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What I Learned This Week – 8/9/15

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The creativity of the average, unsung human just amazes me. We are all creative in our own ways. I love it when people put their time and energy into something to make it great! …And share it with the world on YouTube.

This week, by accident, my son and I stumbled upon a great collection of amateur-made (but very well produced–good music, good narration, stop-motion, special effects) Thomas & Friends adventures. And it turns out one of his friends is: Tom Moss, the naughty prank engine.

Tom Moss, the naughty prank engine.

Tom Moss, the naughty prank engine. Photo: youtube.com/user/ianrphillips

My 4 1/2 year old son loves trains and still loves Thomas, but, admittedly, he seems to be tired of watching the same old adventures on Netflix and DVD. Tom Moss is a great addition to the old characters to spice them up. Also, since it is not made by the actual Thomas people, special guest stars show up, such as the Minions & Scooby-Doo.

To check it out yourself, click on the video below.

I went so far as, unknowingly to my son, to make our own Tom Moss and hid it in his room in a tunnel.

My home-made Tom Moss, the naughty prank engine

My homemade Tom Moss, the naughty prank engine

He came downstairs like “Where did this come from? I can see the red. I know it is Rheneas.”

Some thanks I get for slaving away with construction paper and scissors.

Version 2 of a homemade buffer for Thomas Wooden Railway

Version 2 of a homemade buffer for Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway

He was more excited when I made him a new buffer. I was hoping this new design would be more durable than the previous one (read about it here). But, alas, it seems not to be. He does use it in every track set up he makes.

Happy boy & his buffer

Happy boy & his buffer

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DIY Thomas & Friends Buffer

The other day my son was begging for a buffer to put at the end of his track, so that the trains would not roll off.

My first thought was that SOMEONE must sell such a thing, but that by the time you added the cost together with the shipping, the price would be pretty cost-prohibitive. If you decide that you want to go this route, you can visit TrainsGalore.com, which is an awesome website with almost anything you can imagine for Thomas-type trains. Here is their link to order buffers: http://www.trainsgalore.com/Search.aspx?k=buffer

I once ordered unpainted Thomas wooden railroad cars from them and had kids decorate them as party favors at my son’s birthday.

The car I designed (that the dog promptly ate).

The car I designed (that the dog promptly ate).

I chose the cheap, crafty route and fashioned a buffer out of a spare piece of track that we already had and some popcicle sticks.  I also used an exacto knife to saw through the wood, and an engine to make sure the dimensions seemed appropriate.

Supplies I used to make a Thomas buffer

Supplies I used to make a Thomas buffer

I glued it all together with some wood glue and allowed to dry away from tiny, excited hands. I added two dots of red paint (any old paint you have laying around) to signify reflectors. Here are pictures of the finished product.

Finished buffer

Finished buffer

Close-up of finished buffer

Close-up of finished buffer

My son was so excited that he wanted to show the completed buffer to everyone. He even told me, “Mommy, you are the best mommy.” I don’t get that everyday. I actually get that never!

I will admit that this design may be best suited to use on a train table environment. My son plays trains on the floor, and the buffer tends to not handle being stepped on by humans or dogs very well. But, we just glue it back together again. You might also think about trying a more triangular design, which might have more stability.

The few minutes of crafting I did were worth this very happy boy.

Happy boy

Happy boy

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