Making Silt Horror Tentacles!
The finished project: Silt Horror Tentacles!
This all started when the awesome The She DM posted on her blog with instructions for making tentacles for a session of Encounters. I love projects like this, avidly following groups like Roving Band of Misfits (who just finished their water effects version of the tentacles here) and Ben's RPG Pile (they play a lot with mini conversions and terrain and worked on lava tentacles here). Usually I just watch from the sidelines, wishing I had the time to do what they do. Loving Dark Sun, this time I jumped on this project. It was actually really easy. I shared my work here, but I thought I should capture it in a blog so it is more accessible.
What is a Silt Horror?
Silt Horrors are one of the more feared creatures on Athas. They live in the Silt Sea, which is deadly in and of itself because you cannot walk nor swim through silt but can still drown/choke in it. The Silt Sea does get deep, though it often has narrow pathways (with gaps for fun) in some areas. You can also travel on vehicles (either using huge wheels and lots of labor to move them or using psionics). Just the voyage is perilous, but becomes all the more so if a silt horror attacks. The creature lurks under the surface, suddenly reaching out with tentacles and sucking the heroes down into the silt and eventually into its mouth. The original Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium Appendix I provides white, gray, and brown silt horrors and the image below.
The second AD&D monster book, Dark Sun Monstruous Compendium Appendix II, expands to black, magma, and red silt horrors. Here is the black silt horror's depiction:
4E updated the silt horror, now a single type that is a level 12 solo lurker that constantly generates minion tentacles of several types. It is a very fun monster and depicted with this excellent artwork:
Particularly for the 4E version we want to have multiple tentacles and a central base.
I purchased the same octopus The She DM used after a search for it on various online stores. I cut the tentacles as she described, using a wooden base (I happened to have a bunch of these 1" round wooden bases from the local craft store).
Here is the unsuspecting initial toy:
(Clicking on any of the pictures should lead to the full-sized image.)
Here is the sad octopus. I will eventually place this on a huge base should I need it, probably using the Water Effects tip from Band of Misfits:
I used the hot glue gun as she described, but right after gluing I placed them in a small container and poured some small grit sand over them, pressing the sand down lightly into the glue. This meant the glue's surface was covered in the sand and hardened that way.
Picture of this stage, no paint yet:
Yes, that is a bit like a demotivational poster...
I thought about adding a washer to the underside of each wooden base to keep them from tipping, but they actually stand up ok. A key to this was cutting them so that the weight was pretty centered. Depending on the cuts you might need to add washers.
You might think sand looks ok as-is, but strangely enough real sand almost never looks real on a miniature. It is necessary to paint the sand to make the textures and appearance match that of a miniature.
Once dry I gave each mini a wet base coat of a somewhat dark brown, applying it liberally where the glue met the base to try to fill in any gaps (the hot glue tends to apply in a roundish manner... I probably could have pressed the sand in harder to shape it a bit and it might have been better to cover the entire base).
Here is the initial paint job:
When that dried I gave it a few dry brush treatments with a sand/tan color and a more normal painting of the base. I was pretty happy with that. The color actually seemed to stick ok to the tentacle, but I imagine the rubbery nature would make it hard to paint the actual tentacle itself. They work fine in that pinkish color, I think.
Here is the finished version:
My thanks to The She DM, as this would not have happened without her. I highly recommend her blog. She's a DM in my town and awesome on too many levels to count!
In addition to the blogs to which I linked above, I recommend checking out this silt horror custom project using insulation foam. You can also see this really cool silt horror here (as well as flumph minis and an incredible Demogorgon!). The later project uses Sculpey clay. I like that both projects let you put a mini into the mouth of the silt horror. That's excellent!
While at some point I will mount my toy octopus head on a base, I'll use that for actual kraken/octopus fights. For Dark Sun I think I will use one of the two methods above.
Yes, I said flumph. Band of Misfist worked with the person above to make additional flumph minis, and ended up talking about the history of the poor flumph and writing a set of flumph monster statistics for 4E, and that led to the Band of Misfits making a short flumph adventure. Bring back the flumph!
Dark Sun Sea of Silt, by Steven James