Visible engine scale models



I wanted to buy a 'visible engine' model, but I was thoroughly confused by the many models available. To create some order in this chaos, I gathered all my information on this page. It appears that most visible engine models have been around for a long time, and they have been issued many times under different brands and in different boxes.


Car engines



Appr. 1/2 scale generic OHC V-8

Functional and motorized model of a V8 engine with overhead camshafts. More than 250 pieces. Illuminating spark plugs. Engine sound recording from a real V8. The instructions are in Haynes 'Workshop manual' style. Model dimensions 420 x 300 x 110 mm. Requires three AA batteries
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Haynes HM10 2013 European packaging
Haynes HYE42839 2013 US packaging


1/4 scale Studebaker 259/289 V8 (previously listed as Pontiac 371/389)

The model has moving pistons and connecting rods. The camshaft operates rocker arms and valves. Rubber fan-belt and vinyl ignition wires. Includes display stand. Ebay seller Stunnuts sells a CD on how to build this model properly.

Often thought to be a Chevy block, it was previously reported that it mostly resembles a 1958 or 1959 Pontiac 371 or 389 engine (matching exhaust manifolds, alternator is on the left) or the Packard V-8 (matching valve covers, but the Packard alternator is on the right). Monty Montgomery made a very thorough analysis of this model's 1:1 scale inspiration:

The engine is a mashup of a couple different 1950s V8 engines - they all looked kind of similar. There's one big difference with the real engines: the Visible V8 has the right cylinders offset to the front of the left cylinders, which is the opposite of every American V8 I know of. I'm currently building a 'dressed' version of the engine with a bit more attention to sorting out what parts came from where and decided it was mostly a Studebaker, so that's how I'm building it.

Going piece by piece, the engine is maybe 80% Studebaker 259/289. The unmistakable bits that had no real counterpart in another engine are the crank, geared cam, valve design/shape, and water pump. Several other bits match Studebaker, but also match a few other engines, like the straight/central oil filler, fuel pump on the left, balancer shape, plug placement, etc. The classic up-front Studebaker oil filter isn't there, but there was a dealer-installed full-flow option that did locate it on the right side where it is on the Visible V8. If you move the generator to the right side of the engine and paint the red parts to a Studebaker engine color (they changed often, but were never red), you have to look close to see anything but a stock Studebaker.

That said... The fan detail closely matches a 1950s Chevy 389. This plus the engine originally being red is probably the only thing that's 'Chevy-ish', but I'm sure anyone who owns a Chevy notices that first :-) The transmission is a first version GM Hydramatic (I think at the time that would have been primarily on Cadillac). The carburetor is a Rochester 2GC, that also would have been from a GM engine. The starter motor shape and starter/generator position are classic Oldsmobile Rocket 303. The generator itself is just a generic Delco. Many parts don't really match anything. The intake manifold and headers are just sort of a blocky generic design.

I don't see any resemblance anywhere in the engine to a Pontiac. The Pontiac engine designs of the time were kind of unusual in several ways, and all the signature things that made a Pontiac V8 a Pontiac aren't there. I also don't see any resemblance to a Packard engine except in a generic sort of way. Packard and Studebaker merged in the 1950s, but the engine lines were kept separate.


Note that Revell also made a working store display of the Visible V8 engine. It was a flat box showing a cross section of the engine, with lighting to show the spark plugs operating. Catalog number is B-905, and it was issued in 1979.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Renwal 802 ? Motorized
Renwal 802 ? Motorized
Renwal 802 ? Motorized. Simple cardboard box with printing. Instructions show the box-art drawing of the box shown above, therefore this appears to be a later issue.
Revell H902 1977 Packaged in a plain cardboard box with some markings. Motorized. Renwal moulds were taken over by Revell in 1975
Revell/J.C Penney HS902 197. no information so far
Revell 0902 1977 Motorized.
Revell 8883 1996 The design was changed with a hand-operated crank instead of an electric motor. The working distributor with little lights in each spark plug was also deleted. It appears that the transmission case was deleted too.
Revell 8883 ? Almost similar box art but with a red band
Revell 85-8883 2005 Hand crank
Revell 85-8883 ? Almost similar box art but with a different Revell logo
Revell 85-8883 2013?


1/4 scale Ford 1948 Flathead V-8

60+ parts, working pistons and valves. Lindberg also issued a 1/6 scale, non-visible, assembled version of this engine.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Lindberg 11090 ? Announced in 2009 Lindberg/Hawk catalog, but it now seems to have been canceled


1/6 scale Chevrolet 283 ci V-8

300 parts including engine stand, vinyl belts and ignition wiring. Photo-etched data plaques in (at least) the #8337 issue. Flywheel turns crankshaft and pistons, parts can be removed to show interior detail and functional parts. Comments: 'very realistic' and 'AMT gives you a rubber timing chain that just will not stay in place on the cam gear so the crank won't drive the cam shaft & rockers/valves'.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
AMT 8340 1999
AMT/Ertl 8337 later?


1/8 scale Chevrolet 283 cubic inch V-8

Can be built as a stock Chevrolet 283, a show customized engine, a drag strip engine, a competition customized engine, and dozens of variations. Contains a supercharger, tuned exhausts, seven carburetors, six intake manifolds, and a display stand. 135 parts in black, red, clear and silver plastic. Contains clear plastic windows and inspection appartures to watch the internal action. The model could be motorized with the 'Motor Power Kit', catalog number AK100
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Monogram PE62 1960 'Plastikit Action Model'
Monogram PC62


1/4 scale Chrysler 1960 170 cubic inch slant six

Issued late 1961 together with six Chrysler car models representing the whole 1962 line-up. Tooled from Chrysler blueprints, it had very realistic engraving and details, much better than the generic Visible V-8. Approximately 300 parts molded in four colors: black, red, silver and gray. Several parts can be removed to show the functions: the valve cover, the oil pan, the intake and exhaust manifolds, the left side of the cylinder head, and the left side of the cylinder block. The A903 three-speed manual transmission houses the electric motor that drives the crankshaft, pistons and valves. Light-up spark plugs timed through the distributor. The MoparMax site has an excellent article on this model's history.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Revell H1553 1961-62 Opaque parts
Revell H1555 1963 "See Thru" version with some clear parts. Completely identical box art?


1/4 scale Dodge 426 V-8 Hemi

A replica of the 426 Hemi Sports from 1964-1965. More than 300 clear, silver and chrome plated parts. Working crankshaft, pistons, cam and valves, powered by an electric motor. 9 inches long.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Testors 452 ?


1/4 scale Dodge 426 V-8 Racing Hemi

Visible working engine with sound chip and action. Over 300 parts, working valves, pistons and crankshaft. Powered by an electric motor.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Testors 453 ?
Testors ? ?


1/3 scale 2.3 liter 4 cylinder turbo engine

Moving crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, overhead cam valve train and timing belt. See-through turbo charger with manually moving impellers. Operating ignition system with firing spark plugs. Operating engine accessories including alternator, air pump and fan drive system.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Revell H906 1979
Revell 1985
Car&Driver 1985 Small Revell-Ceji logo in top left corner. No Revell catalog number identified so far
Revell 8882 1993
Revell 1996


1/6 scale Ford or Opel four-cylinder side-valve engine

This is a German model from the fifties, that was to be assembled with the supplied screwdriver and wrench. The see-through engine block, sump, and head are made of plastic, all other parts are metal. By turning the handcrank the pistons, camshaft and valves are operated. The 3-volt battery powered spark plugs fire in sequence. The engine is fitted with a working three-speed gearbox with reverse, and even a clutch that is functional. Combined length is around 15 centimers / 6 inches. The engine is mounted on a steel base. There are two accounts of the inspiration of this model. The first one is that it is a Ford Model T engine, the second that it was patterned after a pre-war Opel engine. Philippe de Lespinay has a great webpage on this engine.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Gescha ? 'fifties Available with German and English language instructions


1/x scale generic 4 cylinder engine

Generic four cylinder engine, it doesn't represent any particular original. Moving pistons, valvegear and fan belt, electric motor, illuminating spark plugs, ignition sound. Over 100 parts. Finished model size 180 x 270 x 140 mm (H x W x D). It was designed by Heller, but a Heller issue has not surfaced yet.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Popular Mechanics
Smithsonian
Haynes TY4132
81413
Airfix A42509 2010
Humbrol / Young Scientist
Discovery kids


1/3 scale Wankel

125 parts.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Renwal 811 ? Also issued as 811-1600 with small box differences
Revell H913 ? molded in 4 colors, firing spark plugs. Renwal moulds were taken over by Revell in 1975


1/4 scale Wankel

Reportedly a realistic model of a real rotary engine. It has planetary gears in the rotors, and it can be manually operated by rotating the flywheel. No electronics.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
AMT T575 1974 Two clear sprues, one blue and one yellow sprue
Esci-Ertl 3400 1992 Two clear sprues, two blue sprues. Build report by Attila Vígh in Hungarian


1/5 scale Mazda Wankel

Judging by the look and colors, this appears to be a 10A model as fitted in the Cosmo 110. The same engine was also fitted in the R100 and early RX-3 but with a blue air cleaner. Parts to engine include an air cleaner, fan, fan belt, generator, starter, stick shift, and transmission housing. Runs on two batteries. Includes wiring and vinyl tubing. Reported inaccuracies: "the rotors are wrong dimensions, the internal gears are fake, eccentric shaft is all wrong, all of which has to do with making it turn over via the electric motor. Not a bad kit and at least they got all the external stuff close to the 1:1 prototype."
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Bandai ? ?
Gakken 81588 ?
Entex 8201 ~1973 Made by Gakken for Entex.
Minicraft 11201 1996
Minicraft 11201 2001


1/8 scale Ford 707 gas turbine engine

Has some transparent parts, but possibly not a true visible engine? Motorized.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Gakken Engine series No. 3 ?
Entex 8480 1973



Motorcycle engines



1/3 scale Honda Four Cylinder 750 Engine

187 pre-colored styrene and metal components. Moving overhead valves, pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft. Flashing spark plugs fire in proper sequence. Runs on batteries. Kit also includes the gear box, battery box, crank case, oil pan, and the carburetor. Includes wiring and vinyl tubing. Display stand and nameplate included. Very detailed instructions, with several major trouble-shooting tips in back.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Gakken ? ?
Entex 8221 ?
Minicraft 11202 ?


1/2 scale Harley-Davidson Twin Cam 88

Working valves, pistons and crankshaft, driven by electric motor. Over 150 parts, over 13" tall. Clear external parts that allow a clear view of internals. Includes a sound card recording of the real engine.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Testors 460 2006



Aircraft engines



1/4 scale Pratt & Whitney Wasp 9-cylinder radial

Cylinders and crankcase molded clear, while the valves, connecting rods, push rods, rocker arms, gears, etc. are molded in opaque plastic. The prop is a replica of a constant speed (variable pitch) propeller, so each of the two blades can be moved at right angles to the center hub of the propeller shaft.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Renwal 809 1960 ? Motorized, with lights hooked into the distributor to light in sync with the firing sequence.
Revell 8614 1981 'History makers' reissue. Has no motor or operating lights. Renwal moulds were taken over by Revell in 1975


1/6 scale Le Rhone 80 hp 9-cylinder rotary

Not a visible model.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Williams Brothers 302 ? -
Williams Brothers 30200 ? Box has a blue dot (1/8 scale model boxing has a yellow dot)
Williams Brothers 30260 ? Rereleased with new box art in January 2009


1/8 scale Le Rhone 80 hp 9-cylinder rotary

Not a visible model.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Williams Brothers 301 ? -
Williams Brothers 30100 ? Yellow dot indicates 1/8 scale (1/6 scale model boxing has a blue dot)


1/8 scale Pratt & Whitney Wasp 9-cylinder radial

Not related to the Renwal/Revell model, and not a visible model. Note that William Brothers also produces 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/8, 1/12 and 1/32 Wasp engines, but these are simple 'dummy' models for RC models, and not detailed like the #307 / #30700.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Williams Brothers 307 ?
Williams Brothers 30700 ? molded in two colors: black cylinders, gray nine-cylinder crankcase


1/8 scale Wright J-5 Whirlwind 9-cylinder radial

The engine that powered Lindbergh's Ryan 'Spirit of St Louis'. Not a visible model.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Williams Brothers 304 ? -
Williams Brothers 30400 ? -


1/12 scale Wright Cyclone nine-cylinder radial

The only 'visible' feature was one cylinder that showed a piston going up and down.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Monogram 6052 ?
Monogram PE52 1959
Monogram PE252 ? 1983 'Heritage Edition' reissue
Revell ? ?


1/11 scale Allison T56 (501-D13) turboprop

Cutaway model. It is most likely based on a 1:1 scale T-56 cut-away instruction engine. The model is missing a couple of pipes compared to the real engine. The scale rather unclear, 1/10 is printed on the 1991 box, 1/12 is also mentioned.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Revell H1151 ? early sixties
Revell H1152 ? with motor
Revell 8606 ? Possibly a plain cardboard box version issued in the sixties, like Revell's V8 H902. It had a smaller box and looked like a mail order version
Revell ? 1982 'History Makers' reissue. Molded in two instead of four colors.
Revell 8880 1991


1/? scale generic turbofan engine

Turbofan engine mounted on wing pylon with throttle control.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Hornby Young Scientist af20005 2009
Airfix A20005 2010



Generic engines



1/? scale four stroke engine

No comments found so far.
Box art Manufacturer Cat # Year Comments
Airfix C701S or 07551 and 07870 1972 This kit depicts a single cylinder stationary engine. Bore 1 inch, stroke 1 1/4 inch. Can be fitted with an electric motor. Crankcase, timing case and cylinder head are sectioned to allow viewing. Part of the 'collector series', that appears to have consisted of four engines of various sorts, including a steam powered beam engine. All the kits were motorised when first released.


Plastic and metal engine kits, no 'visible' components:

Liberty Classics sells built-up engine models of (probably) the above, in many variations not offered by the models.



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