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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Timber Yards renamed 'Sodor Lumber' for Take-n-Play

The Timber Yards is next in line for Fisher Price's focus on Sodor's locations for the Take-n-Play series.

Primarily for US audiences, Sodor Lumber Company is the new name for a set snapping up the ever present Thomas as the main player.

Designed with another fold-up action, the product is built as a starter set with a lumber company mill cabin tacked onto an oval track layout.

The reverse states; Thomas is hard at work picking up special deliveries from the Sodor Lumber Company! Take him through the mill and past the buzz saw to pick up his cargo!

Advertised on the rear is the available to buy Twist & Tumble Cargo Drop and two fresh products.

A similar track piece joins a seaside crane and Norman the Monobrow Diesel for Brendam Docks while Percy is gifted as a free engine for a collectable Tote-A-Train Playbox.

Take-n-Play Sodor Lumber Company, Twist & Tumble Cargo Drop, Brendam Docks and Tote-A-Train Playbox are available to buy in stores worldwide.

Thanks to SteamTeam for the alert.

'Twin Trouble' captivates attention by iTunes Australia

Australia's DVD Twin Trouble has been digitized for availability on iTunes' respective service.

The Donald and Douglas fronted feature was added to Apple's virtual store during the transition to late October.

Eight stories from the post-millennium Sixth Series assist the eclipsed 40 minute package.

The definement reads; Here's a toot toot and a peep peep from the world's most famous engine! From the Thomas and Friends come eight fun adventures!

Experience spooky stories, yuletide, and summer holidays with Thomas and all the old favourites plus a whole new bunch of friends!

Twin Trouble is available to buy on iTunes in Australia for $10.99. Episodes can be purchased individually for $1.49.

Thanks to NWR1991 for the alert.

'Official DVD & Book' set issued to British Home Stores

BHS in Great Britain have been granted access to release a specially commissioned activity product licenced by Hit Entertainment.

Official DVD & Book boasts a fun and simple set with the educative My First Numbers teaming up with the first CGI film, Hero of the Rails.

A promotional shot from the above mentioned movie is shown in a wider angle with parts of industrial estates and a countryside seen.

The blurb summarises; Jump aboard for Thomas' greatest adventure yet in Hero of the Rails on DVD, plus learn to count with Thomas and his engine friends with My First Numbers board book.

Official DVD & Book is available to buy in the UK's BHS for £15.

Thanks to SI3DFilms for the alert.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Confirmed: UK 'Merry Winter Wish' dubs audio dialogue

The United Kingdom's Merry Winter Wish DVD has been confirmed to be featured in edited form.

Owing to the poorly appreciated British release date delay due to the winter holidays controversy, a small number of fans have spotted noticeable alterations on the audio track.

Using extensive dubbing, all episodes on the aforementioned English speaking disc have replaced winter holidays with christmas holidays.

The news is most certain to reprieve positive attention from fans who lambasted the use of the incorrect term since the Ninth Series.

lg77612 was the first person to find out about the change; I downloaded 2 episodes from the Merry Winter Wish UK DVD On iTunes and the audio is changed from Winter Holidays to Christmas Holidays.

It seems the reason for the delay was so Hit could redo the audio so that it was Christmas Holidays instead of Winter Holidays.

Merry Winter Wish is now available to buy on UK DVD and on iTunes from Hit Entertainment.

'King of the Railway' named as seventh special for 2013

The seventh Thomas & Friends feature-length special has been announced with book tie-ins also divulged.

King of the Railway, seemingly the first special to be penned by Andrew Brenner, is teased to take Thomas under a new direction.

At least six books are to link in with the new movie with the King of the Railway Big Golden Book showing promises on its front cover.

Placing Thomas on a backdrop of a castle, a fresh face who is speculated to share the same basis as George Stephenson's Rocket follows from behind.

With three unknown engines seen in the distance, Jack the Front Loader makes a surprise show up on a hillside.

The description teases; Thomas the Tank Engine discovers mysteries of the past—and may even find a treasure!—when a stranger comes to the Island of Sodor.

Train-obsessed little boys ages 3–7 will thrill to this retelling of the newest Thomas & Friends direct-to-DVD/Blue-ray movie, King of the Railway.

A Little Golden Book version covers a similar definition; Thomas the Tank Engine must help a new friend, save a ruined castle, and find a long-lost treasure when a mysterious stranger comes to the Island of Sodor.

Though Treasure on the Tracks fails to speak a snippet of plot, The Secret of the Mine's artwork depicts Thomas finding a treasure chest in a decrepit mine.

Though confirmed to take the show in medieval territory for one story, The Lost Crown of Sodor senses an eventual urgency of drama due to occur in the film.

Knights in armor, ruined castles, long-lost treasure, and friends in danger on the Island of Sodor are all part of a brand-new movie, "King of the Railway," starring Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends.

The Quest for the Golden Crown's piece meanwhile differentiates its paragraph; There are knights, castles, long-lost treasure—and new friends on the Island of Sodor in this brand-new movie, King of the Railway.

Computer animator Scott Caple revealed on his blog in January a piece of artwork pitched to Hit Entertainment who were at the time scouting for a animation company to take over from Nitrogen Studios.

Titled Sodor Castle, Caple responded to fan veterans SiF as to how he accepted the brief test.

This was a part of some development art I did for Guru Animation Studios in Toronto, who were pitching for the series being tendered by HIT.

They didn't get it, I understand that ARC Studios, also in Toronto , got the job. Maybe I should try and get some work out of them... 

King of the Railway: The Movie debuts on DVD and Blu-ray in the fall of 2013 with the six books due to hit US book shelves on July 23rd 2013.


Thanks to Calebtrain for the alert.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Season Sixteen gains extended second DVD in America

Another DVD starring episodes from the Sixteenth Series will go on sale in the United States in January.

Muddy Matters is so far the second fully confirmed US disc to contain the season's stories with A Very Thomas Christmas becoming the first. Go Go Thomas!'s status however is in limbo.

Instead of a group of four, Muddy Matters is to feature five tales with a selection of new and existing extras.

Episodes include;
Muddy Matters
Thomas and the Garbage Train
Don't Bother Victor!
Whiff's Wish
Thomas Toots the Crows

Extras include;
Muddy Sheep Game
Go Go Thomas! Karaoke Music Video
Guess Who? Puzzles
The summary entails; Through mud, garbage and muck, Thomas and his engine friends show that being really Useful can be a dirty job! See James turn into the Really Muddy Engine, and Thomas get showered with garbage.

Watch Peter Sam make a big mess trying to keep things on track, as Thomas creates chaos with the crows and much, much more.

Join Thomas and the Steam Team as they make the best of the mess in these exciting muddy and mucky adventures!

Muddy Matters from Lionsgate Entertainment hits US DVD shelves on January 15th 2013.


Thanks to MrTrainfan1000 for the alert.

hmv.com reveals first three British DVDs for 2013 year

hmv.com have revealed the first DVDs due to hit the United Kingdom for the year of 2013.

The in-store and online retailer have listed the premiere three titles for release between January and March.

Following its December inception in the US, Sticky Situations will hit the borders of Britain during the first month in what is perceived to be an apparent extended release, as evident by hmv's rounded price of £10.

Two months later, the Americans' debut 2013 disc Go Go Thomas! arrives for a British welcome. On the same day as the latter, a Sodor Heroes boxset follows in its tracks.

The compilation is to store a mixture of Season Thirteen and Fourteen episodes with Wobbly Wheels & Whistles, The Lion of Sodor and Pop Goes Thomas being showcased.

Sticky Situations hits UK DVD shelves on January 14th 2013 with Go Go Thomas! and Sodor Heroes following on March 11th.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Britt Allcroft posts tribute to Russell Means on facebook

Creator of the TV Series, Britt Allcroft has spoken about the late Russell Means via her facebook page.

In a heartfelt tribute to the American Indian actor and activist, Allcroft reminisces about her feelings towards Means and her dismay of his role being drastically reduced in Thomas and the Magic Railroad.

Russell had a strong proud spirit and felt passionate about the honouring and preservation of the Lakota language and continuing practice and understanding by indigenous people of life itself and its Great Mystery.

I thought he was wonderful as Billy and I was shocked that 'the execs' wanted his scenes cut because they felt him difficult to understand. He wasn't and, after all, he spoke with the voice of his history.

Britt also mentions about her memories of chats with Russell and her close connection with part of his family.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Gary Barlow becomes Thomas narrator on 'Xtra Factor'

Take That and The X Factor's Gary Barlow made a surprise guest role as The Narrator on an ITV2 show.

The artist and performer voiced a scene from the Sixteenth Series as a joke by presenters Caroline Flack and Olly Murs live on October 21st.

Flack and Murs compared Barlow's voice to current UK storyteller, Michael Angelis who was not mentioned in the actual program. An arrangement of the original series theme was played when the conversation commenced.

Last week on our day off, Caroline and I were watching cartoons, and we came across Thomas the Tank Engine, Olly quipped.

And we thought the voice of the narrator sounds a bit like a certain someone on the judging panel. And when we mean a certain someone, we mean you Gary, Caroline teased.

A clip from Muddy Matters was shown, starting with The Fat Controller announcing the go ahead of the Sodor Farmer's Fair. An initially reluctant Gary commented; Why? You're not making him sound like me do you?.

Much to the delight of the studio audience, Barlow's somewhat uncanny narration proved a success. I've got three kids remember? I'm used to reading stories.

The X Factor spinoff prompted an enjoyable raft of tweets with viewers approving of Gary to join the series, comparing his verbal resemblance to Angelis and responding to the hilarious side of the skit.

Russell Means of 'Magic Railroad' fame dies of cancer

Russell Means, best known to Thomas fans as Billy Twofeathers in the Thomas and the Magic Railroad feature film has passed away at the age of 72.

The actor and activist, who fought for injustice against Americans in their native primes, succumbed to esophageal cancer on October 22nd 2012, a condition he had been diagnosed with since August 2011.

Russell had started his acting career back in 1992 and was known to wide audiences as Chingachgook in the Last of the Mohicans. Means was involved in pre-production for the 2013 film, Winnetou: The Beginning.

He was notable for his participation in the American Indian Movement, an organisation which focused on the various aspects and monitoring of the Native American urban community.

Means also briefly published an autobiography, recounting his life while growing up and a an album containing four songs.


Take-n-Play Stafford toy assigned for November billing

Fisher Price are to release Stafford the Electric Engine as a Take-n-Play vehicle for release this year.

The boxy shaped engine is joining the range in his defining presence and wholesome smile, sometime after his TrackMaster rollout.

Stafford's brown livery is shown immaculately with his design prints, name and number detailed in fine form.

The release was confirmed by Severnside Wholesalers who specialise in childrens toys and accessories.

Take-n-Play Stafford from Fisher Price hits toy shelves worldwide from November through to 2013.

RC engines and truck packs make up new TrackMasters

New stock due from TrackMaster are to come out at the latest part of 2012 in time for the Christmas season.

Starting with rolling stock, Build a Signal is an accessory pack involving a red and a dark blue open truck alongside a yellow slate version and a broken down signal, with extra equipment included.

The Troublesome Trucks are to come in a three piece with each carrying a load; Oil drums, quarry stones and timber. Using stick on faces, the mischievous group are presented in their animated style portrayals.

Lastly, Thomas, Percy and Diesel are to be added to a relaunched R/C engines series. With each of the locomotives coupled up to a truck, each are controlled by a redesigned and simplistic control pad.

TrackMaster Build a Signal, Troublesome Trucks and R/C engines from Fisher Price hit toy shelves worldwide later this year.

Thanks to ilovetrains323 for the alert.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Glenn Wrage voices Bond villian in '007 Legends' game

Voice artist Glenn Wrage has lent his vocals to a highlighted character from the film industry, for a video game.

The US Butch and Cranky vocalist can be heard as James Bond character, Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Activision's 007 Legends its end credits confirm.

Wrage's stint as the scarred face supervillian is tested in the mission, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, based on the 1969 Bond film of the same name.

Although not portraying Blofeld's likeness, the styles of late actors Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas and Charles Gray are fused together for the game.

007 Legends is now available to buy on PS3 and Xbox 360 in the UK and US and is due to hit Australia on October 31st 2012. A PC and a Wii U version is to be released on November and December respectively.

Australia's 'Rusty Saves the Day' turns iTunes product

Australia's Rusty Saves the Day DVD has become a part of iTunes' Kids TV Shows library.

The specially made package uses the above episode as a headliner, despite it coming ninth in the episode playlist.

With certain stories from the Sixth Series featured, a small measure from Season Seven assists.

The synopsis summarises; Skarloey and Rheneas' old line is too battered for them to run on, but Rusty has a plan to repair the line when the quarry is briefly closed down. Join Thomas & Friends for 12 exciting adventures!

Jack Jumps In, It's Only Snow, Gordon Takes a Tumble, Buffer Bother, Toby Had a Little Lamb and Thomas, Percy and the Squeak serve the first half.

Edward the Very Useful Engine, Dunkin' Duncan, Rusty Saves the Day, Faulty Whistles, Emily's New Coaches and Percy Gets it Right follow.

Rusty Saves the Day is now available to buy on iTunes in Australia for $16.99. Episodes can be purchased individually for $1.49.

Thanks to NWR1991 for the alert.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Confirmed: 'Complete Series 1-3' in remastered states

It has been revealed that The Complete Series 1-3 has been featured in its digitally remastered form.

The UK DVDs, which were recently re-released as part of a revamp alongside the complete fourth to seventh seasons, received the treatments despite previous assumptions that this was to not be the case.

The surprise turnaround was divulged by fans this week who had purchased copies of some of the early series titles. For the first time, fans can enjoy the 1984 to 1991 adventures in their complete restored states.

Interactive encyclopedia equivalent to Wikipedia, Thomas & Friends Wikia have since noted down the improvements on each of the discs' articles saying, The 2012 release features restored footage.

Owing to this, a rise in sales on online retailer amazon.co.uk has occurred with the trio clambering above the subsequent series' statuses.

It was presumed prior to the week's launches that the original broadcast visuals would aid the discs as evident by the lack of barcode re-issuing and reports made to the bbfc.

The Complete Series 1-7 titles are now available to buy on UK DVD.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Stephen Graham offers to narrate Thomas & Friends

Hollywood supporting actor Stephen Graham has revealed his wish to narrate Thomas & Friends.

The Liverpudlian is known for his roles in some of the biggest movies made such as The Damned United, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Speaking with The Sun's showbiz editor Gordon Smart on his Xfm show, Graham voiced his intention to be a part of future episodes after fellow Liverpool born narrators Ringo Starr and Michael Angelis.

Maybe I could be the voice of the rock 'n' roll version? Down Tidmouth Sheds on the Island of Sodor when Gordon the Big Engine has had a few too many cans of Tennent's and starts some aggro with James.

Stephen himself starred with Angelis in the BBC's most recent acclaimed drama, Good Cop. Graham however was killed off in the first episode and appeared in subsequent stories through flashbacks.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Play issues 'Complete Series' and 'Winter Wish' rears

Play.com have published the back covers for The Complete Series 1-7 and Merry Winter Wish DVDs.

Using the same design concepts from The Complete Series 12 and 13, 1-7 keeps the continuity going with picture icons of the core engines from Edward to Toby.

While an extra three characters are added to represent a respective series, Thomas plays a part for the purposes of each releases' backgrounds aswell as the front covers.

The alternative angled shots show the cheeky engine in scenes from the Eighth, Tenth and Eleventh Seasons with episodes ranging from Thomas, Emily and the Snowplough to Smoke and Mirrors.

Despite speculation, The Complete Series 1-3 is not known to be featured in its original broadcast films or in remastered form as evident by the lack of re-production on each barcode and non re-submissions made to the bbfc.

With a Season Fourteen and Fifteen title arriving on an eve of Halloween, the rear for Merry Winter Wish fully confirms the extended set of stories due to appear on the DVD.

Displaying an elaborated synopsis, the All You Need Are Friends tune, Down at the Station's Coal and the Guess Who? puzzles serve as extras, with Watch with Mr. Perkins! absent for the first time.

The Complete Series 1-7 DVDs and Merry Winter Wish hit UK DVD shelves on October 15th and 29th 2012 respectively.


Activity books and third 'Holiday Annual' due for the UK

Egmont are to launch three new activity books and one annual to the British public in 2013.

With two due for early February and another duo arriving at the start of March, Sticker Scene Book continues Egmont's 2013 Thomas publications after the January Thomas Story Time titles.

Helps you create your own fun Sodor scenes. This sticker book features locations and characters from the popular "CGI" series.

It lets you build scenes of Tidmouth Sheds, the Steamworks, the Dieselworks and the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre with the fun engine stickers.

Expected to feature the fourth Story Time TV adaptations, My Little Library contains an aggregated 40 pages also for February release.

These are 4 mini books in a carry case - perfect to enjoy on the move! Carry your little library with you wherever you go!

The cute slipcase has soft Velcro closures so books can be easily accessed by both children and parents. And children will love using the handle to carry the Little Library by themselves.

The four board books cover key concepts: Colours, Numbers, Shapes and First Words, so young children can learn about them as they enjoy pictures of Thomas and his friends.

The book back covers also feature a Thomas scene, that young children will enjoy fitting together like a jigsaw picture.

A month later, Dotty Stickers is to follow gathering 38 pages as the description tells; Includes 1000 dotty stickers for dotty activities & stories.

This book offers over 1000 dotty stickers so that kids can create dotty pictures and have loads of dotty fun with dot-tastic activities like dot-to-dots, dotty colouring, writing dotty words and even making a dotty recipe.

Lastly and during the same March period, the third edition of the recurring Holiday Annual returns which is to use events placed from the Sixteenth Series.

With stories, games, activities and stickers! The popular little blue engine is back - and he has some brand-new friends!

Fans of Thomas can read exciting stories about their favourite tank engine and complete puzzles and activities with the colourful stickers.

New characters Winston, Luke, Merrick, Owen and Stafford feature in this holiday annual, as well as some firm favourites! Holiday fun for Thomas enthusiasts everywhere!

Sticker Scene Book and My Little Library hit UK book shelves on February 4th 2013 with Dotty Stickers and Holiday Annual 2013 following on March 4th 2013.


Part four of Egmont's 'Thomas Story Time' given covers

The fourth part of the Thomas Story Time books have had its covers published online.

The Giant Magnet, Stafford Gets Stuck, Race to the Rescue, Flash! Bang! Wallop! and Happy Hiro have each received their front arts ahead of their 2013 releases.

Using edited promotional shots from the Nitrogen Studios archives, the latter three use Hiro the Japanese Engine, Thomas the Tank Engine with The Photographer and Flynn the Fire Engine.

Preceding the triplets is altered high-res stills originating from the TV episodes, Welcome Stafford! and Stuck on You.

The five new Thomas Story Time titles from Egmont hit UK book shelves on January 7th 2013.

Monday, 8 October 2012

'Welcome Stafford' confirmed for 'Go Go Thomas!' DVD

The first Season Sixteen episode to be added onto a 2013 DVD has been confirmed via a toy stock.

A revised action made to Stafford the Electric Shunting Engine's TrackMaster sights an advertisement sticker tacked onto its packaging.

Reading as seen on DVD, the Yorkshire born engine's introductory story, Welcome Stafford is now confirmed to be on the Go Go Thomas! US DVD.

Featuring Spencer, Stafford, The Logging Locos and others, the tale is the first Thomas & Friends episode to be revealed for release on a 2013 disc.

Flash Bang Wallop! and Express Coming Through have been hinted for a followed up inclusion since June.

Go Go Thomas! is coming soon to US DVD shelves in the Spring of 2013.

Thomas "special specials" make return as Take-n-Play's

The unpopular scenario of Thomas and specials specials have been reprieved as Take-n-Play models.

Set at two different events with similar settings, Thomas hauls a load each to celebrate Autumn and Winter parties.

In Thomas at the Winter Festival, a batch of Holiday Lights is delivered on a flatbed with the blue engine decorated in christmas lights.

Thomas at the Halloween Celebration instead uses two large pumpkins standing with confetti covering The Steam Team member.

Take-n-Play Thomas at the Winter Festival and at the Halloween Celebration hit toy shelves worldwide soon.

TrackMaster's 'Sodor Blackout' fourth playset appointed

A fourth set concerning the TrackMaster Sodor Blackout series has been released.

Rather than use Toby or Duck as central leads, Thomas the Tank Engine instead headlines the next part of Blackout with the expansive Power Line Collapse.
Plotting the blue engine and a newly-designed coal truck, Thomas veers around a circuit of track on a task to restore electricity on Sodor as the blurb entails.

When Thomas accidentally knocks over the power lines, it's "lights out" on the Island of Sodor! Help Thomas collect coal to deliver to the Sodor Electric Company, so that power can be restored to the island.

The piece also contains a coal hopper, power lines and a Sodor Electric Company building complete with a light up sign.

TrackMaster Sodor Blackout: Power Line Collapse from Fisher Price is now available in stores worldwide.

2013 Wooden Railway line revealed by The Train Cellar

Toy stockists, The Train Cellar have unveiled the new Thomas Wooden Railway lineup for the year of 2013.

With many re-releases being the main priority such as the returns of Ferdinand, Rosie, D199 and Scruff, new products also join the trend.

Some multi-packs base scenarios from Season Sixteen episodes such as Race to the Rescue, Percy's Musical Ride and Happy Birthday Special.
On the subject of the 2012 series and Blue Mountain Mystery, Winston, Luke and the long-awaited Stafford represent the new engines and vehicles with their official depictions also revealed.

While Thomas, James and Percy rejoin the Battery Operated Engines, Hiro and Diesel participate for the next year.

Though Thomas returns again, Toby, Gordon, Emily and Spencer follow with their involvements in the fresh Talking Engines.

With a limited number of original destinations, the Wood Chipper add-on becomes the only latter to be made.

The same occurs to playsets, with Flash Bang Wallop! being adapted for the Farmhouse Pig Parade, albeit, with a partly edited plot.

The Thomas & Friends 2013 Wooden Railway series from Fisher Price hits toy shelves worldwide starting from next year.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

'Blue Mountain' wins Parents' Choice Recommendation

Quality guides to children's media, Parents' Choice Foundation have awarded Blue Mountain Mystery: The Movie a Parents' Choice Recommendation.

The judges based the results on different and reliable ways for children to learn, where Mystery was placed as a worthy contributor.

The special's US DVD however lost out to the likes of Babar and The Gruffalo's Child for a silver and gold award.

Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc. explained more on the system in their latest press release.

The Foundation’s purpose is to search out and recommend products that help kids grow imaginatively, physically, morally and mentally – fairly priced products that are fun, safe, safe and socially sound.

Parents' Choice gave out their reasoning for the recommendation; Blue Mountain Mystery includes some flashback scenes and detailed exposition to explain the mystery elements, yet the plot isn't overly complex.

Young elementary-aged viewers and even older preschoolers will be able to grasp the storyline and understand the theme of compassion and the importance of not jumping to conclusions.

Young viewers also will enjoy the visually interesting quarry setting and action scenes that are gripping but not so tense that they're scary.

Blue Mountain Mystery: The Movie is now available to buy on DVD in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and also on Blu-Ray in the US.

Thanks to MrTrainfan1000 for the alert.

Nitrogen uploads 'Production Progression' on YouTube

Departed Thomas & Friends animators, Nitrogen Studios have treated fans to their developed animations onto YouTube.

In two videos, a quad-split technique shows the creative processes made from the storyboarding stage to the pre-visualization to the animation to the final touch-ups.
Examples of this are presented using scenes from Hero of the Rails and Blue Mountain Mystery.

Both of which are chase sequences with Hiro and Thomas running away from Spencer and Rheneas' near unstoppable runaway.

Nitrogen's successors, Arc Productions are currently in production animating the Seventeenth Series and the seventh feature-length special both slated for release in the fall of 2013.