Sunday, July 31, 2016

Making a Shrunken Head

Artist David Gagné returns to our pages with a start to finish tutorial on crafting a traditional sideshow tsanta or shrunken head.

His YouTube videos detail everything involved with making the prop come to life.  The first video covers sculpting the master in clay.  The second the creation of a plaster mold and casting copies using liquid latex.  The final video features paint, hair, and final surface finishing.  The series as a whole is the most detailed gaff tutorial I've ever seen.

The one caveat I would add regards the use of ashes for dusting down the finished product.  Wood ashes are alkaline and over time could react with the latex or fibers of the hair.  I think colored grout powder is a better alternative.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Gerudo Font

Sarinilli brings us the Gerudo font, based on the characters used in "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time". As with most of the fonts featured here it's ideal for being repurposed for paper props.  Just click through the link above and then click on the "Download" button in the upper right hand corner to download the zipped font in TTF format.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Bottom Dweller

The gifted Casey Love brings us this creature from the depths.  The paintjob takes the already impressive sculpt to a whole new level.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Shining Trapezohedron

Mystic Prism returns to our pages with their latest take on Lovecraft's Shining Trapezohedron.  It's made from molten glass and lead crystal cast in a one-use mold and then shaped and polished by hand.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Dethskulpt Edition.

This anthropomorphic Cthulhu idol comes to us from Dethskulpt.  I like how the flow and form of the figure changes so radically depending on what angle you're viewing it from.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Healer

This wonderfully alien idol comes to us from Barbelith2000AD.  It's the kind of thing I expect you'd find in a little roadside temple on the Plain of Leng.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Sorcerer's Grimoire

Mille Cuirs brings us this sorcererous tome.  While this piece is made from hand tooled leather the look could easily be duplicated with poster board.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hellraiser Glyphs

I've been fiddling around with some of my old Hellraiser designs and came across these glyphs.  They make nice fillers when you need some kind of magical symbol. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Vintage Burglar's Tools

Cornell University has digitized a huge number of journals and magazines from the late 1800s. One of the more interesting articles to be found in the collection is this look at professional burglary tools from the May, 1874 issue of "Manufacturer and Builder".  It's a fascinating look at just how technically proficient a skilled thief could be.

From a propmaking perspective at least a few of these tools should be included in any vintage vampire hunting kit.  The genre-defining kit carried by Van Helsing was filled with this kind of stuff.

"Then he fumbled in his bag, and taking out a matchbox and a piece of candle, proceeded to make a light."
"Another search in his bag, and he took out a turnscrew."
"He only said, "You shall see,"and again fumbling in his bag took out a tiny fret saw. Striking the turnscrew through the lead with a swift downward stab, which made me wince, he made a small hole, which was, however, big enough to admit the point of the saw."
 "First he took out a soldering iron and some plumbing solder, and then small oil lamp, which gave out, when lit in a corner of the tomb, gas which burned at a fierce heat with a blue flame, then his operating knives, which he placed to hand, and last a round wooden stake, some two and a half or three inches thick and about three feet long. One end of it was hardened by charring in the fire, and was sharpened to a fine point. With this stake came a heavy hammer, such as in households is used in the coal cellar for breaking the lumps."

Part of Stoker's genius is that he realized the hammer and stakes were just one small part of what a vampire hunter would need.  Getting access to the monster, by breaking into a crypt and then a sealed coffin, required careful planning and the appropriate tools.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Indy's Whiskey

Toy and Prop Masters brings us this great tableaux featuring a recreation of the "Belle of Lincoln" whiskey bottle from "Raiders of the Lost Ark". 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Shishkebab

This impressive take on Fallout's Shishkebab comes to us from Ammnra Creations. What really sets this project apart from similar efforts are the extensive electronics. That includes LED lighting for the propane jets and superheated blade, sound effects, and a miniature smoke generator.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Gate and the Key

Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.

—H. P. Lovecraft, "The Dunwich Horror"
Jason McKittrick returns with this excellent wall plaque featuring Yog-Sothoth.  I love the detail work of the mountaintop altar.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pirate Tome

Mille Cuirs returns to our pages with this hand bound pirate tome.  I love the themed background props.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Med-Tek's Finest

Jacob Briggs created the Red Beamer poster that was the inspiration for yesterday's post.  He just posted a trio of equally well done posters for products from Fallout's Med-Tek.

Friday, July 15, 2016

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!

What kid didn't want their own Red Beamer laser rifle?  Chunk-a-Nuke props brings us this conjectural "Fallout" prop inspired by the classic Red Ryder BB gun. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Cavalry

Arthammer LARP Workshop brings us their impressive costumes for mounted (!) human and elf cavalry.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Crookes' Residual Ectometron

The talented Dan Baines brings us Crookes' Residual Ectometron, an electromechanical spirit communication device. For safety's sake remember that discorporeal entities are just like people. They don't have to tell the truth and quite possibly aren't who they say they are.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Alien Artifact

This Gigerish alien artifact comes to us courtesy of artist Abner Marin.  The piece was designed digitally, printed in 3-D, and then hand painted. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

It Bites

Artist Joan Bager brings us this curious specimen from parts unknown. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Golden State, 1925

The always helpful David Rumsey Map Collection brings us this road map of California in 1925.  Believe it or not, there was a time California could build a road across the entire state in just a matter of months.   Now it takes years to install a crosswalk.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Day They Nuked Buffalo

On September 27th, 1952 downtown Buffalo, New York was incinerated in a nuclear blast.

No, you haven't jumped over to an alternate timeline.  The bombing was part of a civil defense awareness exercise.  As part of the effort the Buffalo News printed a special post-apocalypse edition.   Conjecturally, the bomb wiped out most of their staff and they were forced to use a still intact printing press in the suburbs.  As far as I know this is the only prop newspaper ever officially sanctioned by the US government.

Ironically, much of the destruction described in the story would actually take place years later. All those factories and industrial facilities would indeed disappear, but it would be foreign competition and not a nuclear fireball that claimed them.

I stumbled across the Buffalo exercise while researching a similar effort held in Utica, NY, just down the road from where I live.  It was the largest civil defense exercise in US history, using thousands of volunteers from a wide radius around the city to simulate a full blown nuclear attack and its aftermath.

The area in the newsreel where white suited teams are checking for radioactive contamination was, until recently, one of the most contaminated industrial sites in the entire nation.  The soil was so saturated with coal gas waste that it would puddle up in your footprints if you walked across the grass. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Not Quite Human

Artist Chad Rossouw brings us this intriguing skull bearing the traditional coin for entry into the underworld.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fear the Fae

In 1888 the Swedish city of Sundsvall nearly burned to the ground.  The conventional explanation is that the blaze started thanks to sparks from a passing steamer.  The truth is far more disturbing.  The gifted Jacob Petersson brings us the actual culprit, demonstrating once again that the fae are a scourge upon humanity.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Spiky Bits

Evil Ted Smith brings us a tutorial on creating foam spikes.  If there's anything I've learned from gaming and fantasy novels over the years it's that evil loves spiky bits.

If you don't happen to have a bandsaw I have a low-tech replacement- one of those cheap "pocket chainsaws" from the camping section of your local big box store. I'm talking about the kind with a length of barbed wire connected to two thumb rings.  They're pretty useless for cutting wood, but three flavors of awesome at slicing through foam.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Haunting, Reloaded

"The Haunting" has been one of the defining adventures of the "Call of Cthulhu" tabletop game since its first edition.  Cisticola has released a set of upgraded prop documents that should significantly increase the immersiveness of the experience.  It's a project he's been working on for some time.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Who Rules Junktown?

Junktown is a massive post-apocalyptic festival held at an abandoned missile base outside of Prague in the Czech Republic.  Multiple LARPs run concurrently with the music and event programming.  Sachtikus has posted an amazing gallery of photographs from the event highlighting the people, costumes, and props of the wasteland.  That includes a complete town built from junk, dozens of Mad Max style vehicles, and denizens like the full-sized "Fallout" Securitron.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Still Life With Mummified Head

"Doe & Hope specialise in decorative, rare and unusual antiques from around the world with a particular interest in the atmosphere that surrounds an object, taking a cinematic approach in the presentation of our inventory."
I don't think "cinematic" really does this particular piece from Doe & Hope justice.  As you can see, nothing brings a room together like an upscale mummified human head.    The objet d'art itself was created by special effects artist Alan Friswell for an unproduced film.  Browse the rest of the gallery to enjoy a bizarre mix of old money pretentiousness and Rob Zombie interior design aesthetics.