David started out in model making at school making and modifying kits. When he left school in 1972 he went to "Thorpe Model Makers" who were one of the leading companies specialising in Architectural and Engeneering models.
In 1981 he moved to "DBP models" based at Shepperton Studios. After the pilot of Thomas was filmed he was given the job to sort things out and build more reliable models for a whole series.
After that David teamed up with John Pennicott and they made many more characters for the first and second seasons.
Interview with David Payne can be found on the Sodor Island website: