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Book - Making Model Gypsy Caravans

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John Thompson's book Making Model Gypsy Caravans is a classic set of instructions and drawings for making scale models of horse drawn wagons. The book was originally written in 1978 and gives drawings, but does not show how to build the wagon's piece by piece. It is assumed that the builder has experience in working with tools and taking measurements from drawings, scaling them up or down as needed. A great deal of information on scratch building hinges, wheels and other parts is given in the book. Matching sheet plans in 1:8, and 1:12 scale are available from W. Hobby Ltd.


  • Plans for Model Bow Top, Ledge and Showman's Caravans
  • Clear reference photos from original wagons
  • Good details on original fittings , wheels, and suspension


  • Measurements are given but you may need a set of detailed plans


  • Clear drawings of the many parts required to build accurate detailed gypsy and showman's caravans.
  • Lots of photos of original full size wagons, as well as models made from this book.
  • Separate printed sheet scale plans are also advisable, and worth the purchase if you intend to build one of these models.

Guide Review - Book - Making Model Gypsy Caravans

John Thompson wrote a number of books to help modellers recreate exact miniature versions of famous horse drawn vehicles. His books and plans are now available from W.Hobby Limited, who have taken over publication of his many books. The majority of highly detailed show wagons and square ledge gypsy wagons seen in miniature are built using these plans. You can see 1:12 scale versions online built by Brian Long and Larry Haynes. Photos of one of Brian Long's Caravans are in the Seattle Dollhouse Show Photos on this site.

The books are clear, well illustrated, and well written, with lots of suggestions for modifications, building materials, and finishing methods. They are not How To books which have measured drawings for each section of wood that must be cut out. These books are easier to use if you are a traditional model maker, or used to building scratch built models by using drawings or plans. The detailed wheels of the wagons require a chapter of their own,and are one of the most difficult parts of the model to build but they add immeasurably to the look of the finished model.

The book also contains some information on the harness used with these wagons, and there are many photos of original wagons and wagon interiors to show details.

Making Model Gypsy Caravans, John Thompson, published by W. Hobby Limited in the UK, ISBN 0 9505775 3 7 Price approximately $20.00 U.S. plus shipping from the UK.

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