Take a quick glance at the image above and what do you see? The obvious answer is a Best engine. But did you recognize that it’s not a full-size engine but, in fact, an intricately detailed scale model engine? Perhaps that realization required a bit more than a quick glance – a true testament to the craftsmanship with which the Best model was made.
The Best was one of many fine scale model engines on display at the Mo-Kan and Lathrop Model Engine Show in Lathrop, Mo., May 22, 2010. The show was organized by members of the Mo-Kan Antique Power Assn. and the Lathrop Antique Club, and was held at the Lathrop Antique Club show grounds. While it didn’t attract the crowd that attends the full-size Lathrop show in June, organizers still considered the first-year model engine event a success. “I’m happy with the turnout,” said Jim Plowman. “The show in June started out small, too, but you’ve got to start somewhere.”
Mo-Kan vice-president Dave Raines also pointed out that exhibitors travelled quite a distance to exhibit their model engines. “We’ve got guys here from Iowa, Illinois and even Oregon,” said Dave. He’d like to see the show become the lower Midwest version of the North American Engineering Society (NAMES) show held each year in Southgate, Mich. “A lot of people go to the NAMES show but it’s a long drive to get up there,” said Dave. “It’d be nice to get the guys in this part of the Midwest to come to a show like this one, hopefully getting some of the suppliers here, too, so that exhibitors can buy the items they need.”
So, an obvious question asked by those not already in the hobby is what is the attraction to building and collecting model engines? After all, some models are just as expensive, if not more expensive, than full-size antique engines. Why not just work on and collect full-size engines?
As John Milligan, Gilman City, Mo., explained, portability of his exhibit is important. “It’s nice because I can just pick up my engine and put it in the car next to me if I want to.”
Regarding the Mo-Kan show, all indications are that it’ll happen again next year. Visit www.mokanengines.com for more information.