Miniatures News, May 1981

News of a remarkable model aeroplane engine appeared last year in The Chartered Mechanical Engineer, whose Editor has given us permission to publish details. The model in question was made in 1919 and entered for a competition organised by Thos. Parsons and Sons, covering any model of a 1914/18 war-weapon. Mr. F. J. Williams entered his model of a 70 h.p. V8 Wolseley-Renault aero-engine but stipulated that it shouldn’t qualify for first prize, as had it won this it would have been presented to HM Queen Alexandra. He was, in fact, awarded the third prize, of £15. The prizes were presented, incidentally, by Alcock and Whitten-Brown (who had just been Knighted for their trans-Atlantic flight) only 25 days after their historic crossing.

Mr. Williams, who was Chief Inspector at Wolseley’s during the war, was persuaded by the Works Manager, Mr. Dougal, to make the model, after production of aero-engines had ceased. These Renault aero-engines were also made by Rolls-Royce and they gave Major Halford the idea for his four-cylinder Cirrus engine, as used in the first DH Moths. The two men at Wolseley’s were to make a model each, but Mr. Dougal never completed his. The Williams’ model was made from aluminium castings and its four-bladed propeller measures 170 mm. in diameter. The engine is 140 mm. long and weighs 750 grams. I use the present tense because the model still exists owned now by Mr. Williams’ son, who is Vicar of Banter Green. Magnetos, copper inlet-piping, and the cylinder finning are all faithfully reproduced. The Competition raised £11,000 for the War Seal Mansions Fund, homes for ex-Servicemen founded by Sir Oswald Stoll, through an exhibition of the models. The winning model, of HMS Princess Royal and that which was second, a Handley-Page aeroplane, were given to HM the Queen and to HRH the Prince of Wales, respectively, their builders, however, getting prize money of £60 and £25.

Auto Replicas have added to their previous 1:43 scale metal-kit for making a Type 13 Bugatti, another of this car endowed with a pointed-tail racing body and cowled radiator, run in the 1924 JCC 200-Mile Race at Brooklands. The car in question is modelled on Moutant’s which finished 10th in the class, although the “blurb” with the kit is inaccurate. The kit is available from Auto Replicas, 56a, Sandbanks Road, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset. BH14 8BJ, from whom a catalogue of other such kits, covering more Bugatti cars, also a TT Replica Frazer Nash in 1:24-scale, and a great many smaller models, is available; nice to find another Brooklands car among them! Future kits to cover a Citroen FWD cabriolet, 1954 Sunbeam Alpine, 1955 Chevrolet convertible, 1925 Amilcar coupe, Jaguar XK-150, Lancia Lambda, and 1939 Morgan 4/4 are planned and kits of 0, 00, HO and N railway-back-up vehicles are also listed, including an Austin 7 van, Riley Kestrel, Model-Y Ford saloon, AC Cobra, etc. these costing from £1.55 in kit form to £10.35 for a completed version of the A7 van, for example. Ordinary workbench tools are required to make-up these kits. — W.B.