It's been quite a while since I have blogged about my epic Stagecoach project. I've been quietly collecting more reference materials and thinking over things for the team, such as poses and harnesses. I've also been learning about other things, like that there is a larger space allowance in live showing for a "multi-horse hitch". (yay!)
There have been a few setbacks along the way, particularly with the wheels. They were a lot of fun to make and were the first real step in getting this amazing, scary, huge project underway. I was really happy with how they turned out, in fact they are still the cover photo on my Facebook page (in their unpainted phase).
I did have some setbacks though, mainly just learning that I could have added even MORE detail to them by following how real wheels are made - and not just the instructions for the kit. Yes, these things might have been crazy (unnecessary?) details to include, but with the amount of detail in this kit, I thought it would have been perfectly fine to do - and fun. Alas, I had assembled the wheels the way I was told by the kit instructions. But I've been considering redoing them ever since I learned more about real wheelwrighting.
A side note here: An incredible resource for horse-drawn wagons, coaches, and carriages is Hansen Wheel and Wagon, right here in South Dakota. They had a booth at our Stock Show a couple of years ago and it was wonderful to see. I spent quite a bit of time there, oogling the books, posters, and original blueprints, and I ended up buying two reference books. Doug Hansen himself was there and I must have asked him 50 questions on stagecoaches and the horses that pulled them. He is a wealth of knowledge and was a great guy to talk to.
After learning of things I wanted to re-do (early on in the project) and wondering how many other inaccuracies I might be about to commit... I stopped work altogether for some time. It's silly I suppose, but with the amount of work and fine detail there is in this kit, I really want to do it right. I did eventually resume work and as it stands now, I'm very close to having a rolling chassis. Pretty much all that's left to do is install the brake bar, build the suspension, and mount the wheels.
Then comes another setback on the wheels...
When we were away visiting Jeff's family back in October, a stray cat that we sometimes let in, and out, and back in the house, somehow got stuck inside for a few days in between times when our house sitter coming by. She somehow got into the Studio room, which is always kept closed, and caused one heck of a mess in there. All of the plants in the window were knocked over, there was potting soil, plants, and pots everywhere. One of the pots had fallen off the windowsill and landed right on a Stagecoach wheel, crushing it.
Jeff pointed out that now I could rebuild it, and the others, the way I wished I'd had done earlier and I may end up doing that. It will make an already lengthy project even more so, but I always joke that I may not have this thing done before I'm 80 anyway, so why not??
Many of the wooden parts in the kit, including the wheel rims, were laser-cut and of course we have a laser cutter now, so.... Hopefully that will make it easier for me to rebuild the wheels, if that's the direction I go in. I won't have to stress too much about breaking something; if I do, I should be able to laser out something similar to go forward with.
This concludes the State of the Stagecoach address. (haha) ;)