Saturday, 5 November 2011

Thomas The Tank Engine - Front Coupling

Well, the Bachmann Thomas range is certainly great, don't get me wrong on that. The biggest problem however lies with the earlier models featured, such as Thomas, Percy & James. Considering they were designed when the range was started, it's easy to forgive Bachmann on the minor errors that appear on them.

However, one thing does annoy me with them. The lack of a front coupling.

Every locomotive character since, starting from Gordon and Henry, has had one. It makes sense to have one too, as they are commonly seen either running cab first or shunting within the television series. To solve this, you can glue couplings onto the main three, but for Thomas at least there is a way around doing so.

As you have seen from the pictures above, my Thomas has a front coupling. In this case, it's one of the metal Tri-Ang/Wrenn examples found commonly on many older items of rolling stock. This was picked as it was at the top of my parts box, but other tension lock couplings can be fitted by following my method.

Please note that this is written for the Thomas model from the "00682 Thomas' Holiday Special" train set. Other Thomas models lack the extra parts on the underside of the footplate.

The real fun starts when you get the model out of the box. Removing the novelty Christmas hat (as seen in at least one episode) you'll find the snowplough on Thomas is removable, leaving two lengths of plastic rod hanging from below the front buffer beam. This is part of a one part casting, and as such can be unscrewed with a small Philips screwdriver.

The donor coupling, if using a standard tension lock, will have three holes. Normally, you'll find two raised lumps that sit on the outer holes, with the middle one being used to screw it in. Unfortunately, the holes used to screw the snowplough in are a few millimeters short of the outer holes, so you have to modify the coupling. Whilst this may seem awkward, it's nothing a good Diamond coated file won't sort. Having altered the coupling to fit, simply screw it back in with the existing screws and Thomas will be ready to shunt wagons and pull trains backwards.

Hopefully, this will help anyone wanting to give their model a front coupling, although I can't say it will work for all tension lock couplings. Please remember however this modification is only suitable for the Thomas from the Holiday Special train set.


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