Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Deep Ones of Amsterdam

How did a tiny polity noted for herring production suddenly become the center of a globe spanning naval empire?  And why was "religious tolerance" such a hallmark of their culture?  Historians and economists have their own explanations, but Creamy Lyptus has discovered an intriguing clue to another possibility.   These curiously fishy adornments are found within Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk ("New Church").   The natives of Innsmouth surely would have felt right at home.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Big Wheels Rolling

The Chinese wheelbarrow is one of those wonderful bits of historical flavor I love about the classic era.  This particular illustration comes to us from the "Shanghai" pages of the New York Public Library's digital collection

Well into the modern era a huge amount of China's land transportation was handled by a massive network of roads and trails designed for these unique, mono-wheeled carts.  They're the kind of thing any adventurer in China, in particular those taking part in Chaosium's "Masks of Nyarlathotep", would run into on a regular basis.

It's an ingenious design capable of carrying huge loads because all the weight is supported by the single large wheel.  The operator simply steers and provides the motive force.  That's in contrast to the traditional western wheelbarrow, which forced the user to continuously lift roughly half the weight.  The single wheel also made infrastructure maintenance considerably easier.  Two and four wheeled carts needed a full sized road that required constant grading, drainage, and repairs to stand up to heavy use.  Chinese wheelbarrows only needed a six inch wide trail to support the single wheel, something even the smallest of villages could manage.

If you're curious to learn more Low Tech Magazine has a detailed, in-depth article on the subject  you'll enjoy.  I'll warn you ahead of time that if you start browsing the site you could easily lose track of time.  It's filled with engrossing looks at "primitive" and early industrial technology.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Lobe Edition.

Artist Jonah Lobe designed this beguiling Cthulhu idol.  It's a great interpretation of Lovecraft's original description, but I'm a little disappointed with the quality of the casting.  If you look at the detail shots you'll see quite a bit of ridging left over from the original 3D print.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Necronomicon, Loebel Edition.

This incredible take on the Necronomicon comes to us from artist Morgan Loebel of Morgan's Mutations.  This is how you take the trope of a face bound into the cover and turn it into something awesome.  Follow the link for a video that gives a more detailed look.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Have a Very Hastur Holiday

Last year I was quite surprised to find myself falling in love with a set of Lovecraft-themed Christmas cards from Studio WonderCabinet. My disdain for anything cute-thulhu is no secret, but their whimsy and craftsmanship won me over.

Now they're back with a set of holiday cards dedicated to the King in Yellow.  The artwork is even better than last year and demonstrates they really get this particular part of the Mythos.  That includes the subtle use of the Pleiades in the illustrations.   The Kickstarter campaign is already successful with close to a month still to go.  Given the quality of their work and demonstrated ability to successfully execute a project I hope you'll support it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Glowing Fungi

Following up on last week's post, here's the finished (for now) version of the glowing fungus prop. Each of the stalks is a length of foam pool noodle slashed with a razor knife and then hit with a heat gun to form the twisting, organic skin. They were then bound into a group using zip ties looped through the foam along the bottom. The illumination is provided by a set of battery powered LED light strings strung through the hole in the middle of each noodle. The entire cluster is roughly two feet high by two feet wide.

On the positive side it looks cool and pumps out a lot of light. Given how bright it is I was surprised how long each strand could keep running on 3 AA batteries. I tested it for ten hours straight and didn't see any appreciable dimming. Based on that experience the manufacturer's claim they'll run for 48 hours seems believable. With that kind of run time this would be ideal for any kind of outdoor LARP or display.

That said, I'm not altogether happy with it. What I really wanted was a cluster of glowing mushrooms with caps, but I couldn't find a decent technique for creating the tops. The best results were from clear shower caps filled with polyester fiber fill. They looked relatively realistic and provided a nice diffused light, but their size couldn't be adjusted without a great deal of effort.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Goblin in a Bottle

Well, not the whole goblin.  Just the head, courtesy of Ukrainian artist Alice Tochylovska. There's so much to like about this piece.  The sculpting is wonderful, the presentation can't be beat, and those eyes are incredible.