model train set on track

The Name is Tank, Thomas Tank

e*Train Issue: Oct 2012   |   Posted in: ,

By Bob Mintz

The original art drawing to the planned “James Bond’s 007” set.  This set, as well as several other exciting “concept sets” never made it to production

From the Bob Osterhoff collection.  The image also appears in Greenberg’s Guide to Lionel Paper and Collectibles, now available in DVD format at

Dr. No premiered fifty years ago on October 5, 1962 at the London Pavilion, Piccadilly Circus, London.

The movie starred Sean Connery as James Bond.  From his undersea base, *SPECTREagent Doctor No uses his ‘Toppling Beam’ to disrupt America’s space programme. (*SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence Terrorism Revenge and Extortion.)  

Bond’s Women were Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) and Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson) (who would also appear in From Russia with Love.)

Bond’s ally in the CIA was Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) (who was offered and turned down the role of Bond but later went on to star in Hawaii Five-0); ‘M’ was played by Bernard Lee; Miss Moneypenny was played by Lois Maxwell, and Major Boothroyd [the armourer Q-Branch-(Quartermaster) was played by Peter Burton, later replaced by Desmond Llewelyn who appeared in every subsequent movie except Live and Let Die (1973) until his untimely death in a car accident while returning from a book signing.

Bond’s only gadget in the initial film was a geiger counter.

Bond’s Car was a Sunbeam Alpine; the Aston Martin did not appear until Goldfinger when Bond’s old Bentley could no longer cut the ice, ‘Q’ Department came up with this classic British sports car, fully loaded with optional extras:

Front and rear extending over-rider rams.
Front firing .30 calibre Browning Machine. Machine guns behind the front indicators
Retractable tyre slashers
Retractable rear bullet proof screen
Radio telephone concealed in secret door compartment
Radar scanner in racing type wing mirror, tracking screen in the cockpit (GPS system?)
Passenger ejector seat – roof panel jettisoned just before the seat is fired
Oil slick ejector from nearside rear light cluster.
Triple spiked nails (calthrops) from the offside rear light cluster.
Cartridge for smoke screen released through the exhaust pipes.
Revolving number plates (BMT 216A – UK, 4711-EA-62 – France and LU 6789 – Switzerland)
Armaments draw under front driver seat
Bullet-proof front and rear screens. 

In the 1967 spoof Casino Royale, loosely based on Ian Flemings first novel, the film stars David Niven as the original Bond, Sir James Bond 007. Forced out of retirement to investigate the deaths and disappearances of international spies, he soon battles the mysterious Dr. Noah and SMERSH.  He is promoted to the head of British Secret Service and then orders that all remaining MI6 agents will be named “James Bond 007”, to confuse SMERSH (the Russian Secret Service, predecessor of the KGB).  James Bond was also played by Peter Sellers; Ursula Andress (also in the original Dr. No); Terence Cooper, and Niven’s nephew, Jimmy Bond, was played by Woody Allen, who also ***SPOILER ALERT*** was his alter ego Dr. Noah.

Confused as SMERSH I was, when I opened two Lionel sets, #30035 Sodor Freight Expansion Pack and # 30012 Thomas & Friends Expansion Pack.

Set #30035 has four cars in it:

  • 26326 Harold the Helicopter
  • 26329 Sodor Cargo Gondola
  • 26328 S.C. Ruffey & Co 4 Wheel
  • 36603 Sodor Caboose

SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit and is a number associated with a product for inventory purposes. This number is used to identify an individual product. Because of this, each product must have a SKU, and each SKU must be unique.  The key word here is UNIQUE.

The first problem, like the confusion caused in the original Casino Royale (recall that there are two James Bond movies of the same name too as well as the CBS TV production “Casino Royale” from the series Climax! shown on Oct 21, 1954 starring Barry Nelson as James Bond, an agent for the American Combined Intelligence Agency who meets up with British Secret Service secret agent “Clarence Leiter” who briefs Bond about his mission to beat Le Chiffre who is the Chief Soviet Agent and is played by Peter Lorre, at a high-stakes card game of Baccarat), is that three of the boxes for those items in this set #30035 are all numbered the “16490.”

To further obscure the issue, Set # 30012 contains yet another “16490”; that being the Sodor Mining Co. Hopper.  I believe that this one is the real McCoy, er, um, ah…16490.

Normally, an item’s SKU number is written somewhere on the product itself. 

#26326 Harold the Helicopter has the number “26302” on it.

Both gondola #26329 and bobber caboose #36303 have the number “26303” on them.

To make this the ultimate Thomas spoof, both of those numbers, “26302” and “26303”, were items included in Set # 30012.  The items are, appropriately named:
The Troublesome Truck Twins.

Oh, that explains it…

Case solved.

Thomas the Tank will return…