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...

Friday, November 10, 2017

Egad...November already????

A hearty apology to all of my readers as it seems that the last few months have slipped from me.
Due to "Real Life", (work, a long visit by my Father In Law, more work, redoing the garage, etc.), my attention to my figures, gaming, and my hobby has been on the back burner.
Last weekend was the first time I have sat down at my paint table since August.
Here's hoping that in the next couple of weeks I will be back in the swing of things and getting stuff going for this site.

Stay tuned.
More to come...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Today's Acquisitions...

In an effort to keep up with this blog, I got this out this evening...(while finishing off a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label).

One of the things with most miniature gamers, (at least with me) is the amount of "non-gaming, gaming stuff" that we do. This include cleaning worktables, emptying that overflowing trashcan in the game room, organizing your figures, paints, brushes, etc.
To be honest, this seems to take up more of my time than actually gaming.  However it is the little things in life that make it worthwhile and "it is the season for the Halloween stuff to be coming out!"
So today I took a much needed little jaunt, under the guise of taking care of a bill with my eyeglasses company, (who just happened to be closed, so I get to go on Monday), and stopped by Michael's, Hobby Lobby and finally for the first time in over a year my LGS.
The first stop WAS the optometrist, which happened to be closed and seems to keep bankers hours.
So after that it was a quick run down to Michael's to see if their Halloween stuff was out and much to my surprise the first portions of it are out on the shelves!
Summer be gone!!!!

The biggest problem I have with the Halloween decor is simply that "If I was single and had the house to myself, this would probably be up all year around..."
I saw some nice Lemax Halloween pieces that I will be stocking up on soon, Their cemetery gates make nice terrain pieces.

And then it was off to Hobby Lobby...

At Hobby Lobby I was on a mission. I needed to pick up some thin metal rods that they have so I can finish the bars to the jail cells in the Sheriff's Office and put that nightmare behind me. 
Add to the fact that my Dremel bit the big one...sigh.
But I was able to get two packs of the brass rods.

Hmm...these will work quite nicely...

And while checking the clearance area, I noticed that some brushes were on sale, and lo and behold, they had some of the REALLY NICE Windsor and Newton Brushes for 50% off!
I found two nice ones and added them to my collection.

Nothing wrong with getting nice brushes when they are on sale, I always say....

And then it was off to my LGS.
Readers will hopefully remember that I have had mixed feelings and experiences with my LGS in the past years. The store I would really like to check out regularly is over on the other side of town, (a good 30-40 mile drive).
So I really wasn't sure what to expect this time I showed up.
The place is still small, and honestly, sitting in an industrial park area, the rent may be cheap but the frontage is non-existent and even though I have been there half a dozen times since their move, I still need a GPS to locate it.
However I wasn't there for directions or inspections.
Instead I picked up some Reaper Bones figures.

A nice PC cleric figure...or a NPC...

And some more female sword-users

And then I found this and said "Cool, Old School Roper Style monster to give the PC's a problem or
This looks like some promising XP's right soon as they can kill it, without being killed that is...

And then I decided to pick up some of this as something to work with on some ideas I have seen it used on. Let's hope I can master it.

 On the way back I stopped for a quick lunch of Sliders and then made it home.
Relaxing today after a hard week at work, and tomorrow I get to work on the jail...finally!

More to come!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Overdue Update and A Finished Scenery Piece

In the blink of an eye, the year is already half over and we are in August and my blog has suffered from neglect and misuse, and for that dear reader I am sorry.
To be honest, there I've been busy with work, as well as some family and health issues as well as going through a major cycle of depression, and even though I have been painting like a madman, (and later posts will prove this), I just haven't had the "umph" to update this blog the way I should be.
But I've decided to try to get back into the swing of it, and thus starting with a piece of scenery.
A couple of years ago, (late 2015 I think), I picked up an old early 1990's hydrastone casting from the now long defunct Stellar Games "Stonewyrk" line. In this case it was a medieval style gallows.

Yeah this company's been looooooooooong gone...

In the funky old game-store that I have nicknamed "The Tombs", it is kind of like The Island of Misfit Toys, and so many of these things are just waiting for someone to find them, buy them, paint them, and play with them. And sometimes they wait for decades.

The front of the package showing the age....
So I went ahead and got this one and then it became that "Item that we all have that we do "dawdle work" on when we are in the block that all of us get on painting, building, etc. We don't want to sit there at the paint table and go "Duhhhh..." so we find this item that becomes our "Never-Ending Project".
And so I worked on it, and worked on it, AND worked on it for a couple of years.
Finally about two weeks ago, I said "Screw it!" and went into "get this finished!" mode.
It was relatively easy to do, although I did modify it by using a larger dowel rod for the hanging support than the teeny one that was provided.

 You can see here that I also experimented with different groundwork. One side is green blended turf while the other is rocks and sand. I decided to go wit this as there wouldn't me much grass from the front of it from the feet of onlookers.

All in all it was an "okay" kit. A nice addition and background piece, and my wonderful wife (GAWD BLESS HER!), has the right type of thread to make hanging rope nooses out of, so that will be nice.
It's typical of mid 1990's small company quality. Don't expect first rate stuff due to the period that it was done. Overall I would get it a C+ .

More stuff to come.

Friday, June 9, 2017

"Building A Western Town": The Sheriff's Office...

As the building of my Western Town of Rimfire continues, we turn our attention now towards that establishment of law and order in The Old West; The Sheriff's Office and Jail.
Once again, this is one of the old TCL kits that was offered by Knuckleduster before they pulled the line. Word is out though that another version will be offered "soon".

This is a standard "long kit" like approx 50 of the buildings offered, but the kicker here is that the back 1/3 of the building is done in "Stone", so as to represent the jail.

Looking at this I gave it the initial base colors of brown exterior and an antique white interior, while making the back half a dark gray to give an idea of the jail area.

A side shot of the main building shell...

Looking down on the floor. These buildings really take paint quite nicely.

One of the immediate things I didn't like the idea of was that there was only one "large cell", (kind of like a large drunk tank), and it just didn't look "right" to me. So silly me...I decided to do some customization and to make this one big cell into two smaller cells, (plus I didn't want my prisoners to have access to the barred window!)...

Yeah...We're gonna have to change this.

To be honest, this building seriously is crying out for customization.
So with a little bit of time watching "Rio Bravo" I decided to get an idea of what I wanted to do.
The kit gives an optional wall to make another room, so I decided to use that to break up some ore of the "big space".
I found some wanted posters and made some flyer boards and tacked them on.

Here's the main wall, with The Rogues Gallery...

The left portion of the wall, showing wanted flyers for John Wesley Hardin, Jesse James, Frank Doolin, and "The Terror of Hill Valley, Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen...

And a couple of more on this side including one of John Wayne's character, Ethan, from "The Searchers"...

Another view looking at the jail...

 And two close up shots of the soon the be changed jail....

A rear shot showing the dry-brushing of the gray stone...

After cutting the jail cell apart, this is how the new version looked. (Don't get used to it, because it changed again...)

One of the things I remembered from "Rio Bravo" was that the Jail had shutters on the windows to keep yokels from shooting inside. So I decided that this too had to be done.

A pic of the side-wall showing the wood and stone, and the cut shutter pieces.

For the stonework, I ran a four color scheme.
Base black, then a mixture of black and charcoal gray, (making a dark dirty gray), then highlighted with charcoal gray, (lighter color), and then a dry-brushing of Vallejo Stonewall Gray to help bring out the detail.

Not bad if I do say so myself...

It's not easy making wood look like stone...

Then I took a look at the door. 
Yeps, that needed fixing too.
So a little more wood and a reinforced door with panels was put into place.
Here's pics of it front and back...

As I said with the new cells, I decided to go ahead and redo the cell pieces. With the cell door I attached it to two wooden blanks to make a wall, and then will use the cell pieces to help form the cells.
Then it was time for a test fitting.

A test fitting of the pieces shows the building layout in it's general setup. Two small jail cells, a middle room, a larger front office. So far so good.

A closer look at the dividing wall and figure scale...

A side shot showing the layout.

I still have to make the jail cell doors, but looks good so far...

Yeps...looks like the hokey is coming along quite nicely...

So while I was working on this, and waiting for parts to dry, etc, I did a little more work on some figures.
I finished the initial painting of "The Big Man" himself, Sheriff John T.

Now all he needs is a drunk, a gimp, and a kid named Colorado....well Angie Dickinson would be nice too but I don't think that's gonna happen...

And that is it for now.
More to come, so stay tuned!

Monday, May 29, 2017

"Building A Western Town:" The Paradise Saloon...

So as you dear reader can see, I've been a bit "busy"...

Taking advantage of a quiet Sunday and finally finishing up this morning, I went ahead completed building #4 of my Western town. 
And may I present to you "The Paradise Saloon".


This is another one of the TCL buildings that was sold by Knuckleduster before they remove the line. As it is, it's a nice kit, but like the others, just cries for customization.
Construct was amazingly easy on it, and so was painting and weathering as the wood does take paint and weathering effects very well.

This will probably be one of my last "Garishly colored" buildings for the town, as paint was expensive back then. So the others might get some color trim or cheap whitewash.

This building came with "furniture", (a bar/shelving/counter), and two tables (no chairs). As this is their "lower class saloon", (and thus for a rougher crowd), most of the "frilly stuff" isn't there.
But it sill could have some customizing done to make it look better.
For this bit, I added "glass" for the windows; (Clear plastic from clam shell blisters).
I replace the small wooden sign with a local designed one.

The front of the joint. Looks inviting, doesn't it?

The right side showing the weathering, faded paint, and areas that weren't painted.

The left side, showing the same weathering effects and... Oops! looks like they ran out of paint!

Removing the roof and looking inside. Here you can see the bar and the interior layout. I also modified the back door to be a "solid door". All of these buildings come with open panel doors for 'glass" but since that would be too expensive a piece of plastic-card painted and glued in makes an excellent flat panel.

Another view of the interior showing the flooring and weathering.

A side view showing the interior and the Sam Houston portrait that I added to the wall.

A side view of the right interior with the *ahem* "artwork", and the "NO SPITTING" sign.

A quick peek at the *ahem*...."artwork"....

No Spitting...on the sign, the floor, or each other...

A look at the interior from the back.

After this, I decided to do a street comparison: 

My town so far. Not bad really...

And then I decided to add some figures....

"Ol' Jebediah Gitt, is involved in a lively "disagreement" with Mrs. Alice Rutherford, of the Local Ladies Temperance Society, over "The evils of The Devil's Liquor."

Albert Whitley the IVth looks through the window at all the goings on inside....

Let's pass through these swinging doors and see what's going on, shall we?

As we can see, this building has a lot of floor room and can hold a lot of figures and furnishings.  Hmm..seems the place is pretty busy tonight....

Some of the patrons, and the portrait of Sam Houston...

Yes sir-ee! Seems to be a real hootenanny going on in the saloon as "The French Flower", the sultry, Miss Angelique, (accompanied by Sam, the piano player), enchants the audience with the hauntingly romantic lyrics "Je t'aimerai au-delĂ  de la tombe ..."

All in all this was an easy kit to assemble, customize, and paint.
More will be coming.
Stay tuned!