Fun 1/6 scale accessories from my private Soapy Smith action figure collection.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Soapy's safe

Soapy puts his days profits into his safe
(click image to enlarge)

Considering that Skagway was an 1898 gold rush camp in the Alaskan wilderness, and that the nearest large city was also exactly 100-miles away, and that the amount of gold and currency Soapy Smith won on a weekly basis, it is logical to believe that he would have had to have hid some of his ill-gotten loot. There were only so many banks and safes in the camp so where he hid his treasure is a bit of a mystery. There is no record of him owning a safe so this is just a fun fictional part of my imagination.
Toy coin bank
before customizing

In collecting smalls for my Soapy action figure collection I often ran into 1/6 scale money, gold nuggets, gold bars, and money related items. For a while I used a baseball display case for the gold (see 02/17/2015) but I thought that a neat item to display some of it would be a safe.

My search began in the toy coin safe field. In searching I learned about collecting antique coin safes dating from the 1880s to the 1960s. These are mostly made of heavy metals, many being nickle-plated. The prices realized for these prized banks were hefty, especially considering that I only wanted it as a prop. Besides the asking prices, the knobs and dials were larger than a 1/6 scale figure would be using.

Inside custom work

Inside custom work

After a few week of searching I came across a Thrift Dial Bank, made of tin with wooden wheels. It was the only one I had come across in which the size of the dials and handle matched my 1/6 scale figures. It was also one of the cheapest in price as well so I snatched it up. It's a toy, but I thought it comical that the lock actually works! The combination to the safe being "7."

Upon receiving it I figured out what I would need to customized the inside flooring, walls and shelf, and off to Hobby Lobby I went. I used their 1/12 wood wainscoting for the floor and walls, and then found some thin green felt for the shelf. I am very happy with the way it turned out.

The props placed on show inside the safe are a wooden box of gold coins, currency, several stocks and legal papers, a large gold nugget and five canvas gold pokes filled with smaller gold nuggets and "dust."

The finished prop

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


How can a 1:6 scale Soapy Smith figure collection NOT have plenty of gold around? I purchased everything but the "gold nuggets," which I painted.

When Soapy died his estate in Skagway was worth just less than $200. How does the premier confidence man of the Klondike gold rush end up broke? There are plenty of accusations of theft. His widow told her grandchildren that Soapy was worth $40,000,000.00 when he died. Perhaps she could have been exaggerating, but it is likely he was worth more, a lot more.

In reading Alias Soapy Smith, we know that Soapy worked nearly every day, including Christmas and New Years. We know that in 1897 he and three of his men made $30,000.00 in the first month Skagway was up and running. Soapy died July 8, 1898, due to the robbery of John Stewart's gold, worth close to $3,000.00. In the year that Soapy worked Skagway he surely obtained an enormous amount of gold. One problem had to have been safe-keeping all that gold. There were only two Skagway banks at the time of his death. I find it very hard to believe that there was enough room in those safes, and the safes of the businesses in town, that had them, to contain all of Soapy's loot, let alone, the gold and proceeds from regular bank customers, business and private. According to the widow, Soapy shipped a lot of his gold to be kept with friends in Seattle and San Francisco. Upon his death, those "trusted friends," simply kept the gold for themselves.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Soapy Smith's Soap

"How are you fixed for soap?"

Sapolio soap

My 1/6 scale Soapy Smith had to have cakes of Sapolio soap to "sell" in his prize package soap sell racket. If you look closely you can see currency hidden inside a couple of the packages.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Soapy Smith's Saddle

Soapy's saddle
(Click image to enlarge)

This is my 1/6 scale model saddle is a replica of an 1880 era "slick fork," double rigged western saddle, complete with pad, breast collar, bridle bit, and saddlebags. It is all hand made by an artist in Canada, from genuine leather and dyed tan, with an antique finish. The tree is made from clay and kiln fired. The stirrup leathers can be adjusted. The saddle does up like a real saddle, as does every buckle on the rest of the gear.

Front view
(Click image to enlarge)

Close up, side view

(Click image to enlarge)

Close up, bridle, bit, reins, and canteen
(Click image to enlarge) 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tiny ledger

Soapy Smith's ledger

Ever since I made my first Soapy Smith action figure I can't believe the variety of fun "smalls" there are to go along with "Soapy" and the gang. I'm wanting to share my finds and this seems to be the best outlet for that. I hope you enjoy it.

To start off, here is my latest purchase, a tiny ledger, originally advertised for 1/12 scale but actually all of the REAL Soapy Smith's ledgers and journals are smaller, so this 1/12 scale is perfect for my needs. The inside pages actually have lined columns and rows, with "handwritten" notes and figures.

Soapy reads over his ledger to the boys.

Weathered/used look to the front and back covers