When tinkerers take on a finely detailed motor model kit, the result is big passion on a small scale. Every screw, every color has to be perfect to ensure that the flat engine on the shelf is the spitting image of the one in the
Details, mind you, that would have made some heads spin, had the Franzis Verlag publishing house included them. Cylinder heads, for example: “Our display engines always involve some small degree of compromise. They have to be durable and you have to be able to assemble them without glue,” explains John Anson, engine designer for Franzis Verlag and the “father” of the small flat-six engine. The cylinders, for instance, cannot be inserted individually; instead, they’re combined in a single piece per bank. The engine case is split horizontally rather than vertically to simplify the assembly. Why didn’t
In the town of Nördlingen in Bavaria, local residents Thomas Müller and Joachim Nießlein also tinker with their model kits. “Take a look at that!” Thomas Müller—one of the organizers of the legendary ducktail meeting—taps the photo with his finger. “The exhaust pipe looks good this clean.” Joachim Nießlein nods. He’s reconstructed no fewer than five miniature engines. Walter Röhrl has one of them, a present for his seventieth birthday. “He was absolutely thrilled,” says Müller. For Nießlein, the “Röhrl engine” is his masterpiece. Except for the biplane that he built and flies himself. On a 1:1 scale, that is.
Nießlein’s passion is creating a patina, or the impression of aged construction parts. The process takes hours. With the exhaust, for example, Nießlein first coated it with a suitable paint and then rubbed it with oil paint and turpentine. The dark oil paint remained in the small grooves in the plastic. The simple molded part thus became a work of art—with the addition of tension bands made of super-thin sheet aluminum just 0.4 millimeters thick. “More of a foil,” says Nießlein. He’s always put a good deal of time into building the engine kits. After what has often turned out to be weeks of painstaking effort, the stunning results inspire covetous glances in the living rooms and workshops of his friends.
The ideas take shape in collaboration with Müller—one fine example being the exceptionally detailed carburetor on the “Röhrl engine.” Even the shielding plates are replicated—the unheralded shields meant to protect the carburetor against heat. For the next engine, Nießlein will attempt to replicate the carburetor actuator.
This is not exactly what Martin Koschewa, responsible for marketing at Franzis Verlag, had in mind when he first contacted Jörg Thilow of the
The results are compelling. So it makes perfect sense that in the next phase of their collaboration
The finely crafted air filters and very detailed carburetor surely make things somewhat trickier for the model builders. “Oh, do you really think so?” asks Thilow with a wink. He seems to have an inkling that fans like Frank Wessels and Joachim Nießlein will disappear into their hobby rooms on the first day of Christmas holidays 2018 and make their 1:3-scale Type 547 kits into very special miniature works of art.
By Thorsten Elbrigmann
Photos by Heiko Simayer, Thorsten Doerk, Fabian Frinzel
The next engine for model builders has already been approved by the