Sold February 2004 Back to Archive

Part-built 3 inch scale Fowler B5 crane engine - stock code 2197

A well-advanced three inch scale model of the Fowler B5 Road Locomotive, a large 8nhp engine in full size weighing in at 23 tons. The model is correspondingly large, similar in size to a smaller four inch scale model. It has been built thus far as a crane engine - modifications from standard include longer mainshafts, the crane winch bracket mounted in front of the chimney and drop-down stabilisers to the front axle designed to spread lifting loads out to the front wheels. Personally I would be tempted to complete it as a crane engine, but it could easily be converted to a standard road locomotive (or, indeed, a Showmans if desired).

The work so far is the product of a prolific builder with six large-scale engines to his credit thus far. This engine was being built as one of a pair - the other engine in Showman's form - and represents seven years spare time work thus far. Other projects currently in his workshop include a 6 inch scale steam wagon and a 2 inch scale Ruston tractor.

I would put this engine at something over 85% complete, with all the difficult jobs and expenditure safely behind it. Work to date includes:

Wheels complete with bonded on rubber tyres, stainless steel hub caps
Professionally-built steel boiler by H.Holt, expanded in tubes, initial 400 psi hydraulic test certificate, welder's certificate
Completed stainless steel grate and part-fabricated ashpan
Pair fusible plugs, boiler blowdown valve
Cylinder block machined, valve faces and ports machined, pistons and rings fitted, glands and drain cocks
Set machined guide bars
Weighshaft bracket machined, complete with weighshaft, reach-rod lever and lifting links
Connecting rods with split & cottered big ends, big ends to be bored
Crankshaft fabricated and rough-machined, big end and main bearing journals to be finished
Machined flywheel, bored, keyway cut
All steering gear finished and fitted
Smokebox, smokebox door, locking handles and chimney with copper cap
All gears professionally cut, differential assembled
Tender complete and fitted
Brake gear made and fitted
Belly tanks complete and fitted, complete with water lifter
Pressure gauge fitted, new R.A.Barker 3-cock water gauge included
Winch drum with fairleads fitted
Gear selector and reversing levers rough-machined in stainless steel
Boiler feed pump bored, ram fitted

Many model "compounds" are built as simple expansion engines - it makes building easier and a lower working pressure can be used, but the finished engine doesn't have the characteristic booming compound exhaust note. The cylinder block shown on the boiler in the photographs is a double-high casting originally supplied, however the engine and boiler have been built for true compound working, using a cylinder casting produced from the builder's own patterns - this is the completed cylinder block assembly shown.

Work to complete includes fitting the block to boiler, making gear guards, machining slide valves, making a fitting motion work. Castings are included for eccentric straps and sheaves. There is a complete commerically-made cylinder lubricator.

Length 59 inches
Height 40 inches
Weight when completed approx 600 pounds

scale 3 inch