The title’s not a typo, and I’m not drunk. This post’s about one of my guilty pleasures, and it will require a bit of explanation! If you want to skip that and get to on with it, you can click here instead! There’s a lot of text in this post mostly because it recaps a few weeks of totally secret work I was doing, so sorry in advance.
I am a member of the SomethingAwful.com forums on occasion, though I mostly have an account for reading and refrain from posting all that often. A few years ago, another forums user named Diogenes started a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style game where the forum as a whole assumed the role of a lunatic deity (literally often referred to as “Madgod”). The forums would vote on the next course of action to take, Diogenes would write it up, and the game would proceed to the next vote. It proved to be a sort of interactive fiction and played out over the course of about a year. Because it was run in the general discussion forum on SomethingAwful it did sometimes go… a bit off the rails, and occasionally focused a bit too much on genitalia jokes, but overall it ended up telling a fascinating story. Due to the way the SA forums work, archives tend to be nearly inaccessible, but thankfully some effort seems to have been made to preserve the story by forums user TheCog19. A google drive link to the story is available here, and I’ve also mirrored the archive on our site as well.
After that game concluded, Diogenes began a new one, called “Paradise Lost“. This time, the game was hosted in the slightly-more-serious Game Room subforum of Something Awful. It is still an active thread, nearly 4,700 pages long at the time I’m writing this post, and has been ongoing since May of 2013 – more than four years. I have been following the story from the beginning, but even with that said I would find it exceedingly difficult to summarize four years of storytelling. To do my very best at a quick synopsis, the story takes place in a land called “Ur”, somewhat representative of pre-history Earth and comparable to Sumeria. Men live in Ur and worship a deity named “El”, along with the deity’s cohort of lesser subservient gods, referred to by various names (“Melachim” being the most prominent moniker). There are also powerful “demonic” forces in the world outside the borders of Ur – a Leviathan-esque sea monster of untold magnitude named Asherah, a crippled winged demon roosting in the mountains named Fare, and a number of others. They seem to be nearly god-level forces in their own right, and command legions of non-human monsters that occasionally attack the lands of Ur. Standing as the bulwark against these forces are the “Mighty Men” – descendants of a mythical prophet of El named “Labaras”, who can trace their bloodline back to him over thousands of years. Mighty Men are essentially 7-to-10-foot-tall superhumans in this setting with all manner of supernatural powers – unbelievably tough, strong, and capable of ridiculous feats of heroics. The thread shorthands them as “muscle wizards”, which is about accurate – they can lift tons of weight with ease, some can breathe fire, move supernaturally fast, you get the idea. Basically:
The flip side to this is that there is a strong tendency in Ur against innovation and creative thinking, instilled by religious doctrine. The men of Ur are hung up very substantially on ideas of honor and orthodoxy, and generally anything more sophisticated than “run at the enemy screaming and beat them to death with their own limbs” is frowned upon. The story and setting seems to draw on a number of ancient sources, including the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Bible/Torah, and a whole host of things that I’m not familiar with due to not being particularly religiously inclined. In the course of this story, we have assumed the role of a somewhat wild individual, first named “Og”, then named “Enkidel” after he assimilates into a real society. There’s a lot going on with Enkidel in the story, but the best explanation I can give is that he becomes another muscle wizard in this setting, and is a hero trying to defend Ur. He is extremely powerful at this point in the story, and because he’s driven by forums voters with modern perspectives, he tends to be very socially progressive and shun religious orthodoxy in a manner that routinely gets him into trouble.
Reading this story has become a bit of a ritual for me. I usually pull my phone out last thing at night after I’ve climbed into bed and get caught up on the day’s progress in the story. Diogenes does an excellent job of telling the story in a consistent and entertaining way, and although the forums voters can be a bit bandwagon-y at times, he makes the best of the clay we give him.
Last year the thread had its own Secret Santa event, but I did not participate because I tend to lurk on the forums rather than post much. This year, however, I figured I’d sign up and give it a go. I wanted to make something in the game’s universe, though I wasn’t entirely sure what. My first thought was to try and make a helmet in the pseudo-Spartan style of what is worn by the Mighty Men in the story, and I actually put a fair bit of work in that direction, but then decided I didn’t like how it was looking and scrapped it.
After some more rumination, I decided I wanted to try and do something with the story’s main character, Enkidel. Throughout the story, Diogenes has given us plenty of description of what our protagonist looks like, and there has been plenty of fan art in the game throughout the years. Most notably, forums poster BoneMonkey did a number of sketches of Enkidel at various times throughout his youth which are excellent:
Xiphopagus also did a sketch which I liked:
If it hasn’t become apparent, Enkidel has a dog (named… well, Snarls Barkley) who accompanies him on his adventures. Most posters would agree that Snarls is probably the most important character, arguably more than Enkidel himself, by virtue of being totally adorable.
Anyway, with this kind of general idea in my head of who or what Enkidel should look like, I started playing with the idea of trying to model something up that I could 3D print. Now, I’m going to be the very first person to admit that I am not a digital sculptor. I can do some CAD/CAM-esque engineering stuff in 3D space, which is how I make most of my props. I cannot just make a model of a dude from scratch. Not something in my wheelhouse. I decided that based on descriptions of Enkidel, I was looking for something akin to a Herculean guy – muscles ontop of muscles kind of thing. The natural starting place for this was to actually look for models of… well, Hercules. I spent a few days poking around the internet and found some interesting fodder.
Bust of Hercules, by Thomas Flynn.
Hercules Versus Hydra, by Cosmic
These were neat models and good inspiration, but not exactly what I was after when I pictured Enkidel in my head. It took a few days, but all of a sudden I had a flash of inspiration – Smite, the video game. It’s a MOBA that I actually played for the better part of a year that features gods and heroes from mythology as the playable characters. One character in particular jogged my memory – appropriately enough, Hercules!
That looked like a good base to work from! I still had the game installed, so after a bit of digging I found out what I needed to do to extract the models from the game files. I managed to get him into 3D Studio Max in a T-pose in short order.
Now, this was good, but far from a solution. Because he’s a game model, he’s fairly low-poly. He is also designed out of dozens of intersecting but unconnected parts. In the game, those various parts can move around and smush together as he animates without issue. However, when 3D printing an object, you need the model to be what is referred to as “manifold” or “watertight” – it needs to be one single connected mesh, rather than a million little separate pieces, or else slicing software has no idea what to do with it.
Perhaps more importantly, there are a lot of details on this that just don’t fit Enkidel. The Nemean Lion on Hercules’ shoulder had to go, along with a lot of the armor. Enkidel wears armor, but it’s of a different style, a bit more Spartan, and has a breastplate of significant value. Moreover, I didn’t think Herc’s face looked quite right for what I needed. Enkidel is, well, black, and has a mighty beard.
The first step was to refine the body as a base. The model from Smite had no connections between the various limbs that were covered by armor. This meant the hands, legs, knees, feet, torso, and head were all just kinda floating in the right places. I went through the mesh by hand and quadrified as much of it as possible, getting rid of triangles in favor of four-sided polygons that would work better for smoothing and subdivision. I also remodeled missing parts of his body to ensure he was fully connected. This gave me a good mannequin of sorts to start building off of:
This body mesh is the kind of thing I probably couldn’t have made from scratch, but cleaning it up and modifying it from the game files was right up my alley. I realize the proportions of the model are a bit comically exaggerated – very Rob Liefield-esque – but I actually liked that for this project, considering that we’re dealing with muscle wizards here.
Next came some of the basic armor pieces. I made a breastplate for him by roughing out a cube and doing some general subdivision modelling.
I liked the design of Hercules’ kilt, and it seemed consistent with descriptions of what Enkidel wears, but it needed some cleanup. I sectioned it into various parts, remodeled portions of it, and used open subdivision to make it higher-poly once I had finished my modifications.
I had a similar approach for the shin and forearm armor – I liked the simple designs, but the underlying meshes needed a lot of cleanup. The sandals were also pretty much perfect (Enkidel has a ‘special’ pair), but needed a lot of re-working.
At this point, I was starting to feel pretty optimistic about the process, but I knew I needed to address the head. Enkidel is described as having a fairly impressive beard at this point in the story, braided with rings in it. Once again, I found that I was able to lean on Smite and it’s excellent game models as a bit of a time- and sanity-saver. A few characters in particular had really nice beards – Odin, Zeus, and Poseidon. I imported those models, ripped the beards off their meshes, cleaned each of them up, and spent some time playing around with my options.
I ultimately decided to combine Odin’s beard, with its magnificent braid and loops, with Poseidon’s beard, which helped fill in the area underneath quite nicely. The final product took a bit of work to mesh together, but gave me something I was quite happy with.
It was around this point I hit the first major speedbump. I had a model of Enkidel that I was getting to be pretty happy with, but he was in a T-pose. I needed some way of reposing him so that he was more dynamic! I knocked all the subdivision and smoothing modifiers off what I had been working on and started trying to figure out how to move his parts around. This got me started on an awful rabbit-hole of trying to learn how to rig a 3D model for the first time. It… did not go well.
Yeah. He got pretty badly distorted with every tweak. I suspect rigging a 3D model is one of those things that, if I had a few weeks to fool around, I could probably figure out pretty comprehensively. As it stands, I have a day job, a bunch of other projects going, and all the responsibilities of being a so-called adult in 2017.
I started looking for shortcuts or other options. I gave Mixamo by Autodesk a try. It asks you to define a mesh with a couple of points (‘elbow’, ‘knees’, etc) and does its best to automatically rig the model for you. I will say I’m impressed that anyone even tried to make a tool like this, but it didn’t work particularly well for this model. Instead of actually getting something useful from this process, I mostly just entertained myself by making this poor mesh do terrible dances.
I regret nothing.
I stalled out at this point for a while as I tried to figure out how to move forward, and a reprieve came when I spotted a piece of software called Weight Pro 2.0, a plugin for 3D Studio Max. I couldn’t afford to buy the full thing, but the description of the plugin mentioned that there was a “free 30 days trial version”. I couldn’t find the trial, so I sent the maker, Kamil Malagowski, a quick e-mail asking if he still had the demo available. He was kind enough to respond to me:
I have trial only for the first release of weightpro 2.00 (can have few small bugs etc, also not available for max 2017 & 2018.), that’s why I’ve deleted it from my website.
I grabbed the demo version he linked me – which appeared to be of the 1.0 version of WeightPro – and gave it a try. I was seriously impressed by how well and quickly this seemed to work! You have to set up bones to bind the mesh to, but it handles all of the weight distribution in a smart way, ‘voxelizing’ the model and turning it into cubes and mapping them to their nearest bones based on rules you set up. At the end of all of it, I suddenly had a model I could move around with some semblance of control!
Now we’re getting somewhere! I played with a bunch of different poses, but ultimately decided I wanted something with the model in a pose, but at rest – maybe triumphant after a battle?
That’s more like it.
Now, it’s worth talking about some more of Enkidel’s particular equipment. Enkidel is an archer of unbelievable skill in the story, having honed his abilities over many decades of war. He has a bow made specifically for him out of supernatural materials that can endure the unbelievable forces his superhuman strength subjects it to. Rather than firing normal arrows, he fires arrows made of solid metal. However, a bow and arrow arrangement presents some particularly difficult challenges when it comes to 3D printing, as it is generally made of thin, difficult-to-print elements. Not great from a conceptual standpoint.
Fortunately, Enkidel is also proficient with a variety of other weapons. One of our most recent conquests in the last year saw us defeating a “Behemoth”, a giant, forty-foot-high, four-legged monster that was enroute to ravage a city in Ur. After we killed it (and the army of Orc-like monsters accompanying it), we discovered that its bones were unbelievably strong – strong enough for us to make an effective club from. We took the bone, reinforced it with metal, and Enkidel had himself a nice new beatstick. Seemed like the perfect item to prop his hand up on, right?
To make my life easy again, I hopped on Thingiverse and started looking through bones for inspiration or a base model to work from. I ended up finding this “Right Leg Long Bones” listing by Mooselake. He indicated the model itself came from “the life science 3D database“. Fair enough – it looked like it’d work just fine! I brought it into 3D studio max and set about reshaping and remeshing it until it had more appropriate proportions to be wielded like a club.
The club is never described too specifically beyond being repurposed from the Behemoth bone, but a few years of reading the thread and the world-building contained within it gave me some ideas to work with.
One of the unique things about the setting of Ur is the metallurgy. The Mighty Men – a.k.a. men with the Blood of Labaras, or “Blooded” men – favor bronze as their metal of choice for their weapons and armor. Bronze in the setting does not appear to be the same as Bronze in our world – it has material properties that ours does not. For example, Bronze can be used with flint to create sparks in Ur, while its real-world counterpart can’t do that. Ur-bronze might best be equated to steel in a lot of ways. Moreover, there are Blooded blacksmiths who work with bronze in special, semi-mystical processes to create “Blooded Bronze”, which is unfathomably tough and strong. Blooded Bronze is basically the depleted uranium of the setting. Items made from Blooded Bronze are strong enough to survive use by the Mighty Mens’ muscle wizardry.
With that bit of knowledge in mind, I set about adding a few bands of ‘Blooded Bronze’ to the bottom of the bone, along with some spikes and other small details. I also wrapped the ‘handle’ area of the bone for a bit of a rudimentary grip.
It was around this time I also decided he needed a bit more armor to reflect his current equipment. I went back and had a look at the Smite model for Hercules, and decided I liked the general design of his pads. However, they were a bit of a nightmare to clean up – a lot of self-intersecting parts on the mesh that needed remodeling in order to be 3D-printable.
I also played around with a few extra bits of equipment – a shield and a helmet, for example – but I ultimately decided they didn’t add much to the model.
Happy with the model, I started looking at my options for a base, stand, or plinth for him. This is… one of those occasions where things went a little off the rails for me. I started simple, with ideas of him standing atop a rocky outcropping or piece of rubble.
This snowballed into me trying a litany of other base options – columns, pillars, plinths, you name it.
I took this opportunity to pause and do a bit of a proof-of-concept 3D print on my FDM machine. At this point, I did not yet have my resin printer. I mostly wanted to see how the model would look and feel in my hand. This was a bit of a dumb effort, because the amount of supports to make this pose even slightly printable was… significant.
Still, I am nothing if not a stubborn ass. I printed it anyway, and was (mostly) pleasantly surprised with how my rough efforts turned out. There was a lot of dimpling because my printer settings weren’t quite tuned for this, and areas with a lot of overhangs did not print super-well. Enkidel lost a lot of the underneath of his right arm in the process. Still, I wasn’t printing this particular version of the model for any reason other than giggles, and being able to hold it in my hands was nice.
Now, any of you who have read this blog no doubt know that I sometimes fall victim to Star Citizen-esque levels of feature creep. If someone isn’t giving me a clearly defined goal, I have a tendency to meander and make things more and more complicated until they hit a critical mass. This was one of those times.
Enkidel is known for, among other things, being a fierce opponent of the forces of the sea, directed by the sea demon Asherah. When I looked through the Smite files for further ideas and inspiration, I noticed that Poseidon’s files included a model for a Kraken, the releasing of which serves as his ultimate ability in the game. And damnit, if that didn’t look like just the sort of stupid sea monster Enkidel would be known for slaying…
I set about cleaning this model up from the low-poly imported version and again used WeightPro2.0 to get at least a modicum of bone control over the mesh so I could start posing it. The scene in my head started to take shape – Enkidel, standing triumphant over the sea demon, its body limp at his feet, conveniently buried from the waist-down in rubble to disguise the fact that there’s no lower half to this model (lol). As has been characteristic of this whole project, I found some nice terrain and rubble bits already made on Thingiverse and set about editing them to my purpose. I particularly liked the “Urban Rubble Street Damage Bases” models for wargaming bases from OneBitPixel. After a few days of work, I had something kinda interesting.
Naturally, I couldn’t set a scene like this up without fooling around with some rendering options.
Because I planned on doing this on my Makergear M2, I needed to cut the model up in a way that would print without crazy support structures, and with a minimum of post-print cleanup. I sectioned the model in ways that I thought were pretty smart, and tried to make flat surfaces for each part to build off of. Moreover, I put keys (specifically, alignment cubes) into most of the parts so that assembling the printed parts in the correct orientations and directions would be easier.
I pretty much assumed some of the spines on the monster would not print properly, but I was alright with that outcome. I figured I’d end up re-sculpting some details back on if they failed to come out cleanly, and also that I could hide a lot of sins and seams with a resin epoxy coating like XTC-3D on the prints.
After a few days of printing, I started to have an exciting diorama taking shape!
Maria hopped in at this point and, after my initial coat of XTC on some parts, started putting some additional details on the model with Magic Sculpt. At some point in the days after that I seem to have lost the monster’s left arm, but that’s not a huge hassle to reprint.
This is where sanity had to take the wheel again.
I really liked this model, but I made it huge – look at the soda can in the picture for scale. I did so deliberately, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized that the 3D printed parts were going to be more fragile than I wanted to send to someone as a gift. I started entertaining the idea of making a mold out the various parts so I could do a cast in resin, and bought some materials to do so, but by this point it was early December and my deadline for a secret santa gift was coming up quickly. I didn’t feel like I had enough time to fully mold and cast all of the necessary parts in the fashion that I had them here.
A little distraught about my plan having gotten too big and too out of control, I started working to reign things back in to a more manageable level. As much as I loved the kraken, it made the entire thing enormous. I decided I would cut the scale of my Santee’s gift down to a model of Enkidel on a base, closer to the ideas I had initially been brainstorming.
I had a bit of back-and-forth with the individual running the Secret Santa event for the Paradise Lost thread and asked their opinion on a few things. One of the newer base ideas I pitched involved a base I found on MyMiniFactory – specifically, this model. It looks like a 3D scan of a real crumbled piece of architecture. What’s more, the description mentions:
The rectangular setting on the base’s upper surface suggests that it was used as a plinth for a statue, perhaps of Hercules.
The event coordinator and I agreed this sounded pretty much perfect (Thanks FoxTerrier!). The fact that the base was crumbled was a bit of an issue, as it wouldn’t stand squarely, but I was able to fix that by mirroring the design around 180 degrees to repair the missing corner to some degree. I also cut some areas out on the top for the model’s feet and club.
At this point, I had my resin 3D printer set up, and figured this might be a good thing to try making with it so that I could minimize the number of parts involved. I brought the file into Meshmixer and made the model of Enkidel hollow with ~1.5mm walls; you don’t want to print things like this solid if you don’t have to, as it uses way more of the expensive resin. I also had to add a few holes in other areas of his mesh to allow resin to drain out as the model built – he got a hole in the top of his head, and another in the top of his hand on the club. These holes are vital to the process, as without them the hollow inside of the model turns puts suction forces on the resin vat, and can damage both the print and the printer. I had to add a bunch of supports all over him to ensure the print would work, but Meshmixer makes pretty short work of that process.
Considering it was my first substantive print of anything bigger than a medallion on the machine, I’m happy to say that it came out… well, great.
I did the same thing with the base and then ran into exactly the issue I described in the paragraph above. I either didn’t put enough supports, or failed to put enough holes in the model to alleviate suction forces, but either way the first try at printing the base did not go well. It ended up looking a bit dented and warped.
I revised the model to fix some of those issues and, just for fun, started a head-to-head print on both my resin machine and my FDM one (the Makergear M2). They finished at almost exactly the same time, which I found quite interesting. I primed the resin print dark grey here for these comparison photos, but I think it’s safe to say that the resin printer’s quality is noticeably better.
With these nice prints cured and in-hand, I had to figure out what I wanted to do with them. Would I paint them? Would I cast them?
Earlier in this post, I mentioned that bronze had a particular significance to the Men of Ur and the storyline in general. After spending a bit of time considering my options, I decided the coolest thing I could do under the circumstances would be to try and make a mold and reproduce the resin print in cold-cast bronze. For the unfamiliar, this basically involves taking finely-meshed bronze powder and mixing it with clear resin before pouring it in a mold. When the part is demolded, it has a metallic surface finish that can be polished to look like real metal with steel wool or other polishing abrasives.
This is one of those occasions where my partner Maria really pulled her weight. She is a very talented sculptor, and I handed her the impossible task of making a two-part mold out of Enkidel’s complicated model. I could have tried, myself, but I take forever to do this kind of work. She came through in a big way. She used Monster Clay modeling clay, which is sulfur-free, to build a dividing seam between the front and back halves of the mold. She smartly carved some channels from the fingers to make a vent and ensure that air wouldn’t get trapped in his left hand. When she was done, we sprayed the whole thing down with Ease Release 200, which is a mold releasing spray that helps keep the rubber from sticking to the clay or model.
Mold boxes made from Lego are surprisingly handy. They can be rebuilt at a moment’s notice, and Lego ends up actually being tight-fitting enough to prevent liquid rubber from seeping through.
We poured on the first half of the rubber. In this case, Maria insisted we try Mold Star 20T, which is a relatively soft and weirdly transparent rubber. It cures pretty quickly (30-60 minutes) which means you can make molds without waiting around forever, though. Once the first half of the rubber had cured, we broke the Lego box apart and removed both it and the Monster clay.
You have to spend a bit of time cleaning things up here, as the Monster clay can be a bit stubborn to come free from the model. Maria heroically spent some of her time scraping the excess clay off carefully and cleaning Enkidel up while making sure that she didn’t unseat his front half from the rubber, which could cause issues. We then sprayed another heavy layer of Ease Release 200 and built a new Lego box around him to pour the second half.
After the second half of the rubber cured, we were able to pull the model out entirely. This left a nice Enkidel-shaped cavity that we could pour material into!
We mixed up some of the bronze powder we had, along with Smooth-Cast 326, which is a clear, two-part resin, and poured it in. After giving it time to cure, we peeled apart the two halves of the mold and celebrated over our new travel-sized friend.
This is how it looks coming straight out of the mold, pre-polishing. It was at this point that I honestly first noticed the slight polygonal cross-hatching texture across the model. I think I could have eliminated or reduced that by turning my subdivision levels up before exporting the original model to the resin 3D printer, but the truth is I simply didn’t notice that texture until it was way too late. It nagged me a bit, but Maria said she thought it looked cool, and I didn’t have time to start the whole process over, so we ultimately left it mostly alone.
Then came the polishing! I hit the model with some steel wool and then moved on to using a 3M headlight lens restoration kit to do some of the finer work. Combined with a bit of Mother’s Mag & Aluminum Polish, this method can produce a very high-quality shine on cold cast parts without spending ages hand-polishing.
In the course of this process, I noticed a few other issues that I will try and learn from. The head, shoulders, and beard of the model polished up incredibly well, while the chest armor, skirt, and some parts of the leg armor were much less shiny. This is because the bronze powder is very heavy, and when mixed in suspension with the clear resin has a tendency to sink. Because Enkidel was cast upside-down (feet up) in this instance, a lot of the bronze powder ended up settling in those shinier areas, while giving the vertical surfaces a bit of a miss. If I had to do this again, I think I would try to use a much faster curing resin than Smooth-Cast 326 – something with a 2 or 3 minute pot life and a 30 or 60 minute demold time – to try and minimize the amount of time the bronze has to settle out. Still, the model came out decently enough, and after a bit of time polishing both it and the base (which was cast in the same fashion), we had some promising results.
The real magic comes when you try and antique or weather the parts. I first tried out a ‘Tiffany Green‘ antiquing spray that we picked up from The Compleat Sculptor in NYC and gave that a shot, thinking it might provide some cool weathering effects. It did, but I didn’t feel like I had as much control over the process as I would have liked. The green was not consistent, probably because of the way I applied it with the spray bottle.
The model pictured above is a miscast that we ended up using to ‘test’ these kinds of finishes. I think the end result could be a lot better, but you’d basically have to immerse the model into the liquid to see the kind of results I’m thinking of.
Deciding against the green after a few tests, we instead opted to a traditional black antiquing effect. This was accomplished with a bit of Rub N’ Buff Black, which is a wax-based metallic finish. I buffed the black onto the model, which really did not look good at all… but the next part of the process involved turning it into a wash of sorts. After letting the Rub N’ Buff set up for a little bit, I grabbed a chip brush and a small cup of Gamsol, which is an odorless mineral spirit. The Gamsol distills some of the Rub N’ Buff that has been applied and makes it run into the low parts of the model, which serves to darken and outline some details. After washing the whole model down with the stuff, I let it dry for about an hour, then came back and put it through the polishing process all over again. The polishing cloths and wheels can’t reach into the low parts of the model, so it ends up leaving this slightly darker look in the recesses, while restoring the shine to the high points. The end result is a bronze-looking model with a bit more contrast to make the metallic parts pop.
The model and the base were attached together with JB-Weld in what I hope will be a reasonably permanent bond and with that I felt reasonably satisfied with the finished product.
It weighs a surprising amount with all that metallic powder in it – a little over three pounds – and as a result feels like it’s made from solid bronze. It’s very satisfying to hold.
To accompany it, I wrote a brief letter in-character from one random, faceless NPC to another in the universe of Ur, sending the statute to them as thanks for some unmentioned prior deed.
This whole process was a lot of work, but something I really had fun doing, and I still found myself learning something new almost every step of the way. I still intend on finishing the bigger diorama version that I have printed that includes the sea monster, though I’m not sure if I’ll be making a mold of that. Given its size, it’d be very expensive to do. I might be better off just painting it.
Thanks go to FoxTerrier on the Something Awful forums for being a patient sounding-board for a lot of my harebrained ideas, and for coordinating the Secret Santa event in the first place. Further thanks go to Diogenes on the SA forums for continuing to write this story with a consistency and eloquence I don’t think I’ve seen from anyone or anywhere else on the internet. If you’re not a member of the Something Awful forums, it’s worth paying to sign up just to read this story!