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Buying Guide

ANYTHING? Whilst there have been many manufacturers of toy steam engines by far the most common is Mamod followed by Wilesco.

If you would like to see a full list then have a look at the Toy Steam Bible

If you do decide to buy one of the more obscure makes then expect much time and frustration trying to source spares. Since Mamod is the most common it follows that spares are most readily available if not new then second hand via Ebay and some independent sellers

MAMOD or WILESCO? So for a novice enthusiast the choice comes down to either Wilesco or Mamod. Since Wilesco have very good spares support and the engines are a little more sophisticated than Mamod, they would appear to be a good option. HOWEVER BE WARNED:. They are not easy to work on and should really be considered only by the more experienced modeller.

RULE OF THUMB: Mamod is by far the best choice for anyone new to the hobby. They are easy to work on and most (but not all) spares are available.


The obvious answer is "As litle as possible". But of course that is really incorrect. You will notice that most toy steam engines have detachable parts. Well these are the parts that get lost and can be expensive to replace. Safety valve, level plug, burner, whistle, scuttle, canopy, steering rod, plastic filler funnel even piston sometimes get lost. So, for example, if you have to buy a new burner for that so called bargain then add maybe £15+postage to the price. A static Mamod engine minus burner for say £30 ends up costing nearer £50.

RULE OF THUMB: Buy a complete engine.

This is very specific to the Mamod Traction Engine and Steam Roller (TE1 and SR1). Ask the seller if the whistle is removeable before you buy. Many many engines like this have been abused and possibly run dry. When this happens the whistle boiler insert (being directly above the heat from the burner) de-solders. When this happens it becomes impossible to remove the whistle as the insert just spins around in the boiler. It can sometimes be fixed but not without damaging firebox and/or whistle. The original inserts were fitted from the inside of the boiler during manufacture and therefore cannot be retrospectively replaced from the outside.

RULE OF THUMB: Don't buy a TE1(A) or SR1(A) where the whistle cannot be removed.