Reader’s Models - Mercury Outboard Motor

Leonard Treppa builds something a bit different

Leonard Treppa and his decorative outboard motor.


Living in Michigan, USA and wanting to make something a little different from yet another model boat, and having possessed an electric ‘toy’ Mercury outboard since I was thirteen years old, Photo 1, the idea grew of using this as a pattern for a larger decorative model. All its constituent parts were doubled in size and templates prepared, as in Photo 2. Most of this larger, albeit non-working, outboard motor is made from White Pine, with the rest from two different thicknesses (1/16 and 1/8 inch) of plywood, Photo 3.

Photo 1. The old ‘toy’ electric outboard that was used as a half-size template.

Photo 2. The principal measurements of the small electric outboard were all doubled to make these templates.

Photo 3. White Pine and plywood was used for the individual parts.


Initially, all the parts were cut out and then carved, shaped and sanded as needs be before being painted gloss black. The entire outboard motor is pinned together, but not glued using 1/8 inch dowels, so that it can easily come apart. For the top cowling cover, very thin aluminum sheet has been used, scored to give the impression of an imprinted shape. The fuel tank is just a block of wood shaped and painted gloss red, and the fuel gauge holder and handle are painted gloss black. For the fuel gauge itself, a clear bead has been used and the fuel line is the thinnest possible tubing from the local auto parts store. The propeller’s central boss has been turned on a lathe and its blades are of cut and shaped aluminum. The priming bulb was also turned on the lathe and painted black. The completed outboard motor swivels back and forth and tilts up and down, just like a full-size motor, but of course it does not function.

Anyway, the point of this little homily is that it demonstrates you can easily make something decorative and maritime for the home rather than just another model boat if you don’t have another major project in progress, and this was made 100% from scrap wood in between other jobs.

Leonard Treppa – February 2017


For more great articles, see Model Boats June 2017

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