Cthulhu Wars sculpts
Ranked in order of personal preference
This is just a list of the types of models from Cthulhu Wars that I have painted, in order of decreasing personal preference. I’m not rating my paint jobs but the design (shape) of the models before I painted them, purely on aesthetics.
From the Crawling Chaos, it’s the Bloody Tongue avatar of that very Chaos! In the spirit of good Mythos writing, this model combines naturalistic features from real-world biology—in this case exotic marine life—with more uncanny features, including a whirlpool of souls in Its open belly. It is gorgeous!
The Dark Young
From the Black Goat, it’s a forest of twisted flesh. Always an imposing presence on the game board.
From the Yellow Sign, it’s The Unspeakable One! It’s huge in that dumb US way, it’s well produced, it has its fair share of Freudian vaginae dentatae, and it looks crazy cool with that wrinkly skin and mass of tentacles.
From the Opener of the Way, it’s the sweet spot between the Mutants and the Spawn of Yog-Sothoth. These poor bastards are walking heavy-metal album covers.
From the Windwalker, it’s just eerie silence crouched in matted fur. A simple design including a distinctive silhouette, the Gnoph-Keh come with enough details to be fun, too.
From the Black Goat, it’s the Goat Herself. A fine complement to the Dark Young, but more goofy, with rounded teeth in a pronounced underbite, and a dainty hoof on a tactical rock.
From the Windwalker, it’s a liquid storm person. So much character in this one, but just a tiny bit too anthropomorphic.
From the Windwalker, it’s a crab somebody saw in a museum once. Like Nyarlathotep, it’s got the right mix of naturalism and weird horror.
The Formless Spawn of Tsathoggua
From the Sleeper, it’s the kids. Of the many “formless” monsters in the game, these look the most interesting.
From the Ancients, it’s the half-mechanical slaves made out of humans. The machine parts are generically greebled but the overall effect is very good.
From the Sleeper, it’s the eponymous Hairy Toad. Designer Richard Luong did a good job marrying so many opposites, but it still bothers me that the upper and lower jaws don’t match up.
From the Opener of the Way, it’s the All-in-One and One-in-All. There’s a good Akira (1982) vibe to this sculpt, seeming to swell with power beyond meaning.
The Fungi from Yuggoth
From the Black Goat, it’s the Mi-Go! They’re not how I imagine Lovecraft’s creatures, and they’re certainly bigger than the ones in Vermont, but Lovecraft did say there are many varieties.
The King in Yellow
From the Yellow Sign, it’s the King of Madness. Elegant and beautiful, this model really stands out in the game, but the production departs quite a lot from the original design by Richard Luong. This guy would have been more fun in modern high-fidelity HIPS with Luong’s gnarly piercings intact.
From the Ancients, it’s arguably the most Lovecraftian of all the models in the game. Recognizably human but horribly degenerate in their finely rendered anatomy.
The Spawn of Yog-Sothoth
From the Opener of the Way, it’s... what is that? Five ass cheeks? Scything blades that can barely reach the ground if the monster lays flat on its belly? It’s a comical figure, but I like it.
From the Tcho-Tcho, it’s a sexier shoggoth coming out of its victim, the way they do in the Atlantic murals of At the Mountains of Madness (1936).
From the Windwalker, it’s a model that reminds me of the phagors of Helliconia Winter (1985), if they skipped leg day and were perpetually squinting.
The Serpent Men — and, I assume, women
From the Sleeper, it’s generic anthropomorphic snake wizards. I like the way their pose is just a little off balance.
From the Sleeper, it’s a flawed design. Luong’s concept of the regular human body merging with the monster is cool, but with the elevated spine, you can’t really tell that’s what’s happening. Instead, the features in the front that I have painted orange look like waldo’d hands holding open a big vagina dentata. On the other hand, I like the fact that the human looks comfortably dressed, as an antisocial Lovecraftian wizard should be.
The Flying Polyps
From the Crawling Chaos, it’s the popular image of Lovecraftian monsters as a nonsensical mess of features from real anatomy. Fortunately, the eyes aren’t spherical like human eyes.
The Hunting Horrors
From the Crawling Chaos, it’s a serviceable Chinese-style dragon.
From Great Cthulhu, it’s one of the most famous of Lovecraft’s creations, but making the shape of a crashing wave for some reason, instead of having temporary tools for the job.
From Great Cthulhu, it’s the Thing Itself. This rendering is essentially faithful to Lovecraft’s description but veers toward the human form. A lot of the detail work is good, particularly the hands, but the overall impression is barnacles and bat wings on a guy on a rock.
From the Black Goat, it’s the animalistic version of Lovecraft’s ghouls from “The Rats in the Walls” (1924). I would have preferred a more civilized ghoul; perhaps a less distended Unman in a suit.
From the Ancients, it’s another serviceable Chinese-style dragon. The 12 eyes are nice, but the rest looks generic.
From the Tcho-Tcho, it’s the very source of life on Earth. I wish it didn’t have such a well-defined eye, and I don’t know what Smith was thinking with those stone tablets. Probably Christian thoughts.
From the Yellow Sign, it’s a bunch of perfunctory insectile features. Not quite worthy of Lovecraft’s vague description, but not bad by any means.
The High Priests
From the Tcho-Tcho and specific to them, it’s a design that just oozes mid-century Z-list horror and exploitation cinema, of a kind that Sandy Petersen loves.
From the Yellow Sign, it’s the admixture of a classic mummy-horror design into a Lovecraftian blob with a whiff of “Cool Air” (1928). This one could have used more definition.
From the Crawling Chaos, it’s Gothic/Satanic horror. The pose is nice, but the anatomy doesn’t speak to me.
The generic Acolytes
Having painted all 54 of these, I am intimately familiar with the orientalism of the wavy dagger, the vagueness of how the robe fits together, the frequently broken left hand and the poor definition of the pages of the book. It’s not pretty, but it’s functional: The raised arm gives it a unique silhouette and all the parts are thick enough to be robust where the faction-specific Acolyte sculpts are sometimes too thin to retain their shape after PVC injection moulding.
From the Opener of the Way, it’s hillbilly satyrs with stage-nineteen cancer. This is one case where I think it would have made sense to arm the sculpt, but instead, it’s missing an arm.
From the Ancients, it’s Cinderella’s castle.
The Deep Ones
From Great Cthulhu, it’s a fish person, and I’m no Troy McClure. Luong did something much more impressive with Father Dagon.
From Great Cthulhu, it’s the runt of the litter. These are my least favourite models in the game. They look barely able to move under any circumstances, and they’re not quite similar enough to their kin in Cthulhu Itself.