Wednesday, October 12, 2011

March of the Wooden Soldiers

I've always liked the appearance of the Playmobil figures and have seen some truly amazing armies and displays people have assembled with these. But wow, the cost must be staggering.  I wondered how it would turn out if I tried my hand a making some figures of my own in roughly that style and scale.

Here's the first attempt:

The head and upper body is made from gaming pawns which are some type of wood composite.  The bottom of the coat is an "angel" pawn cut in half, all the rest save for the tricorne and pigtail are various wood bits. I made the brim of the tricorne by cutting a circle of cardstock.  Here is the first figure as painted.

And this is as far as I got with the project:

I'm satisfied with the toy soldier look but the way I have built them is quite labor intensive.  After the novelty of building the first few, the construction becomes a rather laborious means to the end to arrive at the fun part, the painting. If I could buy figures like this "as is" or simplify the construction somehow, I can see painting some nice formations of them.  And of course, if no suitable toy horses could be obtained, making the cavalry would present a whole new set of challenges.

Still, haven't entirely given up on the idea yet and it could be something to do during my retirement years - that is if I ever make it to retirement, it feels like a constantly receding mirage at this point.


  1. They look great, sir . . . and could become a great Christmas decoration too with a bit of color change.

    -- Jeff

  2. Hi Steve,

    They look really nice and I would love to be able to make something similar. As you say though - the work that goes in on the building makes it a long process and as for horses!

    All the best,


  3. I've never been a fan of playmobile but did find the Garden Wargaming site entertaining. These wooden soldiers are quite charming though.

    Have you seem the Penny Whistle site with its clothes pin soldiers?

  4. Hi,
    Making a thousand would last for ever if they are not one peace. But if you make 3 per day...

    Anyway a chess set would look good. Or RISK in large size with 3 or 4 armies.

    But truly they have the toy shop ready look.
    I'm into something similar but not from wood.

  5. Thanks every for the positive feedback !


  6. They're very elegant. I'd suggest obtaining silicon rubber mold-making material, such as the readily available OOMOO 30 from SmoothOn, and creating a mold from a master figurine. The body can then be cast in resin.

  7. AJ,

    Great suggestion. Just thinking, the hat brim, sword and possibly the musket would be breakable in resin, but even just making the body of resin and gluing these other parts afterwards on would be a big labor savings.

    Thanks !

  8. Corporal Trim- These are the cutes- erm finest soldiers I've seen. Totally cool

    I'd love to send you some samples of my Wooden Wars wooden Soldiers for reviewing and painting pleasure.
    Please ping me if you are interested.



  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Hi, These figures are great and inspiring me to make some more figures of my own. Going down the mould making route as suggested by AJ is probably the best option for mass production. I have made some Prussian/German WW1 figures in a similar style using wooden dowel and resin. I made the cavalry horses out of wood. They're not quite so impressive as yours though but would be happy to send you some photos,