1803 Coalbrookdale Trevithick steam locomotive

   The first locomotive to run on rails was the Trevithick steam engine he built for the mine at Coalbrookdale in Shropshire. There is some disagreement about whether it ran or not but it is known that a lot of the special railway plates were broken and had to be replaced suggesting that it did run. Most of the information about the engine has been gleaned from a drawing now held at the London science museum and from correspondence between Trevithick and his friend Davies Giddy.

   A physical description matches the 1803 high-pressure steam Coalbrookdale engine rather than the later 1804 "Pen-y-Darren" locomotive. Principally because the fire box doors are under the working parts when the "Pen-y-Darren" locomotive is described as having the boiler at the opposite end so the fire box was away from the moving parts. As no original of either engine has survived, and only the drawings of the Coalbrookdale engine remain, all the recreations are based upon the 1803 drawings.

   If the following years “Pen-y-darren” engine is any guide the Coalbrookdale engine was capable of a speed of around 5 mph, an astounding speed considering the working carts were usually pushed by miners or pulled by animal power at barely a walking pace. One of the main achievements was to prove that smooth wheels on smooth rails would have enough friction to provide traction.

   Whatever the shortcomings of the recreations, or the kit, the fact remains that the locomotive itself was a landmark vehicle. 

1/32nd scale kit

Built by Rod 

   Airfix 1/32nd scale kit #A05871 was first released in 1968 and re-released several times unaltered but for the box art. The kit is without doubt a product of its era, originally sold with a motor (to be hidden in the large base) so it could be a moving model. This sort of gimmick isn't attractive these days but the kit can still build into a reasonable static display model. That said, it isn't an easy build at all.

   Built by Rod during 2014. Painted with Halfords acrylic car spray paints for the primer and the main black colour. Actually the colours are a matter of conjecture and debate does surround the various recreations of Trevithick engines. Humbrol enamels and Revell acrylic paints were applied by brush for the detail work.

   Getting a metal look has been a tough ask for many years but by using Pinnacle metallic pigment powders there is a nice metallic sheen in areas were the paint could have been worn off or affected by heat. Brass, copper and gold however remain difficult to really get that metal look without “metallic flakes”.