Mamod is a name well known among the model railway community and has built up a significant following since they were first introduced way back in the 1930s. In this series of articles we will be meeting the people who have grown up with Mamod and have bought models throughout their life.
Introducing Michael Jane.
Michael is a seasoned Mamod collector picking up his first Mamod model at the tender age of ten and has been fascinated with them ever since, a full 41 years. It is a company that he has held close to his heart ever since his father bought him his roller in 1973. He admits that if he was ever to enter Mastermind that Mamod would be the first choice when it came to picking a specialist subject.
Steam modelling has been a passion of Michael's since that fateful Christmas morning and he explains that he has always been attracted to traction engines and all things steam. However, it was Mr Jane Senior that got a young Michael into modelling, and he explains that he owes a lot to his father for opening up a hobby that may have passed him by.
Michael's father worked as a boilermaker and welder so purchasing steam models seemed somewhat of a no-brainer. The transition between the day-to-day life and pursuing a hobby of this ilk was seamless and Michael would spend hours maintaining and cleaning his Mamods to ensure they remained in working order.
As the years passed, Michael's collection grew. He currently boasts around 75 Mamod engines, both mobile and stationary, transcending generations. Starting with the Geoffrey Malins built SE4, dating back to 1936/7 right up to the 2013 SP8, Michael cherishes every single engine but always makes sure that the Christmas of 1973 is still in working order.
So why steam? Michael explains: "My initial reason for my collecting steam toys has always been the fascination with traditional, mechanical toys. Toys, which entertain, educate and fascinate their owners with their mechanical details and movements.
"A toy which needs respect but rewards the owner with the joy of owning something which is well made, like large-scale practice, and is something which has a proud engineering tradition behind it and something which commands a deep respect in this country."
Like with many other collectors, simply owning the models is not enough for Michael and he gets a real kick out of building the engines himself. Through Mamod he has been able to assemble his own engines. In the past he built an SP5 Mk1 and complimented this with the erection of a large, complex Meccano crane. He has also experimented with building a crane with a Malins/Mamod-made SP3 Meccano engine as the power source.
Michael maintains that he is somewhat of a purist when it comes to his engines and likes to keep them as simple as possible when building. This ensures that they stay true to their original design and ensures they can take pride of place in his collection.