An Introduction to
Scale Model Horse Drawn Vehicles
The purposeof this web site is to bring a greater awareness as to the existenceof these fascinating vehicles of the past, to show the many differentvarieties of designs and types that were in general use right upto the 1920s. There were vehicles for every conceivable purpose,commercial vehicles, public transport vehicles - omnibuses, charabancs,coaches and hackney carriages.
Vehiclesthat helped forge the birth of a nation, like the Conestoga Waggonand the Prairie Schooner that formed the "Wagon Trains" that tookcountless thousands of pioneers across the barren plains of the UnitedStates to reach the new lands of California and Oregon.
Themagnificent and beautifully crafted Farm waggons and carts madeby wheelwrights in country workshops are fascinating subjects inthere own right. The elaborate chamfering and decorative yet functionalironwork on some of these vehicles is quite amazing. The greatchoice of variety in these waggons and carts would provide a lifetimeswork for any modelmaker.
Thenthere are Horse Drawn Ploughs, Woodland Vehicles, and what I thinkis the most beautifully ornate of any Horse Drawn Vehicle - theLedge Caravan. The skills that are required by the modelmaker includewoodworking, metalworking, carving, upholstery and painting. Themaking of a farm waggon can take over 100 hours, a Ledge caravanor omnibus may require several hundred hours. If the model is builtto a very high museum standard, the price a collector would beexpected to pay for the farm waggon would be approaching ?500 pounds,($900) and that of the Ledge caravan or omnibus may fetch over ?2,500pounds, ($4,000).
Whilstmany of these vehicles are preserved in museums, many others arenot, and it is only through the dedication, research and love ofthe subject by a small number of people, that the history and preservationof these remarkable vehicles have not been lost, forever.
I was introduced to SMHDV quite by accident. In 1978 I was looking through a magazine in a doctor's surgery, and came across a small advertisement showing a fine line drawing of a Royal Mail Coach and the offer of an illustrated catalogue for 25p. (See left). I sent for the catalogue, and just could not resist ordering several plans straight away; I now have over 30 plans/drawings, a number of finished models, and others yet to be completed. Over the past 27 years I have derived great pleasure in constructing these models, each waggon, cart or carriage has its own distinctive personality. Through these pages I hope to show some of the plans that are available from various sources.
I would like to see this site develop into one that model makers and enthusiast can be part of, e-mail your questions, your ideas, and your comments. Brows through the various pages, you will see what I am trying to create. There are many great models to be seen in the 溺odel Gallery? The "Tips and Ideas" page is worth visiting, as there are a number of tutorials compiled by master model makers that will be of great benefit to not only the novice but also the experienced model maker.
DAVID WRAY Click here for David Wray plans.
The descriptions, and the detailed line drawings, have been taken from a twelve page descriptive catalogue, ("THE DAVID WRAY COLLECTION OF MEASURED DRAWINGS"), that was issued about 1978. The catalogue has been long out of print and is no longer available, but the detailed and accurate drawings are still available, many of them are of vehicles unrecorded and not preserved in museums. I bought many drawings from this catalogue. (Do click on the link of Pitstone Windmill in the Other Sources page - buy the plans - you may never make the model, but you will spend many delightful hours just looking at the drawings) (Look also at the "Barron" Tree Transplanter - a most unusual vehicle, and one I now have a picture of look in the Model Gallery).
JOHNTHOMPSON Clickhere for John Thompson Plans
In1975 John Thompson of Fleet Hampshire issued his first list offarm waggon plans. For many years John added to this list, notonly farm waggons, but also Commercial Vehicles, like the "BrookeBond" London Van and the Garden Seat Omnibus. American vehicleslike The Cowboy "Chuck Waggon'' and The Fringed Top Surrey andmany others. Eventually that list was over 100, with detailed scaleplans for each of them. Sadly, in February 1995 John died suddenly,and his "Model Wheelwright" business ceased trading. Fortunately,most of John Thompson's plans are still available from a numberof sources. There is a very comprehensive catalogue, "The Carriageand Waggon Handbook", that includes a number of very good books,and a list of over 100 plans of Horse Drawn Vehicles, most stillavailable.
TheDrawings: Themajority of the standard and small sheets are printed by offset-litho,and are completely permanent. A few have been reproduced incolour, and make attractive wall decorations. Most of the largesheets are dyeline prints - this is the usual process in drawingoffices, and gives a clear black line on white paper. Theseprints are not suitable for wall decorations, because the lineseventually fade in direct sunlight. However, in normal usethey are quite permanent. The drawing to the right is sheet3 of 4 standard sheets, (23'' x 16'' in 1/8th scale), of theOxfordshire Waggon, and shows front and rear elevation, anddetail of the wooden axles and straked wheels.
BARRIEVOISEY Clickhere for Barrie Voisey plans.
It was around Christmas 1971 that Barrie Voisey, who at that time was a communications/ intelligence operative for the GCHQ station at Cheadle, Staffs, saw a model cart and a shire horse with harness in the window of a local furniture shop. After looking at the cart model Barrie realised he could much improve the design and finish, and consequently set about making these carts along with a much improved quality harness to go on the Beswick 818 shire horse, and offer these for sale! He drew up a set of plans/ drawings of the Model Farm Tip Cart. The boxed kit is shown to the right, and included all the parts needed to make this model. These he advertised in Exchange and Mart, and posted copies off to model makers all around the country. Hobbies in London also sold his plans in their catalogue. (As they still do today!) Eventually, he was earning more by producing the plans and harnesses than he was in his "day job", so he took the plunge and went self employed, and started the firm of Barrie Voisey Plans. The harness side of the business expanded, and eventually became the largest manufacturer in the country. The business employed about 12 women and outworkers making and fitting the harnesses to the range of Beswick shire horses, which incidentally still fetch quite a high price on E-bay! Scale Horse Brasses were always a problem; most firms used cut-down small buckles or brass paper fasteners. Barrie realised that brass sheet could be photo chemically etched, similar to printed circuit boards, so he approached a local company who did the process. The success of these led to many of the kits using brass etched parts. To avoid the parts tarnishing, the brass etched sheets were taken to a firm in Birmingham to get them Gold Plated! However, with the onset of the economic recession in the early/mid 1980s the business scaled down and eventually closed. No more kits were produced and Barrie Voisey made a number of career changes over the coming years and moved on to other things.
Shownleft is the front page of a 16 page catalogue produced by BarrieVoisey which contained a huge choice of materials, accessories,kits, timber and metal section etc. The catalogue also listedthe plans of David Wray and John Thompson. At the time, it wasprobably the most comprehensive catalogue the Scale Model HorseDrawn Vehicle enthusiast could get.
Iam grateful to Barrie Voisey and his sons Keith and Chris forproviding me with the information and access to material in theirpossession to be included on this web site.
IVANCOLLINS Clickhere for Ivan Collins plans.
IvanCollins, an Oregon genius, researched, planned, and built 62 ofthe most accurate, meticulous, and beautiful model horse-drawnvehicles to be found anywhere. Collins focused his considerableartistry on 1/8th scale vehicles that helped to settle the westernUnited States. Collins's Brougham, Concord coach, Albany sleigh,phaeton, omnibus, Victoria, medicine wagon, and other models haveenchanted visitors to the exhibit of his models at the Oregon HistoricalSociety in Portland for over three decades. The picture to theright is Collins's 1/8th scale model of the Umatilla House HotelOmnibus. In the late 19th century the Umatilla House was a famoushotel in the in the Dalles, Oregon. Nationally known for its architecturalcharm, lavish furnishing and fixtures and warm and gracious hospitality.This stately property was considered to be the finest hotel westof Chicago and north of San Francisco. In 1941 Collins discoveredthis bus in the shed near the Fort Dalles Surgeons Quarters inThe Dalles. With his father, he returned to take measurements thefollowing year and completed the model in 1943.
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