Bernard!

The Scary One...

Click here for the build diary...

A trip to the Guildford Model Engineering Show with Nikki quite early on in our relationship proved to be a bit of an eye opener... I really wasn't expecting a squeal of delight upon entering the traction engine arena! Once calm had been restored it transpired that she has a bit of a 'thing' for traction engines. So, basically there and then the subject of the first major project changed from a locomotve of some description to a traction engine.

So when I read of an open day at M J Engineering in Ringwood I suggested we pop along (having seen their stand at exhibitions before I knew they published a construction manual - essential, I felt, for the first project). Getting there we found a couple of 3" Fowler A7's in steam, and damned fine they looked too. So the construction manual was bought with the intention of reading it, then provided I hadn't been scared off, to then buy the drawings and start. 2" scale I reckoned. Unfortuntately the owner of one of the A7s had a different idea. 3" is far better than 2", he said. Just as easy to build he said. 5.5" lathe? No problem at all he said - I did mine on a Myford he said. Then he blocked the door and refused to let us leave before we'd bought the drawings...

Which, I guess, is really the point at which Bernard was born...

Bernard is a Fowler A7 single cylinder traction engine in 3" to the foot scale (1/4 full size). Or rather will be, when she's* finished.

* Bernard is of course a girls name. At least it was Nursey's name in Blackadder II...

The drawings have been languishing for over a year now, while the stationary engine hopefully equips me with the skills needed to tackle her. Occasionally they are taken out and perused - then trambling with terror I carefully fold them and put them back... Parts for the smokebox and forecarriage have been ordered to be picked up at the Wembley Model Engineering Exhibition in January 2004, so then we really will be committed. Or perhaps we should be committed...

Here is a photo of a rather nice example photographed at the Amberley Steam Weekend.

Someone's Fowler A7...

Watch this space... ;-)

And now the first set of parts has been bought!

First set of castings - oo-er...