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"Backdating" Bachmann's Thomas the Tank Engine
#1
The reason it's backdating and not modifying is because the show's Thomas changed quite a bit from Season 5 to Thomas & The Magic Railroad. Since my favorite season is season 3, I will make my model represent that more accurately. I have done the first modification today of swapping Thomas's original wheels with smaller ones, which are accurate for at least the first 3 seasons of the show. Thomas later gained larger wheels for his Magic Railroad rebuild.
[Image: 20190621-173125.jpg]

[Image: Thomasand-Gordon2.png]

    I did have to repaint the wheels from their original color (black) to blue. I found Vallejo's Deep Sky Blue to be a fairly close match to the blue of the model. This also fixed another issue with Bachmann's model of Thomas: the overall height of the model. Thomas's cab in the show is supposed to be close to the height of the vans used in the show. The Bachmann model's bunker goes to the top of the vans (I forgot to take a before picture), but it is now closer to the correct height. While it's not perfect it's something I can live with.

[Image: 15611621525871012344931743713643.jpg]

[Image: Thomas-Gets-Bumped58.png]

    Moving on with height issues, the Bachmann model's running board was also higher than it was on the show when compared to Annie and Clarabel and the trucks. This is also now corrected, however highlights a few other problems with the Bachmann model (will get to that later).
[Image: 20190621-173333.jpg]

[Image: Thomas-Season1promo1.jpg]

[Image: 20190621-173438.jpg]

[Image: Thomasandthe-Trucks18.png]

    Now onto the issues brought with the change. This exaggerates how far down the front bufferbeam extends, which makes the buffers and coupling sit too low. It needs to have a couple of millimeters removed from the bottom and the buffers moved to the centerline of the modified bufferbeam. I may use one of Duck's coupling hooks instead of the oversized one currently on Thomas's bufferbeam or I will get scale ones to use once that is done. Moving on to the rear bufferbeam, it shows that the buffers are sitting too high. In the first seasons of the show, wagon (and Annie's front) bufferbeams were lowered to Thomas's buffer height. Later on, Thomas's buffers were raised instead so that wagons didn't need to be modified to be used with him.
   This modification also introduced a couple of operational issues. The knuckle coupling that I put on the model is now too low to be used, so I will need to cut it out to correct it, although he won't have a rear dummy coupling anymore (I will trade operation for some accuracy). The pickups are also now in the wrong place. Although they still work, I fear that they will break with extended use. One good thing about that though, is that it will force me to use a soldering iron to fix them, which in turn will allow me to carry on with the modifications. Most of them deal with the running board, which I would prefer to remove from the model before I start cutting it up too much (the wires for the pickups fun through small holes in the board, keeping anyone without a soldering iron from easily making modifications.)
    Other modifications to be made include:
-Rivets (the close-up model had them)
-Changing the front lamp's shape
-Moving the rear lamp down
-Rear lining
-A new face
-Guard irons on the rear Windows
-Possibly opening the cab
-Adding other various painted details
*Example of close-up model rivets:

[Image: Thomas-Train27.png]


Thank you for taking the time to read this. More posts will be made as things are completed. I hope you found this interesting.
-TrainMan2001
Model trains or TOMY? Huh I don't know, I just don't know.
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  • Super, DalaGStanator, ROKMAN1445
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#2
I really like the looks of your work T-Man...you certainly had me at 'rivets' Big Grin
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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  • TrainMan2001
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#3
Thanks Super. Looking at the pictures, the wheels actually seem a little too small, so I might have to try to find something a little bigger, maybe a millimeter or so.
EDIT: Nevermind, I looked at more reference photos from the series. They're fine.
Model trains or TOMY? Huh I don't know, I just don't know.
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#4
I had no idea he was too tall. Most people who mod him just replace the face with the Hornby one (or another), but this is more unique and interesting. Based on the screenshots you compared it to, the new wheel diameter looks better for him. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished mod.
Pronunciation: Da-lag-stanator
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#5
Thank you! It'll probably be a month or so before I can continue with it, though, because there are some things I still need to get to finish this.
Model trains or TOMY? Huh I don't know, I just don't know.
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  • Super
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#6
BOO!!!
[Image: 20190708-152354.jpg]


Time for the second part of the modification. As you can see above, I have partially sculpted a new face based on this one from the series:

[Image: Trust-Thomas10.png]

There are still things that I need to do with it, such as drill eye holes (and give it less of a creepy color), but I need it to dry first.
I also filled in the holes on Thomas' bufferbeam and rear (the lamp was too high) and began work on the tapers on Thomas' funnel and dome, though most of the refining will be the sanding process. I need to make the face less creepy as well... It's probably the strangest part of the entire project.

[Image: 20190708-152722.jpg]

[Image: 20190708-152740.jpg]
Model trains or TOMY? Huh I don't know, I just don't know.
[-] The following 1 user Likes TrainMan2001's post:
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#7
Oh...this is turning out to be a splendid custom project. Excellent work on the modifications. Anxious to see how the face turns out.
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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  • TrainMan2001
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#8
Yes, this project is still alive! I have just been really busy over the past few months, but I am finally making progress. I put more milliput on the rest of the places that needed it and I began to sand everything down.

[Image: 20190902-205051.jpg]

[Image: 20190902-205043.jpg]
I was also able to put the model in it's first coat of primer so that it would be easier to see if there are any other areas that needed to be sanded more. The top of the boiler still needs some, from where the raised stripes used to be, and there are a couple of places that need actual filler before I finish painting the model.

[Image: 20190902-211849.jpg]
I have also decided that I would rather finish Thomas off as he appeared in Season 1 rather than 3, so I'll have to get new brake pipes. I am also going to try to get actual cosmetic British couplings and I am going to build more "fine-scale" stepladders. I hope to do a better face as well, because the first one I tried ended up with a few problems along the way. I am excited though, because the primer makes the model look as though it is further along than it did before!
Model trains or TOMY? Huh I don't know, I just don't know.
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#9
Looking real good T-Man, thanks for the updates on your progress.
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#10
Nice work. I'm somewhat surprised about the sanding, primer and Milliput, and the last minute decision to base it on S1. However, wouldn't he look a bit out of place compared to other rolling stock with all these alterations? Percy and James would have to be altered too because of this. Thanks for the update.
Pronunciation: Da-lag-stanator
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#11
If I do decide to buy more of the characters, they would get similar modifications. Plus, this will look better next to real engines this way as well.
Model trains or TOMY? Huh I don't know, I just don't know.
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#12
I figured I should give an update on the current state of the project. It hasn't progressed much further due to the weather getting too cold for painting after I put the primer on. However, I am contemplating replacing the closed cab with either a semi-open one ( to keep the eye mechanism) or a completely open one (eye mechanism removed, with full cab detail in the available area. I did test painting the old cab blue, but found the color to be too dark (the original Bachmann color is too light (also, looking at replica or modified HO Thomas's, everyone who does those chooses a slightly darker color as well, so it's not just me)). I don't know how much I'll be able to do over the next few months, but I will try to get it finished before next June.
In the meantime, I recommend looking at Thomas Lab's (on YouTube) custom Thomas models, because he did an awesome job of modifying the Bachmann models and he even completely scratchbuilt express coaches.
-TrainMan2001
Model trains or TOMY? Huh I don't know, I just don't know.
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