31 May 2021

Monster May(hem): Hastur...oh, Hastur

I think I went a monster too far. Why couldn't Robert W. Chambers have written The King In Literally Any Colour Except Yellow?

The actual model is superb, creepy and off-putting as a Lovecraftian horror should be. Which is odd, as Lovecraft mentions Hastur exactly twice — in passing — in The Whisperer in Darkness:

I found myself faced by names and terms that I had heard elsewhere in the most hideous of connections—Yuggoth, Great Cthulhu, Tsathoggua, Yog-Sothoth, R'lyeh, Nyarlathotep, Azathoth, Hastur, Yian, Leng, the Lake of Hali, Bethmoora, the Yellow Sign, L'mur-Kathulos, Bran and the Magnum Innominandum...  There is a whole secret cult of evil men (a man of your mystical erudition will understand me when I link them with Hastur and the Yellow Sign) devoted to the purpose of tracking them down and injuring them on behalf of the monstrous powers from other dimensions.

Hastur was created by Ambrose Bierce in the short story "Ha├»ta the Shepherd" (1891) in which he's a benevolent character, and Chambers took the name for a city that appears in his short stories "The Yellow Sign" and "The Repairer of Reputations", collected in The King In Yellow (1895).

Lovecraft was an avid reader of weird fiction, and was influenced heavily by what he read. He was a huge fan of Chambers' anthology and introduced Hastur into his works as one of his Outer Gods. After his death August Derleth canonised the various monsters and horrors into the Cthulhu Mythos, and Hastur officially joined the club.

Anyway, back to the mini.

This is as far as I got before I ran out of time. The tentacles are airbrushed with Malefic Flesh, which is a hell of a lot browner when used on such a large model. That threw me, as I was then totally stuck for a shade tone and a highlight colour. I originally shaded it with Sepia Wash and that was a disaster as it basically didn't show up once dry. I redid it with Purple Tone and got the above effect. So far, so mediocre, and I still had no idea what to use for a highlight. 

But it was the yellow, the YELLOW, that killed my will to live. There's a reason I avoid it except for little bits (Baker is a good example) or blonde hair. But I can't avoid it with Hazzer, and every brush stroke reminded me of why I hate this bloody colour. I actually airbrushed him first with Daemonic Yellow, which I thought would help with coverage. All I can say to that is BWAHAHAHAHAA! 

So, to the regular brush. Coat after coat, and every one more pointless than the last. Dave gave me some advice in a comment under one of my posts on how to paint yellow, but unfortunately it involves Citadel paints that I don't own. I think I need to buy whichever yellow basecoat I can find, either Vallejo Heavy Gold Brown or Citadel Averland Sunset. Checking Amazon, it amazingly doesn't have the Vallejo colour so I'll be heading to Bennington to shell out on Citadel's basecoat.

Hastur will be done, and done soon, but he'll be getting a bath in Simple Green first as I'm done staring at him in despair. Which reminds me, Hastur's four cultists, which look just as crap as their master, are currently in their third bath and will also be done once I've got a base colour.

I'm pretty annoyed that I gave up on Hastur, but I look back over my output during Monster May(hem) and I'm not going to let this git get me down. I managed 40 of the 45 minis that came with Cthulhu: Death May Die — 20 monsters and 20 humans — and I also got a couple of expansion figures done with Yog-Sothoth and Wilbur Whateleyand an Elder Thing that didn't come with C:DMD. So that's 23 monsters over the past 31 days, which kind of craps all over last year's total of five. There's also four non-Lovecraftian monsters I didn't get to this month, including a troll, two dragons and a pig ogre. All of those are in various stages of being done, and I'll hit them soon. 

As with last year, I had a great time taking part in Monster May(hem). It did involve a lot of coffee, swearing, synthwave, Slowdive and vaping, and there were days when I was painting at 6.30am, but it was totally worth it. Thanks to Keith for dreaming it up.

Here's the final list of what we all accomplished:

Keith, the instigator of insanity, painted a wyvern that could have jumped off the pages of 'Eavy Metal as well as Baba Yaga and a Ripper Beast.

Azazel of Azazel’s Bitz Box churned out a Carrion Crawler, a pack of raptors, a Carnotaurus and a Hornslasher,  trio of Void Hounds, a Harbinger Monster, a Balor Demon, a Dire Crocodile, an Umber Hulk, a Coral Golem and a Sand Kraken.

Dave of Wargames Terrain Workshop decided on a Star Wars theme this year, and went the homemade route with a wamp rat, a ghoel and a rock wart, a joopa and krayt dragon.

Roger from Rantings from Under the Wargames Table sculpted and painted his own tentacled eyeball and  sabre tooth tigers.

In his first appearance in the challenge, Mark of Markamorin.com built and painted an Aztec sacrificial altar, and an Aztec Temple High Throne.

The Good Ground's Tom, another newcomer to this mass madness, painted a Balor Demon, something  called Siren Head and a Red Slaad.

Jeremy at Carrion Crow completed his Ithaqua the Wind-Walker.

Next month it's Forgotten Heroes, and I have an idea of what I want to do. I'm just not sure I can accomplish it. We'll see.


  1. I think your output throughout Monster May(hem) has been absolutely first-rate, Matt, and you certainly shouldn't be disappointed. I've thoroughly enjoyed your paint-jobs, and am now very much looking forward to seeing what you do for Forgotten Heroes.

    1. Thanks! I'm very happy with my output, and have no complaints with any of the other minis I did. With Hastur it's more a case of the yellow (any other colour I could cope with) and the horrible brownish tentacles. I was basically defeated by the colours LOL!

      I do want to do something for Forgotten Heroes, I'm just having difficulty finding suitable minis to convert. I've also just got a part-time job after over a year off work, so there goes valuable hobby time :-(

  2. Shame this one stopped you Matt, your output this month has been fantastic. I used to have the same aversion to painting green, until I found the right colours. There are so many ways to paint yellow, paint it in fleshtones then apply a yellow wash over the top, or for a dirty look use a flesh wash to shade, I think part of the problem is the base yellow, it seems too washed out for a base, but would work well as a highlight colour

    1. I knew one would prove to be the problem mini, and I had a feeling it would be Hastur from the minute I took him out of the box. In theory,and once you get past the complexity of the sculpt, he should be straightforward enough: tentacles in one colour and him in yellow. I just got thoroughly disheartened as I went along, and he became one of those figures you just want to chuck in storage and forget about. But I'll be finishing him as soon as I can.

  3. I think you did rather well old son! that is a hell of an impressive total for one months painting! and all top notch painting too! Shame this one stopped you, it's a cracking model and I'm sure it will be fantastic once finished, yellow is a sh*t to paint, I've got a car thats yellow to paint fore FH and I keep looking at it and wondering whether I should strip the red paint that's on it now or just prime over the top? yes yellow is a sh*t!!!

    Cheers Roger.

    1. Thank you, Roger. My total is impressive, it works out at 1.29 models a day according to my calculator LOL! As I said in the post, I'm not letting my issues with Hastur deflect from what I achieved during Monster May(hem). I had a blast painting all the others and I'm proud of what I accomplished.

      I would totally strip the paint off that car if I was you, or at least make sure you have a solid primer over the red. Yellow is an absolute bugger to paint.

  4. You killed it this year, Matt. There's no way I could keep up with you and Azazel; by the time I visited your blogs to comment on something, you posted 3 more times! Great work on everything and thanks so much for participating again!
    Hastur is far and away my favorite GOO; and the King in Yellow is the coolest avatar ever. I agree with you; if there's one color I hate painting and shading, it's yellow. I've found that most yellows contain a pretty weak pigment and don't layer well. You can always seems to see what's under it. I've had some success painting a gray foundation under anything I'm going to paint yellow, but it doesn't always work. The GW Imperial Fist tutorials are pretty good, but of course you would need to use Citadel paints for the best effect. I've seen more than one person paint yellow over a basecoat of red (usually with an airbrush). Sounds wacky to me but it looks pretty great.
    Pat yourself on the back, man. That was some month!

    1. Thanks, matey! It was a ton of work but I had a ton of fun and just like last year I'm really happy I took part. Hastur is currently coated in Simple Green, and I have a way better idea of how I want to paint him. I'll have him and his cultists done soon.