The Den of Slack

Freelance Police office – stucco walls with exposed lath

The windows and doors in the Sam & Max roombox will need to be placed in the holes before the false walls are glued in. For this reason I needed to stucco and paint the false walls outside of the roombox. (Normally I like to assemble first, then decorate.)

I was concerned about the center wall not having a lot of support behind it, especially around the windows, so I added spacers around the window holes.

These will stabilize the wall and will also enable me to glue the windows to the false wall before I glue in the wall, which I think will work better than trying to glue them in the exact right position on the outer wall (potentially smearing glue all over the graphics in the process).

The bottom portion of the wall will be covered by wainscot that I’ll make out of 3″ basswood. I drew a pencil line over the top edge so I’d know how far down the wall to stucco.

I taped off where the wainscot will start and also the top 1/4″ of the wall, where the molding will go.

The stucco is watered down wood filler, spread and textured with a sponge brush. You can read more about this technique here and here.

Once the whole wall was stuccoed, I covered the windows with tape to protect the stained wood and inserted them in the holes.

Then I added more stucco around the window edges to fill in the gaps.

I let that dry for about 15 minutes, then popped the windows out while the stucco was still wet and let them dry overnight. The area around the windows looks much better than it did pre-stucco!

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Freelance Police office – bricks and a view

The next step in the Freelance Police roombox is to prepare the walls that will get covered up by the false walls. I used a fan-made program named Telltale Explorer to extract the texture that displays outside the office windows in Telltale’s games.

I started by printing it in black and white, to see how it fit. It’s not wide enough to span the whole back wall, so I had to repeat the image. It’s also not tall enough, so I clipped a sky section out of another texture to go at the top.

When the windows are in place, it all blends together.

I printed out the graphic on photo paper, sprayed it with UV-resistant matte sealer, and left it to dry for 24 hours. The paper is glossy, but the spray is matte so that took the gloss away.

Next I painted the areas behind the doors and the rat hole. Outside the office door, I used a shade of gray similar to the office window in Telltale’s version of the game. Initially I painted the closet area black, but after looking at the closet in the game I realized it should be the same color as the wall.

I also realized the brick red I used for the base looks nothing like the brick paper I bought for the back of the roombox, which is more orangey. So I repainted the base and the closet wall area with a Behr paint sample called Harvest Brown, which I’m also planning to use for the walls (pictures are farther down in the post).

Next I stained the windows and closet door.

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Sam & Max Freelance Police office roombox in 1:12 scale

These are Sam & Max, the Freelance Police.

Sam & Max are a dog and rabbity-thing who fight crime in their own special way. They’re the creations of artist Steve Purcell, and have starred in comics, video games, and a short-lived animated series. I could write much more about them — but why do that here, when I already have elsewhere? Check out Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of The History of Sam & Max, written by yours truly back in 2007.

I first encountered Sam & Max in college, when a guy I was dating gave me a copy of the comic collection Surfin’ the Highway. Though I was a player of adventure games, at the time I had never even heard of their 1993 game Sam & Max Hit the Road. (Maybe because it was made by LucasArts; I was a fan of rival company Sierra.) Sam & Max popped back into my consciousness in the early 2000s when a sequel, Freelance Police, was canceled by LucasArts, and Steve subsequently licensed the game rights to Telltale Games, a company started by people who had been laid off from LucasArts when Freelance Police was cancelled.

When I started working at Telltale in 2006, Sam & Max became a bigger part of my life. (You can read about that here if you’re interested.) I even had Max on my business card.

I worked at Telltale for about three years, during which time we released of two seasons of Sam & Max episodic games and produced a 20th Anniversary edition of Surfin’ the Highway. (More details about the book project are archived in this blog post, sadly without the original art.) I thought about making a roombox of the Freelance Police office, but didn’t have a lot of free time (a job in the game industry will do that to you!) and just never got around to it.

(These are sketches Steve made for me in three different copies of Surfin’ the Highway. The talk bubble in the first one says “I wish someone would make a suit of us!” in reference to the suit we unleashed on San Diego Comic-Con in 2007.)

My latent idea to make a Sam & Max roombox awakened last fall when Telltale went out of business — an unexpected event that hit me hard even though I’d left the company a decade earlier. And then I learned that Boss Fight Studio is making a set of 1:12 scale Sam & Max action figures, and decided the time had come.

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