By John Chenery

The scale working models shown here were all designed and built by my father, the late Les Chenery. He would choose an engine which he wished to make a working scale model of and then spend countless hours in museums and archives studying, photographing and noting down details.

He would start by making wooden patterns and continue throughout the process until he had produced the castings. (the ‘lost wax’ method over the kitchen stove, if I remember correctly!)

Then he would design and build the rest of the engine. This was very time consuming,  would take years and involve much trial and tribulation. Throughout the process he would make detailed notes and sketches/drawings of all the components.

On completion of the engines he would spend countless hours’ fine tuning them to ensure that they eventually ran smoothly. He then had his drawings and sketches drawn up by a professional draughtsman and would always have a friend use these drawings to build one of the models in order to test and prove that the drawings were correct.

His models were entered in the Model Engineer Exhibition and he received much recognition for his work. He won many cups, trophies and medals including:

  1. The Bradbury-Winter Cup

  2. The General Engineering Championship

  3. The Duke of Edinburgh Trophy

  4. Gold medal

  5. Silver medal

  6. 2 x Bronze medals

He also built other scale working models:

  1. Bentley BR2 Rotary (9 cylinder, 1:5 scale)

  2. Le Rhone (9 cylinder)

  3. 14 cylinder Gnome, rotary

but for reasons unknown, he didn’t produce drawings for these.

All of his work was all carried out in the days before the internet when research was much harder and there was precious little information available to assist him. CNC machines were not around and most of his work was carried out on an old lathe and milling machine in his small garden shed.

I have watched the design, development and construction of these models over the years and have been privileged to see them all working.

I assisted my father when he displayed them, demonstrated them and gave lectures about them.

However,  whilst I will always try to answer any questions you may have regarding these engines please bear in mind that I am a Civil Engineer and have limited technical knowledge of internal combustion engines.

It was my father that was a leading authority on them but unfortunately he is no longer with us.

I am only able to provide the drawings for these models, not castings.

Detailed notes and information on how to build the Gnome, Aeronca and Anzani were published in the Model Engineer magazine in the UK. Detailed notes on how to build the V-twin and Side Valve were published in Engineering in Miniature magazine.

Drawings are now available again. Contact me here.

Articles in Model Engineer

Articles in Engineering in Miniature

Above and below - V-twin 15cc

Above: Side valve engine 6.75cc.   Below: De Havilland Gipsy 1 aero engine 1928.

Above and below Anzani Y type.

Above and below 9-cylinder rotary engine.

Above and below Aeronca E113 aero engine.