Wild Horse Books & Art

255 N Boulder Road, Deer Lodge, MT 59722
Email books@wildhorsebooks.com

Kayo Fraser - 406-846-3686 Mountain Time

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Tips for Making Model horse drawn vehicles:


    Several people have asked me questions about building models, since I have one of the largest supply of books and plans for building model horse-drawn vehicles in the world, people assume I know something about this - I don't.  But I will offer some of the information made available by the late master modeler, Mr. John Thompson. I am not a builder so I really can't tell you any more than what I have found in John Thompson's catalog "The Carriage and Waggon Handbook". These Handbooks are still available for $12 plus s/h. As an answer to the question in his Handbook: "Can I buy parts for the models?"  He said;

"The short answer is no, horse-drawn vehicle modelmaking is still a hobby for people who enjoy making everything for themselves. Actually the metal parts are not difficult to make up yourself, from strip or rod brass."

That being said:   I can get a few Pre-made Wheels  & Springs, lamps and other parts.  


Materials, as Mr. Thompson suggests in his Handbook, I will again quote:

"The materials required are very similar to those used in making model boats or dolls house miniatures... 


    You can produce good results with many different kinds of wood, although some are easier to cut and others will require less preparation before applying a finish. If the model is to be painted then an even, close-grained texture is needed, but if a model is to be left in a natural finish then an attractive colour and grain pattern will be important.
    Boxwood is the ultimate model-makers timber but is expensive and difficult to obtain. Lime is generally used by miniaturists and is fairly readily purchased. The variety sold in the USA is known as basswood. Beech, pine and spruce are all suitable for painted models, provided that the surface is primed with a grain filler. Ash or oak can look attractive with a waxed finish, but are not suitable for painting....... the balsawood..... is too soft and it is difficult to apply a good finish, although it can be useful for a quick "mock-up" model. Many hardware shops sell hardwood strips for general household use. This timber is usually "ramin", and although rather brittle and dusty to work is a reasonable timber for modelmaking.


   Brass and mild steel are generally used for the metalwork on models, and a wide selection of strip, rod and various sections can be purchased from the specialist suppliers who advertise in the magazine published for modelmakers. It is quite expensive to build up a stock of all the sizes you will need, so far a first effort you may prefer to make do with scraps of wire and strips cut from old tins. Please take care when working with such materials, and ensure that no sharp edges are left on the model.


  No special tools are needed, other than those the average household tool kit will contain, unless you intend making your own wheels; a lathe is then helpful, although you can manage with a bench mounted electric drill.... Also a band saw is useful for cutting out the curved parts.


Pre-made Wheels  & Other Parts

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