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.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Sun Shines Bright Over the New World

    Does anyone remember the splash screen from the beginning of the old Atari Seven Cities of Gold video game? I'd like to find the exact sun shining bright quote.

    But on to other things. The weather has changed for the better here. The office is now warm enough to get back to  some traditional sculpting with the putty. There's a temperature range where it handles very well and a margin on either end where the results are acceptable. But the teens and twenties cold snap we've had for the last few weeks has made working with it really crappy. It's hard to get the putty to stick to anything and cure times are greatly extended. Rather than fight a whole lot with it I spent a larger portion of the days working on 3D modelling.

     I haven't reworked the fire hydrant and parking meters form the previous post on digital sculpting. But I did get 4 new models worked up for Space: 1889 and Victorian era products.The actual count is five, but the pedestal mounts for the guns will be packaged with them.

    I started with the concept of putting together weapon sets for an airship. In this case the British Aphid gunboat for Space: 1889. The rule book lists it as having a 4" gun, two Hotchkiss 1 lb rotary cannons and two Nordenfelt five-barrel guns. I'm not finding a whole lot of reference drawings for a 4" gun, so I went with a 3lb QF Hotchkiss. If anyone is interested there is an excellent reference site a lot of more common smaller rapid fire weapons of the Victorian age. 

     The rotary cannon was started sometime last year. So I chose to finish it up first. The prior post had pictures of the original model with a more faceted look. to keep the polygon count down. This photo shows the original and the more smooth model side by side.

    I've decided to have both printed so I can see what the difference is after they are produced in metal. The faceting may not show up enough to make it work the extra work and file size bulk to smooth them so much.

    The second gun was the 3lb Hotchkiss. Working from standard orthographic line drawings led to the first model. You can see the housing for the recoil pistons is squared.

    I found a few more photos on the web that showed the recoil housing a bit better. and modified them to a more rounded look.

    I still haven't found a great view of the breech block so there is a good bit of fudging there. I've also simplified several parts for ease of mold making and casting. When the gun is just over 15mm in length, the simplification shouldn't detract from the overall effect.

    Here's the gun sprued with the mount.

    The last gun was the Nordenfelt. Again, the drawings leave a lot to be desired as far as details go. But you get the overall impression of the piece.

    The gun itself was not too difficult to model. The mount, however, required a good deal of swearing and waling away from the computer to decompress.

    A lot of the frustration was determining just how detailed to make things and how they would go into the mold for reproduction.

    But there was also some trouble with the two sections of the base having different numbers of flanges.

    The Aphid gunboat was modeled this weekend. It's another that was started last year and shelved when other matters became more pressing.

    The absolute worst headache on this one was getting the liftwood panels set in at the right angle. I know there has to be an easy way to scale and move things on planes with compound angles. But I haven't learned it yet. So I ended up zooming in really close, subdividing edges and pushing vertices around for an hour or two.

    The gun models will be printed for 15mm gaming first. The Aphid will be 1:1000 scale. Technically is should be 1:1200, but that doesn't match the length of the plastic ships from Skygalleons. I'm not sure about the guns on the ship. At that scale, they will be between 1 and 1.5 mm long and a great deal less, which becomes almost unprintable and uncastable. I'll experiment with a sprue of simplified micro weapons to package with the ships. I'll be designing a field carriage for the guns in the next week or two. And I'm thinking about having these printed for 20mm and 28mm gaming as well.

    The printer guy called this morning. The guns are printed. Some parts are really fine and may not be able to be reproduced in metal as they are. I should have them in the middle of the week to see what needs to be changed. I'm a bit disappointed that they may not work as is, but I'm also excited to see just what's going on. It's all a really cool learning experience that combines my love of computers, sculpting and gaming. So it's all good.


Joseph Byrd said...

But you ain't got hat Huge Ass Space Kraken done yet?

Joseph Byrd said...

And the space pirates that hunt it...where they am izza?

J Womack, Esq. said...

I'd like some of those guns, yes sir!