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.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Not so long ago, on a painting table fairly close by...

    ...some vaguely familiar space guys were finished.

    The master casts were delivered at Historicon. Production molds should be finished this week. I expect to have them here by the 15th. We'll see how that goes.

    Meanwhile for my next trick...

Remounts for All

    After the last flurry of sculpting I settled down to finish up several more pieces that have been on the table a while. The next master mold will include remounts for several projects.

    The first is a new pony for the Goblin Factory halfling cavalry. Taking a 15mm horse and modifying it slightly really didn't give satisfactory results. So a new sculpt was commissioned.

    The halfling on the left is on the original pony. The center is on the work in progress sculpt. The horse on the right is a standard 28mm horse for size comparison. The new sculpt is slightly larger and more in synch with the style of the halflings. Hopefully it will be a good replacement.

    The start of the second project was blogged several months ago. I want a series of 15mm horses to be used in future projects that require mounts. This is another WIP shot. The legs have a general shape and the bases have been added.

    The plan is to do a series of 12 horses. Three standing, three walking, three running and three in some other extreme poses. Maybe rearing, jumping, whatever. I'll put each set on a production mold for sale as plain horses and for use in other projects that require tack and harness.

    The last set of remounts is for the Space: 1889 line. I've added basic tack and harness to the gashant for the British and Martian cavalry.

    I'm sculpting an accessory sprue that will have a rifle boot, canteen and a couple of other bags that can be glued in place wherever the customer desires. Due to mold issues with the thickness of the gashant and the thinness of the sprue, the accessories will probably be added to the rider packs.

    The latest series of Space: 1889 ebooks has a bit more on the gashant. It suggests that they have claws in the wild that are removed by more civilized folk when the beasts are young to make them easier to handle. So there is also a sprue with claws planned that will be added to the Hill Martian cavalry packs. These will have a socket that glues onto the existing stubs. It's not a perfect solution, but it minimizes mold making problems and  extra costs.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Time for Terrain

    At Fall In last year, I had the pleasure of sharing my space with Ken from Proxie Models. As payment I wanted some of his products for my personal use. I ended up purchasing several more sets to help fill in a Pavlov's house Stalingrad board I've been building. I'm not sure if I'll ever finish it, but it gave me a way to rationalize several purchases at the time.

   I picked up some corner ruins (Link: Corner Ruins) and another set that I don't see listed now. The come packaged as two sprues with each sprue building a corner piece.

    While cleaning them I examined them. I sat them on a shelf and looked at them once in a while for several months. Finally last week I wanted to fill out a ruin for a test game of Tomorrow's War. So I spent an hour cutting, trimming and gluing 14 sections together.

    The first thing I noticed was that the individual pieces were very sturdy. They were also easy to separate from the sprue and trim. The problem I found was in the design of the corners. Brickwork wrapped around both edges and one ends up gluing brick faces to the back edge of one side piece. This is a minor issue and if I weren't seeing how quickly I could get these done, I would have spent extra time sanding one edge, filling the gaps and carving new detail where it was needed. You can see what I mean in the picture below. A minor detail, but one of those things I'd prefer a designer think through and not pass on to the consumer.

    Now for the disclaimer. I did not do any priming or painting for the test game. The models just went on the table as black plastic pieces. They served the purpose, but I really was anxious to see how they painted. So about the middle of this week I primed them. They take primer very well and the job was about an hour all told including drying time.

    I selected one corner to paint with test colors and see how quickly they could be done. The interior was painted with pale drab colors. The floor piece is a little clunky looking, but the details in the interior are simple and effectively get the point across that this building has taken some damage.

    The exterior was painted red brick with a light grey mortar. I slopped paint on as quickly as I could for the base coat. Washed it all with brown drawing ink and highlighted some areas. The final touch was a little weathering with a dusty red pastel rubbed on with my fingers. The over all effect was quite good.

    One thing does bother me, though. The scaling of the windows is off. They're the size of doors for 15mm guys. It's another one of those minor details that could have been addressed in the design process. That said, I'm still very happy with these buildings and will definitely buy more products from Proxie Models. They're very reasonably priced at $4 for two corners. They are durable and easy to make look good with only a few hours of work.

    I like to have reminders of things to do or not to do around me. So I'll leave this first model as is, but I'm going to go back to the others and fill that crazy gap before I paint it. It shouldn't add much time to the process and the end result will be even nicer.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hogzilla Makes a Friend

    I slowed down a little after last week's flurry of activity. Took some time to enjoy the fourth with friends, watch some films with ma'honey and go shooting yesterday morning. But I wasn't totally idle. I wrapped up a few more pieces that have been on the table for a while and another that was started last week.

    The first is a wild Spanish pig.

    I've taken a shot with Hogzilla for comparison. Hogzilla is 15mm high at the top of his back ridge. The pigs will most likely be sold as a separate pack to be used with whatever game you wish. Hogzilla will be added to a pack of redneck hunters. I'll have to get them sculpted and ready for sale in late August. At least that's the plan.

    The second set is the High Queens behind the wardrobe.

    I've photographed them with a Splintered Light mouse warrior for comparison. These are sculpted for use with 28mm miniatures. I'm not sure exactly how they will be sold or by whom yet.

    The last few items I wrapped up were Big Momma, the ZHuh ZHuh gang leader and a helmet and blaster sprue for some minions in white to shoot at my space pals. I'll post pics of them when their sets are complete.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Binky Busts a Sag

    All right, the main projects I wanted completed are done. But while I was working on them I couldn't help but start the Zhuh Zhuh gangers. So I worked on Binky, the big gorilla.

     I don't know what they're calling it these days, but 15 years ago, when I was working with inner city kids, wearing your trousers halfway down your leg was "busting a sag." I was always greatly amused by these kids trying to play basketball while running around the court holding their pants up with one hand. I thought it would be appropriate for Binky to wear his pants the same way; odd juxtaposition of really big dude and really silly dress.

    So Binky busts a sag. 'Cause who's gonna tell the 800 pound gorilla in the room that he looks like an idiot?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's you and me. Ain't that right, John?

     One of my favorite scenes from a western movie is the fist fight in Young Guns. There's the set up early on when Charlie explains that he's a pugilist. Then the fight at the dance and Billy's one word line, "Pugilist," after. There's really no explaining why some things stick or become a favored memory, but there it is.

    I'm wrapping up the week's projects with number five. Victorian pugilists.

    I started with a couple of photos of actual fighters of the time. Frank "Paddy" Slavin and some unknown.

    Then I found this incredible sculpt. I don't know the scale, but it looks like a 12-15" sketch for a larger bronze.

    That really got me stoked to work on these guys. So I ended up with two Victorian pugilists in 15mm.

    I'm not sure when they'll be available. I'll have these cast soon, but I may want to add more to the set. There are some boxing rules from Two Hour Wargames that would probably work well with these guys, but I'm going to dig out an old set that Ed did called Smokers. It was more for back room bare knuckle fights.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Do you not understand the fiction part?

    I was talking on the phone yesterday with a guy who wanted to buy some Space: 1889 figures. He likes 15mm because he can have larger battles and still have detail on his miniatures. He tells me about all of his armies that he has in 15mm. I ask about zombies. You gotta have zombies, right? His response was, "No, no zombies. Name one time when a dead person got up and walked."

    Two minutes later he's telling me about the size and dimensions of a ruhmet breer and how much metal it would take to cast it in 15mm. Then he goes on to tell me how his character invented lightning cannons and how he wanted gashant for his Brits to ride. It hit me hard then: Some people are so entrenched in their own fantasy that not only are they not in touch with reality, which is scary enough, but they also refuse to allow that other fantasies are possible. I've known this for a long time, but encountering it first hand now and then really drives it home.

    Now that the rambling is over here are a couple pics of the fourth project this week. Only one more to go.

     I'll be sending the first set of British soldiers to the caster with the other stuff I finished this week. Just some basic poses. Looks like I need to reshape the helmet on the center one.

    I'll be adding a couple more packs as quickly as I can. There will be some who are more in motion, some officers and NCOs and specialists types. When I ge masters back from this mold, I'll be adding some breathing apparatus for thin/ poisonous atmosphere and some more exotic weaponry.

    Other items that need completion soon are the rest of the hill Martians, naval/ air crews and cavalry. Then I can move on to the high Martians.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Space Guys With Broomsticks

    The second project (all right, the third really, the second was a set of cavalry matrices for a client) I was able to wrap up this week was the second set of space guys for the Red Cross donations. Every good space opera game needs Space Guys with Broomsticks or, more eloquently, Space Kendo Masters and Student.

    You've seen the old guy before in a post.

    The student has made appearances in a couple of comparison shots at TMP.

    The caped master was finished this week.

    This guy will be cast as two parts; the main body and the cape. The heat is playing merry hell with the museum putty so the cape isn't set completely in place, but you get the idea.

    I'll add a donation button at the Space Pals for Red Cross page when these are actually available.