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Thomas the Tank Engine Mods refers to video game mods that replace in-game models with Thomas the Tank Engine. A running gag in the modding community, Thomas the Tank Engine mods have been created for multiple role-playing and horror games, with Thomas' model often used to replace boss enemies, while the theme song from the original series replaces boss music for further effect.
On December 8th, 2013, game designer Kevin "Trainwiz" Brock uploaded "Really Useful World Eater," a The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim mod that replaced models of dragon enemies in the game with a model of Thomas the Tank engine ripped from a mobile game and sounds replaced with train whistle noises. The mod was uploaded by Nexus Mods user Guardly on behalf of Trainwiz. On December 6th, Trainwiz uploaded a demonstration video to YouTube that gained over 320,000 views in two days and prior to being removed (reupload shown below).
To be honest, the whole thing was spontaneous. A friend of mine gave me some Thomas models he had ripped from a crappy iPhone game and asked me what I could do with them, so I spent half an hour replacing dragons. I read the books as a kid, but hadn’t really even thought about the whole thing in years. It was just ’what would be the funniest thing at the time?
- Kevin "Trainwiz" Brock, "Why are people modding Thomas the Tank Engine into video games?" – The Face, May 2019.
The mod gained viral popularity among Skyrim players. On Nexus Mods, the mod had been downloaded over 70,800 times and accumulated nearly 600,000 views as of August 10th, 2021.
On December 10th and 11th, 2013, YouTubers Softonic and lambo_96 reuploaded the mod demonstration video, with the reuploads gaining over 530,000 views and 2.3 million views in eight years, respectively.
The mod received a surge in popularity after on March 12th, 2015, YouTuber videogamedunkey uploaded the video "Ultimate Skyrim" in which he highlighted the mod. The video received over 22.4 million views in six years (shown below).
On January 5th, 2016, Nexus Mods user Well obviously Trainwiz did it uploaded "Really Useful Fallout," a mod which replaces deathclaws, vertibirds, missiles and several other objects from Fallout 4 with Thomas the Tank Engine models. The mod accumulated over 40,000 views and 2,000 downloads prior to being removed.
On January 6th, 2016, YouTuber UpIsNotJump uploaded a demonstration video that received over 139,300 views in five years (shown below, left). On January 9th, 2016, IGN uploaded another video about the mod that received over 168,000 views in five years (shown below, right).
The trend continued in February 2019 with a mod for the Resident Evil 2 Remake, which replaced Mr. X with Thomas the Tank Engine, created by Resident Evil Modding forums user ZombieAli. The mod was likely inspired by a humorous YouTube video posted in early February 2019. Another mod, created by Resident Evil Modding user DJPop, replaced Mr. X's theme song with the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song and Mr. X sound effects with steam train sound effects. On February 28th, YouTuber Snipz uploaded a gameplay video with both mods installed (shown below, left). The video accumulated over 149,000 views in two years. On the same day, YouTuber Albert_Fn_Wesker made another demonstration upload that gained over 874,000 views in two years (shown below, right).
Starting in 2019, Thomas the Tank Engine mods replacing in-game models, sound effects and music were created for multiple games, with notable examples including Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Grand Theft Auto V, DBZ Tenkaichi 3 and Resident Evil Village.
In May 2019, Kevin "Trainwiz" Brock told The Face that an intermediary law firm based in Makedonia, acting on behalf of Mattel, issued takedown notices on the videos of his Thomas the Tank Engine mods. He also claimed that the legal activity by Mattel was the reason for his Fallout 4 Thomas the Tank Engine mod being taken down.
The takedown notices were declined by YouTube, with the company referencing parody law.
Mattel pretty much want me dead at this point – it’s the reason why the Fallout 4 mod can’t be found on any normal website. […] It was some intermediary law firm based out of Macedonia, saying how I diminished the brand of Thomas by showing him blowing up. They issued takedown notices on the videos for it. The first time it got taken down. The second time YouTube told them it was covered under parody law, with no prompting from me. So that was nice.
CJ and Big Smoke Mods
CJ and Big Smoke Mods refers to a modding trend that involves editing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas characters CJ and Big Smoke into various video games, with CJ usually replacing a protagonist and Big Smoke one of his opponents. Popularized by a 2019 mod for Resident Evil 2 Remake, the trend maintained popularity in the late 2010s and early 2020s.
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