The models were made in 7mm scale and unpowered because of the lack of motors, but they did prove to be a guide for illustrators to work with. They were also designed to resemble C. Reginald Dalby's original illustrations.
The main frames of each loco were cut from 1/16 in. nickel-silver, two "blanks" being soldered together for drilling all holes and shaping to outline. The frames were then bolted together with countersunk 6 B.A. bolts screwed into frame spacers specially turned from brass and threaded internally. Cross-stretchers were then soldered in where needed to carry bogey-pivot, footplate fixings and other attachments. Driving-axle bearings were slotted out downwards and the axles retained in place by keeper strips bolted on below, so that the complete set of driving wheels can be "dropped" as a unit when required. Bogies and pony trucks were bolted and soldered up from strip brass and nickel-silver and are pivoted on the "radial-arm" principle with a weight-bearing spring rubbing on a stretcher approximately above the bogie centre. All superstructures from footplate up were removable. In the earlier models they were fixed down by two bolts in the cab floor and two through the front buffer-beam, but in the last two models the front bolts are dispensed with. The boilers were made by rolling layers of Bristol board on a wood former of suitable diameter. The layers are glued together and each boiler shell consists of three or four layers. When wood "bulkhead" discs have been fitted and the boiler treated with shellac varnish it has great strength and rigidity. Finally, the "faces", which occupy the position where more conventional locomotives habitually keep their smokebox doors, are modelled in "Plastone", a form of Plasticine which hardens when exposed to the air.
The fate of the original models remains unknown; it is possible that they would have been used in the original 1950s BBC Series that never came to fruition after the disastrous pilot episode.
- By 1952, a relief map of the Island of Sodor was made by P.R. Wickham, commissioned by Edmund Ward for the Rev. W. Awdry. It displayed in the study at Awdry's house in Stroud until 1997, but is now on display at the "Awdry Study" at the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum.
- Model Maker Magazine: The Locomotive Family by P.R. Wickham on Pegsean.net
- The Mapping of Sodor on Pegsean.net