Benbros TV Series & Mighty Midgets

No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Benbros Mighty Midget No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Horse-drawn models were popular in the 1950's so No.5 Gypsy Caravan in the Benbros TV Series was a logical choice. Like the previous Stage Coach, there was not much play-value in a simple horse and caravan and Benbros did not include a gypsy figure like the coach-driver of the Stage Coach. So several colours, and colour combinations, were used to brighten up the model.

 

The Gypsy Caravan basically comprised a caravan with a separately cast roof, painted metal wheels, shafts at the front, and a horse. The horse was another new casting, the fourth of five different horses in the TV Series. The caravan (with little windows and decorative features) was painted green with a yellow roof or yellow with a green roof and had red wheels, red shafts and a brown horse and appeared in a TV box without number (TV1). 'Made in England' was cast under the caravan.

 

The wheels on this early model were different sizes with the rear ones being larger and decorated with crenallations on the outer rim. One innovation to the Gypsy Caravan was to have moveable front wheels and shafts. Previous horse-drawn models in the TV Series had been made with fixed front axles, even the Log Cart. With the Caravan, a central pin under the body to which the shafts and front wheels were fitted enabled side movement.

 

Benbros used two different designs of shafts for the Gypsy Caravan. The first was only used on the first models and had no axle. Instead the front wheels were fitted directly onto extensions each side of the shaft, and this was done prior to painting. The rear wheels had a conventional nail-head & crimped axle which was clamped in place by two extrusions under the body. 

 

The second type of shaft had a separate axle for the front wheels and this was used for all subsequent models. Flat-head or round-head type axles were used for most of the caravans after the first issue but nail-head axles were used again with the last issue in metallic blue. One example has been found with a double-crimped rear axle which is surprisingly rare considering how many thousands of crimped axles were used over the years.

 

Benbros soon started to introduce new colours or combinations.  A yellow caravan with red roof, red wheels and shafts was added next using the second type shafts and only the smaller size wheels, a change which continued for all later models.

 

More colours were added, yellow or green with a red roof and red wheels, and red or green with a yellow roof and black wheels, all with brown horses.

 

Eventually, when the Mighty Midget range was started, the Gypsy Caravan received a fresh new look with metallic green or metallic blue paint and a darker yellow roof, red wheels, pink shafts and metallic brown horse. The blue version had thee different wheels, the standard size and a smaller version, both red, and smaller size black ones.

 

The Gypsy Caravan was the last model to be sold in all three types of TV boxes. This was because the next model in the Series, the Milk Cart (No.6), had its own special box to start with and by the time the Electric Milk Trolley (No.7) appeared, Benbros had decided to number all models (but only the boxes!).

 

In addition to the standard types, the Caravan was also sold in boxes which had 'Gypsy Caravan No.5' labels stuck over the details of other models (TV4 type). These could be affixed to both sides or just one. Either are quite scarce.

 

Good examples of the Gypsy Caravan are not hard to find but some colour combinations are a little scarce.

Benbros TV Series No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Variation 1

Benbros TV Series No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Variation 4

Benbros TV Series No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Variation 2

Benbros TV Series No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Variation 3

Benbros TV Series No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Variation 6 (TV4 box)

Benbros TV Series No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Variation 5

Benbros No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Variations

                

(1) GREEN             YELLOW roof    RED shafts (type 1)   RED pmw (large rear wheels)        BROWN horse            TV1 box

 

(2) YELLOW           GREEN roof      RED shafts (type 1)   RED pmw (large rear wheels)        BROWN horse            TV1 box 

 

(3) YELLOW           RED roof           RED shafts (type 2)   RED pmw (small rear wheels)        BROWN horse           TV1/TV2 box

 

(4) GREEN             RED roof           RED shafts (type 2)    RED pmw (small rear wheels)       BROWN horse           TV2 box

  

(5) RED                  YELLOW roof    RED shafts (type 2)    BLACK pmw (small rear wheels)   BROWN horse           TV2/TV3 box

 

(6) GREEN            YELLOW roof     RED shafts (type 2)    BLACK pmw (small rear wheels)   BROWN horse           TV3/TV4 box

 

(7) MET. GREEN   YELLOW roof     PINK shafts (type 2)   RED standard pmw                       MET. BROWN horse   MM box

 

(8) MET. BLUE      YELLOW roof     PINK shafts (type 2)    RED standard pmw                      MET. BROWN horse   MM box

 

(9) MET. BLUE      YELLOW roof     PINK shafts (type 2)    RED small pmw                            MET. BROWN horse   MM box

 

(10) MET. BLUE    YELLOW roof     PINK shafts (type2)     BLACK small pmw                        MET. BROWN horse   MM box

Estimated Price Guide

(MINT models in MINT boxes)

All variations £15-40

Benbros Mighty Midget No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Variation 7

Benbros Mighty Midget No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Variation 8

Benbros Mighty Midget No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Variation 9

Benbros Mighty Midget No.5 Gypsy Caravan

Variation 10

Benbros TV Series & Mighty Midgets No.5 Gypsy Caravan rooves

The four roof colours

Benbros TV Series No.5 Gypsy Caravan shafts

 Shafts: type 1 (left), type 2 (right)

Benbros TV Series & Mighty Midgets No.5 Gypsy Caravan colours

Colours & combinations

Benbros Mighty Midget No.5 Gypsy Caravan box

Nicholas Martin Diecast

Morestone, Budgie, Benbros Vintage Toys

Britains Lilliput Vehicles     Kemlows Sentry Box

Abbreviations used on Nicholas Martin Diecast

   

  • umw - unpainted metal wheels

  • pmw - painted metal wheels

  • pw    - plastic wheels

  • gpw  - grey plastic wheels

  • spw  - silver plastic wheels

  • bpw  - black plastic wheels

  • um    - unpainted metal

  • id.     - maker's identification

 

 Most images on model pages will enlarge with a click