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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Hornby discontinues Thomas & Friends model range

It has been reported that Hornby have discontinued their Thomas & Friends range after nearly 30 years.

The British model makers will no longer produce merchandise of the brand with Hornby yet to comment on the news. A £1 million annual loss and supply issues are said to be the cause of the demise.
The apparent cancellation was divulged by Hornby specialists chuFFers.com, who posted an additional message on their page for Thomas models and sets shortly before the new year.

STOP PRESS. Sadly, with the end of 2013 we say goodbye to the Hornby Range of Thomas & Friends. This product line is now discontinued.

Formally known as Hornby Railways until 1996, Hornby created the Thomas & Friends line in 1985 before gradually decreasing new releases during its final years.

Between 2012 and 2013, Hornby and Marketing Manager Simon Kohler spoke to Roll Along Thomas over the then future of the franchise, initially committed for 2013.

Kohler later expressed his doubts in September last year; Nothing ever lasts forever. So to say, will it go on forever, I couldn’t possibly answer that, but certainly in the near future.

Thanks to Hawk01 for the alert.

Monday, 27 January 2014

LoveFilm signs deal for more Thomas & Friends content

LoveFilm have announced the addition of more Thomas & Friends content to their service.

The UK mail and On Demand provider for TV shows and movies have today signed on over 50 episodes of Thomas to stream to subscribers.

The new deal was made in agreement with Hit Entertainment, Dreamworks Classics and Ludorum.
It will also see the inclusion of other feature-length specials including Misty Island Rescue, Day of the Diesels and Blue Mountain Mystery, to name but a few.

The amazon company already own the rights to stream the first five seasons alongside Calling All Engines! and all of the Nitrogen Studios animated 12th to 16th seasons.

LoveFilm's Director of Content Strategy, Chris Bird, commented on the deal; The addition of this new children's content enhances our already fantastic range of iconic characters and classic shows.

Our streaming service is particularly suited to family content, and parents and their kids can now enjoy an even broader variety of family-friendly entertainment whenever they want, however they want.

Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder, Pingu, Kipper, Where's Wally? and Thomas & Friends rival Chuggington are among the new additions.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Thomas & Friends mobile site adds Classic Series videos

The Thomas & Friends mobile website has been updated with clips from the Classic Series.

For mobile users only, the official site's videos page now includes five music videos from the classic era of the show.
Thomas' Anthem, Come for the Ride, The Snow Song, Winter Wonderland and Boo! Boo! Choo-Choo are available to view without sing-a-long lyrics.

Joining them are scenes from several Series 13 to 16 episodes and Learn with Thomas segments.

Other new clips include the Standard Gauge and Narrow Gauge fact file and the Working Together and Blue Mountain Mystery music videos.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Exclusive: 'Thomas Way' UK DVD brings format change

It has been revealed that the latest Thomas & Friends DVD for the UK has brought changes to its format.

The Thomas Way is to be released in the country this coming Monday. The title episode is joined by The Switch, Percy's Lucky Day, Calm Down, Caitlin!, The Lost Puff and Luke's New Friend.
Ahead of its launch date, Roll Along Thomas received the DVD this weekend to examine the changes.

The episodes are delivered in a 1:66:1 widescreen format as opposed to the usual original aspect ratio of 1:78:1. The conversion enables a slight loss of video quality.

The opening, closing credits and the Engine Roll Call meanwhile are removed, only ever appearing at the start and at the end of the main feature, making it more akin to current US releases.

Lastly, the billed bonus features are alternatively available to view in between episodes, with a sixth bonus feature coming in the form of a printable helpers certificate.

The Thomas Way from Hit Entertainment hits UK DVD shelves on January 27th.

'Trouble on the Tracks' Walmart US DVD coming in April

Walmart are to bring out a new DVD for the US only to be available in their many stores.

Trouble on the Tracks is the next release to be made as an exclusive for the retailer, due for the spring.
Speculated rifely by fans to be the first glimpse of Season 18, it follows on from the specially made Railway Mischief, which shared an almost identical release date to its successor.

Its content is so far unknown with episodes to be presented in a 4:3 frame format, deviating itself from the billed widescreen Spills & Thrills DVD.

Trouble on the Tracks from Lionsgate Entertainment hits US DVD shelves in Walmart stores only on April 8th.

'Tale of the Brave' UK books and 2015 Annual revealed

Three new books for the UK have been revealed by amazon for release at the end of July.

Coinciding with the Tale of the Brave are storybook and sticker book editions of the upcoming feature-length special.
With both reliving the action from the movie, the storybook's description reveals more on the plot of the film.

When Thomas discovers a mysterious footprint in the clay pits, everyone is curious about where it came from, but poor Percy is just scared!

Can a new friend convince Percy there is no such thing as monsters or will his fear lead him to leave Sodor Island forever?! Fans of Thomas & Friends can relive all the action from the hit movie in this action-packed storybook!

Also due simultaneously is the Thomas & Friends 2015 Annual. The 72 page book is to hold an another assortment of stories, character profiles and activities.

The Tale of the Brave books and the 2015 Annual hit UK book shelves on July 31st.


'Spills & Thrills' Season 17 UK DVD content confirmed

The full content due for the United Kingdom's Spills & Thrills DVD has been confirmed by play.com.

The Season 17 disc brings together The Smelly Kipper, Away from the Sea, No More Mr Nice Engine, Gone Fishing, Thomas' Shortcut and The Afternoon Tea Express.
The release is the first opportunity for UK fans to witness the episodes while broadcasts from Channel 5 are pending confirmation.

Its reverse cover contains brand new promo shots of Porter and Thomas racing in mid-air along the rails.

Meanwhile, Spills' extras will form the second round of helpings from Really Useful Engines, Mr Perkins' Postcard, The Earl's Quiz, Mr Perkins' Story Time and Who's That Engine?.

Spills & Thrills from Hit Entertainment hits UK DVD shelves on March 31st.

Thomas in Awesome Adventures fourth volume UK DVD

Thomas is to appear in another volume of the Awesome Adventures DVD series for the UK.

The Hit Entertainment brands range returns for a fourth title with Thomas & Friends being joined by Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder and Mike the Knight.

Party Surprise! sees double helpings of Hit's four shows with Season 13 episodes representing Thomas.
Episodes include;
Thomas & Friends in
Pop Goes Thomas and The Biggest Present of All.
Fireman Sam in
Bronwyn's Millionth Customer and Dily's Big Surprise.
Bob the Builder in
Travis' New Garage and Wendy's Birthday Surprise.
Mike the Knight in
The Greatest Story Ever and The Troll Treat Pie.

The description reads; It's party time, and you're invited to celebrate with Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam, Mike the Knight and Bob the Builder!
Can Thomas keep all the presents on track and deliver? Can Fireman Sam save the day - and Dilys' cake?

Meanwhile, Bob and his team need to fix Wendy's birthday, and even Mike the Knight has a delicious dilemma at Glendragon's Pie Party! Join the festivities and enjoy some Party Surprises!

Awesome Adventures: Party Surprise! from Hit Entertainment hits UK DVD shelves on March 10th

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Hit Entertainment readies Thomas' 70th anniversary

Hit Entertainment have begun plans to prepare for the 70th anniversary of the Thomas & Friends brand. 

2015 will mark 70 years since the birth of The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry and the release of its first book, The Three Railway Engines.

On crowdsourcing website Tongal, Hit are involved in the creation of a celebratory video directed at what Thomas & Friends means to fans, with Tongal members open to submit their own entries through a Wildcard round.
The project has surpassed its $45,000 target, with its objective detailing a brief with a winner to be announced on January 27th.

How does the magic of Thomas’ world break through the screen and into your everyday lives? Focus on how the wonder and adventure are relevant in today’s world, for today’s children and families. 

On January 13th, Veronica Chambers, the Rev. Awdry's daughter, paid tribute to her father and his legacy on BBC One's magazine show, The One Show, with Veronica revisiting The Old Vicarage home in Emneth, UK.

Previous milestones celebrated have included 50 years in 1995 with the broadcast of the Fifth Series and 2000's theatrical film Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
2005 brought the first feature-length special Calling All Engines!, with the first CGI made series and the fourth special Misty Island Rescue following in 2010, Thomas' 65th anniversary.

With a Thomas exhibition for the US, the TV series' 30th anniversary this year will bring the Tale of the Brave special and the 18th Series to screens.

In an interview with SiF in October 2012 however, head writer Andrew Brenner downplayed the focus on the show's own milestone.

The focus has always been on celebrating the landmark anniversaries of the first book rather than the TV anniversaries. Hit are not intending to mark this date, but looking forward to the 70th anniversary of the books.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Take-n-Play Big City and Class 40 pictures released

Brand new images of two Take-n-Play models have been published by Severnside Wholesalers.

The upcoming models of The Railway Series' Big City Engine and Class 40 are featured in the new shots.
The foreign engine Big City model is depicted with a sturdy design based on his sole appearance in The Eight Famous Engines book.

Class 40's, also known as D4711 and The Diesel meanwhile, takes on a squat form while his face uses his TV series likeness as seen in the Bowled Out episode.

Take-n-Play Big City Engine and Class 40 hit UK and US toy shelves in March.


Thanks to Jamesfan143 for the alert.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Toad and Talking Winston coming to Take-n-Play range

Two characters are to make a return to die-cast Thomas & Friends for Take-n-Play.

For the Fisher Price and Mattel range, Toad the Brake Van is the latest of the rolling stock to be made into a Take-n-Play model.
Previously formed as a Take Along, the brake van's debut comes days after faithful friend Oliver was revealed to be making a comeback to the TV series for the Tale of the Brave special.

The Fat Controller's track inspection car Winston meanwhile is the latest to join the Talking series with signature phrases and sounds included.

They join a plethora of other Take-n-Play products due including the Tale of the Brave themed models and the recently announced Big City Engine and Class 40.

Take-n-Play Toad and Talking Winston hit UK and US toy shelves later this year.


Thanks to Bass Tbone for the alert.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Railway Series engines confirmed as new Take-n-Plays

Two engines originating from The Railway Series will be made into Take-n-Play models.

The Big City Engine and Class 40, also referred to as The Foreign Engine and D4711 respectively in the Awdry books, are next for the Fisher Price range.
They were revealed by UK toy distributor Severnside Wholesalers as two forthcoming additions to the die-cast family.

Only serving as one-offs, Big City appeared at the start of The Eight Famous Engines story Gordon Goes Foreign.

Class 40 followed in the Stepney the Bluebell Engine story Bowled Out and was later known as The Diesel in the TV Series episode of the same name. A whole host of models relating to the Tale of the Brave special are also due.

Take-n-Play Big City Engine and Class 40 hit UK and US toy shelves in March.

Thanks to Jamesfan143 and Hawk01 for the alerts.

'Tale of the Brave' and more Take-n-Plays unveiled

New die-cast models of three newcomers, appearing in Tale of the Brave, have been unveiled by amazon.ca.

This week brought the first trailer of the 2014 special with Gator named as a primary character, who is to receive his own Take-n-Play pack, Gator and the Mysterious Cargo.
It sees the incumbent, covered in tarp, on his way to Sodor from the mountains with two covered wagons, reveals the description, with glow-in-the-dark dinosaur bones included.

Supporting the aforementioned, alongside the previously discovered Timothy, is Marion who is also joined by the so-called Scrap Heap Monster.

Lastly, as part of the special, is Ben and the Cement Canyon, involving the China Clay twin busy delivering cement to the construction site, which gets all over him.

Elsewhere comes Talking Stephen, with the model implementing a working light and signature phrases. The Rocket follows Edward, Henry, Belle, Rosie and others in the Talking series.

Recent times meanwhile have seen Fisher Price bring back engines Molly, the returned Harvey with Donald and Douglas for Take-n-Play while also releasing themed packs such as Percy's Catapult and Thomas and the Treasure.

The Take-n-Play Tale of the Brave and Stephen models hit UK and US toy shelves later this year.

Thanks to 01Salty for the alert.

'Spills & Thrills' Australian DVD release due for March

The first Season 17 DVD for Australian audiences has been confirmed for this spring.

The Spills & Thrills feature, recently screened in Hoyts cinemas, will head to DVD in early March.

The 65 minute disc brings together Away from the Sea, The Smelly Kipper, No More Mr Nice Engine, Gone Fishing, Thomas' Shortcut and The Afternoon Tea Express.
The description reads; The Island of Sodor is always bustling with activity, yet when the engines try to be Really Useful they often find themselves in some messy muddles!

James tries to prove he's not afraid of the dark, or too vain to haul smelly fish, but when he pulls the night time Kipper Express he gets more than he bargained for!

Stephen's need for speed, and Salty's need to impress, sends them both into some sticky, slippery situations.

Hiro shows Diesel that nice engines do finish first and The Fat Controller shows you can't cry over spilt milk...twice! It's full steam ahead for Spills & Thrills on Sodor!

Spills & Thrills from ABC for Kids hits Australian DVD shelves on March 5th.

Thanks to Jim522 for the alert.

Friday, 10 January 2014

'Tale of the Brave: The Movie' first look trailer released

The brand new first trailer of the Tale of the Brave feature-length special has been released.

The minute long teaser offers a first glimpse at the upcoming 2014 film with a host of characters featured including four new characters.
Gator, the Colombian Steam Locomotive, is named alongside Timothy, Marion, the steam shovel and Reg the Crane.

The Steam Team are seen along with appearances put in by StaffordRosie, Bill and BenDuck with Stanley, Porter, Cranky and a surprise return from an old favourite last seen in the 12th Series.

The special will explore the theme of bravery while an 18th series is confirmed to launch later in the year.

Tale of the Brave: The Movie is coming soon to UK and US DVD.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

'King' heads to Japanese cinemas with summer release

King of the Railway: The Movie is to make its way over to Japanese audiences in the summer.

The seventh feature-length special in the Thomas & Friends franchise will debut in select cinemas in Japan this May.
Ahead of King's arrival, translated as キング オブ ザ レイルウェイ, comes its website with character profiles, activities and a synopsis already available.

A trailer mirroring the original UK version has also been released with more scenes added.

It follows Blue Mountain Mystery's (ブルーマウンテンの採) DVD release, which was launched in the country last October.

King of the Railway: The Movie premieres in Japanese cinemas from May 17th.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Ringo Starr animated in 'The Powerpuff Girls' new clip

Ringo Starr has been featured in a new clip from a one-off revival of The Powerpuff Girls.

The Beatles drummer, and original narrator of Thomas, is depicted in animated form as himself performing a new song while wearing a Powerpuff themed dress.
Specifically written for the feature-length episode Dance Pantsed, the song I Wish I Was a Powerpuff Girl, serves as one of two contributions from Starr, with himself providing the voice of Fibonacci Sequins.

Originally scheduled for broadcast in the fall of 2013, the episode was pushed back to January 2014.

A trailer of the episode meanwhile was released by art director Kevin Dart last December.

The Powerpuff Girls: Dance Pantsed premieres on Cartoon Network in the US on January 20th from 6:30pm with the UK's Boomerang following in June.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Stepney returns to die-cast with Take-n-Play model

Stepney the Bluebell Engine is to return to die-cast Thomas & Friends as a Take-n-Play model.

The visiting engine will debut in the Fisher Price and Mattel produced range this spring in the UK and US.
An image of the new model released by Smyths shows Stepney sporting a CGI style face.

Compared to his preceding Take Along version, minor adjustments have been made to his funnel, wheels and cab.

Take-n-Play Stepney from Fisher Price hits UK and US toy shelves this spring.

'Thomas' Shortcut' in Spills & Thrills widescreen US DVD

The upcoming Spills & Thrills DVD for the US has been confirmed as a six episode release by Lionsgate Publicity.

The Season 17 disc brings together Away from the Sea, The Smelly Kipper, No More Mr Nice Engine, Gone Fishing and The Afternoon Tea Express.
Thomas' Shortcut is the sixth episode confirmed, with the Biff Bash Bosh Game, a Go Go Thomas! Music Video and Guess Who? puzzles all serving as extras.

The press release also states that the DVD will come in a widescreen 16:9 format as opposed to the usual 4:3 image, making it the first regular US DVD to contain the change, bar specials.

Spills & Thrills from Lionsgate Entertainment hits US DVD shelves on March 4th.

Thanks to Thomas Stansfield for the alert.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Japan for Day Out with Thomas style event in summer

Japan are to receive their own Day Out with Thomas style event for the summer of the new year.

A replica of Thomas is designated to be operating on the Oigawa Line in the district of Shizuoka Prefecture on the island of Honshu later this summer.
Rocket News 24 reports that a C11-227 steam locomotive, dressed as Thomas, will tour the railway's landscapes, taking passengers through the mountains of the Oigawa Railway.

En route from the Shinkanaya Station in Shimida, Japan's very own Hiro, in the form of a JNR Class 9600 engine, will appear at the Senzu Station terminal in Kawane-Honcho at the end of the line.

Running for a limited two months, the move is presented in conjunction with the railway and Sony Creative Products Inc., who produce Japan's range of Thomas & Friends DVDs.

Thanks to SiF for the alert.