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These plans are often used by potential builders of full-size carriages; being drawn from the actual vehicles they are perfectly adequate for such projects, although of course very good workshop facilities are needed. For the modelmaker carriages require quite a different approach from that which applies to carts and waggons - there is a lot more metalwork, and the quality of the paint finish is all-important. A well-finished carriage model can be a real work of art.

Well Bottomed Gig

Royal Mail Coach

Canterbury Phaeton

Governess Cart

Roof Seat Brake

American Curtain Rockaway

Whitechapel Cart

Hansom Cab


Well Bottomed Gig Click here for list

Gigs such as these were once popular with doctors and other professional men, and are now much in demand for private driving competitions. These plans are for a 1/8th scale model, and were drawn from a full sized vehicle owned by Gordon Offord, of the famous firm of London coachbuilders. The plans originally formed part of a complete kit, which was made by "Remploy" in 1985. The kits are no longer produced, but the excellent plans and very comprehensive instructions will enable modelmakers to scratchbuild a detailed model, which would be 17 inches long over the shafts. (Not suitable for a full size vehicle).

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Royal Mail Coach Click here for list

In its day the mail coach was the aristocrat of the road, and all other traffic had to give way to the King's mail. Dozens of routes covered the country, providing a service, which was the envy of the world. Yet this brilliant epoch was a brief one - the coaches were introduced 1n 1784, and by the 1840s the main routes had been transferred to the railways. Hundreds of the vehicles were built, to a standard Post Office specification, yet only a handful have survived. I have drawn the example in the Science Museum, probably built in 1827 by Vidler of Millbank, who had the exclusive contract for many years. It is designated for the London to York route, and painted in the usual livery of maroon and black, with 'Post Office Red' wheels and undercarriage. The plans were originally drawn at full size, so it has been possible to include a lot of fine detail.

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Canterbury Phaeton Click here for list

This is a smart and practical outfit for anyone considering building a full-size vehicle, and also quite a straightforward carriage for the modelmaker. (The curved sides can be made easily by the laminated veneer technique, or replaced by horizontal slats as a variation). The plan was drawn from measurements, sketches and photographs supplied by Ian Moat, whose father was Chairman of Bligh Bros., of Canterbury, the builders of this phaeton.


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Governess Cart Click here for list

These little carts were very popular in the Edwardian era. Being low slung, with a rear door and sideways seats they were very safe for carrying children, and would be drawn by a small pony. This example was built by Offords - a famous London firm, who hold the Royal Warrant as Coachbuilders to the Queen.



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Roof Seat Brake Click here for list

The roof seat brake was a sporting carriage, often used to take parties to race meetings. The high seats gave a good view, whilst the large box body provided storage for tables, hampers and perhaps a crate of champagne. Brewster of New York, who were the most highly regarded of American manufacturers, built this particular carriage around 1870. It is now in Texas, and was measured for me by the late Frank Johnson. The simple basic shape, together with the interest of the external seats makes this a particularly suitable subject for a model.




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American Curtain Rockaway Click here for list

In the United States carriages were very different from their European equivalents, being light and angular in build, and designed for mass production. The Rockaway was the most popular fixed roof carriage, and this example has leathercloth 'curtains' to close the body. I measured it in 1979, while it was in London being restored, before being 'exported' to Ireland. The paintwork is green and black, with red wheels and gear. The flat panelled surfaces make it a straightforward subject to model.


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Whitechapel Cart Click here for list

A high two wheeled vehicle of dog-cart shape, with panelled sides, used for tandem driving. With the tailboard down two extra passengers facing backwards can be accommodated. This example was built by Linington of Portsmouth, and is finished to a high standard. It is in the National Trust collection of carriages at Arlington Court, North Devon.


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Hansom Cab Click here for list

Very much a part of city life in late Victorian and in Edwardian times, the Hansom cab was a most elegant vehicle, once described as "the Gondola of London streets". The structure is really quite complex, and represents the zenith of the coachbuilder's craft. This example was built by Forder of Wolverhampton, who established an unequalled reputation and built many of the London cabs. Not an easy subject for the modelmaker to set out, on account of the angles and curves of the body, but the more experienced craftsman will enjoy making the folding doors and the remotely operated hood glass.

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Surrey Click here for list

Here we have a classic American vehicle which many of us will associate with the song "The Surrey with the Fringe on the Top". This fine example was measured and photographed for me by the late Frank Johnson of Texas. There are numerous variations of the Surrey, and this example can be classified as a straight-sill, auto-seat Surrey, with a fringed top. The body is black, the wheels and gear are lined in red, and the seats and dash are a dusky pink. This is a very practical vehicle to build as a smart runabout or a good subject for a distinctive model.

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