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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Small Stuff (truly wonderful!) 1/72 resin engine kits

A time ago I noticed on the market the appearance of extremely conveniently-priced kits to build iconic engines, that appeared to be just of phenomenal quality.
These kits are made in Israel by Eugeny Knupfer, and are nothing less than a miracle of craftsmanship, design, production and practicality.
I started to purchase them and upon receiving them I could not believe my eyes.
The price-quality ration of these items is unbelievable, and you get much, much more than you pay for, something you do not see around often.
My theory is that Eugeny is from another planet, or perhaps came from the future. His engines are so well cast, accurate and refined that there is no other explanation.
I have been using after-market engines of diverse origin but mainly Engine & Things (resin) and Aeroclub (white metal). Those are to a certain extent practical and adequate (the Aeroclub ones though are not anymore easy to get, not to mention at the convenient price you used to get them from Aeroclub). But they had their obvious limitations and shortcomings. Small Stuff engines are -compared to the latter which I consider passable, every-day offers-, a Super De Luxe item at a price that is more than convenient.
Here I present to you with just a sample of his inventory that I have been acquiring along the time, plus the build of one of his engines as a test/review.
In my long, long, long modeling life I have seen  a few times exceptional skills, something almost inconceivable for the mere mortal. Comes to mind Matias Hagen (modeler and kit producer) and Roger Holden (master modeler exceptionnel), but there are many more.
The good thing about Eugeny creations, though, is that you can take advantage of them and dress your models with this fantastic after-market items.
As a scratchbuilder and a modeler that usually looks for items that help to improve the overall quality of the builds, I am truly grateful to Eugeny and his products.
You may find them at this link:
An image is worth, as they say, a thousand words. So here they are.

 Now for the building of the Wright R-1280, an engine that has many uses for the modeler:
You should prepare accordingly for a build that deals with small parts, and perhaps place a cloth or paper towel on your building surface to catch parts that fall or twang away. You get a spare cylinder and other ancillaries, but better don't lose them in the first place. Use adequate tweezers, work with good light in an area where is easier to retrieve parts. Follow the instructions that come with the product:

It would be a good idea to very carefully wash the parts still attached to their blocks with a soft brush and soapy warm water, rinse again carefully and let dry alone:
So you get 1 crankcase, 1 sump, 9 cylinders, 18 covers, 9 intakes and a few spares. Total: 38+ parts, perfectly molded, no pinholes, no deformities, no flash, no stupidly-positioned blocks, all for a very low price. My, if this is not a deal...

 When you cut the cylinders from the block (I used an Xacto, being careful) leave the little peg that will help place the cylinder in the notch at the engine block. I separated the crankcase with a fine saw, avoiding to spread the dust and washing it away:
First cylinder superglued in place:

The parts separate very easily from their blocks with just a slight pass with a sharp Xacto and are ready to apply:
 As said, you get a spare cylinder as a bonus (future diorama part?):
 The oil sump (or whatever that stalk is) is added:
The rocker covers are separated from their block. Watch out, the covers are sided: one side is very slightly longer than the other and has a tiny dimple underneath for the rods that connect it with the crankcase -not provided but easily fashioned-:
 I started to put the ones on one side of each cylinder, since their receptacles were larger (easier to locate the cover on them). I lost one that fell on the floor and was never seen again, so again I am grateful for the spares:
 Before proceeding with the other covers I started with the intake pipes (to take a break of the covers, which require more attention):
Here also you get a spare:
As you work, be careful, be patient, use good tools, keep an eye on things. This is a somewhat delicate build that requires attention, not good watching TV or chatting while you do this. The other row of covers is put in place. I lost another one here, so once more grateful for the spares:
Now the engine is ready for painting. Airbrush would be ideal since it will only leave a thin layer of paint and not obliterate the cylinders' detail, but diluted paint may do too. Check your references at this point for colors.
A light Alclad aluminun coat is airbrushed:
 Engine gray is brushed to the front, and diluted black is applied -also with a brush- on the cylinders:
I wanted to add the pushrods, so I first put my eyes on some piano wire:
 But then decided for some bright florist wire:
 The pushrods now in place.
Of course, modelers can go as far as they like, and add the spark plugs (the locations for them are already drilled in the cylinders) and of course some high-tension leads for the plugs. But I will stop here.
I'll give you a clue of the intended use for this beauty, although it probable deserves a much better companion of equally high standards :-) :

These Small Stuff engines are on themselves little wonder-kits, and have multiple uses on models and dioramas, or just standing alone by themselves on a nice acrylic case on the shelf, perhaps with a nice hand-carved wood prop in the case of the earlier engines.

1 comment:

  1. A very interesting and detailed build log with lots of useful information. There are more parts in this resin engine than in some model kits of this scale. This whole thing is a little marvel.