They were Mages, steeped in astrology and Eastern wisdom. I've got a soft spot for them, too.
I think a lot of kids like the Three Kings (or Wise Men.) I remember overpainting their camels (my mother was not thrilled, but the camels weren't well-painted in the Nativity set we had and didn't match the two free-standing camels I'd chosen to be the pack camels. Camels were part of the attraction. So were figurines of any kind, and over the years our Nativity set acquired extra sheep and dogs as well as an ox and an ass (not quite in scale with one another) and the five (altogether) camels, three of them with riders in different colored robes, one of them Black, several shepherds (one kneeling, one standing, one with a lamb slung across his shoulders.) For some years, providing "straw" of snipped up bits of palm frond for bedding, and then arranging the figures carefully so that the scene made sense and all the faces showed when the little light was turned on, was my favorite part of Christmas preparation. The three kings/wise men weren't on the same flat surface, but across the room because they weren't "there" yet, but were moved closer (leapfrogging a chair, landing on a coffee table, then another leap over furniture to finally arrive.
By then, of course, the shepherds had long since gone back to their fields and flocks, and if I'd had the knowledge and space, there would have been Herod's palace with a nervous king worried about what that blasted light in the sky was and how he was going to scotch God's plan by killing all the boy babies of the right age.
As for "born in a barn"...it wasn't Mary's fault. We always blame the Roman emperor, or at last the governor, for that one, demanding that people go back where they were born for a census, so that small towns were overloaded with travelers...and, lacking the internet or even a telephone, could not reserve a room at the inn. Get there late (as by being too pregnant to walk fast, or at all) and what you get is the stable.
I love how you represented the Three Kings journey to your creche. I never thought of that. We had a creche, but I don't think we had any Three Kings guys.
I understand why Mary didn't have a room, but I knew other people did. So I figured she could have had one if she'd stopped earlier. But I was a non-religious little kid with only bits and pieces of the story. What did I know. But I do love those men and their journey across the desert.
Yeah, that journey was something...like you, I used to imagine it in detail. My mother was a planner, and we had taken long journeys, so I used to wonder, "How do you pack for following a star when you have no idea how long the journey is?" My mother had sewn a duffle bag for taking stuff to the beach, so I could think of packing things into something other than suitcases, but the concept of period underwear had not reached my brain...I thought about how many pairs of socks, underpants, etc. and where they'd wash them (my mother was very firm about clean underwear on a daily basis even while traveling, and I knew they didn't have motels with basins...I didn't know they might have stopped at caravansaries that DID have running water.) And what DID they eat? Manna was specific to Exodus and getting out of Egypt, so even the Three Wise Men wouldn't have that.
At that time, in South Texas, it was easy to get far enough away from the town that the sky was DARK. And the stars were there, layer after layer, in colors you could see, bright enough on the really clear nights to cast a faint shadow. (With a full moon, we could see colors, enough to tell red, yellow, blue, and green apart, though not all the shades, and read anything with large enough print.) Even in town, the Milky Way was visible every clear night. So the idea of a desert sky with this big star in it made perfect sense.