Eldritch Elf: 27 XI 18

Solstice time has come again, and that means the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society‘s annual gift exchange! This year we’ve begun calling it Eldritch Elf. I love this thing. Those who participate are given the name & address of another member of the Society to whom they must send a gift, etc etc. This exchange, though, is all Lovecraft fanatics. Like a good elf, I always make a unique piece for my unknown friend.

I have more fun, and I hope my gift’s recipient does too, if my creation goes all around the world, so I now request it. I’m spreading my sinister cheer across the globe! I’ve sent items to England and Argentina. This time it’s New Zealand! I’ve been warned it’s expensive!!!

For 2018 I’m going to make a street scene showing the entrance to Gilman House, a historic hotel in Innsmouth you really must try next time you’re visiting the coast.

I’ll document the construction process by way of a sort of living tutorial. If you have any questions leave them in the comments.

Start with a block of wood. Thanks, Bruno!

Mine’s 1.5″. I like my scenes ultra-tight, but you need enough room to add some actual details.

We’re going to use foamboard for the front. We’ll carve bricks and maybe some plaster, and recess a door and a (partial) window. This is just some leftover foamboard from my wife’s old job.

Get a strip of styrene the width of the block.

When you cut styrene, even thick styrene, just score it lightly and ease it into a nice snap. It will break very cleanly. Styrene is great stuff.

Make another, much narrower ribbon. It makes no difference how thick, other than altering the dimensions of the wall.

It’s gonna fit. You’ll notice I haven’t measured anything. I don’t know how high the bit of foamboard is, how deep the side panel, or anything. I don’t measure. The geometry doesn’t require standardized units, so I just allow the structure itself to dictate cuts, angles, etc.

This is a handmade object. It’s not supposed to be perfect. Just get in there and start putting it together!

This does not mean you can be imprecise or sloppy. Your work must be very exact. It just doesn’t need to be measured.

This openness to creative chaos is how I approach guitar, too. I’m never anywhere near concert pitch. Don’t need to be! What the hell is a middle C, anyway? Some arbitrary wavelength.

I have lots of thoughts on these sorts of things. Anyway.

Superglue the big piece. This will be the back of the scene. Put the glue on like your middle school art teacher taught you, then use a toothpick or something to spread it around even a bit more. You want it thin.

And run a fan. Seriously. That’s a decent dollop of superglue.

Brace it with square styrene.

Nice. I’m going to head to the train store soon to see if I want to use O gauge windows & doors, and I’ll pick a great tool I need to replace. It’s a super duper sanding block, basically. I’ll sand down any rough edges on the bottom and sides.

I trim up the sides of my foamboard and call it a day.

This was maybe an hour of quick enjoyable work. I find it useful to periodically impose a new perspective on myself, and this project requires a shift from what I’ve been doing lately. I’m enjoying banging out Dark Angels for Kill Team, but I feel excited to jump into something very different. Things like Eldritch Elf give me a great deal of inspiration as well as joy. Good luck in your search for both!

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