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, August 25, 2011

Custer Buster Part I

     For several years I've wanted to get back into making larger sculptures for art and display purposes. Don't get me wrong, I love creating miniatures for gaming. It's a 13 year old D&D player's dream come true. But I also just like to create larger works for the joy of it. I've played with wood, stone, clay and mixed media in the past. Now I'd like to take the skills I've been practicing in my miniatures sculpture and use them to create larger works for shows and galleries.

     In the library of my home town there was a bronze by Carl Kauba titled How - Kola. I would spend a lot of time just walking around this piece and viewing it from all angles.

     There was also a local jewler who had a couple of shelves of similar works; some in bronze, some in German porcelain. The subjects were not just western. They also included a lot of fantasy pieces. I fell in love with them all.

     The other day I was doodling while I was watching TV. I was thinking about larger sculpture, bronze casting and a particular piece of cover art from the Custer Reader that I like. The prospect of a full figure is daunting so I started thinking about busts. That would allow me to sculpt in a larger scale while keeping the overall size of the piece within reasonable bounds.

     A simple sketch with notes regarding the composition and basing was the result. I decided on 1/6 scale; large enough to show good detail and be seen from a distance, but also small enough that it wouldn't take forever to complete. I broke from the traditional bust because I wanted the arm extended. The mass of the left shoulder and the upward sweep on that side should balance the composition.

     About 3:00 AM I found myself wide awake, mind going in circles about the project. I raced upstairs to my computer and started manipulating the cover art image to use it as a scale card behind the figure as I worked. I printed it, made a few notes and went to the third floor to start gathering materials.

     3:30 AM found me in the basement drilling holes in some wood for a temporary base and gathering wire, aluminum foil and Sculpy modelling clay to start work. The armature was built from some 14 gauge steel wire that I had been using to make mail. I wrapped some aluminum wire around that to give some grip. The foil that bulked up the chest, head and arm was held in place by more wire. By 4:30 AM I was ready to add the first of the clay.

     The oven preheated while I was smoothing clay over the armature. It was ready to bake about 5:00 AM. I was finished for the night and finally able to sleep at 5:30. Not a bad couple of hours of work.

     I'll add another layer of Sculpy to finish bulking out the piece and use Apoxie Sculpt for the final detail work. I'll post updates as I go so you can watch the work progress.

     I'm considering several options for having this cast. Ultimately, bronze would be the coolest. But I'll explore ceramic and porcelain as well and even cold cast bronze (resin). If I work it right I can do all of the above to allow several style and price options for the end consumer. I have several leads to explore, but if any of you have specific information that would help, please don't hesitate to speak up.

1 comment:

Marie said...

I like this great Cauba sculpture - is it an original?