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Toy farms, toy soldiers, and wargaming

Simple and cheap scenery and terrain

Why toy farms, toy soldiers and wargames?

This section has been included on this site because I did not have anywhere else to put it, however there may be some ideas in here that translate to railway modelling. The sections on trees, buildings and 'clutter' are most likely to interest a railway modeller.

This started when I made a youngster a set of toy soldiers, adding all the bits I would have liked when I was 10 (bunkers with removable roofs etc). Subsequently I was given a set of redundant 'foolscap' file boxes and I then started making up sets of soldiers and associated bits for kiddies. This is imaginative play, which is important for development and I find doing the work relaxing.

The scenery is made so that the methods used can be seen, encouraging the youngsters to have a go themselves. For that reason everything is done as cheaply as possible.

It was only after I had given away the first lot of models that someone suggested I put this lot on the net, so I was not able to take decent photos of them for inclusion. The photos that are included are all a bit rough, several show 'reject' pieces, but they should serve to illustrate the ideas and techniques used.

It is several years since this section was updated and a lot has come on the market since then - Notably the laser-cut wargame buildings from the likes of Sarissa Precision and the pre-painted range from Empires at War . Both ranges are designed for wargamers and although not as detailed as the buildings produced for model railways they are in the main inexpensive. They are a good alternative to building your own and can be further detailed.

Imaginative Play
Why imaginative play is important and making a place to play


Simple buildings
Some notes on making simple buildings for toy farms or toy soldiers.

Agricultural, Industrial and Domestic Clutter
Some notes on adding clutter to scenes to give them more visual texture.

Trees, hedges and bushes
Covers the method used to make 'safety trees'- you can fall over onto these without hurting yourself, they are also moderately 'crush proof'.

Making tree stumps
How to make 'safe' tree stumps (again these are designed not to hurt you if you stand or fall on them).

Ponds and marshes
Simple ponds and 'marshy ground' marker pieces.

Canals, Rivers, Civil and Military Bridges
Rivers and canals are useful obstructions, and you get to build a Bailey Bridge.

Trenches, bunkers and hills
Quick and easy trenches, dug-outs, bunkers and hills.

Simple Sand Bags
Sand bags are required in large quantities, preferably as individual bags, this page shows how to mass produce consistently sized bags using paper strips. Simple and very cheap.

The 'hedgehog' was simply three pieces of steel bolted together as a tank trap. There are several ways to make these, this page suggests three alternatives, one accurate, one very cheap but fiddly and the one I used; fairly cheap and quick.

Camouflage netting and chain link fencing
Covers the use of gauze bandage for cammo nets and 'dress netting' for chain-link fencing (with safe-to-stand-on posts).

Dumps - Fuel, ammo and general stores
Covers the modelling of 'dumps' in the rear areas of a battlefield.

Wargame Links Page
A few links of possible interest (just some paper buildings at the moment).


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All material Copyright © Mike Smith 2008 unless otherwise credited