Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Giger-esque Terrain From Seasonal Materials

Every year my wife goes on a flurry of seasonal baking. Part of this whole whirlwind of carb-apocalypse is the processing of fresh pumpkins. This involves halving them and roasting them, etc., etc.. This year I took note of the stalks that she breaks off of the top halves of the pumpkins and got a bug of an idea.

I had her throw the stalks into the oven with the halves this time to bake them to a nice petrified consistency. As the stalks are already dry enough to be knocked off the pumpkins with little effort, this worked quite nicely.What I ended up with were several nice, organic shapes.

I began by cutting out several stiff card bases (old Warhammer 40K vehicle cards). I used simple super glue to attach the stalks to the bases and then used some Spackle to build up the bases. I let this dry overnight and then sprayed several thick coats of sealing spray over the whole thing and let that dry, repeating until they had a nice even finish much like plastic or resin but not so much that it obscured the surface details. I base-coated this all black with spray paint.

When it came to doing the final detailing and painting, I surfaced the bases wit ha simple layer of base grey paint run through my "sand box". I applied a liberal amount of Devlin Mud wash to the base. The original paint scheme was going to be some sort of bleached out shade of petrified wood or bone coloring, but once I started looking at the black spires jutting out of the wasted looking ground, I thought of a much more sinister - Giger stuff.

A light dry brushing of an eerie blue along the ridges and bulbs of the pumpkin stalks really cast these in that black as night, nightmare shade. The picture above doesn't do them justice.

I have several more of these and am tempted to try to resin cast a few so I don't have to wait until next Autumn for more. I may try to paint a few in the originally planned bone shades and see if I can replicate that sci-fi "ancient fossil" effect.

I imagine this would work with any other similarly wooded plant stalk and am considering other forms of squash for smaller sizes. If one wanted to, the shapes could easily be replicated with modelling clay as well. I only used the stalks because I had them available and felt like experimenting with found materials. 



  1. Sweet! Maybe a set of these alien-veggies animated to go with the static-in-limbo-but watching-you-mode. Great creative eye, Eli.

  2. An interesting idea.

    These same stocks could easily be modeled with grotesque maws and be surfacing death worms of any number of origins.


  3. Nicely done.

    I always find scratch-built terrain a real Buzz, even better if made from re-cycled material.


    1. Tony,

      I have been wanting to do some menacing, nearly monumental alien scenery for my 15mm stuff. I could just as easily have sculpted these from DAS or Sculpy, but oddly enough the thought only occurred to me after see what a marvelous shape the natural pumpkin stalks were. Now i want more of them than I have and need to consider artificial means.


  4. I love it- perfect table decor for Kingdom Death: Monster. Years ago, my buddy whittled pumpkin stems as horns for my Darth Maul costume. The costume snatched me first place!

  5. Re-visiting the movies this week as well as watching Prometheus for the first time and these look superb.

  6. Resin casting these would be fairly straight-forward. Longer curves might give some trouble, but even a broken casting would look very natural, and so would bubbles.


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