One of the most appealing models in the Qualitoys range was this Christmas Sleigh. Not only was the sleigh itself delicately moulded and decorated but the little reindeer with their prancing movement were a world apart from the static Morestone version.
The sleigh was made from two castings, both reflecting the skill which Benbros had built up from years of casting detail into small figure models. The lower section (the runners) included the shaft which was ornamented with bells and carried two square pieces for the side pegs to which the reindeer were fixed. On the outer sides of the runners detailed decoration was cast and underneath 'Made in England' was included. The upper section, also generously ornamented, was attached by a central rivet. The sleigh was painted either metallic blue (the most common) or metallic green.
The little reindeer were all identical castings with central holes for attachment to the shaft. They were painted brown with black (occaisionally dark-brown) antlers and eyes. On their backs they carried a curved arch of bells coloured mid- or dark-pink.
In the sleigh, of course, sat Father Christmas but he often looked a bit grumpy! He had a large red hooded coat trimmed in white, black boots, and flesh-coloured face and hands. His prominent beard should have been finished in white but was often missed!
Next to Father Christmas was his sack which for this model was a white woven bag. Inside there was a cast toy, normally a white figure on a stand with roughly applied face trim, maybe representing a toy doll or similar.
For the box Benbros continued their high standard of colourful illustrations on all four sides. Along with 'Father Xmas & His Sleigh', the writing boasted that the model was 'Complete with Sack of Toys'. On the end-flaps, as with earlier boxes, 'Qualitoy Benbros' was printed.
The attractive appearance of the Christmas Sleigh means that models have often been cared for and brought out only for the festive season so excellent examples can still be found. However, the sack has often been raided so the toy inside is usually gone!
Benbros Qualitoys Christmas Sleigh
1) METALLIC BLUE sleigh BROWN reindeer (black trim) PINK bells Father Christmas figure SACK with toy
2) METALLIC GREEN sleigh BROWN reindeer (black trim) PINK bells Father Christmas figure SACK with toy