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!