Thursday, 28 February 2013

S8 Ep.6: Thomas Saves The Day

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS AND FRIENDS FAN BASE

THOMAS SAVES THE DAY
Written by
James Mason 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
15/08/04

Plot:
A new station is being built and Thomas was taking workmen. But they have to go over the difficult bend, but Thomas has his two faithful coaches to help him out, until they're needed for their refit. Now Thomas is worried about going on the difficult bend with his coaches' help. Can he do it? 

PRO:
- An near reference of 'Kellsthrope Station' as there is a junction in RWS with the same name.
- Annie and Clarabel helping out with Thomas.

CON:
- Why was James near the red coaches? I don't know. 
- The coaches would've been smashed up since they bumped into James.
- Wouldn't the trucks glide to a stop if they came down the hill?


Despite the list of cons, this was another of HIT's best. I love how they name the station almost to their RWS counterparts. Better then having a station being made in the Post-Awdry era and calling it different. And the use of Annie and Clarabel helping out Thomas before they were given the silent treatment until 'Blue Mountain Mystery' But like many episode there are the usual cons. But they're not even worth mentioning. The episode is great and I enjoyed it when I first saw it on DVD. 

Rating: 4/5


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

S8 Ep.5: James Gets a New Coat

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS AND FRIENDS FAN BASE

JAMES GETS A NEW COAT
Written by
Abi Grant 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
15/08/04

Plot:
James was given a new coat of red paint and was boasting about it. However, he has to take some coal trucks from coaling plant to the harbour and his paint got all dirty! 

PRO:
- Thomas' persona is much more better then in the Miller era.

CON:
- It's quite odd how James' crew and the signalman allow James to puff along the canal and Wellsworth. 
- How the way the coal was thrown was unrealistic.

The episode is not much of a favourite, but it's certainly better then any episode from S9-16. The one character that I'm surprised with is Thomas. During S9-16, the show was butchered up into three repetitive strikes, persona changes and annoying rhyming story lines. In this episode you have Thomas being wised up and disliking James' boastfulness. That's the Thomas that I picture in the modern times, being mature and caring about his work then his looks. Not him puffing around the island to find something for a 'lion' or with a balloon on his flatbed or puffing out of a workshop in steam with workmen on his boiler. But aside from Thomas, let's take a look at the usual cons. 

Despite the writers trying their best making the episodes good, they certainly need to know one line that's been around since the first season. 'Every wise engine knows that it's the signalman's job to run engines on the right lines..' and yet, we have James just going to random places like canal and Wellsworth. Plus the coal was thrown unrealistically, you might want to watch the episode to see what everyone means :P But the episode is alright, but not a huge favourite. 

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

S8 Ep.4: Henry and The Wishing Tree

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BAS E

HENRY AND THE WISHING TREE
Written by
Abi Grant and Paul Larson

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
8/08/04

Plot:
Henry wishes to pull the express like Gordon and in the forest, Henry spotted an old wishing tree and is to make a wish that he can pull the express like Gordon. However things turned for the worst, Henry was bad at pulling the express and it turns out Gordon was in need of a new boiler. Henry now wished he can pull trucks again, until the Fat Controller told him that Gordon will be back the next day. 

PRO:
- Moral: Be careful what you wish for. 
- The mention of Gordon getting a new boiler.

CON:
- Henry had pulled the express before, what made him so bad at it? 
- A bit of American terminology. 

Many fans have found this episode to be bad, but to be honest I found this episode OK. I love the moral of the episode, 'Be careful what you wish for'. Henry wanted to take passengers instead of goods and so he made a wish and thought it would be great, but was proven wrong, despite that the Thomas series is imaginative and not magical. I like the realism in the episode as well like Gordon needing a new boiler, it's a shame that we don't see the boiler being lifted out, but I think due to the budget they can't do that and it might frighten kids that Gordon has been taken apart, but then again, I have seen many engines being stripped down and they have never scared me as a kid :P 

But there are the typical flaws, such as the scripting. The story is fine but they should've put the British terminology in for the UK/AUS audience. No offence to the Americans. But 'Buffet Car' should be called 'Dining carriage' and yes, Henry had pulled the express before and since he is capable of hauling goods and passengers as his basis does that in real life, it was a pointless part of the episode, but without that, it would make the episode's plot pointless and dull. But the episode isn't that bad in my books and I do find it OK, it has the flaws that fans have point out but I think its OK. 

Rating: 3.5/5
  

Monday, 25 February 2013

S8 Ep.3: Thomas to the Rescue

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

THOMAS TO THE RESCUE
Written by
Abi Grant & Paul Larson 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
8/08/04

Plot:
Thomas was sent to the quarry to help out with an important order. However, Diesel was there as well and told Thomas that he was a stinky steamie and that the Fat Controller is scrapping steam engines. However, Diesel then learned that Thomas can be a useful engine even if he runs on steam. 

PRO:
- Much more positive outreach about the rivalry between steam and diesel.

CON:
- Thomas should know that the Fat Controller would never scrap steam engines.


The episode is really decent and has a perfect moral about the steam vs. diesel rivalry unlike the Thomas series between S13 - 16. Despite that their are two motive kind of power on the Island, they know that they can work together to make the railway run smoothly. However, Thomas should have the clear common sense that the Fat Controller would never scrap steam engine, read 'Enterprising Engines' on the first page of the story 'Little Western'. So the episode is decent and it brings a great positive outreach of the steam vs. diesel rivalry. 

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, 24 February 2013

S8 Ep.2: Percy's New Whistle

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

PERCY'S NEW WHISTLE
Written by
James Mason 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
1/08/04

Plot:
Percy wants to show off to 'Arry and Bert that his whistle is better then his horns. 

PRO:
- The safety of whistles
- The steam coming out of the whistles without a close up.

CON:
'..Percy was taking some trucks to the smelters yards..' yet it's a quarry.
- The title was illogical as Percy doesn't even have a new whistle.
- Why can't Percy puff away from the snowball? 
- Despite Percy using his whistle properly, he could at least whistle at the tunnel. 

Despite my list of cons, this is another good episode. The importance of whistles, something that is missing from the recent episodes of Thomas & Friends and I love how they CGI'ed the steam coming out of the whistles without using a close up of the whistle, like in the classic series, even though it was used in this series too. Though the title was illogical and how they called the quarry, the smelters.

But the episode is good and shows the target audience the importances of a steam engine's whistle.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, 23 February 2013

S8 Ep.1: Thomas and The Tuba

2004 was the 20th anniversary of the Thomas the Tank Engine TV series and with the eighth series being broadcasted, their were many new changes after the leaving of David Mitton, Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell. Steve Asquith, one of the longest running Thomas crew members, took the role as director, Robert Hartshrone and Ed Welch took the role as the musicians for the music and gave the show a new theme song. And the traditional 35mm footage being replaced by the modern cameras that we have today for other TV shows of all genres. Older fans were outraged by the new changes, but there are things that yours truly likes about this season. So let us sit back at the new changes of Thomas & Friends, but first:

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE 

THOMAS AND THE TUBA
Written by
Dave Ingham 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
1/08/04

Plot:
It was Lady Hatt's Birthday and the Brass Band are heading from the mainland to play the party. But Thomas had accidentally left the tuba player behind! Thomas went all around the island to look for him. 

 PRO:
- A perfect moral about being patience and taking your time.
- The use of road characters. 

CON:
- Thomas was not off the tracks.
- Elizabeth being a motor lorry.
- The titling could've been better. 

Despite the cons, this episode is actually enjoyable. It's got two great morals and I love the use of the road characters. But despite the positives, there are the negatives. I never liked Elizabeth as a motor lorry, she's a steam lorry, I hope they fix that up if she returns to the CGI series. But when she carried the tuba player, it reminded me of the Postman Pat episode: Postman Pat and the Tuba. Though I have to say the titling of the episode should've been better. Maybe it should've been called, 'Thomas and The Tuba Player'? Because the title sounds like Thomas is missing the Tuba rather then the Tuba Player.

But despite those, the episode is enjoyable and has two great morals. 

Rating: 3/5

Friday, 22 February 2013

S7 Ep.26: Three Cheers For Thomas + Overall

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

THREE CHEERS FOR THOMAS
Written by
Jan Page

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
30/12/03

Plot:
It was the annual sports day and Thomas was dreaming about having a medal. Later, Thomas was having a race with Bertie. But the Fat Controller had stopped Thomas and told him that he left the medals behind in his office at the big station. Thomas raced away to get them and he took them to the sports arena right on time! The children awarded him a medal in the end. 

PRO:
- Thomas and Bertie's race brings some nostalgia.


CON:
- Percy's stupidity about eggs and spoons races.
- Why was Thomas being cleaned at a station? 

So we come to the final episode of the seventh series, which ends the classical era of the show with the likes of veterans such as the late David Mitton, Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell. The episode was good and of course have a simple story line. But of course, there are flaws such as Percy's stupidity. But I do like how they added another race between Thomas and Bertie, brings that sense of nostalgia towards the older fans who remember seeing the very early episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine. 

 Rating: 4/5

OVERALL

Despite the lack of railway terminology and some unrealistic moments, this series is another favourite of mine of the post-Awdry era. The stories are simple and some are memorable. But whether it be or not, I find it very enjoyable along with season six. I hope Andrew Brenner brings Series 17 at the same level of the two series. The music, enjoyable and memorable. I do have to say the sound effects of the whistles seems quiet for some engines like Emily, Donald and Douglas etc. 

The characters, let me just say, the new characters such as Emily, Arthur, Spencer, Murdoch are very detailed towards their real life basis' I'm impressed with all the modelling skill that the people gave to these characters, particularly Murdoch and Arthur. 

Michael Angelis' narration was great, giving it a gentle storytelling kind of voice and that what makes the series so memorable to me, they feel like stories that you can read to a child at bedtime. The younger audience will enjoy these episodes. As of the reception that Angelis got in the US from the VHS/DVD 'New Friends For Thomas' saying he sounds 'old' and 'horrible', I wonder why Ringo Starr didn't get that kind of reception with his voice when he did the show for the US audience? Probably because he was part of The Beatles and the people over there knew his name since The Beatles landed in America since 1964. Still like the man though ;) (Ringo)

As of Brandon's narration, I've seen a few episodes and I have to say his storytelling is not too bad and some of his voices for the characters aren't too bad, but when it comes to Donald and Douglas and even Duncan in their scottish accents, he sounds horrible. He sounds like he gave the engines russian accents, no offence to the russian people. Brandon may not be great, but you can hear he's trying his best. 

David Mitton, Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell had done wonders with the Thomas series and it's sad that five years after he directed this episode, he (David Mitton) passed away. But his legacy still remains creating a show from a series of books written by a vicar into a reality. Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell had done many memorable themes for the characters and stories for the past nineteen years during their time of the classic era. It's a shame that they decided to move on, but all good things must come to an end. I wish them the best of luck for their future as they now have their own businesses.

We will now continue on with the new and revamped eighth season.  

OVERALL RATING:
88/100
    

Thursday, 21 February 2013

S7 Ep.25: Trusty Rusty

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

TRUSTY RUSTY
Written by
Paul Larson 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
26/12/03

Plot:
Their are cracks in the support of an old wooden bridge. However Duncan puffed over the bridge and stopped as he was out of steam! Then the bridge was about to collapse. Rusty then went to the rescue. 

PRO:
N/A

CON:
- 'How would you know, you're only a diesel.' Pathetic and bland insult.
- The driver's should learn some common sense when it comes to a broken bridge.
- Duncan and Rusty's weight could easily break the bridge.


Probably the worse episode in S7. The episode shows the people of Sodor's stupidity, Duncan giving a pathetic and bland insult towards Rusty and of course how unrealistic of Rusty and Duncan being on a broken bridge when their weight can easily break the bridge. 

 Rating: 1/5

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

S7 Ep.24: Not So Hasty Puddings

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

NOT SO HASTY PUDDINGS
Written by
Robyn Charteris 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
24/12/03

Plot:
Elizabeth is to take puddings to the harbour, as the pudding factory is snowed in, so they can be shipped to the mainland, but due to the roads being icy, she skidded into a snow drift and Thomas came to his rescue

PRO:
- Thomas' classic snowplough returns

CON:
- What was the point of 'It's Only Snow' footage?

The episode was alright. It was simple. But despite the blue snowplough's return after the fifth season,  there is only one flaw, what was point of 'Its Only Snow' footage? Thomas was hauling Annie and Clarabel and yet we see Toby and Thomas bringing a Christmas tree, it would confuse the younger audience, maybe they didn't have enough money at the time? 

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

S7 Ep.23: Gordon and Spencer

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

GORDON AND SPENCER
Written by
Lee Pressman 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
20/12/03

Plot:
The Duke and Duchess are visiting Sodor and they arrived with their private engine called Spencer, a silver A4. Gordon was jealous of him for being the fastest engine, but when he asked him to take on some water, Spencer ignored him and by the time he reached Gordon's Hill, he ran out of water. Gordon then came to his rescue. 

PRO:
- Ironically Gordon and Spencer were both built by the LNER

CON:
- Spencer's driver would've stopped Spencer himself for water. 

Probably one of the season's best episodes. Spencer's design was amazing and it's kind of ironic how both Spencer and Gordon are rivals yet they were built from the same railway company, the LNER. I do like how they said that Spencer was the fastest steam engine in the world, despite that it belong to Mallard. But the 'Silver Link' did 112mph and Spencer is obviously based on that A4. But only one flaw, why can't Spencer's driver stop Spencer himself for water? It's not that hard to pull the lever down? But this is one of the best episode of the seventh season. 

 Rating: 5/5

Monday, 18 February 2013

S7 Ep.22: Best Dressed Engine

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

BEST DRESSED ENGINE
Written by
Polly Churchill 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
13/12/03

Plot:
It was May Day and the engines were being decorated for 'The Best Dressed Engine'. Gordon thinks decorations are dignified, until a banner wrapped around him on his smokebox door.

PRO:
- The season one stock footage
- The decorations

CON:
- Even though in real life they could burn.
- 'The banner wrapped around his firebox!' actually a smokebox. 
- Gordon's driver can stop him and get the banner off him. 

I do enjoy this episode, but despite that there are the usual flaws. The decoration, although they do look nice, they could easily burn but any Thomas episode from the post-Awdry era would not focus on realism and more focused on fantasy. The banner didn't get wrapped around his firebox, that's in his cab, what it really wrapped around was his smokebox door and plus Gordon's driver would've stopped the train to get the banner off. But the episode wasn't too bad.

Rating: 3.5/5

Sunday, 17 February 2013

S7 Ep.21: The Grand Opening

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

THE GRAND OPENING

Written by
James Mason 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
6/12/03

Plot:
Skarloey is upset that he was late. Meanwhile, the Fat Controller and Lady Hatt are to head for the opening of Rumblin Bridge station. But unfortunately was stuck in a tree! Luckily Skarloey rescued them.

PRO:
- The lines from Lady Hatt and the Fat Controller were funny.

CON:
- 'They boarded Skarloey's box car' It's pronounced 'Guard's Van' in the UK. 
- Rumblin Bridge station was used in other episodes before this episode.

The episode is good, but there are the usual flaws. I know that there is an American audience, but when it comes to the UK narration, they should call Skarloey's van 'Guards Van', a 'Box Car' is what the American railroad people describe as a vent van or wagon, but the mistakes are made. Plus the station was used in other episodes before this. But the lines from Lady Hatt and The Fat Controller were funny and memorable. 

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, 16 February 2013

S7 Ep.20: Harold and The Flying Horse

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

HAROLD AND THE FLYING HORSE
Written by
Robin Kingsland 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
1/12/03

Plot:
Harold was sad that he's to miss out on the vicars annual fate until he rescued Pegasus.

 PRO:
- N/A

CON: 
- Harold was already at Dryaw so there was no need for him to fly around the island.
- Percy's stupidity about flying horses. 


Nothing bad about the episode itself, it was alright and it was a simple story. But there is a few errors, like Harold being Dryaw already, you might say 'Maybe he went to another place and has to go back to Dryaw' sure, but there was not a mention of him going somewhere. Plus there was Percy's stupidity, it's been like this since S6. At first he said there are no flying horses and later on when he saw Pegasus in Harold's carrier, he says that horses can fly after all! Well that's an example of how age reversal works in a Thomas episode. But overall there was nothing too bad about the episode itself. 

Rating: 3/5

Friday, 15 February 2013

S7 Ep.19: Bulgy Rides Again

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

BULGY RIDES AGAIN
Written by
Brain Trueman 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
29/11/03

Plot:
With Thomas and Emily being repaired at the works, Bulgy was restored for the first time in years. But the hens missed their home and they crept onto the luggage racks. But an accident was nearly made and the chicken went haywire! Bulgy then decided to turn himself into a Vegetable bus. 

PRO:
N/A

CON:
- Why was Thomas taking a goods train as he was at the works being repaired?
- Bulgy's voice.

Some fans have complained about Rheanes' yellow paint, yet they didn't when Bulgy was repainted. Not that i'm against any fan's opinions on that. It was great how they gave Bulgy another episode after being a hen house after four seasons. Despite that the story was great and simple, Michael Angelis' would've worked on his voice a bit more as his voice for Bulgy sounds like a blocked nose. But the episode was alright. 

 Rating: 3/5

Thursday, 14 February 2013

S7 Ep.18: Fergus Breaks The Rules

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

FERGUS BREAKS THE RULES
Written by
Jan Page

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
26/11/03

Plot:
Diesel was had told Fergus that the Fat Controller 'wants him' to go to work at the Smelters Yards. 

PRO:
- N/A

CON:
- Fergus didn't break any rules. 

Only one con and it's such a shame that Fergus didn't have any more roles after this. Well there is a reason. The reason Fergus was not in any other episode is because his model was damaged badly. Now that the show is in CGI, they could remake him again. 

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

S7 Ep.17: Peace and Quiet

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

PEACE AND QUIET
Written by
Paul Larson 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
24/11/03

Plot:
Murdoch wanted some peace and quiet after a hard days work. Later as he went to the countryside, their were sheep on the line! Toby came to his rescue and Murdoch aplogised to Salty and Harvey.

PRO:
- Murdoch's basis.

CON:
- Why can't Murdoch whistle the sheep out of the way?
- How does Murdoch know Toby? 

Despite the two cons, this is really one of my favourites. I have a great interest in Murdoch basis, the British Railways 9F, which is famous because 'Evening Star' was the last 9F to be built by British Rail before 60163 Tornado was built 48 years later. Despite the livery that makes him more like a toy, I wish the model makers would've made him in the BR livery:

That would make him twice more eye catching. If Andrew Brenner is reading this I hope it happens, he could make an episode where Murdoch is in need of a new coat of paint and the 9F likes to be painted in his heritage colour. I can dream can I?

But there are the cons that I have with this episode, but they aren't worth the explanation. Despite the two cons, this episode is great and is worth watching. 

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Bachmann 2013

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

Bachmann had first started the range for Thomas & Friends for over ten years and they're still growing strong with their range every year. Today, Bachmann had announced their 2013 range for the show this year and so here are my views on the Bachmann range that will be offered to the fans both young and old during the course of 2013. 

LARGE SCALE TOBY & ROLLING STOCK
Toby's HO model has been in the range for years now and now Bachmann is making a large scale version of him. I believe he would be a unique to see with the nice shape he has in the TV series. If only for the rolling stock they've made Henrietta, maybe Bachmann might make one for 2014? As of the show being in CGI and much like its predecessors in the large scale range, he will of course have a CGI face as HIT wants all the Thomas merchandise to replicate the TV series. Now to the large scale rolling stock, the light blue generic truck and raspberry syrup tanker, it would bring the same unique way like its other rolling stock models in the past.

I don't collect large scale models, as I don't have a garden to fit one and that they're too expensive to me, but I'm glad that the large scale models are growing and that they do bring the attention to customer on garden model railways and at model railway exhibitions to wow the crowd and I know that Toby will please the younger audiences. 

THOMAS' CHRISTMAS EXPRESS

I never liked the large scale version of the set that they released last year and looking at this set, I find it OK. I like the last two rolling stock with a vent van and conflat wagon with a box for the Christmas reef. But I think they should replace the red truck with a flatbed for the Christmas tree. As a railway enthusiast, it fits more realistically. But maybe then can find ways to fit a Christmas theme for the flatbed if they decided to do it? But it's nice to see the Christmas Thomas locomotive back on the shelves again, though I wish they release that separately. 

'ARRY AND BERT
Alongside with Duck the Great Western Engine, 'Arry and Bert are now to join in the locomotive line up. Despite that they'll just recycle Diesel's model with the iron works paint job, I'm looking forward to the model replicas of the two diesels, though I think they'll be given a smiling CGI face like Diesel. 

SOUND CHIP THOMAS
This one I am really looking forward too. A sound chip Thomas loco. With the re-release of the Thomas model, I don't know if they're still using the same face or giving him a CGI face? However, we will wait. 

TROUBLESOME TRUCK 4

I don't know what it would be but chances are there'll be a CGI face for it and I'm not really looking forward to it, it could just be another coal truck :P 

JEREMY 
While many of the older fans have considered that characters like Trevor or Bulgy should be made this year, which I do agree on, I think Jeremy is a good choice, he hasn't been seen in many episodes. I'm interested in seeing his final model when its released and I might buy him. 


As of Duck's final production model, I will make my views on that around possibly March when he comes from 'The Diesel Works' store from the UK. However, I think he's a stunner. 

OVERALL

I'll be honest, I'm more interested in getting models from Hornby's other ranges like steam locomotives and rolling stock then their Thomas range. I'm not saying that Hornby is bad at it, but with some models being discontinued and no new ones made for 2013 and with Bachmann making characters like Donald and Douglas before Hornby, I'm growing out of it. But I guess we'll never know what Hornby would produce? As of Bachmann's Thomas range this year, I'm not getting my hopes high at this moment. I am looking forward to four models from this range and that is Duck, 'Arry, Bert and the sound chip Thomas. 

THE FUTURE
As heard on the interent, Bachmann had internet sources of what should be next for the Thomas range for Bachmann which led to the making of Duck. So if any Bachmann officials are reading this, you might consider this in your range for the future:

BOCO

Even though BoCo has been seen in the series since 1998 and that the young audience are watching the classic episodes and that there are parents today who remember watching the show in its early years who are into railway modelling, it would be nice to see BoCo being in the range.

DASIY

Daisy hasn't been seen since 2005 and with the same as BoCo. Both diesels can provide some nostalgia and show the new generation of Thomas fans some forgotten characters that may spark a comeback in the new series? 

STEPNEY

I know Hornby had re-released theirs last year, but Hornby was more into the detail of Stepney so maybe a model replica of Stepney could be in good order? 

STANLEY

I think Stanley is a top one here on my list, he's a likeable character, both young and old fans do enjoy him and he has great detail and paint work as well. 

 STAFFORD

OK, I'll be honest, I may not like the episode he was put and how the way he was introduced, but to me I have a soft spot for Stafford. He's unique and loveable and his persona for the character is very normal then the likes of Charlie, Billy and the Logging Locos, which I don't like to see in the range. 


For the rolling stock, I would love to see a replicated model of Rocky:


As for the large scale models, either choice is Gordon, Henry or Edward. I am looking forward at what Bachmann is giving out this year and hope that they still keep making Thomas products for more years.






S7 Ep.16: The Runaway Elephant

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

THE RUNAWAY ELEPHANT 
Written by
George Tarry 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
23/11/03

Plot:
Duncan is to take a statue of an elephant to a new park. 

PRO:
- A perfect and realistic example of why brake vans should be added to trains. 

CON:
- Despite that the episode is a good example, a brake van should've been added to the flatbed.

The episode is fine, I enjoyed it. It should be a great example to the current writers of Thomas & Friends today of what happen if brake vans aren't fitted to trains. But they could've added it to the train, but then we have no plot. 

Rating: 4/5

Monday, 11 February 2013

S7 Ep.15: Something Fishy

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

SOMETHING FISHY
Written by
Paul Larson 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
20/11/03

Plot:
Arthur is sad that he didn't get to run the coastal line as Thomas was chosen for the job.

PRO:
- The fishing village
- The background of the other engines being serviced.

CON:
- 'Arthur was disappointed, the Fat Controller had made shunt trucks at the steel works..' 
More like the coaling plant to me.

- Points don't just magically change?
- What's with the whistle change for Arthur?


The episode is not bad really, show's some industrial and realism of the Island with the engine in the background. The fishing village was fantastic, perfect model making skills. But there a few flaws with the episode. But it's not a bad episode. 

Rating: 4/5




Sunday, 10 February 2013

S7 Ep.14: Snow Engine

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

SNOW ENGINE
Written by
Jenny McDade

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
19/11/03

Plot:
Oliver hates snow and doesn't find anything splendid about snow. But he saw how splendid it was when the children had him as a snow engine. 

PRO:
N/A

CON:
- 'They deliver goods and passengers when the roads are closed by deep snow' so what about Spring, Summer or Autumn? 
- How is snow messy? 
- Oliver is out of character.
- How did Toad derailed himself? 
- The snowman would've melted. 

This episode is filled with flaws, it's not a great episode, but it's in the OK category. But the first part of the script said that they deliver goods and passengers when the roads are closed by the snow, so the other seasons of year don't matter? Plus where was no mention of 'The Little Western'? Also they mentioned that Oliver thinks snow is messy, it's water and its clean, how is it messy? Plus this episode would've been suited better to Thomas or Percy as Oliver is not the right engine, he should be wise about snow. Toad's derailment is illogical as he was at the back and yet, he manage to slide next to Oliver. As I said in my 'Percy and The Snowman' review last year, the snowman would've been melted. 

The episode is not bad, but it's OK, why, because anything is better then the writing from S13-16. 

Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, 9 February 2013

S7 Ep.13: Salty's Stormy Tale

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE 

SALTY'S STORMY TALE
Written by
Polly Churchill 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
16/11/03

Plot:
Salty thought that Thomas and Percy were teasing him and he was upset. Meanwhile Salty was to collect Fergus from the smelters yards as his driver (Fergus) doesn't know the line. On their way home a raging storm swept across the island. A ship was making its way towards the island and the lighthouse was out and the ship was in danger! Luckily Salty's idea had worked as Fergus' flywheel can power the generator and he saved the day! Thomas and Percy apologised and only copied him because they like him. 

PRO:
- Emily was in perfect character.

CON:
- What was Fergus doing at the smelters yards? 
- 'Every wise engine knows that the signalman know the right lines...' is somehow forgotten.

The episode is nice and enjoyable. Emily was in perfect character, she defend her friend because Thomas and Percy hurt Salty's feelings. But there are two downsides, there is no explanation of why Fergus is at the smelters yards, as we know his driver doesn't know the line, but somehow they've forgotten that it's the signalman's duty to make the engines run on the right lines, not just magically know which way to go. But the episode is nice.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, 8 February 2013

S7 Ep.12: Rheneas & The Roller coaster

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

RHENEAS & THE ROLLER COASTER
Written by
James Mason 

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
13/11/03

Plot:
Rheneas wanted to make the children's school trip special. 

PRO:
N/A

CON:
- Rheneas should know that the children are to see important sites not a fun ride.
- Ever heard of brake or switch the points?

Another episode that is ridiculous, Rheneas is about 147 years old (as he is based on Dolgoch on the Talyllyn Railway, and in fiction, was built on the same year as his counterpart, 1866.) He should know that the children are to see the important sites of the railway. Plus it would be easy if Rheneas' crew would put on the brakes or the workmen switching the points? But if that happens we would have no plot. It would've been better if the story was simple like Rheneas wanting to make the kids day special, but failed and kids told him that they got to see the sites and that made the trip special. May not be great, but it'll be better then this. 

Rating: 1/5

Thursday, 7 February 2013

S7 Ep.11: Bad Day At Castle Loch

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

BAD DAY AT CASTLE LOCH
Written by
Jenny McDade

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
10/11/03

Plot:
In celebration of Lord Callen's castle to be reopened, a party was being held and Donald and Douglas were to take the decoration to the castle. They told Percy that there was a 'monster', the Loch-ness Monster. But two landslides got them stuck and Harvey came to save the day. 

PRO:
- Love the updated version of 'Misty Valley'.

CON:
- Michael Brandon's scottish accent is horrendous.
- Donald and Douglas arguing is a lot better for Bill and Ben. 
- What about the guard, what happened to him in the landslide? 

I like episodes with Donald and Douglas, but comparing to other episodes, this episode is not in the strong stand point of the ones based off the Railway Series stories. Nothing wrong with a scottish castle on Sodor, even though its nearer to England, it's owned by Lord Callen and gave it a scottish theme. What can I say about MB's 'scottish accent', it is horrible, I have the episode on DVD from the US and I'll say it again, it is horrid, it sound nothing like the scottish language, he sounds more Cockney or Australian then scottish. Michael Brandon is not a bad guy though at the narration, Alec Baldwin didn't even give the twins there respective accents and then again nobody is perfect at everything. 

Donald and Douglas arguing is a lot like Bill and Ben, character reversals could've started here in the seventh season? Plus what about the guard after the landslip, surely he need some medical attention? 
I'm not saying it is a bad episode, but it could've been better. But at least Donald and Douglas aren't butchered up around S13 - 16. 

Rating: 3/5  

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

S7 Ep.10: Toby's Windmill

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

TOBY'S WINDMILL
Written by
Jan Page

Directed by
David Mitton 

Air Date:
5/11/03

Plot:
Toby loves the windmill and was friends with the miller. But one stormy night, the windmill was struck by lighting and put the miller out of the job. But thanks to an old tree found by Toby, a new windmill was made and was called 'Toby's Windmill'. 

PRO:
- The lighting strike on the windmill. 

CON:
- Why was the windmill built in one day.
- Toby's driver should've watched where he was going. 


The episode is not horrible but also not perfect. It's kind of a shame that the writer put in that Toby is not watching where he was going when really it's driver's fault for crashing the flour trucks into the siding. Plus why was the windmill had taken one day to be built? I don't know :P But the episode is OK, it's simple and entertaining and shows that you can help a friend in need. 

Rating: 3.5/5 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

DVD Review: Muddy Matters

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

MUDDY MATTERS
Written by
Max Allen 
Andrew Viner
Sharon Miller
Andy Bernhardt
Dan and Nauri Wicksman 

Directed by
Greg Tiernan

Produced by
Nicole Stinn 

Episodes
Muddy Matters
Thomas and The Garbage Train
Don't Bother Victor!
Whiff's Wish
Thomas Toots The Crows

Special Features
'Muddy Sheep Game' 
Go Go Thomas Music Video 
Guess Who? 

The reason why this was shifted to February because Amazon US has cancelled my order because it can't get delivered. So I've ordered a second copy and now here's a review of America's first Thomas DVD for 2013, 'Muddy Matters'. For the first time since 2008, this DVD has a total of five episodes, an improvement of HIT Entertainment's Thomas DVDs rather then the usual four episode DVDs. SiF had conducted a DVD poll back in 2012 to discuss about the Thomas DVDs in the UK and US for having four episodes from the CGI series which can be poorly written and the price range. So is this DVD a good start to the new year? Let's find out?

EPISODES
While the UK has their second six episode DVD 'Sticky Situations', America now has their five episode DVD for 2013 and as I've made my reviews on these episodes in February 2012 I'll keep short and simple. Their are only two decent episodes I find on this DVD is 'Whiff's Wish' despite it being like a rehash of 'Dream On' from Series 11, it was actually nice seeing Whiff with an entire episode to himself and also the episode's opening sequence of the engines and their jobs, most notably Henry pulling the Flying Kipper. The episode does have its own flaws, but I find it OK. 'Muddy Matters', despite it not being great, I like how James was not in his snooty behaviour that was used in the dreaded Season 15. He was somewhat in his classic persona. Though I like it, there are the flaws. The other episodes aren't written well and I do have my opinions about them from Feb/March last year.

SPECIAL FEATURES
The 'Go Go Thomas' music video is once again from 'Sticky Situations' so it's not all different. But it will make its debut for the Australian and UK audience in March on the DVD with the same name. For the Guess Who? puzzle, we have Thomas and James, Peter Sam and Sir Handel, as usual, fun for the younger kids. The game is really much for kids, though it is better then the previous game on the previous release in December and it was OK. Aside from James not having his tender when he puffs along to each level.

Once again, Mr. Perkins is back and this time he is getting ready for the Sodor sale. So the special features for the Americans are pretty much the same.

OVERALL
Despite the three badly written episodes and two decent ones, this is a good start to the year of Thomas & Friends for 2013. I think the DVD is OK and recommendable for the younger audience of the show. Plus the DVDs are showing some improvements with the episode listing and I hope HIT Entertainment really does stick to that for future releases. So let's hope this goes on well for the Thomas fans of America for the year 2013.

Rating: 3/5

BUY A COPY
As of this year, we're now offering links to shops if you like to purchase this product, you can find any shop that has a copy by clicking any of the links below: