Morestone Gypsy Caravan
Issued 1954-1955 Length 190mm
The Gypsy Caravan was a unique model in the Morestone range in several ways. First it was the largest in scale, second it involved a complicated construction using both diecast metal and tinplate componants, third it required extensive hand-applied decoration and finishing, and finally none of the parts, including the horse and gypsy figure, were used in other Morestone models.
Four seperately cast sides formed the main structure of the Caravan. These were riveted together at the corners and then a black tinplate base inserted to form a floor. The roof, also tinplate with curvilinear side edges and a cast chimney, sat over the tops of the sides and abutted the two ends.
The very decorative cast wheels were a feature of the model. At the rear, the axle ran through support holes on the sides, but in the front they were part of the shaft unit which was on a central pivot riveted to the base so that horse and wheels could turn. The only id. on the model was cast underneath the base of the shafts and stated 'Made in England'.
A striking aspect of the Gypsy Caravan was the detail of the casting and the colourful decoration. Painted a rich yellow with a green roof and chimney, all four sides had extensive surface decoration which was picked out in red. The wheels were metallic gold but the shafts were red, as were the accessories of a seat at the front and a ladder at the rear.
Not only was the Caravan a striking toy, the horse which pulled it was also a fine piece of diecasting. It was made for Morestone by Jack & Nathan Benenson (founders and owners of Benbros toys) who had earlier created it for their 'Pure Rubber Products' horse-drawn models. Several colour variants had been used for the horse but it seems Morestone chose an unusual metallic silver-brown with black trim on the harness and tack. The horse fitted onto the shafts with tabs slotting into holes on each flank.
Finally, on the little central seat at the front sat a gypsy woman dressed in brown trousers, green jacket and red scarf with skin-colour face trim. She was held in place by a peg which slotted into a hole in the seat.
The Gypsy Caravan as one would expect for such a detailed model had a fully decorated box with colourful illustrations on both faces and sides. Interestingly, this was the first box to have 'A Morestone Product' printed on it although the end-flaps stated 'Morestone Series'.
The Gypsy Caravan can occaisionally be found at auction but frequently is missing the accessories of ladder, seat or gypsy. The box is scarce and a complete mint boxed model will demand a premium.
Morestone Gypsy Caravan
YELLOW Caravan with RED trim, RED shafts, BLACK base
RED seat & ladder, GREEN roof & chimney
METALLIC GOLD wheels,
GREEN & BROWN metal gypsy
METALLIC SILVER-BROWN horse with black trim
MORESTONE SERIES illustrated end-flap box