Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Die Glocke

Die Glocke is a purported Nazi anti-gravity device/time machine that has become part of modern UFO mythology thanks to the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, which link it with the Kecksburg UFO.

Much like the educational content from the aforementioned networks, the replica of the Kecksburg UFO reminds me of a certain emoji.

Kecksburg UFO Memorial
Kecksburg, PA

I have a 1/72 resin model by Tanhauser Gate that I picked up at WonFes last year. It is a single piece model cast in gray resin.

There were a lot of small casting bubbles that needed to be filled, and I had to use a chisel to get rid of several blobs of resin in the recessed areas of the model.

Most of the time, models of Die Glock are painted gray or gun metal, but I liked the gloss black appearance used in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

A hole was drilled in the bottom of the model so I could put it on a clear plastic rod to simulate flight.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

New Elhiem Fantasy Figures

Concept art by Greg Taylor

I just received an order from Elhiem that included the figures from their new fantasy line.

Matt has been transitioning from creating weapons and head sculpts using 3D renders to sculpting entire figures digitally, and I have to say he has succeeded spectacularly.

These figures were completely mastered from 3D prints produced by digital sculpts, but they don't have the sterile, artificial appearance of typical CAD drawings, and don't look appreciably different from hand sculpted miniatures.

The first set is the Adventure Party (FAN01), consisting of cleric, halfling rogue, wizard, barbarian, elf ranger, and fighter.

The figures are all tall (heroic 1/72?), but still well within the height range of normal humans. The halfling seems particularly tall to me, but perhaps not so much for someone who prefers the interpretation from the Lord of the Rings movies.

The next image shows the Evil Trinity (FAN03) made up of a lich, wizard, and undead knight.

The wizard and lich are the most impressive in my opinion, because they really don't look like digital sculpts at all. I think the only thing that gives the lich away are what appear to be very faint layer lines on his cloak.

Again, the figures are all tall, with the lich being on the high end of the spectrum.

The final image is of the Female Fighter and Elf Sorceress (FAN04), and the Alternative Barbarian (FAN02) next to the regular barbarian from the Adventure Party set.

The Female Fighter is extremely tall – about as tall as the Alternative Barbarian who scales out to 6' 9" (206cm) by my estimation. The female elf is tall as well, but I'm okay with that.

The Alternative Barbarian is a larger, slightly different version of the regular barbarian. I'm pretty sure the base model was just scaled up slightly to make the alternative sculpt, but unlike the North Star 3D prints that I criticized for using proportional scaling to adjust height, the Elhiem model looks fine to my eye.

Overall, I am very happy with these figures. Some of the sculpts seem a bit tall, and I would personally have liked to see the wizards and human females be a little shorter, but that is just my preference. Also, the figures may appear a bit static for some people, but I like these types of poses for gaming use.

Anyway, I hope to see more figures released for this line, and now that I have a good idea of what to expect, I plan on voting for production of Dark Elves (and maybe the regular Elves as well).

Saturday, September 12, 2020

You have been eaten by a grue

The mysterious light-fearing grue is a monster that hails from the days of the green-screen monitor, and appeared in Zork and other interactive fiction games made by the now defunct Infocom.

The creature was created by Dave Lebling (as the equivalent of a bottomless pit) to limit the ability of a player to progress in the game without first solving puzzles related to getting a light source with which to see.

The name was taken from The Eyes of the Overworld, in which Jack Vance provides little information outside of one cryptic line of text.

Well...hmmm. Here is a statement, somewhat less explicit than others, in which he analyzes the half-men, little more than a brief set of notes:
'Gid: hybrid of man, gargoyle, whorl, leaping insect.
Deodand: wolverine, basilisk, man.
Erb: bear, man, lank-lizard, demon.
Grue: man, ocular bat, the unusual hoon
Leucomorph: unknown
Bazil: felindore, man, (wasp?).'

- The Eyes of the Overworld

The descriptions found in Zork are not clear either, and often conflicting since grues are never actually seen. In one game a grue is said to have a scaly gray arm, but in another, a grue is described as being covered in fur. Various pictures of the grue (found in The Zork Library) have shown the creature as scaly and reptilian.

As far as miniatures go, you can probably use any type of monster to represent grues. My own choice was to use 6th ed. GW Chaos Furies minus their wings.

Kneadatite was used to fill in the slots for their wings, and sculpted to match the fur on the miniature.

The Furies are somewhat bat-like, have variable numbers of eyes, and suitably fanged and clawed.

A couple of the Furies are holding skulls, which I'm going to say are grue-lanterns. These lanterns project the equivalent of a Sphere of Darkness that give the grue some degree of protection and vision in the presence of light.

Startled adventurers may see the eyes in the lanterns and mistake them as being part of the grue's hand, but this is just their minds playing tricks on them due to the stress of seeing a grue.

Another monster which reminds me of the grue is the ghast. I don't know if the Infocom grues were influenced by ghasts, but both creatures live in the darkness and are harmed by light.

Ghasts are described in some detail in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, and are said to tear at victims with their teeth and maul them with their sharp hooves in a manner similar to descriptions of grues with their fangs and claws. They are also described as having eyes that are colored similarly to those of the grue.

"...there glowed in the gloom of that great cavern's mouth first one pair of yellowish-red eyes and then another ... After a moment something about the size of a small horse hopped out into the grey twilight, and Carter turned sick at the aspect of that scabrous and unwholesome beast, whose face is so curiously human despite the absence of a nose, a forehead, and other important particulars."

- The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

Many artists draw ghasts with a tail, while others depict ghasts as being more human-like. I lean toward the more human-like interpretation since it aligns with the AD&D assertion that ghasts are practically indistinguishable from ghouls, but I think tailed ghasts can look quite horrifying as well.

Dreamquest Ghast Hunt
by Deviant artist Ito-Saith-Webb

Ghast by Deviant artist Dragon-Storm

Ghast by Deviant artist TickleMeCthulhu

The only ghast miniatures that I have are made by RAFM (Call of Cthulhu 2942).

They are massive compared to the Grenadier ghouls (being closer to the size of a large 1/72 horse), and their legs don't really have the kangaroo-like appearance described by Lovecraft, but I think Bob Murch did a great job with the face.

I also plan on making a tailed ghast using the RAFM war newt (Reptiliads RAF03010).

I cut the head off of the war newt and was going to attach a random kroot head that I had lying around, but now that I need it I can't seem to find it anymore.

Ummm... Now what?

Rock paper scissors

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Frog and Toad

There are a large variety of frog people that populate the D&D universe, but to me, they can be reduced down to those that are based on frogs, and those that are based on toads.

I've mentioned metal Frogfolk in the past, but for those who prefer plastic, a couple of options have recently become available from Wizkids.

For prepainted miniatures, there are the Grung (Waterdeep Dungeon of the Mad Mage #6) and the Grung Elite Warrior (Waterdeep Dungeon of the Mad Mage #16) from the D&D Icons of the Realms line. Similar unpainted Grungs are available from Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures (WZK73845).

The miniatures with the black bases are from the Icons of the Realms line, while the other three are Nolzur's miniatures that I already painted up.

I've seen several reviews on the Nolzur's miniatures that claim they need to be washed to remove release agent, but that sounds unnecessary since the miniatures are not bare plastic, but actually pre-primed.

For toad people, I recently picked up some Ropuchons Warriors (SPCR0006) from Spellcrow miniatures.

These are part of a 10mm line of miniatures with some figures that seem to rival the size of 15mm miniatures.

In any event, the figures are made of a hard resin that is somewhat brittle. One of the miniatures that I bought was snapped off at the ankles, but easily fixed with a bit of CA glue.

These figures actually did need to be washed, since they were slick with release agent.

Last is a comparison of a Frogfolk from East Riding Miniatures, three Wizkids Grungs, and a Ropuchon.