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Review: Wilesco D5 Steam Engine Model Kit
Review of the Wilesco D5 Steam Engine Model Kit
This is a gorgeous, highly detailed steam locomotive engine that is also a working model that produces actual steam. It’s ideal for beginner steam enthusiasts, especially younger ones as it can be used by children as young as eight years old. There is always something very special about steam engines, and the way they powered the industrial age. Models like this are a good introduction to this time period, and a hand-on way to learn about history and engineering.
If you are giving this to a child, bear in mind that it will require adult supervision and is most certainly not suitable for children under three years old. It is also a working steam engine and it does turn the flywheel quite fast.
The D5 Steam Engine from Wilesco is in kit form, so you’ll have to assemble it, but that’s more than half the fun of having a working model. Assembly is straightforward; there’s an easy to follow manual, which includes illustrations so you don’t feel lost trying to work out what goes where. No soldering is needed; the components are put together by screwing them into place.
It’s an attractive model, with a faux red brick platform and chimney stack, rather like a Victorian factory might have had. The boiler has a shiny, brass effect thanks to the nickel finish, as does the oscillating cylinder and the piston. There is also the red and brass effect fly wheel. There’s an inspection glass that is the water level indicator at the front of the boiler, with a dome steam powered whistle on top. The spring safety valve is also located here, and this is where you need to insert the water using the funnel. The piston and wheel generate power, and once in motion it gets quite a speed up. This is a noisy toy, and you do get a lot of steam, all of which makes it quite exciting to watch in action. The engine used a dry fuel to heat the water for steam. There is no need for additional batteries.
It really does bring to life the age of steam, and it has identical specifications to Wilesco’s D6 steam engine. The D5 is the kit version, and the D6 comes fully assembled.
The Wilesco D5 Steam Engine Model Kit is quite light, weighing just 739g.
This is not a huge model, even though it is fully powered. But it is a good enough size for an entry level type of kit at 21 x 15 x 15 cm. It should be possible to use the engine to power small devices by connecting to a dynamo too. There are lots of possibilities, and you are only limited by your imagination. There are other Wilesco models that you can attach to the engine, and you can drive other Wilesco models from its range.
Comes in kit form, no soldering required
Has a brass effect boiler with nickel finish
Boiler house has a brick finish, brass oscillating cylinder and also pistons
There is a dome steam-powered whistle
A driving pulley powers the flywheel
Uses a dry fuel
Model Steam Engines: Explaining Scales
Model steam engines are manufactured according to a variety of scales and gauges. The choice of scale and gauge is crucial as they are the major differentiating factors between the model steam engines. What makes things more confusing is that many model steam engine enthusiasts, and even seasoned fans, often use the two words ‘scale’ and ‘gauge’ interchangeably. However, they are two distinct attributes.
For starters, scale establishes the size relationship between the model engine and the real one. It is often represented as a ratio, such as 2mm:ft or 1:148 scale. This means that every part of the model engine is one-one forty eighth the size of the original steam engine. On the other hand, gauge is an attribute of the railway track. It is the distance between the inner edges of the track rails. Gauge is a more important attribute to consider, when purchasing a model steam engine. Let us understand why by looking at the main gauge types.
O Gauge model engines were produced from the beginning of the 20th century, and were among the most popular models for a long time, until the 1960s. Since then, they have lost their popularity and are difficult to find. They were manufactured in multiple scales from 1:1.48 to 1:43.5. But, they eventually lost their fame to smaller scale models. O Gauge model steam engines are not known for their finer details and accuracy. In fact, they were designed for pre-adults and therefore, cost-effectiveness, and durability were given more importance. Although they are valued by some collectors because of their rarity, most of the collectors and enthusiasts, with an attention to detail, do not prefer these models.
OO Gauge or Double-O Gauge model steam engines belong to a family of model railway systems, which follow the standard gauge model. The OO Gauge has a railway track that is 16.5mm wide, and is built at a scale of 1:76.2 or 4mm:ft. A highlight of OO Gauge models is that they rank very high in terms of realistic appearance and finer details. For this reason, they are of great value to serious collectors. Moreover, many of the manufacturers also place a lot of emphasis on durability and affordability. Naturally, they are among the most popular model steam engine categories today.
G Gauge models are big in size. They are manufactured on a scale range of 1:22.5. Because of their relatively huge size and highly durable construction, they make the best garden railway models. Their extensive use as garden models have led to modern train enthusiasts to believe that the G in G Gauge stands for Garden. The truth is that the G comes from groß, which means “big” in German. Oh yes, the G Gauge models were born in Germany, just like many others. A large scale means that the parts are not as intricate as the other models, say O Gauge for instance. Therefore, they are easy to produce and are readily available.
As you can see, the choice of gauge will be quite obvious to you based on the purpose of your purchase of a model steam engine. If you want a garden mode, then G Gauge is what you need. If you are a collector who enjoys the finer details, then OO Gauge is what does the job for you. However, if you are buying a model engine for your kid, then O gauge is just the thing.
Review: Mamod TE1a Green Traction Engine
Review of the Mamod TE1a Green Traction Engine
When is a toy not actually a toy? When it is an actual steam engine in full working order, powered by its own boiler. This is the 1313 Steam traction engine from Mamod (model number TE1a Green), a replica model of a Victorian era English tractor engine that comes in black, with a British racing green boiler, and cheerful red wheels. There is also a version in brass with black wheels. This engine is modelled on the traction engines made by the iconic Doncaster Works, which also produced the famous Mallard and Flying Scotsman steam engines.
Traction engines powered their way along the roads, such as they were in the late 1800s, earning them the name of road locomotives, to differentiate them from railway locomotives. They pulled heavy loads and were a crucial cog in the industrialisation of nations. Their demise came in the early 20th century as the internal combustion engine replaced steam.
The 1313 is Mamod’s standard model traction engine in its range. It’s hugely popular and for good reason – this working model is affordable and perfect for beginner collectors, or as a gift to a youngster keen on Victorian engineering. It’s been made by Mamod in England for 50 years now, using the exact same design, although early models used methylated spirits for fuel. It isn’t unusual for owners to still have, and use, engines that had been brought 30, 40 or 50 years ago. These have become almost heirloom toys, with parents handing them down to their children, who also pass them on.
The Steam traction engine comes fully assembled and ready to go. Because it gets very hot, and has lots of sharp bits, not to mention the potential dangers of the steam and boiler, this toy is recommended for children aged 14 years and upwards.
The boiler is stoked through the solid fuel blocks provided with the engine, and once it gets sufficiently hot, the little engine will power along quite quickly. It also comes with Mamod oil for lubrication. You only need to add water to the boiler. However, you really need to put water in that is already boiling. Otherwise, you’re in for a bit of a wait for the steam to get up.
The engine is really robust, being made of heavy gauge steel and brass and a reasonable size at 10 inches long. For the metric minded, its full dimensions are 178mm x 137mm x 270mm. It’s also reasonably hefty at four pounds, or 200 grammes, but not as weighty as you might expect from such a little powerhouse.
This is simply a fun toy to play with. There is a sense of excitement from the steam coupled with the smell of the fuel burning, and the power of the traction engine as it moves along. It is also educational, helping youngsters understand the power and engineering of the great steam engines of our past.
Exact replica of a Victorian road locomotive
Steel and brass
Working steam engine with boiler
Moves at speed along the ground
1 x packet of solid fuel tablets
1 x bottle of lubrication oil
Weighs 200 grammes
Measures 178mm x 137mm x 270mm
For ages 14 up
Review: Mamod SA1L Working Live Steam Limousine (Silver)
Review: Mamod SA1L Working Live Steam Limousine (Silver) – Classic Car of Yesteryears
Car fanatics and lovers of the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost are going to love the Mamod SA1L live steam limousine. The SA1L takes its inspiration from the widely loved Rolls-Royce car. The Rolls-Royce name and many car models in their series have managed to acquire titles for themselves that are certain to make them blush. From the, ‘best car in the world’ to the ‘Silver Ghost’ name, reputation and more, the cars manufactured by Rolls-Royce are undoubtedly some of the greatest in history. Mamod know a good thing when they see one and have outshone themselves with a model car that, dare it be said, is on par with the Silver Ghost it mimics. Just like the Silver Ghost, this model car is appealing to the eye, sturdy, reliable and fun.
The SA1L is perfect for those who people missed out on the chance to drive their own luxurious car from times gone by. If you’ve got a teenage son who loves cars (as most teenage boys do) and you’re not ready for him to hit the road just yet, this car is the perfect gift. Whilst younger children usually have a fascination with cars, this model is not like a generic toy and needs supervision from an older teenager (14 years old +) or adult. For these reasons, the model is great for families who would benefit from some good old fashioned quality time together. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than by turning the television off and throwing yourselves back into yesteryear with a swanky car good enough to make modern day cars jealous of?
This fully functioning model is made up of many components that are needed to work together to run:
fuel tablets, oil and funnel (these are included when you buy the model)
pressure safety valve (to control the pressure of the working parts of the car)
heavy gauge steel and brass (crafted in England)
When the model is constructed (and the SA1L has already been built for you, so you don’t even need to worry about that), it weighs 3.8kg, is roughly 16 inches (41 cm) in length and its dimensions are 410 x 198 x 160.
Mamod has a keen eye for detail and even the interior of the car is well upholstered. A Lilliputian would be happy perching in one of these seats; it really is as if someone has take a real life Silver Ghost and minimized it!
This model is simply stunning and will benefit from a home or person that is dedicated to taking pride and care in their selection of live steam vehicles and models. If this is something you are interested in, then the SA1L is definitely worth you sparing a minute to look at and consider adding to your set. If you do decide to invest in this fine piece, you’ll probably end up being the envy of all your model collecting family and friends!