Behind the Scenes

This is a behind the scenes subpage for Hank.
This subpage contains all behind the scenes material relating to said article.

Background Information

Television Series

Hank is a fictional American standard gauge tender locomotive created by Sharon Miller.

In 2008, Hank was introduced in the twelfth series of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. He only appeared in the episode, Heave Ho Thomas!

Hank is based on the PRR Class K4s.

Behind the Scenes

Gauge 1 Model

Hank's models were scratch-built to run on gauge 1 track by model maker, John Lee. Two models of Hank were built in case one stopped working or got damaged during filming. The models were made out of plastic. They were painted in a matte finish and lined with red and gold automotive pinstripe tape.

The models were track powered, so pick-up contacts were attached to the metal wheels, which ran into the motor to power it. The electricity ran from the track to the wheels/pick-up contacts and went into the motor to power him. To save time and money Hank’s wheels were made from the same tooling as Spencer’s wheels. Hank’s running gear assembly was built by model-maker, Mike Wall.

The twelfth series marked the beginning of the show's transition into CGI and the characters' faces were animated through CGI with the aid of motion capture animation. A white target with triangles was placed on the front of Hank’s smokebox to fix a computer-animated face in post-production.

In background shots Hank wore moulded facemasks as at time of the model’s construction the modelmakers were unsure if the characters would have CGI faces for these shots. Five different facial expressions were sculpted for Hank, although only one was used onscreen and the other in a promotional shot. The faces were first sculpted in clay and from that resin casts were made of a silicone mould. The faces were designed by John Lee, and sculpted by model-maker, Clare Kinross.[1]

The eye mechanism had two servos, one for up and down movement and one for left and right movement. The up/down servo was attached to the body. The left/right servo had a rod attached to the arm, which connected to a bracket. The eye balls were coupled to the bracket and locked in by the face-plate, so whenever the servos were powered, the eye balls would move however the crew member desired.

As of March 2020, one of Hank's models is on display at Drayton Manor Theme Park.

Voice Actors


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