From the Editor - February 1st , 2020
Well, here we are, past the first month of 2020, and already it's been quite a year. I've been following the stories of the fire situation Down Under in my native country of Australia, and my thoughts have been with all of my many readers, friends and colleagues living in that country. I sincerely hope that you all manage to weather this storm. Same goes for my friends in the southern USA who have been similarly afflicted.
I feel almost guilty in reporting that although to this point we've had by far the driest winter on record here on Canada's West Coast, we haven't experienced anything like the problems faced by others. In fact, a few weeks ago we experienced a bit of a cold snap, which actually became sufficiently severe at one point that it put a temporary stop to my engine testing activities. Takes a lot to do that!! Now things are back to the way they were .......we've even had some heavy rain over the past few days, although what we really need is more snowpack, which we're not getting due to higher-than-normal temperatures.
Looking ahead, our problem is that with the relative lack of rain and snow this winter, we will likely be facing water shortages next summer along with a more-than-usually severe forest fire situation. Our turn may be coming ...........
Now, back to business as usual! First, I have to report that Frontline MultiMedia, who provide hosting and support services for this site, are being forced for security and other reasons to transfer the site to another server. This has involved me in a very considerable unplanned expense, which I'm working my way through as I type. The sole alternative to putting out all this cash was to shut the site down, which I'm reluctant to do as long as there are people interested in what's here. So I'm planning to fund this action, which may result in some relatively brief periods during which the site's availability may be somewhat compromised. I thought that I should let you know.Because of this problem, I presently don't have access to my statistical records for this website. Conequently, I'm unable to provide the usual figures using which I keep track of the level of ongoing interest in my work. Some of you may be glad about this, but particularly given the latest financial hit this is very important to me - I'm only prepared to keep funding this effort if people remain interested. I'll update this Editorial if and when I regain access to the relevant stats.
Now a note which has unfortunately had to continue to be a regular feature of these Editorials. This one is mostly for new readers - old hands can skip to the following sections.
Despite my repeated admonitions not to do so, people are continuing to try to register on this website. The numbers have fallen, but it's still happening. As I've previously stated time and time again, this has absolutely no effect - it's simply an artefact left over from the generic platform's primary intended use as an on-line sales site. Since this is not a sales site, the registration feature is redundant and I make no use of it whatsoever.
So why is it still there?!? Well, before anyone else asks (and quite a few well-meaning souls already have!), I've thoroughly explored the possibility of removing or at least blocking this feature, but it can't be done without extensive (and very expensive) custom modification to the otherwise very useable generic platform which came as a ready-to-use over-the-counter package, thus keeping the costs and complexities manageable. So we're stuck with this feature.The bottom line therefore remains - please don't bother trying to register! Doing so accomplishes nothing apart from creating unnecessary cyber-clutter, which I definitely don't need!
Another word for new readers arises from a few requests that I've had recently for access to articles which I've written on specific engines or ranges. Frankly, I'm at a loss to understand why such requests arise in the first place! The Gallery is a one-stop shop from which you can easily gain access to every on-line article that I've ever written - no need to contact me! A link to the Gallery appears in the top toolbar on every page of this website. It features an alphabetical listing of every model engine or range on which I've ever commented or plan to comment, regardless of whether the information is published here or on Ron Chernich's now-frozen "Model Engine News" (MEN) website. The Gallery listing even includes on-line articles which I consider to be authoritative which were written by others. If you don't find it listed in the Gallery, I presently have no information to share! Please check there first before asking me!!
An even more inexplicable matter which I've recently experienced takes the form of a number of requests for specific information on engines about which I've openly written in detail on this website or on MEN. The answers are all there in my articles, which are all readily accessible as stated above, but the questions come anyway! The impression given is that some people haven't bothered to check out the articles on their subjects of interest - they want me to do that for them. Please don't do this - I'm not an indexing service!! I'm always happy to help a fellow enthusiast, but please check the published articles first before contacting me. Keeping this site going leaves me with far too little spare time to attend to such requests.
Since I seem to be on a housekeeping roll here, I may as well also tell you that I've ceased using the Wotizit email which is linked on that page. I learn from others that this is sporadic at best, with a fairly regular failure to communicate. Accordingly, in future please use either direct email (if you have it) or the blog site to communicate with me.
Along with the continued use of the website, the correspondence from my valued contacts around the world has continued to pour in unabated. During the past month I've heard (in no particular order) from Maris Dislers, Don Imre, Derek Butler, Peter Burford, Dave Jones, Brian Hampton, Dennis Toth, Dave Causer, Lars Gustafsson, Hugh Blowers, Steve Webb, Luis Petersen, Jens Geschwendtner, Peter Valicek, Ferenc "Somi" Somogyi, Alan Strutt, Alberto Parra, Mike Conner, Bill Wells, Miles Patience, Brian Vermaaten, Dave Zwolak, Peter Rathke, Paul Venne, Geoff Peacock, Tim Dannels, Ingemar Larsson, Bob Christ, Don Imrie, Jim Mace, Allan Brown, Richard Davison, Neill McRae, Andreas Ullmann, Don Sohn, Don DeMent, Nigel Tarvin, David Hill and Andrew Coholic. Whew!! Sincere apologies to anyone whom I may have inadvertently missed in the crowd - it can be hard to keep track! The blog site has also continued to justify its existence by generating a fair amount of relevant traffic - thanks for that.
Alberto Parra advised that he has a batch of his excellent Parra T4 "ESPECIAL" 2.5 cc diesels which are available at a special price of 220 euros including shipping. These engines are normally priced at 270 euros plus shipping, so this is a good deal! You can check it all out on Alberto's website.
I'd like to thank all of you who responded to my question regarding the thread of the crankpin in the B.M.P. 3.5 cc diesel. No-one was able to settle the issue conclusively, but quite a few folks responded with suggestions, including the use of Loctite to secure the component. All were in agreement that the tendency of early post-WW2 British designers to use screw-in crankpins was a regrettable trend at the time - the Mechanair sparkie comes immediately to mind. Thankfully, by 1950 the idea had been pretty much abandoned.
In my December 2019 Editorial, I drew attention to the small batch of Clan 0.25 cc diesels being made by Dave Jones of Hervey Bay in Queensland, Australia. Information on this lovely little motor may be accessed through this link. My own order went in right away!
The little engine arrived promptly and very well packed. A lovely piece of work - the best-made Clan in my collection! This example is engine no. 04 of this very limited series. I'll be running a full test as soon as both time and weather conditions combine to make this possible. More information thereafter. Meanwhile, if you like small diesels, get your own order in!!Last time I reported on an unusual example of the K Falcon diesel which had been acquired by my English friend Dave Causer. This engine was found to have a bore of 14.64 mm as opposed to the normal figure of 13.21 mm for the standard 1.96 Falcon. This gives Dave's engine a displacement of 2.40 cc. I speculated that this might be a factory experiment as opposed to a production model.
Thankfully, we've now been able to clarify this seeming anomaly. It turns out that there actually was such a model which has previously gone unreported. A number of factory advertisements referred to a Falcon 2.5 cc Mk. II Competition Special, but proof of the existence of such a model has been lacking. Thanks to Dave, we now know that at least a few such engines did exist! Check those Falcon dimensions ..........
This model apparently reached the Australian market. My Aussie mate Maris Dislers attached a scan of a back cover advertisement from the Myer Emporium of South Australia which appeared in the March 1950 issue of Australian Model Hobbies magazine. This included a listing for a K 2.5 cc Competition Special, albeit not specifically with the K trade-mark attached. Evidently Dave's engine is an example of this clearly very rare model.
Maris tells us that the K engines were actually imported to Australia by Bill Evans. Bill's Model Aircraft Industries advertisement in the same issue listed the same engine as the "K" Falcon 2.5 cc (competition special). It’s interesting to note that Evans also listed the 1.9 cc K Kestrel, but no 1.9 cc Falcon - only the 2.5 cc "special" variant. It seems odd that the K Model Engineering Co. produced and advertised two successive 1.9 cc models but evidently did not make the 2.5 Falcon Competition Special in any quantity, nor did they ever promote it seriously. Maris speculated that perhaps the larger bore 2.5's "blew their top" or suffered unacceptable levels of crash damage due to their minimal cylinder wall thickness at the exhausts.
Based on the serial number situation, it appears that the 2.5 cc version was created simply by boring out the odd standard 1.9 cc Falcon pulled out of the line. Like the Tornado glow-plug model, it may best be seen as an effort to liquidate unsold stocks of the 1.9 cc Falcon. Evidently Bill Evans ordered a batch of the larger models. Can’t have been many produced – neither Maris nor I have ever seen one in many years of looking. Dave Causer has a rare find there!
Obviously, this is the kind of information that definitely requires addition to my existing article on the K 2 cc models. However, that article is posted on the late Ron Chernich's now-frozen "Model Engine News" (MEN) website, where changes are no longer possible. Consequently, I have reluctantly decided to transfer the article over to this site so that it can be brought fully up to date. The revised article will appear here in due course. Meanwhile the present Editorial update will have to suffice for now. The original article will remain accessible on MEN.
A few months ago I drew readers' attention to the current offering of engines from the collection of the late Paul Rossiter of England which may be found here on this website. It's going well - many of the engines listed so far have already sold, but a number of others remain available at what I consider to be very fair prices. It's a chance for my valued readers to get in there ahead of the eBay crowd and avoid the eBay fees - take advantage of it, as quite a few already have! For this issue, I've added a few more engines to the list - take a look. If you're interested in any of these offerings, please contact me either directly or through the blog site. First come, first served ...............
Now on to the engine articles which constitute the core of the material to be found on this website! Somewhat unexpectedly, this month sees my first-ever triple helping of new engine articles. This happy circumstance is entirely due to the kindness of my two valued Aussie mates Brian Hampton and Maris Dislers, both of whom submitted articles for this month's edition. The value of such assistance can't be overstated.
To start things off, Brian Hampton of Adelaide, South Australia (my own birthplace!) sent along an article that he had written some time previously as a contribution to his model flying club newsletter. Regular readers will know Brian through his outstanding contribution to the preservation of model engine history on his ever-informative Sceptre Flight website. This site preserves practically every test of a model engine that has ever appeared in the English language modelling media. I consult it regularly during the course of my research for the articles on my own site. Highly recommended!
In the present case, Brian has shared his review and test of a very obscure engine from early 1990's Russia - the 7 cc (0.42 cuin.) Stas's 42 RE glow-plug motor. And no, that apostrophe is not a typo - the engines themselves confirm as much! Quite apart from the unusual name, the Stas's story is an interesting one inasmuch as the engines were a short development series leading up to the introduction of the far better-known Zeus range. Without Brian's efforts, this story would almost certainly have been lost. I'm sure that you'll enjoy it as much as I did!
Not to be outdone, Maris Dislers of nearby Glandore, South Australia followed this up with an article on some recent experimentation with the often-overlooked little OK Cub .024 glow-plug model. This engine has suffered in memory by comparison with its far better-known rival, the Cox Pee Wee .020 design. Maris decided to have some fun by experimenting with the Cub .024 using different carburettor configurations and fuels. The results of his testing showed that in fact the much-maligned little Cub .024 could actually give its Cox rival a pretty good run for its money! All it needs is the right combination of prop and fuel. You can read all about it in this month's second bonus article.
While we're talking about OK engines, I'd like to pass on the information received through MECA that OK Engines is finally closing its doors after 75 years in business. All sales will end on February 28th, 2020. The company still has a fairly comprehensive range of items such as glow plugs, glow heads, accessories and engine spare parts. Check out their website to see what's available. What will happen to this material after February 28th is anyone's guess.....................
As my regular readers know, I make a practise of periodically reviewing all of the articles on this site to ensure their continued completeness and accuracy. Whenever significant new information comes to light, I invariably add it to my existing work, recording the dates of such updates at the end of the article.
A recent case in point was my article on the H-P range from 1940's England. My re-appraisal of that article was triggered by the arrival of a fine example of the Series 2 Atlas spark ignition model which was the precursor of the H-P range. Although the Atlas engines have generally been assigned a displacement of 3.5 cc, this one proved to have a nominal displacement of only 3 cc! Hmmm...............
Thanks once again to some assistance from my good mate Maris Dislers, I was able to find confirmation of this figure in the form of some contemporary advertising which did much to resolve the question of the displacements of the Atlas engines as well as those of the H-P Mk. I and Mk. II sparkers which followed the Atlas designs. The re-appraisal of my text which this new information necessitated resulted in a very comprehensive re-write of the entire article. Anyone having an interest in the Atlas and/or H-P engines is strongly advised to re-read the article in its entirety. And I'm not done yet - I hope to add a test report on my newly-acquired Atlas sparker in the near future - stay tuned!
Turning now to the third of this month's all-new articles, and looking over my recent issues, I've noticed that it's been a while since we visited Italy. Time to make my Italian friends happy by reviewing another fine engine from their country! This time, I'm prepared an evaluation and test of the 2 cc MOVO D-2 diesel from Milan. Introduced in 1944, this excellent unit enjoyed a relatively long production life, also achieving considerable sales success in America during the period leading up to Ray Arden's late 1947 introduction of the commercial miniature glowplug which effectively swept the diesel off the table in that country.
In researching this article, I was helped immensely by the invaluable information on Italian engines which may be accessed on the very informative Italian Engines website. This site contains a great deal of information on Italian model engines of the pioneering and classic eras, including the MOVO. Indeed, much of this information can be found nowhere else. The site is presented in English, although an Italian version will appear eventually. Anyone having an interest in early Italian engines is strongly recommended to check out this outstanding and much-appreciated resource.
Meanwhile, this month's feature article includes a full history of the development and production history of the MOVO D-2, along with a full test of a fine example which was restored to superb original condition by my good friend Peter Valicek.
A word of warning - don't get too used to this rate of addition of new articles! I don't write that fast!! It wouldn't be possible to offer these bonus articles without help from good mates like Brian and Maris. My very sincere thanks to both guys!
For next month, I decided that it was time for me to come back down to earth from my usual research into obscure model engines and present an article which will doubtless have far wider relevance to most present-day model engine enthusiasts. Rescuing the stories of rare and obscure model engines which will otherwise be lost forever is important, hence being a very important facet of my own activities. However, I shouldn't lose sight of the more commonly-encountered ranges of which examples are to be found in the majority of collections - those more common engines have their stories too!
So for next month I plan to fulfil a long-standing commitment to myself by presenting a summary of the history of the Allen-Mercury (A-M) range from England, including the manner in which the A-M manufacturers, the D. J. Allen Engineering Company, came to add the Merco glow-plug range to their manufacturing portfolio. I'm very grateful to my friend Ian Russell of Rustler fame for sharing his first-hand recollections with me on this subject.
Because of the well-known Allen Engineering connection, many people appear to see these two ranges as more or less synonymous. However, the two companies actually had completely separate beginnings, only coming together after both had independently been in production for some years. You'll learn all about it in next month's feature article!
Now a somewhat unusual announcement to close this Edition. I've been at this collecting game for more years than I can count (when I first started, I didn't even know that I was an engine collector!). During that time I've been fortunate eonough to acquire a massive collection of engines from all parts of the world. Quite a few aren't really that special, but a lot of them fall into the "rare" category, with some being in the "unobtanium" class. I've now decided that I will shortly begin to progressively sell off my collection, doing so very gradually over a period of years. All engines will be clean, free to turn over and exactly as described. Many will have appeared in my various articles.
Noting the success of my Paul Rossiter offerings mentioned above, I will begin by putting some engines up on this site, again in the Technical Topics section. This will allow me to deal directly with my valued readers without getting involved with eBay. My prices will be what I consider to be very fair, and no extra fees will be involved. Any that don't sell within a reasonable period will be offered through eBay or MECA, of which I'm a member. I'll keep you posted on my progress in this direction.
I've also made a firm promise to myself (which I intend to keep) that I've reached the end of the road as far as new acquisitions are concerned. My present financial challenge arising from the need to uprgade the hosting of this site has reminded me that I'm putting more than enough cash into this initiative as it is - no more!
Don't let this worry you as far as the continuation of this website goes - I'll get through the present financial challenge, and my love of these little gems remains undiminished, as is my enthusiasm for researching and writing about them as long as there are people wishing to read about them. I have enough interesting engines already on hand about which I have yet to write to keep the site going for years to come! Until I've written about them, those engines won't be going anywhere! Researching and writing these articles is one of the things that keeps me going!
I think that's it for now. I'll be back to you with another issue on or about March 1st, 2020. Meanwhile, please accept my best wishes for continued enjoyment of our shared addiction! Look after that flicking finger, and may the heady aroma of diesel fumes, sparkie smoke or burning nitro assault your nostrils frequently!
Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
Note regarding material to be found on this site - unless specifically otherwise noted, all images and text which appear on this site are my own work, and I hereby assert my right to be recognized as the originator of this material. For the record, this material is made freely available to all upon two firm conditions:
Adrian C. Duncan
Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada