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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
In the 1980′s, Matchbox made a much larger diverse range of Yesteryear model than ever before and included the famous locomotove, Stephenson’s Rocket.
This was numbered Y12 and released in 1987, it came in a display box mainly in red as seen below.
Later in 1995 this was re-issued as YAS01 and although the same model and casting the box and colouring had changed with the addition of brass coloured pistons and black wheel rims and paneling to the tender.
Although I have done an article before on the Benbros model of the Rocket, a picture showing both has been provided below as a comparison, note how close in size they both are.
I was intending to take the pictures showing the locomotive on track but found the gauge to be bigger than the OO track I have, after a bit of measuring and investigation, both these models measure at about 22mm making S gauge track a suitable type for displaying these models, S gauge is also known as 1:64 scale and measures 22.5mm, S gauge is far more popular in the USA than here in the UK.
For more on the Benbros model and the real Stephenson’s Rocket, Click Here
I don’t have many Benbros diecast vehicles but some I do have are slightly different to what I usually collect.
First is this tiny horse drawn log wagon, Benbros No2 in the TV series, the TV series had a box resembling an old TV set.
These did come with a log or at least a piece of chopped off doweling and was more often seen with a brown horse and a green wagon with red wheels but my one below is a rarer version.
Next is the Kansas stage coach Benbros No4, the earlier version had a driver in the hole on the roof but later issues didn’t have this.
The red below is the more common colour version and was also issued in yellow, blue and orange.
Benbros (London) Ltd was a British toy company in existence from 1953 to 1965.
The company was founded by two brothers, Jack and Nathan Beneson, the name a contraction of “Beneson Brothers” and were based at 145 Gosport Road Walthamstow.
- Die cast metal model cars and farm machinery under the names of Qualitoys and “T.V. Series” that came packed in a box that looked like a television set that were later retitled Mighty Midgets
- Zebra Toys that came in black and white striped boxes that were better quality models
- Hollow cast metal Robin Hood, cowboy and Indian figures and toy soldiers
Timpo Toys sold several of their moulds to Benbros that leads many collectors to have difficulty identifying which company made some figures
An unusual diecast model from Benbros, this is Stephenson’s Rocket the world’s first modern steam locomotive.
There seems to be little information on this model and I have been after a good example for a while and finally found the one below.
Any search on Google reveals numerous listings on Ebay, Vectis and many other auctions sites, so never believe everything you see about this being a rare model, it isn’t, there are rarer versions but the one below is a common version readily available on Ebay and elsewhere, on the other hand information does seem harder to find than the model itself, all I do know is that it was made by Benbros at some point in the 1950′s/60′s.
The real Stephenson’s Rocket
The Stockton and Darlington Railway opened on September 27, 1825, when Locomotion, a steam engine designed and driven by Stephenson himself, pulled the first ever purpose-built passenger carriage, dubbed The Experiment, and several coal wagons containing about 600 people.
Four years later, Robert Stephenson designed the now mythical Rocket and the modern steam engine was born. A trip to London’s Science Museum today shows how remarkably perfect this tiny feat of engineering was – at a mere four tons, it is dwarfed by the average 700-tons-plus weight of today’s trains.
Stephenson’s Rocket was an early steam locomotive of 0-2-2 wheel arrangement, built in 1829 at the Forth Street Works of Robert Stephenson and Company in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
It was built for, and won, the Rainhill Trials held by the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1829 to choose the best design to power the railway.
Though the Rocket was not the first steam locomotive, it was the first to bring together several innovations to produce the most advanced locomotive of its day.
It is the most famous example of an evolving design of locomotives by Stephenson that became the template for most steam engines in the following 150 years.
The original Rocket at the London Science Museum
Even after all the years I have been collecting diecast I can still get it wrong, this article is such an occasion and decided to write this to help others spot the differences between what are two very similar models.
A few weeks ago I saw a Benbros AA Land Rover for sale on Ebay, these are getting very hard to find and despite the fact I have none in my collection and the picture wasn’t the best in the world, decided to bid on it, the outcome was good and I won for a reasonable price and waited patiently for it’s arrival.
The description said the axles were slightly bent but that’s ok and wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, other than that was exactly as I expected, yesterday I took some pictures ready to post on here and started to research the Benbros company for the article, then something started to feel as though this wasn’t all it seemed, as it turned out this one is actually a Morestone, not a Benbros and many people including websites don’t really seem to know the difference.
My research is added below and hopefully will help someone recognise which model they have or at least avoid buying the wrong one as I did, I must admit I’m still pleased as I didn’t have the Morestone one either.
The Morestone AA Land Rover was No 3 in the Morestone range and produced around 1956, to about 1958, my one has metal wheels painted black but it seems later one’s may of had black plastic wheels.
This would of had a black painted roof and the name casting on the side would of been highlighted in black.
The base plate just says, ‘Made in England’
This is how it should look. notice the smooth roof casting on the Morestone one, also the Morestone version was always yellow with a black roof and black wheels.
The Benbros version below, the main difference here is the Benbros one was always yellow with yellow wheels, mine had the remains of black paint on the wheels both back and front, the roof casting differs too, the Benbros one has ribs on the cab part of the roof, the Morestone one doesn’t, this follows through on other Benbros Land Rovers, although not as obvious the headlight are not as pronounced on the Benbros model either.
My conclusion is I have the Morestone version of this model, I don’t blame the seller as he probably didn’t know, more than 50% of the pictures I found on the internet were Morestone Land Rovers labelled as Benbros when in fact they wasn’t.
Mine will be restored in the future along with it’s Bedford CA counterpart that I already have.
The real AA Land Rover