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1  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Collection photos on: Today at 01:02:17 AM

All fa come together as one
2  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: The Everything Thomas Thread on: December 12, 2018, 01:59:24 PM
Thomas was doing fine in the 2010s-2012s and there were plenty of iPads and other toys to compete with the brand.

If you want to know what really happened, look no further than a franchise that emerged the following year; Paw Patrol. This show rose up right as Thomas was bought by Mattel, and it shook up the kids show industry. It makes money, a LOT of money, money that Mattel wanted Thomas to have. Mattel got scarred when Thomas wasn't making as much money as they hoped the brand would, and felt the pressure intensely around 2015, which is pretty much when Paw Patrols popularity really began to boom.

The issue rises in that Thomas has been through storms like this before (Dora in the 2000s), and held its grip. Shoot, Thomas was JUST entering the American market when things like Toy Story and the Lion King exploded in popularity, and Thomas trucked through the 90s just fine. Thomas has historically been a more "upper-middle class" brand that you wouldn't typically see in places like Walmart or Target, and made a profit on this market that expected and got higher quality toys than more popular brands. However, these decisions were done by HiT Entertainment, who had found that niche worked for them in the market. Thomas stayed the way he was through the early 2000s, and was able to survive as a brand while Dora faded into the past. Paw Patrol is something HiT Entertainment would've rolled their eyes at. Mattel went into a panic when it took the world of kids franchises by a storm.

Mattel, on the other hand, would rather Thomas as a brand being made cheaper and more accessible to every class market. Mattel foudn that Thomas' "upper-middle class" toy quality wouldn't really work in places like Walmart or Target, so they began to cheapen the toys. They changed the brand of wood the Wooden range was made in, started making the wheels hollow, shrinking various parts of the trains, etc. until they just full blown redesigned the range into Wood to be as cheap and "accessible" as possible. The slow changes to Take N Play and Trackmaster over the years have been similar attempts to cheapen and homogenize the brand until they are one unit as Trackmaster/Adventures. This is because the more casual market found in places like Target/Walmart find the multiple ranges and track styles confusing, and don't like it when they don't work together (this is why the "Super Station" was so heavily marketed).

That's not even getting into how Toys R Us' bankruptcy was a huge dent into their plans to do a big launch for the "Wood" range.

The show itself changed to be more diverse, inclusive, and wacky is also another direct attempt to compete with other brands, rather than let Thomas do its own thing. These are PR attempts to make the brand look relevant to a more youthful and progressive-minded audience. Judging from Facebook replies from even normal parents, this backfired, as even Facebook Moms would point out characters like Rosie, Mavis and Ashima were already in the show, which they are absolutely right. The show didn't "need" Nia or Rebecca, it needed to give the spotlight to females they had already established. Anyway, that's steering off course a bit.

Either way, these are decisions being made to make sure the people working on Thomas still have jobs, first and foremost. In the grand scheme of things, Ian McCue will do his best to make sure he and many other people still have jobs working for Thomas the same way they have been, whether it means flipping the franchise upside down on its head to do so (because otherwise, Mattel was ready to start downsizing things).

Thomas has survived as a brand for 70 years, anyone who tells you kids are getting "disinterested" is selling you a load of nonsense. The brand is going downhill because Mattel is trying to make Thomas into something that can compete with Paw Patrol, while spending as little money as possible to get there.
3  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: The Everything Thomas Thread on: December 10, 2018, 05:28:47 PM
Maybe they got more restrictive on toolings like that after they realized the Chuggington range (both HO and O) wasn't going to sell. Wonder how much steel the tooling for those costed...

In my personal opinion, they could make Stepney and Daisy, and then just make repaints of Thomas, James, and Rosie (and Sidney somewhere in between) for the next 4-5 years after that and I'd be content.
4  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: The Everything Thomas Thread on: December 10, 2018, 03:04:08 AM
Daisy and Harvey are fair renders, but that doesn't quite excuse the rest of their track record. Harvey is good in his own rights and probably the best Arc did, while Daisys model era design was infamously flawed due to the buffer height and the blatant re-use of Bocos face, so going for a more prototypical look proved to be an improvement. She's an anomaly.

To add, nostalgia sells. Arry and Bert are a great example of this; their faces were identical, and CGI designs. Barely anyone in the OO Thomas market recognizes Arry and Bert for their CGI faces, especially since they were barely in CGI. I imagine if they had model era faces, sales might have done better for the twins. Heck, even different expression for the CGI faces would've been an improvement, as then there would be an actual initiative to buy both engines. Many customers just looked at these two engines, and couldn't tell them apart. Unlike Bill and Ben or Donald and Douglas, they don't benefit from unique nameplates or numbers, so different expressions would've helped set one apart from the other... Which the model era faces do spectacularly!

I don't even care for the characters, but would've felt twice as obligated to buy them if they sported faces from an era I grew up with, and I'm sure a lot of people felt the same. Oliver had similar issues, but got by lucky by the fact that he's a much more popular classic character. I have spoken with people though who said they didn't care much for his model simply because it was a CGI design. Rosie is a case where her CG design and model design were close enough to where differences were minimal, so it's understandable why they went with her CG design. Same with Diesel.

That's too bad? It's done? There's no changing it? What? This is a hypothetical product that isn't out yet. Lets call out things now while the possibilities are still on the drawing board. A CGI Stepney isn't gonna sell as well as a model Stepney, because the latter is what the market for the Bachmann Thomas range will remember fondly of, not some new design that only -somewhat- resembles what they grew up with. Sales will still be as good, but not as great as they could be. Wanna talk about model era merchandise?

CoolProps, a Japanese brand focused on making and selling replicas of props, recently announced they're making a replica of the original Thomas prop, Gauge 1, with model era faces, and all. There's a lot of people on Twitter very excited about this, who are more than ready to shell out the possible $1,000 or more it will cost. Will all of them be able to? Probably not. However, many already shell out similar dollars in the G scale range, or with their own Gauge 1 custom made replicas. Japan knows there's a nostalgia market for Thomas, and CGI is not nostalgia for a 70 year old brand. Point is, nostalgia is a selling point in the collectors market nowadays. If you tamper with it, you risk alienating your audience. Bachmann cashing in and providing some level of a cheaper alternative to the nostalgia market would more than likely work in its favor.

Heck, the Spiteful Brakevan is testament to this. He's a random character seen in only one episode, and never even had a page on the official website. Yet, people are excited for the Bachmann Spiteful Brakevan. It's weird, it's niche, but it's something people remember. The fact that it's 2018 (almost 2019) and we're getting merchandise of some forgotten character from Season 2 is exciting enough, but the fact it has an accurate face makes people want him even more. One could argue the color is entirely wrong, but to Bachmanns defense, the original brake vans are a general grey, and "NW" is part of the characters history, so it adds up. Creative liberty works in the case of rolling stock, as Bachmann knows they need interesting looking freight cars to get customer interest in. At the end of the day, the face is accurate, which is the most important factor here.

Stepney on the other hand, is a more popular and well revered character. People will be keen and critical on the details, proportions, and overall appearance of his character down to the shade of yellow and font used on his decals. Why? Because they hold nostalgia to the character deeply. You can see this in how meticulous people try to make their Gauge 1 and OO replicas, as well as Trainz models. It's just something the fandom is known for, and it's a good thing to strive for improvement!

Point is, stick to what sells and what the majority of the market will recognize.
5  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: The Everything Thomas Thread on: December 09, 2018, 11:42:55 PM
I sure hope he isn't in the show because Arc/Jam Filled renders of classic characters are lackluster at best and then if Bachmann makes a model of Stepney, they'll use his CGI render for refs because that's what Mattel will send them
6  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: The Everything Thomas Thread on: October 22, 2018, 01:00:33 AM
The difference is that's player slots in a video game that doesn't require physical material to be made at a cost. They can probably make more brake vans in a few years from now, but the Spiteful Brakevan isn't even out yet, so announcing another one in 2019 would be way too soon.
7  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: The Everything Thomas Thread on: October 22, 2018, 12:21:02 AM
If you want a piece of rolling stock without a face, just take the face off with an x-acto knife.

...  Sad Ok... I didn't want to ask this but do you have a problem with me? I'm detecting a bit of salt from your posts. If so, then what did I do?

Never mind, it doesn't matter. I'd rather have an actual faceless brake van. Not everyone has the time, money, or energy to buy multiple Spiteful Brakevans, take their faces off, and paint them accordingly. But maybe that's just me. Who knows? Let's just move on.
Not really, I don't gain anything from having grievances here. Just giving a simple, blunt option if you want a faceless brake van.

The Spiteful Brake Van has all the ideal colors for the Thomas range, and adding another one without a face would feel only detrimental and counter-intuitive to the sales of the Spiteful Brakevan.
8  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: The Everything Thomas Thread on: October 21, 2018, 02:16:08 PM
If you want a piece of rolling stock without a face, just take the face off with an x-acto knife.
9  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: The Everything Thomas Thread on: October 21, 2018, 02:19:52 AM
I don't see why they would need to keep the original brake van when the Spiteful Brakevan is in the range now. It looks much more like brake vans seen in the show, has NW on it as a homage to the lore of the show (as the NW brake van design was first in Large Scale before they even did the Spiteful Brakevan), and to add it sports a distinctly Thomas face. It out-does the original in every regard and makes the original irrelevant.

Funny how they can make something interesting and worthy of purchase out of an old tooling from the 80s-90s (Bachmann Branchlines).
10  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: N Scale Bachmann Thomas on: October 11, 2018, 03:49:08 PM
If they're the wrong scale, then I don't see the point
11  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: The Everything Thomas Thread on: September 29, 2018, 01:31:01 AM
Those look great! My Orange Edward custom isn't finished yet but I would be happy to show it when it is. This is actually a good time for me to ask. How exactly do you attach photos to your post like you did just now? I tried adding pictures to my resin building post but I couldn't get it to work.  Sad

So this url:
with the tags becomes:

Which is also the Season 2 style green trucks I did in N scale.
12  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: The Everything Thomas Thread on: September 27, 2018, 08:59:15 PM

Some N Scale customs.
13  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Suggestions for the Thomas Resin Building Range on: September 27, 2018, 09:35:37 AM
Funny enough, Japanese Thomas fans -love- Boulder, so there is a bit of a market there.
14  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: New Acquisitions on: September 26, 2018, 04:50:20 PM
Yes, I plan to repaint the spare Scruffeys into the green Season 2 open wagons.
15  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Bachmann Thomas & Friends in 2019 on: September 26, 2018, 04:44:04 PM
If I wanted a more realistic/perfect Stepney, I'd just buy the new Dapol A1 that's coming out that's being commissioned by the NRM and Rails of Sheffield.

The model series design is what's nostalgic to me, and is the era/style of merchandise I put my pocketbook into. Anything short of that is gonna lose my interest fairly quickly, and any CGI design is going to try and be some weird "hybrid" of the classic series and actual locomotive prototype as they tried with Duck, Oliver, Donald, Douglas, etc. and even when the CGI animators stick closer to the original design, they miss certain details and proportions by a margin (Bulgy, the new Trevor model).

Basically, I don't -want- some new design for Stepney. I want a model of the character I grew up with and have nostalgia for.
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