Short Staff adds 7/8″ herding figures

I love when stuff like this happens:

Shepherd and Border Collie, plus a flock of sheep, all from Short Staff

Last summer, as part of my ambitions to actually build a live steam garden railway, I painted up a bunch of 7/8″ scale figures from Short Staff (available through Model Earth Design in the UK). When I wrote about these, I ended my post with the following…

Maybe I can convince Chris and Simon to add some animals to the Short Staff range? I’d love to find three or four sheep to help keep the grass neatly trimmed on the estate – and a border collie to keep the flock in line.

Chris Johnston, the sculptor, liked the idea. He and Simon Harris at Model Earth Design discussed it and Simon asked me for a bit of input on the shepherd.


Having worked one of my own border collies on sheep for eight years as sport, I’d become interested in the working world of sheep and had done my own research on hill shepherds in the UK.

I shared a few photos with Simon and offered some notes: The importance of good, waterproof and muck-proof boots; a hat and coat for protection from rain; a bag to carry tools, medicines, and a lunch while on the hill; and so on.

I then thought nothing of it.


As the lead photo shows, the idea became reality. Simon’s photo (posted to Facebook today) shows his painted samples of Chris’ sculpts and to my eye they’re perfect. The shepherd looks all businesslike while being an ideal fit for the rest of Short Staff range. Meantime, the dog and sheep should put a grin on every face when spotted in a garden.

Model Earth Design will be offering these in two sets – one featuring the shepherd and dog, the other featuring the flock of three sheep. I’ve already emailed to place an order. If you’re also interested, a quick Google will turn up Model Earth Design’s website. As of this writing they’re not yet listed in the catalogue but an email to Simon should get you the details.

Thanks to both Chris and Simon for making this happen!

Published by Trevor

Lifelong model railway enthusiast and retired amateur shepherd who trained a border collie to work sheep. Professional writer and editor, with some podcasting and Internet TV presenting work thrown in for good measure.

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