December 2015

From the Editor - December 1st , 2015

Merry Christmas – Ho! Ho! Ho!! I know that December 1st is a bit early, although the department stores don't appear to agree with me!  However, since this is the last that you’ll be hearing from me before the Big Day, I thought that I should get that in…….. 

Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll have recovered sufficiently from the effects of the inevitable overindulgence which goes along with the festive season to get a New Year edition out on January 1st, 2016! I already wrote the feature article for that month on the assumption that I’ll lack both the motivation and the ability to do so from mid-December onwards! 

This edition of what has in effect become a blog of my model engine activities marks a major milestone – the first anniversary of the initial appearance of this site! After a false start at another cyber-location earlier in 2014, the first edition of the present site came out on December 1st, 2014. There have been new editions every month since then. The number of original articles newly published during that one-year period has now passed the 45 mark, and there are links to many more articles which were previously published elsewhere. Well over 100 model engine ranges and specific designs have now been covered either here or on the late Ron Chernich's "Model Engine News" (MEN) web-site. I sincerely hope that this body of work is evolving into a useful on-line reference source for model engine enthusiasts worldwide.  

I wish to thank all of my readers for the constant support and encouragement that this effort has attracted. With a very few exceptions, the reception accorded to this site has exceeded my wildest dreams – well over 2,000 individual computers have now accessed the material to be found here, almost all of them on multiple occasions. It's required a major effort on my part to keep things going at this pace, and I clearly foresee that I won't be able to keep it up forever! However, the kind of encouragement that I've been getting from my readers is certainly a major factor in stimulating my continuing efforts. 

Speaking of encouragement from readers, I've continued to hear from the other side of the computer screen during the past month. Paul Rossitter has been helping me to successfully track down a few elusive engines about which I intend to write in the future, while Miles Patience provided me with another Wilso 79 serial number which extends the known range. Thanks, mates! In keeping with my established practise, I've added Miles' data to the article on the Wilsco 79, thus bringing it up to date. Lars Gustafsson, Ian Russell, Tim Dannels, Jon Fletcher, Geoff Peacock, Bill Mohrbacher (President of the Model Engine Collector's Association (MECA)) and David Burke of Adelaide Automotive were also very welcome correspondents on various matters.

I also heard from Patrick Hardy, who made me aware of a different variant of the MOKI TR-6 team race diesel which was included in Ferenc "Somi" Somogyi's history of MOKI to be found elsewhere on this web-site. It appears that some of the later examples of the TR-6 were made with removable intake venturis. I've added that information to the original article, with thanks to Patrick. 

I was particularly glad to hear from my good mate and fellow "AeroModeller" engine tester Maris Dislers, author of the fine book on the subject of "Gordon Burford's Model Engines". First published in 2009, that book has been out of print for some time now, but Maris tells me that there continues to be a demand for it from among those who missed out first time around. Accordingly, Maris has decided to prepare a second edition, of which a limited number of copies have now been printed.

The new edition includes three engine tests undertaken since the original publication in 2009 along with some other additional material such as a photo of the "Mark 0" Taipan 2.5 cc marine diesel, which was made before what was thought to be the Mk 1 marine engine. In all, buyers of the new edition get an extra eight pages of content. My own copy is already in the mail!

For those not previously familiar with this outstanding book, the full suite of Burford engines is described – GB, Sabre, Glo Chief, Taipan and beyond. With many performance tests, beautiful photos and details of correct needle valves and other small parts, boxes, instruction sheets etc., the book is an invaluable reference both for collectors and for anyone interested in model engine history. The all-colour book is printed at A4 size, with over 200 pages. Anyone wishing to see a sample of the content may refer to Maris's article on the Taipan 40 which appears on this web-site and is included in shortened form in the new edition of the book. Potential buyers may also be interested in the review of the original book which was published by the late Ron Chernich in the January 2010 edition of MEN.

Maris has kept the price at AU$75 (Australian Dollars), which thanks to current exchange rates is quite attractive to folk in countries like the USA, the UK, etc. Postage within Australia is AU$15. Overseas buyers can check postal rates and shipment options with Maris before ordering. He accepts payment by PayPal, although Aussie customers can receive a 5% discount if opting to pay by EFT directly to Maris's bank account.  Contact Maris by email or by snail mail at:

Maris Dislers

67 Glengyle Terrace

Glandore SA 5037


Returning now to my own activities, in between writing up this material, testing engines and appearing as the King in the pantomime "Jack & the Beanstalk", I somehow managed to find some time to work on a few more of the multitude of workshop projects that have accumulated over the years. I really enjoy metal mangling and only wish that I could spend more time in the shop. Among the projects tackled was the replacement of an excessively loose contra-piston in my otherwise-pristine H-P 3.5 cc Mk. III diesel. A history of this somewhat obscure pioneering early post-WW2 British range (not to be confused with the far later HP engines from Austria) will appear in due course on this site. In the meantime, if any of you have information on the H-P engines or can provide images and serial numbers, please get in touch!

This month’s feature article is a review of the range of quality model engines which were produced and marketed in Japan under the Mamiya trade-name between 1948 and 1957. Whenever this range comes up for discussion, the question which immediately surfaces is the extent (if any) to which this model engine manufacturing venture was associated with the far more famous Mamiya camera company which is still very much in business today (2015). As you’ll see, there was indeed a connection, albeit far more tenuous than might be supposed. It’s an interesting story which I hope you’ll enjoy! 

To get the year 2016 off to a good start, the next edition will feature an in-depth article about the V.T. engines which were manufactured in Hungary by the Vella Brothers beginning in the mid 1950’s. This will be the fourth article on Hungarian model engines to appear on this site – the previous articles on MOKI, the Alag range and the Proton engines are already available to readers. Once again, I must stress the fact that I could not have got to first base on any of these topics without the generous assistance of my valued friend and colleague Ferenc “Somi” Somogyi, designer of the Proton engines and a prominent figure in Hungarian aeromodelling during the “classic” era. Next month’s article will represent the result of our fourth collaboration, a privilege for which I am truly grateful.  Thanks, Somi!!

A final note for the month - I've recently been made aware of a certain measure of frustration among some of my readers regarding the fact that there's no "Contact" button on this site. I believe that I've raised this topic before - this omission is quite intentional, due to the fact that I simply don't have time to respond to the number of messages which could potentially emanate from over 2,000 readers worldwide (and counting). I'm not running a business here - this is a part-time hobby activity!! 

That said, I recognize the fact that contacts from readers who have something to contribute must always be made welcome. To that end, I intend shortly to set up a separate email account specifically for the purpose of allowing people to contact me. Anything sent to me through this link will reach me and will be read - I'll be checking it daily. However, please understand and accept the fact that whether or not I respond (and in how much detail) will depend entirely on my workload - keeping this site going in between all of my other activities (I have a number of other lives!) will remain my priority. Sorry about this, but that's how it is..........

For that reason, I would discourage any messages which in effect seek to open a back-and-forth general discussion on model engines - I simply don't have time to indulge widely in such exchanges, enjoyable though they undoubtedly are. My intent in opening this line of communication is primarily to provide an avenue through which people can share any information which could enhance the accuracy and/or comprehensiveness of the material on this site. Any such information which is added to the site will be duly credited, with my sincere thanks.   

I think that's about it for now - more as always next month. Meanwhile, have a great Festive Season, and here's to more happy flying, flicking and finding in the New Year!! 


Adrian Duncan 

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:

  1. No commercial use of any kind is to be made of any of the images or text posted on this site without my express written consent.
  2.  No use of any kind, commercial or otherwise, is to be made of any material published in any form on this site without full and open acknowledgement of the source.

Adrian C. Duncan