Thomas and the Coal Board

“Dad why can Thomas not be on your layout?”

A few weeks ago Evie asked me the above, I looked at her and I geniunely did not have any real reason. I mean apart from the fact he has a face, he’s modelled by Hornby from a period when scaling down dimensions was something for the Europeans, he is blue and his crappy chassis means his reputation as a really useful engine is a tad over egged.

But then blow me down Chris and I are stood falling hopelessly in love with a new and improved American layout at the Chatham show and inbetween the perfectedly modelled rakes comes Thomas in all his finery charging along like a dog on heat. Kids became amazed, they really loved it and lets be honest most of us got into this game through Thomas and his odd selection of friends.
Have a look – its top drawer filth.

So I thought why the hell not, he is cheap for starters which in my world is number 1 and if at an exhibition it gets one kid interested then it would be worth it. Why get hung up about finescale, it should be never be taken too seriously anyway and to be honest a £20 investment is nothing compared to kids seeing their favourite loco making a cameo appearance. A cameo on a cameo? A paradox maybe.

But he had to be knackered and filthy, he is working well past his sell by date and hired by the NCB after all. So somehow, forever smiling, here is Sodor’s numero uno covering for the failed normal Austerity. 

He needs coupling, crew and the wheels cleaning a bit more but you get the idea.
Evie when she saw it smiled in the sort of way only kids can which made it worth while but then turned straight faced, commenting ‘he will be lonely without Percy though’. 

But there is something odd about that model, he sort of radiates happiness and I found myself smiling at it a couple of times. Maybe that inner kid has not quite grown up yet.



11 thoughts on “Thomas and the Coal Board

  1. I was just going to mention that episode where Thomas gets buried in a load of coal…

    He looks quite practical with a reasonable layer of dirt, no doubt earned from a day’s work as a “really useful engine”.



  2. That American layout (CNJ at Mauch Chunk) is quite sharp. Do I ever like it? I was always a fan of the Vic Roseman articles that used to appear in Railroad Model Craftsman and Model Railroader that always seemed to feature CNJ suburban and commuter services. It’s an aesthetic I find quite pleasing with all those camelback steam engines and fleets of heavyweight commuter cars.


  3. Just shown this to my daughter who’s 7 and she thinks it’s brilliant.
    **Think Thomas is going to have to make an appearance on my Modern TMD layout.
    A bit out of place….but why not!! Superb work as always guys.

  4. It’s funny how toning down the ultra-gloss of the model out of the box makes it 100% more realistic. Totally agree with you and others, railway modelling should never take itself completely seriously.

  5. At a recent exhibition, there were Two young lads looking at “Parkstone”, completely out of era, I bought the Class 66 out, horns blessing, lights flashing but no, they were more interested in the little Hornby Peckett chuffing up and down the line.
    We are there to entertain the public so, if Thomas is what they want, who are we to say otherwise.

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