Like most kids my age, I grew up reading the delightful Thomas the Tank Engine books by the Rev W V Awdry, and watching the accompanying television series narrated by Ringo Starr about the adventures of the scampish train Thomas and all his friends.
Thomas would have adventures where he had to deliver some cargo, or had to deal with a nasty carriage. But there was always that niggling thought – what if Thomas the Tank Engine had not been developed in rural England? What if it had been created in Japan, and Thomas, Percy and James merged at the end of each episode to form an unstoppable robot engine of destruction to crush their enemies?
Enter SUPER ROBOT TRANSFORMABLE TOMAS. A good friend of mine, Mark, was working in Singapore and decided to earn a thousand Brownie points by tracking down this marvel of modern science and sending it to me for my birthday. I will post you off a brownie later Mark. When I can catch one.
SUPER ROBOT TRANSFORMABLE TOMAS is of course a knockoff. I am sure the estate of Rev W V Awdry have not yet licensed Thomas transforming into a giant robot though it can’t be that far off.
The package is quite delightfully kiddy, with little clouds and trains all over it. The back promises me trains on fire, Thomas and friends smiling as they perish in burning agony. Sadly you can’t actually set the toys on fire, if you do that you just melt the plastic and create toxic fumes. And of course no-one would be stupid enough to do that (apart from me I guess).
James is a Really Useful engine. He can transform into a giant robot.
Now for the main event, the figure itself. I’m not sure what figure it knocks off, though it looks like it could be a Brave toy, with the heads added of course. Let me know if you have any clue. Being a knockoff the plastic quality is bad, and it make me cry every time I had to push a peg into place or pull one apart. It stands up okay though, and doesn’t fall apart at the slightest touch.
Make no mistakes, this figure is cheap as hell. But I have had worse, and let’s face it, the reason this is awesome is not because it is a quality figure, but because it is Thomas and friends combining into a super-robot. Interestingly, note that Thomas is just an arm and James is the main body. Originally Thomas was just another character, Rev Awdry only later being forced to make him the main focus of the books by his publisher. Perhaps this is the toy makers paying tribute to this notion, having Thomas not be the focal point of the figure. Or perhaps they just threw whatever colours they had lying about into the plastic vat.
In my head, this guy has the voice of Ringo Starr.
As a Transformer, the figure is pretty lacking too. The various trains don’t have their individual robot modes, just the combined form. They also each separate into 2-3 parts and plug together, rather than fold in any clever way. But again, I have Masterpiece figures for clever transformations. Masterpiece Megatron doesn’t look like the Fat Controller after all.
Here are Thomas, Percy and James in all their glory. They all look pretty decent, though Thomas and James have got the wrong colour bands behind their heads (other versions have this band painted black, I guess they ran out of lead for the paint pot). James is also called ‘Daisy’ Which I imagine will give him some issues.
The three can also link together in train mode, so they can shuffle off as one and have adventures! Choo choo! Choo choo!
All in all, this is a brilliant set, wonderful in its sheer insanity. When I was little I didn’t have a Thomas the Tank Engine toy – I did have a blue train which my mum stuck a smiley face sticker onto the front so I could pretend it was Thomas. If I had this, it would have made my world! Until I chewed the paint and died from lead poisoning I imagine.
Research has shown there to be even more Super Change Tomas toys. Take a look at them here.
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