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Ant Smith
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Marching Santa

the making of a mini christmas toy, 2022

Christine declared that I were mad.

For weeks now she had seen me disappear into my cell first thing in the morning not to emerge until deep into the evening, bleary eyed and battle scarred; muttering something about how there will be leagues upon leagues of Santa's this year...

So after the night of 1,000 cuts (literally 1,000 cuts of a scalpel blade) I called out to her so that she could see. See the fruits of my labours.

Two dozen (surely that's at least a league?) Marching Santa Automata relentlessly stomping across my craft table. Three of them hideously deformed nightmare creatures (aka. pre-production prototypes), the rest really only missing lasers for eyes afore their inevitable conquest of the world...

She was right.

I was surely insane.

Or, perhaps not. When I retired I knew that keeping up with the cost of living (on a fixed pension) would be a challenge; one most keenly felt at Christmas time. And I just can't keep up with the number of people that love me and whom I love. It's a blessing, I suppose.

So I decided not to spend nothing on nobody.

Well, nothing that is but time. It was to be handmade Christmases from me from now on! But I'm trying to do it in a way that isn't disappointing and crappy. Instead of spending a half a day and hundreds of pounds on Amazon™ I'm spending a full day on each household making something. Perhaps something with some limited utility (but not this year!) or else something of simple joy. A thing that might bring 5, or even 10, seconds of pleasure. In essence, I'm hoping I can gift a smile. Albeit a slightly bemused "is he totally bonkers?" kind of a smile.

IF you have received one, AND you have recognised the QR Code for what it is, AND you have bothered to scan it, AND you have cared to read this, Then

Happy Christmas

Drop me a line so I know you got this far!

On the other hand, if you found this page in some other way then I guess you might be looking to make a mini-automata marching santa yourself. They cost around £1-2 each depending on how many you're making. The gallery should give an idea of the process and the stuff needed is listed along with download links for the templates I made. IF you do make one, drop me a line and let me know - every additional Marching Santa that gets made will gift me another smile for the festive period. Have fun.

You Will Need (makes 6):

  • Resources

    • Template files - download links included below

  • Tools

    • Handsaw (22tpi japanese dovetail)

    • 14mm Chisel and mallet - or else use a coping saw

    • Scalpel with at least 6 blades

    • Steel rule

    • Long-nose pliers

    • Small drill with 1.5mm bit (I used a Dremel)

    • I also used:

      • Bradawl, to punch the drill points

      • A set of small rasps, to refine the wood joints

      • A clamp, for the single chiselled joint

      • A desktop vice, because they are great!

      • A cutting mat

  • Materials

    • 3 sheets of stiff A4 paper (120-180gsm) to print one main template and two inner carton templates

    • 2 sheets of A4 modelling card (2mm) for the inner cartons

    • 6 sheets of A4 card (~220gsm) to print the outer carton templates

    • 10x30cm 3mm sheet of wood to cut the chariots from

    • 1m 18 gauge (1mm) aluminium craft wire

    • Wood glue (for the chariot pieces)

    • Spray glue (to fix inner cartin template to the modelling card)

    • Paper glue (for other paper/card attachments)

    • 80 and 240 grit sandpaper

    • Finishing oil (I used Tung Oil with white spirit)

    • I also dipped the 'handles' into a 14ml pot of Humbrol enamel paint.


These templates are exactly A4. Your printer probably can't print edge-to-edge so you may get a prompt to scale or clip the image. Do not scale the image as then the measurements will all be out! Elect to clip the image and print at 100%, the borders are blank so it will print fine!

To personalise the outer carton use the TIF template (which has layers that can be easilly changed without upsetting the main template) - otherwise use the JPG version.

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