Morestone Covered Wagon
Issued 1948-1961 Length 190mm
Reflecting the interest in television and films during the 1940's and 1950's about cowboys and the Wild West, Morestone issued a range of Covered Wagons. Several of these directly promoted TV characters like Davy Crockett and TV series such as 'Last of the Mohicans' with printed canopies and coloured boxes.
By comparison with later models, the first Covered Wagon which appeared in 1948 was plain and un-dramatic. But it had plenty of play value. Painted a bright green with yellow wheels, yellow shaft and a plain white canopy, with two white and two brown horses with black trim, the wagon had a red and black driver and a long wire whip to complete the authenticity. The front wheels were part of the shaft unit so turned from side to side with the horses, and the horses themselves were detachable and thus interchangeable.
The Covered Wagons were manufactured for Morestone by Modern Products. Several other toy companies made similar wagons but the Morestone models were distinctive in having an unpainted rear axle support rivetted onto the wagon. On the early green wagons, the underside was completely unpainted but later when the underneath was painted with the rest of the wagon, the rear axle support always remained unpainted. They also carried 'Made in England' from side to side underneath. The cloth canopy was held in place by two unpainted hoops which fitted into corner slots.
Morestone used the same horses for the Covered Wagon as those on the 'Ye Olde Coach & Four' mail coach. They were coloured white, light-brown (or tan), mid-brown, dark brown, or black. Early white and light brown horses had black trim on the harness, eyes, mane and tail but this was later discontinued.
All the Covered Wagon models had a driver with a dark-brown hat, brown trousers and either red or green jacket. The red version was used with the early issues but the two colours seem to have been intechangeable. Next to the driver, every wagon was equipped with a whip, basically a long wire on an unpainted post which fitted into a special hole near the driver's feet.
The first 1948 issue had no barrels and no grooves on the sides to hold them, but when different colour combinations were introduced to the wagons, side groves to hold barrels were included in the new casting. However, they did not immediately appear and the early red & yellow wagons with plain canopies did not have them. In fact even later models did not reliably have them but the 'Davy Crockett' and 'Last of the Mohicans' versions always did. On these Four-Horse Covered Wagons the barrels were unpainted.
The first green & yellow Covered Wagon was packaged in a lidded card box with a green illustrated printed paper label on the lid and 'A Modern Product' on the ends. A similar box with 'Midwest British Importers' printed on one side of the lid with the Big Ben logo was used in the USA.
When Morestone introduced new colours for the Covered Wagons they switched to using end-flap boxes and these became very colourful for the film and TV related models, all of which are listed below with the dates when issued if known.
Examples of the Covered Wagon are not hard to find but some of the box variations can be scarce and the TV related boxes in good condition are rare.
Morestone Covered Wagon
All models include red & black or green & black driver and wire whip
1) PLAIN CANOPY - Green wagon, yellow wheels & shaft, 2 white/2 light brown horses with trim, plain canopy, no barrels, brown card box with green printed lid, 'A Modern Product' on ends, issued 1948 onwards
2) PLAIN CANOPY - Red wagon, yellow wheels & shafts, 2 white/2 brown horses with trim, plain canopy, no barrels, end-flap card box with red printing, 'A Modern Product' on end-flaps
3) THUNDERING HOOVES - Red wagon, yellow wheels & shafts, 2 white/2 brown horses with or without trim, 'Thundering Hooves & Blazing Saddles on the Western Trail' canopy, with or without barrels, end-flap card box with red printing, 'A Modern Product' on end-flaps
4) THUNDERING HOOVES - Orange wagon, dark green wheels & shaft, 2 brown or 2 white/2 black or 4 brown horses without trim, 'Thundering Hooves & Blazing Saddles on the Western Trail' canopy, with or without barrels, end-flap card box with red printing, 'A Modern Product' on end-flaps
5) DAVY CROCKETT - Red wagon, yellow wheels & shaft, 2 white/2 brown horses without trim, with barrels, 'Walt Disney's Davy Crockett Frontier Wagon' canopy, 'Walt Disney official Davy Crockett' coloured box, 'A Modern Morestone Series' on end-flaps, issued in 1956
6) LAST OF THE MOHICANS - Green wagon, orange-red wheels & shaft, 2 mid-brown/2 black horses without trim, with barrels, 'Last of the Mohicans' canopy, 'Hawkeye'coloured box, 'A Modern Morestone Product' on end-flaps, issued in 1957