Skip to Main Content
Search This Site:

Google Custom Search.

Want to search all TCA sites?
Go here



Join TCA.










Using a Six Wheel Frame and a Cut-Up Schilling Whistle!

Flyerizing Thomas; Part 2: Thomas is Ready to “GO FLYER!” He has Choo-Choo sounds, smoke and LEDs!

By Carl Giambrone (TCA 83-19674) and John Halajko (TCA 84-20653)
                                                                  Page 1 of 2            Summer 2020

This article is a continuation of our earlier Flyerizing Thomas, Part 1 eTrain posting that featured an American Flyer Thomas made from a Schilling whistle and a Flyer Atlantic. In our Part 1 article we emphasized making no changes to the original American Flyer piece so that it can be returned to its original condition. We take no such liberty in Part 2 which will show what could be possible. Lionel has not yet extended into its American Flyer Line an S-Gauge Thomas the Tank Engine. We look forward to enjoying the future memories.  For those of us who just cannot wait, the Schylling whistle may now be in stock at your local hobby store. It makes a great looking Thomas. Nicholas Smith Trains, Broomall, PA had lots of in stock. For details on the Schilling whistle please see Flyerizing Thomas, Part 1.

We promised that Flyerizing Thomas, Part 2 would show the details of the shell surgery along with how to use a six-wheel drive. We make good on this promise by creating a nonreturnable-to-factory condition, six-wheel drive Flyer Hudson or Pacific into a real crowd pleaser. Many thanks to Steve Stevens for providing a Flyer six-wheel chassis and motor along with the tender and wiring essentials at reasonable costs. He has lots of Flyer parts for this and other projects. He can be reached at

The details to customize the top part of the Schilling Whistle Shell are covered in Part 2 while the custom painting and final assembly are covered in Part 3. Together Parts 2 and 3 form a ten Step Process to do the transformation. The reader can combine Parts1 and 2 to use an Atlantic Chassis if they so desire. Part 4 of this Article will discuss the modification that should be taken if a Pull-Mor wheel is used.

We assume that the reader is familiar with the safe use of the Dremel tool. We add the caution of using safety goggles and gloves. Remember that you only have one set of eyes. There are no spares. 

Step 1: Cut out the plastic wheels.

You will need to make four cuts to the bottom of the shell as shown below to remove the wheels.

Make two cuts along the wheels. Make the rear cut as close to the mouthpiece as possible.

Making the front cut as shown. You will need to use a Dremel bit at the front corners. Remove the wheel assembly (which makes a great gondola load when painted flat black!)

Step 2: Remove the whistle and mouthpiece.

Carl’s enthusiasm was a little too much when he removed the mouthpiece from the air whistle. It was not required. Save the whistle for the younger guys or just give it away for a gift. It still works without the shell.

Take care when removing the mouthpiece neck.

Step 3: Remove the interfering smoke unit as required.

Our Flyer chassis featured the Flyer chuff mechanism and attached smoke unit which needed to be modified to fit into the Thomas shell. Alas, the Schilling whistle will not take the full chuff/smoke assembly. Carl’s cut is shown above removing the smoke unit.

Step 4: Remove material from the shell as required.

We are now at the hardest part of the modification. If you mess up remember that a little BONDO goes a long-long way. Our Flyer chassis started with a Flyer chuff/smoke mechanism which needed to be modified to fit into the Thomas shell. You will now need to repeatedly cut a little with the Dremel and then test fit the motor assembly removing a little bit of interference at a time. Carl chose to remove the motor to make it a bit easier to test fit.

Remember, it is better to test fit twice and cut once.

Repeatedly test fit the chassis to assure that all interferences are removed.

Continued on next page

Second Decade.
Visit the other members of the TCA Family of Web Sites:
TCA Sites Gateway | TCAmembers | Toy Train Museum & Library | TCA x-change 
Toy Trains Mailing ListTCA National Convention
 Privacy & Legal Notices   © Train Collectors Association   Site Design   Contact TCA