Australian Toy Steam
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Scorpion Vertical
 
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Scorpion Vertical
The Vertical engine was the second model made by Model Engineering.
This was definitely the most popular model 'Scorpion' engine made and is still relatively easy to find.
It went through several variations during the years with the most obvious changes being the base.

I've recently discovered a fourth type of base for the Scorpion Vertical. This is obviously the very first base they produced and most noticeably is the lack of holes for Meccano to bolt to. I've so far only seen one of these bases so they must not of been made in very large numbers.

photo courtesy of Andy Smith

The second base was a moderately simple cast iron base with hole spacing in the feet to fit Meccano.
Most examples of this base I've seen don't have a decal on them but I have just recently been shown one that does so obviously during the time this base was used they developed the decal and started applying it to them. I would guess towards the end of the run with this base as most don't have a decal.



The next base was much more elaborate. It still had holes drilled in the feet for Meccano but also sported the Scorpion Logo.
It also raised the firebox higher off the ground.


The final base style was a very simple affair being a square base with no feet but still sported the 4 holes spaced to fit Meccano.
Not sure why this change of base back to a much simpler one except that it may of been due to cost cutting measures.

photo 2007 flywheel61


Boiler Material
The next variation was the material the Boiler and firebox was made from.
The very earliest ones were made from a tube of brass, possibly made from war surplus shells as other toy engines were from that time.
The brass is considerably thicker on these engines than the later models.
It is easy to spot an engine with the boiler made from a tube instead of a rolled sheet by the position of the holes in the firebox and obviously the lack of a seam on the boiler.
On the tube boiler the first set of firebox holes are between the opening to the firebox and the screws attaching it to the base.
On the rolled boilers the first holes are directly above the screws.
The one on the left is the boiler made from tube.



Crank Variations
The next difference is the cranks, there are two variations
The early type crank was constructed from 2 steel rods and a small sheet of heavy gauge brass and soldered together.


With the later type been simply a bent up steel rod. They changed to this type of cranks whilst still on the first cast iron base so it was obviously a change the took place early on as the bent up rod would of been considerably cheaper and quicker to make.



Whistles
There are two types of whistles with the second type having two variations of it.

The earliest type whistle is only found on engines with a tube boiler not a rolled boiler and was obviously their early attempts at a whistle which they later refined.
As you can see the handle was just a bit of brass rod with no shaping to it at all and the shaft that the lever went into was very square on the end too. Finally the riveting of the shaft onto the whistle housing was very simple, it looks like it was just rounded over with a hammer.







The next type was really just minor refinements to this first type. It sported machining on the handle and the end of the shaft the handle fitted into was also rounded slightly, at this point they obviously developed a tool for riveting the shaft into the whistle body and this dimple can be found on all of Scorpion's whistles from now on.







The final whistle type which I just consider a variation of the second type of whistle I'm guessing came about more to do with the availability of material rather than a deliberate change of style on the whistle. The shaft that the handle fitted into was made from hex rod instead of round rod. I have only seen this type of whistle on engines with the second style of cast iron bases.




Engine Frames
I'm aware of five main types of frames on the vertical engines they are.
  1. Constructed of Brass Sheet
  2. Constructed: steel and Brass
  3. Cast Brass thin faceplate
  4. Cast brass thick faceplate
  5. Constructed: Steel and thick Brass sheet
Frame type one I have only seen on engines with base type one. It is the most simplest of all the engine frames been made up simply of 2 strips of brass rivetted together with holes drilled for the steam ports, axle and trunnion bolt.
    .
Photos courtesy of Andy Smith

This  is the second style and is one found on engines with base type two and heavy brass tube boilers.
It is simply made up from two strips of steel welded together with a small sheet of brass riveted on for the faceplate, notice how the brass has a circular indent to help retain the spring, this feature is common across all the frames
Also note the frame is bolted to the boiler and has nuts holding it in place and the later cast frames have the threads tapped into the frame and the screws filed level with the frame.I am unsure whether the exhaust pipe is original or not in the pictures below at this time.


Type three frame I have only ever seen on the first cast iron base and is a much more solid construction than the first two types.
But notice how the face plate is still quite thin.


The fourth style frame is very similar to the second type except the engine face plate is considerably thicker.
I've only seen this type on the second style base so far.


The fifth variation  I have now seen  on the third and fourth style base and here they have gone full circle and back to the constructed style again. I can only guess as a cost savings measure as it would of been cheaper and probably quicker that casting the whole frame in brass. The main difference between this frame and the first constructed frame is they use thicker brass for the engine face plate and the brass face plat is screwed rather than riveted onto the steel frame and once again the frame is held onto the boiler by nut and bolt probably due to the fact the steel frame is too thin to have a thread tapped into it.
Also note the spring on the trunion bolt is a standard style of spring rather than the flared type on the other engine frames.

Photos 2007 flywheel61






Scorpion Burner
Here is an original Scorpion burner.
As you can see they were little more than a small paint tin with a wick tube put on it.

Photo courtesy of Andy Smith


Vertical Engine Photos
Click on the images below to see a larger photo.
The earliest variation is on the left and they progress to the right. I do not have a photo up of the last base type yet.












2007 Tony Muir unless stated otherwise. Should you wish to use any photos though just ask and permission will most likely be given