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The horse and waggon played a very special part in the development of the American nation, and these sturdy utility vehicles have become part of the legend of the West, kept alive so vividly by the filmmakers of Hollywood. Also refer to the "Carriages" section for plans of other classic American vehicles, i.e. the "Surrey" and the "Rockaway".


Conestoga Waggon Click here for list

Covered waggons of this type played a large part in the opening of the interior of America in the Colonial era and the early years of the United States. These plans were drawn to commemorate the Bicentenary of Independence in 1976. It was fortunate that there was such a good example of the waggon available for measurement at the American Museum in Britain, near Bath - it dates from about 1830. Makes a very impressive model.


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Prairie Schooner Click here for list

In sturdy waggons such as this, countless thousands of pioneers crossed the barren plains of the United States to reach the new lands of the West, by the legendary Oregon and Santa Fe trails. Based on plans of similar waggons built for the U.S. Army, this vehicle is typical of those that made the journey from Independence in Missouri, in the period before the Civil War. Oxen were frequently preferred to horses for their steadiness, and ability to live on sparse feed. The plans show the alternative fittings for both kinds of draught animal.



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The Cowboy "Chuck" Waggon Click here for list

During the great cattle drives on the Chisholm and Goodnight trails the "hands" would set up camp each night around the chuck waggon. The cook had a special cabinet to hold his utensils, and the rear flap was lowered to form his work surface. In the body of the waggon the cowboys' bedrolls and gear were stored, and a canvas cover would be draped over the hoops. Typical camp equipment is shown on this plan.  

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The Boer Trek Waggon Click here for list

This South African vehicle is an interesting contrast to the Prairie Schooners of the American West. Although used for the pioneer migrations in the same times, it is more closely related to the old European waggons. A distinctive feature is that the sides and floor both dismantled from the body - a necessity when manhandling the vehicle over the Drakensburg mountains on the trek North. The carving of the spokes and body standards is directly derived from Dutch folk designs.




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Australian "Cobb & Co" Coach Click here for list

The 'Cobb & Co' stage lines carried the Royal Mail into the outback, and were equivalent to the Wells Fargo service in the U.S.A., even using much the same design of coach. Peter Birmingham has produced a very clear and detailed plan. The distinctive feature of coaches designed for rough trails was the suspension on leather straps rather than steel springs.


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Australian Concord Waggon Click here for list

The inland expansion of settlement in Australia gave rise to transport needs akin to those experienced in the United States and the vehicles which met those needs were very similar. The Australian equivalent to the "mud-waggon" was put on the trail by Cobb & Co. in the 1850s, probably assembled in Australia with components sent from the U.S.A. In 1976 a reconstruction was built by Bill Fry at Sovereign Hill Historical Park, Victoria, based on parts of an original vehicle, and on documentary evidence. I drew the plans later, from measurements and photographs of the reconstruction supplied by Bill. The particular characteristic of the Concord waggons was the suspension on leather "thoroughbraces" in place of steel springs. This gives a novel interest to a model, whilst the flat panelled sides will make construction straightforward.

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