Mongolian death worm

UPDATE: to see the death worm in its larval stage, click here.

A while ago, Propnomicon posted this paper mache Mongolian death worm.  Well, naturally when I saw that I couldn’t resist having a go at it myself.  

My death worm

Propnomicon's death worm

I’ve done a death worm previously, but I would like to make it larger (I only had a small jar at the time) and I’m not too happy with the way it floats in the jar. Real specimens don’t float.

Here’s the beta version. It’s all paper mache, including the little teeth, and approximately 40cm long.  I thought it would be more effective as a specimen in a container, so I put it in an empty wine bottle (always a plentiful resource at my house).

If you want to see how I did it, you can after the jump.

I'm quite proud of the fact that its all paper, including the teeth.  I did contemplate making them with polymer, but there's no reason not to use paper and paper is easy to paint.


The construction of the worm is very simple - just paper and glue with some tinfoil inside so it will be flexible enough to shove into the bottle.  There's really not much more to say about it; its a tube with teeth at one end and spines, because I thought spines would look good.


Paint is very important when it comes to realism, so I paid a fair bit of attention to it.  A simple, but not intuitively obvious, trick is to use ultramarine blue instead of black, and that's what I've done here. Accounts of death worms tend to describe them as red, so I made mine red with cadmium highlights.  The teeth have four paint layers: burnt umber, white, white with burnt sienna and ultramarine, and a thin yellow oxide wash.

The bottle I'm using is a screwtop one and the original cap was not quite exotic enough for my liking, so I decided to give it a facelift.  I put a label on top (it says death worm in Mongolian: olgoi-khorkhoi) and wrapped it in string.

This is the original attempt I made - the one that floats.  Overall I'm happy with the improvements I've made in the beta model, and I think the paint job is better this time round owing to the fact that I didn't use black at all.  I think the colours are a bit more natural this time.

It's okay I guess, but the floating is really annoying me