Other model reviews and posts you might like
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 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!
Review: Wilesco Showman’s Engine D409
Review of the Wilesco Showman’s Engine D409
The Wilesco Showman’s Engine D409 is a fully working scale model of a steam-driven farm engine, the likes of which would have been used to power agricultural machinery such as threshers and ploughs before the modern tractor.
You can still see a small number of engines of this type in the UK today, powering old-fashioned fairground carousels and other rides, as well as at shows and fayres around the country, where they often draw a large crowd of fascinated onlookers.
This technically perfect scale replica is painted in traditional colours and carries traditional writing on the side of the canopy indicating its origin in Middlesex, England. It is delivered ready-made, with no assembly needed, and will look stunning either as a static model or a working demonstration of times gone by.
On the model itself, the boiler measures 7.3” by 1.8” and has a water volume of 14in. A water gauge glass is included, and the boiler vessel itself is chemically painted black, giving a durable protective finish.
A powerful, double action cylinder powers the engine alongside the red-painted, 3.2” flywheel. Depending on the direction of rotation of the flywheel, the engine can be run in forward or reverse.
Traditional chain steering as would be seen on a full-size engine of this type is included along with a spring loaded safety valve, steam regulator, steam jet oiler, footbridge, and steam whistle. A clutch engaged gear wheel allows the engine, and dynamo, to be used while stationary as well as when moving.
A dynamo lights the eight LEDs mounted on the canopy of the engine. Water is condensed and reused from the engine, just below the chimney.
Users will be able to run the engine for up to 15 minutes on each charge of fuel.
Each individual part of the engine is carefully constructed from finely painted, high quality, metal. The model is a total of 13” long, almost 6” wide, 8” high and weighs 4lbs.
Fuel, in the form of dry spirit tablets, as well as other consumables, are available from specialist retailers as well as online.
As a working steam engine, this item is not a toy and is not recommended for anyone aged under 18. Where the engine is being used in the presence of children, close supervision by a responsible adult it required. Steam engines can be dangerous, and if not properly maintained there is a very real risk of explosion. Users should be certain to follow all operating and maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer.
High-quality, steam traction and show engine
Manufactured from high-quality metal parts
Technically perfect, fully working engine
Clutch gear enables stationary as well as mobile use
Dynamo powers LED lighting around the engine canopy
Delivered ready-made, no assembly needed
A stunning static model, or fascinating demonstration of technology from times gone by
Variants of the Wilesco Showman’s Engine D409
Many Wilesco products are available in different variants – the D409 reviewed here is a working steam model that can be upgraded with a radio remote control.
The model also comes in two other variants:
Wilesco Showman’s Engine D499 – which is the same fully-built model, with remote control.
Wilesco Showman’s Engine D419 – which is a kit for the model (which requires assembly).
Review: Wilesco D320 Steam Lorry with Radio Control
Review of the Wilesco D320 Steam Lorry
Take a look back at the history of how goods were transported with this fully-working scaled model lorry that can be dated back as far as 2015. Back in those days, goods transporting was far more laidback despite being a more labour-intensive and time-consuming process.
Fitted with a fully functioning steam engine that is powered by dry fuel tablets, the Wilesco D320 is a must-have for hobbyists and collectors alike. Good for at least fifteen minutes of running per use, this steam lorry also comes complete with a radio control that allows you to turn the lorry left and right as it trundles along.
A real thing of beauty, the D302 contains a solid brass boiler, flywheel and drive chain and can have a number of accessories attached. These could include a pull-along trailer, and a canvas to cover the onboard trailer but there are many other options out there.
While this model might look like a toy, it is not suitable for children under the age of 14 and adult supervision is always required. The Wilesco D320 is a real working steam engine which means fire, steam and hot surfaces, so care should always be taken when being used.
Under the Hood
The driver’s cab is where the boiler and double-acting cylinder are placed while the steering mechanism of the D320 can be found at the rear of the model. That boiler can hold around 200ml of water and keeping it full is done by removing the caps roof. A sight glass will let you gauge the level of water so that you know when you will need to refill. A steam pressure gauge is also featured and will let you know everything is hot enough to start moving.
With measurements of 49 x 22 x 26cm and a weight of 3.1kg, this is a fairly sizable and heavy unit compared to other Wilesco steam engines. This is very welcome however as you just know that you have something that has been built to high quality and with sturdy materials.
Radio control helps by adding convenience to the operation of the unit, saving you from chasing it around to set the steering in motion. As for maintenance and clean up after use, this is fairly minimal compared to other steam engines from Wilesco.
Built to scale
Many accessories available
Solid brass boiler
This nostalgic model from Wilesco is definitely one of their most beautiful and once up and running, the sound emitted is typical of their whole range of model steam engines. When not in use and out on display, the Wilesco D320 will bring charm to any room and will be a real talking piece with visitors.
Whether you are a collector, hobbyist or somebody interested in the history of steam engineering, the Wilesco D302 is a model that you should certainly consider owning. In terms of pure beauty and power, this is without a doubt one of the finest pieces that Wilesco has produced.