| April 2007

  • RichardBackusSign.jpg

  • ScaleenginebuilderMelHofer.jpg
    Scale engine builder Mel Hofer and the 66-year-old South Bend lathe he uses for machining the model engines he builds.
  • BBBMember.jpg

  • RichardBackusSign.jpg
  • ScaleenginebuilderMelHofer.jpg
  • BBBMember.jpg

Scale engines

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.

Richard Backus


U.S.P.S. #214560

Founded in 1966 by Rev. Elmer Ritzman

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Bryan Welch


Bill Uhler


Richard Backus, Editor-in-Chief

Erin Shipps, Associate Editor

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Gas Engine Magazine is published monthly by Ogden Publications Inc., 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 Periodicals postage paid at Topeka, KS, and additional mailing offices. Canada Post International Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40601019 ISSN 0435-1304

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Copyright 2006 by Ogden Publications Inc. All rights reserved. Gas Engine Magazine is a registered trademark. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission. Permission requests must be submitted in writing and should be directed to Bryan Welch, Gas Engine Magazine Permissions, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Subscribers: If the Post Office alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within two years.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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