Laelapis of the Sun
A Fan-Made Daikaiju
Artistic Process | Bio Notes | Vital Statistics | Back to Dave's Kaiju

    While reading an article about Charles R. Knight in G-Fan #82 in late December 2007, I decided to create a kaiju (giant "suitimation" monster like Godzilla) based on the Dryptosaur, or Laelaps (pronounced LEE-laps) as it was initially named (after a mythical hunting dog). Since a lot of kaiju names end in "-is" I decided on Laelapis as a name, and the "lapis" part suggested an Egyptian scarab motif. So I sketched up the head to the right and I was off.
    You can see how I essentially slapped a scarab onto a dinosaur head. The brown hide was more placeholder than anything else, but I did end up settling on a brownish hide color after all.
Head design
Laelapis Head Design
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Abandoned body design
Body design 1
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    The next step was to create the "simplest" body I could, essentially just a Dryptosaur body with some spikes and plates, to see what my baseline would be. I could then try weirder designs and, if I felt they were too oddball, just merge them with this boring body in a mix and match that would find a happy medium. I also used it to try out a different hide color. I should note that for these design sketches, I used regular pencils and then colored pencils, with no inking phase. I did use some white paint marker to highlight bits, though.
    I made no effort at this stage to make sure an actor could fit inside the suit, but it was at the back of my mind. I wanted a proper "suitimation" kaiju, not something that could only exist in CG or stop-motion.

    Inspiration hit pretty quickly, and after a very small thumbnail sketch (not scanned), I settled on a design with an extra pair of arms and a beetle carapace to further "fuzor" the beast. Once I'd made that decision, though, I needed to refine it and make sure that it would work as suitimation. After all, I wasn't just making an arbitrary monster, I was making a daikaiju, and I wanted to be able to observe the proper forms.
    As you can see in the picture to the right, it's a fairly tight fit. This would have to be a Millennium Age kaiju, and rather than a bulky removable suit like Godzilla used originally, it would need to be built more like the critters in Pan's Labyrinth, with lots of latex appliances glued directly to the actor, plus a few "hard" reusable bits like the head, spare arms and tail (all of which could be remotely operated animatronics). Extra padding was put on the thighs to give more of a dinosaur-like hip arrangement.
A guy in the suit
Actor in the suit.
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Final design sketch
Final design sketch
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    Once I had the proportions worked out, I needed to finalize the details as shown in the head-on drawing to the left. Still fiddling with the colors, but knowing I wanted something in the golden-tan range for the hide. I took the spike off the tail from version 1 and eliminated the spikes on the lower shoulders from the man-in-suit pic (I realized he'd stab himself in the armpit!). All I really changed/added for the final picture were the heel claws and collarbone jewel, neither of which would be visible in this drawing anyway.
    I had some grand plans for the final drawing, but realized they were way out of my skillset, so I settled on something a little more subdued, although still pretty impressive by my standards, and that's the pic up top.
  • Pencils - Without background.
  • Inks - Background added, and logo. I used a simple fine point gel writing pen for most of the lines, and an ultrafine Prismacolor marker for the fine lines. I decided not to draw in any scales, instead bringing out the pattern with color. Because my scanner plate is narrower than the page, a bit on the left was cropped...but I would have cropped it anyway, since I had the lower road's breakdown lane intersect with a support pillar, oops.
  • Final Drawing - Yeah, same as the one up top. Most of the coloring was done with Prismacolor markers, but I used Crayola colored pencils for some of the "faded" colors (things behind the wings or the rotor blades), for the shadows and for the grass. The buildings were free-drawn with various cool gray markers. I own something like a hundred bucks' worth of Prismacolors at this point, I think.
  • Laela, the K-Girl - Just a design sketch right now, the face is the hard part (which is why there's two here and a lot of erasure marks on the main one). Definitely using hair to stand in for the lower pair of horns, but not sure how I want to deal with the "scarab on face" thing. Hard plates don't work, so either a small one on the forehead, or just tinting the skin on the face.
  • Chibi Laela - With "canonical" K-Girl Hedrah, the Hedorah (Smog Monster) girl. It's that dung beetle part of Laela kicking in, you see.
  • Laelapis Miniature! - I took a hadrosaur from an ultra-cheap dino playset and sculpted it into a 1:1000 scale Laelapis figure.
    Being an inveterate fanficker (mainly with Transformers, but the principle still applies), I decided to shoehorn Laelapis into the corners of canonical Kaijudom rather than make up an all-new setting for him. The conceit is that Laelapis is the Kaiju who never got to actually make it to the screen, but kept being kicked around studios because creators liked the idea, even if it seemed cursed. For those not familiar with Kaiju "Eiga" ("Ages" in Japanese-English mangulation), the Showa Age is the original golden age of Kaiju, 1954 until about 1974 (original Godzilla through Terror of Mechagodzilla). The Heisei Age is shorter, about a decade from 1984 through the mid-90s (Godzilla 1984/85 to Godzilla vs. Destroyah). The Millennium Age is late 1990s through the present (I've also seen it called Shinsei).


    Following the destruction of the Godzilla Tower (Godzilla vs. Gigan), one of the Nebula M Space Hunters fled to the Aleutian Islands, evading capture. There he stumbled across the Lifestone (Marvel Godzilla comic) and was mutated into a terrifying hybrid of dinosaur and his original insectoid species.
    As Laelapis, his brilliant alien mind was largely subsumed in madness and rage, but he remembered one thing...Godzilla was to blame for his pain. And Godzilla must die!

First Appearance: Unused inventory story for Marvel's Godzilla comic


    In the wake of the destruction of Biollante (Godzilla vs. Biollante), the mysterious Three Circles Group acquired samples of the G-cells from Dr. Shiragami's lab, and attempted to create their own kaiju for purposes as yet unrevealed. The result was the giant scarab Kheper, an 8 meter long monstrosity that was unleashed on Tokyo by the TCG.
    Godzilla found his attacks had little effect on the scarab's thick shell, but neither could Kheper do much to hurt Godzilla.
    Then the G-cell DNA asserted itself much as it had done with Biollante, further mutating Kheper into an abomination, a fusion of beetle and Godzilla characteristics known as Laelapis!

First Appearance: Rejected script for "Godzilla vs. Laelapis" (would have been made for 1991 release)


   (In 2006 the character rights are sold to Kadokawa, the studio that made Gamera the Brave.)

    After the destruction of Zedus, the mysterious Three Circles Group sought to unlock the secrets of the infamous red pearls of Iseshima, the source of the new Gamera's strength. However, almost all known samples of the red pearls had been used up in order to revive "Toto", and the TCG was only able to obtain a single, flawed red pearl.
    Setting their scientists to the task of analysis, they were soon able to synthesize a strange blue stone that seemed to have all of the important qualities of the red pearls, other than its color. Experimenting with simple life forms, the Three Circles Group found that infusing insects with small quantities of the blue stone resulted in significant growth, including a dung beetle the size of a man's head.
    Meanwhile, another branch of the TCG was experimenting with cells cultured from the remains of Zedus, grafting its unstable DNA into various reptiles in hopes of creating a controllable kaiju. The Frill-necked lizard, or "Frilled Dragon", was the most compatible match, and soon they had a specimen that stood nearly as tall as a man!
    Then came the fateful decision to try to subject the frilled lizard to the synthetic blue stone. To say it was a success would be like saying that WWII was a successful urban renewal program for Tokyo...true, but something of a horrifying understatement.
    Now five meters tall and strangely colored, the frilled lizard hungered for more of the blue stone, and seemed to have an unerring instinct for locating it. It was nicknamed Laelaps, after the old name for a Dryptosaur, the dinosaur it now very closely resembled.
    At the same time that Laelapis experienced its growth spurt, the star subject of the entomology research lab glowed with an unearthly light and surged in size as well, becoming the size of an automobile. It crashed through all barriers and devoured the blue stone at its location as well, before blundering out into the Japanese countryside. Because of its bright blue coloration, it was called Kheper, after the lapis lazuli scarab amulet of Egypt.
    Both Laelaps and Kheper made for the third scientific outpost the Three Circles Group had on Japan, the only other source on the planet of the blue stone for which both hungered. It was also the location of the remaining fragments of red pearl that the TCG owned.
    Laelaps and Kheper were each approximately eight meters long when they met and clashed over possession of the blue stone and red pearl. Laelaps was faster and more savage, but Kheper's carapace was nearly impenetrable. The two fought to a standstill, long enough for the JSDF to move into position with their new experimental Solar Cannon.
    The cannon was fired, and both combatants vanished in the blinding glare of its beam. The fragments of red pearl were vaporized in the explosion as well, as was the supply of blue stone.
    When the JSDF soldiers could once again see, they realized in horror that while Laelaps and Kheper were gone, it was because they had merged into the horrifying LAELAPIS!

    Now Japan's only hope seemed to rest in the claws of Gamera. But would Laelapis simply feed on Gamera's energy as he had the power of the red pearl?

First Appearance: Gamera the Brave II (cancelled project, 2008 planned release)

Vital Statistics

Name: Laelaps
Age: Millennium
Size: 3-8 m (varies through story)
Weight: 200-15000 kg (varies)
Original Creature: Frill-necked lizard
Appearance: Dryptosaur with golden-tan hide and red eyes
Abilities: Agility, claws, fangs, can sense blue stone and red pearls

Name: Kheper I
Ages: Heisei
Size: 30 m
Weight: 10000 tons
Original Creature: Dung beetle
Appearance: Bright blue dung beetle
Abilities: Impenetrable shell, flight (slow), very strong, able to roll debris up into balls.

Name: Kheper II
Ages: Millennium
Size: 20 cm - 8 m (varies through story)
Weight: 10 kg - 200 tons (varies)
Original Creature: Dung beetle
Appearance: Bright blue dung beetle
Abilities: Impenetrable shell, flight (slow), very strong, able to roll debris up into balls, can sense blue stone and red pearls.

Name: Laelapis I
Age: Showa
Size: 45 m tall
Weight: 11000 tons
Original Creature: Nebula Hunter M alien (Lifestone mutation)
Appearance: Roughly bipedal saurian with two oversized arms and two small arms, armored carapace on back with wings, scarab-motif armor and spines on face. Bright blue armor pieces, golden tan hide color. Fairly lithe, because it only needed to be drawn, not made as suitimation.
Abilities: Agile, fast, claws, fangs, heavily armored, can fire a solar cannon beam from his eyes. Able to fly slowly on fragile insect wings.
Weaknesses: Must return to the Lifestone periodically or die.

Name: Laelapis II
Age: Heisei
Size: 50 m tall
Weight: 20000 tons
Original Creature: Mutated from Kheper I
Appearance: Bulkier version of Laelapis I (due to suit tech).
Abilities: Identical to Laelapis I, but slightly less agile. Also amphibious due to G-cells.
Weaknesses: Dependent on sunlight to use solar cannon.

Name: Laelapis III
Age: Millennium
Size: 40 m tall, 80 m long
Weight: 8000 tons
Original Creature: Fusion of Laelaps and Kheper II.
Appearance: Same as Laelapis I, but better detailing.
Abilities: As Laelaps I, plus able to track down any traces of Gamera's life essence, such as red pearls, blue stone, or Gamera himself.
Weaknesses: Hungers for Gamera's life energies, dependent on sunlight to use solar cannon.

    Laelapis, Laelaps (kaiju), Kheper (kaiju) and the Three Circles Group created by Dave Van Domelen, 2008. Godzilla, Biollante, the Nebula M Hunters, G-Cells and associated concepts belong to Toho Studios. Gamera, Zedus and associated concepts belong to Kadokawa Studios. Purely a fan creation, not for sale.