Tag Archives: Wild West

WIP Report: Buildings

I am on leave this week and instead of mowing lawns, pruning trees and helping Mrs Woolshedwargamer in the garden I am painting miniatures and making terrain. A man has to know where his responsibilities lie and prioritize accordingly.

First off. The first piece of Wild West terrain I have worked on in years. This is my sheriff’s office. I ballsed it up right off the bat by getting the height of the verandah roof wrong and most of my miniatures don’t fit underneath it. I am not doing it again so will just have to live with it. It is made of foam core and balsa wood. Windows are glazed with plastic from some piece of random packaging that I found. The corrugated iron is cardboard. Brickwork for the jail part of the Sheriff’s Office is etched into high density styro-foam. Have to add a chimney pipe and then texture the base.

Next up is another Conflix-like building. I did have a bunch of others I made a few years ago but they fell victim to a combination of depression and an open fire. This one will survive I think as I have got my life somewhat under control. Once again foam core board and card. Still to do – all the wooden framing, texturing and roof tiles. A job for tomorrow as it is all glued together and drying at the moment.

More Wild West citizens

Some years ago I brought the excellent set of Tombstone Civilians by Blue Moon. I got mine from Old Glory, taking advantage of the 40% discount offered by their Army Card scheme. These guys include a whole bunch that would not have looked out of place on the streets of HBO’s Deadwood.

First up, the crippled floor cleaner at Al’s Saloon. Her name is Ruby.


When I play Wild West Skirmish games it is quite fun to have the NPC citizenry on the board for the players to interact with. To this end a lot of my NPCs have specific Event Cards that can be activated by Bystander Events. As an example, here is Ruby’s Character Card and a Specific Bystander Event that gets her shambling down the main street and getting in the way of things.

ImageImageNext up is Tom Nuttall, the owner of the No. 11 Saloon.


Here we have Bob Symes (R), a notorious gambler and ‘Gentleman’ Johnny Bowden (L), a pistolier of some note.

ImageA Specific Event Card for Bob Symes.


In this shot the two aforementioned villains are joined by their lawyer, the somewhat unpleasant Silas Taylor, Attorney at Law.


And a Silas Taylor Event Card.


The Hardware and General Merchandise store is run by Mr Peter Stapleton. A fine upright fellow. Talking to him is Stinky Dan, an Old Timer of uncertain bathing habits.

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Last but not least, all those hitching rails need something to be hitched to them. These horses are by Knuckleduster Miniatures and can be found here.


Ethnic Gangs in my Old West Town, Pt 2.

This time some Buffalo Soldiers. I have been slowly building up a force of soldiers and Plains Indians to oppose them. The first of these was this group of Buffalo Soldiers and their white captain.

ImageEven though they are officially commanded by Captain H.T. Davis, they are really led by their NCO, Sergeant John Shaft. He’s the cat who won’t cop out, when there’s danger all about.  Can you dig it?

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On the horn is Bugler Clifford “Sweet Tone” Brown. He has them jumping when he blows eight to the bar.

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Outside the Assay Office is Trooper George Washington Greene. A dab hand with pistol and carbine.

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The other two members of the squad are Troopers Curtley Aimes and Richard Blackley.

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I have a custom Bystander Event Card for these guys.

Buffalo Soldier Event Card

Monday Music: Bonanza

After my last post on the Wainwrights, my 28mm West Wind version of the Cartwrights, I just had to post these videos of the Bonanza theme song.  Also check out the ‘original map’ of the Ponderosa Claim.


Lorne Greene singing the theme song.

OK, this one is pretty weird. A song that consists pretty much totally of saying the actors names. Gurf Morlix singing ‘Dan Blocker’.

Enjoy yourselves Pards.

Family Gangs in my Old West Town Pt 1. The Wainwrights

Apart from the regular gangs of assorted thugs, lawmen, foreigners, cowboys, Pinkertons, Indians and so forth, there are a few family groups who appear in games in my Wild West town.

The first is a local ranching family. They live on a big spread out of town known  but seem to show up in town an awful lot. Known for their hospitality to strangers and for always being on the side of the good guys, I present “The Wainwrights“.

The Patriarch is Lorne Wainwright.  A widower three times over, he has not remarried a fourth time. Every time he meets a woman she either catches some deadly sickness, is killed by a bad guy or leaves to go back East.

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His eldest son is the educated and world-wise Pernell Wainwright. He is also a dab hand with a gun.  He is level headed and does not get flustered.

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 The middle son is the lovable and friendly Dan ‘Hoss’ Wainwright. He is slow to anger but when he does he often lets his fists do the talking.

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The youngest of the Wainwright boys is the hot-headed Michael ‘Little Mike’ Wainwright. A feisty and independent character he is always getting into trouble from which his Pa and older brothers have to extricate him.

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The menfolk of the ranch all together.

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Every dynasty needs some trusty family retainers. The Wainwrights have one in their Chinese cook, Vic Sing.

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In recent times, a new face has been seen at the Wainwright’s ranch. Bonnie Harper-Wainwright is Little Mike’s new wife. Given the fatality rate amongst Wainwright womenfolk how long she remains at the ranch is anybody’s guess.

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The whole clan together.

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Wainwrights are West Wind Cowboy Wars figures (Sets The Friendly Rancher#1 and #2). There are mounted versions of characters on foot but I have not got them painted as yet.

Little Mike’s wife Bonnie Harper-Wainwright is a Shadowforge Miniatures “Wild West Woman”.

Ethnic Gangs in my Old Western Town Pt 1

It is understandable when people with a shared cultural and linguistic heritage band together for mutual protection and to form a sense of community in an otherwise hostile environment.  Then there are these guys.

Meet the “Europeans”. These chaps are on the Grand Tour of the Old West. Taking in the local sights, perhaps engaging in a spot of buffalo hunting before they are all shot. Putting aside their difference, they are united in their sure knowledge that the Americans are all a bunch of savages.


Mad Jock McHooligan (aka The Tartan Terror), Maj. Baron von Klingerhof and Col. Philippe Dreyfus

They are sometimes joined in their depredations of local fauna by some colleagues from other European powers.


Count Alexi Orloff, Maj. Uri Potemkin and Capt. Charles Anderson

Finally a shot of the whole European Contingent as it currently stands.


From places closer to home, the town of Serenity also sees plenty of people from South of the Border. They are under the control of the mysterious Masked Bandido.  Some say he is a renegade American, others that he is a half Mexican, half Apache renegade. Either way, his gang is a constant threat to the good folk of the town.


The whole gang.


The three most dangerous members of the gang are El Montana, The evil Lobo Sanchez and Pedro, El Gordo.

Rumours of gold have brought people from far and wide to town. Proving that you need a criminal record to get of, and not just into Australia, this dangerous group of Aussies has made their way to the Wild West.

ImageBushrangers Ben Hall, Harry Powers, Mad Dog Morgan and Ned Kelly bring their own particular style of thuggery and mayhem.


The Europeans are a mixture of West Wind and Crusader.

The Mexicans are Blue Moon, Reaper and Knuckleduster

The Australians are Blaze Away Miniatures.

Time Life Old West Series

When I was at school in the late 70s my school library had this entire set – well at least what was published up to that point. Published by Time Life Books, the series consisted of twenty-seven volumes that were released between 1973 and 1980. Each book covered a specific topic relating to the history and settlement of the West – The Cowboys, The Great Chiefs, etc. They were covered in a faux-tooled leather binding that I thought really captured the period.  The entire series is listed here (from Wikipedia):

ImageI found this advert for this series on Youtube.

Jump forward thirty years and I had become interested in Wild West Skirmish gaming. I had seen the odd one or ten of these books in second hand bookshops over the years and the thought that it would be nice to have the whole set had crossed my mind. Well one day I was browsing an internet auction site and saw the whole set for sale. I probably paid too much, but bid on and won the auction. One delivery man with a hernia later, I was in possession of my own set.


These are not mine but an internet pic I found. Mine are in better nick.

I cannot recommend these books enough as a resource. Now I am pretty sure that you wont learn anything that you didn’t already know but just for pure reading pleasure they are a treat.  Reading The Townsmen gave me heaps of ideas for structures for my own burgeoning Wild West town. If you get a chance to read these – please do. You wont be disappointed.

Some more Wild West buildings

Back in Wellington for the rest of the week. I have almost finished the first battalion of Spanish for my 1808-1812 Spanish Army – the Voluntarios de Cuidad Rodrigo. Just the basing to take care off and they will be done.  In the meantime, some pics of some of the early buildings I made for my Wild West town.

First off, the Freight Office. A couple of local farmers, Gunther Meyer and his neighbour  John-Boy Thomas, are loading their wagon. These figures are both Blue Moon from their Tombstone Civilians set (Available from Old Glory Code BMM-512)


Here we see two of the town’s luminaries chatting on the street outside the Cattleman’s Exchange and Social Club.  Mr Hawkins the Bank Manager  (left) chats with A.W. Jones, Proprietor and Editor of the Trinity Pioneer. Mr Hawkins is a West Wind London Gentleman from the Gothic Horror/Jeckyll and Hyde series.


Next door to the Cattelman’s is the Mining Claims office.


Across the other side of town lives Old Ma Baker. She and her clan live in adjoining cottages.


Ma Baker does not appreciate interlopers in her backyard. She is another from the Blue Moon Tombstone Civilian set.


If anyone persists in arguing with her blunderbus, her three boys will rush to her defence. Shorty, Bobbie (Bucktooth) and Big Joe Baker are all Crusader figures. Molly the goat is a farm set toy and is always nervous.


Finally, one of the local watering holes.  This was the first building I ever made and it shows – but I have a fondness for it none-the-less.


And finally, finally. Some of my real Wild West critters.  Future freezer fillers.

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Wagons Ho!

I have no idea what the cost of a wagon was in terms of 19th century incomes, but when it comes to 28mm models they are bloody expensive items – especially when they are generally used as little more than a bit of cover for gunfighters in 28mm skirmish games.  I had brought a couple of the excellent wagons from the Blue Moon “Wagons Ho!” range (available from Old Glory). These were BMM1302 Covered Wagon and BMM1312B Flat Bed Supply Wagon with Spoked Wheels.  What can I say about the Blue Moon wagon range?  They are just fantastic. Beautiful little models and I am sure I will get a few more in due course.  The following photos are of those two models. I still have to do the reins and traces…another project.  The driver is from Knuckleduster. (Forrest Harris threw them in with another order I made – I am not sure if they are a separate code or not but you could always just ask him like I did)




But as much as I liked these models, and even with the discount from Old Glory Army Card, I knew that making an entire wagon train would be pretty expensive.  So I began looking around for an alternative.  What I found was this.


It is a cheap die-cast pencil sharpener. It had real possibilities. You can buy them in bulk for about US$2.50 a piece. I landed a dozen here in New Zealand for about $5 each in our money.  So, without further ado….

The canvas cover (which is molded brilliantly – even looks like canvas) just pops off. I removed the pencil sharpener from the guts of the wagon and then built up the sides and front with scrap pieces of balsa wood to make a driver’s seat and footrest.  I added a wooden tongue, hounds and the doubletree thingy that the horses harness will eventually be attached to. The rear of the wagon also got extended and a piece of cardboard covered the hole where you would have stuck the pencil in.


A quick check that everything fit. The driver sits OK and the cover is still all good.


Undercoated with black spray paint.  The cover was just drybrushed with some off white.


The almost finished product – still have not done the reins and traces. Horses are spares available from Old Glory.


The next one will be a bit more tarted up but I was pretty happy with this first attempt.


The next project is this stage coach which is sitting on the workbench.


Thanks for looking.  You can find a good range of pencil sharpener wagons here:


28mm Wild West China Town

I have an extensive collection of 28mm Wild West skirmish figures (about two hundred at last count) and have built quite a few buildings for my frontier town. This project started when I was making customised Event Cards for The Rules with No Name – my preferred rules of choice for Western gaming.


I had already painted some Chinese Tong from the excellent Old Glory set XCW-06 Chinese Tong and figured they really needed some place to emerge from when their card was drawn.

The Chinatown was built from foam core, cardboard, balsa and some basswood. The lanterns were made from beads.

This aerial view shows the entire model.  I base my buildings on mdf bases and decided to make this one single terrain piece rather than individually based structures.  From the right you will find a restaurant and laundry, a dwelling, a brothel and Mr Wu’s gambling den and butcher shop at lower left.


Facing the main street we have the Red Dragon Restaurant. Best noodle house east of the Rockies.


Also facing Main St is Chow’s Chinese Laundry.


Between Chows and the Red Dragon runs the muddy alley known locally as Chink’s Alley.Image

Mr Wu is the local provider of meat. As well as sheep and beef there is plenty of game available from his meat cooler.


Of course, another service he provides is body disposal. No-one wants to become food for Wu’s pigs.


The back door of Wu’s place.


And finally some of the local Tong members, ready to fight at the order from their boss.