In preparation for the DM Challenge at PAX Prime, I thought it would be a cool idea to incorporate the monster I designed for Kobold Quarterly’s King of Monsters 2 contest called the horakh. I looked through my garbage bags full of minis – YES! I have a sickness – but I couldn’t find quite the right fit. I needed something memorable. This is the DM Challenge after all! The current champion is none other than Dave “The Game” Chalker. (Note: You can read the details of his win here.) But that was PAX East which is basically a watered down version of PAX to suit the taste of the simple folk who dwell on the East Coast. This is PAX Prime. The real PAX in Seattle, aka RPG mecca. The competition will be fierce. I need to bring my A-game or none at all.
There was no other choice. I had to create my own Horakh mini. I grabbed my biggest bag of minis, dumped it on the hardwoods and picked through it like a hobo behind Morton’s Steak House only instead of seeking out the choicest morsels of filet minon, I was seeking out the cheapest ass minis I could find. The first rule of kitbashing miniatures is Never use expensive minis. The horakh is a gnome-sized insect that can leap fifty feet, sucks your eyes out of their sockets and plant eggs in your skull. It has a translucent digestive sac on its back filled with the eyes of its victims. I needed something small, insect-like and cheap. I finally settled on the “runespiral demon.”
In case you haven’t run across the runespiral demon, let me fill you in. It is perhaps the worst D&D miniature ever conceived. It’s a bug with hands and it has a rune-carved shell with a fin. Don’t ask me what events preceded the creation of this beast, but I assume a shark demon was on the outs with the missus, got drunk and had anonymous sex with a turtle demon. Ninth months later, or whatever the gestation period of demon sharkturtles is, there’s a surprise. But (so sad) the baby dies. The demon nurse carves its name on the shell and throws it in the trash, but that’s not the end. A bug demon with hands is digging through the trash. He finds the shell and crawls inside. It’s a comfortable fit and he decided to make this his new home. He finds his other demon bug buddies and they all hang out at the hospital waiting to get their own shells. It takes a while, but I guess they have alot of time in the Abyss.
I suddenly had an idea how to make an approximation of my monster. I could sculpt eyeballs and suspend them in a blob of glue. I snatched three runespiral demons. With an Exacto knife, I cut off the dorsal fin and scooped out a little pit. The pits would hold my eyeball sacs. Then, I painted an black base coat on the minis and set them aside to dry.
Next, I sculpted some Might Putty into tiny eyeballs with viscera attached. If you plan on kitbashing your own miniatures, you must get Might Putty. It’s cheap and it lasts forever if you are only using it for miniature work. Once the eyeballs dried, I painted irises and slathered some red paint on the viscera ends.
The next part took a few days. Once my eyeballs dried, I squeezed a small bead of glue into the dorsal pit of my former runespiral demons. I used Weld Bond, but you could use any glue that dries clear. Then I placed a few eyeball sculptures onto the glue and put the minis on the shelf. The following day I checked them. The glue had mostly dried clear. I then put down another bead and laid a few more eyeballs on top. I waited a few hours and put on my top coat. I wanted a clear thick coating on top to simulate the sac membrane. Weld Bond glue has low water content so it doesn’t run or drip much. I was able to use my mouth to blow the glue into the areas I wanted and I didn’t have to worry about it running down the side on my new minis. Weld Bond is also great for making cardstock gaming terrain. The low water content keeps the glue from making the paper warp and curl.
After the last coat of glue, I couldn’t be impatient anymore. I had to wait about 3 days for the outer coat of glue to completely dry. I wanted to make sure it was ready for the final steps. It turned out pretty well. The glue hardened and became as translucent as I hoped. I could see the eyeballs inside the sac but they needed a little tint. I swabbed some Formula P3 brown ink on the glue and dabbed off the excess with a paper towel. It worked perfectly and gave the effect I hoped it would. Once it was dry enough to handle, I drybrushed the horakh with bronze paint and filled in the eyes. Check out the pictures below. If you haven’t voted for your favorite monster for the King of Monsters 2 yet, public voting is open. I’d really appreciate your vote. Follow this link and register to vote for the Horakh.