Update (14 May, 2012): Reader Justin A. Olsen has kindly replied to our request for additional information on these models; you can read his comments here. We’re still interested in purchasing the two models we don’t have, Thomas and James, so please contact us if you have any you’re willing to part with.
Can you help? We recently acquired two lovely items from W. Awdry’s The Railway Series. These “Pre-Cut Model Engine Books” each contain a story and the parts and instructions for making two toys out of card. We have Number 2: Percy with Clarabel the Coach and Number 3: Gordon the Big Engine & His Tender (click to enlarge the images):
I believe these were produced in the late 1950s, as The Eight Famous Engines, the final story book listed on the back of each volume, was published in 1957. Four different titles in the pre-cut model series are described as being available (with more in production), and we would love to know more about these and possibly locate copies of the other two, Thomas the Tank Engine and James the Red Engine.
Please do get in touch if you know more about these sets and their sales records, and especially if you have copies to sell. You can leave a comment on this post or contact us by email or phone.
Below, a few more photos of the model books. If you have a good printer you could even construct them yourself!