Square Pegs

The Square Pegs are a motley collection of 54mm Toy Soldiers constructed from clothespins, pipe cleaners, and other accoutrements.

Why 54mm Craftees?

In the summer of 2012, I found myself assessing my increasing pile of unpainted lead, simultaneously reflecting upon my diminishing space for storing my soldiers and scratch-built terrain, and finally, lamenting the little time I have to devote to hobbying.

In a flash came the perfect solution;— why not embark upon a project in a new, larger scale, which would entail constructing (and storing) all new buildings and terrain, and which would require me to create all of my own figures from scratch?

Thus began the madness …

But first, the back story

Examining the history of my browser would reveal the following artifacts;—

For years I have been ogling (in a good way) the clothespin creations of Mr. Kenneth Van Pelt one might find at The Penny Whistle (website of the Secondhand Lions Wargame Club) — 54mm Zulu war Brits and 1:72-ish biplanes, all constructed of parts plundered from the laundry;

Though I have a well-thumbed copy of Wells’ Little Wars, I was strangely compelled to purchase a modern update — Funny Little Wars by Padre Paul Wright — published by the Virtual Armchair General; and finally,

How could one not be captivated by the Toy Making Dad’s tutorial for constructing a little wooden cannon that really shoots?

One horrid day these ætheric contagions took hold of my feverish mind. I realized that I possessed the necessary skills and modest pecuniary means to construct 54mm soldiers and the artillery with which to shoot them dead.

Thus was born the Square Pegs

Creating little clothespin people did have several qualities to recommend it;—

One of my other (too numerous) hobbies is carpentry, so the concept of combining woodworking with miniature wargaming was appealing. I embrace any opportunity to employ my costly collection of tools, and better yet, welcome any excuse to purchase new ones;—

This may seem strange, but by creating craftee warriors, a certain pressure was off. I am not at all a skillful painter, and I frequently “psych myself out” (as a Victorian gentleman might remark) by admiring the Olympian Heights of painting technique displayed on the interweb. When I compare the Picasso-like results of my brush strokes (and not in a good way), I admit I become Discouraged, to say the least. The main reason I originally took up 15mm figures (for example) was so that I wouldn’t have to paint eyes;—

Working in the “laundry appurtenance” medium, however, equaled Freedom. There were few ultra-skilled craftee-devotees to outshine one, and, in the end, as I often remind myself, “Self, it’s only a clothespin.”

Occasionally, when I catch a glimpse of those furry blue arms, they afford a Muppetational quality, which plunges me into to the depths of Despair.  Perhaps my time has been wasted? I suppose that one could say that about any of one’s pursuits when examined with excessive scrutiny and cabernet sauvignon.

In the end, I think I’m decidedly Pleased, and I harbor Grand Plans for the Square Pegs. As the cooler months are descending, I have time to amass forces for an epic spring Garden Battle.

and then I could double the size of the plans for the Gary Chalk river steamer and repurpose my figures for pulp/penny dreadful VSF in Darkest Africa …

and then I could make  â€œproof of concept” models of fantasy figures for a truly expansive garden hexcrawl …

and then if I made pirates, I could construct 1:32 ships armed with those shooting cannons, spread out so blue canvas on the lawn …

and then …


  • Toy Making Dad

    Clearly, the only way to get away from having too many little soldiers and not enough time is to get into… slightly larger little soldiers! I love it. I really dig the look of your soldiers. A great mix of craft, history and fun. If only you could send them out to the store to buy alcohol, they would be perfect!
    I’m kicking around a Monitor vs Merrimack play set idea, but the pirate ship idea rocks. Use spring loaded clothes pins as sharks for the post plank walking reception party.I will check back often. Assuming I don’t shoot my eye out with a toy cannon and get my tools taken away. – Toy Making Dad (Dan)
    (PS – Thanks for the link and mention… the only thing I crave more than attention is praise. And beer.)

    • Scott


      I salute your superior sleuthing for finding me–I’ve not “advertised” the blog yet in an effort to accumulate enough material to make it worth people’s while (though who really knows the price of one’s “while”?).

      I was going to contact you in hopes of piquing your interest in designing a proper cannon to shoot my soldiers. Something along the lines of the 4.7 inch naval gun that H.G. Wells so loved. I’ll send links.

      I’m a great “copier” but not such a great “designer.”


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