Wooden Wars: Wooden Soldier Project Part 3: Artillery

Infantry, Artillery and Cavalry. I'm a happy General!
"Artillery adds dignity, to what would otherwise be an ugly brawl"
- Frederick the Great, king of Germany, 1740 to 1786

In order to complete my Wooden Wars military trifecta, I needed guns- cannons to be precise! Research was easy, as the cannon I had in my sights was already designed thanks to Mssr. Gribeauval who redesigned cannon in the 18th century for Napoleon and was kind enough to make blue prints. His designs are both graceful and structurally sound. So now how to represent the design out of 1/8th inch plywood, and as an easy to assemble model kit? Like before, I made a half dozen mat board mock ups to get the scale and look down, but was having a rough time getting the axle system to work and look right.

I'll just come out and say it- SEXY!

After lots of trial and error, I took a "research trip" to a great store in Los Gatos, called the Sierra Toy Soldier Company.  http://www.sierratoysoldier.com/

The owners there were kind enough to let me study cannon models they had in the store, which helped me greatly. The trouble was, I was over thinking the axle system. The next day I was able to create a sturdy and easy-to-assemble design using only 6 parts for the carriage, and two for the barrel.

Matt board mock up next to my "primus"

First laser cut prototype.
Painted Cannon. This one in the French style.

After getting the cannon designs finished, I concentrated on the gun's crew. Since my lads are "iconic" toy soldiers, I borrowed the uniform designs of French line artillery, but gave them side button overalls so that they might be painted as "horse artillery" as well. Each gun has a crew of 4.

A gun and 4 crew

Like with real cannon, the crew is placed in stations around the gun. In Wooden Wars, batteries of cannon, or guns, are created by placing 2 to 4 cannons with crew side by side. When firing a battery can be very devastating as players get to toss one rubber ball for each gun in their battery! The "cannon balls" are all thrown at a target simultaneously - sometimes wreaking massive havoc in the opposing army's forces, and sometimes...not (To be covered in greater detail in future writings).

The business end of a 3 gun battery!

Painted Gun and crew, front

Back view. Note- different Cannon.
Thanks very much for taking the time to check out my toys. In the next Dev diary, we'll start looking at rules, and put these fine wooden soldiers through their paces at the Fossling Proving Grounds.

Master Fossling fires a battery of guns!


  1. I can smell the powder & hear the roar of the cannon just setting here at my desk.

    Interestingly, I was just reading a book on interesting facts about Disneyland. There are 2 cannon entrance circle on Main Street. The book said that they had been used by the French Army in the 19th century. The cannon is a Hotchkiss, so not Napoleonic, but it's fun to pretend it is.

  2. Great quote! Frederick the Great was the man :)

    Also, I feel very strongly that artillery is the way to go!

  3. Black Cavalier- I am pretty sure that the mouse can do what ever he wants! :)

    Simon- seeing your history commanding heavy cavalry, maybe artillery is your thing!


  4. These really look superbe! Truly beautiful and innovative work. I assume you will be marketing these (sorry, if I'm behind the curve here)? I look forward to being able to try some out.

  5. Ahoy Curt- thanks very much for your kind words. Yes, the plan is to market this, and three more lines upcoming- Ergo the Pat.Pend.

    just working out the logistics. Stay tuned for more on that!


  6. I love the shot of Nolan firing the battery! Let him know his Uncle Rod challenges him to a battle of broadsides at the earliest opportunity!!!

    - Rod

  7. Rodney- Broadsides?! who told you that I have already designed naval carriages? I guess it IS in my blood.
    You know me too well, brother.