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Some thoughts on building models of all types and sizes

Some thoughts on building models of all types and sizes

Welcome. If you have not visited Minature Buildings before can I suggest you begin with my Aims and Scope article or at the Home Page. If you have visited before - welcome back. I hope this article is of interest to you.

Farm Buildings

Britains' own dual purpose farm building. Now the only building in their range.

Some of the material in this article first appeared ( and still appears) in my piece on 1/32 scale - thanks largely to the influence of Britains toys. Although they are still produced they are not the force they were.

Britains' own dual purpose farm building. Now the only building in their range.

If you are English and building a toy farm then the Britains influence and legacy makes it almost a given. Britains themselves were, and still are to a degree, known for figures, animals, tractors and other equiment. From 2005 ownership of the farm range separated from the military figures operation.The history of this ground-breaking company is well set out in Britains own site. They are now part of the TOMY group. over the years they have produced a number of buildings, though not very many. The main focus has been on tractors and other vehicles.

(then known as Racing Champions International Ltd). At this time, production of toy soldiers was moved to China. In 2005, the W. Britains brand (but not the farm range) was acquired by First Gear, an American maker of die-cast collectibles. This firm produces and sells mostly contemporary matte-style figures to the collectors market under the W. Britain brand.  Kenneth A. Osen was the master sculptor for W. Britain until June, 2013 when he was appointed General Manager & Creative Director. Sculpting continues to be done by Ken Osen, Alan Ball and Graham Scollick. All figures are sculpted by hand, to scale, before duplication. On January 30, 2012 Bachmann Europe Plc became the sole distributor of all W. Britain figures in the U.K and Continental Europe. The farm range stayed in the ERTL/RC2 stable and was put into a separate subsidiary

Writing on the specific farm theme was prompted by two producers, both of whom featured in MB Daily in October.

The first, from England, is Ken Bannon who produces highly detailed barn models in 1/100 scale. These are certainly not toys but serious display pieces inspired by Ken's deep interest in full size barns of all descriptions.

The xxxx barn by Ken Bonham

The xxxx barn by Ken Bonham

You can read more about his barn models on the Miniatura site and about his wider barn enthusiasm at Recently Ken has been making pdf files of his card models of a range of barns available within the Mostly card and paper Facebook group

The second is from the USA. GW Knight Minature Farm Buildings of Hopkinsville Kentucky. They do not appear to have a website of their own but they do post a lot on their Facebook page.

From GW Knight Minature Farm Buildings

Their story led me to a local 'Farm Toys Store'. As a Brit I had never realised such a thing existed but apparently so in the rural US. And state Farm Toy shows. And a National Farm Toy Museum in Dyersville, Iowa. It's mostly about tractors but model buildings are also in the mix.

From the Summer Show page of the National Farm Toy Museum

Postscript: And apparently in the UK too. In October 2022 I stumbled on this publication:

I hesitate therefore a little to add the next pictures, which come from the other end of the hobby - the domestic end.  This is one built by my late father for one of my sisters.  As renovated a generation later by me for one of my daughters and now heading back to the work-table to make it fit for one of my grandchildren.

Originally built by Fred Brush

There are some other more serious producers of farm buildings on this side of the pond.  In particular Brushwood and HS Model Farms of Ireland, both of whom hold to the 1/32 scale.

Brushwood present themelves as Brushwood Toys but their models are serious stuff.  Their online catalogue includes 46 items. The next picture, taken from the Elite Toys website illustrates the Monster Cubicle Shed, which it describes thus: "Possibly the best shed in the range and definately the biggest weighing in at over 12 kilos! Four rows of cubicles offering housing for 80 cows with a connecting central passageway and covered feed area to one side. We have paid particular attention to the realistic metal cubicles with top rails and connectors, 2 x push-slide automatic slurry scrapers, wall mounted metal drinkers and a double stall automatic cow feeder station. Be prepared for some serious fun." At £202.59 it should be.  Alongside it their silo storage set which is now discontinued. A shame since it is such an unusual piece; not just another shed.  Brushwood - no relation to my Brush family.

Models from Brushwood Farm Toys - .

The use of 1/32 scale for farm models produces buildings of a manageable size.   A two storey farmhouse with an overall height of, say, 30 feet is just under a foot tall. (9 metres reduces to 28cm).   With a small farmyard, a stable and a pig pen the layout can sit comfortably on a tabletop or on the living room floor.   Closely linked to farm buildings but often sold as separate ranges, appealing to a very different market, are equstrian models.  Stables of varying styles.

1/24 models from the Schleich Horse Club Range.
The colouring provides hints of what their target market might be.

You will also find farm buildings in the model railway world. My first example (featured in my Vierkantshoeve article) is in 1/87 (HO) by Belgian modeller Frans Hooyberghs of a substantial 'vierkantshoeve' (four sided farm) from an Auhagen kit with some additions of his own.

Scalescenes offer a download kit of a farmhouse and barn in a choice of textures. The barn model is particulary welcome.

Petite Properties also offer a farm model in both 1/48 and 1/76 - 'Blackberry Farm'.   Their website shows two images of it - the basic kit and a "serving suggestion" as the food industry would put it. I'm afraid I don't know exactly what you get in the kit

Another example, in 1/25th from the Madurodam collection, is this courtyard farm Kasteel Terborgh from Limburg in the South East of the Netherlands.

The Madurodam model and the real thing

As always, e-mail Miniature Buildings at if you have something to add.  Comments, criticisms, errors you have spotted, extra thoughts, pictures, or even complete articles for inclusion in the Miniature Buildings site are all welcome.  Or if you would like to be added to my mailing list to hear when a new article is published.

November 2019
updated January 2021