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Monday, 28 January 2013

Exclusive: Thomas mags for print every three weeks

Egmont have confirmed that Thomas Express magazine in the United Kingdom will not end.

Growing concerns over the publication of Issue 325 of Thomas Express arose when the previous on January 16th did not bill a next issue page.

Thomas & Friends Magazine however on January 9th reported that the next issue to arrive would be a continuation of the former, leading to confusion among readers questioning the future of Thomas Express.

Egmont's Buying Assistant, Natalie Ewin has now confirmed that all is safe, Roll Along Thomas can reveal, elaborating that both magazine series will come out every three weeks.

Thomas Express is not discontinuing. I can confirm the issue fans bought was 324 on sale from Wednesday 16th January to Tuesday 12th February.

This should have been printed onto the bag (bottom left) and the magazine (top left). Issue 325 will be in the shops for you to buy on Wednesday 13th February.

Ewin has also guaranteed Thomas & Friends Magazine to run all the way up to December before a potential series renewal in 2014; Thomas & Friends will be on sale on the following dates.

658 30-Jan, 659 20-Feb, 660 13-Mar, 661 03-Apr, 662 24-Apr, 663 15-May, 664 05-Jun, 665 26-Jun, 666 17-Jul, 667 07-Aug, 668 28-Aug, 669 18-Sep, 670 09-Oct, 671 30-Oct, 672 20-Nov, 673 11-Dec.

Thanks to SI3DFilms and SteamTeam.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Railway Series stories narrated by Rev. Awdry go digital

The original vinyl recordings of Edward's Day Out and Edward and Gordon have both turned digital.

The stories narrated by The Railway Series creator, The Rev. W. Awdry were both made commercially available on iTunes and amazon on New Years Day as downloadable audios.

The Lost Noises Office who specialise in spoken word audios, were responsible for the revivals, the same people who brought back the Johnny Morris recordings of The Sad Story of Henry and Edward, Gordon and Henry.

The Edward tales were first released by Chiltern Records Ltd. in 1952 before Delyse issued a re-release nine years later in 1961.

Edward's Day Out and Edward and Gordon narrated by The Rev. W. Awdry are available to buy individually on iTunes in the UK, US and Australia and on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com.



Thanks to SI3DFilms for the alert.

Friday, 25 January 2013

'Go Go Thomas!' given 75 minute UK DVD and extras

Go Go Thomas! is to appear on UK DVD as a 75 minute feature the bbfc has confirmed.

The Season Sixteen release which is to hold five episodes was submitted to the film classifier board this Friday.

As part of Hit Entertainment's new pledge to extend the runtime on new Thomas releases, the March disc is to be joined by a total of six extras.

Episodes include;
Express Coming Through
Race to the Rescue
Flash Bang Wallop!
Welcome Stafford
Ol' Wheezy Wobbles

Extras include;
Watch with Mr. Perkins!
Down at the Station: The End of the Line
Sing-a-long Song: Go Go Thomas!
Sing-a-long Song: Thomas and Percy
Guess Who?: Stafford
Guess Who?: Thomas and James

While Mr. Perkins returns for another skit, Thomas and Percy and the reworked 2012 version of Go Go Thomas! make their debuts on UK DVD, the latter of which was previewed by the US last December.

Go Go Thomas! hits UK DVD shelves on March 11th 2013.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Toy World talks 'King of the Railway' and Thomas Land

The latest volume of Toy World has given an insight to plans centering around the King of the Railway movie and the Thomas Land UK theme park.

On page 70 of the business magazine, a build-up of publicity and merchandise is mentioned to tie-in with the release of Arc Productions' first Thomas & Friends story, King of the Railway.

This movie premiere will be coordinated across the lines of the business, with over 50 tie-in products from around the world.

This global pre-school event will launch with blue carpet premieres in key territories across the globe for the first time, from coast to coast in the US, Germany and the UK.

Global SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) for Take-n-Play, Trackmaster, Pre-school and Thomas Wooden Railway will be unveiled in Nuremberg and in NY Toy Fairs, with the SKUs that support King of the Railway.

Teasing the film, an array of surprises is promised also in relation to Arc Productions's CGI first previewed last week.

The quest-themed special will offer viewers more vibrant and colourful animation, exciting and engaging storylines, as well as some special guests and new locations.
A first look at the DVD cover on page 73 shows a promotional shot of Thomas and Stephen the Rocket racing on the rails away from Sir Robert Norramby's castle.

Although the film dominates the magazine's Thomas coverage, a small update on Drayton Manor's Thomas Land tells of a major milestone due to commence later this year at the Staffordshire park.

Drayton Manor Theme Park in the UK is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its Thomas Land attraction in 2013. Hit Entertainment is joining the park for a series of specially planned events to mark this anniversary.

King of the Railway: The Movie premieres in the UK, US, Germany and Australia from this September.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

'King of the Railway: The Movie' trailer debuts online

The long-awaited first trailer of King of the Railway: The Movie has been leaked online.

The minute long teaser narrated by veteran of voice Gary Martin sees old favourites Thomas, James, Percy, The Fat Controller and The Troublesome Trucks in action with Spencer, Captain and Harold also appearing.

Knapford Station, The Docks, The Steamworks and the Search and Rescue Center feature as the returning locations.

The first female narrow gauge engine Millie is one of the new faces seen along with Stephen the Rocket and Sir Robert Norramby, The Earl of Sodor.

The UK teaser also offers the first glimpse of Arc Productions' CGI, using the same style as predecessors Nitrogen Studios.

However the animation has been met with a frosty reception on YouTube with some branding it awful and cheap, despite the original source clip only being viewable in low quality.

Ben Small and Keith Wickham are joined by new voice actors while Andrew Brenner makes his debut as Head Writer.

King of the Railway: The Movie premieres in the UK and US this September.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

'Thomas Story Time' five indicates Series Sixteen stories

The fifth lot of Thomas Story Time books are due to go on sale later this summer in the United Kingdom.

The next five titles are to be based on episodes from the Sixteenth TV series. The news comes nearly two weeks after the January releases became available for purchase.

Plot outlines released by amazon.co.uk have become varied for at least two of the adaptations while the other three are in full detail.
Express Coming Through!
Some very important visitors are visiting the Island of Sodor and it's up to Thomas to show them around. Will he be up to the task?

The Big Surprise
Based on Sodor Surprise Day.
It's Sodor Surprise Day - the day when friends try to surprise each other and make each other laugh! Thomas loves Sodor Surprise Day. But Gordon doesn't. Gordon thinks it's a silly day for silly engines.

Thomas is determined to make Gordon laugh, so he follows him all over Sodor, playing all his best tricks and jokes. But Gordon just huffs and puffs.

Will Thomas be able to give Gordon a surprise before the day is over? Or will Gordon surprise Thomas instead?

Thomas Scares the Crows
Based on Thomas Toots the Crows.
A flock of naughty birds are ruining Farmer McColl's cornfield. They are eating all of the seeds and tearing up the land!

While Farmer McColl fixes his scarecrow, Thomas promises to guard the field and hoot and toot all day long to keep the birds away.

But when two cheeky crows keep coming back, Thomas decides there's only one thing for it - a big chase! Will Thomas chase the crows away or will they come back and ruin Farmer McColl's field once and for all...?

Don't Bother Victor!
It's an exciting day when The Thin Controller puts Peter Sam in charge. He's given just one instruction: 'Don't Bother Victor!' But will Peter Sam be able to keep his word?

The Sounds of Sodor
Based on Thomas and the Sounds of Sodor.
When a famous composer comes to Sodor to write music for a concert, Thomas is very proud to be asked to take him round the island. The Composer wants to hear the sounds of Sodor to help him write his music.

Thomas is worried that his friends are so noisy with their wheeshing and whooshing that the Composer won't be able to hear the birdsong, the sea and all the other sounds of Sodor.

But the Composer has a different idea about just what the sounds of Sodor might be...

The five new Thomas Story Time books from Egmont hit UK book shelves on July 1st 2013.


Thanks to SteamTeam for the alert.

Friday, 11 January 2013

'King of the Railway's characters and spoilers detailed

Details of the King of the Railway movie have begun to surface with characters and scenes being divulged.

From The Train Cellar's King of the Railway Wooden Railway page, a central star called Stephen is one of the newcomers who is to be based on George Stephenson's Rocket.

Stephen is one of the earliest engines ever built. Newer engines may be faster and stronger than Stephen, but what he lacks in terms of strength or speed Stephen makes up for with his positive spirit, sense of humor and knowledge.

A rusty version of Stephen, a passenger coach pack and his very own coaches will be among the new tie-in stock. The engine is to be involved in an important scene from the special as the Adventures of the Mine set explains.

Stephen is trapped in the mine! This play set, themed after the latest Thomas & Friends DVD King of the Railway, is packed with action and adventure to allow your child to re-enact some of the gripping moments.

Comes with a figure 8 track set, Stephen, Cargo car, treasure chest cargo with kings crown, crane and mine.

While other newbie Millie is only referred to as a small new engine, another by the name of Connor shares a connection with a second female locomotive.

Connor is a streamlined engine from the Mainland, designed for speed. He is excitable and energetic and like Caitlin, loves to race the other engines. Connor however, is better able to be patient than Caitlin.

Both Caitlin and Stephen's toy depictions are published on their pages. Less interestingly is a compulsory crane machine which however does provide more hints of moments due to appear in the film.

Castle Crane is tied to the Thomas and Friends tentpole King of the Railway. Crane arm has two positions and can extend out to pick up cargo on castle crane ledge.

Features one ledge you can transport cargo to. Includes Magnetic Cargo pieces, Gryffon as well as Castle Supply Crate and one cargo car.

The King of the Railway Wooden Railways from Fisher Price hit toy shelves worldwide later this year, coinciding with the release of King of the Railway: The Movie.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Old Vicarage couple celebrating Awdry for second time

The owners of The Rev. W. Awdry's former home will be organising an open event dedicated to the The Railway Series author.

Mark and Flo Thatcher, who reside in the Emneth home in Britain, are to hold a lecture this month at the Dwight Centre.

One of the talking points will centre around the history of The Old Vicarage, Awdry's home, situated in the town of Wisbech.

The Thatchers previously held a similar event commending the Rev's centenary in 2011. Cambridgeshire County Council announced in April 2012 that an Awdry House was to be built for this spring.

Mark and Flo Thatcher's Awdry celebration will be presented at the Dwight Centre in Wisbech Grammar School on January 14th at 7:30pm. Visitors can enter for £2 each.

Friday, 4 January 2013

'Thomas Classic Series' DVDs returns to Japan for two

Japan's Thomas Classic Series DVD range is to make a comeback for 2013 with two more titles.

Using the theme of accidents, たいへんだ!とまらない~ compiles six episodes with two from the Second Series, one from the Fifth and three from the Sixth Series.

A Close Shave, Percy's Predicament, Busy Going Backwards, Thomas the Jet Engine, Percy's Chocolate Crunch and Gordon Takes a Tumble star.

On the subject of being busy, いそげいそげ いそがしいぞ!! draws out one of each from the Third, Fourth and Seventh Series and three from the Sixth Series.

All at Sea, You Can't Win!, Harvey to the Rescue, No Sleep for Cranky, Jack Jumps In and The Grand Opening make up the collection.

たいへんだ!とまらない~ and いそげいそげ いそがしいぞ!! from Sony Creative Products Inc. hit Japanese DVD shelves on January 30th 2013.


'The Audio Collection' brings 'Railway Stories' together

A CD compilation containing all six current audiobooks of The Railway Stories has been released in the UK.

Formally produced by BBC Audio and now AudioGO, the Michael Angelis narrated volumes have been brought together for The Audio Collection.

Released in Winter 2012, the cover, billing, original Thomas songs, re-uses the same artwork of Thomas, Annie and Clarabel from The Railway Stories: Volumes 1-3.

A new tag at the bottom of the cover reads, 18 stories read by Michael Angelis. In June 2012, Roll Along Thomas revealed that a seventh volume is planned for 2013.

The Audio Collection from AudioGO is available to buy in the UK as a CD boxset in tk.maxx stores.

Thanks to SI3DFilms for the alert.

New packs and re-releases for 2013 Wooden Railways

Fisher Price will re-release a number of existing Wooden Railway toys for 2013, The Train Cellar has revealed.

Coinciding with the new King of the Railway series and its respective film, many characters are to return to the range.

Flynn, Kevin, Freddie and Rocky are to be reprieved alongside Jack, Salty, Butch and Bertie while Thomas, Percy, Diesel and Norman are to have the same effect via a Steamies Vs. Diesels four pack.

Other packs such as Oil and Cargo and Santa's Little Engine follow including one for Sidney the Day of the Diesels engine titled, Sidney's Holiday Special.

Sets and add-ons such as Knapford Station and Sodor Wash Down will be re-released while more fresh builds also join like the Wacky Track Bridge.

The next Thomas & Friends Wooden Railways from Fisher Price hit toy shelves worldwide in the fall of 2013.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Mattel talks better Thomas future with New York Times

Mattel has spoken about their plans for an even more expansive Thomas & Friends brand later this new year.

The toy giant who were appointed the new owners of Hit Entertainment in October 2011 have been talking to The New York Times over what to expect from the brand through 2013.

International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association alumni, Marty Brochstein said; An established brand like Thomas helps Mattel in the extraordinarily competitive preschool market.

It is much more expensive and tenuous to try and create a franchise from scratch. Plans for a refurb in merchandise and marketing are under way with four apps, a new website and more Day Out with Thomas being promised.

Head of Hit Global Brands, Shari Donnenfeld shares more; When you are successful for as long as Thomas has been, you can become part of the woodwork.

We need to reinforce the brand by reminding people why they love it and introducing new content.
Over the questions as to what newer TV series' shall bring, Executive Vice-President of Mattel, David Allmark has pledged for a change; Innocent, sweet life lessons. Faster storytelling. Some of it needs livening up a little bit.

The article also teases a release date for the King of the Railway movie, apparent to appear on DVD and in cinemas for spring.

An incorrect paragraph states that three more seasons of the show will be produced. However, CGI makers Arc Productions and Hit are currently contracted to make the new special with two seasons following.

In December last year, a makeover for the Day Out with Thomas events was announced for the UK in a press release by Licensing.biz.


Thanks to Tristan for the alert.

Has Mattel reassured you that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Thomas or do you still see the brand in a dark place? Send in your thoughts in the comments tab below.