Tentacles Redux: Water Effects Upgrade

A few months ago, The She DM posted a great DIY Miniatures article on how to make tentacle miniatures. If you’ve read even a few articles on this site, you know that I love the terrain/painting/arts & crafts aspect of this hobby. So this little gem was right up my alley, and I was appropriately excited to try it out. I’m not going to go through and re-hash all the steps, but it’s basically taking this toy octopus, and mounting its tentacles. If you want all the steps, you can check out her article; I have a few comments to add, but the real point of this article is how I took this awesome idea one step further.

First, my comments. In gluing the tentacles to the bases, I went straight for the hot glue gun, as that was recommended in The She DM’s article. This was a good idea, but not for the reasons stated in the original article. What the hot glue did for me was forgive any miscalculations in my cuts – some of the tentacles were cut at slightly the wrong angle, and the hot glue allowed me to “prop up” the tentacle on the base. Then, I applied the glue in what I thought was a liberal fashion around the base of the tentacle. Turns out, not liberally enough. After a bit of use, the tentacles were pulling away from the base. This was easy enough to fix – a drop of superglue, fit the tentacle back into the hot glue, and they were good as new.

I will also note that the head of the octopus, once the tentacles are removed, fits perfectly on a 3″ round circle. You can find packs of them in the wood crafts section of your local craft store for about a dollar. Again, a little superglue as an adhesive worked great for me.

So, I was looking at these eight new tentacles I had, and they looked beautiful. I mean, this was a really good idea. I’m constantly amazed at the stuff the community comes out with. I wanted to build on this idea. The only part of the miniature that didn’t appeal to me was all that ugly hot glue around the base. Don’t get me wrong, it’s necessary, but if I had my way, the tentacles would look like they were bursting out of the water, not bursting out of a gelatinous mess. Fortunately, that was very easy to do. And I do mean VERY easy.

So, you’ve all heard me talk about water effects. There’s even a tag on this site for the stuff. This is exactly the best sort of application for it. Seriously guys, I don’t know how many more ways I need to use it to convince you that you need to get some. At any rate…

I simply covered over all the ugly hot glue with the water effects, and used a toothpick to “pull” the water effects up and then out (away from the tentacles). The finished effect is a tentacle bursting out of the water. And there’s a bonus benefit to doing this: since the water effects is a sort of adhesive, it added a third layer of lamination and adhesion to insure the tentacles won’t separate from the bases.

Click for big

I let the water effects dry for a day or two, then painted it with blue, and drybrushed with white. The finished product is stunning, and the upgrade took about 45 minutes, not counting drying time, of course. Totally worth it in my book.

Oh, and I did the head too.

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7 Responses to Tentacles Redux: Water Effects Upgrade

  1. Alphastream says:

    I love how the head turned out! The water effects seem to really let you sink the head into the stuff, solving the problem of how to work with the cuts you have around the tentacles. Sweet!

    For those wanting some step-by-step, as well as a view of how I made these into Silt Horror tentacles for Dark Sun, I wrote up a post here.

    • Benoit says:

      Thanks! If I had to do it again, I might try to shave some off the bottom of the head, so it wouldn’t be sitting so high above the base. On the other hand, I can definitely see that being more trouble than it’s worth…

      • Keith Davies says:

        Personally I like how the head rides so high.

        Never mind “that being more trouble than it’s worth” for you to shave the bottom, this view says to the players “this is more trouble than it’s worth… but you don’t get to pick”

        muhuhaha, etc. optional

  2. Ben says:

    Slickery. I like how you salvaged the head. You got skillz with that glue gun. I’m like a 3-yr-old with that darn thing:(

  3. Very cool addition to the project with the water effects. This is the kind of prop that when used in play completely blows the players’ minds and is perfect for a climactic battle.
    When I ran Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil I really, really wanted to make an Imix mini out of a Human Torch action figure but I never got around to it before the encounter took place… my only regret in an otherwise awesome campaign.

    • Benoit says:

      Thanks. It was a quick and easy way to enhance the minis. Believe me, not all the stuff I put on the table for the PCs to fight looks like this; many times I just use tokens.

  4. Pingback: Links of the Week: January 9, 2012 | Keith J Davies — In My Campaign - Keith's thoughts on RPG design and play.

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