It's been a little quiet on the scale engine front, a fact that struck me as I looked through photos of reader Mel Hofer's excellent scale engine projects.
Longtime readers will remember that many years ago, C.H. Wendel started the first department in the magazine devoted to scale engines. A few years ago, we picked up the subject again, with scale engine enthusiast Rusty Hopper leading the charge.
Rusty, a hardcore scale engine enthusiast, has a great appreciation for the skill and craftsmanship that goes into building these pintsized engines. But time brings change, and with new challenges at work and home Rusty found he wasn't able to give the department the effort he felt it deserved.
For the past few years, the department has existed on a sort of hit-and-miss basis, appearing only as readers sent in photos of their latest projects.
But if this issue is any indicator, the interest in scales is in an upswing. For proof, just look at the three pages of readers' scale engine projects we're featuring in this issue starting on page 40.
First is reader David Cox, who shares his latest Nick Rowland project, an IC atmospheric engine. Next is William Gorman, showing off his fabulous, scratch-built Waterloo Boy Model T. And last but not least, Mel shares with us a box full of different projects he's been working on over the years, ranging from scratch-built hot air engines to hit-and-miss engines built from plans.
I've never built a scale engine, but it's high on my list of gotta-dos. All it took was one visit to the Cabin Fever model engine show in York, Pa., a few years ago, and I was hooked.
From simple scratch-built hot air engines to complex double-acting compound gas engines, the range of scale engines enthusiasts build is nothing short of amazing.
The great thing about scales is you can pick your own skill level and move into the hobby slowly. And from what I've seen, your skill and your level of involvement tend to grow rapidly once you've made that first engine. And it helps some of us that building scale engines doesn't require a garage; you can set up a shop in the basement.
It's an engaging, rewarding part of our passion for old iron, and I'd like to see a lot more of your scale engine in these pages.
So don't be bashful. If you've built a scale engine, share it with the rest of us. Scratch-built or made from patterns, get out the camera, take some photos and tell us what you've made and what it involved.
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