The Hex Files – Things are Getting Strange…

“Things are getting strange, I’m Starting To Worry, This could be a Case for Mulder and Scully …” (Catatonia)

Heroscape Krav Maga figures 32mm could double up for the FBI … extreme hourglass corseting by Agent Scully here?

What series or TV programmes distract from or inspire your gaming scenarios?

Painting has slowed considerably in the Man of TIN Towers and Pound Store Plastic Warriors thanks to the Disney+ subscription channel now hosting all seasons of the X Files from the early 1990s.

Part of the steady Lockdown year has been spent binge watching box sets of series and episodes in order such as Star Wars spin off series The Mandalorion, Stranger Things, Buffy the Vampire Slayer …

I have been waiting years for the X Files to be available but the cost of video and DVD box sets has been off-putting.

These Heroscape suitably besuited characters could make FBI figures

I remember watching this series as it came out in the early 1990s. Watching them through again from Episode 1 and seeing the series and main characters develop, I remember some storylines and character monsters very well but I obviously missed quite a few episodes too – I was hard at work in my first job.

I enjoyed the stand alone one-off “monster episodes” in the early series far more than the tangled plot and subplots of conspiracy within conspiracy. Trust No One etc.

The series cleverly combined a US cop show and crime drama with every Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World case and conspiracy theory you can think of, exploiting the public mistrust of “government within government”, all recently dealing with the recent end of the Cold War and the shadowy activities of the CIA.

I like the small town America where anything weird can happen. It’s perfect Forgotten Georgia territory, although I think lots of the X Files was filmed in Vancouver, Canada.

It reminds me strongly of the old 90s high school horror teen comedy drama series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (recently rewatched – free on All4) or the more recent retro 80s Stranger Things series on Netflix with its cast of young teenage kids, another of the binge-watching delights of this last unusual year.

Somehow I don’t think such series could have been made in Britain, despite the weird West Country cryptozoology and other dark regional folklore. To be fair, we had Doctor Who grounded on Earth (or 70s Britain) fighting off monsters in the Jon Pertwee Third Doctor series (arguably the best Doctor?) with its fabulous Brigadier and and UNIT episodes. I have seen several such UNIT games on people’s blogs.

Obviously time spent enjoying watching the X Files is time spent not painting figures. I should be painting my ArmaDads Army figures and repairing hollowcasts but …

Sometimes X Files plots seem like possible gaming scenarios.

Who needs new figures?

In my boxes of figures I have these handy ready painted FBI figures which came with the useful boxes of plastic Heroscape hex terrain.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/heroscape-duelling-figures/

And some weird looking alien crew from a downed space craft, avoiding the blue hats and awaiting rescue from above?

I can see a way in future to reuse the bodged hexagon (whoops octagon tiles) from recreating the old OOP Games Workshop Lost Patrol game:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/12/octagons-are-not-hexagons-or-my-diy-games-workshop-lost-patrol-tiles/

Pound Store Plastic stores stock lots of the 1990s and post Gulf War American troops that could be easily paint converted into the brutally efficient (fictional?) Blue Berets or Blue Hats US Army UFO Retrieval Team or the various SWAT teams.

Usually these plastic modern figures range in size from 30-32 mm to 40/45 – often 54mm plastic clones and copies, steadily downsizing as they become more distorted.

Even these distortions can be used as aliens as the Wargaming Pastor does with his alien Selanoids in his Death Zapp game. https://thedeathzap.wordpress.com/2019/05/25/battle-squadron/

Other sources of figures to hand:

These two metal Fantastic Beasts figures with a repainted brown trench coat almost make a Mulder and a Scully, if I repainted the hair – investigating wizardly goings amongst the young at a secret castle (somewhere in the north of Britain?)

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/14/a-quick-trip-to-the-works/

Size comparison of metal nano figures from The Works with my pound store plastic penny dreadfuls, Phoenix SD and STS Little Britons Boy Scouts 42mm range

Anyway I look forward to more adventures with clean cut boyish Agent Mulder, and “Gutsy Girl” intelligent, sceptical agent Dana Scully … it’s a great way to wind down from a busy working day!

What series or TV programmes distract from or inspire your gaming scenarios?

TO BE CONTINUED …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 24 March 2021

Black Cowboys on the Old Town Road

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A posse of Black cowboys from seaside Pound Store copies of Airfix (painted by me c. 1993/4)

About 25 years ago I painted these cheap Pound Store copies of Airfix 54mm Cowboys and Indians into a home-made DIY western play set. It was made as a jokey present for a western movie enthusiast daughter of a work colleague. This was recently passed back to me 25 years later for safekeeping.

I was reminded of this DIY Wild West Vintage playset box by a recent American chart topping song. I also thought of this box whilst researching my recent scouting related blogpost on segregation and the idealised, romantic Native American cultural influences on early Boy Scouts Of America as part of my Scouting Wide Games tabletop project. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/more-original-scouting-handbooks-boy-scouts-and-girl-scouts-of-america/

The Wild West. Independence. The Frontier. These are the seductive and selective histories and stories that countries tell about themselves, to their young and to others. The pioneers, the frontiersman, the noble savage …

A familiar cast of stock Western characters – and then someone comes along and subverts this all with a jokey pop music video

https://youtu.be/w2Ov5jzm3j8

American music charts for the last three to four months have been dominated by a country / hip-hop crossover track called Old Town Road by young hip-hop artist Lil Nas X and Country and Western star Billy Ray Cyrus.

Warning – It is the perfect earworm and in crossing two distinct genres of music has caused controversy and divided musical opinion. Is it Country and Western? Is it hip hop or rap?

Controversy? “Cyrus sent a tweet to Lil Nas X after Billboard decided that the rapper’s song, Old Town Road, was “not country enough” to be on its Hot Country chart. Billboard said the song “does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version” despite its twanging banjo. The removal of the song sparked a fierce debate — white country artists like Florida Georgia Line use hip hop beats in their songs, why can’t a black artist embrace country beats?“

 

So Billy Ray Cyrus stepped into the remix and the music video ‘movie’ to make it a little more country.

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I like the tongue-in-cheek western movie pastiche that was made as the music video. It features black cowboys in 1889 falling through time into the blingy 2019 modern equivalent of fast cars in place of horses, line dancing, designer label cowboy hat and boots.

Time tunnel? Interesting gaming scenario, pure pulp fiction and “Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur” in reverse?

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What it suggests about the reality of cowboy life is quite interesting – many cowboys were in fact Black or Hispanic. Not quite the rugged Hollywood 1950s myth making.

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Classic and much pirated / copied Airfix figures, still around today in clone form.

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Jokey DIY play set  elements …

I packed inside this all into an old decorated shoebox with their favourite cowboy novel and a simple set of rules for gunfights (roll a dice or split a card deck – highest value wins) or decided via using scissors / paper / stone. Each cowboy and Indian (Native American / first people) had a name on the base of famous historical or western movie characters. (Subrule – Clint always wins). I wonder if the gunfight rules were ever used quietly when no one else was looking?

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I must have made this box c. 1993/4 when this film came out.

I wonder – Where have all the cowboy movies gone?

Various cowboy film and dime store novel images were decoupaged onto the box, wrapped in Western wrapping paper.

IMG_1252IMG_1253

The Old Town Road song has inspired some curious and destructive tourism in the USA:
https://www.standard.co.uk/insider/living/lil-nas-xs-old-town-road-sees-street-signs-for-the-real-place-hacksawed-and-stolen-by-fans-a4212286.html

Billy Ray Cyrus mentioned in interviews – “I’ve never had a writing/recording session like this,” 57-year old Cyrus said in a video. “I used to play as a kid in this town called Argillite, Kentucky and there was an old, covered bridge outside Argillite called Old Town and there was the road that led to the covered bridge was Old Town Road. I heard this song and I go my gosh I just love what this is saying, plus I can relate to this.”
https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/billy-ray-cyrus-new-song-with-lil-nas-x-old-town-road-goes-viral/news-story/378b541ba26900aacac78a0ba278d197

For more about this song and its controversy https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Town_Road

For more about this covered bridge (I do love a nice covered bridge): https://www.kentuckytourism.com/oldtown-covered-bridge/

Part memory or part myth, maybe lots of people have their own Old Town Road in their heads. It all makes me want to to go look up my favourite photo blog of vanishing Americana, Forgotten Georgia https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/dutchy-and-dade-the-confederate-history-of-forgotten-georgia/

Back to the earworm …

https://youtu.be/w2Ov5jzm3j8

Posted by Mark Man of TIN on his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 14 August 2019. Boogety! Boogety! Boogety!

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