Breeds and other Aquarium Fishes (1908)

The only appearance of giant goldfish in D&D that I am aware of was from module M4 Five Coins for a Kingdom.

Auratus: AC 7; HD 600; hp 2500; AT 0; D Nil; MV 120'; Save F36; AL N; THAC0 Nil.

The Aurati are colossal, hydrogen filled, 600–800' long orange and white telescope goldfish. They float through the air, and are used as a mode of transportation in the outer plane of Eloysia. Their temperament is described as docile and completely harmless.

A giant goldfish also appears in the Temple of the Jade Serpent in World of Warcraft.

The Talking Fish is a reference to a Chinese folktale.

The Talking Fish (as the goldfish is called) swims through the air in a watery ecosphere. It attacks with a Bubble Spray that inflicts cold damage.

The same model is also used for the goldfish pet in the WoW Pet Battle mini-game.


Most recently however, giant goldfish appeared in the manga Shibuya Kingyo (渋谷金魚). The story is essentially a zombie apocalypse story with giant goldfish in place of zombies. The Shibuya district of Tokyo becomes enveloped by a mysterious bowl shaped barrier infested with man-eating goldfish that swim through the air.


The goldfish make short work of the people in Shibuya, but it's lucky for the goldfish that the barrier was not centered around Tsukiji, or things could have easily been the other way around.


I know it might seem silly, but I think that they would certainly make for surprising and unexpected monsters if called up by a wizard with the Summon Monster spell.

I think that they would also make for unusual mounts (in the same vein as module M4) if you happen to run a more whimsical campaign.


There are any number of models that can be used for miniatures, ranging from cheap rubber toys to the expensive gashapon from Yujin. The ones I own are just a couple examples of the wide variety of goldfish gashapon manufactured by Kaiyodo.

The first two models are Ranchu goldfish from the Furuta Choco Egg Pet Animals Collection (チョコエッグ・ペット動物コレクション no. 19 and 20).


The Ranchu are two piece models and come with a stand. They were made in clear plastic so the tail fins have a nice translucent appearance.

The next three models are Demekin goldfish from the Takara ChocoQ animaltales Pet Animals Series 3 (チョコQ・アニマテイルズ・ペット動物3 no. 86, 87, and 88).


The Demekin are four piece models and come with a stand. The tail fins are made in clear plastic, but I think the bodies are made with opaque plastic since the dorsal fins do not have the same translucency.

If I can find some really cheap plastic goldfish, I'm going to try my hand at adding some caparisons and saddles on a few of them for fun.


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Pink Cadillac


The pink Cadillac became a popular culture icon because of Elvis Presley There are no specific models of his car in 1/72 scale, but there are several diecast Cadillacs that come close in size, and not a few of those that are pink.

The first two models are made by Matchbox. The car on the left is a 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood in pink with a silver top, while the other is a '69 Cadillac Sedan DeVille in metallic lavender.


The Fleetwood scales out to somewhere between 1/73 and 1/74 scale. This particular model is all metal, but I think that most of the more commonly available versions of this model are made with a plastic top. Despite the cheaper material, the plastic-top versions come with chrome trim and the Cadillac lettering on the sides.

Graceland Collection Pink Cadillac

The DeVille is stated to be 1/75 scale. A pink version exists, but I've never seen it in stores.

The next two cars are a Matchbox 1956 Cadillac Eldorado in sea green, and a Tomica Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz in pink.


The Matchbox Eldorado does not have a stated scale, but the wheelbase is almost spot on for 1/72. There is a purple version of this car in the Graceland Collection, but no pink one. The body of the car is slightly longer than the Tomica car, but they are about the same width. The Tomica car is 1/75 scale, and represents a 4th generation Eldorado.

The final cars are Hot Wheels 1959 Cadillac Eldorados.


The width is about 1/78 scale, but the length is 1/64 scale. I'm not quite sure what to do with them right now, but maybe they can be a source of parts for future conversions.






Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Space Jockey

The fossilized remains of the Space Jockey from the film Alien is one of the most iconic and mysterious figures in science fiction moviedom.


There are many renditions of the model, but the one that I've thought about getting for the longest time has been the old 1/60 vinyl kit made by Halcyon back in 1992.


Every time I see an article or video showing somebody's build of the model, I can't help but think that the figures are actually 1/72 rather than 1/60. I can't really justify the current price tag of the model just to find out though.

There is also a resin knock-off of the Halcyon kit, but from the pictures that I've seen of the parts, it looks to be a very poor copy of the original.


Recently, I thought that with a little work, some of the toy Space Jockey figures could be a cheap alternative.

As fate would have it, I saw a batch of Alien toys being sold as a lot on eBay. I put in my best offer, and a couple of days later the figures arrived at my doorstep.

The first figure is the one that I consider the best of the bunch. It is the Mez-Itz Space Jockey made by Mezco Toyz.


The figure comes with a large base as a separate piece, so it looks the closest to the Halcyon kit, and it also happens to be a hollow vinyl model. The only thing that I don't like about the model is that it has the flattened head typical of Mez-Itz figures. It is also inaccurate because the chest was not sculpted with burst open ribs.

The next figure is the Minimates Space Jockey.


The figure is a lot chunkier and not as well painted as the Mez-Itz figure, but it is a nice solid piece of PVC. It also has the flat head typical of Minimates figures, and Minimates arms as well.

The lot also came with the Deluxe Toys R Us exclusive Minimates Space Jockey.


The figure is pretty much the same as the regular version, except it is painted to simulate the lighting effects in the film.

The final figure is the Kubrick Space Jockey.


This is the smallest figure of the bunch, and also the hardest to find. It has typical Kubrick arms, but it has a decent representation of the Space Jockey's head.

Perhaps the Mez-Itz and Minimates figures are still a little undersized for 1/72 scale, but I think they would still look pretty good as terrain pieces. The main thing that would need to be fixed are the flat heads.







Sunday, August 25, 2019

Dollar Store Finds

I stopped by Dollar Tree to pick up some school supplies and saw some Military and Construction Playsets from Greenbrier International in the toy section.


What caught my eye were the chemical storage tanks, which looked like they could pass for 1/72 scale, so I bought four of the sets.




The models are probably equivalent to 2000 gallon tanks, and can be used as terrain pieces or objective markers.




I'll probably buy some more of these so I can paint them up in different colors.

I also picked up another set with a car that looked like it could pass as a 3rd generation Pontiac Trans Am in 1/72.




The other two vehicles in the sets resemble a Flakpanzer Gepard and a Tectran ATV carrying a SSM of some type, but they're closer to 1/144 scale or smaller, so are of little use to me.


The store also had a selection of Maisto diecast cars. I picked out a few that I thought might be 1/72 scale, but I haven't checked their dimensions to verify how close they are yet.


The cars I bought include a Ford F-350, Dodge Ram, Pontiac Rosewood, Chevy Bel Air, Dunbar Armored Car, and a Ford Woody.


I'll do a more detailed report on these cars sometime in the future.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Giant Catfish

Tall tales of giant catfish have circulated in the American South since the 19th century, and were even propagated in the Northern states along the Upper Mississippi River.

Giant catfish, 1914
Hardin County, Tennessee

While modern US tabloids have reported attacks on people by giant catfish, it was the South Asian goonch that seemed to demonstrate that attacks on humans by giant catfish were possible.

In D&D, the giant catfish was introduced in the Creature Catalog under the category of Giant Fish. They were described as being 15 feet in length, with 8+3 HD. Instead of having spiked fins with poison, they were able to cause damage with their barbels (which I'm guessing is founded in the mistaken belief that catfish can sting with their whiskers).

I'd probably just change the stats a bit and say that the catfish can bite for 2D8 damage, and inflict 1D4 damage with each of two fin attacks.

To represent giant catfish, I have several different gashapon models, as well as a gigantic Reaper catfish that I just bought today.

The first two catfish are Lake Biwa giant catfish (Biwako-o'namazu; ビワコオオナマズ). Both are ChocoQ shokugan from Furuta – Choco Egg Classic (チョコエッグ・クラシック no. 047C), and Choco Egg Animals of Japan Collection series 2 (チョコエッグ・日本の動物コレクション第2弾 no. 047).


The two catfish are multi-part plastic models manufactured by Kaiyodo. They are slightly different sculpts, each measuring 73mm in length. The Choco Egg Classic version comes with a base.

The next image is of a Lake Biwa giant catfish by Yujin from the Kitan Club Nature Technicolour Nature of Japan vol. 02 (奇譚クラブ・ネイチャーテクニカラー・日本のいきもん vol. 02 no. 19), and a red torrent catfish (Akaza; アカザ) from the Furuta Choco Egg Animals of Japan series 4 (チョコエッグ・日本の動物コレクション第4弾 no. 119).


The Yujin catfish is a single piece model made of PVC measuring 70mm in length. The torrent catfish is made by Kaiyodo, and measures about 64mm in length.

The last model is the Reaper Gulper (Bones 44038).


The Gulper seems to be modeled after the flathead catfish, though it is covered with spikes like the typical modern fantasy "dire" creature. It is made with the new Reaper Bones Black material, and measures 125mm in length.

All five catfish compared.



Sunday, June 23, 2019

Demogorgon


The original Demogorgon of D&D is described as having two baboon-like heads connected to a reptilian body by serpentine necks, and tentacled arms. I'm pretty sure that the name was drawn from Milton, who mentions it in the same breath as the name of Orcus.

In later editions of the game, his upper body became more simian and each arm was split into two tentacles.


Recently though, the top search results for Demogorgon turn up the monster from the show Stranger Things which looks like a humanoid creature with a corpse lily for a head.


I'm partial to the original Demogorgon, and the miniature that I felt looked the closest to that design is the Icons of the Realms Demogorgon (Classic Creatures #8).


Unfortunately, the figure is posed in a strange bent over posture with flailing tentacles that is not very imposing.

The next picture is a comparison of the DDM Aspect of Demogorgon (Archfiends #45), the Icons of the Realms Demogorgon Promo (Classic Creatures #10), and a Demogorgon figure from the Stranger Things D&D Starter Set.


I like the DDM figure the best, even though it is a bit on the skinny side. The Icons of the realms promotional figure is almost the same as the larger version, but it has an upright pose that should have been used with the larger figure. Sadly both of these figures are tiny, and probably better suited to go with 15mm or 10mm figures. The Stranger Things Demogorgon is also small, but it is pretty much the correct size to go with 1/72 scale figures.

Anyway, what I decided to do was to fix the pose of the large Demogorgon figure. I straightened out the legs by cutting and extending the joints with metal pins and Kneadatite. I also reposed the right tentacle to make the tip point forward instead of backward.


The figure was then glued onto a 2¼" washer to give it some weight, and there you have it.