Thomas the Tank Engine "Down the Mine" (Unaired Early 1980s Pitch Pilot Version)


The aforementioned shot of Thomas' pilot model, from the final aired version of the episode.
Thomas' pilot model as seen on a 1984 Hornby set release.

In the early 1980s, Thomas and Friends was being pitched to several networks. A test pilot was made of what would later become the 25th episode, "Down the Mine". According to pilot editor Micheal Dixon, this was nothing like the final episode, with fewer characters, smaller sets and flatter lighting.

Nothing of this pilot version has surfaced, however, a single shot in the final aired version of the episode seems to be have been reused from the pilot. When Thomas passes Knapford station, his model appears to be much more simplistic than the one used in the series. The main differences being the paint on his front splasher appears to be missing the red lining, his siderods seem more toy-like in appearance and his face is different compared to the one used.

Images of the pilot version of Gordon, by model maker Christopher Noulton, can be seen in an interview by Sodor Island Fansite.[1] The pilot model of Gordon was apparently revamped for use as a stand-by model in the second season of Thomas. Eventually, however, it was dismantled and used as engine scrap set dressing.

According to The World of Thomas Hornby set, the picture shows Thomas' original pilot model.

References

  1. Crewmember Spotlight on: Christopher Noulton. Retrieved 29 Dec '13.

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