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Terrors of the Deep!

I have a decent amount of experience with these as my wife, kids, and I all really like this the Logitec design and keep getting similar ones when the old ones wear out (throwing the trackball at the wall while cursing is "normal wear and tear", right?). So, here you see an old, dead trackball and the formed plastic packaging for the new one. I also have a second trackball of the exact same design ... I just didn't think it added anything to the picture to show it. But, you'll see it soon enough.

So, we are going for giant squid/octopi here, with two different approaches. The first [above] is just to disguise the fact that this is a mouse by covering it with liquid latex stripes. Once it's painted, this should be enough. The pic shown here is unprimed, but it is important to get a good coat of primer so that your paint has a uniform surface to adhere to, that way it behaves uniformly on the model.

The second method [below] is one I have used before (with formed plastic mouse packing material) to make a giant fish. Basically, you alternate two coats of spray adhesive, then dots from a three hole punch (or other confetti of your choice). Then you need to prime it, too. I use Krylon Fusion as it adheres to almost everything and gives you a nice surface to paint on. C'mon ... we're cheaping out on all the parts. You need to go for the good stuff here.

These guys will need some tentacles, no? Yes. Good! I made these from Crayola Model Magic clay. You can see the bases above, with some floral wire supports. The supports are key to give support (duh!) and to guide your tentacle making. You really want these to free stand on their own without falling. You can do a finite element analysis to find the center of mass of your designs, fight with a lot of trial and error, or use heavy counter weights (fender washers) as bases. I did finite element analysis. No really.

Sculpting the suckers isn't as hard as it looks cool. I just dig in to the tentacle with a toothpick. Then I use the toothpick to circle the hole with a groove. Finally, I use the toothpick to ... well ... pick. Draw out the center of the hole into a nice, sucky shape.

Rinse. Repeat.

With all that, you thought I forgot about the clear plastic form. Nope. This piece is going to be a man-made terror of the deep along the lines of (a small) Captain Nemo's Nautilus! So basically, I need to steampunk it up a bit. I added some tape strips to be metal braces and supports. A little liquid latex lets us add some rivets. And the beak is just a few slices of an old Coke carton. I added a little patch of textured shelf paper because I felt there was too large a smooth area.

A key element is the Scotch tape over the "eye". I am going to spray paint this silver as a base coat, but I want the eye to be a transparent widow/dome, so I masked it off.

Here's our Squidomatron all silvered up. I will use Sharpie pens over the silver paint for detailing. Though many miniaturists are cringing at the idea of using ink on a mini, in this special case, I feel that ink's transparency over metallic silver paint has a nice effect.

Here is a coat of purple over the metallic blue base coat. I left the suckers blue. Next will be little drybrushing with a sickly organic pink to heighten the details.

After the details, the pieces get a good coat of Krylon clear on top. Krylon has a little acetone in it (not a chemical engineer; consulted with one) that seems to help blend and bring out details at the borders. Again, here I recommend going for the good stuff.

Our first finished model is seen here going out to sea. Just minding his own business. If you try this scaly method, be aware that during construction, you will have some scales fall off. Even a few after the final seal coat. This is normal and it will stop. The combination of adhesive, paint, and sealant will give you a critical mass of scales that will stay on game after game, year after year.

For this guy, I also added some inked borders around the pink areas. I did a maroon purple on top and a true blue underneath. Those bled nicely (I think) during the final coat phase. We get to see the mouse ... er ... monster and its tentacles next to 28mm minis. Up close and personal with that one guy!

Well, enough of roaming and attacking sea beasties. Professor Ellsworth Quentin Coddington-Mudd, VII, Esq. is getting his Squidomatron (TM, Pat. Pend., XYZ, etc.) to set thing straight. Here we catch him in the evening waving good-byes to his wife, daughter, and mistress.

Since this model is hollow underneath, you can build an (many?) insert(S?) to go inside. I recommend a small movement base with the internals built in. It will also let you carry some figure along, for backup as well as sightseeing.

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