Mamod, and its customers, has had something of a love affair with the Saddle Tank ever since the first one rolled off the production line in 1980.

Back then it was the RS1 and RS2 but since then there has been an affinity with a model that has captured the hearts of its customers. The Saddle Tank has gone through a number of different incarnations since its launch in the 1980s. One of most memorable is the Brunel engine which took a completely different slant on model steam engines with an upright boiler.

However, before we move into the modern day, let's take a step back through history from the beginnings of the Saddle Tank and see how it has evolved over the years.

The beginning

The first Mamod Saddle Tank was launched during the Malins era. The RS1 and RS2 were released in 1980 and were first launched in 0 gauge with a small range of rolling stock and track. It was the first-ever mass produced live steam set to be sold in the UK. The engine struck a chord with the modelling community and was embraced.

Such was the popularity of the RS1 and RS2, Mamod followed it up with the launch of the RS3 in 1981 and the SL1 kit in 1983. Armed with a pair of double acting oscillating cylinders connected to a rotary reversing valve, they were also well received by modellers. Among the final models of the Malins era was the limited edition in SL6, which became a relic of their tenure.

A change of approach

As the Malins reign came to an end and Mamod entered receivership, the future was bleak. However, once the Terry family came in, they were able to not only steady the ship but then launch more Saddle Tank models. As the years went by design engineers at the company's Smethwick plant were able to revive the Saddle Tank engine.

Among the new models was the MKII which was one of the first Saddle Tanks to be created since the 1980s. However, one of the most popular models was the Diamond Jubilee Saddle Tank. To coincide with Queen Elizabeth II's 60th anniversary on the British throne, Mamod released a model Saddle Tank train which ran on tracks.

The model remained a huge success right up to when the final units were sold in the latter months of 2014. When it comes to era-defining Saddle Tank models, nothing compares to the Brunel engine.

While previous efforts had seen a horizontal boiler, Mamod decided to introduce a vertical one for the Brunel. This proved to be a huge success with its demographic and is currently one of the best-selling models in Mamod's portfolio.

So what next?

Anticipation is already building for the latest Saddle Tank. It has been a number of years since Mamod has brought a new model to the table and this latest version. It will no doubt continue the proud tradition of launching successful Saddle Tanks over the past 30 years and this love affair with the Saddle Tank.