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Author Topic: Ranking Bachmanns Next Engine  (Read 12527 times)

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« on: March 19, 2018, 02:52:14 PM »

I almost put this in the 2019 thread, but I felt like the thread is growing to the point where it'd be lost in the thread. Anyway...

While there has been plenty of discussion lately in terms of what engine Bachmann should do in 2019, I don't think there's been a very detailed analysis on multiple options, their advantages and disadvantages over others, etc. So I felt I'd make a thread based on these thoughts. Now, these thoughts can extend to a Bachmann 2020 announcement as well, as sometimes it can take over a year to develop product.

To begin, Bachmanns 2018 announcements left a lot of fans disappointed. While there can be a number of factors going on internally to have led to the 2018 announcements, be they economical decisions, bigger announcements in the pipework but not ready to be announced, or other circumstances, we either way ended up with a much smaller set of announcements this year for Thomas. I think that's also why there's been such a burst of 2019 predictions and hopes lately, as said 2018 announcements left such a sour taste in a lot of fans. So, what -are- the viable, expected options fans are hoping for? Lets have a look.

I'll start with HO/OO engines:

For most of 2017, fans were hoping for Daisy the Diesel Railcar.

Lets look at some of the reasons fans have been rooting for her to be in the range:

  • She's one of two engines fans have been rooting for that is from the Railway Series, as well as the model era TV series. While she wasn't used much in the model series, Daisy become a writers-favorite in the recent CGI episodes, where she's starred in seven episodes, and made cameos in others. To say she's familiar to older audiences and younger audiences a like is a bit of an understatement at this point.
  • Daisy is a character who started in the books and show with next to nothing, and has been turned into a fan-favorite whose firing at her full storytelling potential in both humorous and yet good-valued stories, making her one of the best-written female characters on the show. This mainly reinforces the idea that she is a popular character in the show, and thus would have plenty of eager customers to buy her model.
  • She has a very simple box shape that would be about as difficult as any other Bo-Bo diesel locomotive, with the addition of the usual Thomas eye mechanism internally. With a full body, she has plenty of room for said eye mechanism, as well as extra weight to make her body heavier.
  • Daisy also has another, minor perk: With Oliver, fans were very divided on the way his CGI model looked in the show, compared to his model appearance, which led to disagreements over the Bachmann model when they used his CGI model. Daisy on the other hand, is generally agreed that her CGI model is a vast improvement over her model body. Her buffers no longer nearly reach the ground, making her look properly closer to her prototype. Her face is also now more unique, rather than looking like "BoCo in make-up."

So, what if there's some reason Daisy ends up being a nonviable option? Well, there has been the Option B fans have been clamoring for lately, Stepney the Bluebell Engine:

At first, Stepney seems to be a bit off a choice to be suddenly bringing up, but recent discussions have brought up many points in his favor:

  • Stepney is a fan-favorite engine, who like Daisy, has his origins in the Railway Series, and Model Series, with no current CGI appearance. To many fans, Stepney is now considered a character that fortunately has yet to be "tainted." He's gone, but far from forgotten.
  • Stepney has a unique color that would make him stand out in the crowd of Bachmann Thomas engines.
  • Stepney is a proven seller. How? Hornby made Stepney many years ago, and due to his unique color, as well as general popularity of his basis (the A1 Terrier), has been a hot seller. The Hornby Stepney was so popular that he was given another production run in 2012 after years of being discontinued.
  • British Thomas fans importing the Bachmann models to the UK is very common nowadays through online vendors, despite Bachmann themselves not selling the range in the UK. They would be ecstatic to have a Stepney model back on the market.
  • As mentioned before, Stepney has not had a CGI appearance yet, and he's the last engine from the model era that has a fair chance of being considered for a Bachmann model. If Bachmann made a model of Stepney, he'd be praised as a "final hurrah" and tribute to the model era, which so many of Bachmanns older fans (aka the ones with wallets) grew up with and have nostalgia for.
  • Stepney is a small tank engine who would not need a large amount of resources. Bachmann already made Oliver before with a small body, so making Stepney should prove to be an easy task for them.

I honestly think at this point, Stepney would not be any sort of financial risk. If anything, I believe making Stepney would be a good financial choice, but also a good PR choice to regain trust and faith in the Bachmann Thomas fans to those who feel underwhelmed by the 2018 announcements.

Now lets address the elephants in the room: Rebecca and Nia.

These are two new engines Mattel has brought in the show to take Henry and Edwards place in the franchise, as a way to add diversity and a more even gender balance. The problem fans have been having with this is these are two new, unproven characters that the fans as-of-yet have no reason to like. The show already had engines like Rosie and Ashima for diverse gender equality, but were instead "shunted" to the side for new, marketable faces.

Their debut movie, Big World, Big Adventures will not even be out until the fall, but fans have become quickly concerned by the aggressive manner they are being marketed into merchandise as news as the next "hip, hop and modern" Thomas engines. This already should tell Bachmann that there is not a market currently for these two engines, and even if there's the odd chance of it being there, said market is uncertain and unstable. It'd be an awkward gamble that I feel like the resources could be better spent on engines that are certain to sell.

Among the two engines, Nia (the orange engine) has the "stronger" chance. She's a tank engine, but she does have a large argument against her.
  • She's a large tank engine, so more resources would be required to make her.
  • She has a lot of details, as well as a complicated paintwork that would make even Stepney blush.
  • Her side rods are quite complex, far more so than even Rosie, or any other engine brought into the range in the last few years

To add...
  • Model trains are a hobby that's practically -founded- on nostalgia and childhood wonder (just take note how a lot of people will model rail lines that are close to their home, or ones they grew up nearby and saw a lot). Nia (and Rebecca) don't fit this label at all; she's purely an instrument of marketing, and the fans have been smelling this a mile away. Whether she'll end up well-written in due time has yet to be told, but as it stands, she's not exactly a hot topic right now.

Some might point fingers to Paxton, but even Paxton wasn't conceived in such a way. He was meant to be background filler for one DVD special, but through the writing crew guided by Andrew Brenner, gave him a unique personality that made a new character have a lovable personality that felt.. well, Awdry-esque. Paxton felt like a character that would've came right out the Railway Series, and that's what won fans hearts. Paxton also skirted by fairly easy despite being a CGI character, as he's a repaint of the Diesel tooling.

Rosie, I feel like won her way into the range due to her unique color, and popularity for being an established female character whose representation in the range was deserved through perseverance.

Meanwhile, I feel like Rebecca (the yellow engine) can be almost instantly ruled out.
  • She's a large tender engine, who we have not seen an engine of her size in the range since Spencer, who was made about 10 or so years ago.

If it came to the point where Bachmann wanted to and could make a large tender engine, let me use this as a way to segway into the third engine I think -does- have a chance, Hiro the Japanese Engine:

The possibility of Hiro relies entirely on Bachmann considering Rebecca, keep in mind. What does Hiro have over Rebecca? Well, a lot actually.
  • Hiro is a diverse engine, he'd be the first engine in the Bachmann range that would appeal to a minority.
  • Nia is African, but she is still a newcomer to the franchise. Hiro meanwhile, has been in the franchise for years, is well-established into Sodor, and is one of the few CGI characters that older fans like, in a similar vein to Paxton.
  • On that note, fans like Hiro because his character sticks very well to the foundations of the franchise. He's all about saving old engines from scrap, and making them into new engines. His character embodies old wisdom as well as preservation of the past, and protection and respect of ones elders.
  • He's based off the Japanse D51, which is one of the most iconic locomotives in Japan, a country that is another strong importer of the Bachmann Thomas range, and way more numerous in population than the UK.
  • Japan also has a strong connection to trains in their culture. Thomas & Friends has a unique style that clicked very well with Japanese audiences, and was such a strong-selling brand in Japan that they have been getting special, exclusive merchandise there since its arrival in the 90s, and continues to this day.

So if Bachmann is willing to do a large tender engine, why not pick one with a certified, well received history in the franchise, -and- one that can check off the diversity card in a positive way? If you go big Bachmann, go Hiro.

So, that covers the three main engines that have been on my mind lately. Now, there's many, many more engines Bachmann could be making, but lets address them for a second, and why I think they should be skipped.

These general points can pretty much be applied to all of these characters: Charlie, Stafford, Scruff, Stanley, Phillip, Sidney, Norman, Den, Dart, Porter, Timothy, Ryan, Gator, Marion, Hurricane, Frankie and Whiff, among others I may have forgotten.

  • These are all minor characters who have had varying levels of being well received, but have not made the big impact that characters like Hiro and Paxton did
  • With all of these characters debuting in the late model era or CGI episodes, they don't have a strong nostalgia factor going for them just yet
  • They have fun designs and prototypes, true, but that alone isn't going to sell a model (as much as I'd like an RTR model of Norman and Hurricanes basis)

To put it simple, they are characters who have their fans, but not enough to where I'd say they would be a hot seller. I'd say skip any of these engines for the next few years, and don't even give them a second thought for the time being.

Anyway, those are my main thoughts for now in terms of what engines Bachmann can make for the future. Let me know what you guys think. One idea I've had is starting up a survey and having it spread around on social media to help gain momentum in favor of engines like Stepney and Daisy. I think all of this is worthy of a topic in its own right.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 03:09:56 PM by Sparks » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2018, 03:08:53 AM »

Well this definitely goes above and beyond what I could come up with.  Here are my thoughts.

If it wasn't clear already, I think the fandom would openly welcome Bachmann Daisy and Stepney models with loving arms (myself included).  Admittedly though I feel like Stepney should be made next before Daisy (or any other engine for that matter), before his CGI render would be revealed.  This is just because in the event, Bachmann would have his classic model available as a reference when producing the model.  If Stepney were to have a CG render anytime soon, I'll admit considering Arc/Jam Filled's track record, (notably with Oliver, the Flying Scotsman, and Duncan), I'm a little concerned that a CG render of Stepney might not look good and I would hope that it wouldn't detract all that much from Stepney's model from the model era.  Especially since his design is easily one of my favorites from the show.  Seeing as how you voiced your concerns on CG renders in the past, including your full-on rant about Bulgy's render, I would think you of all people would be on board with this. 

This is another reason why I think Stepney should take priority over Daisy while Daisy should serve as a backup as a model of her would do just as incredible with sales, (if not arguably a little better since Hornby never made Daisy), along with all the points of potential you listed earlier.  Daisy would then give Bachmann a soft cushion to fall on if Stepney doesn't work out, regardless of Mattel's non-existent marketing of her in merchandise.

I also agree that both Nia and Rebecca should be ignored entirely for the time being, at least after we get Daisy and Stepney models first.  The way how Mattel has been promoting them comes off as too strong and extremely manipulative and I would hope Bachmann would not give into this.  The constant negative responses/feedback from fans is overwhelming and this even includes negative responses from parents of younger Thomas fans.

I also agree on your point of any other side character being ignored for the time being getting ignored since their sales don't seem to be all that promising for a Bachmann model.  Rosie clearly didn't sell well compared to other models and I feel like that right there should tell Bachmann that making minor side characters with such a small following would do more harm than good.  Sidney in particular would be a poor idea as that would be three engines in a row with the same tooling...!

Probably the only other thing I would mention about Hiro is while he would in no doubt be an excellent seller and make a great addition into the range, his high price does strike me as a genuine turn-off from Bachmann.  Bachmann hasn't made any tender engines since Donald and Douglas and they were announced the same year as Bill and Ben in 2010.  Clearly Bachmann was aiming for them since they are twins and would be a great two-for-one deal for production.  Meanwhile Hiro is a large tender engine alone.  Considering how large he is and how detailed he is, he would easily be the most expensive model in the range.  I'm sure if Bachmann ever has enough in their budget for a tender engine Hiro would come first, even over Rebecca but his high price is definitely something Bachmann would have to take into consideration before making the model of him.

Surprised you didn't mention the narrow gauge engines yet, but I'm just going to assume that will probably be down the next plan on your end down the road.

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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2018, 10:55:44 AM »

I definitely agree with Chaz on Stepney. I feel he would be great as the next engine added to the range. However, another character I would love to see is Stanley.

I feel he would have been a better choice for Bachmann to make last year instead of Rosie. As you said he doesn't have two much nostalgia, but he stands out and is the size Bachmann seems to like. I wouldn't be shocked to see him get announced within the next few years.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 11:19:56 AM by Toad139 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2018, 02:23:14 AM »

I think from a realistic standpoint, tank engines seem to be the safest bet for Bachmann when it comes to making new engines in HO.  I agree that Stanley is the most probable out of all the "minor" characters in OP's post since he has enough appearances and merchandise to be worthy enough for a model.

Plus this isn't the first slow year from Bachmann either since before Oliver got announced announcements were pretty minimal like they have been for the last couple of years.  The following year after no engines got announced we had Oliver announced the next year and Rosie the following.  Perhaps maybe we can have a similar scenario in the next two years and have Stepney announced next year and Stanley the following?  
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 02:42:25 AM by Chaz » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2018, 05:06:17 PM »

Wow! Marvelous work Sparks! Even though Stanley has the potential to get made by Bachmann, there's no question that Daisy or Stepney should be made first due to their demand and nostalgia. I also concur that Stepney would be the "final hurrah" since the rest of the classic standard gauge characters were either "one season only" characters (such as Class 40) or were of a tooling that would consist of too many new resources (such as Arthur and Murdoch). In fact, I remember Doug Blaine stating in an interview that Bachmann would not make a loco with a new tooling that only appeared in one season. However, there may be one exception to that.

That one exception is Duke. Even though Duke was only seen in season 4, he is such a popular and pivotal character who has shaped many the original narrow gauge episodes. Duke is also a tender engine, which would add some contrast to the narrow gauge range. And, although the fact that he is a tender engine may be seen as a red flag, his overall design is simple. Now, of course, I would not expect a Bachmann Duke in many years. However, if Bachmann were to make one narrow gauge loco based off the model series, Duke would be an amazing option.

Finally, I must state that this was a real pleasure to take in:

  • Model trains are a hobby that's practically -founded- on nostalgia and childhood wonder (just take note how a lot of people will model rail lines that are close to their home, or ones they grew up nearby and saw a lot).
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 05:07:54 PM by TerencetheTractor525 » Logged

Dreaming of a Bachmann Stepney.

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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2018, 08:21:22 PM »

Thanks for the strong feedback everyone.

Yes, the post was made to mainly focus on HO/OO engines. I feel like OO9 is a much more nerfed version of roughly the same topic, where Sir Handel, Peter Sam, and Duncan should be prioritized over Victor, Luke and Millie, with Duke in the same limbo that BoCo is in. Stepney would almost be there himself, had not Hornby proven his market value on more than one occasion.

So far the general consensus from people who want Stepney seems to be "do it before he gets a CGI render," which says a lot about what people who buy Bachmann products feel about the CGI renders, with Daisy being that odd anomaly.

Definitely agree that Bachmann has missed the chance to make Sidney for awhile. They've milked the 08 tooling too much now, and to do it a third time would just lead to more frustration and discontent.

I can see Stanley happening... Sometime? Maybe? I don't know? I feel like that's another engine Bachmann has waited too long to jump into making. His prime has passed, and even then, it was short (being only in TGR and Season 12, with only minor speaking roles after that). I think him and Charlie are roughly equals in terms of likelihood of being made by Bachmann. Charlies far past the point when they were featuring him in episodes the most as well. Either way, while I feel they are very low on the totem pole, they're higher than the likes of Scurff, Stafford, Norman, etc.

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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2018, 03:51:09 PM »

Thanks for the strong feedback everyone.

Yes, the post was made to mainly focus on HO/OO engines. I feel like OO9 is a much more nerfed version of roughly the same topic, where Sir Handel, Peter Sam, and Duncan should be prioritized over Victor, Luke and Millie, with Duke in the same limbo that BoCo is in.

Personally I wouldn't be too worried since I feel like Bachmann is taking the narrow gauge range pretty seriously so far, and I feel like I can rule Millie and Victor out by default since despite appearing in CGI regularly, they would need other additions like Kevin for Victor (and possibly a steamworks) to go with him while Millie would stick out like a sore thumb without a Stephen (and possibly Glynn) models in HO.  That and since Victor's basis is standard gauge so I'm not sure how conversions would go with him and Millie's basis is about a foot narrower than those on Talyllyn, so sales would not be for them either.

The only newer one I could -kind of- see happening is Luke and even then I would argue that his chassis would be a little difficult for Bachmann to make in RTR.

Another thing that also gives me full confidence that they will finish the main six with Sir Handel, Peter Sam, and Duncan first is that Bachmann went ahead and made Duck, Donald, Douglas, Oliver, Bill, and Ben in HO, all before doing newer and more kid-friendly engines like Rosie and still not getting around to characters like Charlie or Stanley.  Seeing as how Bachmann prioritized all these characters back then, gives me reasonable hope that the same will apply to narrow gauge since it's an even more of a niche market than HO.  Therefore I personally would not be worried, and would feel reasonably confident that Bachmann will go the extra mile again in narrow gauge and make Sir Handel, Peter Sam, and Duncan all before throwing any of the newer narrow gauge engines in the range.

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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2018, 09:22:20 PM »

I definitely think that Stepney should be made next, for all of the reasons stated above by other people, and the fact that he was one of my favorite characters as a child.

Bachmann trains are awesome. I hope they come out with Stepney one day.

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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2018, 12:42:20 AM »

Well if we're ranking by what we think is most likely, I don't particularly see Stepney or Daisy as being highly likely candidates for foreseeable releases. Then again I don't exactly know what to expect considering the HO lineup has had a fair few curve-balls in the last few years.

However Stepney and Daisy are the candidates I would be most excited to see for future releases (along with Ryan, provided he gets a bit more screentime), mainly for the reasons people have already gone over. Hiro isn't an engine I would expect much, to be honest, but undoubtedly one that I'd like to have, mainly due to the fact that I think he's one of the best characters introduced in recent times, and I quite like his basis and his render (even if he couldn't conceivably run tender-first on Sodor with any given train).

As for Narrow Gauge, I'm assuming Peter Sam is the most likely next engine in the range, and would also be my personal choice for the engine I'd like to see join the range next. Followed by Sir Handel, and (provided the tooling isn't based on that awful render) Duncan. After that I'd be unsure of where the range would go...I don't think we'd be ready to expect Luke, Millie or Victor yet...I think Chaz explained why in a previous answer. And with Duke, Mighty Mac and Freddie having not been seen in a significant amount of time, I don't think we should expect models of these engines in the future unless they're reintroduced into the TV series. In the case of Duke, at the very least, I hope that becomes a reality. Maybe Freddie too, if they manage to reintroduce him into the show in a graceful manner. I know Freddie is a TV Series exclusive engine, but for RWS fans, there's the potential to make him into Ivo Hugh, as he and Freddie are both based on the Talyllyn Railway's "Tom Rolt" locomotive (to my knowledge).

I quite deliberately left off one particular Season 4 exclusive engine and another particular Season 5 exclusive engine. As realistically, neither would probably ever get made, unfortunately. Considering at least one of them would've had potential for interesting development post-season 5...

« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 12:44:58 AM by AJW98Productions » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2018, 07:18:26 PM »

I've been looking around on eBay at Hornby Stepneys lately, and I have to say, Bachmann is definitely missing out if they aren't planning on announcing Stepney next year. His collectors vale from Hornby is over 300 dollars right now. If I could snag a Hornby Stepney at a fair price, I still would though, but not for 300+.

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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 11:50:09 PM »

I was on the same boat as you earlier but I decided to give Bachmann the benefit of the doubt for next year for Stepney.  If it doesn't work out, then I might buy a Terrier model and make my own model of Stepney from there since I don't see much of a reason to buy the Hornby model at that price.

Hopefully Bachmann is fully aware of this too, just like how they did their research on Gordon's express coaches being brought back, because as noted earlier there's clearly a market and strong sales for a Bachmann Stepney.  Certainly much higher sales than other candidates that were mentioned earlier.

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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2018, 12:04:03 AM »

For sure Chaz. This reminds me of two questions that many people have asked me through YouTube comments and private messages: Where can I find a Hornby Stepney? Do you ever plan on selling your Hornby Stepney? While replying, I always feel bad stating that I do not plan on selling Stepney, and that eBay is your only real bet to get one. It's clear that fans want an HO Stepney; it is crystal clear.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 12:05:36 AM by TerencetheTractor525 » Logged

Dreaming of a Bachmann Stepney.

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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2018, 01:41:54 AM »

Was Stepney short? Because in Season 5 "Stepney Gets Lost" he looked shorter than Mavis. I don't remember being that short.
While I rewatched his old episodes he was short. A little next to Thomas, and half the size of Duck.

If he does come back to the series he would be the same size of Oliver. But Oliver needs fixing.

"...but I don't go to the movies much. If you've seen one you've seen them all."
-Kathy Selden

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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2018, 04:56:03 PM »

Stepney has always been small on the show, but nowhere near as small as Oliver's CG render.  I imagine Bachmann would have the proportions of Stepney spot on as they have in the past since Stepney's size has never been an issue in the model era.

Now if he comes back into CGI anytime soon, his size and proportions are something I am concerned of Jam Filled getting wrong.  All the more of a reason for Bachmann to look into Stepney sooner rather than later.

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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2018, 12:05:27 AM »

To help out, here are two pics showcasing the dimensions to Stepney's television series model  Smiley.

Dreaming of a Bachmann Stepney.
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