G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,269 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I need a source for Mamod live steam trains. Preferably in set form. I found their website, however it looks like only "O" gauge is availble. I had the impression that they were made for running on 45 mm track. Is this true?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,746 Posts
Mamods can be fun, part of the start of the small scale live steam trend in the US.

The question is the cost however, do you get a PPS Janet or all the Mamodifications for the same cost? A Mamod can be made a good loco with a few days work and about $400 in parts.

They can be found cheap used, the older ones were of better quality anyhow. The new MSS stuff is among the worst in build quality according to many. Try and get one from the 1980s.

Mamod can be 32 or 45mm gauge, but they are TINY in dimensions.

More here, including my Jan-Mod.

http://www.mylargescale.com/Community/Forums/tabid/56/forumid/11/postid/15294/view/topic/Default.aspx
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,269 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the links. It seems these trains are alittle more expensive than I had believed they would be. I think I'll have to wait until my grandson is old enough som that I can have an excuse to by a set.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
352 Posts
Dan,
I have to agree with Jerry 100%. You would be much happier with a Ruby for the same money. One thing that has not been mentioned with the Mamod is the fuel pellets that are used with the engine as delivered. They are BAD. One of the first things I did was convert to a alcohol burner. That was okay, but still not long enough runs, so I purchased the butane burner. That is another $100 + in expenses, and no doubt you will want one. Before you know it, you will have as much invested as you would in a Sammy.
Even though I enjoy running my Mamod, I've spent many hours and $$ getting it to run as it does today. Would I do it again? No. I'd much rather spend the money on a higher quality engine from Accucraft or Roundhouse up front and avoid all the issues that come with the Mamod.
Looks like now you will have a little more time to investigate and save for something you will have more fun with right out of the box. You and your grandson will be much happier that you did. Good luck.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
740 Posts
Fred and Jerry,
I agree with both of you. I spent more on upgrades and improvements on the locomotive than I did on the original Mamod kit I purchased. I was never satisfied and finally sold it and purchased a Billy, which after 17 years, I still have and it runs as it did when I took it out of the box.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,746 Posts
I guess it is a matter of a means to an end. Sure, you can get a "cheaper" model in quality and price out of China, but the absolute satisfaction of Mamodification cannot be measured in money. Did my Mamod make any financial sense? No, but nothing in this hobby does!

Do a search of Accucraft Ruby to see that this model has it share of problems out of the box. I had my credit card in hand to buy an Ida and a set of oversize cylinders, but the dealer never returned my phone call, fate and luck I guess!

I would consider Roundhouse, but unfortunately, they have gone to gas firing as many have too.

I would love to find a 1980s vintage meths fired Dylan myself.

http://www.sidestreetbannerworks.com/locos/loco21.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
I'm sympathetic to the view that it's better to spend more money upfront than to upgrade a Mamod, and I think that is the right course fro many people.

But for those who would just like to run a Mamod well, my experience supports the opposite point of view.


There is a long list of things you CAN buy to upgrade a Mamod, but have never needed most of them - and nor will you unless you start with a real basket case.


My ancient Mamod runs impeccably with the following:
- spirit burner
- decent safety valve
- water fill valve
- plastic oil syringe.

Even though the the pistons have no O rings and the diecast wheels now clank, that is the limit of investment it has actually needed to run for hour after hour with occasional stops of a few seconds.

(A couple of dollar's worth of K&S section enable it to run at one scale mile per hour, with or without a train. )


All the other stuff: new wheels, boilers, lubricators, throttles, radio control, O rings etc is either a fun hobby in its own right, or remedial to a model that wasn't sound in the first place.


The amount of work needed was a couple of hours; considerably less than fitting expensive extras which, as people have remarked, may still not give satisfaction.


David

England
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
374 Posts
I've a Ruby and an Aileen (both gas fired) for when I feel like watching trains.
I've a Mamod and an Aster Lion (meths fired) for when I feel like running engines.
For me there's more satisfaction in getting a good run out of a balky engine.

Harvey C.
SA 1838
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,746 Posts
Agreed. After a couple years of as-built running with the Mamod bits and the camel dung firing in 1987 or so, I had the Sidestreet burner, the Dutch made lubricator in the dome, and the safety and goodall that were made by someone I cannot think of at 12:11 in the AM.

What made for the major rebuild was a broken safety valve (snapped at threads) and then when trying to remove the goodall, the boiler fitting went. The new boiler is copper, not brass, and worth every dollar spent. I still want to add a pressure gauge to her, and I bought some cast brass Welsh style sanders for the front.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,746 Posts
If your wheels are knocking, you can remove them and try and get the pins re-locked with a punch.

The best thing for any Mamod fan is to get the UK 16mm society Mamod handbook, I think it can still be downloaded from where on the 'net.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
352 Posts
David, Harvey and Garrett,
What you gentlemen are failing to remember here is that Dan was looking for a locomotive to run with his young grandson. His original post did not mention a grandson, so I supplied the information that I had to him. His second post did mention his grandson, and that changed everything.
That being said, young children are not interested in watching grandpa work on the engine to keep it running. Staking wheel pins, lighting stinky fuel tablets, playing with alcohol, and making modification after modification would make the young engineer lose interest. If he is like my grandson, he just wants to watch papa train run the trains and watch them go! He even gets bored watching me service them. At six years old, blowing the whistle is the highlight for him. I still believe a butane fired Ruby or Sammy is the best choice for Dan's situation.


Here he is running his own train last spring in his basement.






Please remember I AM a Mamod owner. If I didn't enjoy her, I would have sold her years ago. I don't have a bone to pick with Mamod, I was only looking at the situation at hand for Dan and his grandson. Happy steaming!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
76 Posts
I think that you guys are missing something that the hobby can provide - a bit of nostalgia and charm that can enhance the experience of playing with fire and water. Certainly a sophisticated machine is a joy to play with , but the sheer enjoyment of watching a simple locomotive using stinky fuel pellets make it around a track is tough to beat. Diamondhead always has a Mamod or two on one of the tracks and they truly are a step back in the chronology of engine development , but a **** of a lot of fun as well. We have at least a dozen on the program for 2009 , so come on out and see a bit of history.

Jerry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Chooch wrote:

>young children are not interested in watching grandpa work on the engine to keep it running. Staking wheel pins, lighting stinky fuel tablets, playing with alcohol, and making modification after modification would make the young engineer lose interest. If he is like my grandson, he just wants to watch papa train run the trains and watch them go! He even gets bored watching me service them. At seven years old, blowing the whistle is the highlight for him.

If that's how a kid turns out, then go with that.

My kids have been the exact opposite, bored by mere watching trains go by and wanting to be involved. I managed this is a variety of ways, but here's what worked for me with the Mamod.

My flat-roofed garage was buried in the ground up to window sill level, and was the ideal place for a Mamod railway. The Street Kids would knock on the door when they felt like it, and if convenient I'd take the Mamod box out. The kids would line up along the garage, with boxes for little ones to stand on. I would go through the whole lighting up process a safe foot from their noses, answering questions. Then the little train would set off up the slope with up to six heavy steel Mamod vehicles. At each lap, the kids would be willing it on to crest the hill. Although I can re-fill with both water and spirit while on the move and can run for hours, I found that with kids interest waned if I kept it going for long. Things might be different on a large garden railway, but on a small and tedious oval, it was the filling and lighting and oiling that caught their imagination. Of course the trick was to keep these operations to just a few seconds each, rather than the long wait for a boiler full of cold water to boil.

If anyone else sees things this way, then you don't even need the spirit burner. Get a second pellet burner instead, so that you can swop from one to another, and reload swiftly. That keeps up the fast pace little people like. The trick with pellets is to soak them in spirit before lighting. (Do it in a fireproof tray.) Doing this makes them light instantly and burn better - it transforms the whole business. Keep the water fill valve to avoid ever having to boil a whole boiler full, and I still recommend an upgraded safety valve and injection of thick steam oil every half hour or so.

Rules are simple:
- mind your hands and ask lots of questions.
After a bit of Route Learning:
- Kid watches the water glass, checks the fire and passes the tools and bottles.
- Grandad handles the hot stuff and takes orders: more water, swop the burner, more oil, another wagon - or take two off.
As the kid gets older, there's a new rule:
- If the thing stops, it's the kid's fault for not giving the right orders.

Oh, and Grandad re-stakes the wheels in private after bedtime ;-)


Please please don't entertain a kid with a beast so well behaved it might as well be electric - unless that's what your kid happens to enjoy of course. In which case a butane fired Sammy is perfect.

David
England
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,746 Posts
Hmm, I was a kid when I got my Mamod and started working with it and operating it. I had to save up a few birthdays and Christmases to get the set. I spent a lot of time tinkering with the model and learned a lot of mechanical skills (and respect) too, that I still use to these days.

I guess this is the difference between the Mechanno/Erector and the Wii generation?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
966 Posts
Posted By David Halfpenny on 11/01/2008 5:19 PM
....
(A couple of dollar's worth of K&S section enable it to run at one scale mile per hour, with or without a train. )

....

David

England


David,
can you give us some more details on how you tamed the Mamod?
Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
966 Posts
Hi David,
thanks for the link. Everything sounds very familiar: My son bought our first Mamod during a field trip to London and assembled it with a Swiss army knife... We also finally switched to alcohol firing and experimented with steel wool wicks ( I tried to convince people that this works pretty well, but nobody really believes it
). On the matter of throttling the exhaust to run slow, I am totally with you. Condensation and small leaks are much less of a concern than with the conventional approach. Anyway, the deficiencies of the Mamod are the direct path to either giving up the hobby or taking on more "serious" tasks.
Regards
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top