Essem Stage Coaches
Morestone issued two versions of the Essem Stage Coaches
Version 1 has a separate page - here
Variation 1: red coach, blue Essem box
Variation 3: Red, Hawkeye box
Variation 1: red coach, blue Essem box
Issued 1952-1958 Length 165mm
Faced with the closure in 1951 of F.W.Birch & Co., Morestone needed to find a new supplier of the popular stage coach when stocks of the old models sold out. It is not known who they found to manufacture the new Essem coach but the models were a completely new design which used plastic in a major way for the first time in a Morestone model.
The Essem Stage Coach version 2 was inovative in several ways. Unlike the Birch models, the coach was cast in one piece but without a roof. A rectangular tinplate roof was then added prior to painting. Underneath at the rear 'Made in England' was cast on later models but to start with there was no identification on the model.
Morestone used plastic extensively on this second Essem coach. The wheels, shaft, horses, driver and guard/rifleman were all made of it and undecorated except for the coloured jackets on the figures and skin-tone trim on their faces. The jackets were usually yellow but for the 'Hawkeye' issue they were orange. The driver was held in place by a peg which fitted into a hole on the driver's seat.
Morestone used black plastic for the majority of the fittings but some horses and figures were made of dark-brown plastic. The colours appear to have been interchangeable and brown was probably not tied to a particular variation.
Unlike the first Essem coach, this second version was produced in only one main colour which was red, the only exception being the 1956 'Davy Crockett' issue which was orange. For this variation, a special box promoting the TV Series was created in arrangement with the Walt Disney Corporation, and alongside it Morestone produced another 'Davy Crockett' model, the 'Davy Crockett' Covered Wagon.
The last appearance of the Essem Stage Coach was in 1957 with the issue of a 'Hawkeye - Last of the Mohicans' version promoting another popular TV Series. The coach colour reverted to the original red for this issue although the figures were given orange jackets instead of the usual yellow. Like the Davy Crockett variation, there was a matching 'Hawkeye' Covered Wagon and box.
Apart from the special issues, the second version Essem Stage Coaches were sold in blue printed boxes similar in style to the earlier yellow ones but slightly longer. On the two faces, 'Kansas to Texas Stage Coach' was printed alongside a drawing of a speeding coach, and on the sides 'Complete with Two Horses and Driver' was printed. The end-flaps carried the 'Essem Series' name.
On the brightly pictorial 'Davy Crockett' and 'Hawkeye' special boxes the 'Essem' name was dropped and 'Morestone Series' or 'A Morestone Product' was included on the end-flaps.
The red & black Essem Stage Coach and the blue box are not too hard to find although the black plastic parts are sometimes brittle or broken and the figures of the driver and guard are frequently missing. The 'Davy Crockett' orange coach is scarce, the orange figures in the 'Hawkeye' set are very scarce, and both the special boxes are quite rare.
Variation 1: Red coach, black horses, yellow figures, blue Essem box
Essem Stage Coach version 2
All models had
Black plastic horses/wheels/shaft/figures
v1 RED coach (some w/o id.) figures with YELLOW jackets blue ESSEM box
v2 ORANGE coach (with id.) figures with YELLOW jackets DAVY CROCKETT box
v3 RED coach (with id.) figures with ORANGE jackets HAWKEYE box
Variation 2: Orange coach, Davy Crockett box
Variation 3: Red coach, orange figures, Hawkeye box
Essem version 2 plastic coach drivers
black/yellow, brown/yellow, black/orange
Red version 2 Essem coaches with & without id. above rear axle