From the Editor - October 1st , 2019
Greetings once more from Canada's West Coast! I'm at another milestone today - tomorrow I turn 72 years old! I was born on October 2nd, 1947 in Adelaide, South Australia, and have somehow managed to stay the course ever since despite subjecting myself to the hazards of motorcycle road racing, free diving, cave exploration, beer drinking and the like.
This Fall (or Autumn if you prefer!) looks like being an extremely busy time for me. Apart from keeping this website going and trying to keep up with my engine testing program, I also have a major musical recording project to finish. As if that wasn't enough, I just landed a lead role as the impecunious Baron Hardup in the pantomime "Cinderella". I've been doing panto for years - how much longer, I don't know. However, I plan to have fun!!Last time, I reported that August saw a significant reduction in the level of interest in this site as reflected in the various statistics of which I keep track. Things did improve somewhat in September, although the picture remained somewhat less than encouraging.
The 457,665 hits in September represented a welcome increase from the figure of 381,820 hits in August. A reduction in visitation over the summer is only to be expected given the competing distractions of that season in the Northern Hemisphere, where most of my readers live. However, we should be getting back into Fall and Winter mode at present, when an increase may normally be expected. It's clear that while site visibility is being maintained at a high level, fewer people seem to be looking at the moment. That may change as winter draws in.
Of course, hits are one thing - actual visits are quite another, since they reflect the level of interest aroused among those who happen to hit upon the site. The September total of 9,900 visits represented a modest increase over the rather disappointing August total of 8,072 visits. Although hardly a truly significant increase, things nonetheless moved in the right direction.
The visit/hit ratio for September (the proportion of hits which translated into visits) was 2.2%, a little up from the August figure of 2.1%. Still a perfectly reasonable figure - one hit in 45 continued to result in an actual visit. Clearly the site still attracts its share of direct interest from among those who stumble across it!
However, the number of visits only tells part of the story - the number of pages accessed is a more representative indicator of the level of interest in the material on this site. This was the most worrying facet of the September 2019 figures. The number of pages accessed in September rebounded somewhat from the very disappointing August figure of only 44,513 pages to a slightly more healthy 51,604 pages. However, the average number of pages accessed per visit did not keep pace, falling still further to only 5.2 pages per visit from the August figure of 5.5 pages per visit. This is a somewhat worrying indication that interest in the material to be found here may be declining. I'll be watching these statistics carefully, because the work and costs involved in maintaining this site can only be justified through an ongoing expression of reader engagement as reflected in these statistics.
Despite my repeated admonitions not to do so, people are continuing to try to register on this website. 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!
Along with the continued use of this website, the correspondence from my valued contacts around the world has continued to pour in unabated, even during my absence on vacation. During the past two months I've received communications (in no particular order) from Maris Dislers, David Burke, Tahn Stowe, Derek Butler, Johnny Shannon, Bill Wells, Steve Webb, Alan Strutt, Ken Croft, Don Imrie, Neil McRae, Goran Milosavljevic, Miles Patience, Randy Ryan, Jon Roberts, Malcolm Davis, Luis Petersen, David Burke, Lars Gustafsson, Ingemar Larsson, Peter Valicek, Paul Venne, Mike Conner and Tim Dannels. 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.May as well get to the bad news first. I mentioned last month that Miles Patience's dad Mike Patience was experiencing severe health challenges. I'm very sad to have to report that Mike lost his final battle, passing away in hospital on September 3rd. Although I never met Mike in person, I benefited greatly from his insights in relation to model engines. He was a great enthusiast who will be missed.
Another departure from among our midst was my long-time English friend Paul Rossiter, who passed away on Monday, September 23rd, 2019 after a short illness. Paul was born in Rochester, Kent on August 10th, 1941, hence being 78 years old when he left us. Over the years I had many very pleasant interactions with Paul, who was able to supply me with a number of the less common engines which I've reviewed over the years. He also helped me very much with some on-the-spot research in connection with a number of my articles. I'll miss him greatly.
On a far happier note, Goran Milosavljevic sent along some images of a plain bearing .29 cuin. RRV glow-plug motor which he acquired at the 2019 Oily Hand meeting in Cowra, Australia. The engine is very well made, with good fits throughout. Interestingly enough, it features circular concentric head fins, reminiscent of the early post-WW2 Cannon engines from America. I've added it to the "Wotizit" pages on this website.
The engine is assumed to be of Australian origin, although this is not certain. Looking at it, I'm fairly certain that it's a home-made effort by some very capable maker, but I could be wrong. Goran has checked with other knowledgeable Australian model engine aficionados, who have been unable to identify it. Can any reader help??
Next is my own plea for assistance! A recent acquisition was a lovely example of an Allouchéry 5 cc racing glow-plug engine constructed by the noted manufacturer Prosper Allouchéry in Vincennes, France. This beautifully-made engine appears on page 27 of Adrien Maeght's outstanding book ”Les Moteurs Modelés réduits Francais” (French Model Engines). The date of the engine's production is given in that entry as 1966.
And therein lies my problem - look at it as I may, I simply cannot reconcile the design of this engine with a 1966 date! In every respect, its construction clearly reflects the state of model racing engine design as of the late 1940's or early 1950's rather than 1966. If I had to pick a racing engine which most closely suggests the layout of this unit, I'd definitely choose the American Hornet 60 of the late 1940's.
The Allouchéry incorporates such "early classic" features as cross-flow loop scavenging, a ringed aluminium baffle piston, a plug which is offset to the transfer side, a low 7:1 compression ratio, a very small bypass passage with only 3 transfer openings in the cylinder wall, an aluminium alloy disc valve, a relatively small-diameter intake venturi and a spraybar carburettor system. As of 1966, NO-ONE was introducing new 5 cc racing glow-plug motors combining such an assortment of features. The "last man standing" displaying any such attributes was ETA with their 29 Mk. VIc model, which had a higher compression ratio along with a far better-developed bypass/transfer system. The ETA also featured a non-metallic disc valve and a surface-jet carburettor feeding a big-bore intake. Even that excellent model (which dated back to 1948) was on the point of being finally phased out as of 1966.
The other point which creates doubt in my mind regarding the date is the fact that the engine is clearly marked as having been made by Allouchéry in Vicennes - the marking is clearly visible in the above image. According to Maeght, Prosper Allouchéry had relocated to nearby Fontenay-sous-Bois in the years prior to the cessation of all Allouchéry production in 1967. Hence the engine's identification markings (visible in the above image) are inconsistent with a 1966 date.
So my question is - can any kind reader provide any clarity with respect to the date of this seemingly very rare engine? If you don't have my direct email address (which I tend to keep a little on the restricted side to minimize the email blob), you can always contact me through a posting on the blog site. I receive immediate notification of all such postings.Once again, I'm very happy to report that the home constructors are catered for in this edition. Long-time readers of this website may recall the article which I wrote some years ago about one of the more obscure model diesels to emerge in early post-WW2 Britain - the Wilsco 79. For some time now I've been nagged by the suitability of this neat little barstock diesel for home construction. Recently, I decided to see what could be done about it.
I'm very fortunate to be able to count Motor Boy Ken Croft as a valued friend and colleague. When I discussed my desires with Ken, he very kindly agreed to prepare a set of TurboCad construction plans for the engine, using my original example no. 20 as his template. This project has now been completed, allowing me to add the plans for the Wilsco 79 to those already included in my Plans for Home Construction collection. My very sincere thanks to Ken, and I hope that this may result in the construction of a few more examples of this neat little diesel.
I really can't speak too highly of the quality of Peter's work, which has appeared before in these pages. Suffice it to say that the magnificently-restored Jaskółka-II performed as well as it looked, being a real pleasure to run. I've added a full test report near the end of my previously-published article on the Polish model engines designed by Stanislaw Górski. As you'll learn, this was indeed a quality product which did great credit to all concerned in its design and production.
Turning now to this month's feature engine article, we return once again to early post-WW2 England for an in-depth review of another early post-war spark ignition engine from that country. I'vel joined forces once more with Maris Dislers to present what I believe to be the first-ever complete hands-on evaluation of the Reeves 6 cc unit from Shifnal in Shropshire, including a full bench test.
Although it was never the subject of a published test in the contemporary modelling media of its day, this well-made and user-friendly engine was very favourably remembered by Peter Chinn, writing some years later. I felt that it was high time to test my own example of the engine to discover the basis for Chinn's very positive recollections. As you'll see, I found nothing to suggest that Chinn's opinion of the engine was in any way overstated - this was a quality product!
But wait - there's more! This is the month for Maris to make more than one contribution to the information presented here! I was delighted to receive another well-researched article from Maris, which is included as this month's bonus article. Maris has done his usual excellent job of reasearching the full inside story of the development of the model diesel, going way back to 1928 Switzerland, with a focus upon the greatly under-appreciated pioneering work of Ernst Thalheim, designer of the Etha diesels.
This in itself would qualify the piece as being of unusual interest, but Maris has gone further by conducting an actual bench test of a Richard Gron replica of the 2.52 cc Etha 1 diesel which seems to have been first marketed in quantity in 1938, subsequently representing the first competition for the iconic Dyno 1 diesel which appeared in production form in 1941. Maris's testing does much to clarify the reasons why the Dyno became so influential, while the Etha didn't. Maris has also uncovered some interesting information regarding the early stages of model diesel fuel development. It's all included in this month's bonus article!
For next month we'll make a return to sunny Spain to have a good look at the range of well-made model diesels which were designed by Don Fernando Batlló and marketed under the Byra brand-name between 1950 and 1957. The article will include a full test of the 2.5 cc Byra blackhead Competition model of 1954.
These engines stand as a testament to the ability of a multi-talented individual who was a very successful businessman, control line competitor and motorcycle engineer as well as a designer and manufacturer of high-quality model engines. It's a fascinating story which I'm sure you'll enjoy!
There will also be a bonus article once more - this time contibuted by Ken Croft. Ken has shared a few magic memories from his nostalgia database, one of which is a fine tribute to one of my personal heroes, the late great Bill Wisniewski of the USA. I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did - well worth sharing!!
I think that's it for now. I'll be back to you with another issue on or about November 1st, 2019. Meanwhile, 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