Saturday, November 4, 2017

Monster Man Contest Entry: The Slathax

Cheers to whoever did the layout for Star Frontiers for choosing Univers for the interior text. Makes matching it up very easy.

James Holloway of the Monster Man Podcast has recently launched a contest to reach back into our gaming past and use cheap toys as inspiration for monsters for our games.

Many of the original D&D monsters came from such toys, such as the owlbear, rust monster, and bulette, and James has given me a great opportunity to add my own spin on things. 
Artifacts of our shared fantastical history.
While at Gen Con 2017 I got to both see some of these plastic monsters in the 50th Anniversary of Gen Con Museum but also picked up a pack of the "lost monsters", a group of "could've been" creatures that never made the cut into D&D proper.

Radio Controlled Armadillos and Hug-A-Saurs might still make the big time someday.
These included the above creatures plus the subject of my contest entry. At first glance this toy seems to be a simple T-Rex style dinosaur doing an MC Hammer dance. But on closer inspection it's clear that the torso and tail are more like an earthworm body than a true dinosaur. Since I've recently been running a Star Frontiers campaign my first thought for baddies goes to the worm-like Sathar race. Sather like to breed terrible monsters and unleash them on unsuspecting frontier planets to sow death and destruction.

Thus the Slathax is born!

"Slathax feel pretty. Slathax go on date. Slathax choose lip-color suit Slathax complexion."

All I really did was repaint the toy. This was actually a lot of fun since it was more like painting a toy soldier than a detailed gaming miniature. The mold lines were a pain but came off somewhat by using a sharp hobby knife and slicing them away.

Then I just painted it without using any sort of primer. Like Reaper Bones, this rubbery plastic will not react well to spray enamels and really doesn't need any priming, just go straight to heavily applied acrylics.

"He’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. When he comes after ya, he doesn’t seem to be livin’ until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white, and then – aww, then you hear that terrible high-pitch screamin’,"

I also did a drawing of the Slathax so that I could create a set of Star Frontiers style monster stats. This is really where the fun of this process happens as you look at this little piece of plastic and try to imagine what a "real world" version of it would be like. The wormy body, rockily squamous limbs and shark-like mouth lead to the determination that this creature would be a large, burrowing predator. Thinking about Sathar military tactics gave me the idea that this beast would be an infiltration unit, designed to sow fear and terror behind enemy lines.

"You guys hear something? Dudes! Seriously! I HEARD SOMETHING!"
A bit of color to the original art.

I really had a lot of fun with this contest entry and encourage you to do the same thing and to ENTER JAMES'S CONTEST!

No comments:

Post a Comment