Making Accessories for Christmas Villages!
In our habit of collecting, we often forget that the original putzes were nearly all made by hand, and that, even during the height of the putz house’s popularity, many families supplemented their putz houses, electric trains, and celluloid reindeer with handmade accessories. As an example, the Race family’s Christmas villages used to have Lincoln-log houses, forests made of pine cones covered with with green or silver paint, and home-made houses borrowed from the American Flyer railroad upstairs.
A few examples of home-made accessories that would bring interest and a sense of period to any Christmas village are listed below:
- Building a Tinplate-Inspired Railroad Crossing Sign - This is the ideal accessory for the Watchman's Shanty project. Based on a series of products that are now available only as expensive collector's items, this easy and almost-free project will add texture, interest, and period to any model railroad or holiday village.
- Building a Tinplate-Inspired Lamp Post - A great accessory for any station or city hall on your railroad or holiday village.
- Building a Tinplate-Inspired Goose-Neck Lamp Post - A few cents' worth of materials will give you a traditional-looking accessory to decorate your station platforms and business districts. Again, they don't actually light, but they are ridiculously easy to build, and they bring your railroad, putz, or holiday village a little further back in time just by sitting around.
- Winter Trees from Floral Picks - A quick and inexpensive way to add interesting textures to your winter railroad or Christmas village.
- Spook Hill Billboards - Designed as part of Howard Lamey's Spook Hill Halloween-themed collection, yet adaptable to any season.
- Building the Tin City Bridge - An eye-popping feature based on the classic Lionel Standard Gauge bridges. Free downloadable plans, graphic files, and step-by-step instructions are provided.
- Free Scenery Set Pieces - Add a vertical dimension to your Christmas village or railroad for little or no investment.
Also, here’s a “gimmee.” Some time back Paul Race sent Howard Lamey some cheap Chinese O scale (1:48) figures he got through Ebay. They didn’t have bases, but Howard punched round bases out of cardboard, glued them to the figures’ feet, and painted them (the original paint jobs were pretty bad). For only a few dollars (including the cost of the figures), Howard had enough figures to populate a village. If you try this, you might want to order a set of 1:32 or 1:24 figures, since many early putzes borrowed figures from Standard Gauge railroads, which were much larger than O gauge.
As always, if you have any ideas, tips, suggestions, or corrections that could go here, or that we could link to from here, please let us know.