Sunday, 19 June 2011

"Day of the Diesel Design Drama"

Last week, Bachmann USA released the first photograph of their forthcoming Diesel model for the Thomas & Friends range. Since then the vast array of forums have been awash with posts on the look of the new model, which is touted for an October release alongside Donald & Douglas.

One of the things which has cropped up in discussion concerns the face. It is this which has been met with great debate, and I feel that there is a single, logical answer as to why this face - taken directly from the CGI incarnation of Diesel - was used.

To put it simply, this is the current incarnation of Diesel as the fans know him. It is the most recognizable to the pre-school market the brand is aimed at, and it follows on from the development of the Bachmann large scale models released over the last two years.

The characters of Thomas, Percy & James in the large scale range were designed and manufactured after the characters had been made into their CGI forms for the new incarnation of the show. This is also true of Diesel. All four models therefore have a great deal of raw video material available to Bachmann's designers for the overall design of their models.

There is no doubt in my mind that HiT Entertainment will want any new models made, under license from them, to match closely with the CGI incarnation of Thomas & Friends - it's the current look, and as we should know from experience, the look of a brand is crucial in maintaining its desirability.

However, several people have cited Donald & Douglas as being examples of models which are not made to the CGI standard, as the above four models described were, and that Diesel should match this idea of the Bachmann models being made to the "model series" and not the "CGI series".

This train of thought is derailed somewhat when it is realized that neither Donald nor Douglas, nor Bill & Ben (who have appeared in recent years) could be made to the above standard, as none of the four have appeared in full CGI yet. Further, one poster on a particular forum made mention of Salty not being to his CGI form - this is because his Bachmann model came out before the full CGI was implemented into the series.

Overall, I would suggest, gently, that fans and modellers alike think through the future of the Bachmann Thomas & Friends carefully. Future models are no doubt going to be closer to the new vision for the show, and not the older models, regardless of the prototype chosen.

It is for that reason that I am taking my money off Duck appearing, shared chassis or not (although how awesome would it be if Bachmann made him? Come on! The fanboy in me says yes, the cynic in me says no), and putting it firmly on a character such as Hiro appearing instead.

In fact, I wonder if any of the forthcoming Day of the Diesels characters will be considered for a Bachmann model instead, in future, given the change in design slant to the CGI series.

On that note, I'll call it a day. I am still collating votes, and will do up until the 26th June. On the 5th July, I will announce the subject of the next review.

To whet your whistles, I can reveal that in joint first in the voting stakes, are Bill & Ben, and Henry, with Gordon a strong 3rd, and Emily a weaker 4th.

Until next time!


  1. This is crazy! I am taking a lead from my favourite cop show. It cancelled after series 1 but after an outcry from the fans was given a second season. CBS pulled funding after series 2 aswell and the same thing happened! But after another series the wrote a plot that could not be continued! Oh well! Maybe Bachmann will take advice from the fans and change the face. Just a thought...(!)

  2. With all this negitivity I do have a positive, unlike Hornby this diesel has the side rodes just like the real one, railway series or tv series.

  3. Like Bachmann Edward, Diesel looks more accurate from it's TV counterpart. The side rods are perfect, the body is very accurate and the face, in my opinion, is perfect, like you said, Bachmann is targeting to the pre-schoolers and I believe modellers who have kids or grandkids who love Thomas the Tank Engine.

  4. It is extremely unlikely - if not totally impossible - for Bachmann to change the face now. Why should they? The face matches the character as he is now.

    Sometimes I wonder if common sense is all but gone in this world. Then I read the other comments on this page, and feel better for it.

  5. Sorry! I did not word it right I meant it would BE NICE if Bachmann changed face.

  6. I think Duck has a pretty good chance, regardless of him not being in cgi form. He'd look like a grand model!

  7. I was one of those commenters that said that I don't mind the CGI choice, and even if the face is that much of an issue, it is still a model I want to get, and is still better than it's Hornby counterpart.

    There is one thing about this though, if we are comparing the model to it's current CGI incarnation (again, don't object) then that doesn't explain the traction rods, which are silver akin to the early seasons of the show, instead of black that later seasons (including the CGI ones) let him keep.

    Basically, I don't object to this model, still want it =)

  8. What I think annoys most people is the idea that the classic Thomas is slowly being forgotten by the manufacturers and HiT, and that this model could support that argument.
    Thomas has, supposedly, taken a dramatic turn since going CGI (as I'm sure is known- three strike theory, pointless characters etc.)
    The CGI face for me at least says "We'll go with the new trash instead of old characters. And while we're at it, lets give a devious character a jolly happy face!"
    RE The Donald, Douglas, Salty, Bill and Ben debate- they may not be in full CGI, but they did get CGI faces in season 12. So, those being the last time they were seen and the "Current incarnation theory" being played....

    Overall, I suppose the face isn't that bad, but it does lack that "Devious Diesel" characteristic really.

  9. Just to let you know, I asked Bachmann to make Duck.

  10. I don't care about the face. The MODEL looks like Diesel, and that's enough for me. The models are moving on with the times and replicating the new look of the characters.

    I, for one, really like that because, as you said, if they want to make the most out of their merchandise, they have to make characters look the way they do NOW (or in Bill, Ben, Donald, Douglas and Salty's cases, the way they looked in their most recent series).

    I don't really see why people are complaining honestly. They'll still buy the model whatever they say about it...

    I would say the same thing & I agree that I Like the model to & Hear is the awnser y they (YOUTUBE USERS) Complain about the face, because it is CGI and The guys on YOUTUBE HATE CGI Butt I Like the CGI because Most of them r like the RWS.
    @JONOTHAN For 2012 it is comfimered That BACHMANN Will Make Duck & An Ice Cream Van What do you think of that.