Friday, 19 January 2018

Thomas the Tank Engine

Regular readers will have noted that my games often feature railway lines. Now, I do have my ancient Irregular 6mm train set, but for larger scale games I have felt the need for some slightly bigger rolling stock.

I did some research into N gauge and was horrified to discover I'd need a second mortgage, and even toy train sets were rather more than I was willing to pay. Imagine my delight when I came across this in Waterstones for a mere tenner.

A train set in a tin. What a great idea. It even comes with its own track (a little larger than N gauge). 

The train itself is a rather jaunty US style loco, with a coal truck, goods wagon and caboose in various garish colours.  It even has a battery operated  electric motor so it can propel itself along. 

A little bit of light conversion and repainting turned it into something rather more martial. 

For the engine I just cut off the cow catcher and strange funnel mounted light to make it a bit simpler. I thought about adding some armour plate to the boiler but I rather like the pipes and things so I left it plain. 

I repainted it panzer grey, and the red trim is based on the train in the TV series Babylon Berlin. 

The caboose already features slit windows and is ideal as an Armoured carriage. I just stripped off the labels with label remover and repainted it panzer grey. 

The goods wagon is a bit redundant. I basically just painted it green and drew in a door and slit windows. At some point I'll convert it to a flat car, but I was too impatient to do that this time. 

The tank car took a bit more work, as it started life as the coal truck. The hatches were already moulded on, and here it mounts a PSC T34 turret.  It can take any old turret though. 

I had to saw off the coal with a razor saw, and just filled the gap with a plate made of plasticard. The hole is 4mm, which takes most tank turrets. It was a bit fiddly sawing off the top and I discovered a critical structural piece attached to the coal, so some repairs were necessary. 

The whole thing fits neatly in its tin, with the railway track stored underneath. Coming to a wargame near you soon!


  1. Very economical and very inspirational.

  2. Martin
    Inspirational and economical armoured train conversion - all I have done with my version(s) is rough black paint. Mark, Man of TIN and Sidetracked blogs.

  3. Good re-purposing and plenty in the tin for a tenner.

  4. Great work re-purposing that.



  5. A very clever use of such a simple but effective toy train. I have several in my collection, although I have yet to use them.

    All the best,


  6. Thank you all. There is something very satisfying about a train!