Mamod, Mss & MSR Locomotives

by Mark Pengelley

It makes sense for me to start off where I began. Here are some of the selection of the working Mamod, Mss & MSR oscillator locomotives I have in my collection.

My First Live Steam Locomotive, My Mamod SL1 'Steamy'

First off I'll start with my Mamod SL1 locomotive. This was the first live steam model I ever owned, I aquired it when I was the grand age of 4 years old. At that age I knew this loco playfully as 'Steamy'. Obviously I was not able to run it myself, but it planted the seed for greater things to come.

After playing with this model for some 24 year on and off I had quite clearly played the wheels off of it. So in 2010 the SL1 received its very first overhaul. The only new parts that have remained on this loco are a new wheelset and a pair of new piston & cylinder assembly. The frames, firebox and smokebox were shot blasted and refinished in high temperature paint. The boiler inserts were slipping so the complete unit was silver soldered. The body received some clever painting. Only painting the cab and the tops of the saddle tanks to retain the original 'Mamod' logo. 

Currently running with a bix gas conversion for ease of use.

Mamod SL1 'Steamy' pulling some wagons

Here is a video of 'Steamy' moving down my line with a bit of weight behind him. Eleven wagons in total, some loaded up with beach pebbles for some added weight.

Mamod SL1K

I bought this locomotive in 2010 when the 'steam bug' really bit again. I was old enough to now have some money behind me and bought this loco. The intension was to gut, strip and refinish with some carefully chosen upgrades to compliment its running. But after initial testing this little SL1K ran as sweet as a nut and I couldn't bring myself to disfigure it beyond what it really was. So I pulled off all the R/C gear left from the previous owner and set about an overhaul. The boiler suffered the same as the SL1 so I silver soldered all the inserts and shot blasted the frames and firebox. I re quartered the wheels and pressed the wheels solid back as they were intended.

Today this SL1K runs with all original parts as I received it. I managed to get a cab back in the correct livery (it was missing), and it too runs with a bix gas burner for ease of use.

Mamod SL1k - Slow Pass

Here is the SL1k moving gracefully along my hall floor one awful rainy day. I could go on to say it took some time to get this shot, but it didn't. The source material is not 'enhanced' in any way.

Mamod SL2

This SL2 is one of three that I own, two bought in 2010 and the final in 2013. I really searched high and low for this one, then I found two! So I had both and the other a couple of years later. This one is the rough playwarn one of the three, the other being a shelf queen and the last addition will be turned into something completely different. But having been put through the workshop it now runs like a dream. Having received very much the same overhaul as the SL1K, just the vital components were re worked.

I decided to leave the bent front buffer beam/smoke box alone as this added to the character of this loco. I just added a buffer as one was missing, notice the shiny one in the picture.

Currently running with a bix gas conversion for ease of use.

Mamod SL3 'Northern Monkey'

Named as such because I bought this one from a good friend in Middlesbrough. She was not a runner upon delivery and was partially disassembled thus requiring a bit of a strip down to find the troublesome blockage in the reverser causing a steam blockage. It was then re assembled with some 'trial dream steam wheel sets' and put to work.

Northern Monkey is a strong runner and now sports a alcohol burner, upgraded wheel set, a pair of RWM Steam (Roy Wood) coupling rods and a standard looking higher pressure safety valve. I would go as far to say this is one of my strongest standard form Mamods.

Here we can see Northern Monkey running with the newly acquired 'Rusty' the Mamod wagon from the same person. Rusty was a gift from Northern Monkeys owner for rebuilding a Mamod SL2 for him.

Mamod SL4 'Princess of Wales'

This SL4 is one of two, the other is on display unused. My father bought this locomotive, I believe out of pity. Putting to one side this model is royalty, this little SL4 was in a bad state. She was rusty, bent, flaking and dull, very poorly! Once again this loco was sent out on the RHLR for testing to find out if she had any issues before overhaul. The run highlighted a water leak from somewhere on the boiler and she clanked quite severely on running.

She was sent for a structual and cosmetic overhaul. Upon silver soldering the boiler it had become apparent that a small pin head sized hole was in the bottom. I made a copper pin and soldered into the hole, very strange! (I suspect de-zinc). Later on during the overhaul I found that the clanking was coming from the cylinders, not through wear but from massive internal steam leaks behind the cylinders. The frames had really badly rotted and were leaking past the gaskets. I shot blasted all the usual parts and filled the pitting in the frames with silver solder and filed them back so that this SL4 had all her original parts intact.
Today she runs with an uprated safety valve and a gas burner.

Mamod SL4 - Princess of Wales restoration

In this video you can see the original state, as received, the locomotive from the auction site. A bit of a image slide show guides through the restoration and work done.

During the test process, we did have a little accident, sadly not caught on film. I stopped the camera just as it was about to happen!

Mamod SL1 'Chevalier' (a bit of a mess)

I bought this little SL1 as the one that would be pulled apart and the parts used elsewhere. Originally Chevalier was a 45mm gauge loco and was absolutly lashed together. Bits of wood all over the place and a steam pipe that was wrapped & joined with PTFE tape! Chevalier did have some nice parts on her, a Mike Chaney cab regulator and steam take off, adjustable safety valve, dead leg lubricator and meths burner.

I began by putting Chevalier through the works as I couldn't steam her and changed her to 32mm with some dream steam turned steel wheels and a new set of 'o' ring cylinders. I converted the 'dead leg' lubricator to a 'displacement' type and modified the 5 wick burner to 3 so as slow down the burn and the consumption of fuel.

In 2013 Chevalier was treated to a Roy Wood models upgraded reverser valve and a Summerlands Chuffer. She looks very play warn, runs like a dream and is one of my favourite and most videoed. To date she has been to a few shows and always gets the most attention out of my Mamod oscillators.

Mamod SL1 saved

Here is a video of how she came to be and the changes that were undergone in order to steam her.

To date Chevalier has had several rebuilds and many, many changes. Visit my youtube channel or click on the link below to watch the playlist on her history.

Mamod SL1 - Chevlalier playlist

Dream Steam Works 'Titan'

This is my fully upgraded Dream Steam kit. This loco is one of two, sister to 'Maximus'. She has every available upgrade on her that Dream Steam sell, apart from the 'fairground ride' brass bits. This loco is currently a work in progress and I will finish it one day! So far she runs and very well too. I have made a custon tender coupler and installed a larger gas tank and in the process of making a water top up system using a boiler primer pump and a home-made water tank with some clever one way pipe fixings.

Titan was named as such because of the unbelieveable power that comes from the 'mamod gene pool' type of locomotive. Titan really has an attitude and literally chuffs along with an incredible voice (without the use of a chuff pipe at all!), even when under a very light load.

Titan is about to undergo a transformation into a US style locomotive with parts being gathered for the next stage of build.

Dream Steam Works - Titans First Steps

Here is one of Titans first runs on rails. Here we see the tough little loco pulling along the best part of 8kg split between the various wagons and coaches behind. Headphones are required to hear Titan at her best!

Dream Steam Works - Titan on a special run

Here is Titan running along on the line collecting a 'special', try and find the slipping. :-)

Dream Steam Works 'Maximus'

This locomotive is the second of two, sister to 'Titan'. She is a fully upgraded MSS/ DSW locomotive kit. This model was initially bought by my Father who built her to the stage she is at now. Since then she has been left and partially unfinished. She has been ran a little as an 0-4-0 tank, but plans were made and began to finish her of as a tender locomotive, to the same specification as 'Titan'.

Since then my Father has given her to me and I have plans for her in the not too distant future to finish off and turn her into something a bit different.

There is not a lot of archive video footage of Maximus, so I organised a special run for her to strut her stuff.

Dream Steam Works - Maximus on rails

MSR Miniature Steam Railways 'Baldwin'

Miniature Steam Railways was a small company in Arlington, Texas ran by two model steam enthusiasts Jim Wilson & Terry Shirley up until the mid 1990's. They basically bashed Mamod locomotives, made them better and created their own version, of which this is one of them. Cutting a very long story short, I was lucky enough to track down Terry Shirley as he was selling off the 'new old stock' parts and was able to build this tribute locomotive. Baldwin is built on many standard MSR parts but ultimately sits on a RWM Steam (Roy Wood) frame set and wheels joined by RWM Steam coupling rods.

Over the time I have fitted an in cab regulator, displacement lubricator and a Summerlands Chuffer. Baldwin enjoy pulling the rake of three bogie log bolsters and makes a lot of noise doing so!

Click on the link below to see the article by Marc Horovitz on Side Street Banner Works

Side Street Banner Works - Locomotive of the Month January 2007 MSR Plantation Locomotive

MSR - Baldwin run for STWWW 2013

In this final video we see Baldwin prior to the modifications above, just with a chuff pipe. It was a special video for the Unofficial Mamod forums 'Steam Toys World Wide Weekend' event and really shows off the chuff pipe. The sad part about this video is that Baldwin is still not ran in properly and was tending to run away a bit.