L Davies

Of all the steam traction engines, the ones that had the hardest life were the wonderful showman’s engines. They were not just transport motive power, they were the power source for the fairground and site, too, meaning that they were run more or less continuously. As a result, at the end of their working lives they were truly clapped out. You could have bought a full size engine in 1957 for just £40. Sixty years on you would probably have to pay 10,000 times that for a good one.

This impressive Fowler showman’s engine in 1:6 scale was shown by L. Davies at Doncaster in 2106. It was awarded Best in Show.

While the Burrell has proven to be popular as a model for a showman’s engine, the Fowler is a great alternative. Drawings and castings are available in three scales from Plastow, now part of the Stuart/Bridport Castings group, and elsewhere.

Their catalogue explains: “The showman’s model is an engine of impressive appearance, which is at its best on show generating light. The Fowler is more difficult to build than the Burrell having a lot of works fitted snugly into a small place.

“The 4 in. Fowler showman’s and road loco are probably the ultimate traction engines and produce a large and formidable model with great power reserves. The 3 in. Fowler was introduced for the model engineer who feels the 4 in. model is a little on the large side.”