Seeing as I am a big H.P. Lovecraft fan and one of my all time favourite novels is The Call of Cthulu, first published way back in Weird Tales in 1928, I jumped at the chance to write a review of one of Figone‘s recent releases, Cthulu, The Sleeper of R’lyeh!
One of the biggest disappointments for me is the fact that Jeremie refuses to improve the packaging for his products. I have had several orders before that have turned up with small parts snapped off and this time was no different with fingers snapped, hopefully they can be repaired, but should I have to do this? However, despite this minor factor there is no denying the quality and originality of the figures released under the Figone name. However, can you imagine a product sculpted by Allan, incredible cast, nicely presented with boxart etc, I am sure the extra effort would pay dividends!!
This is an 11 part, polyurethane resin kit, sculpted by the creature creator extraordinaire Allan Carrasco based on his own concept art and stands approximately 70mm in height. I am super excited by this release and first impressions are so good, let us take a closer look!
The narrator, Francis Wayland Thurston, tells of his discovery of notes left behind by his grand-uncle, George Gammell Angell, a linguistic Professor at Brown University, following his death in the winter of 1926–27. Among the notes is a small bas-relief sculpture of a scaly creature which portrays “simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature.” The sculptor, Henry Anthony Wilcox, an art student from Rhode Island, based the work on the delirious visionary dreams of “great Cyclopean cities of titan blocks and sky-flung monoliths.” Frequent references to Cthulhu and R’lyeh are found Within Wilcox’s papers there are often references to Cthulu, R’lyeh and then Angell discovers global reports of mass hysteria.
In other notes a 1908 meeting of an archeological society discusses how a New Orleans police official John Raymond Legrasse asks attendees to identify a statuette of an unidentifiable greenish-black stone. It is then revealed that the previous year, Legrasse and a party of policemen found several murdered women & children being used in a ritual by a Louisiana swamp Cult. During a raid led by Legrasse, five occultists are killed and a further 47 arrested, where it is learnt that they worship the “Great Old Ones” and await the return of a monstrous creature called Cthulhu. The prisoners identify the statuette as “great Cthulhu.”
Thurston discovers a 1925 article from an Australian newspaper which reports the discovery of a derelict ship, the Emma, of which second mate Gustaf Johansen is the sole survivor. Johansen reports that the Emma was attacked by a heavily armed yacht called the Alert. Following a skirmish the crew of Emma were killed, the yacht was commandeered and the survivors and came across an uncharted island, coordinates of which were. All of the crew except Johansen and one other all die on the island, the cause was never revealed.
Turston learns of Johansesn’s death following an encounter with two Lascar (south east Asian) sailors and a meeting with the widow is most revealing as she hands him a manuscript. Wherein the uncharted island is described as being home to a “nightmare corpse-city” called R’lyeh. Johansen’s crew struggled to comprehend the non-Euclidean geometry (which arises when either the metric requirement is relaxed, or the parallel postulate is replaced with an alternative one) of the city and accidentally release Cthulhu, killing all within except Johansen and one other who manage to escape aboard the Alert. However, they are pursued by Cthulu, Johansen rams Alert into the head of Cthulu, who explodes in a green mist only to regenerate. They do not hang around and flee, but after a short episode of insanity Johansen’s crew mate dies.
Thurston now becomes a target of the Cthulu worshippers and is in grave danger!
Cthulhu Mythos scholar Robert M. Price claims the sonnet titled The Kraken (1830) by Alfred Tennyson (1809 – 6 October 1892 who was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria‘s reign and remains one of the most popular British poets, The Charge of the Light Brigade in particular springs to mind) was a major inspiration for Lovecraft’s story, as both reference a huge aquatic, slumbering creature at the bottom of the ocean, destined to emerge during an apocalyptic age.
Although Lovecraft felt the story was “middling” neither good nor bad, the creator of Conan, Robert E. Howard, had another point of view and said he regarded it as “a masterpiece, which I am sure will live as one of the highest achievements of literature. Mr. Lovecraft holds a unique position in the literary world; he has grasped, to all intents, the worlds outside our paltry ken.”
SCULPT AND CAST
The main piece consists of torso and legs and is covered in textures and details that are all reminiscent of the imagery that we see for Cthulu, subterranean creatures and marine life, along with suckered tentacles and deep wrinkling of the skin.
The creature is quite squat and hunched over which adds to its sinister nature, the anatomy also helps to imply the strength and power of this once slumbering evil. The various cuts made for the casting process are nicely done and dry fitting shows that a little gap filling will be necessary.
The tentacled head has an angled slot cut into it to fit snugly to the neck area, thus completing the array of tentacles, some free hanging and “searching”, whilst the others are sculpted nestled in tight, caressing the chest and paunch. The detailing to the tentacles is nicely done and relatively realistic, the dome to the head again is nicely textured with visual clues present once more.
There is another section of tentacles that needs attaching between the legs in the groin area, innocently you might assume this to be a Cthulu style loin cloth or such but anyone who knows Allan and his sculpts will also know his penchant for large genitalia and I think this piece is no different!
The two small wings attach in little recesses atop the shoulders and display the textures and details that you would expect, it is not difficult to see that Allan would have got his inspiration for this piece from the tons of art depicting Cthulu online.
Next we have the four arms, nice textures and details including the veins under the skin, wrinkles, calloused knuckles and finger nails. The joins make it obvious which arm goes where and they add an other worldly element to the bizarre Sleeper of R’lyeh! Something I do not recall reading about is the trident styled weapon that our Cthulu is wielding. Itself a nice piece of sculpting and consists of two parts.
The oxidised, lumpy and crusted handle is clenched between two hands which attach to two of the arms, weapon held out in front of the body. The second part consists of the trident head, with sharp, angular chipping, similar to that of a flint weapon. This adds to the antiquity and ancient feel to the creature.
There are no major defects such as air bubble holes or casting slippage but the casting is not to the same standard as others I have reviewed. That is to say the capture of all the details and textures is spot on but there is a lot more clean up required with extensive mold lines throughout most parts. However, a little work in preparation should not put you off this project, another stunning creature creation from the master that is Carrasco!
DESIGN AND ORIGINALITY
You can pretty much count on Allan Carrasco to produce original creatures and monsters and although Cthulu is not a new concept it is certainly one which will get most figure painters excited and in particular those with an interest in Lovecraft. The attention to the detailing is second to none and the figure is well-balanced, the addition of the double-handed weapon aids the pose and the planted feet adds to the sense of mass.
Despite the pose looking quite sedentary, the undulating arms add considerable movement to the piece, just as we would expect with the Sleeper. One suggestion I would possibly put forth is that perhaps the head would add more dynamism if it was posed slightly off centre rather than rigidly set staring forwards.
What is there not to desire about a 70mm high, Cthulu sculpted by the awesome Allan Carrasco? The sculpt is stunning but the cast and presentation could be improved, saying that though the less cost involved with packaging and presentation means more value to both customer and Artist so I guess it is a balancing act in many respects.
I think €49 is a competitive price point for this kit and shouldn’t put anyone off making the purchase. Actually the more I think about the amount of work and effort involved to bring any kit to fruition, in the most part kits in our world are reasonably cheap.
Dates, Figures and Stuff
Material Polyurethane Resin
No of Pieces 11
Release Date Available Now
Where Can I Get It? HERE