Benbros TV Series & Mighty Midgets
No.4 Stage Coach
No.4 in the Benbros TV Series continued the horse-drawn theme of earlier models with a model of a Stage Coach. This was on quite a small scale with the four horses and the coach being separate detachable parts, and the assembled model measuring about 95mm long. There was also a separately cast tiny coach-driver which was the smallest figure in the TV range.
Because the Stage Coach did not have a lot of play value Benbros produced it in several different bright colours. The first issues were orange, yellow, green or red, all with black wheels, brown horses and a little brown driver.
The coach was cast in two 'mirror' halves, each with roof-bars on the top and 'Kansas Stage' cast on the side doors. Two sizes of wheel were used with larger ones at the rear on a conventional round-head and crimped axle. On the front, the axle held not only the wheels but the unpainted coupling incorporating a hook and a balancing peg which held the hook facing forward. The shape of the hook was interesting, being three sides of a square with a top horizontal bar to hold the shaft in place securely.
On the roof of the coach at the front there was a small hole into which the little figure of the driver fitted with a small peg.
To pull the coach there were four energetic-looking galloping horses permanently fixed to the shaft. Benbros made two different castings of the horses but they seem to have been assembled at random. The shaft at first had no identification but later 'Benbros Made in England' was cast along the length between the horses, usually underneath but examples can be found with it on the upper side as a result of the horses being assembled 'up-side down'. Both shaft and horses were painted after assembly in various shades of brown which varied from chocolate to mid-brown and a russet chestnut colour.
When Benbros switched from TV boxes to Mighty Midgets, the figure of the driver was dropped and the model had an upgrade. The coupling hook was re-designed and the model given a complete colour change. The coach became metallic green or metallic blue, the wheels red, and the horses metallic brown, metallic gold, pale grey or a very dark-brown (which was almost black). The coupling hook became a conventional 'L-shape'.
All three TV Series boxes were used for the Stage Coach as well as the Mighty Midget one and it must have been a popular toy as it is not hard to find. The early issue green model is perhaps the most scarce but the later metallic green coach is also difficult, as are the pale grey and dark-brown horses. However, easily the hardest item to get is the tiny driver figure which can so easily be lost.
Variation 1: orange, TV1 box
Variation 2: yellow, TV1 box
Variation 3: green, TV2 box
(front & rear views)
Benbros No.4 Stage Coach
(1) ORANGE coach, BLACK pmw, BROWN horses & shaft (no id.), BROWN driver, TV1 box
(2) YELLOW coach, BLACK pmw, BROWN horses & shaft (w/wo id.), BROWN driver, TV1 or TV2 box
(3) GREEN coach, BLACK pmw, BROWN horses & shaft (w/wo id.), BROWN driver, TV1 or TV2 box
(4) RED coach, BLACK pmw, BROWN horses & shaft (w/wo id.), BROWN driver, TV2 or TV3 box
(5) METALLIC BLUE coach, RED pmw, METALLIC BROWN horses (with id.), NO driver, MM box
(6) METALLIC BLUE coach, RED pmw, DARK-BROWN horses (with id.), NO driver, MM box
(7) METALLIC BLUE coach, RED pmw, GREY horses (with id.), NO driver, MM box
(8) METALLIC GREEN coach, RED pmw, METALLIC GOLD horses (with id.), NO driver, MM box
Variation 5: Metallic blue with metallic brown horses
Variation 6: Metallic blue with dark-brown horses
Variation 8: metallic green coach, metallic gold horses
Colour variations (from top)
Orange with chocolate brown horses
Yellow with mid-brown horses
Green with chestnut-brown horses
Red with chestnut-brown horses & top id.
Metallic blue with metallic brown horses
First & last versions
Comparison of types of hook
Brown horses & shafts - colour and id. variations
Chocolate-brown without id. (top)
Mid-brown & chestnut-brown with id. beneath shaft (centre)
Chestnut-brown with id. on top of shaft (bottom)