Little Toy Soldiers and Such...

The Blog of Michael T. Murphy and his lifelong obsession with "little army men" and their imaginary glory, miniature wargaming, and other things...

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

"So we may be moving...."

As the month of May slipped into June, and now June is history; and as July comes before us, my wife and I have been looking for a new place to live.
There are many reasons for this, but essentially it boils down to the three simple facts:

A: The Cost of Living in Indianapolis has risen considerably. We've seen dramatic tax increases each year here.

B: Our neighborhood is turning into a "hood". We've had some pretty sketchy folks move in a few houses down, and the holiday weekends are filled with his biker buddies all coming over to party. All riding their 1970's ear choppers and sporting leather and swastikas. It's like looking at a casting call for extras for the movie "CC Rider".

C: The wife and I want a place that's a little quieter and relaxed. Over the past 30 years I have lived in numerous cities, (Houston, El Paso, Las Vegas, and Indy), and we just want a place where it's quiet, peaceful, and easy for us. A place that allows us to have box gardens and perhaps a small chicken coop for my wife to have a couple of egg laying hens.  You can take the Kansas girl off the farm.....

So we started looking around.
The Indiana housing market (like a lot of areas right now), is explosive hot. Currently as of this writing the hottest housing market in the nation is in Ft. Wayne, Indiana although no one can really explain why.
Houses here in the Indy area are getting offers within days (if not hours) of being put up on listing. The competition is fierce as Indy is expanding and many folks are moving here. Most of these people are from California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois and Ohio, but hey, whose been checking?... ;-)
Naturally as the demand for houses outpaces the supply of current places, prices have been climbing.

We looked at two and immediately decided against one of them.
The other one we made an offer on. It came up on Friday, we saw it and made an offer on Saturday, and on Monday was told we were outbid by 20K. (Six offers in two days).

So we looked some more.
As we peered through Realtor.com and Zillow.com, my wife's eyes suddenly snapped to one.
"Ohhh...this is nice." She said.
So we read about it.
And last week we went to see it.
My wonderful wife (Gawd bless her!) fell in love with it. That was pretty much all it took.
It's a little country farmhouse, approx 120 years old. It's sitting on 1.5 acres of land and is out in a quiet country setting, in a nearby county that is far enough out "in the country" to be "country", but still close enough to towns/cities (4 of them) to make for easy driving.
The amount of money we paid in property taxes on our current residence will cover almost five years there.
So we made an offer on it.
The offer was accepted and well, we are now in the paperwork phase and the "wait" phase for all of the inspections to be done.
Plus...there's a surprise...
"If" we get it...I might get my man cave!!!!
If we get it, pics to follow!

More fun to come!
Wish us luck!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Packing up the Display Case Figures and Other Stuff....

As we continue into this chaotic mess known as "pre-planning/pre-packing, and pre-staging" for our upcoming move, one of my biggest projects is "Moving all of my gaming stuff".  Truly this is going to be a Herculean effort as I simply have "a lot of toys". Not as many as some but still...enough.
One of the task I have before me was to pack up my painted 28mm figures that I had in my display case for storage/transport. The case is over 6 feet tall and originally came with three shelves, (we've added four more since them, and have two more that can go in), and is packed with over 600 painted 28mm figures, (most of them mounted on 1/4" fender washers for bases.). So this was going to be a bit of a job I thought.

The Display Case...

Some of the many figures needing to be packed and ready for transport. 

Oddly enough this was simpler than it seemed.
A while back, (Sept 9, 2016 to be exact), I made a purchase of some IRIS scrapbook cases at Hobby Lobby. I had waited until I caught them on sale and then went in whole hog. Unfortunately "whole hog" in this case was only six, (for a total of eight that I ended up having).
These cases by IRIS (They are advertised as holding 12" X 12" stuff but their actual measurements are 14 5/16" X 14 1/8" X 3 1/8" in size). Unfortunately, since this Covid 19 mess, the Arts and Crafts stores have gotten a little pricey and these things were always pricey, (hence my one time purchase and HL and only then on 50% off days), at usually anywhere from 8-15 bucks a pop. So imagine my surprise when a certain office supply store had these on sale at 6 for 28.95.  So yeah I jumped and ordered a dozen, and strangely enough the USPS (not Amazon), had both boxes on my door in less than a full week.


 These items are study; opaque but clear enough that you can see what is in them, and easy to work with. They are "slick" plastic though. To keep the figures in the case, I also bought some adhesive magnetic rolls.


 By cutting the rolls in half, you can do two boxes with 12 X 12 inch squares. SUGGESTION: To get a better adhesive grip, wipe the inside of the case with a rag wet with rubbing alcohol, and let dry. This removes the oils from the plastic, and provides a better grip for the adhesive.
Cut the adhesive and slowly apply in the middle of the box. You will have about an 1/8th to a 1/4 in gap space on either side if done correctly, (Depending on the magnetic sheet).

Not too shabby to hold the figures in, and pretty easy to do, even for me!

Two of the finished cases awaiting figures.

So, at this point you can begin to load up figures.
Each case can take 144 28mm figures that are on 1/4" fender washer bases, (12 rows of 12). 
Larger and smaller washer bases will be different.

And in they go....


144 figures per case...not bad...

Once they are done, 2-3 layers of soft bubble wrap is placed on top of the figures to hold them in place and the top is then closed.
Easy peasy....

Quick and relatively painless storage and transport of figures.

I was surprised as it only took four cases to do the entire shelf, (well a good 95%). There are some figures in there that are not on the fender washer bases and thus will be individually wrapped and bagged before being stored. But overall the process was quick and relatively painless.  I still have the other cases to mount my painting queue figures in, and eventually once we are moved and the "Man-Cave", is up and running, these cases will be converted over to troop storage for my 15mm stuff and my vehicles, (which seem to be constantly growing.) 
On a sad note, my once stuffed full display case, is now looking sad and lonely and very, very, empty....

Waiting to be restocked with figures again...hopefully, one day soon....

More to come!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

So I did a stupid thing....

So at the beginning of May when we decided to move, my wonderful wife (Gawd bless her!), discussed the fact that "When we move, I will need a man cave."  Now in "woman speak" that could mean "Sweetie, let's get all of your gaming stuff in an area where you can play and paint and have yourself "your space".); OR in some cases it is "We need to find a place for you to store all of this silly crap and not have it clog up the house like it has been."
Thankfully, mine was the former.
BUT....
During this time, a stupid idea flowed into my head.
"While I am getting all of this stuff together, why not go ahead and count it all out and inventory it and see what I have?"
Sigh...I never learn do I?
The last time I entered into this blog o' mine that I did (or even attempted to do) an inventory was 6 June 2014, and the number came out to around 872....
"So!" sez I. "I'm going to sit down and count my 28's..."
My wife smiles. "Your 15mm needs to be counted also."
"No woman!" I say, wagging my finger at her. "That way lies madness!"
"And your 20mm needs counting, as well as your micro armor, etc..."
I sighed.
CURSE THIS WOMAN AND THIS THING SHE HAS CALLED "LOGIC"!!!!!
So I started counting.
And counting.
And counting.

After about a week, I finally stopped counting....
The current (mostly accurate tally) is:  6134
Yes that is correct. Six thousand, one hundred, and thirty four unpainted figures.
This includes all the lead and the plastic, and the Reaper Bones IV KS, but it does NOT include the Reaper Bones V KS that will be arrived next year and will add another 4-500 figures to my horde.

Still...
The number makes me blink.
So then I broke it down:

25-28mm
Fantasy: Regular Size:     527
Fantasy: Large:                25
Pulp/Retro/Interwar:        88
RCW:                               323
Western/ACW:                 189
Victorian/Colonials:         200
Horror/Gothic:                 77
WW1/WW2:                    22
SYW/AWI/18th Cent:      29
Pirates:                            249
Sci-Fi:                              16
Modern:                           7
Gangsters:                      59
Misc: (animals, etc):       119

20mm
Vietnam:                      191
(This includes figures, vehicles, etc)

15mm
Vietnam:                      246
WWII:                         121
ACW:                          413
AK47/Modern:            637
Sci-Fi:                         141
Misc:                           14
19th Cent/Colonials:   10
Zombies:                     21
Napoleonic:                 83
Ancients:                     14
Medieval:                    3
VEHICLES
Wheeled:                     15
Tracked:                      27
Aircraft:                      9

Misc:
Micro Armor:              52
Dystopian Wars:         7
Wooden Ships:            1

Whew...
So there it is...
The breakdown.

So I decided to work this formula...
"If I was able to sit down and paint four figures a day, every day with nothing else to do, it would take me 1,553.5 days to paint ALL of them."
So this would take me: 221.9 weeks to do them all.
This would be 4.26 YEARS....
And that is if I do NOT buy ANY MORE FIGURES...
...
...
...
And the Reaper KS V will be coming....
I'm going to go cry now...

















Wednesday, May 20, 2020

A long, overdue, update....


Overdue Update, Explanation, and MOVING!!!!

Holy crap, it's May 2020!

The last thing I know (well here on this blog at least), was that it was April 2018.  
And then here it is now...
You're probably wondering "What in the heck happened?"
Well...the only real thing I can say is that "Life happened."
Things got weird towards the end of 2018 in our lives, (medical wise, family wise, legal wise, health-wise and job wise), and the more we seemed to solve issues the more issues kept piling up. Some of it was of our own making, but a lot of it was also due to us having to "adult" a family member that was living with us that essentially had no goals or initiative in their life to do anything other than play video games all night and sleep all day. 
Money became tight, and repair bills became constant. 
In the summer of 2019, I had an accident, which resulted in me being in a wheelchair for six months. I spent most of the months of Jan and Feb re-teaching my right leg "How to walk again."  I am now able to move pretty well. True I won't be winning, (or even running), any marathons in the near future, or wowing the chicks with my slick moves on the dance floor, but I can get from point A to point B pretty well now. Sometimes though I take my walking stick (aka "Kinderschlager") as a "just in case".
Due to life taking priority; gaming, (and this blog), took a place far on the back burner.

Sadly enough, earlier this year my wonderful wife (Gawd bless her!), and myself took a cold, hard, look at the reality and made the decision that "We have to move."
The reality of it was this:

1: Indianapolis is expanding like a cancer. Our current area is building up quickly (commercial wise).
Developers are looking at the residential areas where we live and salivating with the opportunity to get them rezoned commercial and thus make $$$.

2: As a result of this expansion, street repairs, and "enhancements" that should have been done years ago, are now finally getting done. 

3: As a result of this, our property taxes have continued to skyrocket. They've increased steadily over the last six years.  This will result in the people in the residences being eventually unable to pay their property taxes and thus be forced to move. The developers will then buy the residential properties, rezone them into commercial and thus make $$$ (See #1 above.)

4: Sadly also, our neighborhood, (which we have lived in for 14 years now), is becoming "A hood".  We've got a guy a few houses down from us that I am just waiting on him to get a visit from the ATF one day as well as the FBI coming around to ask about "his biker buddies with the swastikas coming over to visit all the time."

So yeah...we have to move.

Our current plan is to look for a nice little place out in the country. My wonderful wife (Gawd bless her!), wants someplace "Country" so that we don't have to worry about it. She also wants to have a garden and perhaps a small backyard chicken coop. (You can take the girl out of the Kansas Farm, but you can't take the Kansas Farm out of the girl.)....
So small town living and country houses it is.
On the plus side, the wife has said that "I need a man cave." So one of our "needs" is a place where I can finally, FINALLY, get all of my gaming stuff unpacked (some of it since has been packed up since the mid 90's), and get it all together, and set up as well as a dedicated gaming table. 
So that is where we are at with this.

HOWEVER....
One of the biggest chores I have ahead of me is packing up the gaming stuff. During this time, I also did a STUPID thing, (silly man that I am), and counted and inventoried my unpainted lead. 
Honestly? It almost made me cry.
So I started slowly packing up the unpainted figures and labeling them for inventory and loading purposes.
This is where I stand right now....


My unpainted lead. 

Yeah....I feel ashamed....
The first two columns of boxes are just the 28's alone...
The big box on the left is my Reaper Bones IV KS...sigh; followed up by the second box being NON Bones KS Reaper figures, (all the Reaper figures I have that are not in the 4 or 5 KS). The black box is my "The Chicago Way" stuff, followed up by a box of the plastic sprues (28 and 15mm) from Wargames Illustrated Magazines. On top of that is the 1/43 (28mm Die Cast Vehicles),  finally topped of with the 28mm Boxed sets of figures.
The second column starts with a plastic case of NON-Reaper 28mm fantasy figs, followed by 28mm Odds and Ends figures (In the blue box), then #8 box is 28mm SYW/AWI.  Boxes 9-12 are 28mm Pirates, RCW, Colonials, and Western/ACW respectively.
All in all approx a dozen boxes for 28mm figures.
To the right of that, is ONE box holding all of my unpainted 15mm figures and the smaller square box holds ALL of my 20mm stuff (Vietnam war).  
So yes....the ladies are right...."Size DOES matter!"
The open box is currently all of the "odd stuff", (Dystopian Wars Fleets, 1/35th WWII, etc.)
So yes, this is all of the unpainted figures.
No buildings, no terrain, no scenics, nothing... None of the worktable stuff, etc...
And NONE of the painted figures.

Speaking of painted figures...
This is what I still have to pack....




As well as the figures in the Display Case.

And after ALL of that, I can then finally start packing up the worktable, and all of the supplies that I have, (paints, brushes, tools, lights, etc..)

To be honest I am going to need a small cargo van just to move the figures and gaming stuff...

And then there is the booze....but we will get to that later.

So, here's to coming back to this blog in 2020 and getting it going again.
I will keep updating as things progress.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

"The Back Alley Boys!"


NEW FROM "MIRACLE PICTURES!!!"

"If it's a good picture, then IT'S A MIRACLE!!!"

"THE BACK ALLEY BOYS!"

"The Back Alley Boys!" - The newest boys adventure group from Miracle Pictures!

From L to R: Buster McGuire, Leo Hall, Davey Dooley, Forsythe "JJ" Jones, and Joey Owens!
Follow their adventures and hi-jinks every Saturday at your local matinee theater!
And remember...
If it's a good picture, IT'S A MIRACLE!"
*insert quick, witty, toe tapping music here*

Figures from Pulp Figures PGJ18 "Boys of the Bowery"... 
"Ready for all the action, fun, adventure, and hi-jinks that only "The Back Alley Boys" can handle!"

Like all groups from the B&W, Gold and Silver Age of Tinseltown, there were separate personal histories and issues for each member of the group and despite their chemistry in front of the cameras, their real lives, away from the lenses and the directors were different.
And (as the late, great, Paul Harvey used to say): here is "The rest of the story!"

Donnie "Buster" McGuire:




Donnie "Buster" McGuire was the "tough guy" for The Back Alley Boys.  He starred in all of the pics until the series came to an end and his contract ran out. he was the story line character for any real "tough kid action", that was needed, and was always ready to solve problems and settle things with "the old one-two".  He occasionally had on screen/off screen compatibility issues with fellow gang member Leo Hall, who oddly enough was also fashioned as more of a "tough kid", but with a comedy edge which Donnie didn't have, as well as the ability to handle more complex lines of script that Leo was able to do and for which Donnie struggled with.
After The Back Alley Boys came to an end, he did some on set with the short live "L Street Gang", and then was a minor character in "Where's The Bus?", "Who Took My Cat?", and "Mrs. O'Reilly's Counterfeit Caper", (which was nothing more than a rehash of an earlier Back Alley Boys pic "Counterfeit Capers".), and then his Miracle Pictures chances seemed to dry up.
As he grew older, his temper was as hot as his fiery red hair, and he had a few minor brushes with the law.  As a result of this, his contract with Miracle Pictures was cancelled, and after much begging and pleading, he was able to sign on with Crimson Studios, as a background extra in "Hockey Rink Hi-Jinx", and "Suspect #4".
Donnie was drafted into the US Army in early 1942, and trained at Fort Benning before being assigned to the US 3rd Infantry Division. 
Private First Class Donnie "Buster" McGuire was killed in May 1944 during the Anzio Campaign in Italy.
He is buried in his family plot in Yonkers, New York.


Leo Hall:



 After the third Back Alley Boys short, "Diner Dizziness", the producers at Miracle Pictures came to the grim realization that Donnie "Buster" McGuire just simple couldn't handle more complex bits of character lines. 
"Sure, Buster's a great kid and all, and he really has that one-two punch and his "go for it" all down and such, but..." Carter MacGuffin, Head of Miracle Pictures at the time, once said during a meeting at his office; " ...being who he is, we've noticed that he has some problems with some of the lines we write for him. We need to have a kid that is tough and can read and say what we tell him to read and say..."
And enter, Leo Hall.
Leo Hall was the "tough comedy relief" for The Back Alley Boys. He starred in the pics starting with picture #4, ("Cat Burglar Craziness"), and continued until the end of the series.  With his trademark hat, and his fast method of speaking, as well as his ability to put on a tough front, he provided some snappy comedy relief whereas Buster McGuire was there for the muscle and the simple lines.
His most memorable parts in the films were his scenes from "Down On The Docks", where he was trying to convince Patrol Sergeant O' Hara that there was a sea monster in the harbor, (which according to the script changed sometime during the filming in a German U-Boat, but the earlier shots were never corrected), and his scenes from "School Dance" where he and Donnie were competing to take the ever charming Susie Sinclair (Played by the ever charming Miss Susan Page); which actually caused some of the initial problems between Leo and Donnie. 
Leo had a very short lived, off-screen romance with with upcoming young starlet Annie Peters, which according to rumor, what quashed for business reasons by the Miracle Pictures Studios Executives fearing "Bad Press".
After The Back Alley Boys came to an end, he signed on with Miracle for "Uncle Johnny's Christmas", and was a minor character in "My Name Is Lester".
Seeing that his options for motion pictures were fading fast, Leo, made an easy switch over to radio, where he found moderate success in broadcasts at radio station WURM. He was a frequent extra on the comedy bits for the "City Saturday Night Variety Show", (which was also frequented by Shorty McGuire and His Fly-By-Night Orchestra.)
When WWII came around, Leo enlisted in the US Navy and instead of seeing action, he was assigned to San Diego, and spent his stint helping with the War Bond Drives.
After the war, he returned to radio, and then moved onto television where he appeared in "Uncle Johnny's Happy Hour", (a daily show of children's entertainment which included songs, games, puppets, cartoons and a man wearing a chicken suit.)
He retired from the entertainment world in 1958, moved to Iowa where he opened a small successful chain of hamburger restaurants throughout Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming. While in Des Moines, he married Dorothy Gallaver and they had three children, (two boys and a girl).
Leo Hall died in 1968 due to complications of Pneumonia and is buried next to his wife in Des Moines, Iowa.

Forsythe "JJ" Jones: 




Forsythe "JJ" Jones, was the scripted "Wise Cracking Jokester Wise Guy" for The Back Alley Boys. Always wearing his trademark whoopee cap, and armed with a practical joke, a variety of gag items, (whoopee cushions, buzzer rings, itching and sneezing powders, etc.), and an endless supply of one liners, JJ,  provided the wise cracking comedy fun that seemed to highlight and be prevalent in the films. 
His greatest contribution and most memorable scene was "The Yodeling Pickle" from "High School Dance", (which was a later rehash of the earlier "School Dance" short made by the Boys). The scene was so well received and done that Miracle tried to use it again in a couple of Back Alley Boys pics, but found out that the audience wasn't as receptive the second and third time around, and in fact was slightly annoyed with it. Despite his ability to deliver one liners and work well with the scripts he was given, JJ was essentially what was known as a "one trick pony". His "Jokester" persona for the Back Alley Boys essentially typecast him and he was unable to successfully break out of the mold that he had been poured into and created from.
Disappointed with the few parts that he was able to get after the end of The Back Alley Boys, (including the one disastrous short "From The Heart" in which he plays a character that is in love with the character played by the ever charming Miss Susan Page), he was angry at the script as the writers had tried to write in some of the "JJ Jokester" persona, (to include the whoopee cap).  His final interview with Various Variety Magazine showed some of his frustration at the industry, ("All the parts they give me...are essentially the same character! Every time!!").
He left the motion picture world in disgust and moved back to the East Coast as a result of him never being given a real chance to prove himself and his qualities as an actor before the cameras, and as a result decided that "he was done with it once and for all".
And from the records it seems that he succeeded.
From here, his history is lost as he essentially vanished out of the sight, and minds of fans and the industry alike. However an unconfirmed story and rumor is that later on in life he married a lady named Ophelia Muggs and lived the rest of his life quietly in upstate New York.


David "Davey" Dooley:




David "Davey" Dooley was the self scripted and styled leader of "The Back Alley Boys". 
While he was smaller in physical size than Donnie or Leo, he made up for it with his nice looks, good charisma, charming smile, and a surprisingly good singing voice. Many a young gal was a member of "The Davey Dooley Fan Club" during the heyday of The Back Alley Boys.
In retrospect, it was Davey's charisma and charm that seemed to fix many of the on screen/off screen issues that arose from a bunch of teenage boys on a movie set. Whenever there was an issue (usually with Buster or Leo), Davey would try to "fix it" before it got up to the studio execs. He was known for saying "You might be flexing your muscles and feeling your oats, but that's not YOUR name on the bottom of my paycheck, so cut the crap!"
Davey did a few radio and ballroom appearances, including a couple with Miss Diana Midnight, who found out how easily she could embarrass him and make him stutter and blush. It was rumored that Davey had "a tremendous crush on her", but of course it was all rumors and fun and games. After the end of The Back Alley Boys though, Davey realized that his heart really wasn't into making motion pictures any longer.
During the war, he attempted to enlist as a pilot in The Army Air Corps, but was turned down due to balance issues. The Navy also rejected him for having "A trick knee".
Undaunted he worked hard for The War Department in their war bond drives.
After the war, he went to college and graduated from USC in 1947 with a degree in business.
He went into the insurance industry and spent the rest of his life in Los Angeles.
He never married or had children.
He was active with various children's medical groups, and helped with the Jerry Lewis MS Telethons in the early 1970's.
In what was to be his last interview in 1987, and upon reflecting upon his life, he was asked the question; "Why he never married?"
With the famous and charming "Davey Dooley Grin", that set many a young girls hearts throbbing back in the old days, he grinned and shrugged and said "Aw shucks! What kind of girl would want to marry a guy like me?"
Surprisingly, after his death in late 1987, within his personal effects, it was discovered that he had a tremendous amount of written letters to Miss Diana Midnight for many years and that they had an amazing multi-decade written correspondence. Indeed it is easy to say that Diana Midnight was Davey's "one and only love that was never to be." He carried a torch in his heart for her for the rest of his life.
David "Davey" Dooley died in late 1987 and is buried in Eternal Glory Cemetery, in Los Angeles, California.

*EDITORS NOTE: The correspondence between Davey and Diana has been collected and will soon be released in an upcoming book titled "Mailbox Romance - The Multi-Decade Correspondence Between David "Davey" Dooley and Miss Diana Midnight."



Joey Owens: 




Joey Owens was originally just scheduled to be a backup character on The Back Alley Boys, but after the accident in which the piano fell on Dickie Yancy, the staff at Miracle moved him into the line up. Joey was a natural and was able to move quickly and quip his lines out with smooth ease, and soon became a valued member of the cast. Quiet and unassuming, Joey knew that "As long as he did this job and kept his nose clean the paychecks would keep coming."; so he made sure to steer clear of any potential issues, (especially those between Buster and Leo).
Joey also had a cousin in his family that won a gold medal in the 1936 Olympics.
After the end of The Back Alley Boys, Joey left the industry and joined the US Navy. He was in Florida when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and soon found himself in the Pacific, where he served throughout the war and was awarded The Purple Heart for being wounded during The Battle of The Coral Sea.
After the war he remained in the US Navy until 1954 when an accident on-board the USS Atlanta resulted in him being injured and medically retired from the US Navy.
He returned back to California and became a teacher, a writer, and a civil rights activist.  Despite his personal feelings towards the American involvement in Vietnam, he chose not to get personally involved in the anti-war movement.
He married in 1969 and lived quietly in Los Angeles; teaching, reading, and publishing two books of poetry and short stories ("Where The Doorknob Is", and "Tales From The Bus Stop").  After his retirement as a teacher, he took up model railroading and spent his happy days of retirement with his wife, and family, and his beloved and ever expanding model train layout in the basement of his home.
In 1994, he was rediscovered by author William Dunfrey, who was writing about "The Back Alley Boys", and other kids group movies.  As a result of this, Joey was invited to be a special guest at the "LA Serial Con and Celebrity Show", (a gathering of old movie buffs and stars that sold autographs and other memorabilia), and received a standing ovation, and a plaque of honor of "Movie-Buff Appreciation", upon his introduction.
"I never ever knew that so many people still remember me, and the rest of the gang known as "The Back Alley Boys". I know that they would be honored and proud to know this." He said as he wiped away tears of emotion. 
Joey Owens was the last surviving member of "The Back Alley Boys",and died peacefully in his sleep in 1997.
Oddly (and warmly) enough, he is buried nearby (six graves away), from his on-screen friend, and fellow Back Alley Boys member, David "Davey" Dooley, in Eternal Glory Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Update Feb-March: Part 4: "More figures, Hobby Lobby, and a trip to the ER..."


 So as this multi-part update continues...

More figures to paint....


So with some of the figures done, it was (once again), time to reach into the "drawers of stuff", and pull out some for the next batch that is queued.

So let's see what is coming up eh?

The first one is a Reaper Chronoscope "Dorothy".
This is an interesting figure although I wished they would've given the option of a picnic basket also.
Since I had done "The NSFW Witch" I thought, "Why not Dorothy?"...

That's right Toto (the dog and not the band), She's not in Kansas anymore...


 And then the next was a pack from the Old Westwind "Vampire Wars" line.  Always need some 19th Century Female Victims. (I painted these up pretty quickly...)

Victims, Clues, or Objective Markers? Your guess is as good as mine...


And another Reaper Chronoscope. I swear this nurse is up to no good...

Time to take your...."medicine"...


So a part of me was getting tired of the "Pulpy" stuff that I have been doing and in doing so, ended up pulling out a pack of Foundry Pirates!  Arrrr!  Now THAT'S the stuff!!!!

Oooooh...these guys will paint up nicely...


And then ANOTHER Reaper figure...however this one is from their "Savage Worlds" line.

You can never have too many dames with a gun...I think...


And yet ANOTHER Reaper! But this time a fantasy figure from their Dark Heaven Legends line...
And ooooooooooooohhhh....a dancing girl...*sigh*

Aye...with just a wiggle and a shimmy, she can captivate an audience...


And then I decided on a custom figure.
See I got out a pack of the great stuff from Pulp Figures, in this case pack PMX02 from their Western/Mexican Revolution Line.
This one gunslinger kept giving me the eye, and well...I got thinking....and scheming...


He's kinda got...."that look"...

So then I got to thinking..."What could I do to him?"
And then.....THIS...popped into my brain.


Yeps...I decided to do a version of Marvel Comics "The Rawhide Kid".  Although this version is well...a bit "light" in his boots...
You can go ahead and use mind bleach now...

So...*ahem*...with that all behind us....Let's move on...
Next stop...Hobby Lobby!!!!

Hobby Lobby!!!!!

I'll admit it. 
My wife, and I, both love Hobby Lobby.
With that being said, we always try to make the best out of the deals. For me the best part is when they discount their paints even more and put their high quality brushes on sale.

So naturally when they had "a sale", we went.

Yay! Hobby Lobby!

And I got some nice brushes that were on sale...

Good paint brushes are like dice...you can never, ever, have enough...

And picked up some paints. The burnt umber paint is one that I go through a lot of due to weathering and base colors and groundwork.

All the colors of the rainbow....or maybe not...


On top of this, I needed to buy another set of brass rods as the ones I had previously disappeared in the clutter. The brass rods are being used as bars for the customization of the Knuckleduster Jail that I have been slowly working on. (Note to self: Never do a "from scratch" customization of a Knuckleduster building ever again...)

Bars for the cell....

So that was the end of my recent Hobby Lobby purchase...

And then something happened...

So on March 11th I got to feeling a little "not well" in the chest area...
My wife being concerned for my health, decided to take me into ER to get "checked out".
Once there, they looked at me and said "Get him inside..."
And so I spent the night at IU West ER.

I'd rather be at a Holiday Inn Express....Comfy it wasn't....

And naturally they did this...

I've had so many in this arm, I have a permanent tap I think...

After a night and morning of tests, I had good news and bad news.

Good news:

"It's not a heart attack."

Bad news:

1: I have the beginning initial signs of Dystolic Heart Dysfunction.

2: I am just in the crossover range of Type II Diabetes.


So welcome aboard the health and lifestyle change train!

With my wife, we've decided to lose weight, and change our lifestyle.  We need to lose weight or die...

And then the next weekend when I was home, I started a new project...(but that's for another time)...

More to come!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Update Feb-March: Part 3: " Booze, Figures, and A Game Store Review"

So as Feb slowly ended and rolled into March, the first thing on my plate was my wonderful wife's (Gawd bless her!) birthday.
Cards, presents, and roses for her as she truly deserves it.

Roses and being a good husband...

And then that weekend, I decided that I needed to "rearrange my liquor shelf". It had gotten to be a bit on the chaotic side with bottles of hooch everywhere, so I decided to "organize.
First was the whiskies/whiskey's/bourbons...
*(Note: The Wild Turkey Rare Breed was bought in December of 2006 and has yet to be opened. I'm saving it for a special occasion), and the Fireball is NOT mine...yuk.



And then, next up was the rums...



And then I finally put it all back together, along with the other stuff...




But now...back to figures!

Figures and painting: 

So we are back to figures.
With the Halloween stuff out of the way, I went back to my pulp stuff.
First up is one of the figures from Crucible Crush's amazing "Cthulhu 28's" line. This is from the "Arkham Investigators".  I wanted to try this figure out as she presented me the challenge of learning to paint "sheer stockings".
I think I was able to get them to a passable look, don't you think?
(Oh and a B&W Noir pic is included)....



Dressed for an elegant evening of socializing at a RSVP party hosted by that gallivanting wealthy playboy, Edward Winder; the ever lovely Miss Barbara Kane was able to slip away unnoticed and find the secret passage that led to the tunnels below. Armed with her trusty pistol, she moved slowly through the ominous passageway, unaware of the trap that was soon to be sprung upon her by Edward and his henchmen.... 

And what kind of town, (Pulp or Western) would there be without a "Chinatown" section?
This set is from that amazing Pulp Figures line, (and once again, I must say, they are fantastic) and can easily be used in so many genres.
 
Four of the five figures from the line.

Seems we have a conversation going on here...Let's listen in shall we?

Lo-Fat and Wang Chung are discussing “Where they can find a Chinese girl with green eyes...”

 And when I was done with those, I moved onto some more Old West style figures.
These are from Wargames Foundry (or "Foundry" for short), and are from their Mexican Peons/Peasants Range.
Some new population for Chili Verde???

First off we have the Senors!
 
Juan and Pablo...waiting to see what happens next...or when the tamales are done....


Pedro and Sancho...Pedro waiting for his daily butt chewing from the love of his life, and Sancho just taking a siesta and waiting for the tamales to be done....

And now the Senora's/Senorita's...

The ladies of the group...


Maria, and Alda carry their water jugs to the local well...


While Margarita waits rolling her eyes in disbelief at the latest explanation from Pancho for his latest blunder, while Teresa carries a basket of fruit from the orchard to her casa...


It was after getting these done and placed that I had realized that I haven't taken a picture of my display case in a while. So I decided to do so, to see what it looked like.
Crikey!
There are six figures in here that I did not paint. The rest are done by yours truly here.
I will admit, it IS impressive to look at sometimes.

I am quickly running out of room on these shelves!!!!

However it's not all fun and games...
March is also not only my wife's birthday but also the birthday of my sister, whom I never knew.




She was born and died at the age of 2 1/2 years and was buried 6 years before I was even born.
I never knew her, but I think of her every day.



GAME STORE REVIEW!!!!

Okay so this is where I take a quick break from posting my "What I painted", and give you the lowdown skinny on a game store that has recently (within the past year), opened up here in the Indy area.
Lately there has been an increase in game stores in the local area, (and it kind of reminds me of the heyday back in the 80's).  Most of the stores have been focused on CCGs, RPG's and Euro-style boardgames, which are great, but when it comes to miniatures, it's few and far in between.
Enter "Sinclair Games".

Sinclair games fills the niche created for a store that is more miniatures focused.
I had been trying to get up to the Carmel area to see them for a few months but life always seemed to intrude.
Finally I did make it.

First off is the address taken off of the website:  www.sinclairgames.com

Sinclair Games
112 W Carmel Drive
Carmel, IN. 46032

PH: 317-815-4800

Carmel is an area slightly N/NE of Indy. It's (in)famous for it's lack of stoplights, and it's massive use of roundabouts, (which most people in Indiana are completely clueless to the concept of and treat them like they were four way stops), so getting there was a bit of an adventure.
The store is small and there isn't a lot of signage. It's tucked away in a retail/industrial/office strip mall/plaza of sorts.
Entering the store I found something that was good for me. While most stores that "did minis" pretty much focused on the "big things" (GW, FoW, etc), Sinclair also focused on other brands. True there were FoW things there, but there was also Reaper, Pathfinder, Bolt Action, Malifaux, Great Escape, etc,, and it was a welcome relief.
I will admit that the store IS small. Don't expect a massive size retail area or a dozen score rows of stock, But with their small size I was very pleased. They do have some RPG stuff, and a nice but small selection of board games. They also have a great selection of paints and hobby tools that we all seem to need in this horrible hobby of ours.

So to show how pleased i was, I spent money.

The first thing I bought was the "North American Store" by Perry Miniatures.
(Authors Note: I am currently working on this and am having very mixed feelings about it...more to come on that one.)



And I scooped up the Coppers set for TCW...



 And of course, I grabbed some more paints, (including some restocks of ones that were going empty), to use.  The German Black Brown, Medium Cam Brown, and the English Uniform are very common colors that I seem to put to a lot of use. 


And I picked up some Army Painter Quick Shade Soft Tone to go with the Strong Tone.



And I picked up some scenery. The ground tufts always helps bases and groundwork look better. 

All in all, Sinclair Games is a good up and coming store. The only drawback I see to it is the difficult location to get to, (not as bad as when Little Wars of Houston moved from The Katy Fwy to K'dale and was almost impossible to get to though). It's just one of those things that "you have to find out which is the best way for you to get there. I'm hoping that they will be successful and will grow in the coming years. I will support them with my business as I like their variety.

More to come!