Building a 6 Inch Scale Little Samson Traction Engine

The 6 Inch Scale Little Samson Traction Engine Building Project Starts Here

This website chronicles the construction of a half size (6″ scale) model of the Savage’s brothers Little Samson Traction Engine. It is reported that between 1904 and 1910 nine Little Samson 4NHP, 5 ton, steam tractors were built.

There are probably more than nine live steam models of this traction engine in operation today.

Latest Build Progress Photos

Updated: 05 June 2016

Video – Turning the Shafts

The crank shaft and 2nd shaft must turn freely. This is difficult to achieve if the hornplates are bent as in my case.

After straightening the hornplates in a home made plate bender the shafts can easily be turned by hand.

I have taken off the front wheels (which you can see in the previous progress photos below) so that I can get the front spring heat treated.

The two photos below show the Hornplates complete with Spectacle Plate and Front Plate (which is at the back!) offered up to the boiler but not fixed in position.

Image of 6 inch scale Little Samson Traction Engine Hornplates Fitted To Boiler - Left Hand Side View

Hornplates Fitted To Boiler – LHS View

Clearly visible (that big black tube at the bottom) is the Axle Tube in which the back axle will run.

Image of 6 inch scale Little Samson Traction Engine Spectacle, Front Plate and Hornplates Fitted Fitted To Boiler

Spectacle, Front Plate and Hornplates Fitted

Also visible are two temporary spacer tubes. These will be removed later.

Tandem Build Progress Photo by Fergal in Ireland

Fergal Roche started building his Little Samson Traction Engine in 6″ scale (half full size) a good few months after me and he’s making spectacular progress.

The photo below shows the progress of his build as of 5 June 2016.

Image of Half size model of Little Samson Traction Engine showing progress on 5 June 2016. Being build by Fergal Roche of Roche Engineering in Ireland.

Tandem Build – Fergal’s Engine as of 5 June 2016

Previous Build Progress Photos

Here are the previous build progress photos showing the last stage of building the traction engine.

Image showing Half Size Little Samson Traction Engine Model Boiler Back Front Wheels Axle 00

Get An Idea Of Size From The Dining Table Leg On The Right


Image of 6 Inch Scale Little Samson Traction Engine Construction Boiler Back Front Wheels Axle 01

Rear View Back Wheels Awaiting Spokes and Hornplates


image showing 6 Inch Scale Little Samson Traction Engine Build Boiler Back Front Wheels Axle 02

Boiler Front Axle and Wheels Back Wheels


Image of 6 Inch Scale Little Samson Traction Engine Making Boiler Back Front Wheels Axle 03

Driver’s View Of The Traction Engine Build Progress

Image of Little Samson Traction Engine Half Size Model Back Wheels Strakes Finished Painted 01

Back Wheels Strakes Finished


Image of Little Samson Traction Engine Half Back Wheels Strakes Finished Painted 02

Close-up photo Showing Back Wheel Strakes Rivets

What You Can Expect From This Little Samson Traction Engine Website

  • Photos of the engine and the construction processes
  • Videos showing machining the castings and making the components
  • CAD drawings that I have made to supplement the scaled down Works drawings obtained from Little Samson Models
  • Details of the workshop machine tools, set-ups, jig, fixtures and tools use for the construction
  • How and where I sourced the additional materials needed over and above the casting set purchased from Little Samson Models
  • A running commentary of what I am doing at each stage

How This Website Is Organised

In order to get the most from the website and to learn how this Little Samson Traction Engine model is being constructed you should be aware of how this website is structured.


This is a Page.

A Page contains fixed information. Photographs, videos drawings and textual description.


Posts are more like a diary. The Posts will contain short spontaneous updates and will often point to individual Pages.

To see the latest information go to the latest Post.

The Announcement List

The Announcement List is a Free service I provide to visitors to the website to allow them to be alerted when new information is added to the website.

Simply add your name and email address to the Announcement List form and I’ll send you the occasional email alert when there have been significant updates to the website.

I won’t bombard you with emails every time I update the website ~ only when there has been a significant update that I think is worthy of you taking a look at.

My emails will contain no advertisements.

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4 Responses to Little Samson Traction Engine Home

  • Thank you for starting this website. You take a lot of mystery out of building. A lot of books don,t have good pictures of engine or machining. Thank you thank you Where is the announcement list sign up?

  • Well done Alan. When you said a vid of me turning the shafts I thought you meant machining them.

  • Alan,

    Looks very impressive! I hadn’t realized the size of it. I now understand why you bought the Kinwa 430.

    Hope to be starting the shop build in the next month, finally.


  • Looks like you’re making good progress Alan.
    The rear axle tube alone looks like it must weigh over 50 lbs, then add on all the plates and connecting rods/tubes and I’m guessing the weight adds up pretty quickly. My back hurts just thinking about moving all those heavy steel parts around during the alignment and assembly phases 🙂

    Keep having fun,

    BTW: I moved from Nong Khae to Bang Saen. (Chon Buri area)

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