“Festina Lente”

"Festina Lente" ("Make haste gently”) is a fulfillment of a fairly long held ambition to own and operate a serious model steam boat. This boat started life as a Krick Victoria kit, but the previous owner made her into something completely different and altogether more interesting.... A lot of work was done on the boat, but the previous owner then discovered model engineering and lost interest.....which is where my luck came in, because he sold it to me at a very reasonable price....the picture on the front page shows me in March 2008, having just completed a 600 mile round trip to collect her.

The boat is fitted with a truly remarkable engine, made by retired aircraft engineer John "Bogstandard" Moore.....it is a twin cylinder, double acting engine, but with a much longer stroke than is usual for this type of engine. As a result, this engine is not a tearaway runner, but instead delivers an astonishing amount of torque to the screw....the driveshaft can't be stopped by hand, and I've seen this boat clear a patch of pondweed that would have snared a nuclear sub.

I have done a great deal of work on the boat, including making her seaworthy, fitting the RC, cladding, roofing.....hours and hours of work, and still much more to do. She has been extensively remodelled from the launch you see on the front page to the shape she is today. She performs beautifully on the water, and a video really is the only fitting tribute. Below is a picture of the extraordinary engine, which is now powered by the brilliant Cheddar “Proteus” horizontal marine boiler.

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Cotswold Heritage “Perseus” Plant

cotswold new base

I bought this wonderful engine thanks to the intervention of my good friend and fellow steamer Richard L. It is a modern plant, made in Stratford-Upon-Avon, by Cotswold Heritage, who are a subsidiary of an engineering firm which makes parts for the aerospace industries. This is the Perseus, which they call one of their "simple" engines. It is a phenomenal piece of precision engineering...it runs smooth as silk without any free play whatsoever. Even though it is a single acting slide valve engine it will self-start every time. The boiler is gas fired, and with the combination of hand pump and refillable lubricator this engine can be kept in steam pretty much indefinitely. It was assembled on an oak base by a previous owner. This engine is an absolutely stellar performer, and because of the careful choice of materials very easy to maintain.

Stuart Double 10


Another dream come true, this one, and this time with the help of David "Stilldrillin" Jones, another good forum friend. I'd put the word out that I'd gotten a taste for bigger steam, and David offered me this engine, which he said he was never going to use, in exchange for some pieces from my collection. When it arrived it quickly became obvious that it had been machined to a good standard, but never quite finished. I spent a few enjoyable evenings tearing the engine down, lapping all the mating faces, and with David's advise managed to re-machine the pistons to take oil rings using my little Unimat hobby lathe. The boiler came from eBay, the handpump from Mainsteam, the fantastic generator from forum friend Klaus Lutz and the lamp is an old school demonstrator.
This engine is now an incredibly good runner. On thirty pounds of pressure it purrs like a kitten, on 60 pounds it is unstoppable. The generator kicks out enough power for a good bright 6volt light, and is capable of powering many other things as well, as seen in the video below.

Stuart Beam Engine


As of June 2012 these two engines have been combined into a single plant setup:

Stuart 10v with reversing gear
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This beautiful engine was obtained from my good friend MrMamod.......it features a beautiful reversing gear, and a very elegant vertical boiler. It runs like a swiss watch!