Down Mexico Way
by Gisby

Mexican Cantina

These are not new, but have previously been seen in my Mexican Adventure pages. Apologies to those who have seen them before, but it was easier than making all new buildings!

They are all built from foamcore on particle board bases, with cardboard roofs. The various woods (matchsticks, skewers, popsicle sticks) are all dollar store purchases.


This is a simple model, two rooms and a patio on a beaver board base, designed for skirmish gaming. The building is fairly nondescript and is useable in Mexico, India, Afghanistan, or North Africa.

It can form a strongpoint or defensible position, or can be be an objective for a battle, containing needed supplies. (The barrels & tables are loose and can be moved around.)

The body is foamcore. The smaller room is an 'addition' to the big room, and the two are connected by a large arch, making it effectively one room. It is furnished with benches & tables within.

The roof supports are made from thin bamboo skewers, and actually support the removable cardboard roof.

The doors are made of craft wood on wire hinges, and open and close. The front door and window are set into arches, and have awnings shading them. The greenery is dyed sponge.

The sunshade at the rear is made from thin bamboo skewers and bamboo toothpicks. The patio can be used as a storage area (Check your craft store for turned wooden barrels) or as a defensive position.

The walls are just a bit too tall to fire over without a fire step. The troops to the left are using tables to enable themselves to defend the rear of the building.

The tables hold 2 figures, so can be used to make a firing step for a wall that is otherwise too high to fire over. They are made from that cheapest of wood: popsicle sticks.

The bench is a length of stick with a joint scribed in the centre, and supports glued to the bottom (with a strengthener between them.)

The table is made the same way as the bench but is 2 sticks wide. The supports are also popsicle sticks, with a match wood widener at the bottom, and a matchwood strengthener between.


I have also made a number of smaller generic-styled Adobes. They serve as small homes in or near town, or as individual farmhouses in the countryside

Construction details are the same, except The doors and windows are framed with craft wood, and the windows have shutters. (to protect against Apaches, not tornadoes) The shutters are made from craft sticks and don't close.

The bases on all these buildings are beaverboard textured with sand. I don't put texture where figures are expected to stand.

El Gato Negro

This is a small cantina suitable for a very small village. Seen from above, it is evident how simple the basic structure is: a box. A door and window were cut in the front, and a larger window in the side to serve the eating area. A low wall surrounds the area.

A shutter to close the serving window is held up by a stick at the back.

The thatched awning is held up by posts at the low end, and by the building at the higher end. A frame was built on these supports, and the whole was thatched. (There are books on the subject. I read one!)

Usually, my thatched roofs are just glued onto a solid board: This one is actually thatched, and looks right from the bottom as well. The supports are matchsticks, the frame round toothpicks. The thatching is string.

There is a jug and a bowl of food on the serving shelf, and shelves of supplies to be seen through the window. (The interior was visibly empty without them.)

The jugs are wooden beads with wire rims, and the bowls & platters are thumbtacks. The shelves and serving counter are made from Popsicle sticks.

The door and shutters are made from smaller craft sticks, and the door opens and closes. I have used a new method of hanging the door: It is faster and easier than my old method.

I bend a piece of wire so that it has two arms sticking out of it (like an F with a piece sticking up from the top) and merely glue the door to the wire & arms. Fast & easy.

The herbs in the basket & on the shelves are string. The potatoes on the platter are mustard seeds, and the tortillas are small paper disks.(Similar items can be seen in the market area.)

The basket is a small basket purchased at a craft store, but a similar item could easily be woven from wire & thread or paper.

I added a sign to the front of the store for those whose Spanish is not the best, or for those who cannot read.

The Shrine

I wanted a small shrine typical of those to be found at crossroads in Spain & Mexico.

The roof is cardboard, tiled with rows of cardboard corrugations.

I removed the corrugation from a sheet of cardboard, and cut strips from it. These strips were laid down one at a time, each overlapping the one below (so the tiles are two layers thick)

Each row was allowed to dry before the next was glued down, so the roof wouldn't warp.

The roof is supported by foamcore wedges and the side walls, and is removable. The shade over the door is also cardboard, shingled with posterboard, and supported by matchsticks. As always, the door is on wire hinges.

The interior is simple, consisting of a piece of foamcore forming the supporter for the crucifix (a collar pin purchased at a dollar store) and 2 candles.

I flattened the ends of 2 pieces of wire and sharpened them, as if I was making spears. (OK, I cut down 2 spears I had made) I drilled holes in sheet plastic, and punched these out with a small punch. I bent the wire at a right angle, and slid the disks on to make the vase of the candle and holder. These I glued into holes in the wall. (The shot to the left has the roof removed to let light in!)


These are my favourites: They are essentially anti-cover in a game. Sure, they block line of sight, and will stop a few bullets, but consider the troops/individuals unlucky enough to be cowering behind them when they are hit by musketry...

The hives are small baskets purchased in a craft store, the bases made from craft sticks. The vegetation is dyed sponge.

Market Stall

The stall is merely 4 (toothpick) poles with a (cotton) cloth draped over them.

The table is made from craft wood, the large basket is a wooden bead. The small pots are wooden beads with wire rims, and the platters are thumbtacks with piles of pepper or mustard seeds.

The rear of the base is untextured so that a vendor figure can stand on the base under the awning.


The blankets are cotton cloth stiffened with glue and backed with plastic card.

The pots are wooden beads with wire rims, and the platters are thumbtacks. The bundles of herbs are embroidery cotton, the apples are mustard seeds. The tortillas are punched from posterboard, and the other platters have pepper, crushed oregano, and... sand. The knife and spoon are hammered from a pin.


These are all made from a bag of assorted wooden beads from Wal-Mart. The rims are wire (Mostly thin spear shafts, because the lead bends & cuts easily) The blanket is for a blanket display outside a potter's shop, the shelves are for the interior of the shop. Now I have to build the shop!

You can never have too many pots to strew around your buildings, whether they're in Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, or the New World!

Ox Cart

I wanted more clutter about my peublo, and one of the things I remember about country towns in my youth was old, dead wagons tucked away in corners. I felt that an ox cart or two would not be out of place.

This style would not be out of place in many locales, and with different sides would do as a Red River cart. I painted it as an unused, blackened piece, weathered from sitting out, neglected.

The platform, shafts, and axles are all craft sticks, and the upright sticks are wire. The wheels are from the spares box, and could have been replaced with solid disk wheels. Although intended merely as scenery, the shafts will take an animal, so it can join a supply train.