Building a Mamod collection is all about time and effort and the next step in the process is identifying the right engines for you.

Mamod produce a wide variety of steam engines be it trains, traction engines, steam rollers, roadsters, stationary models and even some vintage fire engines. All of them provide the perfect introduction into the world of steam and can be a long-term project, in the form of a kit, or a great addition to an already growing collection.

Many enthusiasts like to branch out and not restrict themselves simply to one type of engine. On the flipside of this there are those that like to specialise in certain models, whether stationary or mobile. The train models come with accessories such as track but if you are looking something off track, yet still mobile, then Mamod has plenty to offer.

So, now you have set aside a workspace which engine should you start with? Here is Mamod's guide to developing your collection.

Road vehicles

Mamod has a range of road models ranging from the classic Showman's Special to limited edition Victorian Fire Engines. One of the key selling points to the road models is that they don't need any track to function, making them both versatile and space conscious. You could easily run these models in your workspace without the need for expansion.

While they look similar, there are major differences between the road models. For example, Mamod stocks traction engines, steam rollers and steam cars which give a nod to the 19th century but run much differently.

The traction engine is one of the most popular models in Mamod's offering simply because of its versatility. While being aesthetically pleasing, the traction engine does not require any special additions such as track, a hull or a stretch of water. This model can run on pretty much all suitable surfaces and can be modified to the collector's preferences.

Other models such as the Showman's Special have also been a major hit with Mamod's customers, as they prefer a model which does not require much maintenance to run.

Slide or oscillating?

Each Mamod engine comes with a certain type of cylinder arrangement – oscillating or slide. Both configurations offer users different options. Oscillating cylinders are ideal for the smaller engines as they don't generate as much power as their slide counterparts. They much more suited to firing the smaller models and are ideal for the competitively priced engines among the Mamod range.

Powering small engines is well and good but when you need much more power there is only one tool for the job – slide valves. This configuration is associated with the larger models within the range and gives locomotives and other powerful engines the umph they need to properly operate.

The slide valve is a common component in many Mamod engines such as the Showman type traction engine, as they are used for both steam power and electricity as well as motion. It highlights that the slide valve, and oscillating to an extent, are versatile in their approach, meaning they can be put in mobile models and used to power small workshops.

Go nautical?

Having models for road or track can be one thing, but how about taking steam engine collecting off land and on to water? Mamod provides a number of marine engines which can form the basis for a steam boat. Whether you are building a scaled-down warship or cruise ship, the marine engine can provide the perfect power source.

Be warned, however, because building a model is a huge challenge and includes the construction of a hull – not to mention any other modifications you want. Although when it is complete, there are not many better sights in the modelling world than seeing a slide valve engine working in perfect harmony as your boat chugs happily along the water.

Another key component of a model boat is the boiler and you must keep an eye on its water level, otherwise you are risking the possibility of it running dry. With a marine engine and boiler in place you are free to build your collection of nautical models to go alongside the track or road engines.