Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kitbashing and the Slothrog

The Undercity contest is now officially closed as of an hour ago. I have 16 submissions in hand and as usual you my lovely, mad readers have outdone yourselves. Tonight I weigh all the various bits and make hard decisions, tomorrow announce the winners.

In the meantime I have been digging on this great little article from Gary Gygax about fantasy Chainmail battles in 1972. As I wrote on Google Plus, I love the whole playful DIY ambiance of the article. At the time there were no little metal fantasy figures commercially available and you had to make do by kitbashing your own.

Reading through that piece you see Gygax joyfully talking about converting plastic giant sloth toys into balrogs, 1/72 (that's 20mm) Airfix “Robin Hood” figures into hobbits, plastic toy 54mm Indians into trolls, and 40mm Elastolin Turks into menacing orcs.

All day mad notions have been plaguing me about outfitting my own kitbashed retro array. Fortunately Ebay auctions on Elastolins are sky-high, so I can resist the urge to go fully bonkers on this, but scanning through my shockingly large amount of small plastic children's toys I have some interesting little mini-projects.

And wouldn't you know it out of some little Hobby Lobby value pack of Ice Age critters, I even have me a giant sloth! Pictured here next to a 28mm Norman archer, I reckon him to be around 35-40mm. This “Slothrog” (name appropriated from Chris Hogan) will be kitbash retro fantasy project #1.

So what to do with him to take him from that to something like this?

Perhaps drill in some metal pins and putty for horns. Maybe use some dark wash and firey red undertones. Not sure how to make myself an appropriately menacing blade of fire and nasty whip. Green putty and twine?

The Slothrog
No. Enc: 1-2
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil)
Movement: 40'
AC: -1
Hit Dice: 8
Attacks: 1 (sword, whip, or teeth)
Damage: 1d8+3, 1d6, or 1d10
Save: F8
Morale: 10
XP: 1,820

When raised from its demonic stupor, the Slothron can be a formidable foe. It can elect to use either its firey magical bastard sword +1, nasty barbed whip (save vs. paralyze when entangled by a hit) , or sharp incisor-like teeth in a combat round. The Slothron can cast Slow twice per day and can only be hit by magical weapons.  

16 comments:

  1. Hey Cake. Saw you pop up on my blog roll. Happy reading tonight. Cheers and boogie boogie.

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    1. Hey Whisk, good to see you here in the hills. I have been lurking on your blog, should comment more sorry.

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    2. Hope things are going good your way. Just got back from the movies. Now to dig up some supper.

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  2. Chris, you are one lazy bastard and I tip my hat to you.

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    1. I know that is not news to you. As Mack noted long ago, you encounter a large amount of white-painted creatures.

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    2. Ah yes, lots of achromatic opponents in the Hill Cantons: Skeletons. Ghouls. Ghost Minotaurs. White-clad amazons. White apes. Giant albino rats. Alabaster warriors. Pale riders. Chalk elementals. ...

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  3. It moves toward with menacing slooooowwwwwwnnneeessss.

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    1. That would really change the tone of the later Moria scenes.

      "Amble you fools! Amble!"

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  4. Wiring wing framework, and green putty skin over, with paper "skin" in between. Likewise for horns. For making the sword, you could consider milliput or plasticard. The whip would be wire again.

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    1. Chris, you are brilliant. Many thanks.

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  5. I'd guess the giant sloth that Gygax used was one of the Marx toys from the 60s-70s. I have a few from then.

    Here's a pic from Google Images:
    Megatherium

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  6. love that article.

    If you're not making stuff up as you go along you're not necessarily doing it wrong--but you're definitely having less fun.

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    1. Sir, you are mistaken...or have you not had a chance to read some of the various D&D blogs out there?

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  7. There is definitely going to be a Slothrog lurking in my Warband sandbox. Great stuff Chris.

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  8. Using the sloth as is would be more gonzo. Then you could fall back on the evergreen proposition that the wings are just a metaphor for darkness zones, and what's more, he's a broke hippie Balrog in search of a whip, sword and haircut.

    By the way, I love how people are taking that article as evidence against Gygax's Tolkien influence when he is discussing how to model orcs, elves, dwarves, hobbits, trolls, balrogs, and then apologizes to "Tolkien purists" for daring to throw in the odd elemental.

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  9. Wait, balrogs don't have wings!

    On the other hand, orcs = Turks is one of my dearest pet theories about LotR - good to see the connection being reinforced there.

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