Welcome to my guide of miniature steam, if you are looking to purchase a working piece of history, then you may want to consider a few things:
RAIL OR ROAD?
RAIL: Steam locomotives may look attractive, but they can only run where the rails take them, and they need relativly flat surfaces
ROAD: Steam tractors or "traction engines" are good for going just about anywere, they dont particularly need to have a flat surface and they can be very satisfying. However, if you are planning to get a "ride on" steam engine you WILL need a van, not an MPV or if it is a small ride-on it would probably fit in the back of an estate car, but the smaller engines tend to use more steam and are harder to keep running (if you are just looking for a MAMOD or WILESCO you wont need transport!)
DRY "ESBIT" FUEL: Esbit fuels are small white tablets, that often check out a lot of heat when lit, but then cool down as they burn away, and also they smell pretty bad
METHS: The best of the fuels, its amazing how much heat they give out, but the flame is invisable in light, so always asume they are lit. but if you want to run your engine alot this is probably a good option (You could buy a clapped out mamod off of ebay with a meths burner and use the burner)
GAS: Also a good choice, runs on a gas tank usually placed in the tender or on a ride-along trolley behind the engine, they are good, clean source of energy but will need refilling
COAL OR WOOD: Coal and wood fired engines are a little more complicated and are very Smokey, these can only be run outdoors and are mainly used in the "Ride-on" engines.
SMALL: a small engine such as a Mamod or a Wilesco is no longer than the width of an average Desktop computer screen, and are ideal for children who are interested in steam power, these require oiling and polishing and are a very fun and rewarding
MEDIUM: For those wanting something more, a 1 1/2' Alchin Steam Tractor would be an ideal size for the modeler wanting an advanced and profesional looking model, they have working pumps and almost always use coal or wood
LARGE: not quite as large as the fullsized engines, but you will need a van atleast to transport it, these are bigger and a lot easier to keep pressure in the boiler than the medium engines
HALF-SIZED: Half the scale of a fullsized engine, you will need a beaver tail lorry or similar, many of these monsters have a real seat mounted on teh tender so there is no need to sit on a trolley behind the engine
FULL SIZED: The big boys toys, youre gunna' need a low loader!. usually slower than the miniatures but they certainly turn heads
Thats about all you should need to know.
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10 May 2006
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