Build your own working tabletop V8 engine


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That looks a whole lot like the 4-cylinder one sold under the Smithsonian brand name, which was awesome to build with my son, until it turned out the timing belt had malformed teeth and would slip after about two cranks of the engine.

The company did eventually ship replacements, but by that time the partially-assembled engine had met its demise.

My experience removing and replacing the timing belt cover multiple times suggests that any kind of sustained repeat disassembly/reassembly will end rather quickly in stripped screws, reamed-out plastic screw holes, and tears.

Some years back I built a similar kit of the Wankel rotary engine. And now I find out … I could’a had a V-8! //rim shot


So, it looks like it doesn’t actually internally combust. (Or, at least not for long)


I had the same frustrations with the 4-banger to that jackbird described. My 10-year-old son and I built it and it ran wonderfully until it threw its timing belt. And at that point I wasn’t disassembling it again because all the screw heads were stripped out from repeatedly disassembling to adjust the timing belt and cams due to rather vague instructions. It’s now on static display now in my son’s room.

I remember partially building one of these from Revell. I think I got ahead of myself and glued some of the parts together before I should have. I doubt it cost $65 (or whatever the equivalent was in 1984). I don’t remember it having any belts, only gears (though I may not have gotten that far).

Speaking of model kits, I guess I was rather utilitarianist, as I usually built airliners – I seldom built military or private planes (not many cars, either). Anyone looked down the model aisle lately? (at Michael’s for example) It’s almost all military (as far as the aircraft models are concerned), maybe one or two historical airplanes and no airliners at all.

See, it was even more educational than you’d expected!

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There are still a LOT of plastic models made, but you have to find a “real” hobby shop to find them.

Or this place!

In fact . . . look!

A whole page of plastic model engines, including the Revell Visible V-8 and a Visible Rotary Engine! YOUR CHILDHOOD IS STILL HERE, UPTHREAD PEOPLE!


I had one of those that my dad and I built back somewhere around 1972-1973 time frame. I don’t remember the manufacturer - I think that it was called the ‘Visible V8’ or some such.

The engine cranked, the intake and exhaust valves opened and closed at the right time, and the red led spark plugs ‘fired’ at the top of the compression stroke. Pretty dang cool. And even though it was all plastic, I don’t remember it breaking.

My mother probably still has it in a box somewhere. ; - )

Even older than that - I built a Revell kit one in high school circa 1967. The main problem was the friction of all the moving bits, so it wasn’t all that smooth.

What you’ve got there is a model - a simulacrum of a real engine. A real V8 is only slightly bigger and heavier, but a lot more expensive, and not as easily available.

Yeah, came here to check that. It says “fully functional”, but then says “With a sound recording of a real V8, illuminating spark plugs and an electric motor”.
So not really then.
I was hoping they’d turned this engine into a kit. For 50 quid!

from the description on “duel overhead cam V8 Engine” (sic).

Does that mean that the cams are fighting one another?

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