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1  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Bachmann Thomas & Friends in 2020 on: February 23, 2020, 04:10:33 PM
Hello everyone,

It's been a long time since I've come back here and I felt that an update post was in order. I've been losing interest in the Thomas franchise ever since Mattel took over the brand and started changing everything for the worst, but with the 75th anniversary upon us and some new model additions joining my fleet recently, my spirits are looking up. I needed a spark to get me back into this hobby, and part of that also has to do with the recent announcements by Bachmann. I understand that July is typically a time for new announcements to be made, and if recent posts from Bachmann's Twitter feed are anything to go by, they're likely in the process of selecting new characters/designs to make right around now. I think it's worth contributing some ideas to that discussion.

Last week I conducted a series of polls on Twitter and Facebook asking fans which characters they'd most like to see made next in the HO/OO range. Ideas included recolors of existing moulds (Sidney, Black James, etc), new character moulds that would be for one-offs (Nia, Rebecca, etc), and moulds of less-popular characters that were used more than once in the show which could be repainted easily for more money going to Bachmann (Charlie/Billy, Dennis/Norman). The results were mostly as expected with a few surprises standing out to me. Let's go over them, shall we?

BLACK JAMES, STEPNEY, and BOCO: These are the characters everyone seems to want unanimously. I don't think a single person voted against one of these three when given other options. Black James would be the easiest and most fitting after the announcement of a green Thomas, and as a recolor would very likely sell better among collectors than the upcoming Busy Bee James model. I'd like to ask that the face PLEASE be changed to something thinner and more in line with more recent James depictions though- the original Bachmann James face is really ugly and should have been changed years ago. Moving on from that, Stepney is perhaps the most requested new design and I know Bachmann as a company are aware of his popularity in light of the franchise's 75th anniversary. I'd love to see their take on him and sincerely hope he gets made according to his Season 4 depiction before he's reintroduced in CGI and inevitably destroyed visually like Oliver and Duncan were. So Bachmann staff, if you're reading this, let's get Stepney made sooner rather than later please, and make him look EXACTLY like he did during the model era. Heck, don't even bother with the CGI face from season 12, just use Season 4 photos as your inspiration please. Finally, BoCo is the last major classic series character fans have been after, and with the surprising announcement last year of Daisy coming to the range, I see no reason why this can't happen. There are a couple of concerns though- his size, and his lack of a CGI render. I've noticed in recent lean years, Bachmann have been sticking nearly exclusively with smaller, more economically sound characters. Daisy came as a shock to many, due to both her larger size and seeming lack of appreciation by Mattel. We never expected she'd be announced as an OO model, and I think the only reason she was given the go-ahead was because she has a CGI render. BoCo doesn't have that yet. So even though fans are virtually in agreement on wanting a depiction of him, he'd have to be a gamble on Bachmann's part, betting that another large diesel even bigger than Daisy and with only classic-series depictions would sell well enough with fans to justify the inevitably high price. Personally I think it could be done provided Mattel gives the go-ahead. They let Bachmann make the Spiteful Brakevan, despite not being seen since Season 2, so why not BoCo? I don't doubt fans would show up in droves to buy one of the last remaining classic characters in advance of a hopeful CGI depiction one day- I certainly would.

NIA and REBECCA: When asked about buying Mattel's token diversity characters, fans were more divided than I had imagined. There seemed to be a modest amount of appreciation for Rebecca, virtually none for Nia, and a middle ground where people wanted them together but not separately. People seem to want a model of Rebecca made before they'll consider Nia, and a sizable percentage also said they wouldn't buy either. If Bachmann considers these two, they should be produced and released simultaneously, not separately. The only thing I'd personally ask for regarding this is that I'd want Rebecca to be made from a Battle of Britain class mould (maybe from the Bachmann UK range if feasible) instead of a blank slate, and that's just to keep her consistent with the prototype. Nia would certainly have to be designed from scratch. Neither one of these two I'd be strongly interested in, but Rebecca I could be persuaded on if, and only if, she's made to be prototypically accurate. For clarity's sake I should say this though: when compared to other engines, Nia and Rebecca both scored much weaker on fans' lists. These two should really only be made *after* the classic set is done with, if at all, as a lot of fans outright won't buy them or will be tepid buyers at best. I'd approach making them with caution even if Mattel commissions them.

SIDNEY, SPLATTER & DODGE: We can't talk about the Bachmann Thomas range without talking about possible recolors, and these are the most obvious candidates. Bachmann seems to have gotten good use out of the (frankly, oversized) Devious Diesel mould, with 'Arry, Bert and Paxton all having been created from the same shell. These British Rail class 8 wannabe's aren't my favorites in the range, but I do appreciate that they're easy money-makers. Debatably, Paxton got the short end of the stick with his depiction, with a drastically oversized face that doesn't match the CGI render, and any more Class 8 characters would likely fall victim to the same problem unless the front of the mould is modified. Sidney is the most obvious new choice coming off the heels of Paxton, complete with CGI render and relative popularity for a background character in the modern era. I'd buy one if the face was rounded off on top as it needs to be. What was really surprising to me though was that (on Twitter at least) more than Sidney, fans were fairly vocal in requesting models of Splatter and Dodge, the two diesels from Thomas and the Magic Railroad. That film is going on 20 years old, wasn't well-received by critics, and has a distant-at-best relationship with Mattel who seem to want little to do with it besides a small amount of DVD sales. Even still, fans keep asking for models of these two diesels from the movie and were asking for Splatter and Dodge nearly 3x as much as they were asking for Sidney, a much more recent character who's more established in the show. Like BoCo, I expect these two would become sleeper hits if they were made- maybe not with younger kids and their parents who might not know who they are, but certainly with older fans who remember TATMR as the first Thomas film they saw. Personally, I'd buy one of each and a Sidney to go along with Paxton- again, provided the face mount lines were filled in and their faces scaled down properly.

RYAN, HARVEY, HIRO, PHILLIP, STANLEY: Let's talk about some fresh faces with brand new moulds. These are characters who have been tossed around as wish-list items a fair amount in recent years with quite a few custom versions being made by fans. Ryan, Harvey and Hiro seem to be the most requested; Ryan works well because he's a simple, clean design with a good amount of detailing, unique but simple livery, would fit into the RWS books as an Awdry-made character, and is small enough to fit into the same size packaging as, say, Duck. There's virtually no way to go wrong here unless a design of him was under-sized (his CGI render is shorter than an actual N2), so while I would love to have Ryan on my layout, I hope he'd be made a little bit larger than needed if anything. Make him Duck's size or so and he'll be just fine. Hiro has been in equally high demand for awhile, and with Daisy's announcement bringing back hope for larger characters, I think he'd be a good big-engine successor to Spencer, the last large steam engine they made. He'd sell well in Japan, he's visually aesthetic, and has a strong presence which a lot of smaller engines can't bring. Probably another sleeper hit with older fans in mind, and maybe a few kids and parents will buy him if the price is low enough. Harvey, a classic character with a one-off-design, is even more popular than those two, though I think I recall hearing that he was considered for production years ago and dropped because of complications with his crane. Whether that's true or not, demand for Harvey is even greater than demand for Ryan or Hiro. Older fans aren't going to be the ones having problems with hazardous parts like the crane hook; that's only a problem for the youngest buyers. If Bachmann decides to go that route and can figure out how to market him safely, there's no reason no to make him. Next, Phillip is probably the easiest out of all of these new guys to make, effectively being a box on wheels. While demand for him is there, it has never been very high and he'd probably sell modestly. The caveat is that he'd be very cheap to make and would probably be somewhere around Percy's size. All I ask is that if he is made, I'd like to see him made a little bit larger than he's depicted in the show, like the Class 08 characters were. He's a hybrid of two American prototypes which are large in comparison to British stock, and the CGI render does a poor job of showing this. Even if he was scaled up by as little as 10% I think he'd look more respectable. Consider it wisely, Bachmann. Finally, Stanley is an easy-to-make 6-wheel tank engine which Bachmann seems to love making because they're economical and require little effort. He'd make a good compliment to either of their Rosie models as a background character. I was surprised to see him all but dropped from the show following heavy promotion around The Great Discovery and Season 12, but that's on Hit Entertainment, not Bachmann. Personally I'd enjoy having him to run alongside the other smaller engines, though I would ask that he not be made smaller than necessary for the same reasons as Ryan. He's meant to be bigger than Thomas- remember that.

CHARLIE and/or BILLY, DENNIS and/or NORMAN: Let's discuss some less-popular characters which could bee repainted easily. Neither Billy or Dennis were ever popular in the later model era, but their simplistic designs lent themselves well enough to CGI where they were recycled into newer characters which have endured a longer shelf life as characters in toy stores. Merchandise continues to be made and sold of Charlie and Norman despite neither of them ever really "taking off". If Bachmann were to humor the thought of either Charlie or Norman, they could then in turn use those same moulds to produce Billy and Dennis if the former sell well. If not, fans will at least have the moulds to make the characters with themselves. Fan demand for any of these four is low, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't sell at all. Charlie has the advantage of being another background tank engine that can fit in virtually any space, and Norman would complement Paxton and Sidney well as a Day of the Diesels trio. Maybe I'm the odd one out, but I'd like to see them made at some point. Not right away, and certainly not before Black James, BoCo or Stepney, but at some point down the line when all the major classic characters are done and Bachmann just needs a quick buck, these designs could be worth exploring.

There are other characters I think have potential, but this post is already long enough. Fan favorites for modeling purposes have long included everyone from Seasons 1-12, and so in addition to those mentioned above, niche market cases could be made for Derek, Diesel 10, Lady, Fergus, Arthur, Murdoch, Molly, Neville, Whiff etc. I think many fans are simply of the opinion that if Bachmann makes *any* classic Thomas character they'll buy it. Myself, I'm a bit discriminatory, but I will consider any model produced on it's own merit. Out of all of them I'd like to see Fergus, Arthur, Molly and Lady made the most. But as long as Bachmann chooses their July 2020 announcements carefully, and doesn't choose someone completely random (like any character made after 2015 or so) I think they'll do just fine.
2  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Collection photos on: December 20, 2018, 03:19:01 AM
Thanks to Chaz for the idea and starting this thread. I've got some shots of an annual complete collection photoshoot. This includes a mixture of Bachmann, Hornby, Tomix, ERTL, Wooden Railway, Take-Along and products of other ranges along with customs, books, DVDs and an art piece I made back in high school.

3  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Bachmann Thomas & Friends in 2019 on: July 26, 2018, 04:46:40 PM
Plow Bender, I'm inclined in agree with most of what you said, minus the idea that the company should discontinue one tooling in favor of another. I know lots of people (myself included) can't always afford the NG range except for once in a great while, so I'd rather see the company hold out for a few years with what they have to give more people a chance to catch up and let the market value go down.

That aside, the only other likely addition I can imagine coming anytime soon is Duncan. I'm sure it's been mentioned before, but right now the only locomotive characters I can imagine them adding straight after Rusty are Duncan or Peter Sam; Sir Handel, unfortunately, is looking to be the last of the lot. I'd throw Duncan in there because he's arguably more popular that PS, certainly has had more episodes written about him, and matches the current color pattern much better than Samwise does. Example:

>2015: Skarloey- red
>2017: Rheneas- vermillion
>2018/19: Rusty- orange
>2020/21: Duncan- yellow

If they introduce Sam first, which I honestly think will happen and I'd actually prefer (to allow Jam-Filled time to fix Duncan's crappy render), the rainbow effect they're going for goes out the window. It doesn't help that Bachmann made Rheneas a lighter shade of orange instead of scarlet vermillion either, but no one seems bothered by that. Either way it's going to come down to one of these two. If you want pros and cons between both, I'd outline it as follows:

-yellow color blends nicely with first three characters released, continues smooth color transition
-releasing 5 and 6 back to back allows a perfect gap for 3 and 4 to follow onto the line in a manner similar to the books (weird point, but still a point)
-Good way to get more kids involved in the range as he's got more popularity with his contrarian personality
-More stories written for him in every era of the show
-CGI render looks awful, releasing him now would be the same as Bachmann Oliver received; couldn't be redone if JFE remakes the render

Peter Sam:
-Much more accurate design than Duncan currently has, would be ideal for conversions as long as they keep him as accurate as Skarloey was and don't short-change him like Rheneas has been
-Green contrasts the red-orange engines more than Duncan, but loses the color pattern
-Pushed quite a bit in marketing elsewhere, so still quite popular and likely to be pressed for by Mattel
-Not expecting Sir Handel for several years means he'll have no classic partner until after Duncan is released

Take your pick, really.
4  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Custom Models on: May 30, 2018, 05:14:59 PM
Nice job with the face on your Fred.  Did you mold it yourself?  I've been making the faces on mine with paper eyes like Annie and Clarabel and the season 1 trucks.  The large brackets on both ends of the 8 plank wagon (I followed the wiki that he is based on a fixed end 8-plank wagon) that I used to make Fred wound up making the face pretty difficult to apply.  Making him dirty with coal dust was also a nice touch.
It took me a minute, but I can see that he repainted S.C.Ruffy's face, if not an entire S.C.Ruffey wagon.

It is indeed just a S.C. Ruffey model; never cared for Bachmann's lazily-made version of the character and decided to repurpose him for this.
5  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Ranking Bachmanns Next Engine on: May 29, 2018, 09:32:43 PM
Haven't gone back through everyone else's earlier posts, so I'm just going to jot down a few thoughts at random; apologies if these have already been addressed.

I don't think Nia's coming anytime soon, thank God. Not just as a matter of her semi-complex and ugly design, but as a matter of practicality. Notice how much Bach's been skimping on the goods in favor of economics in recent years. We haven't gotten a large-size loco since Spencer, who came out over a decade ago. Nia would be probably around the same size as Duck, perhaps a bit longer, so I don't think it's the size that would drag her down; more likely than that, she'd be pushed out of consideration based on Bachmann not caring about the "main fleet". Why was Spencer introduced before Edward? Why was Salty brought in before Oliver? Why was Rosie announced before someone more popular and organic to the brand like Daisy? Because the company follows their bottom line and that leads them away from doing things in a concentric order, thus preventing them from adding characters in order of introduction or relevance.

If the company were concerned with keeping up the main fleet by introducing Nia and Rebecca, we should have first seen a precedent of them starting with the main characters from the get-go, not waiting to introduce some of them so long that the latest one is a crappy CGI design that looks nothing like the original model. So we could have gotten them from the start of the range more or less as:

-Main 7
-Other Awdry creations (B&B, Mavis, Diesel)
-Show characters
-Nia/Rebecca once Mattel stepped in

Spread that out over however many years you want, and you more or less arrive at the list we're at now. Instead we've been given characters all over the chronological map, with some (Rosie, Diesel 2.0, Paxton, Salty, Spencer etc.) having arrived long before far more in-demand friends were ever considered (Oliver, Stepney, Daisy, BoCo etc.) For this reason I'm still guessing Stanley's in the pipes for the near future. I think Rebecca's out on account of how expensive she'd be, Nia probably won't show up until Mattel assesses how popular the character actually is, and I don't think Bachmann is out to bless us with favorites like some think they are. So realistically? Expect more six-wheel tank engines (Stanley, Charley, Stepney *if* someone somewhere decides to be amazing) and small diesels with oversized bodies. Just my thought.

(Still hoping for Splodge even though it will never happen)...
6  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Custom Models on: May 26, 2018, 07:54:23 PM
Nice Fred model, mate. Your timing's decent; I made this version just a couple months ago.

7  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Bachmann Thomas & Friends in 2019 on: March 26, 2018, 04:44:00 PM
Thanks for responding, guys. I'm only going to respond to a few points and maybe get back to the others later when I have more free time. And I'll try to get to your threads relatively soon-ish as well.

It's good to see more unified people in favor of Stepney of course. I feel like if there's a time to push for him, it's now. I'd prioritize him over Daisy, personally. Though it perplexes me a bit how you are quite harsh on Daisy, yet quite generous on engines like Charlie, Den and Dart, engines who I think have far less of a chance, despite their designs (some of who are far more complex) and sizes. They do have points in favor of them on the assembly line and standing out in a line-up color/design wise, but I feel like they lack the "oomph" of crowd reception that some characters do. Anyway, back to Daisy...

I think her amount of windows is more or less a moot point (in regard to accuracy), when fans want the character they see in the show, not real life-accurate models. I don't think people had much of an issue when engines like Rosie or Duck don't look like their real counterparts. The Bachmann engines have yet to have clear windows on any of their engines, so I'd fully expect her (and personally wouldn't mind or care) if she had white windows, since it makes sense from a manufacturing standpoint. Her length as a result of less windows does lead to that interesting point though, which is why I'd put Daisy on the ranks of "If Bachmann has enough resources to make a large engine, do Daisy first, then Hiro, before even considering Rebecca" as per the Future Engines thread. Basically, if the option is there to make a big engine, do Daisy first. The fact that her CGI model is shorter does help her length a bit, too. Time will tell.

Personally, I'd pay the extra bucks for classic character representation.

As would I, but let's backtrack a minute. I *did* say that I'd buy a Bachmann Daisy model if one was officially licensed and made; my critique was more centered around the idea that I don't think she's a realistic expectation, not that I don't want them to make her. Of course I'd love to see Daisy in the range same as (I imagine) everyone else here. The issue with windows was more a side point that I don't see a lot of people talking about, rather than a personal deal-breaker for me. If she was left with 11 windows and a shorter body, I'd still buy her. If her windows were all silver I'd be disappointed (I really don't think the silver windows on the diesel characters is a good choice personally, and she'd showcase that poor design decision more than any other diesel locomotive they could make) which is why I brought it up. But those grievances aside, I don't see how they would realistically market her for anything less than $150. I'd expect Daisy to go for probably $180-200 or more given Bachmann's current prices, and that's still going to deter a lot of fans from buying her even though we've all been asking about her for years.

The smaller engines I noted because the shorter characters have been the focus in the range for years. We haven't been given a full-size tender engine since the releases of Gordon, Henry and Spencer way back in the early days of the range. The last medium-size tender engines were what, Donald and Douglas, who are basically identical as far as the tooling is concerned? I'd like to see Bachmann make more medium/large engines also, but I don't think it's going to happen. For that reason I doubt Hiro's coming around, even though he'd probably be the most likely candidate for a large steam character. Same with Rebecca, and she's less popular before she's even had a chance to debut in the show. I mentioned Charlie, Stanley, Norman, Sidney etc. because I thought those small four/six-wheel, short-frame characters are far more likely to be made for this range, not because I would have much interest in buying them personally. Some of the only small-ish HO characters I'd be really interested to see these days are Stepney, Splatter and Dodge, and even them I don't see as likely even though Stepney's probably got the best chance at the moment.

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts DecadesofSun! It's clear that you outlined many important points on the next HO loco. However, I do agree with Sparks, specifically on the chances of Daisy. I do not think that it is fair to jump to conclusions by stating that a character that is extremely sought after is not going to happen by Bachmann, simply because she is a glorified passenger car in Mattel's eyes. Let's remember that many of us had our doubts about Bachmann starting a narrow gauge range, yet they still did it. Not only that, but they decided to make the locomotives using die-cast body shells. Because of this, there may be a chance that Bachmann will give Daisy actual windows, just like the coaches, which would certainly get rid of any sort of ugliness. If this means that Bachmann would have to omit the moving eye mechanism, I would be fine with that, as I am sure that all fans would be as well. Bachmann did omit the moving eye mechanism in the large scale Winston after all.

Thanks for responding, I enjoy the conversation. Smiley I see your point, but I'm not certain that I'm necessarily jumping to conclusions by talking about Daisy in a less-than-optimistic way. I'd be fine with omitting the eye mechanism in favor of clear windows as well, but the issue I see taking precedence is that I don't think they'd use a Class 101 tooling for her even if there's one available in the UK range, and that's because Mattel has the final say on how characters are depicted even if that sacrifices realism (which admittedly isn't a big selling point in many fans' eyes). Looking at the narrow-gauge range, Rheneas isn't a fully-accurate representation of Dolgoch, while Skarloey is closer to Talyllyn apart from the oversized cylinders. The difference between those two and the HO range is that the HOn30/OO9 line was drawn up with older modellers in mind specifically (as well as for conversions), while the HO/OO range is not. It *has* to be able to sell to kids while the narrow-gauge line doesn't necessarily need to do that, which is also why they can charge $150 for a die-cast Skarloey but keep a much larger plastic-bodied Duck around $80. Daisy would fall into the "needs to be sold to kids" category much more than Skarloey and Rheneas, and she'd be made of a new CGI-accurate tooling and a plastic body because of that. All that is fine if it means that she finally comes into the range, but if it happens, expect her to be shorter-framed with silver windows in order to meet Mattel's demands. They won't omit the eye mechanism just for clear windows on a model this large; the narrow-gauge engines are practically impossible to rig in such a way and I don't know enough about the large-scale range to comment on Winston.

Sidney, Splatter, Dodge and any other 08 recolors are models Bachmann could make if they really wanted to.  Aside from Sidney there isn't all that much in it for Mattel.  Of course the comparison of Splatter and Dodge being compared to the Spiteful brake van is an interesting one (and a pretty valid point honestly) since it's basically the same scenario.  I'm still not sold on them doing another 08 recolor.  If they do, as I noted before that would really be overusing the 08 tooling. Five (including Grumpy Diesel) is more than enough.  Especially if it's three years in a row with this year's being completely unnecessary.


Either way as long as Bachmann is willing to go the extra mile next year for HO and not do a recolor of the 08 tooling, or even pull something in a similar vein of Grumpy Diesel like "Red Rosie" (please don't do that Bachmann, one Rosie model is more than enough...) then that will make me feel a little more encouraged for Bachmann's future in HO.

Give it maybe 2-4 years and they'll probably do a red Rosie anyway. If they're willing to change Diesel's face (and still not to an actual Series 2-esque scowl, unfortunately) and give mods to Thomas, then a repainted Rosie is equally as likely as far as ways for them to make a new model as cheaply as possible. I'm still just upset that the James "repaint" hardly changed his design at all, and that he, Percy and Thomas have not been redesigned properly, or that we haven't received an "LBSC" green Thomas either. I'd want any one of those to be made before red Rosie. Seriously, Percy's model is kind of terrible and should have been redone years ago.

Recall that I prefaced my original post by saying that I wasn't sure if my ideas would come as early as 2019 or even at all, and that mostly applies to Sidney. Bachmann's in a unique position with the show where they can keep making class 08 lookalike characters for several years to come thanks to all the reskins in the show. If anything, I'd hope they tackle a new design before going back to Sidney, but he's a definite safeguard possibility. I'm in agreement with you in that I wish they'd take a break from this tooling (and get some non-CGI faces for Diesel, 'Arry and Bery as well... my god these faces are terrible for them).
8  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Bachmann Thomas & Friends in 2019 on: March 25, 2018, 04:37:49 PM
New user here, might as well throw in my two cents. I can't bother reading through this entire thread right away because I'm busy on several things lately, so sorry if I mention something that's already been brought up.

I'm kind of torn on where I expect the range to go next. Before the company's fairly lackluster series of 2018 announcements, I was sure they'd only go down one or two of maybe five or so possible routes with new characters. I guess I still expect they'll go down these routes at some point, though whether the characters I'm thinking of show up for 2019 announcements or later, if at all is anyone's guess.

An obvious first choice would be Sidney. Mattel's trying to focus on newer characters as much as possible, Bachmann likes re-using body shells and chassis until their usefulness is run into the ground, and he'd be really easy to do. That would give them five characters with the same tooling (six if you count the G. Deezul mod) , and they'd only have to spend a bit of money on a fourth livery and face. Sidney might not be the most popular character of all time, but with how expensive the characters are becoming due to MSRP inflation I can easily see Bachmann going down this route for economical reasons. And as much as I absolutely hate how over-scaled their class 08 characters are against an actual 08, them producing models of both Paxton and Sidney might prompt me to start buying them. I'd want to put different faces on Diesel, 'Arry and Bert though... CGI designs don't do their personalities any justice at all.

Along that line of thinking, can someone at Bachmann *please* throw into the next board meeting a suggestion for Splatter and Dodge? I know the film is largely unpopular and we only ever saw them once, but plenty of fans have made their own versions of these two and there seems to be a sizeable market for them, what with all the custom Diesel 10 and Lady models out there. The company already has the tooling, they just need to come up with the paint and faces for them. Personally, I would buy models of Splatter and Dodge long before I ever bought Paxton and Sidney, and that's mostly out of nostalgia value and obscurity points which the latter two don't have. Even if you hated TATMR, Splatter and Dodge would be ideal classic characters to add to the collection, having come right at the show's height before things started going downhill. If the company is willing to make the Spiteful Brakevan despite him only having one appearance, and make him in two scales no less, then I don't see what would hold them back on Splodge apart from Mattel butting in on account of the movie's box office reception. Still, I'd buy Splatter and Dodge any time they were available, even if they are oversized.

As for steam locomotives, I'm surprised they haven't announced Stanley by now. He seems to fall into a similar category with Sidney whereby he's not the most popular character in the world, but he does have his own loyal following and quite a few people have been asking for a proper model of him. Like many characters Hornby dropped the ball on him when they had the chance (despite having several relatively similar toolings they could have tweaked and used) and that leaves Bachmann the chance to do him up themselves. He seems to fit the criteria both Mattel and Bachmann have been following more or less for awhile now also: bright, colorful paintjob, unusual design, typically with six wheels, easy to convert into something else with readily accessible motor. I'd buy one myself, provided they did him up right. The only real concern I have with Stanley is that I'd like him to be the proper size, and in Bachmann terms that means somewhat bigger than the character is depicted in the show. This company isn't that great about keeping character scaling right (Rosie/Class 08s/Duck/Bill and Ben are over-scaled; Thomas/Oliver/Rheneas are under-scaled) and in order to meet the general size requirements that Stanley was first introduced with (bigger than Thomas, comparable in size to Rosie) he'd have to be over-scaled as an HO/OO model and be about the same size as Duck or Rosie. Don't know if a lot of fans would be bothered by that; personally I'd much rather have an over-sized Stanley than an over-sized diesel character as steam engines tend to disguise their visual errors more easily. So if Bachmann goes this route, I'd but Stanley provided they scaled him appropriately.

A few others I can think of would be Charlie, Norman, Den or Dart. Charlie is a pretty small character and they don't have to worry too much about keeping him proportionally accurate as much as some other characters on account of how relatively unpopular he is. I know there are people out there who would buy him, and plenty of others who would refuse; I would if the model was actually visually appealing and cheap enough, even though I don't really like the character. He's another six-wheeler so fitting an appropriate motor would be easy, he's colorful and dynamic with a good bit of striping and detail, and they don't yet have a violet engine as far as I know. I'd rather the "violet" category go to Ryan first, but I think Charlie's more likely on account of being in the show longer and being somewhat smaller. Plus fans could buy a second and convert it into Billy rather easily, provided Bachmann doesn't raid the New Series for one-off inspiration again and cover him first.

Norman would again be a six-wheel character that would be cheap to make and easy to recolor (noticing a pattern with this company yet?). He's about the same size as the 08s, just a bit longer perhaps, and would complete a Paxton/Sidney/Norman trio if Sid does indeed get produced. He could easily be redone into Dennis (another one-off character, but not a universally unpopular one), so they'd get their money's worth. I'd like to see them both side by side, so long as the tooling is actually made at the proper scale. Den and Dart would be, arguably, even easier to make being only four-wheelers and rather small, and they're a bit more popular than Norman or Dennis seem to be. No one really liked Hornby's version of Dart on account of how big it was and lazy that company was in making it, so they left the void in the market for Bachmann to fill easily. I'd possibly buy both if, and only if, Bachmann used their Sentinel tooling for Den in order to make him real-life accurate and not way too big like in the show (like how they used their actual GW Toad tooling to make the brakevan character) and if Dart was likewise kept as small as he is in real life. Both on the show and in real life, it's a rather small locomotive. No need to mess with that.

I've seen others throwing weight behind ideas like Daisy, Stepney, Lady et cetera and the only character that many fans seem to be clamoring for that I could possibly see happening is Stepney, not Daisy, BoCo, D10, Lady or a lot of others. I'm leaving Step as a possibility for only two real reasons: he's a six-wheeler which Bachmann seems to love and he's got an unusual livery. That's it. I really don't think Mattel gives care to classic series characters anymore, even when fans are clamoring for them. He'd fill the void in the market left by the discontinued Hornby version, could be a nice change from the real-life aesthetics to the simplified show design, and I would hope that they make him (if at all) before he inevitably comes back in CGI out of scale and with technical issues unlike some (*cough* Oliver *cough*). Personally I'd buy a Bachmann Stepney ahead of any of my previous contenders, even though I already have the Hornby counterpart. I'd just want them to do him up right and take their time.

Daisy's not going to happen. Sorry gents, but that's like asking Bachmann to give us access to a unicorn. Same with BoCo and Diesel 10, for those who think they have a chance. First of all, Daisy's just a glorified passenger car in Mattel's eyes, and an inaccurate one at that. Bachmann would use the CGI render, which is fine, but it features 11 windows on each side instead of 12, leaving it shorter than an actual class 101 DMU would be. I've got a Hornby class 101 for comparison and I can already see her being too long (and therefore expensive to make) in Bachmann's eyes. Do you really think the company is going to put out a diesel with two bogies, a long frame, a wide turning radius and a bunch of silver windows (yes, they'd leave the windows silver instead of clear and it'd be rather ugly as a result) and expect to make money on it? They're asking over $120 just for Paxton, and he's a much shorter recolor. They'd charge over $200 for Daisy and half the people who want her couldn't afford her. Same goes for BoCo who is even bigger (slightly), and who isn't even in CGI yet and not likely to come back anytime soon under Mattel's leadership. Think like a company board member deciding on characters to spend money animating. All they'd see is "he's a big green box, and we already have one of those and that character's got more windows". So as much as I'd love to see Bachmann tackle them both, I highly doubt it would ever get past basic conversation.

Lady and D10 would encounter similar issues. Diesel 10 is big and would require more money to make and therefore purchase, whether they used their UK-line Class 42 tooling or not. There's the matter of Pinchy as well: how do you add that on safely without kids breaking it off? Does it have its own hinges and only move on two main joints? Does the claw mouth open up or not? Can it be mounted on roller bearings to rotate, or does it stay permanently mounted to the body? Crafting a ready-to-run D10 would be a logistical nightmare for this company. Lady would be considerably easier to make and likely a better seller, but she's had less screentime and came from a film that Mattel is doing as much as they can to forget about. The only reason I brought up Splatter and Dodge earlier is because their tooling already exists; she would require a new design to be commissioned by a company that wants as little to do with TATMR as possible. Would I buy her? Absolutely. Same with D10 if he was done properly (though I'd want his classic scowling face, not this rainbows-and-sunshine CGI crap). But do I think Bachmann will make them? Highly doubt it.

All of this boils down to what you really think the company is there for. Are the people at Bachmann here to satisfy a vocal minority of fans who will give them money no matter what? Or are they here to market toward children and their parents and broaden their stockholder base? As much as things like the NG line and Spiteful Brakevan are a godsend for nerds like us, they're not where the company's bread and butter are made. As soon as you realize that, assessing their likely character production becomes much easier.

Also if they decide to make Philip I will leave this fandom, I swear to god, don't make me do it y'all...
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