The Toy Shop – 20 Marvelous Mechanical Models that Really Work!

The Toy Shop was a wonderful computer program from the ’80s which allowed you to decorate and print twenty different paper models which actually move! It included all the dowels, wires, balloons, and so on which were required to create the models. I’ve enjoyed using this program on my Commodore 64 for many years, and now I am able to share these models with the paper modeling community so you can download and build your very own Toy Shop creations with any PC or Mac! For more paper modeling with computers of yore, see my Paper Models – The Christmas Kit page!

(Skip the chatter! Take me to the models!)

Toy Shop Box Cover


Paper Modeling, Card Modeling, Paper Craft, Paper Automata: Creating three-dimensional objects from a flat piece of paper is a favorite hobby of mine. It can be challenging, educational, relaxing, and highly rewarding. Through the internet I have found that there’s a huge and growing network of people who share their modeling experiences, and I wanted to contribute a little something myself.

For several years I have been fascinated with a program I used on my Commodore 64 called “The Toy Shop.” It was my introduction to the world of paper modeling, and was released in the eighties for Apple II, Commodore, IBM PC, and Apple Macintosh computers. It included twenty customizable mechanical models on disk, as well as the supplies necessary to complete each project. The models were created by Jim Calhoun, Kyle Wickware, and Michelle McBride.

I thoroughly enjoyed the models, but I became disenchanted with the quality and hassle of my Commodore printer. I kept thinking, wouldn’t it be nice to capture the actual image data so I could print them on any computer in pristine inkjet or laser quality? I decided to figure out a way to capture the images. After many failed attempts to decipher the files or transfer them to my PC, I actually connected two Commodore computers together and programmed one to pretend it was a printer, capturing the data and saving it to disk. It worked, but it took an entire day just to capture a single page. Finally I stumbled across a copy of the program on the internet meant for use with a Commodore emulator (it can be downloaded below.) Within a couple days I had all files in pristine bitmap format.

I am now presenting these files here for your enjoyment! “The Toy Shop” offered several types of customization, including decal options, fill patterns, and personalized text. The files preserved here are the default printouts created by the program. (All the decal options are represented.) They are saved as bitmaps, and can easily be altered, even colorized, in many image editing applications! The model parts are bitmaps rather than jpegs because I didn’t want to lose any detail; if this is an issue, please let me know.

Want to Share Your Toy Shop Experiences?

If you’ve made some of these models and want to share your handiwork, please email me a photo and I’ll post it here! If you have problems or suggestions about this site or the models, leave a comment  (click here and scroll to the bottom of this page) or email me! My email is gmontag451athotmaildotcom! (Obviously, change athotmaildotcom to

(Click here to skip below and see other people’s Toy Shop creations!)



Downloading Model Parts and Instructions:

To download the model parts and instruction pages for a model, click on the Model Parts or Assembly Instructions links under the photo of the model. A new MediaFire download window will open. Click the words “Click here to start download,” it may take a few seconds to appear. Save the file to your hard drive. Since MediaFire is a free service, it relies on advertising, so a new window will open with an advertisement in it; simply close the ad window. If any pages do not work, please click here, scroll to the bottom, and leave a comment letting me know where the problem is. The files are compressed as Zip files. Windows users can right-click the file and click “Extract all” to unzip the file, Mac users typically need only double-click it.

You may wish to download the general Assembly Techniques portion of the Toy Shop manual, which is geared towards card modeling newbies. It is located here: (Assembly Techniques)

Considerations for Using Regular Cardstock:

The original Toy Shop cardstock was twice as thick and stiffer than regular cardstock, and I have found that certain models need tweaking and reinforcement when made with regular cardstock. I am creating a text document of my own experiences as well as suggestions from others, which I will update from time to time. The document is located here: (Suggested Improvements) – Last updated 1/23/08 (sorry, I’ve been very busy!)

Coloring the Images:

Crayons, colored pencils, and paint are the way these models were intended to be decorated, but now you can use your computer too! To color these images with your computer, you’ll need an image editing application like PhotoShop. You may need to change the image from Bitmap to Grayscale to CMYK Color. Then you can just use the paint bucket to pour color into areas. (For checkered areas, use a bounding marquee box to highlight only the area you want to fill. Use alt and shift to take away from and add to the bounding rectangle. Deselect “Contiguous” and then use the paint bucket.) Some areas may “spill out” into the background, simply Undo, and use a bounding box to contain your paint bucket. When you’re finished painting, save the image in your preferred file format. (It sounds complicated, but it’s really simple.) If anyone wants to submit their painted versions, I’d be happy to host them! Here’s an example I made for the Zoetrope: zoetrope-painted.jpg

Printing Model Parts:

Note: For certain models, Toy Shop had three “decal” options to choose from. I’ve preserved them all, so there are three versions of a single page. You don’t need to print all three versions, it just gives you a little variety to choose from.

Originally, the pages were intended to be printed on plain paper, and that paper would then be adhered to thick adhesive card stock. I have never been able to find adhesive cardstock similar to the sheets that came with The Toy Shop. Printing on regular card stock should work fine for these models, however some pages may need to be glued to another layer for reinforcement, or to thicker card stock. (See link above for “Suggested Improvements.”) Some pages are marked “Do not adhere to cardstock,” just print them on regular paper. There is at least one page where half of it is adhered and half is not. You’ll have to print these pages twice; once on cardstock, once on paper. (Another option is to print the model at 50% size, which would make the cardstock more or less the proper thickness for the scale.)

Using The Toy Shop Software in a Commodore Emulator:

For anyone who wishes to try out The Toy Shop program in a Commodore emulator to personalize your models, the software files and my bitmap conversion program are here. I’ve only tested this using WinVice. (Note: These emulator files sometimes create small glitches in the model parts which are not present on real disks. The model parts shared below have been corrected and are faithful to the original files.)

The Models

1/21/11 – The broken links should be working now, sorry for the delay. Having a newborn takes up a LOT of time! Thanks everyone for your patience!



Antique Truck – Popular!

“Circa 1910, this truck with movable wheels can be built in an open cargo bed or closed van version.”

Antique Truck Model Parts

Antique Truck Assembly Instructions



Balancing Jet

“Sleek jet fighter plane perched on the point of a pin. Tilts and turns yet always returns to straight and level flight.”

Balancing Jet Model Parts

Balancing Jet Assembly Instructions



Carousel – Most popular!

“This ornate antique carousel has four spirited horses which prance up and down as the wheel turns.”

Carousel Model Parts

Carousel Assembly Instructions

Carousel video submitted by Maria Irene:



Equatorial Sundial

“Portable sundial has two faces and never needs winding. Accurate anywhere between 25 and 50 degrees latitude.”

Equatorial Sundial Model Parts Link fixed! 2/12/10

Equatorial Sundial Assembly Instructions



Experimental Glider

“This glider flies like a dream and makes perfect landings. Ideal for experiments in aerodynamics.”

Experimental Glider Model Parts

Experimental Glider Assembly Instructions



Flying Propeller

“Wonderfully simple flying machine. Spin the dowel between your palms, let go and watch it soar.”

Flying Propeller Model Parts

Flying Propeller Assembly Instructions




“Powered by a rubber band, this distinctive autogyro climbs to a height of 15 feet or more.”

Helicraft Model Parts

Helicraft Assembly Instructions



Jet Dragster

“Balloon-powered racing car. Uses jet propulsion to zoom across your floor or table top.”

Jet Dragster Model Parts

Jet Dragster Assembly Instructions



Mechanical Bank

“A real collector’s item, this bank is operated by a precisely designed clockwork mechanism. A classy way to save your cash.”

Mechanical Bank Model Parts

Mechanical Bank Assembly Instructions

Click the links below to watch the Mechanical Bank at Google Video! (Videos by SCEtoAUX)
Video 1 Video 2



Medieval Catapult

“Replica of a deadly medieval war machine. Uses a rubber band mechanism to hurl missiles such as jelly beans or wadded paper.”

Medieval Catapult Model Parts

Medieval Catapult Assembly Instructions



Mercer Raceabout

“A car collector’s dream, this 1911 Mercer features steerable front wheels operated by a rod mechanism similar to that used in many early automobiles.”

Mercer Raceabout Model Parts

Mercer Raceabout Assembly Instructions



The Oracle

“Having trouble making decisions? Just use this pop-up Oracle to get the answers you need.”

The Oracle Model Parts

The Oracle Assembly Instructions



Pennypower Scale

“Handy desktop scale weighs objects up to one and a half ounces, and has its roots in balancing scales first developed around 3000 B.C.”

Pennypower Scale Model Parts

Pennypower Scale Assembly Instructions



Spirit of St. Louis

“Scale model of the plane flown by Charles Lindbergh in 1927 in the first solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic. Propeller spins and wheels turn.”

Spirit of St. Louis Model Parts

Spirit of St. Louis Assembly Instructions Link fixed! 2/12/10




“The ultimate paper airplane. Strange to look at, it flies beautifully and is super easy to build.”

Starship Model Parts Link fixed! 2/12/10

Starship Assembly Instructions



Steam Engine

“Working model of a real steam engine. Balloon power moves the piston and flywheel. Can be used to operate several other Toy Shop models.”

Steam Engine Model Parts

Steam Engine Assembly Instructions



Steam Oil Pump

“An oil pump run by a steam engine? Well, why not? This sturdy model will pump up and down as long as the power holds out.”

Steam Oil Pump Model Parts

Steam Oil Pump Assembly Instructions



Steam Table Saw

“Watch the blade spin as this saw responds to the power of the mighty Toy Shop steam engine.”

Steam Table Saw Model Parts

Steam Table Saw Assembly Instructions



Tractor Crane

“Works just like the real thing. The boom of this crane can be raised and lowered and the bucket opened and closed due to an ingenious system of sewing thread cables.”

Tractor Crane Model Parts

Tractor Crane Assembly Instructions




“Early motion picture machine. Still pictures viewed through slits in the drum seem to move as the Zoetrope spins.”

Zoetrope Model Parts

Zoetrope Assembly Instructions


And just for sake of completeness (and obsessive fun!):

The Toy Shop had two test pages. The first would print the Toy Shop logo (see above) to test if your printer was compatible with the software setup. The second was simply a dotted line, a tool for pin-feed printers to ensure that the paper was set at the correct spot, so that pages would not spill off the bottom of the paper. Neither are necessary to build these models, but I’ve decided to preserve them out of compulsive need!

Click for the -> Test Printouts


Bonus Snooper Troops Model!


Here I created a classic-computer related model of the SnoopMobile from the great Snooper Troops games! I used actual screen captures from the Commodore version for the sides. Nothing exciting but I had fun. Enjoy!

Click here for the -> SnoopMobile!


Trivia: Three of the parts pages (Carousel 1a of 5, Flying Propeller 1 of 1, and Mercer Raceabout 5 of 5) were created using actual Commodore computers. I used a Commodore 128 to print them, but instead of a printer, it was connected to a Commodore Vic-20 which was programmed to act like a printer, and it simply saved the incoming data to disk. It took a whole day to capture the data for a single page. The captured data was then converted by the 128 into a bitmap image, which took almost 48 hours per page. The resulting file was imported to a PC, and (like every page here) they were reoriented and scaled to correct proportions in PhotoShop. All told, it took almost nine days to make these three pages, and that’s why I only did three!

A note about copyright: To the best of my knowledge, the images I am sharing here are no longer protected. As the software is no longer being made, the computers have been discontinued, and no modern equivalent software exists as far as I know, I hope any concerned parties will see this effort as I do: This page is dedicated to preserving and showcasing a wonderful project that should not be lost and forgotten!


Submitted and Found photos of Toy Shop Models:

Here’s a video of Maria Irene’s Toy Shop Carousel:

Here are some pictures from jackdaw of his revamped Antique Truck. A few of his changes include: “…adding a false floor to the cab as well as a bench seat, steering wheel, gear lever, inside handles, and door panels and glazing the windows. The wipers are stuck on the outside, and the motors on the inside of the upper pane of the front window. The windows were salvaged from a couple of blister packs. Also much of the decoration such as the handbrake and door furniture etc. were copied and laminated onto separate parts and added to to the body. I also added a front bumper, starting handle, and a radiator cap temperature gauge to the ensemble, and a rim and planking to the inside of the load box…”


Jos Leppens from Belgium created a 3D Antique Truck from the model parts in Sketchup and put it on Google 3D! Click the photos to go to the Google 3D Warehouse and see the interactive model!


Jos Leppens Sketchup model of Toy Shop Antique Truck

Jos Leppens Sketchup model of Toy Shop Antique Truck

Click the images below to watch the Mechanical Bank at Google Video! (Videos by SCEtoAUX)



Antique Truck by KCStephens/HeavyKevie:



Mini Medieval Catapult by me (Michael Bean):



Medieval Catapult by cgutzmer:


Mini Steam Powered Engine by Triop:


Visit Michael and Lacey’s other sites!


Paper Models – The Christmas Kit – more paper modeling with old computers! A Dickens Christmas Village, A Holiday Locomotive, creative ornaments and gift packaging!

Commodore 64 Logo, Computereyes, Odell Woods, and more – Some random stuff, including Commodore 64 Terrapin Logo programming software, Odell Lake and Odell Woods, Star Wars stuff, and more.

Halloween 2007 – The Headless Horseman comes to visit!

Halloween 2008 – The Monster Motel opens for business!

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39 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Mike,
    I just wanted to say thanks so much for posting these models! I too had searched the internet a few years back for anyone that had information about ‘The Toy Shop’ and got excited about finding it at the Home of the Underdog (as I’m sure many people did) but the archive was bad. I also found the Commodore version and tried to figure out how to print from the C64 emulator but had no luck (I didn’t even think about trying to extract the images, that was genius!). In the end I just bought the PC version off eBay thinking I could use a print-to-file utility and create PDFs of all the models. I was only ever able to get it installed in a Virtual PC environment and didn’t have luck running a print-to-file utility there. I put it on the shelf always hoping to get back to it and spend the time to get it working. What a surprise to come across your blog with all the work you did! At least I can still use the dowels and paper and whatnot that came with the program so I can make the models with the right parts and hopefully use them to stock up when they run low. Thanks again for posting these, I too loved making these models on the Commodore 64 growing up and have always wanted to make them again. BTW, I have printed some of these models and while the graphics aren’t very detailed, there is a good selection of fun models:


  2. Aaron, Thanks for your comments, it’s been as much fun creating this page as it has been making the models from this great kit. Glad you enjoy them! Michael

  3. I am so thrilled to find this! A few years ago I picked up a brand new copy of ‘The Toy Shop’ at a garage sale for 50 cents and have been unable to find a way to use it until now! Thank you so much for all your hard work! I’m definitely going to have to dig out the box so I can use all the special paper and everything to make mine 🙂 Thanks very much!

  4. I had a Commodore 64 but I never had such an exciting program. The best I had was the Ghostbusters game, which was pretty cool.
    I remember when my parents bought the C64 home for Christmas – it was to help us with our homework. Yeah right!
    Every now and then, I miss it.

  5. I have been looking for a paper model train. Do you know of any? I came across your blog and thought you might have one, but didn’t see one posted. Let me know if you can help me.


    • Michelle-
      There is a Holiday Train on my other page, and you could recolor in any paint program if you don’t want it to be a holiday theme. Just click the Christmas Kit link at the bottom of this page, or go to and download the Christmas Kit file! Enjoy!

  6. I think this is great. I had no idea there was such a collection however the links seem bad. I tried a few and kept hitting dead ends.

    • Thanks for your note, I checked all the links and they seem to be fine now. All I can think is that maybe the file server was down at the time you were looking, or maybe your computer is set up to a higher security level for blocking pop ups. When you click the “Model Parts” or “Assembly Instructions,” it opens a new window, which pop up blockers sometimes don’t like. Then in the new window, if you click the box with the “Download” link in it, MediaFire opens a new pop up with an advertisement, which is how they make money since MediaFire is 100% free. If you try again and still can’t get them to download, let me know, and I’ll give you the direct links to the models. Take care!

  7. Thank you so much for your insight into keeping these wonderful toys and converting them for us!
    Absolutely fantastic!

  8. Thanks for all your efforts with the paper toy postings! Wow! My kids and I will really enjoy working on these.

  9. Thank you! I remember using this program in summer camp as a child and loving it. Thank you so much for preserving it. It seems a shame that no one has gone to the trouble to “re-make” this package for modern PCs so todays children can enjoy it.

    • Robert- It seems like a no-brainer that re-creating this software or something similar would do well, but the only ‘recent’ things I’ve found are:
      -A series of Crayola CD-ROMs, including “3D Castle Creator” and “Crayola Print Factory”
      -Elmer’s Cut & Build 3D, which has a “Castle and House” CD and a “Spacestation and Hometown USA” CD
      -and maybe a Model Railroad program.
      There may be others, if anyone knows of any, please let us know!

      • I recently discovered that there was a program called The Great International Paper Airplane Construction Kit, for Commodore and other systems. I probably won’t add it to this site unless there’s interest (or I get lots of free time,) since it isn’t really paper modeling. Manual and software can be found here:

  10. Thank you so much for making these available! My aunt received a Macintosh Plus in 1987 as a Christmas gift, as well as this software. I was captivated (at the age of five) by the booklet and the picture on the box, and was determined to build them, although they were a little too advanced for me at the time. Yesterday, I was given the same Macintosh by my aunt (saving it from the dump), and I started thinking about that program. I’m an advanced paper modeler now, so these models are in my league at last! Lo and behold, I found your post, and I’ll be starting on the steam engine tomorrow. Only twenty-two years later! 🙂

  11. Oh wow these are great! I’ll definitely have to try a few out in the near future. Thanks so much for posting these! 😀

  12. I really like these models, I’ve already put together the catapult and are currently working on the dragster :). Rather than BMP format, you should upload the templates in PNG format, since it has a MUCH smaller filesize and there’s no loss in detail whatsoever.

    I’ve added a more realistic wooden texture for the catapult and made a few decals for it, if you want to I can send you a link to the files.

    • I’m always interested in alterations people have made. Photos of the finished catapult would be great!

  13. Thank you for all your work. I had the Toy Shop for my Comodore 128 when I was 11 and built every model in it in about 2 weeks making me the envy of a couple of science fairs in Junior High. I had searched a few years ago to see if there was a new PC version, and was surprised at the lack of any products as complete and easy to use as The Toy Shop.
    My son is now 10 and just as interested in building things as I am and feel his Legos just don’t do it anymore, and asked me about the one or two models I still have which eventually brought me to your site.
    Now I get to relive a part of my childhood as well as share it with my son
    Thankd again

    • Thanks so much for this great comment! If anyone wants to share photos of their Toy Shop creations, please feel free to drop me a note!

  14. I am so psyched to find this site. I had an Apple IIc, which I received in 7th grade, and kept through college. (I graduated high school in 1990, college in 94) – I had the toy shop, and I am pretty sure I made one of every single model, with my Imagewriter II printer. I was so enamoured with the paper model idea, that in college, I made the carousel for my girlfriend. I married her in 1994. We’re happily still married, with two young children, and though it is beat up, we still have that carousel. I am going to make a new one using your files. This is so fantastic that you took the time to make this available. Thanks for letting me recapture a piece of nostalgia, and personal history.

  15. Sir
    Thanks very much for putting this out on the Web.Ive looked for this program for yrs, the paper steam eng will run like a champ, never could see why the never put it out on disk for PCs it was a great program for model makers.thanks again.

  16. I have to thank you several times over for all the effort you have put into getting these Toy Shop models onto the web, so that others searching for this link to their past may find them and enjoy them once again. I was in 2nd grade when this came out, and my dad, on an old IBM, had gotten The Toy Shop for me and the other Cub Scouts in my Pack to do as a craft. While everyone else was making birdhouses, my friends and I were making the Spirit of St. Louis! I am now expecting my first child, and I am looking forward to sharing this building experience with him.

  17. I want to add my thanks for making these files available. I still have my original Toy Shop package with the instruction book and some supplies. I hope you can soon get the broken links repaired as I very much want to build the Spirit of St. Louis again. Thanks again.

    • Links should be fixed now! Media Fire seemed to have a problem with a server, but they download fine now. Thanks again for everyone’s heartwarming stories and the memories these models have surfaced!

  18. Thanks for posting the models, great list!

  19. Hey, where I can download that program? I want to try it via emulator 🙂

    • Lapinas-

      The link for the emulator disks and converter program is somewhere in the middle of the blog above. But to make it easy, here it is:
      If you need any help using them, let me know!

  20. THANK you for posting this! I was trying for days to figure out the name of this program I used when I was a kid, it was a huge bonus to be able to download the blueprints and instructions, too! Thanks again!!!

  21. Mike,

    Thanks so much for producing this blog and writing-up the Toy Shop. I used this software on my Apple //e in the mid 80s and built the Mercer for a boss I had at the time that restored antique cars. It was by far the most fun software I’ve bought to this day. Over the years, I really wished someone else had taken it to the next level. But now I can make some of these treasures again!


    P.S. One tip I’d like to offer from feedback from my old boss that I just contacted after 23 years– the car held up pretty well except that the salt I used to fill the wheels and give them some heft eventually corroded the paperclip wire axles.

    • Thanks for your comment, Peter! I’m currently working on revising the files and text and hope to have the site revamped a bit soon. At some point Lacey will design a new site, but that’s a ways away. I’ll include your comment in the suggested improvements when that happens!

  22. Thanks for the models. I thought you should know that Mediafire indicates that the instruction files for the experimental glider, the medieval catapult, and he tractor crane are “invalid or deleted.” Mediafire also indicates that the model parts for the flying propeller, and the oracle are “invalid or deleted.” The download for the model parts for the antique truck seems to hang and never completes.

    Hi Patrick- I updated the links tonight! -Michael

  23. Mike,

    This is so awesome. Thank you for posting these. I was looking through and noticed that there are some broken files.

    Assembly Instructions
    Experimental Glider
    Medieval Catapult
    Tractor Crane

    Flying Propeller

    Hi Rich- I updated the links tonight! -Michael

  24. “I was captivated (at the age of five) by the booklet and the picture on the box, and was determined to build them, although they were a little too advanced for me at the time. Yesterday, I was given the same Macintosh by my aunt (saving it from the dump), and I started thinking about that program. I’m an advanced paper modeler now, so these models are in my league at last! Lo and behold, I found your post, and I’ll be starting on the steam engine tomorrow.”
    Can about it more?

  25. These downloads are fantastic and I am using them to make models for my school’s physics lab. I really appreciate you making them available. There are a couple, however, that are not coming up when I click on the links: The Flying Propeller and the Oracle. If you could take a look at those two, it would be great!

    Thanks so much,

    Hi Rebecca- I updated the links tonight! -Michael

  26. I found your site wondering if I could figure a way to use the box I found in my junk of ‘old’ software. It is the original 128K IBM PC version! I didn’t know that your site had a way to use the infor without having to use the 3 disks that are in the box. Where would I even find a disc drive to use it! LOL! I will enjoy the models without having to figure it out! Now I can share this wonderful art form with my kids in the classroom! THANKS!

  27. Son modelos muy finos gracias por favor continúa con el blog sigue enriqueciéndolo que es muy agradable, saludos desde Ecuador

  28. Thanks so much for saving and converting the images. I have the program and enjoyed making them with my kids years ago. Now I will be able to enjoy making them with my grand kids.
    I no longer have the computer with Windows 3.1 that I used to originally print the Images.

  29. Hey there 6 years later – just letting you know that these file links seem to still be working fine, and that I appreciate you keeping them available still. I had The Toy Shop for my Laser 128 (Apple II clone) as a 12 year old in 1988, and now I plan on making the models with my own kids.

  30. Hello Mike !! Thank you for Posting these Paper Models – your time and effort put in – to make this a reality for folks in 2017 to use – WOW – I personally salute and appreciate your kind gesture to make this available to all (brings back a lot of memories 30yrs later)
    Many Blessing to You and Yours
    and Wishing You & Yours a Warm Joyous Christmas 2017 and
    a Happy Healthy Prosperous New Year 2018 !!!!

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