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, April 25, 2011

QWIK - Game of the Wasteland goes live

I am pleased to announce that in cooperation with Two Hour Wargames sales of QWIK and official QWIk miniatures start today.

What is QWIK? It's a high-octane, post-apocalyptic sport where one team tries to move a dog skull to the opponent's stake. One player, the Qwik, on each team can touch the skull and move it around the field. The other four team members protect the Qwik and try to knock the opposing players out of the game. First team to score wins. Simple mechanics adapted from Red Sand Blue Sky allow players to quickly resolve maneuver and combat. A typical game lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. QWIK rules are on sale here:

The rules come with the playing field and counters allowing you to immediately start playing, but I've designed two teams of 15mm miniatures and field accessories as part of this project. You can purchase the miniatures alone or as a complete package with the rules here:

Indie players and other supporting figures will be available in the future from Battle Miniatures Emporium. Check the Weekly One Five blog for more information.

Play harder!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Painted QWIK sets are ready to go

The painted QWIK sets are ready for sale and available here:

Buy painted QWIK sets.

This set contains 14 painted 15mm figures. 10 different sculpts of Qwik players making 2 complete teams and 4 accessory pieces. This set sells for $45.

This set includes:
   2 Qwiks (the guy who scores)
   2 Chains (protects the Qwik)
   6 Drives (knocks other teams guys around)
   2 Stakes
   1 Dog skull
   1 Armadillo (track the turns or use in place of the dog skull for extra fun)

Sales of unpainted sets and sets plus rules will begin soon. Prices are $12 and $25 respectively.

There is also a Conquistadwarf army list for Two Hour Wargames' Rally Round the King available.

Download RRtK Dwarf army list free.

Enjoy and happy gaming.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pre-production? Master casts? Production molds? WTF?

Here's a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes of making a miniature.

First someone comes up with an idea and decides, "That would be a great figure." Then the search for a sculptor begins. Often a company already has sculptors with whom they've worked. In my case I sit down and start sculpting, or more often than not, start collecting reference photos from the interweb and then let the project idea simmer for several months.

Once the prototype is complete it is sent to the mold maker. Usually it isn't worth having a master mold made for just one figure so I gather several pieces over a period of months. Sometimes there are other sculptors who have a few pieces they need cast and we can share a mold. For 15mm figures I try to collect between 20 and 24 pieces before I send them off to have a master mold made.

Completed sculpt
The mold maker makes what is called a master mold. He presses the prototypes between two disks of rubber under heat and pressure to create a cavity for each model in the mold. He cuts gates (allowing the molten metal to enter the cavity) and vents (allowing air to be expelled from the cavity) into the cured rubber, spins the mold in a casting machine at high speed and pours molten metal into the center. Centrifugal force moves the metal through the mold filling each cavity. When the mold has cooled, the halves are separated and the result is a ring of metal miniatures that are connected by a central sprue.

Master Cast
Rather than spin this disk hundreds or thousands of times to create each miniature that will ever be purchased, the mold maker spins it several times (this number varies based on how many figures go into a set for production or how many single figures can be spaced around the mold). These metal masters are used to create production molds that can produce multiples of the same figure. The master mold and figures are filed away against future need. If this production mold wears out the metal master figures can be used to make a new one.

The production casts are usually the figures that actually get sold.

Over the past few years, I've found that not all of my molds need the same number of figures. I end up with more master casts than I actually need to save for making replacement molds. I also end up with masters that i won't be putting into production for several months. I sometimes paint  these for my own personal use or use them to fill in missing figures in packs. But I had this crazy idea one day that if I was painting a figure for myself, why not paint several and see if I could sell them to help offset the cost when I was ready to put them in production.

So sometimes I will sell painted pre-production casts. Due to a variety of factors (metal shrinkage, pressure and heat of the mold during casting), the actual bulk of a cast will vary. This is especially noticeable when you view a master cast beside a production cast. The production cast has gone through the mold making process one more time and has been subjected to those variables twice.

Production compared to master
The figure on the left is one of the final production casts. The one on the right is a master. Some of the distortion is from the camera viewing the figures at slightly different angles, but the difference in thickness is especially noticeable in the thighs and head.

Enough blab for today. Happy gaming.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Carolee, dimachaerus

I have a limited number of painted pre-production casts of Carolee, dimachaerus available for $4 each. She's based on a 9/16" steel washer, flocked and sealed with a satin acrylic and dullcote. Buy her here.

Production molds are being made this week and unpainted models should be on sale early next week.

I am also taking orders for painted pre-production masters of the new Qwik teams. Four sets will be ready to ship on Monday with three more available the following week. These sets will contain 2 complete teams and 4 accessory pieces (2 stakes, 1 dog skull and 1 armadillo). Each painted set will cost $45. Place your order here.

The production molds for these are also being made this week, but sales of unpainted teams will only begin when the game is ready to go.

Thanks for looking and happy gaming.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Product and News

Ok, actually it's older product, but I finally had time to paint some and take photos.

First up are the pigs.  What post apocalypse setting would be complete without bacon on the hoof? Turn your garbage into methane for fuel and eat well for the cost of a bit of stench. Make your neighbors green with envy as you live high on the hog.

And who will help watch over your pigs? Wolves. Well, after you've run off the ones trying to eat your livestock and domesticated a few. Man's best friend's slightly more aggressive cousin will provide hours of faithful companionship. Just keep an eye on your small children.

Here's a direct link to the product order page. Highlander Studios, Inc. catalog.

I was also able to send figures of to the mold maker last week. I spoke with him this morning and I should be getting pre-production masters of the following in the mail this weekend.

Quick teams A and B. These will be sold separately, as a set and as part of the complete boxed set of QWIK- Game of the Wasteland from Two Hour Wargames.

Other new items include new Conquistadwarf crossbows and Carolee, Dimachaerus. She'll be sold by myself and Two Hour Wargames.

Production molds are to be made next week and these items should be in stock around April 21st. A few painted pre-production pieces will be made available next week.

Thanks for looking.