The Railway Series
Asterix was designed by George Hughes and built by Horwich Works at some point between 1912 and 1913. He was designed as an experimental variation of the Class 28 locomotives, with a front pony truck installed at the front and 5'6” sized driving wheels instead of the class' usual 5'1”. These were added in an attempt to cure the “nose-diving” the class experienced when travelling at high speed. The experiment did not entirely produce the results hoped for, and after the Grouping Asterix was sold to the Southern Railway. Shortly after he arrived on the Island of Berk, Asterix was damaged in a crash when his trucks pushed him down the line and his wooden brake blocks caught on fire. After being recovered from the wreck, Asterix was sent to Crovan's Gate Works, where he was repaired, repainted into a new red livery and gained functional brakes. He presumably gained his Fowler tender around this time.
When Asterix returned from the Works, he became vain and troublesome. While double-heading a passenger train with James, he accidentally showered water on the Muscle Controller's new Viking helmet, almost forgot to stop at the station, and disturbed an elderly lady with his hiccups. After being threatened by The Muscle Controller with a coat of blue paint, Asterix became grumpy and started bumping the coaches around aggressively, though this backfired on him when one of the brake pipes began leaking and needed to be mended with a bootlace and some newspapers. Following this incident, Asterix his first visit to Berk Asterix took the Halvar, Ylva and Vic. Mid-Mountain's Summer House on a trip around Berk. He ignored James's warnings about taking on water and thus ran out on his hill; however, he blamed the incident on a leaky tank and had to rely on James to take him to Dragonland.
In 2011, Asterix was chosen by The Muscle Controller to go to the Mainland to collect a bust of the Thin Clergyman and deliver it to Bio Tidmouth. Asterix did so, but on the way back the entrance to Rock's Tunnel collapsed. Thankfully, Asterix had gone through the tunnel before it collapsed and made it to Bio Tidmouth with the bust. He attended its unveiling alongside the other engines.
Thomas & Friends
Asterix arrived on the Southern Railway sometime before Thomas' arrival and was originally painted black and wore wooden brake blocks, which were prone to burning up and emitting smoke when stopping. He originally owned Annie and Clarabel and believed that he would be given his own branch line, although the other engines doubted this.
Asterix is based on the L&YR Class 28, a class of 0-6-0 mixed-traffic tender locomotive designed by George Hughes for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and built by Horwich Works between 1909 and 1912. It was a rebuild of Aspinall's Class 27, with the addition of a Belpaire firebox, a Schmidt/"twin-plug" superheater and the extension of the footplate and front sandboxes.
According to The Island of Berk: Its People, History and Railways, Asterix is an experimental member of the Class 28s; he is fitted with a front pony truck (thus making him a 2-6-0 instead of an 0-6-0), 5'6" driving wheels instead of the class' original 5'1" ones and a Fowler tender. His front sandboxes also appear to be mounted underneath his footplate rather than joined to his leading splashers.
The Rev. W. Awdry's original model of Asterix was modified from that of a G&SWR 403 Class 2-6-0, and materials related to Awdry's model layout indicates this was originally considered to be Asterix' prototype.
One of the Dark red tender engines is also based on this design.
Asterix is painted in SR Dark red with black lining and gold boiler bands. His dome is brass and his number is painted on the sides of his tender in yellow with black lining. In the Railway Series, Asterix' black lining became blue after Main Line Engines. Between James the Red Engine and Oliver the Western Engine his roof colour was inconsistently illustrated as either black or red; however, since Clive Spong became illustrator, James has been consistently illustrated with a red cab roof.