home page

Other Construction Methods

This category covers an immense range of design solutions to the problem of constructing model buildings, ranging from the ingenious, through the unwieldy and inflexible to downright peculiar.

The challenge, of course, is to produce a kit of parts which can simulate the external appearance of a sufficiently large range of buildings with as small range of standard parts as possible rather than a lot of specialised, one-use pieces. The standard of realism aimed at and achieved varies wildly!

There is no way these pages can be comprehensive and that is particularly true for this section, so I will just offer descriptions of sets in my own collection which display a range of construction types. They are divided into two sub-categories of set:

Small Components

In general this type of set offers a level of flexibility similar to those with interlocking bricks. Here the individual components will tend to comprise wall sections along with discrete windows and doors. Rather than using bricks, either stackable or interlocking, the parts fit together in a novel way not intended to mimic a real building method.

A classic example in this category is Bayko, a british set which produces suburban houses, cinemas, cricket pavilions and the like. Here the plastic parts are threaded between adjacent upright metal rods which are inserted comb-like into the base in the shape of the building. The little icons at the top of the page illustrate how this works, the thick uprights being the rods. The wall parts are moulded with a brick effect pattern and are combined with individual door and window parts, the latter coming in different sizes. The sets also contain parts for bay windows with wall pieces, windows and flat roofs all of the same curve. In early sets the rooves are one piece moulds in a range of sizes whilst later ones are built from two triangular gables and two roof sections. Both approaches constrain the range of building sizes that can be attempted.

Another example in this category, using quite a different construction method, is Wenebriks. As described on the introductory page, the flat metal components are connected together by means of a double fold on the top edge into which the lower edge of the subsequent piece can be slid. The wall pieces effectively function as two-dimensional bricks and are intended to be arranged in an overlapping bond, incorporating the various window and door parts as desired. Rooves are made from similarly arranged tile pieces finished off with ridge and gutter sections.

Large Components

Where a toy offers components which make up major parts of the building, the user's creativity is perhaps operating on a larger scale. The way in which windows and doors can be juxtaposed is limited as they are already 'imprisoned' within a section of wall. Instead, the creative element comes in deciding the overall shape of the building and the way in which the pre-formed wall pieces can be arranged within the facade.

A good example of what I mean by this category is Bilt-E-Z. In this all metal set, the buildings produced are essentially collections of cubes rather like Arkitex. Here each part is a section of either wall or roof / floor. The wall parts are either plain or incorporate various windows or doors. The parts connect together by means of tabs which project at right-angles from the top and bottom of the wall pieces and slip into the edges of the floor parts. Balconies and lengths of roof edging are attached with similar tabs. The buildings produced are in the style of early american high rise buildings with flat roofs, a facade based on unit repetition and some applied decoration.

back to toy type page bricks that stack bricks that interlock bricks and mortar girders and panels log cabins other construction methods moulding kits