Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Creepy Crawlies


I had enjoyed the humour that had crept into the creation of the ‘totems and tokens and traps’ and very much wanted to continue in this vein when looking for suitable models to represent the creepy crawlies that inhabit the jungles of the Congo. A visit to the local Poundland unearthed a wonderful pack of joke bugs for, well a £ naturally, and the first to be used was the large plastic spider. It was given a quick paint job and added to a themed base, but on reflection, I wonder if I should have used some sort of web effect!
The ants came in variety of colours, but I wanted mine to be fiery red and set about spraying them with the airbrush before adding a little sepia wash to bring out the different segments of the body.  Of course every self respecting ant needs a hill to protect and before long I was ordering up some of the ‘Warlord Games’ termite mounds that were originally created as part of the Sci-Fi game, Beyond the Gates of Antares.  
I had seen these on Lee Brady’s splendid weblog, ‘Harold’s Revenge’ and they proved just too tempting to resist.  Although perfect for the job and very easy to paint, I have to say I was a little disappointed when I finally got them in my hand; they felt a little rushed with the sculptor’s fingerprints still actually visible.  They certainly saved me some time, but again, I wonder if the same effect could have been achieved with some Milliput and a couple of MDF disks?
Finally, then the infamous Tsetse fly.  Young Master Awdry would often be found with his nose in an encyclopaedia greedily absorbing facts and figures and marvelling at pictures of animals from the far flung corners of the world.   Strangely the blood sucking carrier of sleeping sickness*, the Tsetse fly would always send a shiver down my spine, the thought of something so small having such a devastating effect clearly upset me.
*African trypanosomiasis
Looking at the remnants of my Poundland buy, I felt that the handful of houseflies that remained just didn’t look menacing enough, a drastic plan was called for!  In a feverish bout of madness, akin to a Victorian Lepidopterist or brattish schoolboy, I started to remove the clear plastic wings from the flies.  In a bid to represent the forward projecting, piercing, proboscis on the head, I drilled each one and inserted a small length of fuse wire.
Now attached by double sided tape, I sprayed them a base colour before adding a few details, here and there.  The wings were then carefully replaced and a dollop of fresh ‘blood’ added.  
In a bid to try and create a swarm effect, I stuck the individual beasties to a clear Perspex disk and attached a flight stand so they could swarm, annoyingly, at head height.  I always enjoy projects like this, where you just let your imagination run riot.  A hugely entertaining and rewarding process.

54 comments:

  1. Great to see you back blogging!

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  2. I love these bargain projects! I painted up a plastic spider out of a Christmas cracker of all things just recently and it looks great. Love your colour choices mate.

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    1. Thank you Millsy, I do like a bargain.

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  3. What inspired ideas. Off to Poundland now.

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    1. You never know what you might find there, look out for their epoxy resin - perfect for water effects.

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  4. Have I ever told you that you were a genius? Creative, unusual and fantastic as always Michael!

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    1. Well that's incredibly kind of you Phil, not sure about the genius bit though.

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  5. Very nice inspiring idea Michael :)

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  6. Amazingly creative work once ag6, Michael! Always a pleasure to see your wonderful talent. That spider is so realistic it would give an arachniphob a heart attack. Lol

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    1. Thank you so much Dean. I must admit this was so much fun to do.

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  7. Very creative! These ant mounds are being my favorites, as I think that such a details enliven the gaminig landscape a lot.

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    1. Thank you Mr. Nimrod, the anthills certainly look the part and will be perfect for the Savannah.

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  8. Some great creepy crawlies Michael, and a bargain as well with a bit of time and effort added in

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    1. Thank you Dave and we all love a bargain. ;)

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  9. Ick! Thoroughly creepy and gives me itches all over just looking at them. Well done! :)

    Incidentally, the spider is fine without the web. A tarantula burrows into soft soil. It doesn't use a web to trap its prey, though it may spin a trip wire to signal an alert when something approaches its lair. Perhaps you could use some innocuous-looking strand trailing from a innocent-looking patch of earth terrain piece to represent it - deploying the spider when the luckless adventurer wanders too close.

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    1. Thank you A.J. and what a great idea - a spider trip wire!

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  10. Love the fact that you’re blogging again and what a super opening post

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    1. Thank you so much Andy, that's really kind of you.

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  11. Excellent stuff Michael! It's such a pleasure seeing your maniacal machinations once again! Always keeping my eyes open during Halloween for those bags of critters on the cheap at the dollar stores as well!

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    1. Thank you Terry, it's good to be back, but still needing to be careful with the balancing of time.

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  12. Terrific posting and so good to seeing you back in action, Sir Awdry! Awesome stuff, and as ever, I love your WIP shots. Sheer magic :-)

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    1. Thank you so much Simon and looking forward to seeing what you have been up to too.

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  13. Has the Spider got a Name? If not..then it has to be Boris.
    Love the flies...a real buzz.

    I´ll get my coat........

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    1. Oh dear Paul, another wonderfully cringworthy pun - thank you though. :)

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  14. Quite inventive I must say, only you can be so creative as to get a bag of plastic blobs and turn them in some of the best "Environmental Encounters" out there I have ever seen! Awesome Michael!

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    1. Aw shucks! Than you Sander, that is very kind of you.

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  15. Impressive and just a little bit disturbing 😉
    Those ants are utterly brilliant and the spider rocks, even without her net.

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    1. Thank you Nick, I certainly questioned my own sanity when I was pulling off the wings!

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  16. Brilliant, just brilliant.

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  17. You have brought them to life Michael. I better not show the wife.

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  18. Just loving what you did with the bugs and the termite mounds really do set off the pices too.

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    1. Thank you very much Joe. I loved how they worked in the terrain too.

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  19. Your ability to take a thing and make it another thing is remarkable!

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  20. Good stuff! Funny enough, I was going through the dangerous terrain tables only this morning and thinking about how I could represent some of the various encounters. Looks like I have a trip to poundland ahead of me! I've also made a few other bits and pieces for Congo that I must get around to posting on the blog. Stuff like native masks, shields, skull totems, dinosaur(!) footprints and the like. All stuff that can be used as loot or to represent sacred objects in the encounter tables.

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    1. Thank you Lee, really looking forward to seeing your new additions too. Dinosaur footprints, oh yes please!

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  21. Off to Poundland I go!

    Cracking ideas.

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    1. You never know what you might find. :)

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  22. Smashing work as always and welcome back Michael.

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. Thank you so much Roger, it's good to be back.

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  23. Excellent use of Poundland bargains, Michael. The spider and ants I particularly like - not sure about the flies though. And whilst the termite mounds look quite good, I do think you probably could have knocked a couple up quite easily and cheaply from other materials. A suitably carved 'mound of florists foam, coated with a mix of sand and watered down PVA would have done the job quite well and wouldn't have broken the bank. Plus you could have had a HUGE mound, more in keeping with the scale of the ants.

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    1. Thank you Jez. You are not wrong about the mounds, I do like them and they saved me a LOT of time, but could have been done relatively simply with something else. Not worried about the scale so much as I feel that the game had enough humour in it to accommodate the outlandishly large beasties.

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  24. Brilliant post to resume your blogging activity with Michael :-)
    You've created some great looking "critters" thanks to your awesome brushwork!
    As for the spider, it looks perfect just as it is, and you can always knock up some "webbed" scatter terrain to accompany it if you felt so inclined ;-

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  25. Really a nice piece of work and great to see your blog coming to life again. :-)

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