Welcome to my Recomendation page.

I will in here tell about the doo's and the dont's from my own personal experience.

Panasonic HC-X800EG-K.

What camera to use, and why ?

   First of all it has to be said that the choice of camera is a very easy thing to deside on, we mainly use what we have, and if we are not pleased with it, we tend to replace what we have with some kind of basic equipment. What also need to be said in here is that the "basic" equipment has greately improved  in both quality and prize over the last decade or so. A spenditure today of $300 will in most places of the world provide you with a camera that are able to take pretty much the same quality films as a $2000 camera could, no more then a decade ago.

If you want to spend a little extra money on a camera to make your engine films with, and of course also films of whatever else you may be filming, I would recomend the better end of the Panasonic range of models, I personally use the camera you can see here, the Panasonic HC-X800EG-K. This camera has dropped in prize considerable since I bought mine, and to my view this camera was allready a bargain when I bought it. It has quality Leika optics and are well sutable for both the amateur filmer and photographer. To ad to this, it come with quite up to date prosessing powers and other quality electronics. What this means in practical use is that it has the ability to autofocus very well wich is important when it come to filming up close like we doo a lot on our engine movies. Together with the optics, it is really the prosessing powers to do a decent autofocus that make me highly recomend this camera. It lack's the feature of slow motion filming, that is about the only thing I have to say is negative on this. That and the fact that you cant atach external microphone on it, but has to make doo with the "onboard" microphone.

Knut.

Pinnacle Studio 15 Ultimate Ed.

Video editing computer software.

To recomend a camera, above, was easy as I have tried a few and seen the results from many more.  To recomend a film editing tool for use with PC or MaC, is a considerably harder choise to make. Obviously all of those that read this will find them self on different levels of computer "knowhow" and there for have so different possibilities to make the fullest out of whatever program it may be. My own rute to were I am now in this field started off with the freebie program made my Microsoft named : 'Windows Live Movie Maker'. This is a very easy to use program that perform the most basic possibilities for the purpous of use. Becourse it is on many peoples computer all ready a installed program it is easy to start off with this editing tool and for many, this is really as far as they need to go on the lookout for an editing program that suits their needs. To take one step further, but still maintain a relative ease of use, I did myself upon recomendations choose the "Pinnacle stodio" program. I use version 15 Ultimate. This program take video editing possibilities for the "new user" into the specter of the 'advanced newbie' category. As this program offer considerable more wide and in depth choises for the user to explore. It will for most people be a relative easy starter program once some basic experiences has been made. I will presume that many that start using this program in one version or another will find this more then suitable for their needs in any forseeable future. However, If you are of a exploring nature, and enjoy playing about with what possibility you have in aprogram of this type, it will sadly not get very far before you start to discover the features this program does not have, or at least features in the program that is less then what you would have wished for. I will get back to this a little later on.

Pinnacle Studio 15, a start. Given the asumtion that the beginning user of these type of program has some basic experiences from easyer tools like the above mention Live Movie Maker, the Pinnacle program is a very easy to doo start of your new video editing career. The menu layout is easy and in most ways what one might call a 'no brainer'. Like before mentioned, this program will do most users a wonderfull and easy service for years, the variaty of video vrapping paper tools are varried and quite deversed in variations and themes. So, when that is now said, there is little more to ad too it IF one will settle down and make the most of this program. It will perform to most peoples needs with stile and ease.  .. .. But, and there is a but here, quite a large one too. I like the quality of what is presented to refect what I have been able to make, both in picture quality and stile. And to see this program make serten elements into lesser quality vissual effects, is something that irritates me tremendously. you may as a reader of this be in the dark here, so i get right to the point. Pinnacle studio do NOT support high res pictures in menu animations. You may well insert high res images but once they are treated by the tools in use to make animated and frame menues, they come out in a realy bad low resolution quality. This is a thing that most people will not dwell on for a second, and is why this program still is highly recomended for the home and CASUAL use. but limitations like this also show equally clear the reason for this to be just a step on the way for some users, people like me. What and were i will be going of to next, I do not know. there are a few options to go to, but without me having so far tried any of them, I will have to wait with the recomendations until a later date when enough experience has been gathered.

The main conclusion of this little presentation must be that there is very little that can go wrong if you choose the easy to use Pinnacle Studio series as your video editing program for the HOME and CASUAL use

Knut.

Tagera Pro Gloves.

Heat Reflecting working gloves.

Some of you most harden and oldest veteran steamers of the club may smile a bit of this entry here. But, fact is there are good, very good, reasons to give this a second glance. One thing is if you are a very tough and macho man that enjoy the blisters and the burn woonds you get from playing around with fire, no matter how well you take care, you will get burned from time to time. On the other hand, if you are a bit more like me, a softy deep down, a 90 kilos wimp that bares no wishfull thinking about burn woonds and blisters, these gloves are your route to a better life. In this pair of gloves you will find a friend for your entire steaming life, and let's be honest and agree, we all would like that to be a long lasting occupation. So, why not also make this time one spend on our mutual hobby into the most pleasent of our free time on the same hobby. These gloves does all things one could wish for in a glove, specially in our form of use. They are very thin, and very soft. This result in a glove that let you feel every item you deal with in steaming engines, at fingertip like presission. you can work with nuts down to mm sizes with no problems and all tools will sit as plastered in the grip of your hand. Further, they are heat resistant up to at least a good few seconds, plenty of time to move hands or fingers away from any heat sorce a long time ahead of any burn damage to your skin. They protect not only your fingertips and inner hand but has a 100% protection all around the hand. The material breath quite well, this of course mean that you can were this gloves for a considerable amount of time, without becoming too swetty, they are also washable at 40 degree Celsius and loose none of their ability or shape from this wash. On top of all this they come with a 2 year factory guarantie. So, you might think, what is the down side of this product ? well, , If you find any, let me know as well, becourse I havent found a single flaw with the use of these gloves. 

I went thrue an insane amount of glove types to get to these most perfect types. And it was well wurth the job and effort. I use these gloves on all steamings i doo, and will not ever stop. Of course, I do not either mind that wering them prevent me from "fat"'ing down my engines with fingerprints, and misscolloring from handling polished metal with my bare hands, probably also not entirely free from some oil resedue etc etc. These gloves, eliminate that entire theatre of happenings. And I'm loving it. 

 Knut.

Makers of Engine models I have in my collection, and how they appear to me.
 
Mamod : Mamod is a traditional English maker of toy steam models. As with Wilesco below, the word Toy here is the key. All Mamod engines has one thing in common and that is a clean and good design. Not all people appreciate this quite English design feature, but I personally find the Mamod design quite nice looking. Quality vice I have not so much to go on really, since I can only display two Mamod engines in my collection as of now (18.02.2013). Both my engines are older then new date of production, later part of the 70's I would guess, though I'm no expert. The quality on my two older models are quite nice, my Mamod Minor did after all survive my childhood use. The thing I do not like with this models are the speed of movement on the traction engines. They are consistently way too fast in movement.
 
Wilesco : Wilesco is a German toy manufacturer that has a large fan group around the world, I think it is the largest producer of toy steam engines in the world, and they sell world wide. They are of a fair quality, with some signs of pour quality control comes to life from time to time. But as we all know, the chances of being shot at dawn has slimmed greatly in Germany over the last 70 year or so, as it have in many other European countries. So, for the most part though, this company deliver quite well made products. AND they develop new engines and make them buy able a lot more then any other manufacturer that I know of. Some of the thing that speak most of all for collecting some Wilesco models are the large variation that their models contain. Some of them are actually quite nice in design as well as good runners under steam. Only if one are a high end collector, will Wilesco be missing in most collections of steam engine models.
 
 Cotswold Heritage : Makers of high quality collectors engines. Very very well made and with often beautiful design, it is a maker that do have a place on many collectors shelf. Sadly, what could have come as one of the most highly rated makers on my list is severely let down by a dubious customer relation policy. Many are lucky, and have no problems, but in cases were problems do occur, a helpful understanding from this maker has in my experience been completely absent. I like to point out to the reader of this, that it is personal experience by me that is the base of this information and not third part information that I here just are passing on.
 
Markie : Tony Peace Design. Full name is Anthony Reginald John Pearce, he is a manufacturer of exclusive handmade engine models, no stationary engines in the sortiment, only traction engines. "He" make in general 2 series of engines. A 3/4 size budget series that is of simpler design and construction, but HIGHLY eye candy in 3 different variations. And "he" make the larger scare 1:10 series that consists of 6 different type of models. I have no first hand experience with the simpler 3/4 scale models so I cant really say anything about them part from the fact they has some wonderful design features. The larger 1:10 scale models is very very nice models. The Markie models are all hand made in detail, were every part is maticulesly manafactured to the highest standards using nothing but traditional metal working tools. No computer guided machinery are involved in the making of these large Markie models, it is all done the "good old way". No time is too long to achive the ultimate perfection. Mr Pearce constantly improve on his models, there for they all gradually change over time in the production of the models. becourse of all the handmade details given to each engine, it is fair to say that no engines are perfectly the same, they are all different to a serten degree. Mr Tony Pearse is probably among the greatest builders of steam engines in our time, and proudly fulfill this obligation in good tradition with the best of British in engine model handcraft. Mr Pearce, now in his later part of his 70's still work his hours, alone or with company, produsing these amazing models. So that all the rest of us in the present and in the future of mankind, both young and old, can stand in ore and admire this wonderfull works of art.
At the far end of the hobby model engine scale, these engines are NOT easy to master, I spent some considerable amount of time learning how to do a successful steam up. With a learning curve of that kind, the reward are naturally of equal greatness. The procedure of running this, kind of in it self, rule out this engine as a toy for kids.
Mr Tony Peace is by far the most pleasant person I have had the privilege of dealing with directly since I took up this hobby of collecting engine models, (directly in this content I mean, personal conversations over the phone). He definitely take the customer service up to new heights and he is a person I have grown to respect greatly over the last year.
 
Kontax : Kontax stirling is a English manufacturer of affordable but high quality stirling engines. I currently have two Kontax engines and are very pleased with how they perform and how they hold up with use. Like I said, these are very affordable models, never the less, they are also very nicely made. Many of their models can be bought in very easy to assemble home builds, not my cup of tea, but still a nice option. I would say personally that a Kontax engine should have a home in most collections.
 
Jensen : The American Jensen is a difficult theme for me, It is in some way parted in two ways feelings, and even a three way split is sometimes possible in my sometimes strange mind. I have only one Jensen in my collection as of right now, (19.02.2013), but have plans to ad a bit to the collection with time. The Jensen model 75, that I already have got is a bit scitzofrenic in it's own right. I bought this engine new, and it is actually made to destroy the final finish of the engine on the first steam up, beleve it or not. The laquer on the firebox that holds the tank do not handle the heat so it gets burn stains, that gradually expand over time until half or more of the entire firlebox isdark gray wile the rest is it's original pink and it come equipped with paper gascets that hold only for a few runs of the engine and then need to be replaced. of course one replace those with ones that hold it's use. but still it is a feature that will make this 75 model, the last of the "toy" Jensen that i will buy. Forest Classics shop offer a pre sale heat resistent paint, but it should never been a nessesity in the first place.
It apares to me that the best Jensen engines are the ones that were made a long time ago, and then will needs to be bought used. not an advenure all people would go for. The Jensen company also produses some better then the bad models even today, but these seem to be electricly heated all of them, I may be wrong here, but that is how i have understood it. I like some of the Jensen engines very much, trubble is as allready told, they dont make the engines anymore that i like to have. I am not a model engiener, I dont want to restore older engines, that is not my hobby. I am most of all a collector, and i am more or less in need for my engine models to work as intended to start with.
 
Steamco : Australian hand built quality engines, hardly producers of mass, they carries as far as I know, only two different types of engine that they build. I can only report on the one I have their model Steamco STC-04, this is a engine model that goes quite far off the scale compared with most other engine models of their size, (Mamod, Wilesco). Steamco is making engines on a very different end of the quality scale. beautiful finish next to many interesting visual features and a very sturdy design, make this brand into the top shelf of the "toy" store.
 
Wiggers : Werner Wiggers is a German master builder if ever there was one. His design and production of first class Stirling engines has to my knowlege not been supassed by any other individual in the history of man kind. The undesputed ruler of handcrafted Stirling engine models. wile some of his designs and models can prize most people out of the market allready at the start line, +- 5000 euro give or take a few, other simpler designs can be easily aforded by a serious collector.
However, Wiggers Stirling Modellbau are in the prosess of their last breath. Old age and sickness, Im told is the main reason for this master to put his ores in. It is now too late to order most of his models as production has stop, a very few are still available though. (18.02.2013)
 
Herman Bohm : Herman Bohm, came backwards into the production of stirling engines in the 90's. Originally a precision engineering workshop that still today produces precision mechanical solutions, often found in medical equipment etc etc, he designed his first Stirling engine as a production items intended as gift to busyness clients. The unexpected and overwhelming response trigger the company into making these designs commercially available. Since this, Herman Bohm has designed a large variety of often very intricate engineered engine models. Very high grade of class and consistent manufacture environment place the Bohm Stirling technic among my absolute favourites among the engine models that I personally have any experience with.
 
DMF : Dampfmaschinenfabrik Neustadt
Or DMF Neustadt. I have only had one dealings with this manefacturer / seller before, so I can not for sure say that my experiences will reflect what anyone else may experience if they order something from this place.  To begin with let me just say that the engine I resived from them is of the highest standards. A very nice model. To come to the point of actually resive the engine was a workload of a quite different set of proporsions. it took this place 10 days and 4 mails to rush things just to resive a invoice via paypal, so I could pay the model. I owe them to ad that a serten language barier was noticable. And i had to rely on google translate to compose and read the corespondence to and from them, I recon you are all aware of how limited that translation tool really is. So, it is well possible that a German speaking person will do quite a bit different experience with them. From the time of order to the time of reciving the engine took ........ days. that is ........ more then what it take if I order something from Böhm, just to use an example that I am familier with. Please note that the engine model WAS in stock at the time of my order, so no production set back's is to blame here. Becourse of some obscure reason the total amont the model cost me as an end user was considerably higher then what I was prospected to begin with. nearly 80 euro's higher then what i had anticipated, import tax and P&P included. So to conclude : a High quality model that for me took a good workload to get a hold of. This much work normally require some very nice model as reward, and that is what I got. so despite it all, a highly recomendable quality product that justify the time and effort it took me to get it.

John Hemmens, Steam Engener.
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Knut A.