Mamod is a name well known among the model railway community and has built up a significant following since it was first introduced way back in the 1930s. In the first of a series of articles we will be meeting the people who have grown up with Mamod and have bought models throughout their life.

We start with Chris Instone.

Chris was born and raised in the West Midlands, fairly close to Mamod's current base in Smethwick, but it was not until the age of 11 that he began his love affair with model steam trains. He explains that he was mad on steam during his younger years, and with money being tight Mamod was the obvious choice as they produced the cheapest models available on the market at the time.

On the dawn of his 11th birthday all a young Chris could think of was picking up his first Mamod model. After previously "window shopping" he found a SP1 stationary engine that was in his price range of £11 at Birmingham Hamley's toy shop. However, much to his horror when the big day arrived the SP1 had jumped to £15, but thanks to a little extra cash from mum he was able to purchase his first Mamod steam model.

He never looked back and the love affair began.

Chris explains: "It’s seen much use in those 29 years, both running on its own and in many Meccano models, from a simple railway locomotive that was wickedly fast in a straight line, but wouldn’t go around corners due to its high centre of gravity, several workshop tool models and the latest one it’s been used with, the Sentinel style steam wagon which it’s still driving."

From that day, Chris became a real steam enthusiast and went about building his own collection. Inspired by his parents and frequent trips to the Severn Valley Railway the enthusiasm for steam modelling has grown and grown. After collecting for around 20 years he took a break, but it was not long before the urge returned and he took his 1989 LB1 London Bus to the factory for repairs.

While maintaining that he likes all of the Mamod range in his collection, the SP1 holds a special place in his heart due to being the first ever one he purchased. However, the SP3 and SP8 James Watt beam engine all receive rave reviews. The collection has allowed him to build a miniature world with a shed and crane for his Mamod steam locomotive and rolling stock and even a simple bridge.

However, the joy of being able to put together an engine is something that Chris believes simply cannot be beaten. Inspired by the various Meccano sets he has purchased numerous Mamod kits ranging from the SL loco's to the SP5 stationary engine kits.

His love of model steam engines is now being passed on to the next generation as he explains that his nephew is becoming increasingly interested in having a model live steam locomotive.