Sculpting Stirges

The campaign called for a Stirge encounter in a damp, bat-infested cave. Only thing is, I have next to nothing to represent the blood-sucking, flying annoyance that is a Stirge, so I decided to put something together. Afterall, how hard can it be to build a giant mosquito tick?

From the Wikipedia entry:

A Stirge resembles a giant mosquito about the size of a housecat, being one foot long and half a foot wide and tall. It has a set of four leathery, bat-like wings with a span of two feet. It has a long, sharp proboscis, a short tail, barbed legs, and a row of short, curly hairs along the spine. Stirge coloration ranges from brown to rust-red, with the proboscis being pale pink.

One of the few things I know about sculpting is that the first thing to do is to look at reference pictures. I did a bit of looking around for official art, and I found out that there are quite a few different interpretations on the Stirge, ranging from goblinesque face features to ugly flying bugs.

stirges

Some of the different artist interpretations on Stirges

As you can see, there is hardly a consistent design. All that is made even more obvious if you look at the original Monster Manual art, which I found when looking at the excellent tutorial over at Carjacked Seraphim:

add003monstermanual189stirge

Official art from the original Monster Manual

 

After deciding on the shape and the method I was going to use to put them together, I gathered all of my materials:

  • Green Stuff
  • Sculpting tools (and some water to keep the tools wet so the Green Stuff doesn’t stick to them)
  • Paper clips
  • Super glue
  • Pliers
  • Hobby knife
  • The same buttons I used for the Mushrooms I sculpted a while ago
  • Transparent shirt clips (the ones used to keep shirts folded neatly inside the pakaging at stores)
  • Artificial aquarium leaves

materials

Left: buttons and shirt clip. Right: artificial aquarium leaves

I know the list looks strange, but bear with me. The paper clips are meant to shape the length of the body and extend to serve as the proboscis; the shirt clips are used as a stand to mount the Stirge on the base; and finally, the artificial foliage si used to make the wings.

Here’s how you assemble everything:

  1. Cut off the top of the shirt clip so you end up with two straight halves
  2. Cut off a section off of the buttons (or whatever you are using as a base) in order for the shirt clip piece to neatly fit in
  3. Glue the shirt clip to the base and fill in any gaps left in the process (I used brown stuff for this)
  4. Cut off a length of paper clip and glue it atop the shirt clip
  5. Cut off two sections of artificial leaves and glue them to the middle of the paper clip you just glued to the stand

Be careful with the super glue, as too much of it can make the transparent plastic look foggy and we want to keep it transparent. If you do, no worries – you should be able to patch that up by applying a dab of golssy varnishon top of the foggy are after the glue dries.

sam_6144

And there you go, your skeleton is assembled. After it all dries, you can start applying your Green Stuff. Keep in mind you may need to trim one of the sides of the paper clip.

I started applying the Green Stuff to the skeleton by making a small ball of putty and skewering it on the paper clip. As you do this, the ball will naturally elongate into a head shape, so that saves you time. Clean up any Green Stuff left on what will be the proboscis and just apply a couple more fat balls to the rest of the body. At the far end, you may choose to bend down the Green Stuff so it looks like a sagging bloodsac.

sam_6176

And that should be the last step as far as molding the body. At this point you are free to sculpt in any texture you may want to. I sculpted eyesockets on mine, and created a bit of texture on the posterior section and the back of the Stirges.

After the Green Stuff was dry, I gave one of them a quick coat of primer to see what it looked like, and I have to say that for the extremely small amount of work it gave me, I am pretty pleased with the results. I could probably made them to look a lot better by trying to sculpt in more details, and by adding legs, but seeing as these monsters are meant to go down in a single hit, I think this will have to do.

 

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One thought on “Sculpting Stirges

  1. I was wondering how you got the wings to turn out like that…clever to use aquarium plant leaves. They look great. It looks like the primer holds to them pretty well.

    Liked by 1 person

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