The "Stagecoach"

Where are the horses?


          After my mother died my father decided to keep working past 65 years old. Then the company got bought out and my father no longer enjoyed working there! One day the office secretary informed my father that if he waited any longer to retire he would get less Social Security. The governmet was making some changes. So my father quit at 65 years old. Just like that! he was swimming in free time. He started talking about a Model Coach he always wanted to build. It was a contest when he was growing up. So he wrote a few magazines telling them the story. One of them sent him a blury copy of how to build an Overland Stagecoach. When I looked at the copies I recognized the article. I went to the cellar and came back with the plans. They were in the Popular Science and Mechanics Encyclopedia. My father then decided to build the Stagecoach. He mentioned the plans were not what he remembered as a kid. What my father was really looking for was a Coronation Coach. It was in a 1933 Popular Mechanics magazine. It was a contest sponsored by Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild. It became a fiasco!!! It was too hard for kids to build!!! People started selling kits with the parts. Do a search on Google and read all about it!!!

          My father started working on the wheels first. Boxes of scrap spokes were made! My father was a toolmaker. He insisted that all the spokes were exactly the same. If you read the plans it tells you to make the spokes and then sand them to fit the hub. My father insisted on making them all the same. Six months of work and lots of fixtures and he could turn out a wooden spokes that would fit togeher and form a perfect wheel!

          Then it happened! A woman who married my father's cousin gave him a call. Her husband died a year or so before my mother. My father and this woman grew up in the same area. So they took trips back to the old places where they grew up! She also had the same last name as us because she married a cousin. My father would tell her all about the Stagecoach. She came over to the house and saw it being built. My father lost interest in the project but kept talking about it! At one point he talked me into taking pictures of the unit. I used clay and tape to dummy up the model for some pictures. He started slapping things together. He used some 4-40 safety nuts on the unit. Then one day he called me over to look at the plans. There was a super error in the plans! I could not figure it out! If only my father had stopped talking about the Stagecoach. Everybody he met he told them about it! He also showed them the pictures I took. It was no longer on his radar!

          Then one day I got a call at work. My father was dead! At the funeral everybody talked about and asked about the Stagecoach. I should have buried it with him or mounted the four wheels on a board with a brass plate. What did I do? I jumped into the project! Big mistake! Back in 1984 there was no Internet. There were a few hobby magazines and books on coach making. I bought the books and plans but none of them had the solution. I took a trip to Space Farms in Northern New Jersey. They had several wagons and coaches. There in a hot hot building was my answer. The brake rods went through the beam of the frame. I found the flaw in the plans.

          My father made other mistakes on the body and chassis. So I kept the wheels and replaced the galvanized wheel rims with copper and I went from there. I rebuilt everything from the wheels up. I made all the hardware by hand. Miniature nuts,bolts and nails. I had it almost finished when someone started criticizing that the doors did not open. Then I redid the entire body of the coach again with doors that could open. Then it started! Where are the horses? You got to have horses!!! It was at that point I said enought! I went on to be publised twice. Spend three years making crank organs and then I did over 40 CNC machines and several plan sets! So here you can see the work I did on the Stagecoach. It serves as an example of things best left alone!!!!!!!!!!!!

Driver's seat railings

          These are the Saftey Railing that keep the driver from falling off the seat. They are made out of tiny solid brass rod. They are silver soldered. The parts are tinned and then held in place on a board with pins or tape. A little flux and some heat and presto! The parts are filed with flat spots where they go together.

Driver's floating foot rest

          The Driver's Foot Rest is made of wood. The hardware is steel. Notice the one end is threaded. Then the rest is ground down. You will also see a hand made 2-56 Nut.

Candle powered lights

          These are the candle powered lights that Stagecoaches used. You can paint the panels where the glass goes silver.

Driver's Seat and Roof Cushions

          The Driver's Seat and Roof Cushion. These are made of wood with rounded corners. Paint black or brown.

Cargo Rack

          This hangs off the back of the Stagecoach with miniture chain or rope.

Driver's Seat

          Front/bottom View of Driver's Seat section.

Driver's Seat

          Side View of Driver's Seat. Notice how it is cut to follow the contour of the body of the coach!

Driver's Seat

          Back View of the Driver's Seat.

Driver's Seat

          Top View of the Driver's Seat.

Driver's Seat

          The Back of the Driver's Seat.

The Doors

          The Doors of the coach. Can you see the contour so they will blend in with the body? One is shown facing front and one is backwards so you can see the bottom strip.

Coach Body

          Top View of the Coach Body Notice the Luggage Rack and Roof Strips.The Luggage Rack is made from brass wire just like the Driver's Railing. A bit tricky to make since the Roof Slopes. The Roof and Sides are miniature plywood that's why you see rings. As you sand the slope of the roof the layers of plywood reveal themselves. Paint will hide that. Can you see the seats?

Coach Body

          Side View of the Coach Body. Some of that molding was steamed and held in place with pins. You can see the seats and where the Leather Straps that hold the model to the frame will go.


          I used cardboard from old record albums. You draw your scale boxes on the cardboard and then transfer your points from the plans. Some french curve work and you have a template.

Chassis Top View

Side View




          You can see my holy sneakers in one picture. I present this info so it might help someone building a model stagecoach. The last picture is the first page of the plans. People sell reprints on Ebay all the time. Some of the plans there are illegal copies of my work. A model stagecoach if correctly built is a nightmare to build. Some examples are showing up on the Internet. Some of them remind me of what my father was slapping together as he lost interest. I should have let it be!

Email: John a quick question

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