Monday, 5 August 2013

NWR Editorial: My Thoughts on CGI Bill and Ben



Let me just say first that I am not surprised that these two are returning as Andrew Brenner had stated in a interview by SiF last year that they are his favourite characters. And by reading his magazine stories that he wrote for the Marvel comic series of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, there were many magazine stories focused on Bill and Ben and some were made into season three stories (e.g - 'Heroes'). 

So last week on twitter, a Japanese Thomas fan had discovered new promo pictures for the seventeenth series for characters like Jack and Duck and surprisingly there were new CGI promo pictures for Bill and Ben, the china clay twins. Arc Productions had done well with there render of the twins, there are a few points of criticism that the twins cab roof are too tall, which I do agree upon, but when you look at the TV model there cab roofs are a bit tall too while the Railway Series version of them shows there true form:

Model version 

CGI promo

Railway Series

The thing over the driving wheels stands out, while writing it I was looking if the model version has it and it did but it was painted in black but its great how its standing out. Plus when you look at these promo pics, without the high contrast, there paint stands out more then the bland thinning out yellow paint that they had during the model era of the show. Plus I like it how the dome is black, that is just what the twins look like in the Railway Series so its good that the animators are focusing on Thomas' roots visually:

The faces are the same though unfortunately as twin engines use different facial expression so the young audience won't get confused who they are in the model era. That happened to me with Splatter and Dodge in 'Thomas and The Magic Railroad' or as everyone else calls it 'Shining Time Station: The Movie'. They both have two facial expressions that are the same and, on a personal and off topic note, the voice acting doesn't help either for those two (Splatter and Dodge). But the faces look very much like their Bachmann models, well Bill's model of course. 

I'm really looking forward to their reappearance soon as they haven't been on our screens for five years. Hopefully other characters like Donald, Douglas, Harvey or even BoCo will make their return. And since they're Andrew Brenner's favourites I do hope they have an episode to themselves or a longer cameo then a certain GWR Pannier tank engine.