Space Cowboys – Bet You Weren’t Ready for That!

Space Cowboys!  More properly Archive Miniatures Texican Space Rangers (circa 1978), are the subject of this blog, plus some Steve Miller Band stuff from the 1970’s.  Most people are familiar with the Steve Miller Band song The Joker:

Some people call me the space cowboy yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
‘Cause I speak of the pompitous of love…

Lyrics from The Joker, Steve Miller Band, 1973

Some also know that the opening line of The Joker refers to the band’s 1969 hit Space Cowboy – a rousing song with psychedelic undertones.

I told you ’bout living in the U.S. of A.
Don’t you know that I’m a gangster of love
Let me tell you people that I found a new way
And I’m tired of all this talk about love
And the same old story with a new set of words
About the good and the bad and the poor
And the times keep on changin’
So I’m keepin’ on top
Of every fat cat who walks through my door

I’m a space cowboy
Bet you weren’t ready for that
I’m a space cowboy
I’m sure you know where it’s at
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…

Lyrics from Space Cowboy, Steve Miller Band, 1969

If you have not heard it before, and/or if you want a theme song for this blog post, here it is:

I’m sure that in some way, shape, or form, these songs influenced the sculpting of these figures.

Back to the miniatures!

In the early stages of my chasing down Archive Star Rovers a couple of years ago, I discovered two figures that were called Texican Space Rangers. One figure was Travis B. Crockett who was armed with a couple of laser pistols.  The other was Armando Garcia, who had an assault rifle, a laser pistol, and a very imposing sombrero.  Both had very cool jet packs as well.  I did think that they would make an awesome unit for Combat Patrol™  games.  Archive packaged them in two ways.  One was as a set (along with a dog I have not found) as #2045 Texican Space Ranger Group.  The other was individually as #2225 (Travis) and #2226 (Armando).

19 catalogue
From the Archive Miniatures Catalog
23 Archive-starrover-2045
From the excellent Lost Minis Wiki website.  The photo above includes the elusive dog, and was posted by David Wood whose excellent blog http://deartonyblair.blogspot.co.uk/ is worth a look if you like old school minis!

There are a few images in the Star Rovers game that showcase the Texican Space Rangers.  I think the artwork is very cool and worth sharing as well.

20 image of rangers
Here the Texican Space Rangers are being attacked by Eyegars and Flygars.  Note the dog disappearing here as well on the lower left (maybe why I cannot find it?).
21 bar image of rangers
Travis hanging out with a Hurraku Space Phraint at a bar!  I made a platoon of these Arduin types earlier this year which you can read about here.
22 bar image of rangers
Quite the bar fight mash-up here.  I see Armando on the left, some Space Centaurs, Felynxi, Clint Eastwood (?) and a Chewbacca look alike under the table?  Also a Nevile Stocken logo behind the bar near Armando.

I searched, and the only source that I initially found for the figures was on eBay which made the prospect of building a platoon-sized unit very expensive.  Because of this, back in June 2016 I made a mold of Armando Garcia and cast several for personal use and for some friends which I wrote about here.  I had a plan to cast Travis B. Crockett, but did not get around to it, which was lucky for me as I found a better option.

Michael Thomas is a hobbyist who bought a spin caster and has been collecting OOP miniature molds and making them available for a very reasonable price.  I discovered that Michael has both Texican Space Rangers (among many other lost and OOP miniatures) available at  http://classicminiatures.net/.   The product codes are RKV-0122 for Travis and RKV-0021 for Armando, with their prices being $3.50 and $3.75 respectively, which is very reasonable.  I had a sufficient number of Armando’s, so I ordered enough Travis figures to round out a small platoon sized unit of 32.

My concept for the Texican Space Rangers was to have them as a small constabulary-type unit (like the Texas Rangers).  I made a command group (1 of each type), and 5 infantry teams.  Each team would have one Travis and five Armando’s.  Filing and cleaning the originals ones I got from eBay and from Michael was a breeze, while my castings needed much more work to make them presentable.  They are moderate in terms of crispness, but not like today’s figures.  But hey, this is what it was like in the 1970’s!  Once that was done, I used my airbrush to prime them, and moved on to painting them.

I also had a pretty important secondary goal on this project, which was to use as many of my old Polly S, Polly Scale, Deka Lack, and Armory acrylic paints as possible.  My Polly S paints were ones I bought in the early-to-mid 1980’s (really).  My Deka Lack paints are ones that I purchased in West Germany (remember that?) around 1987.  The Polly Scale paints were made after Testors bought them out, and my guess is that they date from the 1990’s (they were gifts Buck Surdu got for me slightly used from a gaming convention flea market).  My Armory paints were all bought by me in 1996.  All of these paints are viable, but they have lumps and clumps and do not always thin easily.  I thought as a challenge, I would use as many as possible as theme colors, and add washes, inks, and glazes to enhance the models.  Besides, they won’t be useful indefinitely.  If you are interested in the history of Polly S , I did find this blog post that was interesting.

Additionally, I follow a couple of blogs that were inspirational for this project.  One was imperial rebel ork’s post about his Western/sci-fi mashup.  He has three chapters there.  Also, our good inspirational friend Azazel from down under made a painting challenge for units for June, so this works and this is my entry (or at least one of them)!  On to the theme colors…

The platoon leader’s main color was Polly S “Venetian Dull Red”, while the platoon sergeant’s was Deka Lack “Blaü” (blue).  for the teams’ main colors, the A team got Polly S “Desert Pink”, the B team got Polly Scale “German Armor Light Tan”; the C team got Polly S “Interior Green”, the D team got Polly Scale “WWII British Aircraft Gull Gray Light”; and the E team got Polly Scale “German Mauve”.  The Travis figures also have US red, white, and blue on their collars, and the Armando’s have the colors of the Mexican flag (red white, and green).  I list all of the paints, glazes, inks, washes etc. that I used for this project at the end of this post (only 55 this time!).

0 Travis B. Crockitt Texican Space Rangers
The Travis B. Crockett’s I got from Michael Thomas, unpainted.
1 platoon primed
The Texican Space Rangers, primed for painting.  I ended up with some reductions so I actually painted 32 for this unit.
2 platoon start
Here I started working on the heads and the theme colors.  Some (not all) of the old paints I used are in front for fun.
3 mid platoon start
In the middle of the project.  I did heads first, then legs, with torsos last.
4 Armando mid stage
The platoon sergeant before washes and inks.  This is an original, not a recast.
5 Travis mid stage
The platoon leader early on – I cleaned him up substantially as the project continued.
6 Teams A and B await varnish
The command group, and Team’s A and B painted and awaiting varnish.
7 all painted
The whole platoon finally painted and awaiting varnish.
8 All varnished
All varnished and ready to leave their specimen bottles!
9 in storage box
In the storage box
10 Command group front
Command Group frontal view
11 Command group back
Command Group, rear view
12 Team A desert pink
Team A
13 Team B german armor light tan
Team B
14 Team C interior green
Team C
15 Team D gull grey light wwii british aircraft
Team D
16 Team E German Mauve
Team E
17 leadership travises
All of the leaders (being the Travis figures).  You can see the differentiating colors on the hats and uniforms, which I hope will aid on the tabletop for play.
18 Armandos
Examples of the different Armando figures 

This was a fun project, though the older paints are much harder to use than modern ones.  Still, I am glad that those oldies got a chance to be useful.

Thanks for reading, and I always appreciate comments and feedback in the comments section!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
  2. Vallejo “Dark Flesh”
  3. Vallejo “Medium Flesh Tone”
  4. Citadel “Reikland Fleshshade”
  5. Vallejo “White”
  6. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  7. Vallejo “Brown Rose”
  8. Polly S “Venetian Dull Red”
  9. Vallejo “Dark Blue”
  10. Polly S “Desert Pink”
  11. Polly S “Venetian Dull Red”
  12. Polly Scale “WWII German Armor Light Tan”
  13. Polly S “Interior Green”
  14. Polly Scale “WWII British Aircraft Gull Gray Light”
  15. Polly Scale “German Mauve”
  16. Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
  17. Deka Lack “Blaü”
  18. Polly S “Slime Green”
  19. Vallejo Model Air “Signal Red”
  20. Vallejo “Red”
  21. Citadel “Auric Armour Gold”
  22. Vallejo Model Air “Gun Metal”
  23. Vallejo “Dark Blue”
  24. Vallejo “Glossy White”
  25. Polly Scale “WWII German Armor Dark Brown”
  26. Armory “Leather Brown”
  27. Armory “Prussian Blue”
  28. Vallejo Model Air “Aluminum”
  29. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  30. Vallejo Game Air “Beastly Brown”
  31. Secret Weapons Washes “Just Red” (ink)
  32. Citadel “Gulliman Blue” (glaze)
  33. Citadel “Waywatcher Green” (glaze)
  34. Secret Weapons Washes “Blue” (ink)
  35. Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash” (wash)
  36. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  37. Secret Weapons Washes “Parchment” (wash)
  38. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  39. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (wash)
  40. Citadel “Soulstone Blue”
  41. Citadel “Waystone Green”
  42. Citadel “‘Ardcoat”
  43. Citadel “Agrellan Earth”
  44. Citadel “Agrellan Badlands”
  45. P3 “Bootstrap Leather”
  46. Secret Weapons Washes “Sunshine” (wash)
  47. Vallejo “Glaze Medium”
  48. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”
  49. Secret Weapons Washes “Stone” (wash)
  50. Secret Weapons Washes “Purple” (ink)
  51. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  52. Vallejo Mecha Color “Purple”
  53. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  54. Vallejo “”Airbrush Thinner”
  55. Vallejo “Matt Varnish”

Thanks again and feel free to let me know your thoughts!

Author: Mark A. Morin

This site is where I will discuss stuff that I find interesting and that includes family, friends, golf, gaming, and Boston sports!

30 thoughts on “Space Cowboys – Bet You Weren’t Ready for That!”

      1. Space Cowboy was one of those songs you heard on FM radio AOR rock stations from time to time here in the US back in the day. I think it was on the greatest hits album too, which I remember getting for Christmas in 77, 78, or 79.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great post, love the musical reference at the start, followed by illustrations and your search for these minis. Lovely story overall. Glad you were able to get all of those wrapped up (so early!) for Junit! Go, Space Cowboys!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a hit! The thought of music had been on my mind for awhile now. Maybe because the toddler is getting more into songs now or maybe because I’ve been listening to quite a bit while painting.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome stuff, Mark – and so very different to the Ducks and Frinx. I knew you were quietly working on something Western-themed, but I certainly didn’t expect to see something like this – and this many of them to boot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To surprise you is a major feat, and glad to do it. I think I can still get another different unit done, just have to figure out which part of the metal mountain to mine…and finish in June! Thanks again for the challenge and the inspiration.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like a plan, Mark. I’ve got two units on the go right now, with a dozen or more to follow-up. Let’s hope I can finish something by the month’s end since I’ve got bugger-all to show for it so far…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Heh ! The gangster of love ,who would have believed it ,takes an old guy back to the days going down to the beach to surf ,singing that tune thinking we were so cool ! , great paint job mate ,and I thought I had a big range of paints.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to to take you back and hope the surf is still up forever. I’m trying not to become a paint pack rat, so I have an Excel spreadsheet to track them all. Still, I just ordered a boatload of texture paints and shades from Citadel (my go to for bases) so the collection grows…appreciate the feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your posts Mark, and this is one of your very best! those are awesome figures, I’ve done a little Sci/Fi wild west stuff myself on my blog in the past (mainly conversions), but never knew about these guys, how you track this stuff down is inspirational, and brilliant retro painting to boot!

    I was a bit a SMB fan in the day, Abracadabra is one of my all time favourite songs, along with “Take the money and run” and “Big ol’jet airliner”. (names might not be perfect but I can’t be bothered getting the records out).

    Oh and did you notice Vampirella is standing at the bar to the right in the second drawing?

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Really nice to hear Roger! I’m not sure how I came across this stuff except to say that the Lost Minis Wiki and eBay combined helped me discover the Star Rovers line from Archive. Once I dug into the figures there, I was hooked.

      I’m somewhat sentimental about retiring old paints – I even have another spreadsheet that shows how long they lasted, and if the bottles are glass, I tend to clean and save them. At some point I will use them as painting stands, or recycle them. Glad these retro paints on the Space Rangers amused you!

      SMB’s logo was our high school class symbol, and they certainly had a number of great songs like the ones you mentioned. I just never thought to tie music to a post, but this one allowed me to bring many elements from the 1970’s together.

      Nice catch on Vampirella! I missed that! Take care Roger!

      Liked by 2 people

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