Allow me to introduce you to Ching Lung Soo, a stage conjurer and founder of the Inner Brotherhood of Magicians, a leading organization of magical performers in 1920's London. Unfortunately, Ching Lung Soo is also the leader of a cult of Lan-Shi, an ancient Chinese Star Vampire. He has some interesting plans to bring Lan-Shi to the audiences of Great Britain...
The character of Ching Lung Soo comes to us courtesy of The Vanishing Conjurer by Mike Lewis and Simon Price, a Call of Cthulhu adventure published by Games Workshop in 1986. And the miniature which I've painted is from Citadel's CC1 Gothic Horror range -- a set of miniatures produced under license from 1985-1987 for use with Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. Although the miniature is clearly patterned off of Lee Gibbons' cover illustration, in the miniature catalogs published by Citadel, he is denominated as "Fu Manchu".
The Vanishing Conjurer is a fantastic adventure. Because it requires the characters to infiltrate the theatres of London and figure out the mechanics of several stage illusions, it's filled with historical lore about the magic business. Many diagrams are taken directly from Tricks and Illusions, a magic manual written by Will Goldston and published in 1909.
The Vanishing Conjurer also contains my favourite illustration of a Star Vampire, a floating mass of tentacles which is hard to illustrate since it is normally invisible (it only becomes visible when the transparent tentacles are engorged by the blood of its victims). The illustrator Ian Cooke shows us the Star Vampire as it appears in a Chinese manuscript detailing the sacrifices of the Cult of Lan Shi:
I love the interplay between illustrations and miniature sculpting. The Gothic Horror range is filled with such overlap -- such as Rabbi Joshua Cohen, who I discussed in my post about Citadel's portrayal of Jewish characters. Another example is Chris Marrinan's cover for The Fungi from Yuggoth (1984). The Gothic Horror miniatures "The Heroine" and "The Explorer" replicate these figures exactly, right down to the eye-glasses and the surprised expressions.
In my own way, I'm trying to continue that tradition of weaving illustrations together with Cthulhu miniatures. I'm doing this as part of my project to match old Gothic Horror miniatures with modern characters from Fantasy Flight Games' Eldritch Horror game. Who said you can't pour new wine in old wineskins? Whoever he was, I bet he didn't game.
The latest installments of this project are the characters from the expansion Strange Remnants:
The first character from Strange Remnants is Tony Morgan, the Bounty Hunter. The miniature is "Bogart" from the LE3 Gumshoes set that was sculpted by Bob Naismith (The "LE" stands for "Limited Edition").
Second is Marie Lambeau, a creole chanteuse. Her miniature is "The Lady" (1986) from the CC1 Gothic Horror range. There are a couple variations of this miniature, some with and some without that hat.
The third character is the infelicitously named Skids O'Toole, an ex-convict. That's a name that would embarrass the authors of a Bazooka Joe comic. Oh well. The miniature is the CC1 Gothic Horror "Detective". If he looks a lot like Bogart, that's because this is another example of the many variant miniatures that fill this range.
Finally, there's Zoe Samaras, a Cthulhu-investigating chef (?!). Well, not just any chef -- a crazed, knife-wielding chef of Greek extraction. Sadly, the Gothic Horror range lacks any portrayals of crazed, knife-wielding chefs of Greek extraction. Shocking, I know. Well, I supplied the gap by modifying an old Citadel female wizard and then splattering her liberally with blood.
Remember, Vote Cthulhu for President!