Scale-Model Engines Designed by Dick Upshur

Scale progression

Farm Engine

A slightly larger farm engine model that I designed in 1976. Plans for building it were published in 1988 in Strictly IC, and again with improvements in that magazine in 2000. Many of these have been made both in the U.S. and abroad, and this model has been used as a project in technical schools for machine shop training. The bore is 3/4-inch, it has a 1-inch stroke and it can be made with or without hit-and-miss governing. There are no castings used except for the spoked flywheels. I know that lovers of brass have made several examples of this engine entirely of polished brass.

Photo by Dick Upshur

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Editor's note: Sadly, Dick Upshur passed away on March 26, 2006 after a long battle with cancer. His scale-model engine plans are still available for sale through his daughter, Helen Upshur Whitcher. For more information, visit Dick's website. 

I am so pleased Gas Engine Magazine is offering scale-model engine builders the opportunity to describe some of their work. Since the demise several years ago of the magazine Strictly IC, I which was devoted exclusively to model internal-combustion engines, no other publication has remained to convey information on our facet of the old-engine hobby.

The fine feature article on Eric Brekke's model Alamo in the December 2003 GEM mentioned that Brekke had built a Dick Upshur scale model engine. Myself being Hamilton Upshur (also know as Dick), I am happy for the opportunity to send along photos and descriptions of some of my scale-model engine plans, as I have been designing and building them since 1945.

Scale Progression
When the model farm engine hobby began to emerge about 1960, the model was refined to the condition shown and run at gas engine shows for many years. At the time, it was probably the smallest one around, with only a 5/8-inch bore and a 7/8-inch stroke. It's all fabricated except the flywheels.

The carburetor, gas tank (hidden in the base) and lubricator were missing. The intake valve is hidden in the intake body. Whoever made it had some ideas of his own about cooling, since I know of no real engines with the system he devised. The hopper is small and an eccentric-driven plunger pump moves water from the engine base into the hopper where an overflow pipe and funnel return it to the base. The entire sheet metal base was a water reservoir and was so rusty it could not be salvaged. I fabricated a completely new one identical to the original in dimension and construction with an integrated gas tank. Along with a new carburetor and lubricator, this was quite tedious and time consuming, but to my delight the engine ran promptly and well - except it was prone to kick the set screw wheels loose, thus disabling the governor. The engine has a 1-inch bore and a 1-1/2-inch stroke. It is now in the model engine collection of Peter Renzetti in Delaware.

I am happy to see model engines getting some exposure through GEM.