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just something interesting i picked up the other day, these were made from early ERTL die cast thomas toys from the mid 80s and a pair of Marx double reduction motors. nicely enough, they both had e-units too. 



i’m in the process of upgrading thomas a bit, his wheel arrangement was really bothering me.




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Last edited by Signalwoman
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@Mallard4468 posted:

I like the dirt smudges on Sir Toppem Hat.

oh that isn’t dirt, those are chips in his paint, he’s one of my childhood toys.

@CarGuyZM10 posted:

Very nice! I had both of these as a child (still in a box under my layout). They were pull back toys that would have been made at least through the early 90's. Great find!

i had the 1/64 scale toys as a kid, i think these 2 were the only ones offered in 1/32. they seem to be scaled up models of the 1/64 versions, with a motor. 

I don't think the Lionel ones are that bad.  They won't pull many cars but they all use can motors and worm gear drive, which makes it easy to use remote controls, and maintain reasonable speeds.  My objections are a lack of weight and especially the lack of a flywheel, but see below.

Long before Lionel put Thomas in their catalog, a good friend used to make them by mating the ubiquitous ERTL toy with the 6-wheel chassis from a postwar 2037.  Decent runner and very good puller!  As with the Marx above, one advantage (compared to the current Lionel design) is that a child can push the loco by hand without fear of stripping the gears.  I'm not sure if this should be encouraged.  But if does happen, self-locking worm gears and rubber tires are a recipe for trouble!

Last edited by Ted S

a 2037 chassis sounds pretty awesome for something like this. for whatever reason the ERTL seems scaled better to me, although considering we’re talking about thomas thats probably a moot point. even so, i like the simple look of these over the lionel models, and ofcouse the weight. my daughter seems to be enjoying them too, though likely for more basic reasons lol

There was no exotic engineering involved- it pretty much bolted right in.  This was about 20 years ago.  My friend made these and sold them at train meets in the Northeast US.  I have no idea whether the design of the ERTL toys has changed since then.  Unfortunately my example is buried away at my parents' house so I can't post any photos.  If you're good at tinkering you'll probably succeed!

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