Farming in Miniature -
Further Discoveries

Charbens (see Volume 1 page 194)

Page numbers refer to Farming in Miniature Volume 1 or 2; bold numbers in brackets refer to photos in the Charbens chapter.
Click on a thumbnail to enlarge.

Pre-war no.505 Hay Cart (page 196)
Charbens pre-war no.505 Hay Cart
As (11) but with a frame around the illustration on the box.

Pre-war no.513 Tree Wagon
(page 196)
In the Charbens chapter, we said that we had never actually seen the pre-war Tree Wagon with two different horses, but this does exist, as might be expected from the catalogue and box illustration.  An example of the leading horse in trace harness is pictured in the Guide to Harnessed Horses in Volume 2 (photo (20) on page 781), complete with the wire traces that hooked into the ends of the shafts.
Charbens pre-war no.513 Tree Wagon
As (23) but in a box with a small label which wrapped onto the end of the box, with THE TREE WAGON MADE IN ENGLAND printed.  This label is very similar to the Farm Wagon box label in (25).  The wrap-around part of the label is too degraded to read on the end of the box.

Charbens pre-war no.513 Tree Wagon
As (23) but orange wagon.  In (23) the wrap-around part of the box label was damaged, but on this example we can see that the printing read THE TREE WAGON 513.

Pre-war no.503 Farm Wagon
(page 196)
It was perhaps over-confident to say (in the Charbens chapter) that this model was first issued with a figure of a walking farmer with a stick.  This statement was based on seeing just one boxed example, shown in (25), and ideally we would want to see more original examples to be sure.  Of course, now that we have published the photo in Volume 1, collectors may be tempted to put this farmer figure with the wagon even if the combination was not original – so apparently confirming the point of which we are uncertain!  The walking farmer may even not have been made by Charbens, and Norman Joplin put it in his ‘Unidentified’ chapter (Joplin, 1993, p.277) but captioned it ‘possibly John Hill’.  Shown here are further colour variations of the figure.  The representation of farm workers wearing smocks was archaic even in the 1930s, and is another example of nostalgia for a lost rural way of life that was depicted by the urban toy manufacturers.
Charbens walking farmer in a smockCharbens walking farmer in a smock

Walking farmer figure as (25
) but with a cream smock and brown or green base, rather than the yellow smock and brown base shown in Volume 1.

Crawler Tractor
(page 197)
An early version has been found without MIMIC TOY cast underneath.

No.2 Horse and Roller (page 199)
The yellow-painted model (first casting) also exists with a blue roller.

No.5 Farm Wagon (page 200)
Charbens No.5 Farm Wagon
As (84) but mid-blue wagon.

Charbens No.5 Farm Wagon
As (85) but in a pale green paper-covered box with the label printed in blue.

Charbens No.5 Farm Wagon
As (89) but red wagon, type B front wheels.

No.6 Tractor (page 200)
In the Addenda in Volume 2 we said that the straight-backed driver also exists in hollow-cast lead, however that was an error.  The driver in question was zinc diecast, but due to a casting flaw had a hole at the top of his head which looked liked the air-hole typical of a lead hollow casting, and confused us for a while.
Charbens No.6 TractorCharbens No.6 Tractor
Type B casting as (95) but blue with yellow hubs.

No.17 Tractor and Tree Wagon
(page 201)
Charbens No.17 Tractor and Tree Wagon
Creamy-beige wagon with red wheels, type B casting with square-section diecast chassis and thin diecast bolsters.  The unusual colour is the same as the no.1 Tree Wagon in (47).

Charbens No.17 Tractor and Tree Wagon
As (107) but in a red paper-covered box with TRACTOR TREE WAGON on the label and no illustration.  This was mentioned in the text in Volume 1 but not illustrated (tractor missing).

No.19 Tractor and Reaper
(page 202)
The reaper also exists with no lettering cast underneath.

No.35 One Horse Tree Wagon
(page 202)
Charbens No.35 One-Horse Tree Wagon (box)
Lift-off lid box, similar to (132) but with MODEL TREE WAGON printed on the lid.

Hay Cart and Horse (plastic) (page 203)
Another version of the red cart has been found, as (140) but with no lettering on the model at all.
Charbens Hay Cart (plastic with metal wheels)Charbens Hay Cart (plastic with metal wheels)
This is an early version of the plastic cart, with yellow-painted metal wheels as used on the metal hay cart.  The cart is light blue plastic, with red shafts and a white horse.  On the front of the headboard is moulded CHARBENS FARM, and there is no MADE IN ENGLAND underneath.

Charbens Hay Cart (plastic)
As (138) but yellow cart, light blue shafts and red wheels, with MADE IN ENGLAND moulded in a circle under the cart (missing the horse).

Reaper (plastic)
(page 203)
Charbens Reaper (plastic)
As (147) but light blue.  This colour reaper also exists with red sails, but the wheels were missing from the example seen, so we do not know whether they were yellow, or red to match the sails.

No.330 Presentation Farm Set (page 204)
Charbens Presentation Farm SetCharbens Presentation Farm Set
Set no.330 in a 'Panorama Series' box with black and white illustrations on the lid (different from the box in (152))  The set contained a diecast orange tractor, a diecast green reaper with yellow sails and red wheels, a diecast orange hay cart and a diecast orange wagon, both with yellow raves and yellow wheels.  The tailboard on the hay cart was an unusual yellow and not the colour of the cart.  While the seated figures on the tractor and reaper were diecast, and the cart horses were hollow-cast lead, the other figures and animals, including the hurdles and trough, were all plastic.

© Robert Newson, Peter Wade-Martins & Adrian Little