SPECIAL THANKS. I would like to thank Paul Watson for his sponsorship of several lead figure collections on this blog. Having decided to clear his spare/surplus figures, he generously forwarded them on with no other requirement than they deserved to be restored.

Friday, 25 March 2022

WOODEN TOY TANKS and early TIN examples

Have seen other blogs upload photos of their toy tanks made of wood. Several designs/kits are available to purchase from the Tank Museum website. And they aren't too expensive. Depending on the time and effort you put into painting them, they really do look quite good.  As I'm seriously looking at the prospect of constructing one of my own, to a scale and design I prefer, thought the following might prove of interest. Here are some photos of old home-made tanks made of wood.  Most of these certainly date back to the Second World War when metal toy production was prohibited. I'm impressed by tank no.2, with its turret-gun system.

1. Simple idea, could be developed.

2. Impressed by the system for raising the barrel.
3. Interesting carving work.

4. This last photo is from the excellent TOY SOLDIERS & REAL BATTLES blog, which is devoted to early toy soldiers. Well worth a visit. See links.

As a follow-on to the above, here are some tin examples, not necessarily the best I have on file but still interesting to view.
5.This is actually a tin box or caddy, 1920s?

6.Foreign-made, wind-up, 1930s? 

7. Made by the German company BING, a WW1 Mark5 British tank, 1920s

8. British-made, early toy tank 1930s?

9. A 'PW' tank, and quite small.

10. WOW, just look at the bold green colour!

11. American-made, an ARNOLD tank

12. British-made METTOY wind-up tank

13. German-made DRGM wind-up tank, 1920s?

14. British-made MINIC (Tri-ang) tank, 1935?

15. American-made TOOTSIE tank, possibly a Renault?
I hope others found the above of interest. For my part, I would far prefer to game with these brightly painted toy tanks than accurate models. My favourites are probably 1, 4, 7, 10, and 13. (see LABLES 'Armoured Vehicles' for some of my own plasticard constructions, all inspired by these old toys.)
Footnote. The photo below is from the Tank Museum website, showing one of their wooden toy tanks, available to purchase. and given different paint schemes.


  1. Replies
    1. To be honest, MJT, I'm excited at the prospect of fielding a number of retro-1930s armoured vehicles. Its the next step in my collection, and will help recreate the old toyshop atmosphere.

  2. You've got a great deal of inspiration here Michael! I love the color of #10, that would certainly get a child's attention! I own #13, it is a beauty, but I must have overwound it and it no longer functions. It used to shoot out beautiful sparks and was something to behold! I have a few of the Tootsie Renaults and they go perfectly with my WWI 30mm Mignot figures!

    1. Great reply Brad, I'm a little envious! Number 13 also caught my eye for reproduction, either in wood or plasticard. That you have several Tootsie Renaults in use with your Mignot figures must make a great 'toyshop window' game to behold. If I make a British WW1 tank, will almost certainly follow no.7 BING, love that design. I'm going to stick to my established scale of vehicle, don't want them to occupy too much space on my 6'x6' gaming table.

  3. Got one of the wooden tanks from the museum - very good and easy to put together http://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.com/2021/03/hmls-thunderchild-in-action-on-patio.html

    1. I remember your Ordnance grey tank, nice job!

  4. They have a charm, alright. I like the idea too, of making tanks of original design rather than historical.

    1. Hi QT, I made a point of keeping my 28mm historical, so I've granted myself greater freedoms with my 54mm. Its now developed into a 'purpose', to capture something of the pre-1980s toyshops I can remember from my childhood. I'm somewhat methodical in my outlook, so a kind of 'warrant' still appeals to my mindset, so recreating these early toys for the wargames table works well for me.