Tomb Stoned – A 28mm Old West Diorama (Part 1)


Last November I went on my first ever visit to the Telford show.  In a brief write up afterwards I mentioned that one of the many things I came home with was a very large display case which set me back the bargain price of £50.00.


My plan was and still is to put together an Old Western Town diorama featuring half a dozen buildings and a good number of figures.  For sometime now I have been trying to decide just what to do and although I still have no detailed plan I am clear on a few things.  With that in mind I decided I would make a start and, like all the dioramas I have ever done, I will figure a lot of it out as I go along.

So, a couple of things to note before getting into some detail.  Firstly, the title for this diorama is a working one.  I have no idea right now what to actually call it.  Maybe this title will stick, we will see.  Secondly, this diorama is going to be a marathon.  If it doesn’t extend into a 100 posts I will be amazed so this is going to be a long ride for all of us!  However fear not.  There is no way I will be dedicated to this without deviating from time to time to do something else.  All things being well there will be lots of other posts to break things up a bit.

Now let’s get started.

Building No: 1 – Blacksmiths & Livery Stable

Of one thing I was certain, this diorama was and is is going to feature a blacksmiths/livery stable.  The question I had to answer was do I completely scratch build something like I did way back when I did this building …

… or do I buy an MDF kit and pimp it?

Before answering that question I decided to take a look at what buildings were out there.  After checking out the manufactures I knew and others I found from more searching, I once again settled on Sarissa Precision (I suspect I will use Blotz for all the other buildings I do).  Sarissa had a Dutch Barn which I didn’t like and a Livery Stable which looked nice but was just too big for the case.  In the end it was the Blacksmiths building which caught my eye.  At a cost £20.00 it was a no brainer so I made the decision to “pimp”, made the purchase and a few days later this is what I got.


Now followers of this blog might remember that I have a love hate relationship with MDF.  I love the precision fit but I hate the flat finish even when it has been neatly etched.  It’s personal but there you are.  In fairness I struggle to get the depth on flat surfaces that others can achieve with their painting so adding texture overcomes the problem for me.  It does require a lot of effort though.  Still that is what I do.

A study of the bits revealed that assembly would be relatively straight forward and also highlighted what I needed to do.  The etched brick work has to go as does the etched boarding as well.  The flat interior will have to be addressed and the roof needs to be tiled.  Signage is something I need to get my head around and I will need to make a decision before too long as to what figures and accessories to acquire before I get to carried away.  They need to be incorporated into the assembly before hand and not afterwards.

What figures to buy is still an issue I need to resolve.  I have two preferred suppliers for the old west.  Kuckleduster are far superior to Dixon miniatures but Dixon’s produce wagons and a stage coach whereas  Knucleduster don’t, well not so far.  The obvious thing would be to use a combination of both suppliers but Knuckleduster figures are heroic scale and Dixon’s are more like 25mm.  I appreciate people come in different shapes and sizes but this difference in scale just doesn’t work for me.  As things currently stand I am erring on Knuckleduster and hoping the figures and accessories will continue to expand over the life time of this project.  Time will tell.

In any event I have made a start.


The fire/furnace and chimney has been put together and as you can see I have begun to clad the assembled piece with individual bricks.  The bricks are a red mix from Juweela and are 1:48 scale.  They match perfectly with the etched MDF so just a case of sticking down whole and half bricks in line with the etched pattern and finishing of with some filler to any gaps afterwards.  I reckon 500 bricks should do it!  That’s me sorted for the next week.

Might even listen to IRO’s podcast while I’m at it!





Azazel March Challenge (Part 2)

The monthly challenge for March as set by Azazel was twofold, a squad and/or something gender ambiguous.  Having posted my contribution for “Gender Ambiguous” last week this week sees my submission for a “Squad”.

As a non gamer I have applied my own interpretation and thus have gone with Wyatt Earp, his brothers Virgil and Morgan and of course Doc Holliday.  All the figures are Knuckleduster 28mm heroic scale and have been modelled on the characters portrayed in the film Tombstone starring Kurt Russell as Wyatt and Val Kilmer as Doc.  Simply lovely figures to paint!

Individual figure images below along with a group shot at the end.



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Knuckleduster Minatures (No: 2)

I thought it was time for me to present you with another couple of 28mm Knuckleduster figures.  Both were a joy to paint and both are very simply based.

The first figure is of John Wesley Hardin, a real character of the Old West.  According to Wikipedia …

John Wesley Hardin (May 26, 1853 – August 19, 1895) was an American Old West outlaw, gunfighter, and controversial folk icon. The son of a Methodist preacher, Hardin got into trouble with the law from an early age. He killed his first man at age 14, he claimed in self-defense.

Pursued by lawmen for most of his life, he was sentenced in 1877 at age 24 to 25 years in prison for murder. When he was sentenced, Hardin claimed to have killed 42 men but contemporary newspapers accounts attributed only 27 deaths to him. While in prison, Hardin studied law and wrote an autobiography. He was well known for wildly exaggerating or completely making up stories about his life. He claimed credit for many murders that cannot be corroborated.

Within a year of his release in 1894, Hardin was killed by John Selman in an El Paso saloon.


The second figure is of Rattlesnake Jack, not a legend of the period but who ought to be.

Jack got his nickname from being bitten on the arse by a rattlesnake while de-flowering a native american indian against her will.  Jack jumped up in a flash and in panic farted several times before mounting his horse and heading for town to see the resident doctor (few people know that this true story inspired Jagger and the Rolling Stones to write their classic track Jumpin’ Jack Flash and the lyric “it’s a gas, gas, gas”).

On examination the doctor announced to Jack that he had good news and bad news for him.  Wanting to hear the good news first the doctor told Jack that it would be possible to suck the poison from his arse and thus save his life.  With some relief Jack asked for the bad news only to be told by the doctor that he was going to die from the snake bite!

The pictures of Jack below were taken before the fatal incident.





Knuckleduster Minatures (No: 1)

As much as I have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy, all historic and futuristic modelling genres my heart always returns to the Old West.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this was the relevant genre of my youth.  It captivated me as a kid and continues to do so.  I’m sure those of you brought up on a diet of Star Wars, for example, feel much the same way about Luke Skywalker et al.

There are numerous Wild West figures available from a great many manufactures and, as is typical within the hobby, the quality varies.  Trial and error continues to be ongoing but Artizan Miniatures and Dixon Miniatures I have found to be among the best for 28mm figures whilst Andrea, Romeo Models and Pegaso Models are my go to manufactures for 54mm.  Although I had discovered Knuckleduster as a potential supplier for the larger 28mm sized figures I had been unable to locate, until recently that is, a UK distributor.

Upon emailing Knuckleduster I was advised The Caliver Books (yes I thought it was just a book shop too) stocked the entire range.  A visit to the website confirmed this to be true so I placed my first order.  The figures arrived literally the next day (free postage if you spend over £20.00 was an added bonus and easily achieved) and were to my mind simply superb.  I have since made several other orders and fallen in love by email with Clare who works there and simply can’t do enough to keep me happy.  My kind of girl but I’m resisting the urge to meet her on the basis that one of us (probably both) is going to be disappointed!

The good news for me is the Knuckleduster range is extensive and continues to expand.  The bad news for you is the Knuckleduster range is extensive and continues to expand.  I feel sure you have now grasped the idea that for quite some time you are going to see plenty of cowboys.  Whilst this is true I shall for my sanity as well as yours try to mix things up a bit throughout the modelling year.

At some point in the future and as the Knuckleduster range expands I anticipate creating a large western themed diorama for the perspex case I purchased at last years Telford show.  Until that happens I’m focused on simply painting the figures and basing them with the aim of eventually collecting them all.  As there are well over a hundred in the Gunfighters Ball range I’m going to be kept nicely occupied for quite some time.

I thought I’d kick off my first Knuckleduster post with a couple of iconic fictional figures from the 1953 movie Shane.  First up we have GBF55 – Gun For Hire, a sculpture based on the character “Jack Wilson” played by Jack Palance.  In the movie Wilson is a hired gunfighter tasked with helping to railroad the homesteaders to get them to vacate their land.  Unfortunately for Wilson he comes up against Shane and meets his end in a shootout which takes place inside Grafton’s, the towns saloon and store.

The second figure is GBF61 – Shawn.  Clearly modelled on Shane but presumably the name change is aimed and getting around copyright.

Pictures below.



Rooster Cogburn – 54mm Andrea Miniature (September Neglected Challenge)

It was touch and go whether I made this post in time as I had been waiting for the base to arrive in the post for the best part of two weeks.  Fortunately I got there in the end!

The figure is by Andrea miniatures and is based on the Rooster Cogburn figure played by John Wayne in the film True Grit for which he won his only Oscar.  A fantastic sculpture in my opinion but anyone who is familiar with their work will know that Andrea set the quality bar very high.  It’s been a while since I’ve done a 54mm figure, despite the scale being where my modelling roots lie.  I’d forgotten how different it is to paint them after doing so much in 28mm scale.  Hopefully I’ve managed to do it justice.

So how did it become a neglected model?  In truth it’s less a case of neglected and more a case of forgotten.  The copyright date on the box was 2006 and I reckon I bought it about a year or so after that which puts it at about 10 or 11 years old.  As best I can remember I had problems pinning the front legs to the base, a pretty crucial aspect of the model given the scale and its weight (it’s a metal model).  I then put it to one side with the aim of doing it at some later date only for it to be submerged underneath various models subsequently bought but waiting to be done.

While She Who Must Be Obeyed has been away I decided a modelling tidy up was required and thus the fruits of my labour were rewarded by finding this forgotten piece.  After much deliberation between washing, cleaning and cooking for the kids in her absence or starting on neglected Rooster I decided it was time the kids learnt to be more self-sufficient.

A modest amount of acrylics were used in painting the figure, mainly as undercoat.  When it comes to 54mm figures, and horses in particular, I’m an oils guy.

Pictures of the finished figure below.



“The Lamerton Posse” – 28mm Old West Figures – The June Challenge (Part 2)

With the Plymouth show taking my time from this (Friday) afternoon and all day Saturday I thought I’d better post today instead of hoping to do so tomorrow and risk missing the boat and with it the June challenge deadline.

A much better week saw me manage to complete the remaining figures for the June challenge by the skin of my teeth albeit that I only achieved five figures in the end and not the six I’d hoped to do.  Not a great deal to say.  Basic figures on basic bases but enjoyable to paint all the same.  Still a little rushed but you can’t have everything!

Individual images of the three new figures below along with a group shot of all five.

Figures by Artizan and Dixon’s and painted using acrylic and oil paints.






“The Lamerton Posse” – 28mm Old West Figures – The June Challenge (Part 1)

For a variety of reasons, my dad going in to hospital with a suspected stroke being the big one, this has been a challenging week and time spent painting has been minimal.  As a consequence I didn’t think I would enter the June challenge.  War gaming looks great, I love what others are up to and I read their blogs and comment when I feel I have something to say.  I admire the gaming boards and the figure painting but I’m not into gaming myself and thus building armies etc is not my thing.  Accordingly I couldn’t see how to contribute to “June-it” against this background and the unforseen time constraints.  Then I went and had an idea – “The Lamerton Posse!”

A Posse is a unit of sorts, a gathering of men summoned by a sheriff to apprehend a wanted outlaw.  My historical genre of choice is the Old West and Lamerton is where I live in Devon so there you have it.

So far I’ve completed the first two figures (hence part 1!), albeit painted and based in to much of a rush.  I hope to hit a minimum target of five/six if I can.  The figures themselves come from Artizan and Dixon’s.  In the case of the two below both are from Artizan.  Very basic base work applied to both and painted using a combination of acrylics and oils.

Now to get my finger out and get the others done as the clock is ticking and the end of the month is nigh.  Hopefully this will prove to be a better week!

Images below.





The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – 28mm “The Man With No Name”

Prompted by IRO’s recent post I realised I had yet to publish my second contribution to his The Good, The Bad and The Ugly challenge.  So here it is.

For my part I figured it wouldn’t be right to not at least have one figure of the main character from the spaghetti western series which starred Clint Eastwood as “The Man With No Name”.  Andrea Miniatures do a very nice 54mm figure but this one is a 28mm (more like 25mm I’d say) from Ebob Miniatures.  A really cool pose in my opinion.

Painted using mostly oils but with some acrylics too.  The blue shirt isn’t quite so shiny in the flesh but I think it’s been exaggerated by the flash bouncing back from the oil paint but I’m guessing.  The close-ups highlight a few things that need some touching up so will make amends and get the brush out later!



The good the bad and the ugly – 28mm “Quigley Down Under”

I couldn’t say no to IRO’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly challenge not least of all because the Old West represents an era in which I have a keen interest.  It’s the era I grew up with and it’s the era which got me into modelling figures initially and in later years the era that I started to build dioramas and construct buildings.  Put simply it’s in the blood and it’s never going to go away and I wouldn’t want it to either.  A trip some years back to Tombstone Arizona will for ever be a life highlight.  It’s a generation thing as much as anything else and each to their own.

What I did for the challenge depended mainly on what figures I could find that would fit the bill and be of interest to me.  I found two, both fall within the “Good” category and this is the first of those.

A little more preamble.  A couple of posts ago I shared with you my brother Alan’s list of top 5 films (not produced in any particular order) that he felt had characters befitting of the challenge.  Fifth on his list was the film “Quigley Down Under”, set in Australia (The clue is in the title!) and staring Tom Selleck and the late Alan Rickman.  This figure which I found, produced by Reaper Chronoscope, is clearly based on the Quigley character played by Selleck, the good guy.

I couldn’t resist the figure for a few reasons.  firstly the Australian background was a fitting tribute to IRO and his challenge, it’s a good-looking figure (even if the paint job isn’t the greatest) and I know it will go down well with my brother who I’ve decided I shall give it to next time we see each other.

The figure is painted entirely using oils.

As for the next figure?  Well let’s big it up.  If you even remotely like western movies then characters don’t come much cooler than this one.  All I have to do is not screw it up!




The Last Of The Mohicans – 28mm Diorama – Part 2

A succesful week, helped considerably by the stay in doors weather, which has seen the completion of this model and also of one of my outstanding WW1 vignettes, the subject of a separate post to follow this one.

Not a great deal to say on this one.  The fir trees were completed with a couple of applications of static grass, the water effects were applied but need to dry a little further and the figures were painted and fixed in position.

The figures are in my opinion nicely designed but they aren’t the greatest of castings and they lack the crispness of other models that I have painted.  As a consequence they aren’t the best but perhaps I’m just getting my excuses in early!

The last photo was taken with the Magua model placed behind this diorama (my brothers idea, credit where it’s due).  The idea was to see how dramatic, if at all, the backdrop would look.  I think  a combination of both bits of landscaping could make for an interesting diorama, I just need to get my head around what figures to use.  There is no rush however as right now I’ve got more than enough lined up!

Photo’s below.