18 May 2021

Monster May(hem): Cthonian

There's a surprising number of creatures in the Cthulhu mythos that aren't HP Lovecraft inventions, and cthonians are one of them.

Cthonians were created by Brian Lumley in his 1975 novel The Burrowers Beneath. They're huge creatures that live underground, and in the story cultists try to raise them to destroy Great Britain. All they had to do was wait 40 years for Brexit, but I guess they were impatient.

Like the hunting horrors, the cthonian (Jeff from now on) was resprayed black, and it didn't take long for me to notice all the bits I'd missed — especially on his three spine-like tails. What I thought would be a relatively easy paintjob turned into a prologue of about 30 minutes of dabbing a black-laden brush over all the light grey bits, and I'm sure there's a few spots I missed. Talking of spots I missed, try to ignore the bits of sand that I missed when brushing off Jeff's bottom tentacles.

With the touchups (ooer!) out of the way, I started the drybrushing with Dark Grey, giving him a bit of an overbrush to make sure it showed up against the black. With that done it was on to a drybrush with Neutral Grey, and then a final, lighter one with Ghost Grey.

One thing I hate about doing the black/grey look is how easy it is to turn what's supposed to be a living creature into a statue. I decided to give Jeff a wash to give him some colour and a bit of warmth, so I chose green. Jeff's definitely got an Alien look to him and green was the way to go. I plastered it on mainly his body, with a less generous coat on his tails as those bits are a real pain to brush properly thanks to their knobbly shape. 

Just like Ed, the green tone dried glossy, although not as badly. I decided to leave it as having a slight sheen made Jeff look a bit more alive and Alien-y.

That's all the black out the way, now it's time for the tentacles. Keeping with the green theme, they all got a coat of Heavy Black Green and a drybrush with Mutation Green. I added a bit of Scorpy Green for the final highlight, and once dry all the tentacles were washed with Purple Tone to give an added bit of .otherworldliness. The teeth are Off-White with a dab of Sepia Wash.

Oh, the joys of cheap Walmart brushes.

Once again I found myself painting the base with Mod Podge, dumping on sand and staring at my paint racks for a while trying to choose a colour for his base that I hadn't already used. I decided to go with Red, highlighted with Sunny Skin Tone and some Lemon Yellow. And another one is done!

Check out the other participants in this year's Monster May(hem):

Keith, the dark prince who invented this cavalcade of horror, painted a superb Ripper Beast.

Jeremy at Carrion Crow has made a start on Ithaqua the Wind-Walker despite being hampered by dried paint.

Dave from Wargames Terrain Workshop has finished his homemade krayt dragon from The Mandalorian and it's amazing.

Roger from Rantings from Under the Wargames Table has got stuck in with a couple of sabre tooth tigers.

Mark of Markamorin.com has built and painted an absolutely superb Aztec sacrificial altar.

Azazel from Azazel’s Bitz Box has added to his Umber Hulk and Coral Golem with a wonderful Sand Kraken.

The Good Ground's Tom did an excellent Red Slaad, which I cannot stop reading as "Red Salad".

Mike, who's on Instagram @sasquatchminis


  1. Great work on Jeff Matt, the limited pallet colours gives a very creepy look to the beast

    1. Thank you, Dave. I wanted to keep Jeff simple to get him done relatively quickly. I think the tentacles need another highlight with some brighter green, but I am happy with him.

  2. For such a knobbly creature, you've still done an amazingly good paint-job on it erm him.
    It's tru;t the thing nightmares are made f and n the true Lovecraftian traditions.

    1. Thanks! It is a horribly nasty looking creature and the idea of this thing shooting out of the ground and pulling you to your death is pretty terrifying.

  3. This sculpt does look very Aliens inspired to me too. I think black and green were great color choices as a result. Sorry to hear about your brush! Hopefully you've got a backup on hand so you can keep painting :)

    1. I have loads of those cheap Walmart brushes, I usually pick up one pack a month. They're only $3 for five. I glued the broken one back together and it's recovering well :-)

      Black/green worked really well on this guy. I am thinking about adding a more intense green to the highlights on the tentacles just to bring them out more.