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 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.