Villas – Garnier Cornil (G.M.F.R)

Villas & Cottages / Maisons Alsaciennes / Construction / Magi-Bloc / Ranch

Wooden construction systems by Garnier Cornil, produced and/or distributed by G.M.F.R in France, exact year unknown, around 1950s &1960s.

If you have more information, please let me know.

Garnier Cornil definitely loves systems with grooves. The earlier 3 systems are all wood and the later systems had plastic clamps, holding structures together:

  • “Villas and Cottages” – Maisons Alsacciennes (digitalized)
  • “Villas”, no manuals seen so far (digitalized)
  • “Construction”, no manuals seen so far
  • Magi-Bloc 601 & 602 (digitalized)
  • Ranch 701

Found a strange green block and some purple blocks in my No.1 box. This seems to be contamination from a “Construction” box.

History & boxes

Investigating the boxes and content, first box 0 & 1 were produced. And some time later, they were split into 2 series: “villas” and “constructions” for the smaller children.

With the ‘villas’ I found a lot of broken pieces, most likely the interference between the groove system is too big.

After a while (1960s), the grove system is replaced by plastic grippers, which make more sense, but also using pressed paper like plates. These could be interlocked into 3 different types of wooden blocks.

Maybe Garnier Cornil liked cats too. All boxes using the plastic window frames have all a wooden block with a cat picture, sitting behind a window. With the Magi-Bloc the plastic window frames did improve, by having a rim on the backside too. This will create the necessary interlocking groove, keeping the windows in place.

Boxes: “Baby Villas” & “Villas et Cottages” (year unknown)

‘Maisons Alsaciennes’: houses in the Alsace in France.

Boxes: “Villas 902” & “Villas 903” (1950s?)

Boxes: “Construction” (1950s)

Boxes: “Construction” (1960s)

Instead of wood, moving to plastic boxes:

Boxes: “Magi-Bloc” & “Ranch” (1960s)

Part production ‘Villas & Cottages’

“Villas” is most likely an optimized production process in comparison to “Villas & Cottages”. First of all, the later version is smaller.


The walls for both construction systems are painted on both sides with different textures. Villas & Cottages having: a ‘stone’ & ‘wooden beams’ textures, while “Villas” has: ‘stone’ and ‘brick’ textures.

Wall panel textures: “Villas & Cottages” (left), “Villas” (right)

Although the wall panels for “Villas & Cottages” ar most likely ‘painted’ per piece, the production of the “Villas” wall panels seems to be more atomized. When all walls are puzzled together, a repetition of ~36cm is shown:

“Villas”: Pattern repetition walls

This could have been ‘painted’ by a 11,5 cm diameter roller and when the paint dried, the panels are cut at the right length. Also the number of unique parts for building a house is drastically reduced from 28 → 17.

Windows ‘villas’:

The window frames from ‘villas’ could be used for both windows and door frames. So far the good part.

While playing with the little one…
The door & window frames do not interlock with the walls, so they easily drop out. The initial wooden version did a better job on this.

The window frames from ‘magi-bloc’ (a 2nd series) are definitely improved. On the red parts, there are some aligning pins. Most likely the frame consists of 2 different parts, heated/glued and pressed against each other. With this new design, there are no updated doors shown.

Some system characteristics

Short list of some system characteristics and how it’s retrofitted into the virtual LeoCAD library:

Part types:Original:Virtual:
ColumnsWoodSingle color pieces
PannelsWood Textured
Typical wall panel:
→ Villas & Cottages49x8x117 [mm]
→ Villas37x8x87 [mm]
LeoCAD settings:
Draw line every X studs3
Snap XY1 [mm], or
8 [mm] (1 Flat)
Snap Z1 [mm] (1/20 Stud)
Rotations30 [deg]

Library information

Overview of the parts library, from “Villas & Cottages box No. 1” & “Villas 903”:

Tow categories, consists of these parts:

Part types:Villas & Cottages:Villas:
Vertical panels75
Plastic parts3
Horizontal beams42
Gable elements51
Roof elements94
Total parts:2817

Building in LeoCAD

Remodeled both houses from front cover box no. 1.

The left building is almost identical like building plan No 46 (box No. 2), except the roof is 90 degrees changed. According the manual, the right building is an demonstration building for exhibition.

Comparison: box no.1 (left) versus box no. 903 (right).

Building (both in real & virtual) with the later “villas” is definitely less fun and I don’t understand the 3 cover models on the boxes. Those pictures seems much smoother, then building in real life. If you want to try this construction box, I would go for the original “Villas & Cottages, box No. 1”.