Sunday, 21 November 2010

Two for the price of one ...

One of my regular blog readers sent me a very interesting link to a website that has the text of a book entitled CARPENTRY AND MECHANICS FOR BOYS by A Neely Hall. The book was written in 1918, and has some very, very useful chapters for wargamers who like to do a bit of modelling.

Part II of the book is called WAR TOYS AND MECHANICAL TOYS, and the first two chapters are devoted to the modelling of a 'A Toy SuperDreadNought BattleShip' which looks like this:

There are further chapters about how to build a working model submarine, followed by a chapter that has the intriguing title 'A Fleet of Toy BattleShips'. This explains how to manufacture a fleet of model warships that are mounted on wheels so that they can be manoeuvred of the toy room floor. Again, there are diagrams that show how to make the necessary models.

These look remarkably like the sort of models I have been making ... but without the wheels!

It is the next three chapters that are the real 'find' as they deal with 'Toy Artillery And Miniature Warfare'. They contain plans for firing toy artillery, both large field ...

... and siege guns.

It even has chapters on how to build a machine gun and a drill rifle!

This is a link that is well worth looking at, even if you are not a wargaming modeller ... and it has certainly spurred me on with both my wooden warship modelling and LITTLE WARS projects.


  1. This sounds like a real find, sir.

    -- Jeff

  2. How marvelous! Perfect for garden wargaming, perhaps a coat of paint to keep moisture out. All done by hand no doubt but it does make one think what one could do with a workshop with lathe, bandsaw and drill press and losts of free time and energy.


  3. Great find!

    Can't help thinking that if you gave that book to a child of today, they wouldn't have the first clue on how to proceed.

    Sad, really.

  4. Bluebear Jeff, Ross Mac, and Phil B,

    It is a truly inspiring book, with lots of ideas. However, I suspect that as Phil B say, a lot of what it contains would be lost on the modern generation who are used to buying what they need, not making it.

    All the best,


  5. Hi Bob - great post - fabulous exploding diagrams which remind me of the "look and learn" magazines of my youth! My old wargaming chum steve sykes and I long long ago made "river boats" using the pontoon sections from the airfix pontoon bridge as the base - I can't remember the xact size but might be worth a "punt" ( sorry - awful!) I remember using thick mounting board and old bits of airfix kits to assemble wheelhouses, cannon etc. Also very keen on the little wars commemoration - like so many others I only knew of this history through Donald featherstones books.

  6. Ken H,

    I am glad that you enjoyed it!

    I used some of the pontoons from the old Airfix bridge as the basis from some Russian Armoured Gunboats, with T34/76 turrets for armament.

    The 'Little Wars' commemoration seems to be gaining a life of its own, and I can foresee several battles using the rules taking place across the UK in 2013.

    All the best,



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