Sunday, 6 December 2015

Wooden Building Blocks

When I began to build my modular fortress, I started to look around for additional sources of suitable wooden bit and pieces for future projects. Surprisingly this turned out to be more difficult than I had expected. I visited several specialist toy shops, but they either did not stock suitable wooden building blocks (I wanted a selection of blank blocks, not ones that were all the same size with letters and/or numbers on them) or they were very, very expensive.

In the end I came across a company called TOYS & INTERIORS who had exactly what I wanted available online ... 100 assorted wooden building blocks in a linen sack.


A set of blocks was on sale for £14.92 including free delivery (they were originally on sale for £22.95) ... so I bought two sets.

One of the reasons why I found these particular sets of building blocks so attractive was their similarity to those used by H G Wells in his book FLOOR GAMES, as can be seen from the following photographs:









I am not sure how I am going to use these building block when they arrive, but when I do I will be able to think of myself as following in the footsteps of H G Wells.

26 comments:

  1. This is proving (yet another) stonkingly good series of postings on a wonderful project Bob. Wonderful photos of H.G.Wells' det-up too. Love the whirlpool rule :-)

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  2. Blaxkleric,

    Thank you very much for your kind comment. It is nice to know that my regular blog readers are getting as much enjoyment from this project as I am.

    The photographs H G Wells used in his book really make you wish that you had been able to take part in one of his games.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. My very first 'wargames terrain' consisted of a number of wooden blocks, most likely offcuts from a furniture maker which I used to make defense works for my small but valiant army.

    I must have been ten or less as we moved house when I was eleven and I don't recall having them after that.

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  4. I have used toy bricks with figures here before and it works well. One feels as if one is walking in the footsteps of Wells etc. I look forward to seeing them in action.

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  5. A while back I was thinking of getting some wooden blocks for my boy to use with his Airfix soldiers...and was also shocked at the price of decent plain ones. Nice find!

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  6. Thank you Bob.

    I'm sure my God children need some of those. Yup. Definitely. I will definitely not steal them. No Sir.

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  7. There is a King's Landing look to this Bob. I like it!
    Love the style... and thanks for showing the Wellsian pictures. Simply superb!
    Phil

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  8. The pictures in Floorgames are always so incredibly evocative of imagination and adventure. Once in a while my mind slips and I think "those are 54's so that set up must be immemse" but most of the time I think how much fun one could have if one just had enough creativity and imagination. A great source of inspiration.

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  9. This brings back memories of a Christmas that brought a box of blocks, a Britains BAT gun, and a bunch of swoppet knights.

    Thanks Bob!

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  10. Jim Duncan,

    Ah the games of ones youth! Fondly remembered by all of us.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Tradgardmastare,

    In this age of super-detailed terrain and models, it is nice to fight a wargame using simple things like wooden blocks for buildings etc. I especially thought that these blocks would suit your 40mm semi-flats.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. Gordon Richards,

    These blocks were by far and away the best value ones that I could find ... and they delivered them free next day! Both a price and a service that are unequalled in my opinion. Why don't you treat yourself ... and your son?

    All the best,

    Bob

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  13. Conrad Kinch,

    In this age of Health and Safety, I think that you should buy a set to make sure that they are safe before buying some for your Godchildren.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  14. Phil,

    Both the blocks and the photographs are fantastic ... and inspiring as well.

    Some years ago I was actually able to read an original copy of FLOOR GAMES that HG Wells had donated to his club library. (He was a member of the Savile in the West End.) That was a memorable experience.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  15. Ross Mac,

    I recently found a house for sale in Rochester, Kent, that had a huge ballroom-sized area ... and my first thought was 'What a great place to fight LITTLE WARS and Fletcher Pratt Naval War Games!'. My second though was to wonder where I was going to find £2,000,000 to buy the house!

    The photographs are as inspiring to me as those in Joseph Morschauser's book ... and long may they remain so!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  16. Pat G,

    Those were the days! We didn't seem to worry then about absolute 100% uniform accuracy and realistic terrain; we just got on and enjoyed ourselves, and used whatever we had available.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  17. I vaguely recall having a similar sort of building blocks when I was an infant. With I had 'em now! They would have vanished sixty years ago... If you want a 'Toyland' look, you might consider 'Betta Bilda' if they are still made. I had a set as a kid. You could make a small BUA of small simple houses, and the beauty of them was that they could be 'rubbled'. I wish to hang I'd known about war gaming then! I did use them for war games, but of a vary informal variety...

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  18. Frank Perry also used them, as you can see in pictures from his First and Second Books of Wargaming. I also made some buildings and forts from assorted children's blocks but as they were already various colours and some had letters on them i glued them together and painted them, partly for my then very young daughter.

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  19. Archduke Piccolo,

    I remember 'Betta Bilda' very well indeed, even though I didn't own any. It was manufactured by Airfix, and it can still be found on sale on eBay at quite reasonable prices.

    'If only I'd known that I could have used X for wargaming, I would never have got rid of it': how often have we all said that?

    All the best,

    Bob

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  20. Archduke Piccolo,

    That's the stuff I remember!

    I wonder what would have happened to Airfix's fortunes if it had sold even half as well as Lego?

    All the best,

    Bob

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  21. James O'Connell,

    I must admit that I hadn't realised that Frank Perry had used wooden brick buildings in his wargames. It's a long time since I 'loaned' my copies of his books to someone ... and never got them back!

    Your solution to the ready-painted/lettered and numbered wooden building blocks sounds like an excellent solution, and I hope that your daughter appreciated your efforts.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  22. I wish I could get some of those blocks for a project I just started work on. Unfortunately postage to the U.S. is over $56.00! I have started a search stateside. I am looking forward to seeing how you use them; your games are truly inspirational. It's time to buy a copy of Floor Games.

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  23. Jhnptrqn,

    The blocks are relatively cheap by UK standards ... but postage to the US would make them very expensive. I am sure that you will be able to find something similar in the US, but it might take a fair bit of searching.

    You should be able to find a re-printed copy of FLOOR GAMES, although I understand that the text is available online for free.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  24. Good idea. I stumbled on your blog because I was searching for generic wargaming rules to play with my kids of 6 and 8 years. I also want to re-use plastic army men and wooden building blocks they already own to make terrain and buildings. I was specifically searching rules/ways to deal with fortifications or castle/fortress damage. Structures that can be damaged or destroyed add realism to play and make kids happy by letting them really "destroying" something that also may kill soldiers defending behind or below it.

    Maybe someone of you can be also interested in this long article I posted on my blog (originally in italian, this is the Google translated version) regarding building blocks:

    http://blog.mindcreations.com/archives/457?lang=en

    In the article there are also pictures showing basic ideas of what I've proposed here.

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  25. Creator,

    I hope you enjoyed reading my ramblings, and that you found rules that you can use with your children.

    I hope to read your blog entry in the very near future ... once my rather poor wifi connection improves.

    All the best,

    Bob

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