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77037 + 80038 Giant Fallout Hermit Crab

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I figure the captions ought to tell most of the story here, but just in case it's too hard to read, here's the gist:


When I was working on my "Rooby-Doo History Machine" project, I picked up a grab-bag of McDonald's Happy Meal toys, and ended up with a spare "Fillmore" VW Van.  A friend of mine ran a "Far Harbor" themed adventure for GenCon (he's been using the Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars rules, with a change of "trappings," to run his Fallout-themed games), and I loved the conversions he'd done to a few Reaper minis for the "Anglers" and "Trappers" for the scenario.  I thought ... hey, if I ever run a Far-Harbor game, I could make ... a GIANT HERMIT CRAB!  :D


In the game, you occasionally encounter these abandoned, gutted "Lobster Grill" vans.  Sometimes it's just a van with the front mysteriously ripped off, and a bunch of junk piled inside. Other times ... something is living there, and disturbed by your approach!  Out come claws, legs, and a couple of eye stalks, and the whole thing lurches toward you!  It's one of the craziest, most awesome critters in the Fallout universe, as far as I'm concerned.  :)  I just wish they had a little more variety in what sorts of things they'd inhabit (maybe a dumpster?  maybe just a different paint job so they're not ALL Lobster Grill vans?) but in this case it makes it a lot easier for me to make this identifiably the same thing: I just need to make a Lobster Grill van for the shell.


First off, as with the "History Machine," I used a small flat-head screwdriver to remove the triangle-inset screws on the bottom, then used some epoxy putty to fill in the side window depressions, for more of a delivery van look, so I could put an emblem on each side panel, and base-coated everything (but the removed wheels) with gray primer.  Then, UNLIKE the "History Machine," I used the cutting wheel edge from my Dremel to carefully cut out the passenger doors and front section.  At first, I was thinking of cutting out the front panel windows and leaving the central bar in place, to try to make it look a little more "torn out" like the Fallout van, but I figured that particular piece would just be an impalement risk for the hermit crab inhabitant, so it'd likely be one of the first things to go.  Instead, I turned my initial cuts along the front-panel windows into a chance to make "broken" glass by cutting out a few segments -- and saving the passenger doors and front face for later (perhaps Scrap Yard decor, or something to make a "scrap barricade" look more interesting, or maybe a makeshift shield for a REALLY big Super Mutant).


I used a "spackle" or "stipple" application method with paints on the shell, starting with Graphite Gray and Thicket Green (the latter being a particularly THICK paint, lending itself to this process well) in the hopes that by roughly caking it on, I'd make the surface look more rust-pitted and grimy.  I then used Pumpkin Orange for patches of rust, with little stipples of Golden Tan for highlights within the rust patches.


For the Lobster Grill labels, I printed those in paper, and used watered-down Tacky Glue to apply them to the sides, taking care to use my fingernail to be sure the paper got into recessed areas along those raised ridges along the side of the van.  Some of the toner wore off from this sort of rough treatment, but that only looks in keeping with the general appearance of wear and decay.  I also printed off some tiny Maine license plates to glue onto the front and back (even though the front won't be staying with the rest of the van).


For the crab's body, I used a collection of pieces from 77037 "Wolf Demon" (the weird crab claw arms), 80038 "Bathalian Centurion" (the head, tentacles, and arm-claws), plus a couple of Warhammer 40K Tyranid alternate arm-claws.  I drilled holes and used wire to cobble the things together, and a bunch of epoxy putty to lump together an approximation of a body, complete with a curled asymmetrical rear body (normally hidden by the shell, of course).  I painted the whole thing pink, then washed it in a glossy "Real Burgundy" paint that's great for gore ... or, in this case, slick-looking reddish aquatic shell ... and then went back and dry-brushed the thing's belly and undersides of arms with light Dolphin Gray, with a couple of spots for the eye-stalks of Graphite Gray. 

The crab body nestles into the van-shell nicely enough, but can still be removed.  The purpose for this is so that the "big reveal" can be done by having an apparently abandoned junker van that suddenly sprouts claws and legs and attacks!  Or, I could find some OTHER suitable shell for the hermit crab to inhabit.  Or, I suppose, if the PCs somehow managed to pry the poor hermit crab out of its shell, I've still got something to represent that.


Alas, for now, it does not have a BASE.  Putting the van shell on a base would be as much of a "tell" as anything, and attaching the base to the hermit crab would interfere with my options for nestling it into different shells.  I suppose that if a base is absolutely necessary, I could just get a 120mm base and stick everything on top of it.  However, for systems like Genesys (the genericized FFG Star Wars system) or Savage Worlds RPG, bases aren't strictly required, so for the really big monstrosities that can stand well enough on their own, I prefer to skip them when I can get away with it.  (Overly large and round bases may make for great decoration and display opportunities, but they can be a real bear when it comes to trying to maneuver the "boss fight" monster around a table full of terrain.)

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5 hours ago, Glitterwolf said:

Cool conversion!

Creepy creature!


I think the most fun I had with this was when someone thought I had posted a picture of an ACTUAL hermit crab.  (I guess he had only looked at the thumbnail originally.)


Now THAT would have been totally awesome if it were true: making a miniature van "shell" for an actual hermit crab (real-life-sized) to move into.  :D  That'd possibly be even enough of the sort of novelty to merit a photograph in the local newspaper on a slow news day!  (Either that, or picketing by PETA.  "How dare you make a hermit crab live in such a rusty hunk of junk?")

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