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FeeJee Bogmaid - Reimagining PT Barnum's Mermaid With a Resin Boglin

Boglins were a late 80's toy that was clearly inspired by Gremlins and its immitator, Ghoulies. Their creator Tim Clarke has launched a resin revival of the line and invited various artists to exhibit their own customs based on it.

The FeeJee (Fiji) Mermaid was a famous exhibit by the notorious showman PT Barnum. Thought to have been made by combining a stuffed monkey with a dried fish, it caused a sensation when promoted as a real mermaid. Sadly the actual artifact was reportedly destroyed in a fire and all that remain are engravings of it. It was these illustrations that inspired my Boglin custom.

The Boglin arrived in four hefty parts, cleanly rotocast in resin. The detail was very sharp and there was no flashing so it needed almost no clean-up. I started by cutting open and resculpting the mouth and adding a set of simian teeth. Next I cut up and reposed the hands and arms. I sculpted the extended body from high density foam and detailed it with Milliput. I turned a simple wooden base for it on the lathe.

I wanted to give the impression of a dried or mummified museum display, so when painting it kept my colours to a limited, muted palette, working in layers of detail to suggest faded skin patterns.