Mark Patraw

Fastitocalon-F or Focalor

By Mark Patraw | 3 comments 3 comments


Colorful, fish-like monsters that can be randomly encountered (usually three-at-a-time) in Squaresoft and Electronic Art's Final Fantasy VIII Sony Playstation (1999) and Microsoft Windows (2000) roleplaying video game. Contrary to their appearance, Fastitocalons live on dry land, not in the water. They can be observed rapidly tunneling through beach sand, or other fine debris, with only their large dorsal fins visible above the ground (given this behavior, it's not surprising that the locals often refer to Fastitocalons as "Land Sharks"). When the creature is struck, the fish suddenly erupts from its sandy habitat and takes to the skies to attack. Yes, folks, defying all logic and reason, not only does this flamboyant critter not live in an aquatic environment, but it can also fly! While aloft, the Fastitocalon-F effortlessly "swims" through thin air and charges at its prey to deliver painful slaps with its spined fins or bites with its sharp teeth.

The original Japanese name for this creature was ????? ("Fokaroru", which romanizes as "Focalor"). Duke Focalor is the forty-first of seventy-two demons catalogued in the Lesser Key of Solomon, a 17th century grimoire. That infernal fellow was said to have power over the winds and seas, but looked like a man with griffin wings, not a fish (and, curiously enough, that particular fallen angel actually had aspirations to return to Heaven, but, after waiting a period of 1,000 years, Focalor was ultimately denied redemption). Fastitocalon, on the other hand, is another title for the sea monster Aspidochelone (Greek for "Asp Turtle"). Said legendary creature was so gigantic that its back was often perceived as an island by passing sailors--a case of mistaken identity that often proved fatal when the malicious beast dragged both men and anchored ship(s) beneath the waves to drown. Some writers claim that Fastitocalon is actually one of Satan's many forms--perhaps that's why Square gave their interpretation of the creature a fiery color scheme, to suggest the burning flames of Hell. Aspidochelone/Fastitocalon is usually described as being either an enormous whale, turtle, or fish, so, while the FF8 monster is nowhere near the right size, at least it's in the ballpark, anatomically.

As it turns out, in the game, this specimen is actually a "fake" (hence the "F" suffix to its name); the true Fastitocalon is a larger (although still a dwarf compared to its namesake), and nastier, armored fish. To be honest, before doing research for this project, I had always just assumed that they were masculine and feminine variations of the same organism (I figured that the "F" was simply an abbreviation for "female"). Given real world examples of mimicry, it does make evolutionary sense that a smaller species of fish might evolve so that the most visible part of its anatomy closely resembles that of a more dangerous creature in order to deter potential predators. Unfortunately for adventurers, unless you pay careful attention to their distinctive cries (the larger variety has a deeper roar), it's impossible to tell which creature lurks beneath the sparkling sands, the real deal or the imposter, until the organism reveals itself, as both species share identical dorsal projections. So, before you go down to the shore and start poking those colorful, meandering fins with your gunblade, you might want to think twice, as you might end up disturbing a shark instead of a guppy .

Cardboard from a cereal box, newsprint, lined white notebook paper, white glue, acrylic paint, and gloss nail polish.

9.5 cm (3.7") wide x 4.2 cm (1.7") long x 11.5 cm (4.5") high.

Three days. I made all of the fins on December 21st, finished modeling the fish on the 25th, and painted/sealed the figure on the 29th.

More photos/info:


Janneke Neele

Janneke Neele

December 30, 2014 at 6:27PM

splendit work.
I love the colors.
You are verry good.

Scylla Earls

Scylla Earls

January 14, 2015 at 12:16AM

Hi Mark: the bony detail of the fins is really effective,and the evil little teeth. Very nice work.

Mark Patraw

Mark Patraw

January 14, 2015 at 4:19PM

Thank you both!

Add a comment

← Back to Mark Patraw's main gallery