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Rotating Gremlin animation.

Foul, mischievous creatures infamous for their talent at stealing one's arsenal and for their disgusting reproductive methods. They can be found in the PC (personal computer) mission pack add-on Quake: Scourge of Armagon.


1. Gremlins are exclusive to 1997's award-winning Scourge of Armagon Quake mission pack developed by Ritual Entertainment (which went by the name of Hipnotic Interactive at the time). Quake had two official mission packs released for it: Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity; Scourge was available first. A mission pack is an 'add-on' that usually contains new enemies, weapons, items, and levels (maps) for a video game--you generally have to own the original game in order to play the mission pack. Initially, Scourge of Armagon was going to be called Quake: The Rift, but this subtitle was changed to avoid confusion with the Rifts tabletop roleplaying game. Scourge was also the first id Software (the development house that created the original Quake) title published by Activision.

2. Like most monsters in id Software First-Person-Shooters (FPS), Gremlins will fight with creatures from other species if they are hit by a stray attack. For example, let's say an Ogre accidentally hits a Gremlin with a swipe of its' chainsaw, there's a good chance the enraged Gremlin will forget all about you and go after the Ogre to exact some revenge. When this happens, it's best to let the creatures settle their differences and finish off whatever or whomever survives; aside from being entertaining, you'll conserve some valuable ammunition.

3. Physically, Gremlins are quite similar in appearance to Fiends (another species of Quake monster). Although more limited in its application, a Gremlin's ability to produce more Gremlins from the dead is comparable to the reanimation powers of the Doom II monster Arch-Vile.

4. Ritual Entertainment's official description of these creatures reads:

"Dynamite comes in small packages! Small in stature, but hideous and vicious in nature, Gremlins sport loads of teeth and claws attached to a bad attitude. A carrion reproducing creature that travels in packs attacking like a swarm of bees. Better kill them as soon as you see them or they will gorge on dead bodies and reproduce more Gremlins. Their strategy is to confuse you. They move so fast that you are constantly trying to hit one while the others are climbing your back. They don't waste any time and go right for the throat. Keep your distance though, or they will steal your weapon and use it on you."

5. The 'gremlin' creature concept emerged during World War II. Military airmen began the practice of attributing various mechanical malfunctions in their aircraft to these mischievous, made-up monsters--some crewmen even claimed to have actually seen gremlins sabotaging their planes (these 'sightings' are generally explained away as a symptom of shell shock/combat stress . . . but who knows?). Later, the gremlin-based work of children's book author Roald Dahl, aided by Walt Disney, resulted in wider exposure to the idea/mythology of the creatures. Since that time, gremlins have appeared in many forms of media--the most widely recognized are the 1963 "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" Twilight Zone television episode (which was also remade as part of 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie) and the 1984 Gremlins and 1990 Gremlins 2: The New Batch movies.

6. If a Gremlin manages to steal one of your weapons, you can get it back by killing the creature. The dead Gremlin will eject a backpack pick-up (similar to the ones other enemies drop when they die) which will contain your missing item. Where that backpack magically comes from is a mystery to ponder. Although a fairly rare occurence, sometimes a backpack will get stuck somewhere that you cannot reach, in which case you can kiss the stolen weapon goodbye until you find another one to replace it, or, alternatively, you can re-start the level or load your last save and try again. Gremlins cannot steal the axe, normal shotgun, or Mjolnir weapons.

Having successfully defeated the hell-mother, Shub-Niggurath (the final boss of the original Quake game), our weary Marine found a slipgate that lead back to our realm, and the military facility from which he had launched his assault against the forces of Quake. However, all was not well, as the complex was deserted. Scanning a computer monitor readout, our hero discovered that the base had been evacuated in response to more strikes by the enemy--it appeared slaying Shub-Niggurath was not the decisive victory our hero had thought--Quake was still threatening Earth. Grimly, the Marine reloaded his shotgun with fresh shells and set out for the nearby storage facility in hopes of acquiring some more powerful weapons, or, at the very least, keeping them out of the hands of the enemy. So began a new adventure, one that would eventually pit the lone Marine against Quake's deadly general, the cyborg monstrosity Armagon . . .

Gremlins are servants of Armagon. As they are found only in areas that he controls, it seems safe to speculate that they are either indigenous to his territories or were bred/created by him. Their talent for appropriating weapons from their foes and using the dead, both friend and foe, to bolster their numbers makes them an ideal, self-sustaining force. In theory, given time, a single, unarmed Gremlin could colonize and conquer an entire world. While they can be encountered individually, Gremlins are social creatures and are more commonly found hunting together in small packs. As they do not reproduce sexually, Gremlins have no gender.

Gremlins derive great satisfaction from stealing an opponent's weapon(s) from him or her and using it to slay them. They excel at this tactic--a Gremlin's 'sticky fingers' rival those of a professional thief. However, even unarmed, their sharp teeth and claws make very effective weapons; a Gremlin can tear a human apart in seconds. While not terribly intelligent in the general sense, Gremlins have an uncanny ability to immediately understand the operation and use of any mechanical device--usually to the detriment of anyone around them. In the context of the video game, a Gremlin just simply 'knows' how to operate any of a Marine's arsenal of weapons the moment it wraps its bloody claws around it. Arguably the most terrifying of a Gremlin's powers is its unholy ability to reproduce simply by devouring carrion. How the process works is beyond man's scientific understanding, but anytime a Gremlin consumes roughly a third of its own body weight in dead flesh, another Gremlin spontaneously 'pops' into existence nearby. As such, leaving even a single Gremlin alive and unmolested amidst the fallen, human or otherwise, can have catastrophic results. Several marines have made reports of returning to previously-secured areas only to find they had been repopulated with hordes of Gremlins while they were away. At first, it was thought that reinforcements were either being teleported in or gaining entry from some previously undiscovered access point, but subsequent video monitoring resulted in the discovery of this horrible means of reproduction.

These creatures suffer from acute kleptomania and find it extremely difficult to curb their larcenous tendencies. Stealing from the wrong person has resulted in the demise of many a Gremlin--the little fiends love telling the tragic story of one particularly stupid representative of their race, a fellow by the name of Grysh'nik, who thought it might be funny to steal the pins from their master Armagon's mechanical knee joints--Armagon was not amused, which leads us to the title of the Gremlins' second favorite bedtime story: Grysh'nik's Agonizing Ten-Day Demise. Just because a Gremlin knows how to operate a device, doesn't mean it will do so in a safe or sane manner. For example, a Gremlin will have a grand time playing with your stolen rocket launcher, but isn't likely to have a very good understanding of, or care about, the concepts of blast radius or collateral damage. The dangerous and lethal nature of Quake's environments (pits of lava, booby traps, and other unpleasantness), coupled with frequent fighting to the death between different monster species (battles which the relatively weak Gremlins are almost always on the losing end of), and a strict policy of not leaving fresh corpses lying about where the little fiends can easily find them, keeps the Gremlin population in check. However, without such safeguards, the Gremlin number situation could easily get out of control, something Armagon secretly fears, as even he could not withstand a large Gremlin army if they ever got it into their heads to rise up and overthrow him.


Newsprint, tissue paper, cat hair (no animal was harmed acquiring it), wire twist ties, paperclips, cardboard, white glue, hot glue, and acrylic paint.

(Proximity Bomb Launcher)
Newsprint, cardboard, white glue, hot glue, and acrylic paint.

Newsprint, cardboard, white paper, a toothpick, white glue, hot glue, and acrylic paint.

(Laser Cannon)
Newsprint, cardboard, a wire twist tie, white glue, hot glue, and acrylic paint.

(Proximity Bombs)
Newsprint, refrigerator magnet shards, white glue, hot glue, and acrylic paint.

(Empathy Shield)
Newsprint, lined notebook paper, cardboard, white glue, hot glue, and acrylic paint.

(Horn of Conjuring)
Newsprint, tissue paper, white glue, hot glue, and acrylic paint.

(Armagon Mini Action Figure Toy & Package)
Newsprint, cardboard, lined notebook paper, tissue paper, plastic, wire twist ties, white glue, hot glue, paper computer printouts, ink, marker, colored pencil, graphite pencil, and acrylic paint.
NOTE: I resized and printed out the ID Software 'Quake' box art for the front of the toy package's card; the back of the package is my design (done with the GIMP art program).

(Box of Shamblo's Bite-Sized Gibs)
Newsprint, cardboard, paper computer printouts, a plastic bag, magazine clippings, lined notebook paper, white glue, hot glue, ink, marker, colored pencil, acrylic paint, and watercolor paint.

(*The dimensions of this figure can vary, depending on how its' joints are positioned, the numbers given are for the figure standing in the pose seen in the rotating animation at the top of the page.)
18.0 cm/7.1 in. x 15.0 cm/5.9 in. (highest point x widest point)

Twenty-six points total. The neck rotates where it joins the body. The waist rotates. The arms have eight joints each for a total of sixteen; they move at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and the fingers/pincers sport five joints each (three on the longer digit, two on the smaller). The legs have four joints each for a total of eight; they move at the hips, both 'knees', and ankles.

Fourteen points total. The neck and waist rotate. The arms have two joints each for a total of four; they move at the shoulders and elbows. The legs have four joints each for a total of eight; they move at the hips, double knees, and ankles.

Fifteen days total. The Gremlin figure was completed, start-to-finish, in five days; construction ran from 6/21/07-6/27/07, with no work being done on the 22nd or 25th. The various accessories were made in ten days, from 6/28/07-7/7/07.

Gremlin photo collage.

Gremlin group photos.


Proximity Bombs.

Horn of Conjuring & Empathy Shield.

Mini Armagon Figure.

Shamblo's Bite-Sized Gibs.

[Reference sketches/mid-construction photos of my Gremlin figure]



These are some process odds-and-ends from the construction of the shield. The first item is a paper mache skull mold that I sculpted to make multiple copies of the four skulls on the Empathy Shield (cuz, I was too darn lazy to make them individually). I just took some Play-Doh, stuck my skull mold into it four times, shot some hot glue into the impressions, and, after waiting a little while for them to cool (and cleaning them up), instant skulls. The second item is a chunk of 'hot glue and cardboard sandwich' that I used to punch all the rivets/bolts on the shield from with a hole puncher; I also cut some sections out of this for pieces of Armagon's legs as well.

My starting designs for Armagon's toy package and the box art for 'Shamblo's Bite-Size Gibs'. I used id Software's Quake art for the front of Armagon's card, the reverse side I designed with the GIMP art program. The box graphic design for 'Shamblo's Bite-Size Gibs' was also created using GIMP. I don't have easy access to a color printer, so I ended up printing these in black and white and then coloring them by hand, which is why the end result looks different.

These are the ten 'failed' proximity mines that I made prior to the final set of five. The first set, aside from being too big to even conceivably fit inside the launcher's barrel, weren't meeting the benchmarks I had set for myself--namely they had to stick, and stay, indefinitely, to magnetic surfaces at any angle. The bombs stuck to horizontal planes okay, but only one of them would stay on vertical surfaces. Considering the situation I determined the problem was one, or more, of the following: (1) They were too heavy; (2) the magnets, which were inside the spheres, weren't getting good enough contact to hold well through the spheres' walls; and (3) the shape of a sphere inherently results in very little of its exterior being in direct contact with any flat object it may be resting on, again resulting in poor attraction potential. Rather than mess with troubleshooting these problems individually, I solved them all at once with the design of my second set: (1) I made the spheres themselves smaller to reduce their weight and also decreased the size of the magnets for the same purpose; (2) I put the magnet directly on the outside of the sphere to improve contact; and (3) I flattened out the area of the sphere where the magnet is to provide a larger surface area for contact. So, hooray, my improvements worked and they finally stuck to magnetic objects at any angle. Um . . . then, why did I have to make a third set? I ruined the second set while burning the detail lines into them, which I foolishly attempted after I had painted them, instead of before (the dried paint clumped up all over the place around my woodburned lines and looked terrible).

For comparison purposes, below are two Gremlin images from the 'Quake: Scourge of Armagon' PC mission pack. The first shows a Gremlin with a stolen gun. The second photo depicts a Gremlin devouring the corpse of another, which will shortly result in the spawning of a brand new Gremlin.

Gremlin gun.    Gremlin feeding.


1.   Les Miskin (AKA 'Trilinear') for documentation, polygon models, screen shots, programs for manipulating .pak and .mdl files/decompressing .rar files, and gameplay insights. Les went above and beyond the call of duty to help me out during this project, which I greatly appreciate.
2.   Google Gremlin image search.
3.   Wikipedia 'Gremlin' and 'Scourge of Armagon' articles.
4.   Various Ritual Entertainment Quake: Scourge of Armagon web pages.
5.   Moby Games Quake: Scourge of Armagon information web page.
6. Quake: Scourge of Armagon information web page.

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