Morris & Stone - Budgie Miniatures
'Wagon Train' Toys
'Wagon Train' was a highly popular American TV Series which ran from 1957-1965. It chronicled the adventures of a wagon train travelling from Missouri to California in the aftermarth of the American Civil War.
Morris & Stone, owners of Morestone and later Budgie Toys, had included a variety of covered wagons and stage coaches in their toys since the 1940's so it was not a surprise that in 1960 they began to produce some Wagon Train toys. However, the enterprise was short-lived because in 1961 Morris & Stone was taken over by new owners S.Guiterman & Co who did not wish to continue the horse-drawn items. Apart from these Covered Wagons, just one other model was produced, No.410 Wells Fargo Stage Coach.
The Wagon Train Covered Wagons were small cast-metal toys with plastic horses and figures. They measured about 80mm in length including the two horses. The wagons were a one-piece casting including the shaft. Inside 'A Budgie Toy' and 'Made in England' were cast. The metal canopy slotted onto the wagon at each corner. On each side of the wagon there were holes for two separate unpainted metal barrels to be fitted.
The wagons were always painted dark-red but four colours of canopy were made, white, green, yellow and grey. The seated figures were blue plastic with pink face trim.
Unpainted spoked metal wheels were used with two sizes, the smaller ones at the front. The flat-head & crimped axles were secured onto the wagons using full-width box supports.
There were several variations of plastic horses with three colours, white, brown and dark-brown, and two different mouldings. They fitted onto little side prongs on the shafts. There were also separate white horses with blue riders included in the large Wagon Train Set.
Central to the Wagon Train toys was the large illustrated Set but individual wagons including drivers were sold in separate blister-packs. These were designed in an unusual way with the blister 'bubble' at the top which meant that there was no hanging hole. Morris & Stone was given as the manufacturer although the Budgie symbol was included on blister-packs and on the large Set.
It is thought that the Wagon Train toys were given numbers 430 and 432 by Budgie in keeping with other horse-drawn models at that time but these numbers were never printed on the toys or on the blister-packs or Set.
Prone to metal and plastic fatigue, the Wagon Train toys are hard to find in mint condition and the blister-packs are rare.