Model Steam Engines 101
Everybody has to begin somewhere, and this universal truth is no different in the world of model steam engine kits. The trouble (if you can call it that) is that many model steam engine kit enthusiasts are on the older side, simply as a result of the fact that many young people simply haven’t the opportunity to interact with steam powered technology in any kind of significant way.
The inevitable distance between newer generations and older technologies does have some obvious down sides. For one, there may be a disconnect from history, and an insufficient understanding of where we came from can lead to obvious problems for continual progress, as well as a diminished ability to learn from the mistakes of the past.
For those reasons, it is more imperative than ever before that we nurture a sense of understanding in younger generations, and there is perhaps no better – or at least no more accessible – means of doing this than with model steam engine kits.
In the spirit of helping along a new generation in understanding the importance and legacy of the steam engine, we’ve compiled a quick and dirty beginners guide, which will allow young people to div into the exciting world of model steam engines, and inspire them to pursue all the many virtues of this wonderful, and rewarding hobby.
What to Know
While it’s true that many of the model steam engine kits available today are marketed as being toys, it’s essential that you remember that model steam engines cannot be treated with the reckless abandon that most toys can be treated with. This is not to say that you can’t have fun with your new hobby, but that you must do so with a degree of care and an understanding that irresponsible behavior can quickly land you in hot water.
While it may not be the most fun an inspirational introduction to model steam engines, it is essential that we take a quick moment to discuss the ins and outs of safety, and what that will mean for your model steam engine experience.
First, there’s the important task of discerning which type of model steam engine that you’ve purchased. All purchases can be broken down into two very simple groups: collector’s items and new purchases.
Generally speaking, new purchases require less in the way of caution. You can take them out of the box, construct them if necessary, and (after following instructions carefully) enjoy everything you can do with your model steam engine right out of the box.
With that being said, collector’s items require a little bit more care. Oftentimes years of little to no use will cause problems with the functionality of your model steam engine kit. The first thing you will want to do is properly clean your model steam engine. Warning! Cleaning your engine could affect the resale value. Only clean your model steam engine if its functionality is important to you, not if you are looking to create the most valuable collection that you possibly can. It may seem counterintuitive, but collectors are looking for as much original model steam engine that they can, and removing what may appear to you to be grime can reduce the overall value of the object.
Next, it is essential that you also determine one last thing before you can operate your model steam engine, and that’s examining it to see if it’s even up to the minimum standard require for operation. If you’ve purchased a new model steam engine, then this again should not be an issue. For older steam model engines, however, it is essential that you examine the parts of the model steam engine to determine if there are any critical failures in its structure that would increase the likelihood of failure. Engine failure can lead to fires, and in some extreme cases explosions, so it is of the utmost importance that you take these risks seriously.
Another essential tip that a beginner should know is the model steam engines should never be run dry. This is to say that a model steam engine should not be operated and heated without water. It may be obvious, but these machines were not designed to be operated without water, and doing so can cause damage to your beloved machine.
The last tip, and probably the most important of all, is that you remember to have fun while you embark on your new adventure into the world of model steam engines. If you’re collecting model steam engines, be sure not to get frustrated if you’re outbid, or if you can’t find a specific model you’ve been hoping to track down. All of these difficulties are part of the appeal, and they should be taken as a challenge rather than an obstacle to truly enjoying your model steam engine fully.
If you like to operate your model steam engines, on the other hand, it’s essential that you do so. Don’t feel like you have to keep your model steam engines cordoned off from the world. Quite the opposite, these machines were built to be loved and operated, and that’s your goal you should do just that. Enjoy the thrill that comes with breathing life into these wonderful machines, and enjoy the knowledge that comes with knowing you’re keeping the dream of the model steam engine alive.
That’s it, graduate. You’re ready to begin your new career in model steam engine kits. You’re going to love it as long as you take the time to adhere to all the basic safety tips listed above. Most importantly, it’s essential that you remember to have fun, because while safety is important, it’s the thrill of model steam engines that we rely upon to keep the passion for these wonderful machines alive.
If you’re new to the world of model steam engines and need your very own starter machine, then you can go to our review page where you’ll find some of the best model steam engines for beginners available on the market.