Bachmann Thomas & Friends in 2020

Started by TerencetheTractor525, February 16, 2019, 09:13:37 AM

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I'm just hoping Daisy, Peter Sam, or any other product announced at last year's NMRA makes the display at the Toy Fair next weekend. If not, they may not get shown until this year's NMRA. At least maybe sometime this summer. We should definitely see the first N Scale models there.

Speaking of Bachmann's first N Scale Thomas models, they should definitely have their final images posted soon.
My wishlist for HO Scale: Stepney, BoCo, Sidney, Fernando, Mainland Diesels, Norman, Porter, Samson, Timothy, Whiff, Hiro, Winston, and Green Salty.
My wishlist for N Scale: Henry, Edward, Spencer, Flying Scotsman, Duck, Oliver, Mavis, Sidney, 'Arry and Bert.


I know I'm a little late, but I figured I'd weigh in with my thoughts on the new announcements. Personally, the HO announcements didn't really thrill me all that much. I do think the Thomas and James repaints look quite nice, but I can't really see myself buying them in the near future. Who knows though, maybe seeing them in person will change my mind.

It's great to see the N Scale range expanding so quickly. I can't wait to see how the new announcements will look. Hopefully it won't be too long considering how quickly the N Scale Thomas and Percy were revealed.

The narrow gauge break vans and G Scale Diesel were definitely the highlights of this years announcements for me. People have wanted the break vans for a while, so it great to seeing them being made. G Scale Diesel is quite exciting to see, and it's great to see a new large scale engine being made. I own the large scale Percy set along a few other pieces of rolling stock, and the range has really grown on me. I don't currently plan on buying any other engines in the range, but Diesel might change that.

I don't want to get too excited for July, as I don't want to be disappointed, but I definitely want to see some sort of announcement. Stepney is without a doubt on the top of my list. If not him, Stanley is my second most wanted. Other than that, I would be happy with some new HO rolling stock. The new flatbeds sold very well, so hopefully Bachmann will be willing to introduce some new toolings. I would personally love to see the McCall's cattle wagon be announced again.

Anthony P2

Looks like the Deluxe Set (with Thomas, A,C, Bertie, etc.), Black Loch folly, Maithwaite station, blue open wagon, ice cream van, Tidmouth sheds, and Knapford station seem to have been discontinued. It's a shame about these products but I'm happy i got most of them when i had the chance! Still trying to figure out a new home for my Tidmouth sheds on the new layout. Keeping that bad boy around or sure!


I haven't gotten any blue open wagons yet. I'm way far behind buying a friend each month. Still didn't get the red, brown/orange, blue. I do have the green ones with and without coal.
"...but I don't go to the movies much. If you've seen one you've seen them all."
-Kathy Selden


I find it funny how Knapford station, Tidmouth Sheds, and three of the resin buildings are discontinued...

Yet the switch tower is still in the catalog.
Modeler of HO/OO, OO9 and N scale.  Hoping for N scale Henry, Edward and Duck.


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.

Anthony P2

Quote from: Chaz on February 22, 2020, 08:34:39 PM
I find it funny how Knapford station, Tidmouth Sheds, and three of the resin buildings are discontinued...

Yet the switch tower is still in the catalog.

Funny thing I heard about the switch tower is that it apparently looks and is painted similar to a switch tower in the US (i think it might be somewhere in PA). So I think Bachmann captured that market share for non Thomas modelers. I could be wrong though so take that info with a grain of salt.


Another alternative for a black James would be to just modify the busy bee James model by painting the yellow stripes black, and then add the red lining, and viola, you've got a black James model! :)