Boiler Room – Affordable Steam
Richard Simpson’s series on model steam plants. Part 2.
After discussing the plans for this Affordable Steam project last month and ordering the three major components, all I had to do was wait for the items to arrive and then start to have a play. The Krick Anna kit, the ‘Tiny’ engine and the Tony Green Steam Models boiler all duly arrived safe and sound, and very rapidly, and the next step as always, was to plan the building of this model boat. The Krick Anna was designed for a Cheddar steam plant, so using the proposed boiler and engine combination was not going to be quite that straightforward, so there would almost certainly be a degree of ‘playing around’ to get things just where they needed to be. Anyway, the first job was to open the packages and see what we had and what looked like the best arrangement.
Krick Anna kit
Opening up the box revealed a fairly comprehensive kit for just £99 with a full-size plan, instructions, vac-formed plastic hull, a number of pre-cut plywood sheets of varying thicknesses and a bag of hardware. The kit includes everything you should need, including the rudder components, propshaft and propeller, so all you have to do is provide the steam plant, radio gear and the usual glues, paints and of course, the working time. One thing that could be better, as seems to be the case too regularly nowadays with all sorts of things, is that the instructions are a bit weak. The biggest challenge is the fact that none of the pre-cut ply parts are identified, so one has to go through the process of identifying the number of the carrier sheet from the parts list, and then try to identify the individual parts on each of them. It isn’t the end of the world, but this should be done in advance by the manufacturer. It is also apparent following a good look through the parts, that there is plenty of scope to personalise the model by adding planking to the deck, lining the inside of the hull with wood and using brass fittings etc. The aim was to build straight from the box, but this kit can actually be the basis of a very attractive model without too much additional input. I think that for less than £100 (UK) at the time of writing, this kit has a lot to offer, Photo 1.
Photo 1. The Krick Anna kit is complete with propshaft and tube, a propeller, rudder stock, servo horns and all the wood, fittings and materials, apart from the paints and glues needed to build the model.
The Tiny steam engine
One does not have to say this, but it is an incredibly aptly named engine. It came perfectly wrapped in a plastic tub, looking like it couldn’t possibly hold a steam engine. I was very surprised though when I opened this and took out a perfectly formed little single cylinder single acting oscillating engine. Small it may be, but the standard of machining is excellent and the engine turned over perfectly smoothly by hand. The Standard is pre-drilled with four holes to enable mounting on a base and stubs are fitted to it ready to take silicone tubing for the supply and exhaust steam. When you consider the cost of an average twin cylinder double acting engine nowadays can be anywhere in the region of five to six times the cost of this engine, its simplicity and charm really does seem to be more than just appealing, Photo 2.
Photo 2. ‘Tiny’ certainly lives up to its name. It is beautifully machined and was found to spin perfectly smoothly with a noticeable compression, even before any running-in or oil was applied. It should comfortably power Anna, but being single cylinder and single acting, it will not be reversible.
Read the full article in Model Boats June 2017
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