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

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

Step 5: Fabricate mounting hardware.

Our Flyer chassis featured the Flyer chuff/smoke mechanism which needed to be modified to fit into the Thomas shell.  Carl chose to keep the remaining material to add weight to the engine front to prevent the wheels from riding up the rail on curves. It is a good idea to add some lead weight to the front as we discovered with the Atlantic version when using a Pull-Mor Wheel and uneven track. We will address this issue in our Part 4 article.

The chassis front is secured to the shell with two screws drilled to the proper position. The middle is supported by two metal tab brackets and cut away shell tabs. Shell tabs were reworked to the proper height to prevent the chassis from moving up into the shell too much. Take your time here and test fit removing a little plastic at a time. When finished the bottom looks like below. The material removed from the shell back may not be necessary.

Two metal tab brackets screwed into cutaway shelf tab. 

Note the arrows showing the removal of plastic to form a shelf to prevent the chassis from riding up into the shell.

Rework the front to form a mounting shelf for the chassis and drill two screw holes for the front of the chassis frame.

Smoke Hole in shell and Bachmann smoke unit.

Step 6: Add smoke unit mounting hole and LED lights.

The addition of LED lighting and a Bachman smoke unit is a Giambrone Special. He has done this to several of his Flyer pieces. Open a hole in the stack to glue the smoke unit to the shell.

Two drilled screw holes

LED wiring

Drill two screw holes for LED lights, install smoke unit with leads and cab light. When done the shell underside looks like above. You can use hot glue or any epoxy resin to rework shelf tabs to hold the chassis

Step 7: Make modifications to drawbar and paint the six-wheel drive train.

You can paint the drive wheels to give Thomas that Royal Blue Appearance. At this point, assemble the shell to the chassis and motor to determine drawbar length. Ours was a bit too long.

Here is what we used for the wheels, trucks, and screw heads.

Used to paint the tender shell.

Step 8: add LEDs to tender and then paint your project.

Carl chose to make this a Super-Duper Thomas by adding LEDs to both the engine and tender. He chose to have a set of wheels under the cab, and re-lettered the tender.

We will end this part of the project and continue the assembly and custom painting in Part 3 which will be published in the Fall 2020 TCA e*Train. Fear not, we will continue the Step Numbering System where we left off at Step 8.

Here is a preview of what the final project looks like.


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