Sunday 5 November 2023

The Black Beast of Aargh

 Some models seem like a good idea, but take a long time to get round to making. Ages ago, I backed a Reaper Bones kickstarter, and got a large box of varied (but generally not great) miniatures, made of bendy rubbery plastic. Among them was a beholder, a sort of floating eyeball monster from Dungeons & Dragons. I thought that the beholder looked a bit like the head of the Black Beast of Aargh from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The Black Beast, which is actually green, is a large monster encountered by the knights of the Round Table during their search for the grail. It eats the helpful monk Brother Maynard, and then goes on the rampage. As they tend to do, the knights run away, and are chased by the beast. The beast is only stopped when the animator suffers a fatal heart attack, at which point it vanishes.

I thought it was finally time to have a go at making this silly thing. I started by cutting unnecessary details off the beholder model. I made a neck out of bits and bobs and plasticard, and an armature for its horns out of twisted wire. 

Then I sculpted over this with DAS clay, and added some details with green stuff.

Luckily, the beast doesn't have much in detail. It has two legs, ending in clawed feet, but not a lot else. Rocks were added with torn corn cut to fit.

I sculpted the feet out of green stuff. I made these separately, using blister pack plastic to build them on. I cut them from the blister pack and stuck them onto a base, and then stuck the rest of the beast on top. It got a little fin on its back, left over from a troll.

After that, it was time to paint this thing. I think that Terry Gilliam used an airbrush to draw the beast: it looks very shaded, but simple. I tried to replicate Gilliam's style, but it was tricky. The end result looks rather like it was sculpted out of cake icing.

The main lesson here is that if you're going to sculpt a model of something, sculpt a model of something that looks stupid to begin with. It reminds me that sculpting is really really hard - at least with clay: maybe it's much easier on a computer. 

Normal service will be resumed shortly. 


  1. Man, this creation is so awesome! First of all, I had nerver thought of using a Beholder simply as the head of a full-body monster, you just opened a door there! But then you made the whole path and came out with the final result. I'm out of words, I can only praise your creativiness and vision! So cool!

    1. Cheers - I've been wondering how to make this for ages and finally bit the bullet. I reckon that the secret to converting is to forget the actual purpose of a bit and think "What can I use this for?" And I do love The Holy Grail. It's so silly.

  2. Utterly awesome!

    It's a really effective build and I'd love to see some hapless Knights and possibly a murderous bunny too!

    1. Thanks! I'm not planning to make the knights yet, but I've seen some cool metal models of King Arthur and co. I could make the rabbit, though - I just need a pile of bodies...

  3. What a fantastic creation! Bravo!!