Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Return of the Shoggoth Masters

Elder Thing
28 mm scale

Unlike many of H. P. Lovecraft's horrors, the Elder Things were not supernatural or truly malicious in any way.  They were aliens who traveled to earth in the Cambrian era, founding a strange civilization and bio-engineering the dreaded Shoggoths as their servants.  Though hinted at in various eldritch volumes of the past, their existence was only truly discovered by Antarctic explorers from Miskatonic University in the 1930s, precipitating the loss of most of the expedition.

This alien from H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness is actually a figure I sculpted myself about 5 years ago... I primed it and everything, but I think what stalled me then was that I couldn't decide on a reasonable colour scheme.  If you look at fan art of Elder Things online, people seem to go with everything from "grim grey" to "tropical parrot with tentacles".  I finally decided to go with a bit of colour, but I tried to keep it muted or a bit desaturated... I don't think Elder Things are specifically "evil", but I didn't want it looking goofy either.

I made this piece out of greenstuff over a wooden bead and wire; the results were pretty detailed, but when I revisited it it was obvious the wings are not nearly as robust as they should be... one had broken off.  It definitely wouldn't do well as a gaming figure.  I think that if I made it today I'd also use a very different wing design, this one is a little too simple/static.  Oh well.  I still like that weird tool it's carrying.

He didn't remotely recognize the species, but he
figured politeness couldn't hurt.


  1. Great job sculpting and I like the purples and greens.

  2. Quite an interesting take, both in sculpting and painting terms :O

  3. Well thanks guys! It was enjoyable to create a sculpt with no pressure to make a human form. And returning to it later to paint it was very satisfying!

  4. I think it's great that you sculpted this yourself. Sometimes we love a certain literature so much and we desire to see it in three dimensional form, by of course doing the best we can with the author's description and fan art. Sadly I think this transition of imagination from words to art is lost when most are now seeing content via streaming services and via video games. Don't get me wrong as I love both but if only people read more. Oops ... sorry for this rather long comment! In short, great work :)

    1. No no, it's good that you have so much to say! :)

      I would be lying if I said I hadn't looked at a lot of other people's versions of this creature both before the sculpting phase, and painting. Ultimately, the version I went with was a balance of the look I wanted, and the limits of my abilities.

      Glad you like it!

  5. Lovely... errr, I meant:
    Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!

  6. Such an excellent job on this!

  7. Awww... Been reading this post at least now.

    1st and foremost, most if not all mythos are alien stuff not supernatural (biggest exception might be the Dreamlands).

    It may look as supernatural as modern science would to medievals, that's it. Also I can only recall one mythos being genuinely evil: Nyarlatothep. The rest of them are as evil as humans stepping into ants without even noticing their existence.

    Sooo... "Tekelili" I guess. You know you need penguins next to those, right? 😉

    I'm on board with Foureyedmonster: the mythos are so unspeakable, shapeless and a myriad of lousy description that once they've been given a standard look it all gets dry. I'm looking at you roleplaying game, making them pulp and giving stats to stuff. Chaosium and fantasy flight games are my enemies in that battlefield.

    That's why I backed DEEP MADNESS minis boardgame a couple years ago: mythos themed BUT no direct mention to them. They could have done, it's so old now it's public domain I guess but they went the extra mile there creating their own thing. Also, the artwork was abstract. Big plus.

    Lovecraft indeed pictured Cthulhu kinda chubby and with 6 eyes (from his personal drawings) so the generic octopus head over a green buff guy with dragon (fully developed) wings is not my cup of tea.

    My point here is look! Superbike commented !? So long, glad he's ok ^^ CMON oltimer.

    I meant, superglad you sculpted stuff. Both shape and colour turned out lovely. You know, to me seeing people I care giving it a go always warms my heart.

    My main concern is whether you had fun with that project. Sometimes it can feel like work instead of hobby when you ante up and both sculpt and paint your thing.


Thanks for commenting!