Unusable Starfield mod morphs every ship's reactor into Thomas the Tank Engine, trapping them inside a horrific cocoon—creator says 'Life isn't always fair'

Thomas the Tank Engines, plural, fight in the depths of space.
(Image credit: Bethesda / Trainwiz of Nexus Mods)

It's time. Starfield finally has its most important mod—more important than the script extender, more vital than StarUI—something that changes the game entirely. Thomas the Tank Engine is not, by any means, looming horrifically in the dark corners of my room and forcing me to write this.

Ominously titled "Really Useful Starfield", this mod by the aptly-named Nexus Mods user Trainwiz mutates every ship into Thomas the Tank Engine. This is tradition, a requisite for every Bethesda game—and it's not even Thomas' first foray into the stars, either. Though he's now transcended the body of Vasco, spreading across the galaxy like a locomotive plague. 

"They say that the Tank Engine has been banished to wander the stars forever, unable to satiate his bloodlust and unable to find peace in his heart," writes Tranwiz, like a dark prophet coming to portend doom. 

The mechanics of this thing are perhaps the most disturbing bit—ships in Starfield are made from a bunch of individual parts, so replacing them all with a single model is a tall task. Instead, the mod "replaces every reactor model in the game with Thomas, and so the model itself is centred around said reactor."

This has two implications. Firstly, the Tank Engine hasn't replaced anything—instead, he's just surrounded them like some kind of parasitic shell, trapping them in a point of stasis like AM imprisoning the humans in I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

Secondly, to properly swallow every ship in the universe, the model for Thomas has to be enormous. This is confirmed in screenshots Trainwiz provides of the shipbuilder (which this mod renders completely unusable), and of the landed Thomas, which looms like a monument built to a dead god.

Thomas the Tank Engine, a locomotive cursed with a face and sapience, looms over a planet in Starfield.

(Image credit: Bethesda / Trainwiz of Nexus Mods)

According to Trainwiz, this also makes ship combat really bad: "Due to the size and shape of Thomas, it can make shipbuilding and flying in third person a big issue. This mod's more of a novelty to begin with, so it's something you have to deal with. Life isn't always fair."

The result of Trainwiz's labour takes away more than it adds, though that's perhaps fitting for the cosmic horror the Tank Engine has come to represent. What are we but lumps of coal in the combustion engine of the universe? Troubling times, indeed. 


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Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.