Thomas And Friends Merchandise – Turbine Housing – China Turbo Back Plate

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Battery-powered
See Thomas Tomica Road & Rail below.
My First Thomas & Friends
My First Thomas & Friends is a range of chunky plastic toys, produced by British toy company: Golden Bear Toys.
The range started in c.1994, and was advertised for young infants who enjoyed the series. The models were safe for younger fans to play with.
The range started with only a dozen or so models, and has now grown to around 40-45, the range was (for a short-lived amount of time) available in America, under the company Tomy. The toys are still available in many good retail toy shops all around the UK, and despite speculation that perhaps the range has discontinued, after the absence of three years without new products; brand new models have started to appear on Amazon.
The range included most of the major and minor characters from the TV Series.
Talking My First Thomas & Friends
The talking versions of the My First Thomas models were first released in 2001. The models are more complex than the basic ones, their eyes move, and they speak familiar phrases from the original stock narrations by Michael Angelis.
Bandai
Other than the Tomix Thomas models Japan has also made a large number of die-cast vehicles. They resembled the "Gold Rail" models made by Ertl. However, this series had more characters, although none from The Railway Series. Most characters from Seasons 1-5 were made. The last new model, to date, is Jack the Frontloader. There have been 4 sets made for this range. Other than this Bandai had made small plastic toys (as big an index finger) labed "Pocket Thomas." There is another series where plastic models (as big as the die-casts) are sold mostly at convenience stores along with candy such as mints and feature more minor characters such as the Mailvan.
Railway systems
Several companies have produced ranges of merchandise where the intention is for the buyer to recreate a complete railway. Such ranges include track, buildings and accessories, in addition to the locomotive and rolling stock character models.
Learning Curve of Chicago produces and distributes the Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway System, which is compatible with BRIO and similar wooden toy trains. Tomy produce a Motor Road and Rail plastic train model set with battery-powered engines and a wide range of track types and Thomas characters.
Learning Curve wooden railway
The Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway (TAFWR) is a wooden railway system created by Learning Curve in Chicago and made in China. This is based on the Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends TV series and The Railway Series and is compatible with the defacto BRIO standard for wooden railway systems.
The majority of characters from the TV Series, both major and minor, plus some of the Railway Series characters, have appeared in the range. They have been accompanied by a comprehensive range of track, buildings and accessories. Also, in 2010 Learning Curve released a small range called Early Engineers, That features the main characters, but have two wheels and are smaller than the normal models.
History, design and construction
The company "Learning Curve" was founded by John W. Lee in Chicago, 1992. In 2003 the company was acquired by "Racing Champions Ertl" that was renamed in the same year to "RC2". Learning Curve introduced some new designs for the track surface of wooden toy railways, such as the "Clicketyclack" rails patented in 1995 and the newer tracks with a relief to supply better traction grip for battery powered trains patented in 2003. They also introduced a road track that uses the same gauge as the railway tracks.
The original models were constructed mainly from painted wood, with metal used in the coupling magnets and axles, and plastic wheels and faces. These models were relatively primitive having simple wooden stubs for the funnel and dome. Details such as windows, whistles and buffer beams were omitted.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the models were upgraded. The wooden funnel and painted smokebox were replaced with a separate plastic smokebox with a more realistic-looking funnel. The tender engines received an additional upgrade of moulded plastic 'coal'.
These improved designs were manufactured until 2002 when they were replaced with a third generation of design, which included new and more detailed faces.
Learning Curve continues to expand its lineup of locomotives, rolling stock and locations, although older, less popular, items are 'retired' when appropriate. Every year, begining in 2003, 1-3 retired models are re-released, with upgraded, more realistic shape and paint. These models are only avalible for one year.
Unusual items
Although a number of manufacturers produce ranges of 'Thomas' characters, the TAFWR range is particularly extensive, and includes some models not featured in any other range.
Special model types include "Sights and Sounds" locomotives and buildings, and some battery-powered models. (The majority of locomotives are hand-propelled (push-along).)
Several "Special scene" sets have also been released, modelling significant events in the series, such as "Thomas Comes to Breakfast", with a specially modelled Thomas with a sad face, adorned with a window frame and bush. "James Goes Buzz Buzz", featuring James with a red nose, and one year later "A Better view for Gordon" with flags all over him. These three special edition came each with a thing from the story: The stationmaster's house with Thomas, Knapford with James and the new station came with Gordon. These were brough back in recent months, but they were from newer episodes and are two-car packs. In June 2010, Story Packs will be released, and will contain one or two characters, a destination, a wooden figure, and some track.
The TAFWR includes characters from The Railway Series that have not been televised, such as Ada, Jane, and Mabel (coaches from the Skarloey Railway), Mike and Frank, (from Small Railway Engines), Wilbert (from Wilbert the Forest Engine), D199 (Spamcan), Ivo Hugh, Big City Engine (Foreign Engine), Catherine the Mountain Coach and Culdee (from Mountain Engines). Learning Curve has also made up some of their own models, such as the zoo cars, the Sodor Waterworks cars, the chicken cars and a few more.
Battery-Powered engines were released in the early 2000's are are still avalible. The line originaly included Thomas, Percy, James, Lady, and Bertie (Bertie is discontinued). In 2006, a Salty was released, and in the comimg months a Stanley will be released. A set is avalible that includes Thomas.
In 2009, a range was released called the Talking Railway Series, whitch features several major and minor chacters from the series and when placed on certain destinations they would be addresed by name by Sir Tophamm Hatt a job to do. Egines, destinations, and sets are avalible and the line is still growing. Normal egines can be placed on these destinations, but their name would not be said.
Several of the new characters introduced in Season 11 and Season 13 of the TV series were released by the company some months before the programmes had been broadcast anywhere.
Product recall (June 2007)
On June 13, 2007, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, with RC2, jointly issued a voluntary product recall notice for a number of the models in the TAFWR range. Tests had discovered lead present in these models, and hence a risk of lead poisoning was recognised. About 1.5 million units are affected, mainly models with red or yellow paint, sold between January 2005 and June 2007. (See recall notice for details of which models are affected.)
Thomas Tomica Road & Rail
Thomas Tomica Road & Rail is a battery-operated system that was introduced by Tomy in March 1992. It was based on the "Plarail" system introduced in Japan in 1959 and made into an electric toy train system in October 1961. As such the toy line is compatible with other Tomy Tomica Road & Rail sets, known as "Plarail system" in Japan and "Tomica World" outside of Japan. The engines run on a plastic blue track, and the roadway vehicles run on a dark gray road. Thomas Tomica Road & Rail is not compatible with most other brands of model railway. It does though have a similar gauge to the wooden toy train systems so that rolling stock may run on both systems to some degree. "Choo Choo Track & Toy Co." for example offers track adapters to connect the wooden tracks with similar gauge such as the blue plastic tracks from Tomy with the dove tail connectors and the tan tracks from Trackmaster. By 2007 the line seems to have been discontinued and theme has been converged to the Trackmaster system.
A large number of models have been released in the range, including the majority of major and minor characters from the TV Series.
This range appears to have changed names several times:
Tomy Trains
Tomica World
Thomas Tomica Road & Rail
Thomas Motor Road & Rail
Tomy has seemed to stopped selling its version of Thomas & Friends in the U.S. market, although it is still available outside of U.S. It has been superseded by the Trackmaster line in the retail stores with the same engines but with a different track system.
Trackmaster Thomas & Friends
In 2007, HIT Entertainment's subsidiary HIT To

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