Digger of Bricks

Is the Thomas the Tank Engine Licence Viable or Possible for Lego Currently?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I'm not sure if this is the appropriate forum for this topic, but please do move this thread if not.

Is the Thomas the Tank Engine licence negotiable for construction toys for Lego? I know Mattel made products for the Mega Bloks brand and apparently still do, so could and would Lego do products again for the licence currently, at least under the Duplo and/or Juniors themes?

 

Edited by Digger of Bricks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had they had that license 10 years earlier than they did (20 years ago now) I would have ate it up as a little kid! :laugh: Yeah but they were a little late to the ballgame. Honestly I am surprised Thomas is still around and kicking, seeing they had adapted most of the original book stories before I was five.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, those old stories with real models are the best. First two seasons even feature Ringo Starr (from Beatles) as narrator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be amazed if Lego have not kept the injection molds just in case the licence returns to them!

These Duplo Thomas sets kind of came in 2 waves, the first wave in 2005 inlcuded track with each set.  But the later 2008/2009 sets, most of them were not including track, which I see as a strange decision, as without track, it's not a train it's a car to a child.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My kids used to spend hours playing with them, on the carpet rather than on the track, so I can understand not including track. They were much more cost sensitive then too.

 

I doubt they'd have kept the molds for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should have clarified, I'm aware for the 2004-2005 Duplo theme, I just wanted to know if Lego could be able to share the licence with Mattel for construction toys. And also, would Lego possibly be currently interested in products for the licence? That last question I know is purely speculative, but thought I'd ask for opinions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Digger of Bricks said:

I should have clarified, I'm aware for the 2004-2005 Duplo theme, I just wanted to know if Lego could be able to share the licence with Mattel for construction toys. And also, would Lego possibly be currently interested in products for the licence? That last question I know is purely speculative, but thought I'd ask for opinions.

Whether they could would depend largely on the terms of the license. However, even if they could, I don't think they would. Producing Thomas building toys concurrently with a competitor would mean that each would get a smaller piece of the pie, and could potentially lead to brand confusion, something Lego takes great pains to avoid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Lyichir said:

Whether they could would depend largely on the terms of the license. However, even if they could, I don't think they would. Producing Thomas building toys concurrently with a competitor would mean that each would get a smaller piece of the pie, and could potentially lead to brand confusion, something Lego takes great pains to avoid.

Well, awhile ago, a Power Rangers project passed the 10K mark on Lego Ideas, and Lego afterwards clarified the licence is flexible/negotiable though Mega Bloks currently makes products for it. On the other hand, Lego banned Jurassic Park projects on Ideas for awhile due to a construction toy agreement with Hasbro for Kreo. Lego picked up this licence afterwards since Hasbro's agreement expired due to Jurassic World's release date delay.

So, would it be out of the question for Lego to currently consider a Thomas licence if a Thomas Ideas project was submitted and successfully passed the 10K milestone? This is what I'm wondering about primarily.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is TTTE as popular with kids now as it was 10 - 20 years ago? I feel old now... lol

While I wouldn't mind some nostalgia either, I'm not sure how much appeal a System series of set would have compared to another Duplo series of sets would have?

I know one of the rLUGs out there has built up a huge collection of TTTE characters, so it's not impossible parts-wise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, M_slug357 said:

Is TTTE as popular with kids now as it was 10 - 20 years ago?

My 2 year old son loves it. Some of his fav toys are Thomas and it's one of only 3 shows he likes to actually watch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 26/05/2017 at 8:50 PM, Darkdragon said:

My 2 year old son loves it. Some of his fav toys are Thomas and it's one of only 3 shows he likes to actually watch.

This is also part of the problem. Thomas is interesting for kids up to 3/4/5 years old. Which is why if Lego did anything with it, it would be exactly as before, large pre-molded Duplo parts. There are of course many good LEGO systeMOCs using custom decals for the faces, but I doubt LEGO would ever go for things like that, there just wouldn't be the market for it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, MAB said:

This is also part of the problem. Thomas is interesting for kids up to 3/4/5 years old. Which is why if Lego did anything with it, it would be exactly as before, large pre-molded Duplo parts. There are of course many good LEGO systeMOCs using custom decals for the faces, but I doubt LEGO would ever go for things like that, there just wouldn't be the market for it.

 

Yea, it is a very duplo sort of thing. And even if Lego did do a system build, it would probably be bought by AFOLs exclusively since few (I think) TFOLs would want to buy a train from a toddler's TV show. Though really, as for MOCs the only thing you really need that isn't available already is colored train wheels. (Assuming your a purist.)

Edited by LegoMonorailFan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/25/2017 at 7:51 AM, Cwetqo said:

Yeah, those old stories with real models are the best. First two seasons even feature Ringo Starr (from Beatles) as narrator.

I have most of the original hardbacks, some first edition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Initially before making this post, I researched on the franchise on Wikipedia looking primarily at the separate article on merchandising searching for a section on past and present licensing rights, not finding any mention of anything of the sort. So I guessed this must be something not easily found (stupidly presuming that if it wasn't on Wiki, I wouldn't find it elsewhere :hmpf:), so I made this post to see if anyone knew.

Well now this time, I just simply searched "Thomas the Tank Engine licensing rights" and this was the second link.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/8847097/Thomas-the-Tank-Engine-owner-Hit-Entertainment-sold-to-Mattel-for-680m.html

So according to this Telegraph article, back in 2011, Mattel bought HIT Entertainment (owner of the Thomas franchise) for $510 million from former owner Apex to pay off its debt. So this makes Mattel not an exclusive licensing partner, but the sole owner of the franchise. I grew up with the original stories and the TV show, so this was pretty sad to learn, I didn't even know this. :sad:  Unless someone knows otherwise, this makes the franchise no different than Hasbro's Transformers or GIJoe, so Lego can not even approach it, right? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, that might explain the dip in quality for the TV show.

lol

But yeah, I think Mattel owning the franchise outright means that other companies can't make products for it, unless Mattel gave them permission to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(((Ironically, this is where Chinese clone brands could be of use)))

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, M_slug357 said:

Hmm, that might explain the dip in quality for the TV show.

lol

But yeah, I think Mattel owning the franchise outright means that other companies can't make products for it, unless Mattel gave them permission to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(((Ironically, this is where Chinese clone brands could be of use)))

One of the STUPIDEST Fisher Price products I have ever seen for the Thomas franchise are these DC and Power Rangers themed Minis packs.

  9885a2ba10afa81e7cc5e56471cbf6f6.jpg?940  s-l300.jpg

But seriously, does Mattel have a stranglehold on all toy merchandise for the franchise? There are many model railway companies that make Thomas products, how do merchandise negotiations work with Mattel in that case?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me best Thomas and Friends toys are from Fisher Price:

 

Rezultat iskanja slik za fisher price thomas and friends

 

Those trains are almost indestructable. I dont know if Mattel and Fisher Price are in anyway connected, but I'm sure that license is available, if anyone would be interested (I've seen many Thomas themed toys from varois manufacturers).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Cwetqo said:

For me best Thomas and Friends toys are from Fisher Price:

 

Rezultat iskanja slik za fisher price thomas and friends

 

Those trains are almost indestructable. I dont know if Mattel and Fisher Price are in anyway connected, but I'm sure that license is available, if anyone would be interested (I've seen many Thomas themed toys from varois manufacturers).

Yes, Fisher Price has been a wholey owned subsidiary of Mattel since 1993 according to Wikipedia. :sad:

But, despite Mattel owning HIT Entertainment, which produces the TV show, does Mattel truly own the characters?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Digger of Bricks said:

But, despite Mattel owning HIT Entertainment, which produces the TV show, does Mattel truly own the characters?

 

Yes.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose that for a Thomas set to have a wider appeal, they could have sets with or without the faces, after all most of the trains are modelled after real ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, vpitt5 said:

I suppose that for a Thomas set to have a wider appeal, they could have sets with or without the faces, after all most of the trains are modelled after real ones.

Well, maybe the way to go would be a non-Expert Creator set that could be modeled or inspired at least after the LBSCR E2, the British tank engine that Thomas is modeled after. Here is a particular MOC example that captures both Thomas and his tank engine inspiration in Lego bricks very nicely.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/94645638@N07/albums/72157666250182836

But having said all that, at least Lego could provide us with large train wheels in Bright Blue or Dark Azure in some other set.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Digger of Bricks said:

Well, maybe the way to go would be a non-Expert Creator set that could be modeled or inspired at least after the LBSCR E2, the British tank engine that Thomas is modeled after. Here is a particular MOC example that captures both Thomas and his tank engine inspiration in Lego bricks very nicely.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/94645638@N07/albums/72157666250182836

But having said all that, at least Lego could provide us with large train wheels in Bright Blue or Dark Azure in some other set.

 

 

LBSCR E2

Wow! I've never seen that model before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.