This is my early Hobbies SE4 - made in 1936 (no inline oiler or lubricator). I bought this from a good friend who has since passed away, so not only is it a rare engine, it has huge sentimental value. It is in totally original condition, I just removed some excess solder where the safety valve had been resoldered at some point in its long life.

This is the engine a lot of collectors of early British engines chase, particularly Mamod/Hobbies collectors. There are rarer engines out there, like the early SE3 or the twin cylinder Minor 2 - but the SE4 is, as far as I'm concerned, the most attractive engine of them all. My example runs like an absolute trooper.

Hobbies SE2

This was a prime example of what the Unofficial Mamod and Other Steam Engines Forum jokingly calls "Luck of the Moose".......

I was working away from base, doing a recording in Cowbridge, a genteel little town in the Vale of Glamorgan. On a break I decided to take a stroll into town, and stumbled across one of these antiques emporiums, you know the kind, lots of different traders in one shop, mainly stuffed animals and oil paintings. I had a rather despondent little mooch, and spotted a cabinet with some Hornby stuff. Half hidden under a stack of magazines I noticed a familiar perforated base.....another look, and suddenly my palms got rather sweaty....I called over the proprietor, inquired after a price, to which the response was "£25, but you can have it for £20".....quick as a flash my wallet came out and a very short while later Mooseman was seen dancing down the streets of Cowbridge, making strange little whooping noises.

This is of course a Hobbies SE2...made by Geoffrey Malins, before the Mamod brand name, for Hobbies. Hobbies at that time was trying out Malins as a supplier because Geoffrey Bowman-Jenkins had stopped making the "Bowman" brand of engines....the 1937 Hobbies Handbook (separate purchase) shown in the background shows both Malins and Bowman engines, but all are sold under the Hobbies brand.

This little engine is in superlative is very complete, the box is relatively undamaged, burner's there, and the decal's near perfect. Only detracting factors are that the safety valve is a little damaged and firebox have been repainted in a very dim and distant past....I expect by a previous owner, who has left his name in faint pencil on top of the box: "Alan Wood, 40 Albert St., Warwick"..... was this the first owner? Can't help but wonder what became of him.

It is of course worth rather more than 20's an important little engine, because it marks the end of the dominance of Bowman, and the beginning of Mamod, as the market leaders in toy steam. I do like it very, very much is almost a perfect cross between a Mamod and a Bowman, and very close to what I would call a perfectly designed engine. Does it run, I hear you ask? Well, I have not come across a British engine from this era yet that doesn't run, and this little beauty is no exception