Thomas the Tank Engine locomotive (Hornby R351 PRC)

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A current example of the bright blue Hornby electric 00-gauge "Thomas the Tank Engine" locomotive R351, made in China. This current version shows a few changes when compared to the original Hornby R351 Thomas model that was manufactured in Great Britain.

As far as official catalogue numbers are concerned, both versions are simply "R351", and both have the same "L-6117" identifier inside the moulded shell.

Made in GB/Made in China

Apart from the obvious "country of origin" markings on the base, the Chinese-manufactured model has a few revisions and changes that become obvious when our two models are put side by side.

  1. The drive couplings on the Chinese model appear to have a darker and less silvery sheen.
  2. There is no red lining on the back of the loco.
  3. The plastic gearwheel that protrudes through the black plastic base is black rather than the older model's bright blue.
  4. The older slotted-head screws have been replaced with crosshead screws

Most notable, though, is the revised version of Thomas's face. The older model uses a slightly darker grey, and appears to show Thomas as an older adolescent: the "new" face is a lighter shade of grey plastic, and and has younger-looking features.

See also: