My how time flies. I thought this day would never arrive, but here we are: February 2006! This is a truly historic date, comparable only with that on which Deep Thought delivered the Answer To The Ultimate Question. In February 2004, Chairman Bill promised the World that in two years time, Microsoft would deliver The Answer to the bane of our on-line lives; nothing less in fact, than The Cure For Spam!
So why is the Model Engine News mailbox still choked daily with offers to buy red-hot stocks guaranteed to double my money overnight, plus a host of strange pharmaceuticals and other devices? Ok, so maybe the two years are not actually up until March. I can wait another month—but if you denote the merest trace of cynicism in my little diatribe, it may be because the cure was well known two years ago, as was the fact that while technically practical, it was also a practical impossibility. So, Spam? Live with it, and draw some small joy from the Schardenfreude you'll experience when some journalist finally wakes up to the date, asks the question publicly, and Chairman Bill has to tap-dance around the gutsy call he made back in 2004.
Still no shop activity here. If anything, I've gone backwards. A lightning strike during a rather dry electrical storm took out the motor in the Quorn, not to mention the washing machine, the air-con zone control, and an alarming amount of B&O gear (my insurance company is certainly alarmed). But the temperature is starting to fall to the low 30's (Celsius), so expect some progress on things next month. The tribute to Gig Eflander promised last month has also had to be delayed while we assemble some photos, but expect that in March too. Sadly, we must start this month off with the passing of yet another household name in model engine circles.
Vale: Dick McCoy
Dick McCoy, designer of the famous McCoy range of engines, passed away peacefully on Friday afternoon, December 30, 2005. He was 98-1/2 years old. Born on June 9, 1907, Dick had joined the Louds Machine Works in 1937, running a lathe making parts for oil well equipment. He's written that his only model aircraft, powered by an Ohlsson 23, was a disaster, so he devoted all his efforts to tether cars. Disappointed at the performance commercial engines delivered in this application, he began designing and building his own engines. By 1942, his engines were winning National events. This caused others to want copies, so after the Armistice in 1945, Dick entered into a contract with Duro-Matic in Hollywood to produce McCoy engines. In the 35 years of production that followed, Dick was responsible for design and testing, holding 16 patents for McCoy engines and car models .
Dick eventually become Chief Inspector at Louds with 50 inspectors under him working on parts for the aircraft industry. After almost 20 years with the company, he retired to run a small basement machine shop set up by his sons Carl and Harold under the name C&H Procucts. The business grew, expanding by 1972 to three 2,000 sq ft buildings—one of which housed C&H Inc which by this time was making glow plugs, plus parts for model engines and cars.
Dick retained his passion for model engines for all his long life. In 2000, he was the Guest of Honor and a Featured Speaker at the inaugural International Model Engine Collectors Exposition held in Kalamazoo. Those who attended will remember the lively discussion given by Dick and son Harold on the various McCoy engines, and the contributions he has made to our hobby (that's Dick in the middle, with Harold on the left, and Engine Collectors' Journal editor, Tim Dannels, on the right) . It goes without saying that he will be missed, but with the number and variety of engines extant bearing his name, he will certainly not be forgotten.
McCoy, DL: The Real McCoy, Engine Collectors' Journal, Volume 19, Number 1, Issue 103, December 1992, p1.
Dannels, T: The International Model Engine Collectors Exposition 2000, Engine Collectors' Journal, Volume 25, Number 4, Issue 142, October 2000, p1.
All together now, sing after me: Sugdens are bustin' out all o-over... I'd like to think that my review of the design last year had something to do with it, but regardless, it's good to see this venerable engine returning to some prominence.
The sand-cast case on the left was produced by Dick Roberts in the UK and could never be mistaken for an "original" casting; it's far too good! Plus, Dick has added another web in front of the venturi as well. The second version will, as you can see, be die cast. The die is being made by Australian Motor Boy, Dr Vincent Chai, he of Battiwallah fame. Vincent says he uses nothing special for the steel, and his results speak for themselves. Guess it's all in the polishing and I look forward to seeing what Vincent delivers from this one, in the fullness of time.
Schepel, Buwalda, and the Ranger B
Les Stone is not a man who likes taking it easy, so while waiting to join a vacation cruise, he's bashed out another couple of engines in his unmistakable style. The one pictured here is a compression ignition engine designed by Dutch modelers, G. D. Schepel and J. Buwalda in 1950. You can read details of this, and another on The Les Stone Tribute Page. Les on vacation on a cruise ship is a scary thought; we figure he'll get bored and put a finish on all the brass work that the crew will never be able to maintain...
New Gallery Entries
With three new additions to the Engine Gallery this month, a new page seemed like a good idea. On this page, you'll find a nicely made Gotham Hobby Deezil which is one of the engines that I've frequently recommended as a "first engine" project. Building it involves thread cutting and close fitting in a deep bore to obtain the correct primary compression—both of which are known to be potential pitfalls as those who have been following the Ideal Beginners' Engine page will know. Other entries are the vintage compressed air engine powered model seen here, and some more two-stroke radials. If you've not seen it, there is a page dedicated to the subject of two-stroke radial engines that examines the various ways ingenious builders have found of overcoming the problems associated with this type of engine.
Hot on the heals of the 2005 Model Engineering Exhibition comes the 2006 London show. I find it remarkable that in a country the size of a postage stamp (no disrespect intended), there are so many model engineering shows, and that they attract so many different and outstanding IC engine models—not to mention all the live steam and workshop equipment that we don't cover here! So click the thumbnail, or use the Museums, Shows, and Exhibitions Master Index page to see what you missed.
More Children of the Dragon
Yes, yes, I know; it's the year of the Dog, not the Dragon. The Dragon in this case is Roy Clough Jr's Little Dragon and the Children are Joe Webster's adaptations of the design. the latest of which he has named "Draco". It's a side port design that exists only as a CAD model at this point in time. But Joe works quick (when he can't go outside and fly), so I'd expect to see the real thing, real soon.
Joe has also made yet another ML Midge. This design has been successfully tackled by lots of first-time builders, despite the need for a close fit of the cylinder liner into the case bore to achieve satisfactory primary compression, and prevent leakage between the ports. Mark Lubbock, designer of the Midge (and the reason it's called the "ML" Midge) has made a twin cylinder version. Expect photos of it in due course...
Don't panic, don't PANIC!
The English magazine, the Model Engineer, is now in its one hundred and eighth year of continuous publication (that's the cover of Issue #4260 you're looking at here).
So when the editor found it necessary to include an item in the editorial Smoke Rings column advising that the chairman of the board of parent company, Highbury House Communications, had stepped down, and that the CEO was to follow, one could be excused for catching a whiff of smoke indeed (visions of corporal Jones from Dad's Army running in circles, waving his arms, shouting "Don't panic, don't PANIC!")
A little digging (with the aid of the English Motor Boys, Ken Croft and Eric Offen) disclosed that the ME publisher, Highbury House Communications, has been forced into administration under Ernst & Young with debts in excess of £40M. However it's hard to imagine that the ME and sister magazine, the Model Engineers Workshop would disappear and good news to subscribers appeared as an insert sheet at the end of January. As seen here, the ME and eight other titles, along with the attendant staff (and presumably the plans service) have been acquired by Encanta Media, allowing publication to continue uninterrupted. So panic over (?)
The Ideal Beginners Engine (5)
This month, Roy L Clough Jr's Little Dragon gets the treatment as the fifth "Beginners' Engine" to come under scrutiny. Roy's Dragon has certainly laid a few eggs; the Shrimp, the EZE, the Son of Eze, the list goes on. And as we saw earlier, more are hatching all the time with Joe—Son of Eze—Webster's Draco being the newest. Certainly Roy Clough designed the original engine to be easily built with minimal equipment, but does this make it a good beginner project? I don't exactly think this is the case, so click the GA, or go to the Beginners' Engine Comparison Page to read why.
A new entry in the finder is the David-Andersen 2.5cc Mk II diesel. Photos of a very well preserved example of this engine and its instruction leaflet were kindly sent in for our enjoyment by Jens Eirik Skogstad last year. On the DA 2,5 page, you'll find identifying characteristics and production dates for the three marks of this engine. These were taken from photographs in Clanford's infamous "A-Z", so may be less than 100% accurate.
New Books and Magazines This Month
Something a little different this month: a biography come historical drama that explains how North American Aviation went from the most successful and respected aerospace company in the world to a division of an old truck-axle company from Pittsburgh in the virtual blink on an eye. Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon by Mike Gray, Penguin Books, 1994, ISBN0-393-01892-X relates how the company that designed and built such aircraft as the T-6 "Texan", P-51 "Mustang", F-86 "Sabre" and others was sacrificed when a scapegoat for the Apollo 1 fire was required. This is a controversial issue, but author Gray has plenty of references to back up his assertions, which are compelling to say the least. This is no dry, historical text. The pace is relentless as we follow Harrison "Stormy" Storms—an engineer—through NA's X-15 and XB-70 Valkyrie projects, to the impossible objectives achieved by the company and Stormy on the Apollo program. Gray quotes an engineer on the project as saying "Apollo has only three sacred specifications: Man. Moon. Decade." Most highly recommended, and still in print in paperback form. Order it from Amazon through this link to support the MEN web site.
Also received during January was a complimentary copy of the Australian publication, Free Flight Quarterly. This is a most excellent publication produced under Chief Editor, Sergio Montes who hales from that little country to the south of Australia: Tasmania . This issue contains 40 pages comprising Free Flight news, several plans, construction articles, well researched and referenced theory papers, and an engine review provided by yours truly (the Elfin plain bearing 1.49). Cost for a four issue subscription in Oz and EnZed is A$28. Elsewhere, it's US$32. See their website: http://freeflightquarterly.com for more information and ordering details.
Engine Of The Month: The Last Taipan Diesel
The subject this month is the 1972 "Series 13" Taipan 2.5cc TBR diesel. Following a suggestion from a reader, the review delves into the names that the engine's designer, Gordon Burford, has used over the years (Gee Bee, Sabre, Glow-Chief, Taipan) and why—briefly—the name changes occurred. Click on the thumb-nail picture, or use the Engine Finder to read all about it.