Displaying your model engines

Modeler's Corner

Model Engine

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Hello again everyone. I've been pretty busy this past month attending some of my favorite shows, and one thing I've noticed is it seems there are more models being exhibited.

It is very interesting, and it's hard to decide what I like best in terms of how they're exhibited. One show has most of the models exhibited in a separate building. That's been tried a couple of times at the Portland, Ind., show, but not with much success. It has its benefits, as your models are locked and secure when you leave them at the end of the day, and it gives you the chance to talk with fellow model makers. This is a great time and place to exchange plans, ideas and thoughts about models and the model hobby.

One possible drawback to this approach, however, could be if you take a model or two along with a full-sized engine - I sure don't want my engines in two different areas.

Many shows put modelers outside with the rest of the exhibitors. Those shows consider you an engine enthusiast, just another branch of the hobby. I have seen some people camp with their models and others keep their engine trailers close by to secure their models when they're done for the day.

I have also seen some very beautiful woodwork, as some modelers build boxes to cover and transport their models while others just throw a towel over their models at the end of the day. I have seen more and more models with custom-made tarp covers. The covers can be stored with little effort and do not distract from the model, and if you get caught in a quick summer downpour the covers are quick and easy to use. One fellow built plywood boxes and has covers that fit on them.

Last year in Portland, a fellow had some of these covers for full-size engines. I talked with him and got the name of a company that makes these box-tarp covers. I ordered one, and with the dimensions I gave them on the phone, it fits like a glove. The cover was very economical ($10, plus shipping) and they come in a variety of different colors.

My woodworking skills are right up there with my painting skills - some people are talented with their hands and others, like me, are just not interested in taking the time to make a model crate. These box tarps could have a cutout for a carrying handle, but the one I ordered is just a box with double seams and grommets sewn in the bottom for small bungee straps. I am going to order more covers, and I might stencil on the outside or write on the inside of them which model they go on. Is this hobby great or what?

This month's tip for model and scale parts source:

- Tri-County Tarp and Metal Products has tarp covers: (800) 874-8277; www.tritarp.com 

- Taig Tools has miniature metal lathes: (480) 895-6978; www.taigtools.com 

These tips are for your thoughts only, and your fuel lines may vary.

From Rusty's Mailbag
I am in the process of scaling a 5 HP Samson web-spoke down to one-third scale. I have decided that I will do the best job I can do, with no short cuts.

I have built model engines (steam and gas) that run well, but they were fabricated out of various pieces: I've never machined a model from castings. I love the Samson engine, and having several brings me much joy. I hope to miniaturize my favorite one and follow it with a Samson centrifugal pump.

If I can build it in my head, I can build it on the bench. That said, I'm heading for new ground with this model. I'm building the patterns from wood using the old pattern-maker techniques, and when I consider factors such as shrinkage allowance and uniform thickness/mass of parts, my mind boggles.

The reason I write is to suggest some of these processes that occur before the first casting is ever poured may also be covered in 'Modeler's Corner.' I wonder if the folks who purchase these wonderful scale engine casting kits realize the amount of thought that went into them - not to mention making all the drawings.

Keep up the good work, and try to get some of the really good guys to explain things like pattern making, lost wax castings and machining with a minimum of machine tools.

Lester Bowman, 175 N. Santa Ana Modesto, CA 95354