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Uruk-Hai
04-30-2010, 10:54 AM
I've always wanted to do a H.P.Lovecraft tombstone to add to my cemetery and have had this idea brewing for a while. The back-story is that someone, using pages from the Necronomicon, tried to raise H.P.Lovecraft from the dead. Instead they called up something unspeakable from beyond that broke out of the tomb to gain access to our world. Making this for $20 was certainly a challenge but it was a great excuse to get building and finish something early for a change. Here is my parts list/costs along with construction details.

Materials:

Most materials were sourced from Dollarama, Goodwill and the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. My scrap foam was given to me by a friend who rescued it from a construction site. Because of the contest restrictions I had to modify my usual methods and make do with what I had. For example, the main foam sheet I had was too short for what I had in mind so I had to glue a 2" shim strip on the bottom to bring it up to size rather than using a new sheet the right size. I also usually make my tombstones at least 4-6" thick but this one is only 2". This is disguised somewhat by the additions of the pillars and top cap to make it more imposing than it actually is. The piano legs for the pillars were my big score - I found them in an antique store at a country market and couldn't believe they only wanted $5 for the pair. It never hurts to constantly be on the lookout for prop building materials!

Parts List:

$5.00 - antique piano legs
$0.40 - scrap plywood
$3.00 - assorted "oops" paint
$1.00 - assorted craft paint
$0.75 - 1/8 can polyurethane
$0.50 - masking tape
$3.00 - scrap foam (2"-10.34 sq.ft)
$0.29 - scrap foam (1"-2.1 sq.ft)
$0.10 - 1/4 sheet black bristol board
$0.40 - 1/16 can foam contact cement
$2.60 - 3/4 tube construction adhesive
$2.00 - white glue (for mache)
$0.50 - Froot Loops (1/4 box)
$0.25 - 4" styrofoam ball (1)
$0.24 - 1" styrofoam balls (2)
$0.50 - 1/2 roll paper towels
$0.05 - print outs (eyes & book page)
$0.20 - bolts, nuts & washers (3)

Free - plastic bags
Free - assorted wire
Free - newspaper
Free - cardboard
______________________________________

Total: $20.78 CAN = $20.52 US


Construction - The Tombstone:

Tombstone construction I followed my usual tried and true methods. I started by sketching out some ideas and playing around with the pillars and some scrap pieces of foam until I came up wit a design I liked. I then first cut out and dry-fit assembled everything to make sure it would fit and then started gluing it all together using foam-safe contact cement and construction adhesive. Any small gaps were filled with adhesive but I don't really worry about getting a smooth surface. The epitaph was carved using a woodburning tool along with cracks and other weathering/distressing and the 4" foam ball was inscribed with a version of Lovecraft's Eldar Sign. During construction I had cut out the large crack/fissure in the face of the tombstone and carved it to look broken & shattered including numerous circular sucker scars. I kept the pieces I had cut out to use as rubble and broken bits. For painting I used a base coat of general grey paint I found in the "oops" section, making sure to get into all the nooks & crannies. I then followed up with a sponge application of a lighter grey and some dry-brushing of brown craft paint to further weather it. I also made sure to paint the broken scraps that would become the rubble.

Construction - The Tentacles:

The tentacles were something new for me. I had done some paper mach before but not much and not like this. I cut lengths of reclaimed advertising sign wire (quite heavy gauge - about 1/8" thick and hard to bend) and bent it into a twisted tentacle with a loop at the bottom for attaching to the plywood base. Pieces of cardboard were cut to shape and taped to the tip of the tentacle with a 1" styrofoam ball cut in 1/2 glued in place for an eye. The bulk of the tentacle was made up of plastic bags wrapped around the wire armature and secured with masking tape. I then used paper mach and newspaper/paper towels to cover and build up the skin. Rolled newspaper & tape was used to create the spikes coming out from the sides and around the tip/eye area. Once happy with the shape I turned to the suckers - I actually used rows of Froot Loops glued in place! I wish I could take credit for this but got the idea off a guy on the internet who made a great diorama of the squid attack from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. One a side note I have to say that the froot loops are a neat idea and look great BUT were incredibly finicky to apply!! I could only put a few on at a time and then once they were dry figure out a way to rotate and prop up the piece so that I could apply more without them sliding off. Finally everything was then painted and sealed with only one layer of polyurethane to give it a wet and slimy look.

Final Assembly:

Once the tentacles were done I positioned and glued the tombstone in place with more construction adhesive. Later I might re-enforce the joint with some 12" nails through the bottom of the plywood and up into the body of the tombstone. I find this really helps them withstand any wind when set up in the yard - but they would have put me over budget so it will have to wait. For final assembly I positioned the few scraps of broken tombstone that I had painted to make it look like the tentacles had shattered the stone and were coming up from within the tomb. Also as a last minute addition, I added a scrap page torn from the Necronomicon. I scanned a hand-drawn illustration I had done and then added text, textures and blood in Photoshop. It was then printed and crumpled up with coffee ground ageing on it to give it a old yellowed parchment look.

That's it. This was lots of fun for my first contest entry and I'm looking forward to more in the future. Here are the photos of the completed tombstone. I have complete step-by-step construction pics in my album (http://www.hauntforum.com/album.php?albumid=651).

http://www.hauntforum.com/picture.php?albumid=651&pictureid=7279

http://www.hauntforum.com/picture.php?albumid=651&pictureid=7278

http://www.hauntforum.com/picture.php?albumid=651&pictureid=7275

http://www.hauntforum.com/picture.php?albumid=651&pictureid=7276

http://www.hauntforum.com/picture.php?albumid=651&pictureid=7272

Hauntiholik
04-30-2010, 04:16 PM
Holy Schmoley! I love this!

RoxyBlue
04-30-2010, 04:25 PM
Holy crap, that's a stunning piece of work! Wow!

Joiseygal
04-30-2010, 04:25 PM
Awesome job! I love it!

trishaanne
04-30-2010, 04:32 PM
Wow.....amazing.....fantastic......genius!!!!!!!

Otaku
04-30-2010, 04:32 PM
From one Lovecraft devotee to another, very well done! The 'stone by itself is very nice - the tentacles are horrific! And a nice touch adding the page from the Necronomicon.

Rahnefan
04-30-2010, 04:49 PM
OMG
Favorite tombstone by anybody, ever. Everything about this is great.

GrimleeFeindish
04-30-2010, 04:55 PM
All I can say is WOW! So cool.

hpropman
04-30-2010, 05:11 PM
Holy Cow! I love it. Again too many good props to decide from!

heresjohnny
04-30-2010, 05:15 PM
I agree, WOW. This is one of my favorites so far, I absolutely dig the detail in the stone and tentacles, and the finishing touches with the paint.

Terrormaster
04-30-2010, 05:17 PM
Absolutely stunning. I LOVE it! Where can I buy one!?

Spooky1
04-30-2010, 05:37 PM
Holy Smokes! That's just too cool. I love it. Thanks for posting the pics of the construction in your album.

LOL, I thought the suckers looked like Cheerios, then I read the description and saw you use Fruit Loops. :)

apetoes
04-30-2010, 05:44 PM
Wow... just wow, fantastic work!

jaege
04-30-2010, 06:14 PM
Wow.

Haunted Bayou
04-30-2010, 06:48 PM
Fine job as always.

Great concept and well executed.

howlin mad jack
04-30-2010, 07:15 PM
U-H, that is one awesome tombstone!! The stone by itself would have been really cool, but the added tentacles and amazing detail are out of this world!!! Add in the spell parchment and you have a phenomenal prop, but under twenty bucks is icing on the cake!!! You do outstanding work!!!

HAUNTEDBARN
04-30-2010, 08:04 PM
Great work

Toktorill
04-30-2010, 08:27 PM
Holy shee-moke! That is absolutely gorgeous!!! Scariest use of fruit loops I have ever seen!!! (takes notes)

STOLLOWEEN
04-30-2010, 08:47 PM
Beautiful prop...the paint job on the tombstone is outstanding and I'm loving the use of Fruit Loops....great work.

Uruk-Hai
04-30-2010, 08:53 PM
Thanks everyone!! For a while there I wasn't sure if it would be done in time. Sleep? Who needs to sleep? :) There are some many great entries (and so many with animation for under $20 - WOW!) it will certainly be hard for me to pick my favourites.

Dixie
05-01-2010, 12:07 AM
I have so much respect for you - Amazing tombstone styling, I love the details at the top... Oh, and the tentacles are genius, Fruit Loops and all, but I have always had such a soft spot for tombstones, yours in particular. I don't know that I would have seen that architecture in my head, very impressive job, Uruk-Hai... you continually raise the bar round' here :)

Uruk-Hai
05-01-2010, 12:33 AM
Thanks so much Dixie for your kind words. You're going to make me blush! ;)

operatingnurse
05-01-2010, 02:20 AM
It's going be a tight race this year. I don't even know who's getting my vote because there are several ridiculously sweet props in the mix.

Dark Angel 27
05-01-2010, 02:36 AM
completely awesome! This is my favorite right now. It will be very difficult to choose when the time comes!

Zurgh
05-01-2010, 04:13 AM
WOW... as in holy $][i↑, WOW‼‼‼‼ weeeeeet mb!!!!! So cool, SO - COOL! ...

WOW!!! To fully express my wonder & admiration would require me to open the Gate & invite destruction... As a Lovecraft fan, I LOVE IT! This Rules in my book, Absolutely Outrageously Awesome!!!

ScreamingScarecrow
05-01-2010, 06:12 AM
Simply awesome! nough said!

HauntDaddy
05-01-2010, 11:09 AM
Now thats a @#$%^@$ prop that is awesome!!!

Lauriebeast
05-01-2010, 11:19 AM
WOW! Stunning!

Bethene
05-01-2010, 03:29 PM
again Urak-Hai, fabulous - beyond words!

Volscalkur
05-01-2010, 06:18 PM
WOW... as in holy $][i↑, WOW‼‼‼‼ weeeeeet mb!!!!! So cool, SO - COOL! ...

WOW!!! To fully express my wonder & admiration would require me to open the Gate & invite destruction... As a Lovecraft fan, I LOVE IT! This Rules in my book, Absolutely Outrageously Awesome!!!

LOL yeah what he said! ^This is amazing! :eek: I love it!
The fruit loops are a ridiculously creative and cool idea!:D
Excellent Job!

IMU
05-01-2010, 07:59 PM
AWESOME JOB! You make some killer tombstones! :)

jdubbya
05-01-2010, 08:26 PM
Outstanding (as usual) Hector.
The whole thing is great from concept to the finish of the stone (which is the best I've seen to date, btw!)
It's stuff like this that keeps me from entering these prop contests. This is nothing short of Disney quality!

Meeps
05-02-2010, 03:21 AM
Excellent details and painting on that tombstone! Awesome!

batmanosaurus
05-02-2010, 04:07 PM
Everyone agrees, you done good! I especially like the wrinkly skin and suction cups scars on the broken stone. There's so much detail, I see more every time I look.

fick209
05-02-2010, 08:32 PM
That is simply awesome, I am in total awe

Wildcat
05-02-2010, 10:16 PM
Wow. That is an amazing stone. The details are wonderful.

Revenant
05-02-2010, 11:19 PM
Ommfg............

Best.

Tombstone.

Ever.

As a diehard Lovecraftiean and lover of tombstones, I salute you sir as my hero. The amount of detail and realism on this thing is positively ridiculous. And for 20 bucks.... jeeeeeeez....... unreal.

bobzilla
05-04-2010, 11:12 PM
Awesome !!!

Lilly
05-05-2010, 01:32 PM
this is awesome Uruk..
I hope the mice dont eat your cheerios..LOL

Bone To Pick
05-05-2010, 06:38 PM
Fantastic work, Uruk-Hai! Very professional. The fact that you can also eat it for breakfast is a big plus! :D

Devils Chariot
05-05-2010, 06:57 PM
This is so very cool. Your tentacle technique is outstanding! Fruit loops!?! Ingenious!

shadowopal
05-05-2010, 07:35 PM
That is gorgeous! Nicely done. I may have to stea...errr....borrow this design for my graveyard. I love Lovecraft as well.

JohnnyAppleseed
05-08-2010, 11:08 AM
Simply wow, I bow to a tombstone master!

heresjohnny
05-08-2010, 11:50 AM
Good luck!

Volscalkur
05-11-2010, 05:30 PM
Congratulations Uruk-Hai! :smileton:
Ah they were fruitloops... I think I called them cheerios in my last post... such a great idea none the less!

RavensHollow
05-25-2010, 01:25 PM
That is soooo great! I love the tentacles they are detailed! Love it!

randomr8
05-25-2010, 09:31 PM
That rocks. Love Love Lovecraft.

MoldyCoffin
05-25-2010, 09:43 PM
Simply the best $20 tombstone on (or below) the surface!

Uruk-Hai
06-01-2010, 10:35 AM
Thanks everyone for all the kind words and comments! It really means a lot coming from such a creative talented group like we have here. I can't wait to see how this will look in the cemetery this year and the reaction from visitors. Thanks again!

Zombies R Us
06-04-2010, 08:54 PM
We're not worthy, we're not worthy!

Dr Dark
06-21-2010, 05:54 PM
This is just incredible work!!!