Saturday 18 December 2010

Fascination with Low-Tech

Hello there again!

Anyone that knows me well enough will know that I am fascinated by lots of 'low tech' things. For example, my cameras of choice are the Olympus OM1-n and a DIANA Plastic TOY camera, based on a model from the 50s (which cost $1 at the time IIRC).

I have just found these wonderful Wargames pieces by an American Chap called 'Dale'.

They seem wonderfully simple to make, but the challenge, I am sure is finding the right parts.
(Image taken from Dale's Blog without permission. I did NOT make this lovely soldier)
In the UK this appears to be rather difficult! Our culture doesn't respect 'folk art' as much as the USA does (for example, Ceramics is a thriving subject in American Art Schools, in the UK all the Ceramics courses at various universities are being shut down and replaced by *shudder* computer based design (CAD)).

Now I think this is a massive shame, I have spoken to my lovely Girlfriend, Hannah about it and she loves the idea of them. She thinks they would be very personal hand-me-downs some day and just a treasured family heirloom.

I have been considering what 'period' to base them on. I was thinking Napoleonic because it is the Hackneyed ideal... However, Crimean screams out at me, because I used to have a Wooden Soldier that was approx 120mm tall in British Guards uniform.

I am also considering WW1. This would be an odd option, but the option for little tanks and things is there.

There's also Fantasy! Tolkien! Wizards, goblins, trolls, elves!

Or all of them, which is basically what I WANT to do, but I know I won't be able to.

I am even thinking of storage. It would be a nice Wooden box with a sort of 'wine rack' insert, each 'hole' being taken up by one soldier. For a good wargame, you need at least 12 aside, so that's 24 soldiers, without taking cavalry, guns or tanks into consideration... Not to mention scenery! A lot of the scenery could be 2Dimensional painted Wood, representing fields or ponds. Material cut into strips could become roads and hills could be levels of wooden trays atop one another.

Luckily there is an electric rotary sander attached to the bench in the garage, so there is potential to make all sorts of other things. Fir trees, for example, would be very simple to make.

Lastly, a hand written 'guide'. What the two forces are, why I chose them. Why I made them, how old I am and what I am doing at the moment. Oh and of course, the 'Rules'.
Give me your thoughts one and all.


  1. You might find old wooden clothes pegs a good starting point as they have been traditionally used for making wooden toy soldiers:

    I'd suggest finding a local craft shop or go to a craft fair and you'll find tons of useful stuff (crafting is a bigger hobby than wargaming!)

  2. Indeed!

    I'm going to have a scout around Hobbycraft before going to work.

  3. Hi Rob,

    You might want to look at H. G. Wells' rules for little wars, and nick some ideas there. If I recall correctly, sweets for morale markers for starters...

  4. Agree with Penfold - you can download it here:

    And if you download the free Kindle app from Amazon for your PC read it on that!

  5. Hi, that chap Dale here. :)

    Thanks for the plug, but here is another:

    There are a whole bunch of us that use all kinds of material - but mostly wood - to make soldiers. You can easily spend an hour in the Photos section just going through Matt's ancients collection. His Cave Troll is cool too.

    Clothespins and beads are a good medium to work with, as are dowels. You find you start to look through stores looking for shapes you can make into reasonable shields, hats, or helmets.

    Finally, building it yourself is cheaper, by a long shot, than buying lead miniatures.

    Have fun and hope you join the forum.


  6. Hi there Dale

    I have joined the forum, been accepted and I am thoroughly looking forward to it.

    I have also had a brisk look through Little Wars, but I might give it a bit more attention...

    I am sure you do start looking through various stores for shapes that make good 'insert here' for your models, I am pretty sure I will be the same.

    Cheers again guys

  7. I have also seen this site and love the 'cute' figures.

    You could always go with a Blue and a Red themed force - real toy soldier back story, no historical theme - just a colour theme.

    The forces could then be Brits vs French or whatever!

    Just my two pence worth.


    Merry Christmas to you and Hannah

  8. Heya

    A little off topic but here's a link to another simple but very effective concept... though i think it'd be more suited to the fantasy section than the historical.

  9. Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me.


    Joel Houston