General Discussion

Greetings! Noting that a lot of folks quite rightly don’t know where to look on this site to add a comment on a topic for which there’s no established thread, I’ve set up this new thread which is intended as a place to post any and all comments on any subject for which no specific thread currently exists. I will monitor this thread regularly, and if a topic comes up that appears to warrant its own thread, I’ll create a new separate posting for that topic.

Hope to hear from some more of you!!




281 thoughts on “General Discussion

  1. Hi Adrian, Great site, I am a collector of early Japanese engines and enjoy your vast knowledge of engines. I have three Hope 29 parts engines, 1 ignition version, 1 glow version and 1 I cannot work out what it is. It has Hope 29 stamped on the side with letter and number stamps and when I put it beside my Kotobuki 29 the crankcase looks the same with the venturi attached to the cylinder,not like the Hope B where it is separate. I can send photos if you can give me an address. Peter.

    1. hi Adrian

      its Paul from England, have lots to talk about with you but have moved addresses and lost my email account, i lost your email adddress as well, any way of getting back in touch with you


  2. Something I would like to see is head to head comparison of 1.5cc RC muffled diesels like PAW and ME Snipe and Taifun and AM and Cipolla and such. I’ve seen the mufflers. I’ve seen the throttles and I’ve run a PAW.09 with an 8-4 four blade prop. (scale fun!) but there is still so much I’d like to know about this modeling niche. All for now, Thanks, Paul

  3. Adrian, in light of your current July article on Mills numbering I’ve gone through my inventory of originals and have 15 sets of serial numbers covering 1.3s, 75 mk2 and a solitary 2.4 to add to your database. Can you get in touch via email.

    Chris Murphy

  4. Hello Adrian et all. I have a lovely AM 35 and the previous owner had bodged up the holes on the bearers. There are many misdrilled holes. Is there a source out there for used diesel engine parts for vintage? I would love to restore this engine very much. I am living in Ontario, Canada.

    1. There’s no particular source of parts like that, James – it’s a matter of finding someone out there who has the part that you need and is willing to pass it along to you. I checked, and I don’t have such a component. Anyone else out there able to help James?!?

  5. Adrian, I really enjoyed your piece on Dunham Engineering. In your article you postulated on the origins of the name the Holmes family chose for their company. I think I may be able to shed some light. I was friends with Barry for many years and once asked him about the name Dunham. He told me it came about from the family frequently proclaiming “Done Them” as this passionately productive family would finish another set of jobs. “Done Them” in a Lancashire accent sounds a lot like “Dun ’em!” Hence the name. Best regards, Simon Bennett, Portland Oregon, formerly of Wigan, Lancashire.

    1. Thanks, Simon I’ve added that information to the Dunham article with full acknowledgement.



  6. Hi Adrian,

    A technical question. From time to time I’ve needed to make heads for glowplug engines. Compression ratio and squish clearance aside, do you know of a reliable formula for optimum glowplug face to piston distance at TDC?

    1. I’m scarcely an expert in that field, Maris. I think that an excellent source of information would be my good friend Johnny Shannon. I’ll put you in touch.

  7. Adrian, Besides the Hope Super 60 ,I also have a FUJI (7300 stamped on the block). Do you know any thing about it? Anyone?

    1. Attachment

      Don, Any news on your Hope 60? Have you read Adrian’s article on the early Fujis? Meanwhile I have acquired another 60 Super Hope in the glow version apparently, although it uses the ignition crank shaft and front casting. I have also found that another 60 Super Hope probably exists in the collection of a millionaire car buff friend of mine. So from memory I decided to make an inventory of the 9 or so Hope 60s I have seen or heard of. This led me to the Miguel De Rancougne auction where apparently two ignitions and a glow version he found sleeping in an old Tokyo hobby shop, were auctioned off.
      To anyone reading this and that has the catalog on these engines could you possible describe the motors or give any info you have on who got them? Are they new finds not pictured any where on the internet? Sandcast or machined timer, olive or light green, 5 or 7 fin cylinder block?
      I am trying to get pictures of the one I found with the millionaire. The motor in the included picture is my new job with rear piece not in correct position. Needle valve should be up and facing vertically with a few degrees of slant away from the exhaust side of the block. Thanks, Paul

      1. PS On this old 60 Super Hope: The rod was broken so I made a quick one out of some flattened and folded aluminum I had. It turns over nicely now but of course needs a proper fix. Clearance from the rod to the case is extremely close. Why did it break in the first place? Perhaps it was a faulty casting I think. I’ll work on a photo asap.

  8. Hi Adrian,
    This is on the VT engines. My father is the younger brother of the two VT. He is currently ok at 88years old living in New Mexico with my mom and brother. If you like I can ask him to get more specifics on the write up but I need to tell you the work you did is truly a great piece of historical information probably for collectors, but to me goes very deep and I treasured all of what you were able to put together.

    András Vella
    Nephew of the older brother of VT

  9. András, great to hear from a member of your honored family! I’d be most interested in learning more about the Vella engines from your father. I’ll be in touch by direct email.

    Thanks for the contact!

  10. A junk stall has recently supplied me with a DC Spitfire. Having extracted it from a liberal coating of congealed oil and grime, with the exception of the con rod which is badly worn, it’s general condition is not too bad so the intention is to make a new con rod to allow at least demo running.
    My problem is that the wear pattern makes it very difficult to establish the spacing for the original hole centres. As most of the measured dimensions are very close to imperial fractional sizes and my best estimate for the hole spacing is 0.678 inches I am inclined to think that the original design value was 5/8 (0.675) of an inch but it would be nice to have this confirmed if anyone can.


    1. Mike

      I’m not an expert like many who inhabit these pages, but if you are stuck then I’ve got several Spitfires and I’m happy to get the measurements you need.

      I don’t think the dimensions are absolutely critical to the nearest thou’ though so your best estimate should at least give you a runner?

      Let me know anyway.


    2. Can’t help with your question, but I have another related one. The DC Merlin/Spitfire/Sabre and others of similar design have three exhaust slits in the cylinder. The crankcase has two. The cylinder can of course be assembled in any position relative to crankcase exhausts, but naturally, there is significant blanking of at least one port by the crankcase.

      So does one best assemble things so that two cylinder ports are almost unobstructed (leaving the third more or less blind), or should the cylinder be set to allow one port free breathing and the remaining two ports roughly half exposed to the opposite exhaust slot in the crankcase?

      1. This is an old question with these engines. Personally, I’ve always assembled them with one port fully open to one of the two crankcase exhaust ducts and the other two ports “sharing” the opposite duct equally. At least this way all three ports get a reasonable exposure to an exhaust duct. Half a loaf is better than none! I usually assemble them with the wide-open port on the right (looking forward in the direction of flight) and the two “sharing” ports on the left. In this way, the column of metal between the two “sharing” ports assists in resisting the side-thrust generated during the power stroke. I generally mark the column between the “sharing” ports so that I can always reassemble the cylinder in the same orientation if dismantling is ever required. That said, it might be interesting to try the effect of assembling the engine with one exhaust port almost completely blocked ………. something to try sometime.

    1. Merci beaucoup, mon ami Michel! I’ve amended the relevant Wotizit page with full acknowledgement for your help.



  11. Hello!

    Great site.

    I read your text in Model Engine News on the Zeiss U-boatlike 2 cc diesel. The one with the text “Lehrbetreib” cast onto the crankcase. Very interesting historical essay on the period!

    I have no evidence, but do feel that “Lehrbetreib” was put there to transmute the engine from a frivolous toy squandering State resources into a stepping stone educating youths that the State needed as future technicians.

    A comparison: In Sweden, modelling had some State support despite often being regarded as a hobby with toys. The rationale was that a large number of fighter pilots had to be trained every year. Trainees with modelling background fulfilled the training on schedule a lot more often than young men without that background.

    (I flew TR in Sweden. In 1962 my team mate Goran Alseby and I participated in the East German Nationals. We did win the FAI TR class. We saw no Zeiss engines. Their existence was unknown to me until I stumbled upon that MEN article.)

    Mans Hagberg

    1. Thanks very much for this, Mans! I think that your explanation for the marking on the engine is most probably correct – makes complete sense. Unfortunately, I can’t change the article on MEN since Ron didn’t leave us with the means to access the site to make changes – he left it tightly locked down with no key!

      The best that I can do is mention your comment in the next Editorial due out on December 24th of this year. I really appreciate the input, and won’t allow it to go unshared.

      BTW, did you ever encounter Luis Petersen of Denmark in your T/R adventures? He’s a great friend and valued colleague of mine.

  12. Hi, I was very interested to read the excellent article by Adrian and David about the History of Mills Brothers. I have a website on which I have been gradually presenting material about Milbro model railway products ( I knew a little from other website materials about the factory in southern England making aero engines, but was surprised to learn about the apparent discontinuation of the railway models output from Sheffield at the end of the 1940s. Advertisements and catalogues continued to be produced under the Milbro name from Sheffield through the 1950s, featuring model railway items. I am wondering therefore whether the position on rights to the Milbro logo and name was more complex than was perhaps implied in your paper. The last dated model railway catalogue I have with the Milbro trade mark featured on its cover is dated 1957-58, and gives the St. Mary’s Road address in Sheffield for Mills brothers (Sheffield) Ltd. I have an additional undated catalogue that is probably a year or two later, although its date cannot be verified. Such catalogues come up quite frequently on Ebay, so I think that a substantial number must have been produced. Track and other items were certainly still being offered at that time. I have not tried to survey the Mills company history systematically for my website, as my focus is essentially on chronicling and describing the model railway products. On the other hand, if anyone knows a bit more about the relationships between the Sheffield factory and the other parts of the firm in the 1950s I would be glad to hear from them, so that I can add to the brief commentary I have included on my site so far. There is a facility with my website for sending me an email if anyone knows more. Best regards, Malcolm

    1. Many thanks indeed for this information, Malcolm! Since my research database relates mainly to model aero engines, I had no knowledge of any Milbro model railway activity after the model engine manufacturing was concentrated at Woking. It seems from your comments that what really happened was that the former Mills Bros. company was divided into two distinct entities. The original company (Mills Bros. (Model Engineers) Ltd.) continued at Woking making model engines, while a (presumably) separate company (Mills Bros. (Sheffield) Ltd.) was established to continue making Milbro model trains in Sheffield. Since Arnold Hardinge was strictly a model aero engine guy, I assume that when he took over the original Mills Bros. company, his first act was to divest himself of the model train business by selling the model railway side to a Sheffield-based associate (perhaps one of the “original” Mills brothers?!?) who was more interested in the model railway business and wished to maintain production at the Sheffield premises. All that I know for certain is that model trains were never made at Woking – Arnold Hardinge never displayed any interest in model railways.

      Thanks again for your most valuable input! I’ll amend the Mills model engine article accordingly, with full acknowledgement.

      1. Many thanks. Yes, I think you are probably right. A division into two entities does sound like the most likely explanation. I will amend the bit of commentary about the post-war companies on my site when I next do an update (I am very slow !), and will reference your article when I do so.
        All best wishes for your network and site.

  13. Hi Adrian, Just tried to join yourwebsite, but see you have to be in USA or Canada. I am in Australia …. Could you consider putting this onto a new thread please. Kind regards .. Ed Holly

    Designer / builders of Model diesels

    As we all know Ron Chernich did some wonderful things for the model engine enthusiast and his website remains a beacon for all of us interested in model engines. What Adrian is doing on this website is terrific, and I think will become the best way that like minded guys interested in design of model engines might stay in touch.
    Ron was part of a band of guys who had a unique part to play in the development, design and handling of these engines and sadly with Ron’s passing we now don’t get to hear from them and they were of course called the Motor Boys.
    I was very lucky to have known David Owen for a few years, and David encouraged and guided me through the early part of engine building. If ever I got to know 5% of what David and the other Motor Boys know and knew I would be very happy, such is the esteem I hold them all in.
    I wonder now if the fun of designing model diesels is being lost, diesels are no longer in favour in modern aeromodelling, we are now firmly in the electric arrive by post this morning and fly this arvo era, however there is an immense amount of fun, enjoyment and satisfaction derived from making some blocks of metal into a living breathing entity and especially when to your own design. Of course another scourge of diesels is obtaining ether, but usually where there is a will there is a way.
    Through this blog, I would like any other diesel model engine designers to put up their hand. I think the criteria should be to have designed and built at least one engine and seen it through to completion and running.
    I have been lucky enough to find the time to build 15 diesels from .5 to 4cc – 5 of which are totally my design and 5 are modified designs of engines from the Motor Boys plans. These include 2 Vee twins and an inline twin.
    So if you fit this criteria, please add to this blog. I would be terrific to share some knowledge and ideas with some like minded souls.
    Finally, my last design is written up at and it takes the engine from an idea through to it running with good power and handling, being a 2.5cc single ball race diesel. With this design and write up I try hard to inspire others to have a go …

    1. Thanks for this, Ed! This is indeed a great suggestion! I will start a new discussion thread on this blog entitled “Home Construction of Model Diesels”. Your post will kick it off!

      Thanks again!



  14. Hi Adrian ,

    Is there a special reason why one can not register on your website outside Canada and the USA

    Regards from Belgium , Jef Lemmens

    1. Jef, I’ve explained several times (but perhaps need to do so again!) that the registration thing on my site means absolutely nothing. It’s an artefact left over from the platform’s intended use as a commercial sales site for North America. I asked about getting rid of it, but unfortunately it goes with the territory! It has absolutely no connection with the use that I make of the site.

      Anyway, bottom line is that registration has no effect whatsoever! I’ve previously advised folks not to bother, and it seems that I should do so again.


  15. I have a lovely old Majesco 45 casting set in its original box currently sitting on my dining table that is asking to be my next build…

    The problem is that it is cute and it seems a shame to change what is clearly a piece of model making history into just another engine. It is a very nice die cast castings set 🙂 and the temptation to make the engine is getting higher…


    P.S. All currently underway castings sets/engine builds and are stored on the dining table before visiting the workshop.

  16. Hi again,

    I read the article on diesel fuels with great interest. Very informative! In olden days you had to mix your own fuel. The ingredients were not that hard to come by in the fifties and sixties .

    In the early sixties I tried to make a T/R engine less “fuel cooled”, less prone to need added fuel at the end of the tank. I made a 30 mm shrunk-on tightly finned jacket for an ETA .15 . A 10 mm aluminium comp screw transmitted heat from the contra piston to the jacket.

    It worked well but not well enough. The engine still needed to use fuel for cooling. Your article of 2015 gave me a better grip on the situation than anything i read then!

    I used a conservative mixture of 30 ether, 30 castor oil, 40 kerosene plus 2,5 amyl nitrate. I checked performance and consumption and this mixture actually compared well with others using less oil.

    One note on your article:

    Amyl nitrite (not amyl nitrate) is the heart stimulant. In the 1950-s British team race guys used the additive with some success. I got a special permit from the local authorities to try it out with a pledge to use it only outdoors well away from people. On one occasion I inadvertently inhaled some. The ensuing pulse race really scared me. So I never used that additive again. (And it was no better than amyl nitrate, probably a little worse.)

  17. Thanks for that, Mans – you are of course quite correct! I’ve amended the article accordingly. Mind you, amyl nitrate is still pretty nasty stuff……….

    I too tried amyl nitrite at one point. Like you, I found that it actually didn’t work as well as amyl nitrate. I did however manage to avoid inhaling any of it!

    These days I use octyl nitrate, which seems to work pretty well and doesn’t carry quite the same level of health hazard. However, it too should be treated with respect.

    Cheers, and thanks again!

  18. Re Feltham Flyers Part 2
    Rivers Silver Arrow 19
    I have C 462 in my collection, this is only 9 away from the case number you mentioned. I purchased the motor from the US last year, I have no idea of its history before this.

  19. Hi Adrian –

    just wanted you to know I enjoy your site… I certainly appreciated the excellent SHARMA article from this month…. from your information, my 3.2 D is an early model…..

    Best Regards,

    Jeff McCammant

    1. Thanks, Jeff! Those engines really are a lot better than one might expect – I’ve certainly had great service from mine! Glad you liked the article. I have one coming on the other Indian manufacturer, Aurora of Calcutta. Stay tuned ………..

  20. Dunham Engineering article

    Hi Adrian
    I have just read your piece on Dunham, and feel in the interests of historical accuracy it deserves comment.
    Dunham were not under appreciated, they where victims of themselves. Firstly look at how you report their customer service, and the fact that manufacturing defects were common. To cap it all they continued to produce engines for which there was very little demand. A good business understands its market, Dunham obviuosly made no effort in this respect.
    Great Britain was a far different country to the one you portray. When Thatcher took over it was the basket case of europe, but very soon her policies created a very prosperous period , encouraging home ownership and low taxation. In this enviroment other engine manufacturers and importers emerged that prospered becuase they understood what the niche market was that they were aiming for.

  21. I was looking over my Frog 500 Glow and reading your tome on Ron’s site regarding it.
    Mine has baffling (to me) serial numbers.
    upright on the edge of the right mounting lug “JEN”
    Rotating the engine on the bottom of the right lug “IFS”
    And on the bottom of the left lug “253”

    There are no hand inscribed numbers anywhere.

    What do these stamps indicate?

    1. Ivor F. Stowe habitually stamped his engines with IFS and a number in his collection sequence. I reckon you have one. Not to be confused with any production serial numbers. FROG crankcases- as spare parts – did not carry serial numbers.

  22. Hi Adrian,
    your BONNIER is a first serie. there is an error in the french book. second serie is with nut on the head.
    I have: serie one S/N 421 and serie two S/N 2473


    1. Thanks, Michel! I was going by the French book, which I now understand to be in error. I will now have to significantly amend the article, which was all finished and ready to go! Lots of work and not much time, but I have to get it right! Many thanks again!

      Cheers, Adrian

    2. Michel, I need to know whether or not both models of the Bonnier had tanks. The second model illustrated in the French book has a tank. Does your second model example have one also?

      Cheers, Adrian

  23. Adrian,
    both series havent tank. the only one without is the car model due to the two wheels. the tank is always with cut off for carburant.


    1. Thanks, Michel! I assume that you meant to say that both series HAVE tanks except for the car model?



  24. To all. Does the DS in PAW DS indicate diesel squish? Would the contra piston have a hemi profile with a squish band area?

    1. Yes, that’s just what it means. The contra piston has a squish bowl formed in its underside. However, almost all of the ones that I’ve seen have been too small in volume to do much good. I usually enlarge mine somewhat.

        1. I meant enlarge the bowl. As delivered , the bowl tends to be a bit on the small side. Keep the squish band more or less as-is. Don’t overdo it, though – you can’t have direct contact between piston crown and squish band when at running settings.

  25. Adrian,
    Re your article on Majesco engines. I am in the privileged position of being Jack Colyer’s son-in-law through my marriage to his daughter Rosanne, and am aware of much of the history regarding these short-lived engines. The MA in the name Majesco was based on the initials of my mother-in-law Miriam Annette. The move from Littlehampton to Parkstone was based purely on expediency and a desire for some family independence as the Littlehampton address was the home of Jack’s parents-in-law!

    If you need any more info please contact me.

  26. The thing I’d like to see is a glossary of engine design terms for breathing and timing an engine. The subject of modifying or rebuilding comes up often with me. This also raises the question of torque, as getting and using scale propellers is a problem with me in this hobby. Which are the torque strongest engines, preferably with ignition or RC/muffled? How does it equate to pulling power and flying?
    The few problem solutions to this I am aware of are: diesel, flat pitch, torque, reduction drives, and…………..thanks, Paul in Thailand

  27. Hello Adrian,
    I read your article on the Sharma diesels. I was impressed by the 3.2 cc model. So impressed, I bought one directly from Mister Vivek Sharma. These engines rival the PAWs in every way. Mine out performs my PAW .19. I’m quite happy with the quality of materials and machining on these.

    Jim West in Ontario

  28. Thanks for that, Jim! Yes, they are indeed one of the best-kept model diesel secrets. I’ve been a Sharma user for 20 years now, and have never found anything about which to complain. Glad you feel the same!!



  29. I just purchased an early Delmo 2.6cc diesel serial #116 that seems to have some problems. Everything I have read says the compression is adjusted by the liner moving up and down but mine is not responding to movement of the lever on top which I might add is also bent and overriding a cut down stop protrusion in the top of the cylinder similar to the Swiss Dyno. Looks like someone was having problems with the engine. Can any one comment on this engine before I dig into disassembly? Also does any one have spares as the intake hole cover and screw are missing. Possibly too there was a small spring.
    Thanks in advance, Paul

  30. Hi Adrian.
    Could not find a comment on the Frog 150R article so I dropped on to this thread.
    I have two late 150R I think produced by DC that do not have a bushing for the crank and a bolt instead of a threaded shaft. The shafts are larger diameter to take up the space of the missing bushing. These engines have a reputation of being more powerful than all the previous Frog 150Rs, we used them in a, now not flown free flight class in the UK .

  31. Dear Adrian,

    I read your Zeiss Pioneer 1 article various times and like it a lot. The detailed description helped me to understand its functionality in detail and to restore such an engine. Whenever I read an interesting engine article, I try to find a video clip online to experience the engine visually running and to hear its specific sound. As I could not find a running clip of this engine online despite looking really hard for it, I decided to contribute by filling this gap.

    Thomas Hantschel

    1. Thanks for this, Thomas! A fascinating engine indeed! I really appreciate your sharing this with us!



  32. Hi Adrian, just read your very interesting article about the composition of diesel fuel. As a boy in the late 1950’s, early 60’s in the UK I used to make my own fuel, as ready mixed was beyond my pocket money. This involved going to the local Chemist / Pharmacy to buy the constituents. I must have had an innocent face as after a few questions I would leave with bottles of ether, castor oil and amyl nitrate. Reading your piece I’m amazed I am still here to tell the tale! The engines I used included aero and marine versions of the Frog 3.5cc and the wonderful 8cc Taplin Twin 2 cylinder, which had the ability to run both ways. This resulted in the loss of several boat props. Best wishes, Peter.

    1. Thanks for the comments, Peter! Yes, those were the days! As a teenager growing up in Sheffield, I used to get all of my combustible diesel fuel ingredients just like you, over the counter at the local chemist shop. Also bought methylated spirit to fire my steam engines. I must have gone home carrying many a very incendiary load! Like you, I’m amazed that I’m still here!! I got my castor oil through my connections in the motorcycle racing world, a sport in which I participated for many years beginning at age 16.

      I also did model boats, mainly using E.D. marine engines.

      Great memories of a more innocent time, now sadly lost forever.



  33. Dear Adrian,

    I read your Zeiss Pioneer 1 article various times and like it a lot. The detailed description helped me to understand its functionality in detail and to restore such an engine. Whenever I read an interesting engine article, I try to find a video clip online to experience the engine visually running and to hear its specific sound. As I could not find a running clip of this engine online despite looking really hard for it, I decided to contribute by filling this gap.

    Thomas Hantschel

  34. The small Dyno replica. It looks like the Arnie Hende 0.6cc version. It looks to be the ABC version which wasnt very good and replacement steel cylinders were made by Pfeffer.
    Pfeffee also made complete 0.6 Dyno replicas as well, usually with anodised cylinder and prop nut.
    Enjoyed the Micro article and the test echoed my own CS version performanc

  35. Hi Adrian,
    r.e. the very unknown blue headed 2.5 diesel, the milled out interior of the exhaust
    stack, leaving a bridge in the middle, and the general surface finish of the crankcase
    and backplate are very similar to the same features on a Super Sokol 5cc. diesel
    I bought from Mike Clanford in the early ‘Eighties, so perhaps it is one of Mr. Gorski’s
    (Polish) engines?
    Do you have any experience with the Super Sokol 5 diesel? Mine was badly fitted but eventually ran well in a control liner with a 12×6 or 11×8.
    ran well on a 12×6 or 11×8. (control line).

    1. Good suggestion, Robert! Any clues of that kind are very helpful. Jim Dunkin’s 2.5 cc book does not list a Super Sokol 2.5 cc model, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that no such engine existed. A number of Gorski’s 2.5 cc models do appear, but none remotely like our mysterious stranger. Still, your suggestion certainly has merit. The other suggestion that I’ve had is that this may be the early work of Hans Drenkhahn of Germany. Let’s hope that someone can eventually nail this down!! Thanks for the comment.

      I have no experience with the 5 cc Super Sokol, but would like to gain some!! Never had the chance to acquire an example.

  36. I have just read your article on the Mills Diesels and noted the comments about there being no .75 models reported within the 45000 to 47000 numbering bracket. On checking mine I found that its number is 45985. I thought you may be interested. I have owned this engine since I purchased it second hand in the early 1960’s.

  37. Hello Mr Duncan,
    I read on the editorial that the article on the Ken 61 engine is completed, I am really happy, as I am very interesting in this engine. I bought a nice example of Ken from Tim Dannels, it is missing the needle valve. Can you help me with drawing, or some friend can get me the spare part? in the meantime I’m waiting for the article…Thank you very much, best regards
    Ernesto Pizzi, Messina, Italy

    1. Ernesto, I can certainly provide specifications for the needle of the Ken. It may take time – I’m really busy at the moment, but I’ll do what I can’

      I hope the article was of interest!



  38. Attachment

    Hi Adrian,

    Happy New Year from Brisbane! I’m posting to send a word of thanks for this site, and in particular the article about fixed compression diesel operation. I recently acquired a Drone Mk2 that, on cleaning up, turned out to be in very good condition indeed. I’ve been running diesels since I was a teenager in the early ’80s, and still have and fly the PAW 19DS that started it all for me. But, having never before seen, let alone run a fixed compression diesel, I turned to your article for advice.

    I mixed up some fuel, conservatively going for 28% SAE 30 mineral oil, 72% ether. On dropping a tiny bit in the venturi and flicking, I was promptly rewarded with a nice loud “bang!” and a puff of white smoke, then a rather more convincing burp on the 2nd flick.

    Getting an actual run was a little more challenging until I found the correct starting needle, after which it seems that it is trivially easy to get going. Once I realised a slightly lean start is the go, it became apparent that contrary to the mythology this is one of the easiest handling engines of all.

    Hopefully these video links to my Google Drive work.

    First run.
    Definitely lean (white puffs), and probably over-propped with the APC 12×6 I used for the first start.

    I switched to a MA GF3 11×6 for subsequent runs, which allowed it to rev more sensibly. Here it is making a glorious noise peaked on the 11×6.

    If anyone can point me at the plans for Bob Tucker’s “Hot Rock” I’d be grateful. This engine deserves to fly.

    Colin, Brisbane, Australia

    1. Attachment  Drone-Hot-Rock-39in-span.pdf

      I too am running Drone Diesels and love them. I have one in a Guided Whistle OTS ship. It seems that back in the day they employed ships that were to small for what the Drone is capable of pulling. The engine is 10.5 oz. and in the smaller ships the wing load is very high (sometimes near 13 oz/ftsq. This makes for a sloppy pattern. The GW is a 52 in span and come in around 11 oz/ftsq wing load. In order to get a reasonable lap time you need to run a higher pitch prop. Drone made stunt props that were 11×10, 12×8 which at 6500 rpm on 60ft lines will get around 4.9 sec lap time (~53 mph). I have used Zinger 12×8 pitched up to 9 or their 11×10.

      Fuel – I like your mix, I think you could drop the oil to about 25% to allow high pitch props as it will pull back the timing a bit and give the power stroke you need. As an alternative fuel you could use straight starter fluid (that has the ether listed as the first ingredient) add in 5-10% AMSOLE Cetane Improver with 25% SAE 25 mineral oil. This should be a mix that is easy to obtain ingredients at a reasonable cost.

      If it works I have attached the Hot Rock 38″ plan.

      Best Dennis

  39. Aloha Adrian, from the island of Hawaii. I just wanted pass along my great appreciation for this wonderful resource. As all of us collectors know, it can be difficult to find information on these little gems. I just finished reading your fascinating piece on the Soviet Kometa – what a different picture than the narrower view Warring’s article presented!
    Thanks again!
    Kind regards,

    1. Yes indeed, the Kometa is a far better engine than its reputation would suggest. Glad you found the article useful!



  40. Attachment

    Aloha again Adrian,
    Well, here I am, right back with a bit of a mystery, to these unseasoned eyes anyway. Someone just passed along this rather nicely kept little engine, which I am pretty sure is a reproduction of a 1930s era engine, but if so, which one? I have scoured every place I can find pictures of engines on the web in an effort to ID it, but alas, I’ve not found anything exactly like it. It has what looks to be a serial number, ’38’, stamped on the starboard lug. I suppose this might more properly belong in ‘Wotzit?’, but I’m not sure of exactly how to submit for that section. Any help that yourself or anyone might provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks again for such a great resource.
    Best regards,

      1. Thanks Adrian. I suppose it really could be a one-off, but being side-port, spark ignition, I’d be sort of surprised that someone would go to all the trouble of scratch designing a new but dated by design engine. I haven’t taken it apart (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), but it seems very nicely executed. Thanks for having a look.
        Kind regards,

    1. Hi Adrian and mahalo for adding it to Wotzit. Maybe someone will help us . I forgot to point out, in case anyone overlooked it, there’s a US penny in the frame for scale. Thanks again and I love your articles!
      Best regards,

  41. Aha! Thanks Dave, that gives me something to go on. I’m going do some more digging, with that lead in mind. I’ll report back.
    Best regards,

  42. No question – that’s what it is. A .19 cuin. unit made in around 1981 by John Morrill. Nice motor!!

    Thanks, Dave!!



    1. Indeed, that is exactly what it is. Thanks so much to you and David! With that information in hand, I was able to root about the web some more, and it appears to be patterned after a Lindberg Hornet .19 from around 1939, which I had never even heard of before.
      All the best to both of you and keep the good work up, Adrian. Believe me, it is appreciated!

  43. Adrian,
    The reasons we became attached to a particular engine, in some cases appearance, how it operated, value, reliability etc. One could enjoy just holding an Oliver Tiger in your hand but I fell in love with the Webra Mach 1 when I heard one running in a combat model, singing a sweet song as Brian Winch used to say.
    My Fox15 schneurle didn’t especially impress until I ran it. A sweet unit indeed. Certain designers developed their creations until they evoked such emotion. The K350 I own was a curiosity until I ran it. Then I viewed it very differently and wished I’d bought two to use, one for the display cabinet. I’ve never run a Mills but I’m sure they have that quality.
    Three british diesels were a big disappointment yet other folk loved the very same engines, I was unfortunate (when it was good it was very very good).
    Thanks for operating your site.


    1. It is indeed interesting to contemplate the reasons why certain engines become favorites. Sometimes it’s the way they run and perform in the air, sometimes it’s the way they sound and at other times it’s just the way they look and feel. In my case, another reason is often the story behind them. All are valid!

      You re quite right about the Mills engines – they have several of the qualities mentioned!

      Cheers, and thanks for writing in!

  44. When I was about 12 years old I became involved in control line flying with a group of local lads. We reckoned nothing to Mills 0.75s or anything smaller, as they just didn’t cut it as control line engines. We did once make a lightweight with an ED Baby and laughed ourselves silly as it staggered around the circuit, barely able to drag the laystrate with it. No, it had to be at the very least an ED Bee or better still a Frog 100 (Mk2?). The dad of one of the lads worked at ED (Molesey Rd I think) and when they came up with the ED Super Fury it was a revelation – with that engine you could do anything with something like a KK Gazelle (scaled down Peacemaker I think). Nothing else of similar size (and affordable) could touch it, though the PAW equivalent came close. We soon had our hands on a Rivers Silver Streak and a Silver Arrow – courtesy of ED of course, they must have bought them to see what the opposition were up to. These days it’s FF for me and I really do appreciate the qualities of the Mills engines, though I will always revere the ED Super Fury.

  45. Attachment

    What happened to Marc Linville and Technopower Engines?? He is not responding to email and no web site either. Sell business, passed on, I don’t know? Any help please? I’m rebuilding a 5 cylinder and have two others I’ll run soon. Thanks, Paul Venne in Thailand

    1. Attachment

      Glad to report that Marc has checked in with me. Not dead! His internet provider jacked up his bill to $695, or something, per month so he hit the ejection button and got back to work. All is well and thank you for your fine attention, Paul L Venne/Bangkok

    2. To answer my own question: He got a jacked up bill from his internet provider and had to switch so was out of touch for a while. I heard from him and he is chugging along and usual building and servicing and may have by now restored his site with a new source.

  46. Attachment

    Aloha Adrian!
    I just picked up a little Super Hope .29 on ebay and would like pass on my thanks for your great article on the Hope engines. When I saw the ebay listing, I, not being an expert by any stretch of the imagination, had never even heard of them before. But, I knew where to start looking and sure enough, your article was there to help! Because of the rather dark color of the metal used, it doesn’t really show that well in photos, but I chanced buying it anyway and when it arrived, I was delighted to find it in really top shape, with excellent compression. A very nicely crafted engine indeed, as so many of the Japanese engines are.
    Thanks again and keep up the good work!

  47. Attachment

    Dear Adrian,

    Some time ago I acquired a swell little Fuji .099 and later sold it to get more funds for my Fox collection; foolish move!

    In any event, its serial number doesn’t seem to fit into your index in Ron’s forum. Any thoughts on where it belonged?

  48. Attachment

    Dear Adrian,

    I just acquired a Frog 175. I really appreciate your newest article on the early Frogs, as mine wasn’t quite matching up with the earlier one in Ron’s forum. I{n any event, my frog is fitted with a spark (?) plug I’ve never seen. Can you shed any light on what it might be. The screw head like “electrode” in the cavity is insulated from the body and has an .019″ gap around it, so it could spark there.

    Also, my Frog has a standard right hand thread

    1. That’s a new one on me, Bill! I suspect that it’s a home-made item – there were quite a few of those kicking around.

      Most of the sparkers had right hand threads. It was the diesels that went left hand, for reasons which escape me!



  49. Hello Adrian
    Need your help with ed 2.46 with serial number YH L6/8
    It has a red head and spinner….i was led to believe it should be green ?
    Can you shed any light ?


  50. Attachment

    Hello Adrian

    I’m tremendously impressed with your site, I’m a lifelong (recently somewhat lapsed) aeromodeller having started with a DC Merlin as a ten year old in the late seventies.

    I’ve recently bought a NiB DC Merlin from ebay and found it to be as lacklustre as I recall my one from 40 years ago being!

    Now, back then although I’d heard all about Oliver Tigers, I could never afford one. So, again via Ebay, I’ve just bought my first, photos attached. It’s apparently a MK2 Cub.

    I’ve already bench run it on an 8×4 and MT D1000 fuel and it’s one sweet engine. Starts great and pulls like a train plus, unlike the Merlin I’ve just acquired, its compression screw doesn’t unwind all-by-itself when it’s running!

    The seller from Belgium informed me, when I asked him pre sale, that the chamfer that’s on one side of the head was hand filed by his late father to mark the engine as his – classy!

    Only on receipt of the engine did I notice that the entire cooling fin row one up from the bottom isn’t there! A quick message to the seller elicited the reply that it was a mod. requested by his late father and carried out by ‘John’ (presumably John Oliver) at the factory. He does not know the purpose of this modification.

    Do you have any idea why this fin removal work may have been performed? – I’m at a loss. I note also that the serial number on the mounting lug appears to be partially obliterated – stranger and stranger!
    I’m still happy with the engine despite paying quite a sum for it because it runs so well and shows no sign of overheating.

    All the best to you and thanks again for a wonderful site. I’ve just finished reading your glow plug piece – fantastic stuff. It explains a lot of things which I ‘half knew’. I used to fly F3A aerobatics and the best plug for my Yamada 61 with tuned pipe exhaust was always a OPS ‘Silver’. I knew they were v. cold cos they drew a current of over 5 amps!

    Anyway, if you could shed any light on the reason for my missing Tiger fins I’d be extremely grateful.



    1. My impression is that this is an original example. As you say, Woody’s replicas were all (as far as I know) numbered in a “Bxx” sequence. Moreover, I understand that only 50 or so were made. Therefore your number of 063 is beyond Woody’s sequence. I have no idea what the BC stands for – boat/car?!? If so, the engine was intended for boat or car use and would have originally had a flywheel.

      Since writing my article, I have acquired an original; Ball 60 in new unrun condition bearing the number 754. No letter prefix ……………..

      1. Thanks a lot for Your opinion, Adrian.

        According to its appearance, it really does not look like Bartlelts precise new reproduction, but it has such a patina and small bumpinesses, that it looks like an original. I will see, it has not arrived yet ….
        ( I will weight it , and afterit it will be clear …. )

        I am going to build it in a vintage plane “Spook (1940)” , I am looking forward to it …

        Have a nice day, Mirek

      2. P.S.: 754 … very, ver nice ! Congratulations !

        It looks like they stared the production ordering from the number 500 … 🙂

        The Ball is very nice and seems be practical in some restricted cases of engine placing.
        Dooling, McCoy, Baab-Fox have intake in the back, Bungay below, but it is long himself – only Ball (rom reachable engines to me now :-)) is narrow and has intake in forward.

        Baab Fox I am planning to Torpedo II – I have Baab Fox “B01” …

        Thanks a lot, Mirek

          1. I know, I have red Your article about the Baab-Fox carefully and thats the reason I fel in love with it ….! 🙂
            I like especially, how Baab and Fox were telling lies about its performance in their adds … it is so funny and touching …
            I will give it 12×6 prop, I hope It reachead 8000 and it will be enough ….

  51. Hello Adrian
    Have found your website interesting and informative – am one of the hard core keeping the art of diesel engine running from becoming a lost one here in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
    One note – you mention in your articles regarding lubrication for said diesels that medicinal grade castor oil is useless in this regard. You may be wrong there – the leaflet which PAW includes with their engines mentions “Medicinal Castor Oil”as an ingredient in their suggested fuel mixes, also I have used the medicinal “Castor Oil BP” in the fuel mixes for my own PAW 1cc and 1.5cc engines for years without apparent problems.

    1. Good to hear! My own attempts to use medicinal castor oil were a disaster, so I never went back. Perhaps I should try again! I’ve been using the 100% cold-pressed variety available from health food stores with complete satisfaction.

      There are always more complexities!



      1. Hello again Adrian
        Thanks for your reply – the medicinal “Castor Oil BP” turns out to be cheaper around here than the cold pressed health shop variety – I suspect they are adding a “healthy organic premium” to the price!
        You may be interested to know that my diesels (including a 3.2cc RC Sharma, bought after reading your review) run well with 100% biodiesel replacing the kerosene component of the fuel. The biodiesel is made locally from used cooking oil. Nice thing about using it (apart from the tiny environmental benefit!) is that there is very little exhaust odour on the engine afterward (none of that “burned diesel” smell).

        1. Not surprised that biodiesel works well – after all, it’s intended for full-sized diesels, thus having fairly similar combustion characteristics to kerosene. My problem is that I haven’t found a local source, otherwise I’d try it myself!

          Thanks for the comment! I should add that to my diesel fuel article.

          1. Thanks Adrian. Experimenting with the fuel is an interest of mine.
            In order to conserve ether (the most fiddly of the fuel components to obtain), I have found that putting in equal parts of kerosene and castor, then adding just enough ether to make them dissolve into each other, seems to work well. In colder weather, when the two components separate again, just add more ether until they redissolve. Self compensates for harder starting in cold.
            The only problem is that the method does not work for biodiesel mixtures, as biodiesel and castor do dissolve in each other without any ether. I have gone back to equal parts of everything for biodiesel-based fuel for my engines.

  52. Attachment

    Here’s another Wotzit. A Polish home-build from the 1950’s. 15.9mm bore, 11.36mm stroke giving 2.25cc swept volume. I finished fitting the piston and tidied up a few details to get it running. It does, but hollow 4mm crankpin is likely to break, so was retired after a few easy runs.

  53. Hi Adrian,
    I have a question that you may be able to help me with. I have a new CS ED 3.46 Hunter. The rotary valve is too loose for my likings but I can’t work out how the pivot is fixed into the back plate. I don’t know if it’s riveted or whether it’s a press fit and I don’t want to damage anything. Have you any experience with these things or have you ever had one apart?
    Any advice would be appreciated.

  54. Attachment

    I have had one of those engines apart, Hans, but it was quite a long time ago now. I know that I didn’t like the CS disc valve either, and I replaced it with an E.D 346 plastic disc which fitted perfectly and will be far more durable in service. I have a vague recollection that the disc valve mounting pin was pressed into the backplate, and I pressed it out after heating, using the same hole to mount the E.D. component (which has its own pin). As a precaution, I also heat-normalized the crankshaft, since CS shafts tend to be rather brittle. My engine runs superbly and has proved to be bulletproof.

  55. Thanks for that Adrian, much appreciated. At what temperature do you normalize your crankshafts please?

  56. The crankshaft normalization procedure involves putting the shaft in a cold domestic oven, heating said oven up to around 550 degrees Fahrenheit with the shaft inside, holding it there for about 2 hours and then switching it off and allowing it to cool slowly in its own time, again with the shaft remaining inside. Check with the missus before you try this one – ties up the old oven for a while!!

    The process does not guarantee the integrity of the shaft, but I have yet to have a failure of a normalized component.



  57. Hi Adrian,
    Thanks for 2.5R article, excellent.
    Bought my first Webra (at 14yo in NZ) in 1956, a 2.5R glow, later a 2.5R diesel also. Became an immediate fan. My experience slightly different in that the diesel had a squeaky tight piston whereas the glow not tight but had a perfect compression seal. The glow piston substantially lighter (thinner walled) and longer (no sub piston induction) whereas I’m sure the diesel had SPI.
    Also, thanks for high standard of photography, I save them all. Many visitors may not realize the image size although when using Firefox you can right click “View image” to see actual size.
    Cheers and thanks.

  58. Attachment

    Dear Adrian,
    I just back home after two week holiday and I think you don’t receive my mail on wotizit mail adress, so I send it again on the blog.

    When I read about the wotzit engine that it was probably a French engine, I was sure that it was a wrong way. For me the right way was Indian. When you confirm the MODELSPORT origin, I decided to do some search. It was long but I found. The engine is a KUMAH AM 25 who produce also the KUMACH K75 an Indian version of MILLS 75. I found these informations in AERO MODELLER of September 1975.
    You can read here a short story of MODELSPORT that I write.

    If you give me an anther adress, I mail to you a scan of the magazine


  59. HI Adrian,
    What would you recommend for making a main bearing for a spark ignition O&R 60 engine? Would you use phosphor bronze?

    1. A phosphor bronze bearing with a steel shaft will outlast the rest of the engine if properly fitted initially. I’d say go for it!!



      1. You may find commercial phos. bronze an absolute pig to machine. Even simply drilling a hole can prove impossible. Try to get a product called Colphos, which is a free- machining version that will give you no problem. If you must use ordinary phos. bronze try negative rake on your cutting tools, which although needing more cutting force, does make life a little easier.

  60. Hello Adrian
    Have you heard any reports about the “ED By West” diesels being offered by Weston UK?
    Appear to be a hybrid of ED parts with their West high performance glow engines. Look attractive on their website but would be interested in how they actually run.

  61. The West engines originate with Alan Greenfield’s Weston UK business. The West glow engines are based upon latter-day Webra models – when Webra was wound up, Alan bought the dies and tooling. They also offer a few models of the “original” E.D. engines – I have a couple of their air-cooled E.D. Super Hunter units which run very well. A test will be forthcoming on my website.

    The “E.D. by West” engines are diesel conversions of the earlier Webra-based glow units. I have no information on how they run, but knowing Alan Greenfield as I do I would expect them to perform pretty well.

  62. Hi Adrian,
    Not sure if this is the right place for this post, apologies if it’s not…Iv’e not used this blog before.

    I don’t know if you are still looking for the ‘Weaver’ plans but if you are then they are in the Motor Boys plan Book, Second edition.

    Hope this helps.

    Best regards.


    1. In the upcoming January 2019 issue of my main website, there’s a detailed article about Arthur Weaver and his 1 cc diesel design, complete with plans. Many thanks for the kind offer!!

  63. Hi Adrian and all. Not really a reply more of a question. I have a Merco 61 that I would like to convert to a diesel. Do you know of any relevant info on this subject, I want to make the parts myself. Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  64. Attachment

    Hello Adrian: I have a Miles 25cc Marine “Custom” Marine Engine (See attached) . . . I have some additional questions about this engine & more specifically about the “Slot Cheese Head Screws” that are apparently used in the engine heads of the Miles Marine engines. Could you please PM me so can communicate my lengthy questions? Thank you & Best Regards

  65. Hi Adrian,
    like you, I’m a fan of the Frog 349, just read your article and checked my engines. One has the Serial No. Z8462 the other which is a 349 RC has no serial number markings. Hope this helps with the history of these engines.
    Kind regards,
    Chris Bayliss

  66. Attachment

    Hello Adrian:
    I am always scouring looking for 1/2a type engines, my favorite. Recently I acquired a box of “old stuff” and a I found a grimy Fuji 049. I took it apart and cleaned it up. From pictures on the net it appears original, not sure about the glow plug, it has a white ring (porcelain?) around the stud. I did find a serial number stamped between the front webs, 369. There is perhaps a symbol or some sort of mark before the 3, I cant make it out. Any ideas what the serial indicates? Thanks.
    Frank Klenk, Ontario

    1. I’m sure that’s just a poorly-struck numerical digit, Frank. To me, it looks like a mis-struck 8, but I can’t be sure. The engine seems to be one of the radial-only sandcast models with Atwood-style tank mount, right? My example of that model bears the number 4921.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  67. I’m looking for a complete contact breaker assembly for a 1946 ORR Tornado 65 if anyone has one to sell (or donate?). Also does anyone know the size/thread pitch of the upright needle for the same engine? I’m happy to have a stab at making one but need to know the sizes so I can get the correct taps and dies.

  68. Attachment

    HI !
    I write to you about a question about K / B 15 diesel in your blog from February. Attach mail from Göran Olsson. Because the builder for the engine is Mats Böhlin, Malet is in Swedish but I think you can translate.
    Yahoo Mail

    Re: Teamracingdiesel2

    Jim Lindqvist

    ‎Aug‎ ‎19‎, ‎2014 at ‎2‎:‎21‎ ‎PM

    Jag har i min ägo en K/B 15 som är ombyggd till diesel och vad jag förstår så har den använts i tävlingar.
    Motorn är märkt 77-78.2 och är i utmärkt skick,går mycket bra.
    Undrar om du vet vem som har konverterat den och använt den i teamracing.
    Jag som frågar är en gammal modellflygare som började redan 1960 med linflyg sedan radioflyg och heatracing(hydrobåtar)
    Tacksam för svar om du vet något.

    +46 70 291 99 40

    1. Very useful information, Jim! The engine shown in your attachment is not the same as the one that I have – it has a downdraft carburettor and a plain un-anodized head. It also bears no numbers at all. However, it certainly does look as if it might have come from the same maker.

      I see your question sent to Goran, but I don’t see his response.

      Many thanks for your help!!

  69. Hello Adrian,

    Years ago when I had diesel engines I got my ether and caster at the drug store, and kerosine at the hardware store. I’m thinking of trying CL with small diesels (after many years away from the hobby) but find ether is no longer available. Where can diesel fuel (or ether) be obtained here in B.C., Canada?

    My research on current production engines shows a very limited field: PAW, Sharma, and MP Jett. Do you know of any other current production diesels?

    Thanks for any help.


    PS: I posted essentially these same questions at the wrong place on your blog, so I’m posting again here instead.

  70. Adrian,
    I have been drawn to my Drone Diesel and other PAW diesel that I own. I have read your articles on running the Drone Diesel and others. I think you have done great work. I saw one video showing the Drone run as a fixed compressing configuration and then run with a VC head but on commercial diesel fuel. I was wondering if you ever ran the VC Drone on Drone fuel and optimized the compression to see how it would perform, that would be an interesting test. Here in FL there is not much commercial diesel fuel available here, but we can get Starter Fluid. For the Drone John Deer with mineral oil will do the trick but it is expensive. For sport flying I was thinking we could use any starter fluid that has ether listed as the first ingredient which would mean it would be at least 50% or more, and simply mix in 25% SAE 25 mineral oil (to calm down the ether, castor just doesn’t seem to work well with straight ether). What I was wondering is if you could try this mix and do a comparison video between commercial kero based diesel and the simple mix to see what if any was the difference. It would be interesting to note the smell of the exhausted residue (stuff that gets on the ship and clothes). Please consider doing these tests and reporting on your results, keep up the good work.

    Best, Dennis Toth

    1. Attachment

      I’m still working on getting the Drone Diesel and some PAW’s running on a simple fuel that I can mix here in FL. I reread the Drone operating article and notice that one of the fuels tried was a starting fluid with mineral oil that had 60% + ether in the fixed compression Drone and it worked fine. I am still curious if running the Drone style fuel in a Drone with the VC head could be optimized and would match the rpm of the conventional kero based diesel fuel?

      What are you thoughts?

      Best, Dennis Toth

      1. It should make no difference at all running the VC head. Shulman designed the engine and the fuel for easy accessibility but the fixed compression head turned out to be a bit to variable in manufacturing tolerance. The variable head solved this issue by simply allowing the compression ratio to be adjusted to the original fixed design. I would run it with confidence in the recommended fuel mix.

  71. Hi Adrian

    My name is Ken Taylor from New Zealand. I would like to correspond with you via email please over some engine matters. I’m assuming that you can pick up my email from this posting?

    This is not a scam/spam or whatever, I’m wishing to seek your advice offline before picking up on a public thread.

    Best regards

    1. Ken, I have tried emailing you directly, but the address that your posting gives me comes back as “undeliverable – permanent error”. Perhaps try a different email address?!?



  72. Attachment

    Hi, I have just acquired a frog 150 marine diesel engine and cannot find any info. Ernie Stamp

  73. Adrian – Reading your excellent article on getting old sparkies to run (the best article I’ve ever seen, thank you), I intend to try using a 6V motorcycle coil for the test-rig and save my Modelectric coils for flying.
    My Modelectric coils meausre 0.5 Ohm across the primaries and 4.96 KOhm primaries to HT.
    The brand new 6V motorcycle coil measures 1.6 Ohm across the primaries and 10.3 KOhm primaries to HT.
    If I’m going using a 3.6V battery with the 6V coil, do I need to add a resistor in series in the primary connections to the coil? If yes can you suggest a value and type please?
    Or should I just try it ? – but I don’t want to blow anything up!
    Malcolm Davis – UK

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Malcolm! That article seems to have been welcomed by a lot of our fellow enthusiasts – I’ve had quite a few positive comments like yours!

      I assume that you’re using a transistorized ignition system like that which I described. If not, you should be!! Assuming that you are using such a system, you shouldn’t need to add a resistor to the primary circuit. Such a resistor would simply reduce the current to the coil’s primary, which will already be down a bit anyway because of the higher primary resistance of your motorcycle coil. The coil can handle 6 volts, but should still work OK with 3.6 volts. The trigger circuit should still have the 20-22 ohm resistor because the battery voltage is unchanged with your set-up, hence the points are unaffected by the coil switch.

      I think you should set up this coil with your 3.6 volt battery pack along with a plug and run the very simple coil test suggested in my article. I suspect that the test plug will spark just fine! If it does, your system will work. There’s no way that you’ll blow anything up since you’re using a lower voltage than the coil can handle and the voltage that you’re using is completely consistent with the transistor requirements.

      Please let us know how you get on!

      All the best,


  74. Adrian
    Thanks for your prompt answer – all very interesting and I’m getting ready to fire-up this weekend and will let you know.
    Yes I am using a Larry SSIGNCO solid state unit.
    And I should have realised that adding resistance is not what is required due to my lower battery voltage.
    BUT, my Larry SSIGNCO instruction sheet connection diagram does not show nor mention the 20-22ohm resistor in the trigger circuit, just his green wire to points and longer black wire to crankcase – is the resistor, if required, not built into his circuit board already?

    1. Yes, it’s built in. Your system should work fine using Larry’s very clear wiring diagram

      Good luck, and please keep us posted! Maybe others will have a go ……..



      1. Attachment

        Courtesy of the help your article has given me, the coils test rig is done and working.
        That’s my first step. Now to build the packaged ignition box, I have all the parts, even got a push-pull switch as you suggest – quite a hunt for that but I finally found a 12V 6A one at a Boat Chandlers.
        Using either the Modelectric or the 6V Motorcycle coil and either the 3-cell Nicd pack or the 1-cell LiFe pack (see picture) I get a spark at the plugs. In fact I got so carried away with it I tested all my plugs!
        I also get an even bigger spark than the plug from withdrawing the negative wire from the plug body. Both that and the plug spark together.
        Very pleased with progress.
        I have a Mecoa large engine test stand I bought in the US. The test stands you can buy in the UK do not have sufficient space for the width and depth of most sparkie 60s – I can even get my largest sparkie, a Forster 99, in it (just). Easier than making lots of different plywood mounts.
        I’l keep you posted as things go forward from here and my thanks again.
        Regards from the UK

  75. Attachment

    I’m just sending a larger file size of that picture as it appears rather small on your site.

    1. Attachment

      Test stand all ready to go.
      But I’ve run into a small problem with my O&R60SP engines. I put a test lamp on the timer to verify points open/close and to get a feel for timing positions.
      On rotating crankshaft, the light did not come on, i.e. points did not close. Inspection reveals that due to a couple of mm of “end float” in the crankshaft causing it to move rearwards, the “dwell” area on the crankshaft is only 60% exposed to the moving point cam lever, which consequently does not drop into the “dwell” recess as intended. The crankshaft seems to naturally want to be in the “rearwards” position, but may be held forward and thus OK once running due to being pulled forward by the prop. But getting it started is the problem. Three of my SP60s display this.
      Or am I doing something wrong?

      1. Attachment

        Sorry I had that the wrong way round!
        The light did not go OFF because of the problem I describe, the points don’t OPEN.
        Still a problem though.
        I’ve attached another pic of the crankshaft held forwards, which is how it needs to – be but without the clamp!

        1. Actually, I’m a bit in the dark here! With a typical O&R timer, when the cam follower is riding on the shaft on either side of the cam depression (as you claim yours is), the points should be open – they only close under spring tension when the follower drops into the cam depression. So I’m having trouble understanding your difficulty. I’m not an expert on O&R engines, but those that I have seen have shafts that are prevented from moving back too far by the rear of the prop driver contacting the front of the main bearing bushing ahead of the cam follower aperture. I gather that yours doesn’t do this?!? Would a shim behind the prop driver help?

          Please keep us posted!


  76. Hi Adrian, your website is really great!
    I have used and collected model engines off and on for 65 years, and have a particular interest in Diesel engines. Recently, while looking for something in my garage, I found an old, 1-qt can of commercial Diesel fuel that I had long forgotten about – I bought it at least 30 years ago. I am unable to open the can because its screwcap, which is like that of a prescription bottle, i.e., push-down-to-turn, is firmly stuck. I don’t know if there’s any ether left in the can, but what concerns me is that as ether evaporates and ages it forms peroxides that are potentially explosive (do commercial Diesel fuels have additives that inhibit peroxide formation?). I need to somehow dispose of the fuel, but what is the best way to do it?

    1. Good question, Adam! I understand that the tendency of ether to form peroxides is greatly reduced by solution with kerosene and oil, but your concern remains legitimate. Don’t you have a HazMat office in your area?? I’d suggest contacting them for advice.

      Otherwise, anyone else have any ideas??



  77. Thanks, Adrian. I am glad to learn that the kerosene and oil greatly reduce the formation of peroxides. I will contact the local hazardous waste office.

  78. Hi Adrian, here is another question that perhaps you or someone out there might be able to answer. Back in the late ‘40s and early ’50s, when I was very young, my family and I lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a few years. That is where my interest in model airplanes and model engines developed. The hobby shop near where we lived downtown had many of the American and European engines of the day, and I used to drool over them every time I went there to buy a model airplane kit or accessory (the engines were way too expensive for me, and even my parents balked at their cost). One of the engines I used to see in the store was an Argentinian-made Diesel. As I recall, it was relatively large, around 3.5 to 5 cc, and had dark gray or black cylinder fins. The contra-piston screw’s handle was single-lobed. The general shape of the engine resembled that of a Super Cyclone or Anderson Spitfire. For a long time, I’ve been trying to find out who manufactured it and what the name of the engine was. My online searches haven’t turned up anything. I would very much like to find some information on this engine (and, hopefully, find one that I could purchase). I would be very grateful for any leads

    Best regards,


  79. No idea, Adam – I’m not aware of any model engines that were made in Argentina (which is not to say that there were no such engines). Are you certain that the engines were made there? A few engines were made in neighboring Brazil ………

    Anyone else know anything about this?!?



    1. Thanks, Adrian; I believe that the engine was made in Argentina because I recall it having the words “Industria Argentina” on the crankcase. However, it’s conceivable that it might have been made in Brazil and that my recollection is inaccurate (we left Argentina 65 years ago but I still remember the engine clearly because it made a big impression on me). What engines were made in Brazil in the early ’50s?

      Best regards,


  80. Hello Adrian,
    How does one contact you directly? I was trying to make a submission to the “wotisit” page but the server kicks back my submission with a “Diagnostic-Code: x-unix; Mail quota exceeded” error. This occurs regardless of the size of the email. There’s no other point of contact that I can locate on your site, unless I’m ‘blind’. Cheers, Steve

    1. You just did!! I’m pretty frugal with my personal email – I can’t risk an email flood. So this blog site is a very good vehicle.

      I’ll have to see why the wotizit link isn’t working …………



        1. No idea why the wotizit webmail isn’t working, but I’m trying to find out. Meanwhile, please communicate through this blog site, as you have been doing!



  81. Hi Adrian,

    After considerable more searching on the Web, I finally found a clue about what the made-in-Argentina engine that I recall might have been. It turns out that the first model engine made in that country appeared at the end of 1952. It was a 0.6 cc diesel, called the Max 1, which resembled the engine that I remember, except for being smaller. I found the information in the following article:–1952.jpg), which appeared in a sports magazine, “Revista Mundo Deportivo.” I assume that the engine I remember was a larger version of this one, and was likely made by the same company (which, unfortunately, was not identified in the article). Is it possible that I’m remembering the small engine as having been much larger? It is conceivable, given that I left Argentina 65 years ago; however, I distinctly recall that it was quite a bit larger than the 1/2A OK Cub and Cox engines.

    For full disclosure, I found the above article in a website devoted to free flight models, “Volar Libremente” (, and more to the point, on its page on engines ( As we can see on the latter, glow engines were later also manufactured in Argentina.

    Best regards,


    1. Thanks for this, Adam – most interesting! I had not previously realized that model engines were made in Argentina. There’s always more to be learned!



  82. Attachment

    Hello, I am in need of a needle valve for a Ueda .15 Cougar RC engine. Can you inform me of a source for spare parts? Or perhaps another engine make needle valve that would fit?
    Thank you!

    1. Don’t have one to offer, but an Enya assembly works fine and looks pretty close to the original.

      Good luck!!



  83. Hello can anyone tell me what product that I might be able to buy has ignition improver off the shelf here in Australia.

    1. In Canada we use Amsoil Cetane Boost additive. It’s sold through Amsoil dealers for use with full size road diesel fuels. It’s basically ethyl hexyl nitrate (EHN) which works well as an ignition improver. Don’t know if you can get it in Oz, but there must be something similar.

      Good luck!!



  84. Attachment

    New thread here. It looks as if the OS Engines Manufacturing Timeline is no longer being posted. Anyone have any insiders information on this? I collect some of these rare engines and now am going to have trouble classifying them. Thanks in advance, Paul Venne

    1. O.S did a printed version of those pages in the 1970’s. I think I have a copy somewhere. I’ll dig it out and put a scan up on the main website under “Publications”.



      1. Hi Adrian,
        Thought you might appreciate some new info to up-date one your past web-site entries on New Zealand’s ‘KATIPO’ engine listing. The info concerns more background to Maurice H. Jensen’s engine interests. He also was an inventor of his own type of Rotary engine for which he was granted New Zealand patent # 162969, 29th May, 1972, details at these links:-

        file:///C:/Users/she_public_p0 9/Downloads/162969%20-%20Compl ete%20Specifications.pdf

        file:///C:/Users/she_public_p0 9/Downloads/162969%20-%20Provi sional%20Specifications.pdf

        Hope this proves of use!

        Cheers, Kind regards, Andre ROUSSEAU.
        (Auckland, NEW ZEALAND)

      1. Adrian

        I could add some minor detail to your appraisal of the Wilsco .79
        Olde Worlde air mail would be most convenient if you would be
        interested in notifying PO box or street address.

        Allan J O

  85. Hello Adrian,

    Just found your website (June 2019). Great site! I will definitely make it a regular stop.

    One thing I must mention only in the interest of accuracy. Miles Patience’ Brown Junior serial number A4 is a reproduction, not an original. While the crankcase is indeed sand cast, there are many of these around. The most telling features however are found on the cylinder which appears to be a modified 1934 or newer item. Specifics are the wrenching holes at the top of the cylinder (not present on Bill’s 1931 engines), thick cooling fins (A model fins are much thinner), intake tube much too long, bottom flange where cylinder mates with crankcase too thick, intake attachment to cylinder and bypass are later model style. Also the A models featured a thin compression ring on the piston and a thick (1/8 inch) wiper ring below. This doesn’t show in your photos but I’m betting the engine has two thin rings.

    Again, this is said only in the interest of accuracy.

    Thanks for listening.


    1. Thanks, Rich! I understand that you and Miles are currently in a debate regarding this matter. All I can say is that the engine looked original to me, especially given the lapped piston. True, the cylinder and intake tubes look like they may be later replacements, but overall the engine has a patina that would be very hard to fake.

      Anyway, please let us know how this works out!



  86. I am restoring two Wensen .36 ignition engines I picked up off Ebay. I noticed they are very strongly built and have strong compression too. It’s made me wonder if I could clean up the porting some how and get even more performance out of them, glo or ignition? Thanks, Paul in Thailand.

  87. Adrian,
    I am getting a couple sets of piston/cylinders made up for my older Fox 35 for OTS stunt and was wondering if you or anyone out there might recommend some modern material combinations? Fox used I believe mild steel for the liner and meehinate cast iron for the pistons. Since this is going to be a complete set (not using old parts) I thought there might be better metal combination. Please let me know what you think.

    Best, Dennis Toth

  88. Comment of general interest here about Ardens particularly the .199. The diameter of the jet fitting orifice in the gas tank is unbelieveably small. Anyone had experience running this engine or unclogging such a tiny orifice? My smallest hobby drill is way too big and so would a pin or needle be too. Thanks in advance, Paul

  89. Attachment

    I have acquired a nicely built but unfinished Westbury Kestral. The timer is incomplete missing both moving and fixed breaker points. Could someone send me a picture of a completed timer or better yet tell me where I might find drawings.



  90. Attachment

    Hi, Here is a sparky I picked up a few years ago, I believe it’s British but haven’t been able to get a positive ID on it. It’s beautifully made except for the bypass cover which is hand whittled, functional but ugly and maybe had a name on the original. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Not one that I know, Randy. Might be a home-made one-off – there are quite a few of those about. Can anyone else help??



    2. It’s a Jenco Whirlwind 6cc postwar England. The original bypass cover looks like a stamped item and says WHIRLWIND in an arch with 6 in the center of it. Mine also has a spinner nut and a dark plastic gas tank. Nice motor. Paul

      1. Fabulous!!! Thank you so much. I searched the Jenco name a number of times but came up empty. One more of my whatzits IDed!!!

        1. As for the rarity of the Jenco, aren’t most of the English ignition engines of much lower production numbers than similar American engines? I think so. I have only seen two or three on Ebay in years and at least one of them was stripped of many parts. My example has no serial number. Only a few hundred made?? Hope this helps. Paul

          1. Hi Paul. Certainly I would think production numbers were lower, but relatively I’m not sure what that means. My Whirlwind also has no number. The strange thing is I can find very limited references (not information) to this engine in many searches. Being an American collector of course my knowledge of British engines is very limited, I bought this one because it was a curiosity (to me) and for a very good price considering its probable rarity. Thanks for your input, its certainly more than I had.

  91. Good morning
    After reading your thread in the Taipan 40, I thought you may be interested in a NOS Taipan 40 motor I have that is surplus to my needs, complete with Exhaust and fitting kit , with both original boxes, new never started, asking $450 AUD

  92. Hi Adrian
    I read your article on the Taipan 40 motor, I just happen to have a Taipan 40 Motor brand new in box with the exhaust and fitting kit also in its own box, both never used, I am looking for around $450 AUD for the complete motor, I tried to upload images but I couldn’t reduce them enough

  93. Attachment

    Hi Adrian,
    I wonder if you could assist with identifying this Mills replica and also confirming that it has a broken shaft : I believe it may be a Zeus /Doonside copy ?
    Is it possible to obtain a replacement or shaft repair ?
    Many Thanks

    1. That certainly seems to be a Zeus replica. No idea where you might find a spare shaft – the present one is certainly broken!

      Good luck!


  94. Here is the states we have a great resource in Tim Dannels with the Engine Collectors Journal and Engine Encyclopedias. Is there and British or European equivalent I might be able to buy? I have several British engines I have been able to ID on various collectors site and Social Media groups but it sure would be great to have a handy reference book to turn to.

    Thanks, Randy

  95. Adrian, I have just read your article on the Speed Demon, excellent! I have acquired one, serial number 1199 in very good condition but missing the entire NVA, This engine has the horizontal NV. I wonder if you or maybe another reader could get me sketches or pictures and some some major dimensions that would allow me to make a new one. I’d sure would appreciate it.



  96. Hello, you do a wonderful job! If you want, i can sent you a copy of one of the last leaflet from Prosper Allouchery(66 vintage) and all his production at the end of the adventure. there is not the strange rear-valve engine.. Pierre

    1. Didn’t miss it. Randy – just overwhelmed by the current rate of communications! I simply haven’t had time to draw up a Speed demon nva – I was hoping that some other reader would come through for you.

      I’ll try to get around to it, but no guarantees ……………



      1. Thanks, I don’t need drawings, a clear shot with an approximate length and diameter of the largest feature, I can scale from there.


      1. I agree – it’s a diezelised Hurricane. Not a factory effort, at least as a production item. But I suppose it could be a factory prototype, although I see it as more likely being an owner modification.

        Thanks for sharing!!

  97. Attachment

    I can’t find the link to submit Wotzits. I have what appears to be a wartime sandcast 10cc from Japan serial #109 with an unusual spark plug too. Help please? Thanks, Paul Venne

    1. I really don’t know what it is but more pictures may be helpful. OS jumps out but as far as I know all their engines had OS predominantly displayed on the case or bypass. It has a sort of Avion Mercury/Forster 99 look to it except for the fixed points and displacement.


      1. Attachment

        It’s not OS as it doesn’t match any on the OS time line. The diecast intake says KE-17A and the oil filler cap says YASURUMI and OIL CUP. Post war using English?? The spark plug has a star with a trangle and a dot in the middle. Never seen before. Serial is #109 on the lug. Hopefully someone will know something.

  98. Actually it’s a dieselized Merlin. After I posted this I remembered they the Hurricane is a front rotary valve engine. So with a little digging I found the Merlin which is a sideport. This is interesting and if the seller ever drops the price to something reasonable I buy it out of pure curiosity. I agree, it is most likely a personal project rather that a commercial prototype.

    1. Paul, as site administrator, I’m the only one who can post a Wotizit. You need to post some images here plus any descriptive material, after which I can set up a Wotizit entry on the main site.



  99. Hi Adrian
    I was given a Hornet 60 A model I think,its in rough condition so I have stripped it to clean it up, I have read your article on the hornet,it has a Serial No 11663, it came with a washer used as the prop driver,but has no square drive on the crank or flat,the shaft is round and has been made that way,the only way I can see would be to make a collet and tapered prop driver any ideas on what would have been used?
    Paul Allen

    1. My aero Hornets all have a McCoy 60 type bobbin driver mounted on a split collet. Easy enough to make.



      1. Attachment

        Thanks Adrain, I re read your article and found one line that explained about the collet and prop driver,do not know how I missed it the first time.Anyway I made one,Yhanks.

  100. My Eta 5 is matt grey and has serial number 6 47 85. I hope this information will be of some interest as it seems to be a fairly early example.
    Stewart Mclaren

    1. Thanks, Stewart! I’ll keep this on file for whenever I get around to doing an updated article on the ETA 5.



  101. Attachment

    Aloha Adrian!
    First off thanks for such a great resource and all the work you put into it. I always enjoy reading the stories behind the engines and the people who made them.
    I read with great interest, your article about Ken Wade’s ‘Kencraft’ engines with the little supercharger fans. Really cute, even if only marginally effective. I also found it interesting that Kencraft had alsodabbled around with a 10cc, fixed compression diesel. I’d imagine that could bite when starting! Lo and behold, I recently came across a beautiful example of a Ken diesel. The seller claims it’s not a reproduction. From what you said about diesel Kens,, it sounds like they’re aren’t exactly common, so I thought I’d share a picture of it with you. The serial #, stamped where it should be, is #2000, so in keeping with your information, it would be from the time frame you mention for the diesels – late in the production life cycle of these engines.
    Cheers from Hawaii,

  102. Attachment

    Aloha Adrian!
    I’m not sure you got my post here about procuring a Ken diesel. I posted here about a week ago, but nothing showed up here, so I thought I’d try again, in case I goofed up.
    From what you were saying in your great article about the Ken engines, the diesels might have been variable in detail since they may not have gone into production. Thus, I thought this specimen I just acquired via ebay might be of interest. It is certainly a nicely made engine.

    1. I got it OK, Alistair – just been impossibly busy lately! Apart from the ongoing engine effort, I’m currently cast in a pantomime which is in the middle of its run. I should be triplets!!

      Many thanks for the Ken info, regarding which I will see if I can insert a comment. Apologies for the tardy response – please stay in touch!



      1. Hi Adrian!
        No problem. I just wasn’t sure if I might have goofed up on the original post. Have fun with the show and we’ll look forward to hearing from you when you get a chance.

  103. Hi Adrian.
    Following up on your excellent articles on the Reeves spark ignition engines. I currently own a Mk2, having recently passed on a Mk1 to a friend. My engine is identical to that shown in the majority of your photos, but for the needle valve assembly. It does not have a split thimble, but does maintain the 4BA thread in both sides of the crankcase casting. The spraybar is in two parts that screw in from each side and butt up together (perfectly) to one side of the drilled holes (locked on either side by a 4BA nut). The needle has an external 4BA thread. Its an arrangement that works perfectly well and seems fit for purpose. Any idea if this is an alternate original or just an exquisitely made replacement item?

  104. Adrian
    Two more ETA5 serial numbers for you.
    124877 Gildings recent auction. It looks like matt finish.
    14717 Shiny case. I am negotiating the purchase of this one. I will keep you posted on the outcome. Wish me luck!

  105. Attachment

    I wonder if you are aware of the excellent work done by Peter Burford, Gordons son. He worked with his father for decades and has an intimate and personal history with building many of the engines we know and love here in Oz. He has designed, built and still sells a beautiful little jewel of an engine. Very much a Burford engine indeed…

    1. Thanks for this, Richard! Looks superb!! I’ll contact Peter to get the current status from him, and will then include the engine in my next Editorial on the main website.



  106. Attachment

    In the way of general discussion, Adrian’s mention of Japanese kadets being required to build model airplanes for the war effort raises a seemingly greatly unknown aspect of prewar and post war modelling in Japan. What were the designs that they were building and how can we get plans??? I’d absolutely love to frame up something special for one of the Japanese ignition and glow oldies in my collection. Also too is there any indication that American kits were imported to Japan before the war and soon after? Maxwell Basset’s Cardinal for example was a fine and famous prewar American kit that might have made it overseas. Thanks again, Paul

  107. Adrian,

    Your article in the current issue of Free Flight Quarterly on Fuji engines is superb. I would like to discuss the possibility of your doing an article for the 2020 National Free Flight Symposium.

    Please think it over let me know.

    Kit Bays, Editor
    2020 NFFS Symposium

  108. Over the years I have collected a large number of ignition engines. Recently I worked my way through them to check the condition and found I had an original Atom 09 in need of some work. Some surface corrosion called for a good clean-up (I used an old toothbrush) and a good coating of petroleum jelly (some of the Ardens got the same treatment at the same time). The Atom needs a tank and a timer, otherwise it all seems to be there. It may have been used as a glow motor at some time. Perhaps at one time I was going to fix it up, but that seems unlikely now. Anyone wanting a nice project please let me know.

  109. Doonside engines. The two Mills variants made in Australia have a justifiably good reputation having been made with the collaboration of Gordon Burford and Ivor F. Less so for the later engines made in Russia by Zeus for Ivor F. I bought both the Mills and Elfin from him back in the 90s (probably), but had never run them until now. Both are ABC type and therefore, according to reputation, less desirable than the iron / steel lapped engines. Time to find out, I thought. The Elfin is numbered Z 083 and came with a note in green ink saying that it had been hand started on a 7×4 by Ivor F (on the reverse a little message about his service at the end of WW2 – others have reported similar). The Mills is numbered Z 024 and came just with a piece of paper with the engine number in green, but no record of hand starting. Therefore I felt a little more confident about the Elfin than the Mills, despite the poorer reputation of the former. The both need loosening up by warming prior to starting and some further lubrication. I resolved to fit a small prop and run them both fast, just a trace on the rich side. The Elfin is a stormer, it started after very few flicks and ran very strongly indeed on a 7×4 with almost no adjustment. The Mills was a little more reluctant and needed frequent adjustment to needle and comp screw, however after a few runs it proved to be another easy starting sound runner. My conclusion is that the Elfin is a well set-up engine, Ivor F knew it and included the note on hand starting. The Mills he had some slight doubt about, so didn’t include the note (or did he just have too many to test?), but has proven to be good. We know that some engines were returned to Zeus as unsatisfactory, and they may have found their way onto the market by another route. Presumably all the engines were stamped with a Z by the manufacturer, but only those engines believed satisfactory by Ivor F and also sold by him, are also numbered, and the “bankers” have the note on hand starting.

  110. On a completely different subject, I decided it was time to run my Westbury Kestrel. Had it for years, but never run it. A quick inspection inside and its immaculate, especially the tank, never seen fuel probably. Everything looks present and correct, a very well made engine inside and out. Feels like plenty of compression too. There was a wood 12″ prop up front, so I removed that and then I hit the problem – the size of the prop driver, and hence diameter of the hole in the prop hub is mad, 3/8″ at least! There is no way I am going to run the thing with a prop weakened like that. A quick look at the drawings and all is as drawn by ETW. The front of the crankshaft is a plain 1/4″ cylinder and the combined prop driver and timing cam is a tapered split collet. The darn thing is damn difficult to remove as well, though I managed it by carefully trapping the crank at the web end whilst turning the front anticlockwise. I could easily turn some material off the hub as its a bit thicker than it needs to be, but its not going to make a huge difference, maybe a mm or two at most. I think its going to need a whole new but smaller prop driver / cam making. Maybe there is a smarter solution. Has anyone been here before and done this?

  111. Forgot to say, the actual diameter of the prop driver / cam, and therefore the hole required in the prop hub is 0.5″. As I said, mad.

  112. Attachment

    Hi Adrian,

    Read with interest the article on HGK engines. I have a .40 and 2 of the 2.5 engines. I noticed that you mentioned the 2.5 “R” and “N” models but mine are the “B” as in attached picture. Any info on whether they are different or not?

    1. From your image, Max, it looks pretty much identical to the N model. Without actually seeing it, it’s hard to comment. Perhaps it’s a boat model?? The port timing might be the key – is it timed for a tuned pipe??




  113. The diameter of the Westbury Kestrel prop driver hub turned out to be a huge 5/8″, despite the drawings showing it as 1/2″. I made a new one by turning down the cone slightly and making a new prop driver hub as small as I could. It came out as 1/2″ as per the drawing. Whilst assembling, the screwed in crank / con rod bearing unscrewed, so will refit using Loctite. The hole required in the prop is still enormous, but better than before. Will need to find a wooden prop with a large hub.

    1. I had a similar problem with a Ten-Sixty-Six Hawk (another Westbury-inspired design). I managed to get it down to 0.470 in., which was absolutely as small as I could make it. Still excessive – I had to bore out a 12×8 Top Flite wood prop to suit.

      You have to remember that Westbury was all about cars and boats as opposed to aircraft. So hub sizes were not a big issue for him.



  114. Very true, though he had model aircraft particularly in mind when he designed this one, that is according to his own description of it. However, I guess in 1938 it would have been usual to make your own prop, in which case you could make the hub as large as you liked to suit. Plus, the safety issue was perhaps less prominent than it is now.
    Reassembling the thing has been a trial – getting the collet to grip on the crankshaft without slipping around is crucial as the cam is integral with it. The answer was initial assembly without the prop, but with just the right number of washers to compress sufficiently to get some grip.

    1. Yes, that collet with the cam incorporated is a very strange design! The Hawk uses the same component, and I had the same problems as you!!

  115. Several of the 1066 engines used the same set-up, providing further evidence that they followed Westbury. Fortunately, others like Hallam did not, though they had their own quirks of a different kind!

  116. My first attempt at running it. 13″ prop and 3:1 unleaded / oil fuel. Instantly fired and a few short bursts, but not much more than a 5 second run. It has to be very carefully set up on the bench because the cam action is tiny. Also the timer is so close to the prop that it is exceedingly easy to give it a whack when flick starting, knocking it completely out of kilter. I think it needs more advance, so will need to reset the cam as the designed movement is so restricted and it only seems to function correctly in the middle of the range. Clearly a flawed design, but it has to be better than this, so will persevere until I can run out a tank full.

  117. It runs continuously now. I had to widen the flat on the cam to increase the points movement and dwell. Also cleared a partial blockage of the spraybar and reoriented its position in the venturi. Fuel setting is extremely sensitive. 1 3/4 turns to start, plus a prime via the venturi. As it warmed up and fuel level lowers (integral tank) open needle a further 1/4 turn, and again, and again – Westbury alludes to this in his text on the construction. Very little movement possible on the timer to advance ignition without it stopping. Revs obtained were as follows:
    Precedent Smart prop (beech) 13″ x 8″ – 2,300rpm
    Airflow prop (beech) 12″ x 5″ – 3,300rpm
    I wasn’t prepared to go smaller than this on prop size owing to size of the hole needed in the prop hub.
    Westbury recommends a fuel blend with far less oil than I used, and this might give a few more revs.
    Engine weight including integral tank (all alloy) is 334g or 11 5/8 oz.
    It might just about fly a model with modern lightweight ignition gear.

  118. The 1066 Hawk dates to ’46 or thereabouts, so should be better than the ’38 Westbury Kestrel, but it will be interesting to compare. Next up for me is my Westbury Zephyr, this is a superb repro made by my pal John Maddaford, alas no longer with us. I think its the only one he made, which is no wonder considering the errors on the drawings, which he overcame (unfortunately I’ve forgotten the details).

  119. Funding
    Hi Duncan, thanks for keeping up the good work. It seems to me that many of us readers, both casual and regular would be happy to donate occasional small sums to ensure it keeps going whilst allowing you to keep eating! How about a funding page linked to PayPal so that the faithful can make their offerings?
    Chris Ottewell (aka Tail End Charlie)

  120. Whatever corrective action that JM took, it was successful. This particular engine was shown on the cover of MEW Apr ’99. Looks are almost identical with the incorrectly labelled “Zephur” shown in Clanford’s, which also gives the date 1939, when I believe it should be 1946. Once again the hole required in the prop hub is rather large, limiting the size of prop that I was prepared to fit.
    This engine prefers to be retarded and rather wet to start.
    Graupner Super Nylon 9 x 4 gave 7,500rpm.
    Enough to fly a 4 foot span model I think. Engine weight is 166g (no tank).
    Am tempted to run a Hallam Nipper next.

  121. What do you do with an engine that fires, but won’t run? I’ve altered the ignition timing and the needle valve all over the place and no joy. Fires on every flick, sometimes for 3 or 4 cycles, but that is all. This Hallam Nipper had no tank, so at first I used a C/L tank and a length of tubing, but no joy so, made a pendant tank and fitted that, but it made no difference. Removed the head and found lots of Hylomar, removed that and replaced with a better sealant. More comp, but still no joy. Piston is the right way round – it has a step on the transfer port side, though opening period seems quite short. Can’t remove the backplate, because there isn’t one, it has a split crankcase and I’m trying to avoid dismantling that as sealing again must be an issue. Will try again tomorrow, weather permitting.

    1. I had the same issue trying to run my Ten-Sixty -Six Hawk – it fires readily, but won’t keep going. Still investigating ………I had far better luck with my Majesco 45 and Atlas 3 cc units, both of which ran beautifully.

      Stay with it!!

  122. The Hallam Nipper runs, but is very sensitive to the needle valve adjustment and difficult to keep running – slightly improved by making a tight fitting washer around the needle which is a bit of a loose fit and only one half turn open. The timer is an excellent design in most respects, but the lever, which rotates to lock is much too close for comfort to the prop and the exhaust. Only a small advance was possible without it cutting out. I don’t think this engine has run much, if any, before now. I got the following results:
    Graupner Super Nylon 12 x 5 gave 3,900rpm
    Graupner Super Nylon 10 x 4 gave 3,900rpm
    Bit of a one speed engine then, however the venturi diameter seems too small at 4mm throughout and might be limiting it. Anybody know what it should be?

  123. I have a Majesco 45 in a Junior 60, which has flown FF many times. Its a strong running engine, with far more power than most other Brit engines from the same era. The main weaknesses are the very feeble mounting lugs (mine is mounted on a thin Paxolin plate which will break first hopefully), and the intake casting which can shear at the base of the thread. To fix the latter, I bored it out and epoxied in place a reinforcing tube (can’t remember if it was Ally or Brass) of the same internal diameter.

    1. I’ve just added the results of my Majesco testing to my existing article on the Majesco range. Check it out. As you say, it’s a really strong runner by comparison with most of the other contemporary British products! But I also agree completely regarding its weaknesses.

  124. Mills 0.75 diesel. I recently acquired my third example of the first series and on close inspection notice small differences between all of them. By chance the serial numbers are well spaced indicating early, mid and late production. Despite reading the various references, which are excellent for the later P75 and S75 models, information on the first series remains meagre, and I can find no reliable definitive specification. Mine differ slightly in style of prop driver (therefore crank), tank top (therefore tank) and carb. Some of these may well have been swopped for later parts which were more available as spares, but is this necessarily true in every case? It seems to me very likely that as the day for the launch of the revised model (P75 and S75) approached, some of the later first series could have been assembled and sold as new with parts intended for the revised model. Some other slight differences, in the shape of the carb for example, might just have been typical variables in a hand made product. I guess we will never know.
    Of all the Mills 75 engines the first series is probably the nicest and most flexible, remaining very easy to start and with no significant weight penalty over the later engines.

  125. Good morning, I am interested in the Boddo mills twin from the Late Paul Rossiters collection. Please could you put me in touch with his family.

  126. Attachment

    Here’s one I picked up and have no clue about its origins. Looks to be a 2.5. One side has the letters TAKT on it and the other has the number nine on the side and 1969 below the lug. No other markings. Would be interested if anyone knows anything about it.

    1. Can’t see it on your photo, but TAKT is most likely from 2 – TAKT (German) meaning 2 stroke. Maybe a clue as to the origins (German or Austrian?).

  127. The ED Story. I’ve read Adrian’s notes through many times and there is one particular comment in there that I can confirm as being absolutely true. I grew up in village of Hersham, Surrey at a time when ED were based very nearby, on Molesey Rd I think. Like many others I was one of a gang of kids that were very into Aeromodelling and C/L in particular. One of my pals father worked at ED. We were doing are best with ED Bee, ED Baby, Frog engines, and the like, but performance was pretty dire and sometimes hysterical with the ED Baby! However the transformation that came with the ED Super Fury was transformational. Suddenly it felt that anything was possible – a KK Gazelle with ED Super Fury could do any aerobatics that the best of us could think of for sure (age at the time must have been 11 or 12years). More importantly to the relevance of this story is that we (I say we, but it was really the son of the ED employee, sorry but name forgotten) had Rivers Silver Arrow and Silver Streak engines to add to our resources! These weren’t the kind of engines that could be bought with pocket money, or were readily given by anything but very generous parents, they came from ED. The rumour that ED bought the latest engines from the opposition to evaluate, was certainly true.

  128. With the coronavirus pandemic, I decided to build another small FF model to keep myself occupied. Decided that an ED Baby would be suitable for a 30″ model, so look through my stock and found a suitable example. This one has ’52 on the front of the crankcase, and a conical top piston but has the later slot exhaust, so probably a bitsa. A test run first to make sure it runs was not entirely successful. Much more willing to start backwards than forwards and even then only in bursts, so decided a full strip and clean was necessary. Indeed it was, I’ve never seen so much black coke in an engine, horrible. It also suffered so much fore and aft float on the crankshaft that the induction hole was partially obscured, there was black coke in there too. As usual the prop driver needed the taper opening out so that it slipped further back on the crankshaft, closing the gap with the front of the crankcase. Having done that I reassembled with some sealing compound on the backplate rim and its almost good as new. Slightly soft on the bore, but con rod bearing good enough. Now it runs as it should, though not the easiest starting small diesel. Needs a port prime, then floods, back off compression to start, flick again and wind up to full comp smartly. Fuel tank joint with backplate leaks, but they all do. Certainly enough power for a 30″ model. Stay safe everybody.

  129. Adrian, thank you for your monthly newsletter – I can assure you l eagerly await it each month. Been a bit remiss lately not contributing anything, but in recent times have completed that horizontally opposed twin based on the Holly Buddy which although it runs ok has a design fault which l will fix in time. Also have completed a Clanford Clan which is so cute and presently building a BJ (Boll and Jenkins) Cicada. Here in NSW Australia they have just announced our movement restrictions will go on for 90 days, l think this is the 2nd day so only 88 to go – so maybe a model to fly the Cicada in might be the go as well. Again – thanks for your wonderful efforts with the newsletter – l have done them for Historic Car Racing in the past, for 7 years – l know what a commitment it is … cheers … Ed

    1. Many thanks, Ed – your support is greatly appreciated. This kind of comment is what keeps me going!



  130. Aloha Adrian!
    I just want to second this. Your site is so appreciated. Let us know if there is anyway we can help.
    All the best from the islands,

  131. Adrian,
    I became aware (to my amazement) that model engines existed in 1954 when 12 years old. Three months later I had saved enough to buy an ED Bee but due to nil stock purchased an ED Hornet. The first of many engines.
    I have enjoyed reading all of your articles, due to my interest in and fascination for model engines but I like the way you tell the story, the detail and the way you photograph and present it. The background stories to the companies and their designs is likewise interesting. I look forward to every new story or update and so I certainly hope you will find justification in continuing.
    Ron Miller.

  132. Adrian,
    Thank you for the effort you have put in over along period of time. Your pages have provided many answers to questions that I have had for many years. My first engine was a PB Elfin 2.49 followed by a BB 2.49 that was a backward step but that I atill have. The next engine was a Taifun Hobby Mk1 and an absolute cracker. I have a Nordec serial no 417 that requires a needle and prop securing bolt. Are you able to advise? My main interest is flying scale and I confess collecting engines, mainly diesels.

  133. Good Morning Adrian!
    Just a brief note from Atlanta, Georgia to let you know how much I appreciate your monthly engine column. I acquired my first engine, a Forster F-29,by winning a marble game when I was in the second grade. I still have that engine and many more. I got them as hand-me-downs, junk and antique store purchases, Ebay. MECA swaps and purchases, and estate sales of more refined collectors than myself. I’ve built and flown models for almost sixty years but model engines are what really drives me. So many different manufacturers, so many different models and variations, so many exciting personalities! It just seems endless. To put an engine on the test stand, fire it up and listen to the scream, smell the exhaust, nurse the bruised finger perhaps, oh, what pure joy! Your monthly writings give life and detail to the engines of the world and to their makers, many of whom have left us, that is such a vital part of model aviation history. That could all possibly be lost if not for you and Ron Chenerich before you (I shed a tear when he passed, literally!), and Tim Daniels newsletters which I have a complete set of to read and re-read.
    Anyway, I ramble! Please don’t ever feel that we don’t enjoy your hard work that you seem driven to do every month. I, and I’m sure many others, are panting as the first of a new month approaches and a new issue of Adrian’s Model Aero Engines will appear on our screens! Stay safe during this current pandemic crisis and know your work is well appreciated!

  134. I feel I must add my sentiments to the other people who have written in appreciation of your work. It is certainly something I look forward to reading every month.
    With the impact of the virus upon everyone’s lives, I think your efforts are more valued than ever.
    Please keep up the good work.

    All the best,

  135. Does anyone have a Speed Demon diesel? If so could you post or send me a picture of the needle valve assembly? I have a very nice example sans the NVA and would like to complete it.

    Thanks, Randy

    1. I have several of those engines, Randy. As far as I know, they just used a standard universal needle valve assembly – Kirn Craft or whatever



  136. Attachment

    Hi Adrian…greetings from uk. I was nicknamed ‘Gig’ by Martyn Cowley the once editor of our famous aeromodeller mags. I went to the same school and we had many, many engine conversations that started me off on lifelong hobby of aeromodelling and collecting engines. You may feel that you are not appreciated for what you do…but you can rest assured your magnificent effort is not in vain. My own pair of your recent article.

  137. Dear Adrian,
    I am trying to connect to your site, but my IP address has been banned, message code 403 says that there have been many attacks by my provider “” so I cannot longer access. Now I am accessing via proxy!! Could you please help me.
    Many thanks
    Antonio Tafuto (Rome, Italy)

    1. Sorry to hear about your troubles, Antonio. It sounds as if the problem is with your provider – everyone else appears to be getting in OK. So unfortunately there’s nothing that I can do at this end. I think that your provider must have become infected with some piece of malware that my system is rightly rejecting.

      I hope that you can work this out. More Italian engines coming up!



  138. Hi Adrian,

    Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading your website at the beginning of each month. I wouldn’t know where else to turn for this type of info. I have been a collector for years and before the internet I didn’t know a lot about many of my engines. (current count around 125) My knowledge base has been vastly improved thanks to your efforts.

    Thank you immensely!
    Max Tenet

  139. Hi Adrian,
    I find your site very interesting & look forward to each new edition. I sincerely hope that you will continue to delight model engine lovers for many more years.
    Peter Gain, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, UK.

  140. Adrian,

    Hello from Michigan. I’m one of the silent majority. Although ive never written to you, I make up a few numbers in those statistics that you don’t currently have access to.

    I have possessed engines for many years that I knew very little about until I stumbled upon your site and found their history. There is currently no resource quite like yours, please keep it up!

    I’m pretty sure that if the financial challenges you’ve been facing with this site get too large, a request for donations would show how much you are appreciated.

    Paul Smigelski

  141. Hello Adrian !

    I was an avid fan of the Ron Chernich website, and you both made me learn a lot about model engines.
    in my opinion you have successfully collected his legacy and are continuing to give fun at the highest levels,
    I understand the amount of your effort to keep the site open but please don’t give up!
    I tried to send you an email for a “wotizit” engine but I keep returning an error message “Mail quota exceeded” and I don’t understand if it is my mistake.
    Best regards from Italy
    Franco Colla

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