1/16 Scale Farm Toy Builder

Jim Buske builds detailed 1/16 scale farm implements

| October 1999

  • John Deere and International 55-gallon drums, in 1/16 scale
    John Deere and International 55-gallon drums, in 1/16 scale.
    Photo by Assignment Photography
  • Jim Buske and some of the toys he hand-crafts
    Jim Buske and some of the toys he hand-crafts.
    Photo by Assignment Photography
  • Jim Buske's Westfield auger, which actually works, powered by Ertl's Precision Classics 720 John Deere tractor, into which Jim inserts an engine
    Jim Buske's Westfield auger, which actually works, powered by Ertl's Precision Classics 720 John Deere tractor, into which Jim inserts an engine. A 1/16 scale farm grain shovel leans against the auger.
    Photo by Assignment Photography
  • The John Deere 650 plow: the earliest scratch-built toy Jim made, and the toy that got him into the business professionally.
    The John Deere 650 plow: the earliest scratch-built toy Jim made, and the toy that got him into the business professionally.
    Photo by Assignment Photography
  • Jim's International 55 plow.
    Jim's International 55 plow.
    Photo by Assignment Photography
  • Jim's Knipco heater.
    Jim's Knipco heater.
    Photo by Assignment Photography

  • John Deere and International 55-gallon drums, in 1/16 scale
  • Jim Buske and some of the toys he hand-crafts
  • Jim Buske's Westfield auger, which actually works, powered by Ertl's Precision Classics 720 John Deere tractor, into which Jim inserts an engine
  • The John Deere 650 plow: the earliest scratch-built toy Jim made, and the toy that got him into the business professionally.
  • Jim's International 55 plow.
  • Jim's Knipco heater.

Jim Buske has barrels and barrels of fun – and maybe implements and implements of fun, too, for this toy builder makes 1/16 scale miniature 55-gallon oil barrels, hay forks, extension cords, shovels, vises, and most any other farm-related tool you can think of. His big prizes, though, are his very limited runs (10 to 50) of masterfully-crafted 1/16 scale farm implements, constructed in great detail. 

Jim became a professional toy builder because he couldn't find anyone else to make a toy for him.

"I just wanted a scale model of that John Deere 650 plow I used to run right out of high school," the 55-year-old Oakes, N.D., man says. "At my first toy show, in St. Louis, I talked to a bunch of builders, but nobody wanted to tackle a one-of-a-kind thing. So I decided to do it myself."

At Christmas in 1992, Jim (who then lived in Prescott, Ariz., where he owned a ServiceMaster business) returned home to North Dakota, and found a real 650 JD plow.



"I took a whole lot of pictures of it, and since I'd always liked mechanical drawing, I sat down and drew out every little piece, and reduced them to 1/16 scale (the generally accepted size for farm toys), and started building the plow. Then I had so much time and effort into it, I showed it around to a lot of people."

One person suggested he dismantle the painstakingly-done plow, make molds of the pieces, and cast parts to do more 650 JD plows.