Welcome to the Highlander Studios blog.

I won't promise any earth shattering revelations here. What I will be trying to do is post some new products as I release them, share some thoughts on gaming and show some pics of games and other stuff that I enjoy. So come in and make yourselves at home.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Some Sculpting for Myself

     Winter and it's enforced time indoors has definitely helped get me back in the sculpting groove. I still need to wrap up two long overdue commissions. It is a great source of embarrassment when things get swept aside; not forgotten but lost in the daily grind due to one excuse or another. I blame rectal-cranial inversion.

     Since the beginning of February I've been averaging almost one figure a day, about forty in seven weeks. There is space on the table that I haven't seen in ages and the pile of completed figures ready to be molded has grown. Today I was able to deliver five personal projects to the mold maker for production in April. Here are a three of my favorites.

     I'm stoked and sculpting has become fun again. Now to finish those projects and the two new commissions.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lo There Do I See My Father

     One of my guilty pleasures when it comes to movies is the 113th Warrior. Every time I see it when channel surfing, I stop whatever else I'm doing and watch it. It doesn't matter at what point I came in,I like to sit and finish the movie. Yes, I know it's crap from a historical perspective, but the imagery and the story have me in it's grip from the moment Hrothgar's son arrives at the Viking burial.

     When I started sculpting figures a whole new world was opened to me and my gaming table, but with it came a whole new set of problems. You see, I want to sculpt everything. Sometimes it is just an artistic interest to see if I can recreate some of my favorite characters in miniature. Other times, I want to put them on the table and have a game around them. There are stories to tell that aren't in the books and movies I'm reading. Also, I doubt very much if I'm the only person who feels this way.

     Now those first two paragraphs may seem to belong to two different posts, but when both concepts are experienced at the same time, there is an even more driving urge to create the subject matter in miniature. I don't have the time to go haring off after every sculpting whim. But every now and then the stars align and I get a commission to do those projects close to my heart. One such was Splintered Light Miniatures' Romano-British line of figures and the accompanying Dark Age armies. The most recent has been a set based loosely on the 13th Warrior also for Splintered Lght.

     Here are some pics of this 20 piece, 15mm set. They are in the order of completion. Some of the warriors' have very little screen time and costumes change throughout so I've done the best I could to find image sources and made other details up.

     To be honest, this project took a lot longer than it should have. Many life challenges, a project that was given priority, the search for imagery, and a garden that consumed nine months of my time last year got in the way. I was able to get back to sculpting regularly in January and get these wrapped up this month. I can't say when they will be made available as that isn't up to me.

     David, thank-you for your patience and the really cool commission.

Friday, August 11, 2017

You Can Ride Herd if You're a Zulu

     Yesterday I received the stock for two new 15mm products.

     First up is a herd of cape buffalo. There are 3 adult male, 2 adult female and 2 young sculpts. I also couldn't resist adding a Zulu rider to the set.

     GID AN-04       Cape Buffalo Herd w/ Zulu Rider           $15.00

     The second is the infamous Ned Kelly gang in armor. I've been fascinated with Ned Kelly since I saw an article about a 1/35 scale diorama in a modeling magazine as a kid. I have mounted police and constables on the workbench now and plan to make a Glenrowan Inn model.

     VIC-10          Kelly Gang in Armor           $5.00

     There have been a couple of other items to come off the workbench recently. This wizard's tower in 15mm has been a piece 6 years in the making. As the putty would get too firm to place on a figure I was sculpting I added more stones to the tower. I'll post again when I have decided how I will be putting it into production.

     I'd like to also remind folks that there are random items for sale at the Ag Division page. My wife and I are considering buying the property across the street to expand our gardening and orchard area. The house will need to come down, but hopefully we'll be able to keep the garage and turn the house foundation into a year round greenhouse.

Highlander Studios Ag Division Sales

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Inklings of a Plan

     I made a deal with the executrix of the property across the street last year. Trim work, removal of snow from the driveway and clearing downed branches in return for the use of 1200 sq ft of the property for a garden. That has worked out very well and I'm looking to expand. School taxes were raised this year and she was having trouble with the guy that cuts the lawn. So now she has a more expensive lawn service. She and her sister have decided it is indeed time to sell. My plan is to wait her out a little while and make an offer maybe in late Spring next year. During that time I'm going to start saving for a down payment by selling products and extra produce from the homestead at the local farmer's market. As plans go, that seems to be a good start.

     We purchased a set of porch furniture in May that came with a ton of styrafoam packing. I've started scratch building prototype terrain pieces from it for both 15mm and 28mm gaming. The second part of my plan to open Highlander Studios Ag division is to offer those and commissioned terrain and tile sets for sale. Proceeds from those sales will also be added to the down payment fund.

     I'll be using the sales page, Ag Division Down Payment Fund to list items for sale. Any inquiries for commissioned sets of tile or terrain can be sent to highlanderstudios@comcast.net.

     Here are a few of the prototypes available:

     28mm rubble wall corners

     Small 28mm standing stones

28mm stone arches

Lava chute tiles. Scale neutral but based on 3"x3" tile sections

28mm 3"x3" tiles

15mm 3"x3" tiles

     Most of these pieces are made from 1/2' thick foam. The wall ruins vary a little in thickness and the 15mm tiles are made from foam board with the facing paper removed. The foam has been strengthened with mod podge and polyurethane spray.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bone Weary

     Well, I finally understand why my grandfather would fall asleep watching the evening news and only wake up when it was time to go to bed. This farming stuff is exhausting.

     Last Fall I made an agreement with the owner of the vacant lot across the street. Her lawn guy is really lazy and just rides around on his machine and never does the trim work. The property ends up looking ragged and the owner gets nastygrams from the township regarding the state of things. I suggested that I could do the trim and clear limbs that fell during storms in return for some flat space to garden. I also keep the driveways clear in the winter and can harvest any apples, pears and other forage I find. That's all well and good, but keeping up with just the trim on an acre and a half is a lot of work. I'm also gardening several areas of my own property and maintaining it. Add building a 700 square foot garden within a 1200 square foot enclosure from the ground up and I now have a deep empathy for those who feel bone weary.

   Honestly, this is not a complaint and I have every intention of extending the contract until the property sells or we buy it ourselves. I've managed to drop almost 20 pounds, the blood pressure is almost under control and I'm more content than any time I can remember in my life. But it has caused a work imbalance with my sculpting. It's almost July and the bulk of the planting is done. I have a little space to develop for a few late crops and a couple of large building projects for the yard, but those are no longer time sensitive. I have managed to get a few projects done and to the mold maker. A couple of other commissions are nearing completion and should be wrapped up shortly. So the balance is returning.

     Until I get some photos of new stuff I thought I'd share pics of what has been going on. Starting with my yard.

     Last year's 2' x 3' garlic bed became the home for some transplanted mustard greens.

     This is a 3' x 4' bed of Jerusalem artichokes with mystery beans growing up around them. To the right there is a horseradish plant. I've found that this soil under the pines is really great for growing  things. I went a bit overboard on the artichokes, but all of the plants seem to be in good health and they top six feet already.

     I took the stupid wisteria out last Fall. In it's place I put a decorative three sisters planting. Actually, it's two sisters right now as only the corn and beans are there. I'll add tomatoes this weekend. The the electric pole behind has sunflowers planted around it.

     This was the first terrace I built last year. The garlic grows well here as do the basil and cilantro. I'm having a rough time with lettuce and onions, though.

     The lower hugelkultur has more corn and beans, carrots, beets and a butt-ton of volunteer potato plants. Yeah I planted a few on the left, but 13 more came up all through the bed.

     I reclaimed about 150 square feet at the bottom of my yard. I'm preparing a new terrace for the bee hives next year. One benefit of the lawn guy across the street being lazy is that I can rake up a lot of easily digestible biomass to build the soil up. I'm planning to plant paw paws over the edge.

     Across the street is the main garden.

     Everything here is experimental. All right, everything I'm doing as far as gardening is experimental at this point. I've built different styles of beds out of whatever wood and bamboo I had available. We replaced our deck boards when we moved in and I've been saving the old decking to use in various projects. We have critters. So there is a double 4 ' fence that works well to keep the deer out and a 2' mesh around the inside area to keep smaller animals out. That combined with Repelsall crystals and spray has kept things fairly well intact.

 Tomatoes, basil and cilantro are right inside the gate. There are more sunflowers out of frame to the right.

     Having no clue about the space watermelons needed when I started them from seed, I went overboard. All of the seeds germinated and I ended up with 15 here and 3 in our yard.

     I like squash. This bed has the zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers in it. I'll try training it up the bamboo poles, but I may need to add cross bars as a trellis.

     Parsnips are in the log cabin. Bush beans are growing to the right. Brussel sprouts are in the rear bed. Again, not knowing about Brussel spouts, I went overboard in the planting. luckily we all like them.

     Susan wanted some interesting potatoes. I found a box of purple majesty seed at a lawn place. I'm growing them as towers. This picture was taken a few days ago after I had covered the first growth. I'll need to cover another 4 inches and build more container this weekend.

     Hot and sweet peppers . I'm not sure how they are growing. they seem to be small for this time in the season.

     More three sisters planting. There is blue corn, yard long beans, Kentucky wonder beans and more yellow squash here. Shoulder high by the fourth of July, right?

     This last bed has the 9' bean poles. More Kentucky wonder and yard long beans. I had space so there is still more yellow squash around the edges. Did I mention I like squash?

     I've found that I really enjoy this farmer stuff. I like talking about it, too. So if you want to throw some ideas back and forth, please don't hesitate.

     Now back to the paying work.