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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Season Finale has friends a plenty

The final episode of the Fifteenth Series of Thomas & Friends gave Flynn the Fire Engine a chance to establish himself.
Fiery Flynn saw the red coloured character in his own role which is set after Day of the Diesels.
The episode involved a flashback sequence which featured three scenes from the upcoming special, with one scene zoomed out in picture as seen in the trailer.

The season finale also presented a large cast including Day of the Diesels newcomers Paxton and Norman, both of which did not speak.
Cameos continued with appearances from Mavis, Emily, James, Captain, Henry, Toby, Whiff and Harold.

Hiro, Gordon, Thomas and Edward the steam engines played a role each along with Rocky while the diesel engines roles were filled in by Dart, Diesel and Den.
Flynn spoke enthusiasticly with an American accent and was voiced by Rupert Degas.
Day of the Diesels premieres later this Autumn coinciding with the launch of the Sixteenth Series.


SiF's RWS revelation for the weekend opener

SiF are to reveal the identity of the new character due to feature in the 42nd Railway Series book this Friday.

Anticipation has been growing more since the character was to be revealed by the team.

The unknown source have since unveiled the character's identity to SiF via draft artworks.

The 42nd Railway Series book hits UK book shelves on July 4th 2011 while the new character will be revealed by SiF on their fansite this Friday.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Review: 'The Lion of Sodor' UK DVD

On Friday 25th March after 10:45am, my copy of The Lion of Sodor DVD arrived since it was sent off on Wednesday, courtesy of hmv.com.

This is the first time that a pre-ordered DVD of mine would be sent off on a Wednesday morning, even at an earlier time of 9:04am.
Things you can expect from the DVD;
- The Really Useful Activity Book is included and can be found inside the DVD case. The book can be viewed on the Day of the Diesels minisite.
- The back cover features The Lion of Sodor on the left staring at Thomas while he looks at the viewer. Eagled eyed fans should notice that a shadow of Thomas' face is repeated half way down on his face.
- Starting the DVD when loaded comes in order; The Warning introduction, Hit Entertainment's ident, the Take-n-Play commercial and a titlecard for the The Lion of Sodor.
- The main menu features the promo shot of the DVD on the right with the Thomas & Friends logo above. On the top left, a screen shows part of The Lion of Sodor episode superimposed on a shiny surface referencing the statue. Below it are the various selections to choose from including Episode Selection.
- Selecting the Episode Selection shows the episodes on 1 page. All the episodes' cards are a screenshot from each episode, imposed on the border.
- Viewing all the episodes will entertain you for the next 40 minutes or if you choose to watch it with Mr. Perkins, 54 minutes.
- After watching all the episodes, the newest Hit Entertainment ident first seen on the Wobbly Wheels & Whistles DVD will play followed by the Thank You ident. Afterwards you will be returned to the Main Menu where you have completed watching the main DVD's feature.

I haven't seen Season Thirteen for some time now, even though I have the first 3 DVD's of the series, I thought I had seen them too much. Looking back on the 4 episodes featured, I had not watched them fully since their original broadcasts on FIVE, so it was nice to go back and see them.

Fans may well agree, that this release features the poorest episodes of the first Greg Tiernan series.

The strongest episode in my opinion on this release would have to be Hiro Helps Out. Hiro is the episode's lead, The Fat Controller's rushed routine provided some humour along with Hiro's worrying stares at him, Edward was the secondary character, the music at the beginning with all those cameos including Rosie and Hiro's realisation that he made a mistak were some of the highlights for me on the episode.

Despite the obvious signs or rhyming and repetition, it is one of my favourites of the 2009 produced series. I actually liked Thomas and the Pigs, it did seem a peaceful episode, especially with the calm music at the beginning and end, but like all of the post S13 episodes, it had the errors along with The Lion of Sodor and Time for a Story, which I thought was an OK episode, albeit, sometimes creepy to watch.

The episodes look glorious on this release along with the other complete CGI releases. Because of the CGI, there are no occasional blurs or glitches at all. Just sharp picture quality, thanks to the CGI guys at Nitrogen Studios.
The sharp picture also has no problems with the extras, including the live action films. The DVD is presented in 16:9 widescreen.

Michael Angelis is totally enthusiastic as the narrator since the complete CGI series began. He knows what emotions to use with his voice in certain scenes, he knows what tone to use and he is always giving the excited sound whenever there is a fast paced scene. He is perfect.

The voice actors have a whale of a time aswell. Listening to Keith Wickham's Gordon can always give you a laugh as he shows just how pompous Gordon really is. Ben Small as Thomas always has a lot of voice work to do as well as Keith, but Ben has given the perfect voice for Thomas always; fun, cheerful, happy, exciting.

Finally, another key player is Togo Igawa as Hiro. Especially with the enhanced audio, his voice is so deep and soothing, that he would always make the viewer give a smile to their face.

Robert Hartshorne
has since 2009 tried various techniques for the music along with using different instruments and equipment. He has been talented since that period and this, that more Thomas fans delight to his music more. It is just a shame that the music can sometimes be a bit quiet to hear.

Since the CGI transformed the show, the series has made me notice that the audio has been enhanced with more background noises being heard more and some surround taking place. Another benefit I will say.

The first and main extra is another set of sketches with Watch with Mr. Perkins. Here in Mr. Perkins' Railway Lesson, Perkins is chosen by The Fat Controller to show the viewer a model railway train set, with The Fat Controller phoning him up halfway.

Perkins is always a joy to watch and has proved popular that he does give the viewer some fun while guiding you through the episodes. It is good to hear that we will see more of him in future releases.
Next up via the Extras page is the Roll Along Sing-a-Long music video. It is a very catchy rock song and because it runs over 2 minutes and 10 seconds, the DVD release includes the extended but not full version as seen on the Nick. Jr and US broadcasts. This will get the kids to dance and sing-a-long, they will like this song.

A Steam Engine from the Down at the Station series focuses on the Steam Engines on how they operate and much more. Along with Perkins, this is always a popular feature on the DVD's, partly because of the live action scenes, although it does reflect the realism of the Thomas & Friends series and will make you think, I wish the new Thomas was like this masterpiece.

Finally we have a Guess Who? Puzzle which focuses on an engine from a far off place.

are included for the Hard of Hearing.

Children will adore this release with it's episodes and packed extras, but Mum's and Dad's will think differently. They will have to have a long think on buying this for their child, due to the fact that only 4 episodes feature, the extras should make up for it.

Best way to get this for your child if he is desperate parents is to perhaps save some money, by ordering it online.
Out of 10; 
Film -* * * * *
Video -* * * * * * * * *
Audio -* * * * * * * *
Extras -* * * * * * *
Overall -* * * * * * *

Pre-order The Lion of Sodor;

'Misty Island Rescue' for iPhone and iPod Touch

As promised, Callaway Digital Arts Inc. and Hit Entertainment have now converted the Misty Island Rescue app for the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

The app can now be purchased for the smaller mobile and portable devices which is based on the 2010 special.
The book, puzzles and activities are just some of the the things included on the app.

The app will take up 180 MB's of room and is also available on the iPad.

The Misty Island Rescue app can now be purchased via the App Store on iTunes for £2.99 or $4.99 in the UK and US respectively. 

Chorion's backing up for Hit goes underway

Chorion the children's character company has started it's search for a backer to purchase a stake from 3i till making a bid on Hit Entertainment.

The company have been looking for a backer since executive chairman Lord Alli approached 3i a couple of months ago.
Chairman of Hit Entertainment, Greg Dyke has spoke out saying that he dosen't plan to step down from the company just yet, but predicts that a new management team would surface when the new buyer is confirmed.

Chorion have since declined to comment.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Two make cameos all the reddy

One character painted red is due to have an episode to himself while another painted red has already has his.

Both of which made cameos in Wonky Whistle.
Flynn the Fire Engine cameod in the Fifteenth Season episode before his own lead in Fiery Flynn, a new episode due to broadcast last in the series on Monday 28th March.
Flynn did not speak but appeared near the end of the episode at Maithwaite Station. He is to be introduced in the Day of the Diesels special coming later this Autumn.

Bertie the Bus also appeared, but unlike Flynn, Bertie had a line and appeared at a level crossing.
The episode was written by Neil Ben.
Season Fifteen continues tomorrow on FIVE and FIVE HD in the UK at 7:30am with the episode, The Snowman.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

SiF to reveal exclusive new RWS character

It has been announced that the 42nd Railway Series book will feature the introduction of a new character.

An unknown source will reveal the identity of the newcomer to the SiF team and will be published on their website.
SiF will be the first to reveal the new character by recieving some draft artwork. 

The Railway Series' 42nd book hits book shelves on July 4th 2011 while the new character will be revealed exclusively on the SiF Fansite at the end of this month.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Butch's speaking simulates more variety

The return of Butch in his first speaking role to date has already made a positive fan response, along with some of the supporting characters.

Stuck On You featured the cameo regular as the main role alongside Thomas.
Along with the above two, Rocky, Victor, Harold, Rosie, Captain and Kevin played supporting roles.

In addition to the large cast, Day of the Diesels stars Belle and Den made cameos along with Diesel, Charlie and only three of the Steam Team; Gordon, James and Edward.
Butch was voiced by new cast member Rupert Degas.
Season Fifteen continues on Monday on FIVE and FIVE HD in the UK at 7:30am with the episode, Big Belle.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Hit Entertainment up for sale

It is now been officially confirmed that Hit Entertainment will go up for sale.
The Wall Street Journal has confirmed the news exclusively which will see the company clearing it's debts and solf off to a new owner

Thanks to Simon for the alert.

Degas confirmed for more voices

New cast member Rupert Degas who is now the voice of Bertie has confirmed that he will provide his vocal talents for more characters.
On his CV on his Spotlight page via the Animation tab, Degas confirms that he will also be the voice of Flynn, Dart and Butch.

The latter is due to make his highly anticipated role in the episode Stuck on You which airs tomorrow on FIVE and FIVE HD in the UK at 7:30am.

Thanks to SteamTeam3211 for the alert.

Bertie's return speaks more

Bertie finally made his return to the series in a speaking role in his new episode.
Stop That Bus!, featured the little red bus alongside Thomas where he played a secondary role.
Along with this, Harold also played a brief part in a rescue scene involving Bertie himself.

Day of the Diesels stars Den and Dart briefly cameod at the beginning of the episode.
Bertie was voiced by new cast member Rupert Degas.
Season Fifteen continues tomorrow on FIVE and FIVE HD in the UK at 7:30am with the highly anticipated return of Butch in the episode, Stuck on You.

'The Birthday Express' High-res images

Lionsgate Publicity have published various high-resolution images to promote the upcoming US compilation DVD, The Birthday Express.

By error, the images include two shots from A Blooming Mess, which is not included on the DVD.

The Birthday Express hits US DVD shelves on May 17th 2011.

'The Birthday Express' content confirmed

Lionsgate Publicity have revealed the content to be featured on the upcoming US DVD, The Birthday Express.

The episodes and extras included are all based on parties and birthdays while two Season Thirteen episodes make their debuts on DVD.
Percy's Parcel
Double Trouble
The Man in the Hills
The Party Suprise

Thomas' Birthday Special Game
Roary the Racing Car - Roary Takes Off

The Birthday Express hits US DVD shelves on May 17th 2011.

Two new Mega Bloks packs revealed

Mega Bloks have released two new packs featuring two known locations.

The first features Stanley and Percy and is centred around Great Waterton which contains 30 pieces.
The second includes Thomas and is set on the Logging Camp on Misty Island.

Thanks to GeebMachine for the alert.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

'Day of the Diesels' minisite opens

Hit Entertainment have opened the minisite for the Day of the Diesels special.

The UK website opens with a video about the differences between Steam Engines like Thomas and Diesel Engines like Diesel. The video is narrated by Keith Wickham, the voice of Gordon, James, Captain and others.
There is a poll which will give you five questions and tell you if you are more like a Steam Engine or a Diesel Engine, leading to a reward in the end.

The My Station page has been updated with Day of the Diesels based activities.

Every month, a silhouette on the minisite will be selected to reveal a character profile of either Belle, Den, Dart or Flynn.
The Ultimate Diesel Guide can now be viewed with all pages included along with a Really Useful Acitivity Book.

Finally via the Diesel Guide, the US DVD release is confirmed for September 6th 2011.

Day of the Diesels premieres later this Autumn.


'The Lion of Sodor' UK DVD content revealed

Chopsy Baby and The Citizen have revealed the content due to be featured on the fourth Season Thirteen UK DVD release.

The websites are not only offering fans the chance to win the DVD, but have also revealed the episodes and extras due on the release.

The Lion of Sodor
Thomas and the Pigs
Time for a Story
Hiro Helps Out
Watch with Mr. Perkins
Roll Along - Karaoke Music Video
Down at the Station
Guess Who? Puzzle

The Roll Along music video included now completes the line-up of all the songs promoting the Thirteenth Season, although most of the songs are from Season Eight.

The Down at the Station segment appears to be about a steam engine and could well be the Engines segment.

The Lion of Sodor hits UK DVD shelves on March 28th 2011.


Small details on 'Pop Goes Thomas' UK DVD

Amazon.co.uk have revealed a few details on the upcoming second Season Fourteen DVD release for the UK.

The online retailer has confirmed the running time of the DVD to be 54 minutes approximately.
However, the description seen might be a little misguided; All aboard for more railway fun with Thomas and friends in this collection of adventures and sing-along songs.

It is very likely that the UK version will continue the same trend as the US release, i.e. 4 episodes, although the UK version's include one music video.

Pop Goes Thomas hits UK DVD shelves on May 9th 2011.

Two locations emerge from a foggy day

Spencer's newest centred episode marked the return of two locations to the series, with some minor flaws.
The Fishing Village and Lord Callan's Castle made their comebacks in Spencer the Grand but due to the situation of the episode, both were covered in deep fog.
Season Five marked the debuts of both locations which had not been seen since the Eleventh Series in 2007.

However, the two only featured in the beginning of the episode very briefly.
Along with the above two, Whiff also returned after last being seen in the previous season episode, O the Indignity.

The episode was written by Jessica Sandys-Clarke.
Season Fifteen continues tomorrow on FIVE and FIVE HD in the UK at 7:30am with the episode, Stop That Bus!

Flynn debut episode named

New character Flynn the Fire Engine is due to have his debut episode at the end of the new series which has now been named.

Fiery Flynn will introduce the newcomer while some diesels will play a part in the episode.
Enthusiastic fire truck Flynn tries to impress the Diesels with his bravado with potentially disastrous results.

The title was revealed by the Radio Times.

Fiery Flynn will air on FIVE and FIVE HD in the UK at 7:30am on Monday March 28th.

Thanks to The Colonel for the alert.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Stanley rings a Belle in 'Suprise' episode

Stanley finally spoke in his new voice in one of the newest episodes this week.
Suprise, Suprise featured the return of Stanley since his various cameos in the previous season.
Stanley however only had a few lines but nevertheless played a supporting role in the episode along with Charlie, Victor, Kevin, Edward and Percy.

Along with the above characters, various cameos occured at the beginning of the episode including Mavis, Diesel and Belle, while the latter is not meant to be introduced until March 21st.
Matt Wilkinson voiced Stanley as previously confirmed by fellow cast member Ben Small.
Season Fifteen continues tomorrow on FIVE and FIVE HD in the UK at 7:30am with the episode, Spencer the Grand

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Last week of S15 reveals last episode

It is now confirmed that Season Fifteen will indeed reach 20 episodes as the last episode of the new series has been revealed.

The episode will introduce Flynn the Fire Engine to the series in an as of yet untitled episode along with some Diesels as the supporting cast.
The description reads; Enthusiastic fire truck Flynn tries to impress the Diesels with his bravado with potentially disastrous results.

The episode was revealed by UK TV Guide.

Thanks to BusterTheSteamroller for the alert.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Location returns since 2003 in new episode

A location seen in the last parts of the Classic Series marked it's return in the new episode, Henry's Happy Coal.

The Wellsworth track featured in the Season Fifteen episode starring Henry.

Returning in the last scene of the episode, the track is located near Wellsworth Station and Brendam Docks.
It featured varyingly in the Sixth and Seventh Series before being mentioned once in the Twelfth Series.

The track is perhaps best remembered in the Season Seven episode, What's the Matter with Henry?
Alongside it, Arry and Bert played secondary roles in the episode.

Season Fifteen continues on Monday on FIVE and FIVE HD in the UK at 7:30am with the episode, Let it Snow

Thursday, 10 March 2011

'Pop Goes Thomas' confirmed for UK release

Pop Goes Thomas is the new DVD due to be released for UK fans.

It was previously announced that there would be a DVD release but was not named via Amazon.co.uk.

Pop Goes Thomas is the second release comprising of episodes from the Fourteenth Series.
The DVD is likely to feature the same episodes as featured on the US release along with more Mr. Perkins segments.

The DVD will run at 54 minutes approximately.

Pop Goes Thomas hits UK DVD shelves on May 9th 2011.

'Diesel 10' arrives menacingly on official website

Diesel 10, the antagonist in the Day of the Diesels special now has his own profile page on the official Thomas & Friends website.
His animated state can now be viewed on the US website but has yet to be added on the UK version, although his icon has him animated.

His description reads; Diesel 10 is a renegade diesel engine on the Island of Sodor who is 10 out of 10 for brutal strength and devious deeds, and is out to destroy the harmony of Sir Topham Hatt's Railway.

'Take-n-Play' Kevin pack for release

Totally Thomas have revealed that a new Take-n-Play product featuring Kevin has been released.

The pack comes with a Take-n-Play model of Kevin the Mobile Crane and a Cargo Wagon.
The description reads; Kevin the mobile crane works at the Sodor Steamworks, where he helps fix and maintain the other engines.

Here he is with a cargo wagon filled with cargo to lift with Kevin's big hook. Together, about 5-inches long. Magnetic couplers.

Kevin's Helping Hook is available now in retailers.


Thanks to The Colonel for the alert.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Info on two of Sodor's new diesel trio

After the recent name tellings of the three new diesels due to be introduced in the Day of the Diesels  special, some information has been revealed on two of the diesels.

ThomasRocksification has revealed via The Ultimate Diesel Guide book, the descriptions on the newbies, Norman and Paxton.
Norman is a Diesel engine who often breaks down. If he were fixed properly, he would show what a Really Useful Engine he is.

Paxton is a young Diesel who likes the steam engines, especially Thomas. He can be a bit gullible, enabling other Diesels to take advantage of him.

The Ultimate Diesel Guide hits book shelves later this year coinciding with the release of the Day of the Diesels special later in the Autumn

Thanks to ThomasRocksification, Thomasfan and TTTE Wikia.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Confirmed: Season Fifteen IS after 'DOTD'

The SiF Blog have today confirmed that Season Fifteen has indeed aired early.

Hit Entertainment have informed SiF the news which now clears up the dispute over Belle's appearance in the episode Big Belle, due to be broadcast on March 21st in the UK.
Belle appearing in Day of the Diesels when released, will establish her introduction to the series.

Season Fifteen continues on Tuesday on FIVE and FIVE HD in the UK at 7:30am with the episode, Happy Hiro while Day of the Diesels premieres later this Autumn.

Diesels book reveals new special's last diesel

The new promotional book The Ultimate Diesel Guide has revealed the unknown third diesel in the next special along with the latter and the other two's names.

In a video posted by YouTube newcomer ThomasRocksification, the unseen diesel is dark blue with hazard stripes and the same shape as Diesel who is named Sidney.
The red monobrow diesel has been named Norman while the dark green diesel goes by the name of Paxton.

The book given away at Days Out with Thomas events also details on all Diesel Engines featured throughout the whole series, including Boco, Derek and Daisy.

The Ultimate Diesel Guide hits book shelves later this year coinciding with the release of the Day of the Diesels special later in the Autumn.


Thanks to PT Boomer for the alert.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Season Fifteen's conclusion of episodes unwrap

Digiguide have revealed the fourth and maybe the last week of episodes for the new series of Thomas & Friends, Season Fifteen.

Belle attempts to befriend Toby when she discovers that they have something in common. However, her bolshy behaviour overwhelms Toby.

Broadcasts on Monday March 21th 2011 at 7:30am on FIVE and FIVE HD.

When Kevin is left in charge of the Steamworks, he decides to use the space to practise his shunting skills with disastrous results!

Broadcasts on Tuesday March 22nd 2011 at 7:30am on FIVE and FIVE HD.

Thomas's whistle is broken, so he goes to the Steamworks to have it repaired. However, he rushes off on a delivery before it is properly fixed.

Broadcasts on Wednesday March 23rd 2011 at 7:30am on FIVE and FIVE HD.

Thomas is charged with the important task of transporting the Fat Controller to the town square to switch on the Christmas lights.

Broadcasts on Thursday March 24th 2011 at 7:30am on FIVE and FIVE HD.

The steam engines compete against the diesels to find the best Christmas tree in Sodor. Can the trains transport the trees back to town in one piece?

Broadcasts on Friday March 25th 2011 at 7:30am on FIVE and FIVE HD.

It is unclear if this season takes place before Day of the Diesels or after, as Belle is given her own episode.
Alsoobody knows if this season concludes with the 19 mark, but there could well be a 20. We shall see if a possible fifth week could have one more episode revealed to make a nice round 20.
Season Fifteen continues on Tuesday on FIVE and FIVE HD in the UK at 7:30am with the episode, James to the Rescue.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

'All You Need' remix update

Well, I promised all of you that there would be some progression on making my latest YouTube video, so here's an update.

The audio has been remixed and completed, however All You Need was the hardest song to mix together, including making an instrumental in the middle.
Also, I have made at least 9 seconds worth of footage for the video and have used at least two Season Fourteen episodes so far.

While making it and this could change, the video quality has improved and I am considering upgrading my videos to 1080p HD, but we shall see.

Thomas & Friends - TheTopHatts' 'All You Need' - Season Fourteen Music Video Remix. Coming soon to YouTube.