Ken-ichi Tsuzuki Model Engines

Ken-ichi Tsuzuki Model Engines took my breath away. I came across his website by chance and have spent ages going through his work. This page will hopefully introduce you to Ken’s work and be a starting point to explore more. I asked Ken why he makes model engines:

There is no reason and when I found Bob Shores’ Silver Angel, I thought there was no other way except for building  it. I was completely fascinated by that engine. So I wrote to Bob Shores and I got the drawings and manual. When I read the manual, I found it was too difficult for me to build it. Then I found the Weaver, and the process of building it was shown step by step and I thought I might be able to build it. So I first tried Weaver and then Silver Angel. When you love some woman, probably there is no reason. I thought it is  same for me. Only one reason is I like it.

Ken-ichi Tsuzuki M.D.

Silver Angel

Silver Angel

This is Bob Shores’ Silver Angel. A 4 stroke spark-ignition engine with a displacement of about 6cc.

As the second engine that Ken made this is a great example this small single cylinder. There are lots of pages that describe the build in detail: Silver Angel.

silver angel pistons

Lot’s of Ken’s pages show his fantastic workmanship, but I have to say that I really enjoyed the honesty when things go wrong.

After some time of running the Silver Angel would not restart. Ken made a new piston and rings, happily describing the issues.

Kinner 5 Cylinder Radial

kinner 5 cylinder radial
Kinner Crankcase

The crankcase for the Kinner is a work of art in it’s own right.

Ken goes into the detail of machining the crankcase. Starting with a 120mm diameter billet that is 50mm thick and then the removal of 90% of the material.

The carburetor is a delight to see in steps.

As with most of us model engine makers Ken makes a lot of jigs and tools along the way. A good example of this is sensitive drill press.

kinner 5 cylinder radial

The attention to detail is shown in the control panel. A dab hand with electronics and the circuit designs are shared on Ken’s website.

Wright J5 9 Cylinder Radial

wright 9 cylinder radial
1/4 scale Wright J5 9 radial by Karl Erik Olsryd.

Check out the build of the Wright J5, this is an engine that you can just sit and stare at. This is the engine that caught my eye and introduced me to Ken-ichi Tsuzuki M.D. Model Engines.

The biggest advantage is that the drawings are drawn with metrics. No need for inch-millimeter conversion. I’m so happy that I’m crying. I imagine this is the reason why no American engine builder makes it.

Ken-ichi Tsuzuki M.D.
wright 9 cylinder
wright 9 cylinder radial cylinder

Here a CNC lathe is used to machine the cylinders. I must say that multi-cylinder engines are lovely, but the repeated machining operations can be tiresome sometimes.

However, this tiredness is normally turned into joy when all of the parts are lined up. Ken has lots of photos of collections of parts.

Apparently there are more than 1500 parts in this engine. Wow!

Harley-Davidson V-Twin

harley-davidson v-twin
harley-davidson v-twin

The latest of Ken’s engines is a Harley-Davidson V-twin. Follow this latest build as it develops to a running engine.

Fascinated by that unique exhaust sound, I decided to make the twin cam 88 released by Harley in 1999. I was wondering if a pan head would be good, but I can’t get the drawings. In that respect, twin cam 88 has a 1/2 scale plastic model.

Harley twin cam 88 by Ken-ichi Tsuzuki
harley-davidson piston

The detail in the pistons are a delight. Look at the retaining clip and the size of this feature.

Ken-ichi Tsuzuki Model Engines are an inspiration and his story of how he started to make them should give us all an incentive to start making model engines. A great addition to our Model Making Gallery.

Note: all of the images here are copyright Ken-ichi Tsuzuki, we have used them here with permission.

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