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Started by Chaz, August 13, 2019, 12:12:34 AM
Quote from: TrainshockeylifE on September 25, 2019, 07:07:07 AMLater in 2020, model railroad manufacturers Bachmann will work with the brand on a two-year licensing deal to bring the world of Thomas to life. The traditional electric trains will encompass the adventure and discovery of Thomas & Friends, to provide fans of the brand, railway enthusiasts and collectors with a realistic re-creation of the adventures on the Island of Sodor.
Quote from: N Scale Sudrian on October 02, 2023, 02:21:44 PMI was back-reading this thread somedays back to see if there was any interesting history to learn here (This was not the case unfortunately, it is very dull in how similar it is to today's conversations, ha ha) and found this discussion of a 2019 news article about 'Thomas' licensing in preparation for the 75th anniversary somewhat interesting:Quote from: TrainshockeylifE on September 25, 2019, 07:07:07 AMLater in 2020, model railroad manufacturers Bachmann will work with the brand on a two-year licensing deal to bring the world of Thomas to life. The traditional electric trains will encompass the adventure and discovery of Thomas & Friends, to provide fans of the brand, railway enthusiasts and collectors with a realistic re-creation of the adventures on the Island of Sodor.This alone does not mean much. It's just this article including the regular contract re-negotiations between Bachmann and Mattel for the 'Thomas' license among all the other licensing deals. That said, I find the timing of this contract lines up oddly well with certain recent moves Bachmann has made with their 'Thomas' range.Assuming this two-year contract renewal that went into effect mid-2020 was good for exactly two years, the next extension of the license would go into effect in mid-2022. I suppose the contract would have likely been signed for well ahead of time, such as how the 2020 contract was signed in 2019, but the NMRA 2022 announcements and possibly the 2022 Catalog announcements were likely influenced by the terms of the new contract.I say this specifically because on Facebook, Bachmann mentioned that the reason their N Scale 'Toad' didn't utilize Graham Farish's existing GWR Brake Van design was because "the dimensions didn't match up". This is interesting, since the dimensions of an existing GWR tool didn't stop them from making the HO Scale 'Toad' use the Bachmann Branchline (ex-Mainline) GWR Brake Van tool. The current Graham Farish GWR Brake Van is more or less a scaled down version of that ex-Mainline tool to begin with, if I remember correctly... So it is somewhat odd that the licensor would agree to that tooling economy the first time but not the second. I believe that the stricter standards regarding Toad's appearance are the results of terms being re-negotiated at some point between then and now. It makes me wonder why they allowed Beau to reuse Bachmann's existing 'American' 4-4-0 tool, but I suppose that may have been a specially-arranged exception to these new guidelines, and it may not have been worth arranging such a thing for Toad when they were perfectly capable of just making the new van tool...Also worth bringing up is Stepney. He is officially denounced as of the NMRA 2022 announcements, despite the good Mr. Doug Blaine seeming rather coy about a potential future model of Stepney whenever he was brought up in conversation. I think it would be very odd for him to act that way on these streams if he *knew* he was ultimately going to end up having to deliver disappointing news to the fans. But knowing now that there was a new contract implemented around the same time as these instances, I think it is possible that the terms used in the contract that went into effect in mid-2022 may have put a stop to any plans for non-3D animated 'Thomas & Friends' characters to be made for the Bachmann 'Thomas' line.That said, since this contract is seemingly renewed regularly, it is entirely possible a future revision could reverse this stance. I don't foresee that happening any time soon given how many viable characters there are left from the 3D animated show (Nia, Hiro, Whiff, Charlie, Sidney, etc.) compared to how few truly viable options for new tools there are from the Model animated show (Lady, BoCo, Stepney). I suppose they are likely to want the ability to use Smudger and Proteus relatively soon as filler releases for the HOn30 line, as well as make Duke and Freddie into viable future options... It would make Arthur, Murdoch, and Class 40 into possible limited releases in the same vein as Beau by re-using the appropriate Bachmann Branchline tooling for each... But overall I don't think there is very much reason for Bachmann or Mattel to change this stance besides die-hard old-heads like us wanting to see the old characters instead of new ones, and we're only one part of the market for these trains.(Also, tangentially, I don't think Mattel is playing a hand in who's introduced to Bachmann's 'Thomas' lines besides setting the guidelines of the contract. If Mattel was "forcing" Bachmann to make certain characters, we'd have gotten Nia instead of Stanley announced this year, or more likely we would have seen Nia at NMRA 2022 and Rebecca at NMRA 2023. I think Bachmann is fully in control of which locos they're choosing to give the green light under their current direction... which puts the NMRA 2022 new tool pick into a new light. If they were willing to green light a big tender engine, and picked Rebecca over Hiro despite how much longer-lived and internationally-popular Hiro is, it could be that Hiro is simply not possible for Bachmann to make happen right now for some reason, be it budgeting or logistical. If that is the case... ouch.)That said, Mattel has made exceptions for their "no Model-animated-only characters" stance in the past... S.C.Ruffey and Jeremy the Jet made appearances every so often in their toys for the 3D animated era. Bulstrode made several appearances as well, he even made his way into the new 2D animated show! They're also seemingly fine with Bachmann using whatever is currently in their lineup, such as the Spiteful Brakevan. They also don't mind Bachmann using Model-animated-only colors for existing tools, such as Busy Bee James or Toby's Museum Coaches, or the upcoming Gunpowder Wagons including a D.Fusit livery despite the 3D animated gunpowder wagon not carrying that livery, or the upcoming Funfair Vans. Those last two are noteworthy, since they were announced well after the current contract would have been signed and implemented, so that means things like them are viable to happen again...I don't know if I have an ultimate point to all of this rambling, besides just pointing out observations that can be made from between this old article and the things that have happened since its publication. I suppose Bachmann is justified in their current choices in what to make models of right now, contract stipulations or not, but it would be nice to get some of the Model animated characters alongside the 3D animated ones. Maybe we'll get lucky and the 2D animated show will make BoCo and Stepney as background filler character models, and that will be a loop-hole Bachmann can use to greenlight Model versions of them in HO, ha ha ha!