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.
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.