Miniature battles fought with toy soldiers and toy artillery can be made as scientific as those of real war, if one understands military tactics. Without that knowledge, however, you can make up your own rules of warfare, and the author believes that no more interesting game for an evening, or for a whole day, in fact, could be found. That more boys do not play with toy soldiers is probably because they haven't sufficient properties for staging a battle. A handful of soldiers and "dummy" cannon will not answer the purpose. There must be men and equipment enough for two opposing armies, and the guns must be of a type that shoot play shells, else they will afford little excitement.
When visiting several large toy shops recently, the author was impressed with the completeness of equipment for miniature warfare, yet realized how impractical it was to expect that the average boy with limited pocket-money might buy enough of the equipment for a battle-field setting. Then he remembered as a lad how easily he had made guns, forts, etc., for miniature battles, and he decided to show you how you can do the same. Accordingly, when he went home he summoned his own lead soldiers, who had last seen service some twenty-five years ago, and to a man
Fig. 305. - Field Artillery Gun. Fig. 306. - Siege Artillery Gun.
Fig. 304. - Miniature Battles can be Fought Scientifically.
they responded (including three men decapitated by shell fire in one of the engagements of the early nineties). A "munition factory" was then organized, miniature fortifications built, and a battlefield prepared with men and artillery in battle formation, as pictured in the photograph of Fig. 304.
If you do not own any lead soldiers, you will find a good type of soldiers in the stores right now that sell at 50 cents a dozen. Paper soldiers can be purchased for 2 cents a dozen. Lead soldiers look best, of course, but paper soldiers serve excellently. The author never owned more than a small company of lead soldiers, and therefore depended upon paper soldiers for the main fighting s tr e n g t h of his armies.
Next to toy soldiers in importance are guns,and in Figs. 305 and 306 you will find two excellent models that are not hard to make. Shaping the guns is a simple problem in boring and whittling.
A working detail of
The Field Artillery Gun is shown in Fig. 307. The gun tube is made in two pieces, as is shown in the longitudinal section of Fig. 308 (A and B). Use straight-grained soft
Fig. 307. - Detail of Field Artillery Gun pine, free from knots and other defects for the tube pieces. First cut a pair of blocks to the dimensions of A and B (Figs. 309 and 310). Then with a 3/8-inch bit bore a hole
Fig. 308. - Longitudinal Section of Gun Shown in Fig. 307 Figs. 309 and 310. - Wooden Blocks Required for Tube of Gun Figs. 311 and 312. - How the Blocks are Bored and Shaped Figs. 313 and 314. - Details of Plunger Fig. 315. - Detail of 3/8-inch Shell through the entire length of block A, at its center. A hole must be bored through block B from end to end, also, but three diameters must be used for this hole, as is indicated by dotted lines in Fig. 310. To make this hole, first bore a hole 3/4 inch deep with a 5/8-inch bit, then with a 3/8-inch bit and the same center, continue the hole for a distance of 3 inches, and from that point bore the hole through the remaining 3/4-inch length of the block with a 1/4-inch bit. In order to produce a bore that is straight, it is necessary to bore the holes exactly in a straight line.