Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Creating Soapy Smith.



The real Soapy Smith
This blog is devoted to showing off my own personal collection of 1/6 scale figures I created, revolving around the history of my great-grandfather Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith, the infamous confidence man, and crime-boss of the latter 19th century.

When I started this hobby my initial goal was to make just one Soapy figure for myself, for display purposes. I found myself wanting to create figures relating to important events in his life, such as the annual Christmas dinner handouts in Denver. The hobby has since expanded to over twenty figures, lots of smalls (props), and several book shelves of themed dioramas, including the inside saloon of Jeff Smith's Parlor, outside Denver scene, and Soapy's office.

My favorite Soapy figure is my first creation, based on his time in Skagway, Alaskan, 1896-1898, seen being created on this page.

Long-johns, front

Soapy's period Alaskan long-johns are made by a firm that caters to authenticity in clothing for 1/6 scale figure collectors. See all those buttons? They had to be fastened just like a life-size pair, which is not an easy task for someone with old, shaky, big fingers! Although western movies always show red long-johns, they were/are completely impracticable as they had to be washed separately and even sweat could turn a white shirt pink.

Long-johns, rear

Adding a pair of black dress socks and Soapy is ready to get dressed...

Get'n dressed at the bar

Dressing Soapy in period nineteenth century period shirt, suspenders and pants. Buttons, lots of damned tiny buttons!

Soapy's dressed rear

Soapy was likely armed with a gun from sunrise to sunset. In his line of work he never knew when trouble might present itself. Danger was a part of his career choice and he was always ready for it. He never knew from wince it might come. Business rivals, enemies, and vengeful victims rarely warned Soapy of their intent. They struck to assassinate him at the first opportune time, whether in private or in public. Next in getting dressed, comes the shoulder holster.

Shoulder holster gun rig

One of my prized original artifacts is Soapy's authentic shoulder holster gun rig, made to hide a pistol on the body, under the coat, where it was obtainable at a seconds notice, and hidden from public view, so as not to cause alarm that wearing a standard gun holster and belt rig would. I found an artisan who manufactured the same rig in 1/6 scale.

In order to hide the straps, the rig was put on before putting on the vest and coat as shown below.

Shoulder holster rig

In putting on a vest, the holster is slipped through one of the vest arm openings, as shown below. Once a coat is put on Soapy looks like every other unarmed businessman about town.

See Soapy Smith's actual shoulder holster HERE.

Shoulder holster rig and vest

See my other related 1/6 scale figures