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

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!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

"Building a Western Town" Buildings Update...

First off an apology.

So it seems that it has been a fully YEAR since my last work on my Western town.
About a month ago, I walked into my garage, saw the buildings sitting there and said "It's time to get these things done." ( I won't use the "Larry The Cable Guy" cliche), and finish what I have sitting here, so I can move on.

So...I went to town....(literally)....

FIRST OFF: aka: "What's in a name?"

I've decided to go back to the original name of the town "Rimfire" as while I liked "Crabtree" and the dedication to the late Lotta Crabtree, I decided to take it back to a little 'rougher" title.
So "Rimfire" it is...
Plus I can now put posters of Lotta Crabtree performing right up on the wall next to the posters of Lilli Von Schtupp... woof!


I am happy to say that over the course of the last couple of weeks, I have been able to finish three (3) of my initial Knuckleduster buildings.

As I said in earlier blog posts, I had started the basics of them in an assembly line format. While this was easy in getting the base stuff down, it then came down to the details, (windows, weathering, signage, etc.), for each building. And while it it taking a bit, I can see that I am progressing faster than I originally thought I would.

So without further eloquence;  The First Building essentially complete,
"Miss Melodie's Ladies Emporium"...

Miss Melodie's Ladies Emporium provides the finest items and notions for ladies this side of the Mississippi. 

A nice side view of the shop. This shows the optional slant roof. Viewers will notice that I have added "glass" to the windows. This gives them a much better look overall.

A closeup of "Reb Jenkins" with his sawed off shotgun, and his crutch, outside the store, for size comparison. Even though these are considered 'small" 25-28mm by Knuckleduster, I think they are a good side and work well with 28mm. Scale creep does factor in though, hence their new releases.

Next up was Barber Joe's Barber Shop:

Welcome to Barber Joe's Barber Shop..."Let him cut your mop...Let him shave your crop...Or even pull that bad tooth if need be..."

A side view showing the weathering and the standard flat roof...

Once again another bit of modification as I added "glass" to the windows and my own customized signage.


Perhaps my most challenging kit yet.
I decided to add a front porch awning. This was a bit of a headache as the vertical support posts needed to be drilled and pinned from the bottom underside of the base in order to provide more strength and support. Plus I had to add an addition bracing beam for the cover.
I went with the simple "Amish Style" black and white paint job that many of the buildings in Berne, Indiana have. It is simple but effective and pleasant looking.
This store also had a counter and a large wall shelving unit.
I think my first issue came when the instructions had me assemble the counter completely backward, (180 degrees) from what the complete picture shows. But it is still a nice setup.
On the inside I have also added a couple of period product posters, (One for "Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup for Children's Teething" and the other for "Hall's Hair Renewer"), to give it a little more flavor. I am thinking of adding more. 
Finally I placed a figure in there for size/scale comparison.
The sign was actually part of the set, (carved wood with upraised lettering. A simple white base color with black trim and black lettering and then touching up the areas that needed touching up and it was done.
And I named the store after my good friend, and gaming icon, and former publisher of MWAN (which I still find myself reading 20 year old copies of), Mr. Hal Thinglum.
For those of you that do know him, you'll know what I mean when I say this.
For those of you that don't know him, if you ever get a chance to meet him, you will be glad you did. He is truly a gentleman in all words and deeds. He's someone that this world could use a few dozen million of him and his acts of kindness, though, and consideration.
I am honored to know him and be his friend. 

Thinglum's General Store carries a wide selection of goods and items. He sells everything from dry good to canned goods, and even has imported chocolate from Switzerland, (that's in France). He keeps a jar of peppermint sticks handy and ready for the customers children, and always sells Barber Joe a stick of horehound candy every day.

A side view of the store showing some of the weathering.

Then I went ahead and got a few inside shots.

In these pics you can see the back door, (customized to make it solid), as well as the counter area, and the long shelves. You can also see the two product advertisements I put up and a Foundry figure to see the scale. All in all it does look very nice.

Overall I am pretty happy with these and am now in the process of working on The Saloon, The Bank, and The Sheriff's Office/Jail.

More to come as my Western town comes to life!