Westward Ho! Concord stagecoach

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This is a 1/12 scale model of a Concord stagecoach. The model is about 13" long and 9" high. These coaches were used between the 1830s and 1861 to carry mail and passengers between St, Louis and San Francisco. They had a capacity of 9 passengers, plus mail and baggage in the "trunk" at the back and also piled up on the roof.

One of these coaches weighed about two tons. There was no suspension system (as in springs). The body of the stagecoach was suspended between front and rear uprights by thick leather straps, and would sway back and forth as the coach traveled (remember... this was in the days before paved roads). The trip between St. Louis and San Francisco was almost 3,000 miles over rough, dusty terrain and Indian territory. Let's just say that the Indians along the way were not always very happy to see a coach full of whites coming through their land. You can guess what happened sometimes. And then there were the regular stagecoach bandits to deal with. Couple that with the fact that the coach had no source of heat (or cooling)... it made travel in the hot summer or cold winter extra fun!

Congress discontinued stagecoach mail service in 1861, and the transcontinental railway, finished in 1869, pretty much made stagecoach travel obsolete. But for 30 years or so, if you wanted to head west, they were the only regularly scheduled service available.

Anyway, enough of the history lesson. The kit is mostly wood (laser cut pieces) with a lot of smaller detail pieces being cast white metal. The roof rails are brass rod that the builder has to bend to shape and assemble. There are also photoetched parts (mostly buckles and stuff like that). The model is built pretty much the same way as the original-piece by piece, tiny bolts holding everything together. While the bolts are all real, individual pieces, they are not threaded... you hold them in place by gluing on tiny cardboard "nuts." The front and rear axle assemblies alone have dozens and dozens of individual pieces to them... once everything is assembled and painted, it's hard to see how many pieces are actually in there, but there are a lot!

Each wheel spoke has to be carved to shape by the builder, which is a very time-consuming process. The "leather" luggage boot is actually paper that I painted with acrylic craft paint to look like leather. The chassis and coach body are painted with acrylic craft paints and glossed up with Future. Pinstriping was done with red and black fine-tip Sharpies. I scratchbuilt real padded diamond tuft upholstery for the two interior benches. Here are the pix:

stage1.jpg

stage10.jpg

Some detail shots of the chassis... front axle:

stage8.jpg

And rear axle:

stage6.jpg

In the above two photos you can see the leather straps that are suspended between the axles that the coach body rests on. Yes, they are real leather.

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Posted · Report post

The coach was equipped with heavy leather or canvas shades that could be rolled down to cover the windows in bad weather:

stage9.jpg

It's hard to see, but here is a shot of the interior:

stage5.jpg

The brakes were nothing but large wooden blocks that rubbed against the iron "tires" when the driver pulled the brake lever:

stage3.jpg

That brake lever was to the right of the driver:

stage2.jpg

Questions, comments, critiques and general cracking wise will be cheerfully accepted! :D

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Where are the mirrors? :)

Edited by JunkPile

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Posted · Report post

Where are the mirrors? :)

(In by best Curly Howard voice): Oh, a wise guy! :lol:

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Posted · Report post

It looks to be somewhat SHINY :) :) :)

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Beautiful model ! I would love to have one for a change of pace. I can't help but wonder if you meant St. Joseph, Mo.? I was born & raised there, which is the home/ starting point of the Pony Express mail route. I grew up around the history of these pioneers with every business that could using "Pony Express" in their name or advertising. I don't know the history of the stage coaches-perhaps they expanded & moved home base further east ? Excellent build at any rate !

Bart

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Posted · Report post

Nevermind ! I read it again......I was tying to make San Francisco read Sacramento, lol ! It looks even better 2nd time through ! Great show piece....with a history !

Bart

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Posted · Report post

Great looking model. Remember, the team of horses was also part of the "breaking power" on the stagecoach. And as far an Indian Counrty, where do you think the term "riding shotgun" comes from? :)

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And as far an Indian Counrty, where do you think the term "riding shotgun" comes from? :)

Actually I knew that! :D

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Posted · Report post

Harry, this is a work of art. those Concord stages were the state-of-the-art at the time.... it's amazing how they were able to absorb the amount of abuse they endured. it took a build of this effort to draw me back into posting!

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Harry, this is a work of art. those Concord stages were the state-of-the-art at the time.... it's amazing how they were able to absorb the amount of abuse they endured. it took a build of this effort to draw me back into posting!

Well, welcome back!

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Posted · Report post

Very nicely done.

I like the pinstriping-did you paint that yourself or are they decals ?

A couple of scale horses would look good.

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Posted · Report post

Ooopps...just reread it where you said it was done with fine tip Sharpies-NICE !

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Posted · Report post

Wow! Spectacular build, Harry. But, did you wire and plumb the engine? B)

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Actually I knew that! :D

I knew you knew that! :lol:

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Posted · Report post

How about some engine shots Harry?

For a second there..............you thought I was serious. :D

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Posted · Report post

Big and Littles ..pinstripping..custom seating...

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Posted · Report post

Wow! Spectacular build, Harry. But, did you wire and plumb the engine? B)

No, but I fed and watered it... uh, them...

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Incredible build, Harry! All that striping - Wow! I would have gone nuts! I can't imagine going 3,000 miles in one of those! We really do have it good today, don't we? Great model!

BTW, I had an ancestor that was killed by a runaway stagecoach. I don't know where or when exactly, probably early 1800's somewhere here in central PA.

Sam

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How about some engine shots Harry?

Sorry... it's a curbside! :lol:

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Wow. That's an absolutely beautiful model. The pinstriping looks fantastic. There is a lot to look at in the stagecoach - the small details, "leather". Very nice.

I find old wagons and such where I work - mostly farm equipment, no stagecoaches yet - but they share some if the same engineering (brakes, axles, etc.). We found one wagon last year with a WA license plate from 1918 on it.

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Posted · Report post

Where are the mirrors? :)

OK gotta ask. Were are the cup holders?

How many horse power?

VERY VERY NICE!!!!!!!!

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Posted · Report post

Another great build. Whats the name of the co. you get these from ? Need to checkem out.

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Posted · Report post

Nicely done. Great pin striping also. Very realistic, right down to the axle nuts!

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Another great build. Whats the name of the co. you get these from ? Need to checkem out.

They are made by Model Trailways and are available from Model Expo.

http://www.modelexpo-online.com/page.asp?lp=1005

The kits have pretty high retail prices, but they are constantly on sale. You just have to check in every so often and see if they are on sale. Since I have already ordered from them in the past I get all the sale email flyers... not sure how it works if you've never ordered from them. If you are serious about wanting to buy one of the kits, PM me and I can send you the special sale offer code that you would need to get the sale price.

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