uring the summer of 2007, SiF UK member Perryton
was vacationing in Munich, Germany. Whilst browsing in the city's multi-media giant "Saturn" store,
he purchased the German DVD edition of Thomas and the Magic Railroad : Thomas
Die Fantastishe Lokomotive.
|German DVD Edition of Thomas and the Magic Railroad (click image to see larger version)
The special features section of the German edition
contains what the United States, Canadian, United Kingdom and Japanese versions do not - a short featurette of the behind
the scenes making of the movie. If that in itself didn't make us now feel deprived for all of these years! The
Making of Thomas and the Magic Railroad is just over 8 minutes long in duration, and although it is not narrated
, you can clearly hear the english dialogue in the background.
We've put together a little slideshow of the highlights
from the DVD featurette itself, supplemented with captions based on our research and a little help from our contacts
(thanks again, Dave A.).
The DVD is still available for purchase on Amazon's German site. Though the purchasing and checkout process is laid out almost identically
as the US, Canadian and UK sites, we recommend that you get help from a friend or relative who can sprechen ze deutch!
Our thanks again go to Perryton
for making this lovely find, with kudos also to SiF's ben for passing the word
We can only hope that any special 10th anniversary
edition of the movie on DVD, blu-ray etc. will include this featurette, along with additional behind-the-scenes footage. As
we've come to realize with this movie, a lot of magic was taking place behind the camera as well as in front of it!
During his stay on the Isle of Man in August, 1999, TATMR Propmaster and Storyboard
Artist Greg Chown had the opportunity to take some personal footage of the production
crew at work. When you see the cavalcade of equipment, vehicles and personnel that support the filming of
a movie's scene, on location a better appreciation of the crew's work and organization is much deserved!
Although the quality of this footage cannot be compared to the one
found on the German DVD fearurette, you'll undoubtedly recognize the crossroads
scene, where you can make out Stacy's red Mustang, PT Boomer's motorcyle, and Burnett Stone's vintage pickup truck. The film
crew later moves on to prepare a 'Muffle Mountain' hilltop scene with Patch's horse, where you can see the Irish Sea and
the town of Glen Maye* from the crew's vantage point facing westward in the vicinity of Dalby Mountain.
Greg also gives us brief glimpses of a few other area attractions such as an abandoned homestead and colourful shrubbery.
SiF would like to thank Greg once again for sharing this memento
of the Isle of Man film shoot with us :)
* With thanks to SiF's Rhys Davies for identifying the village
Production Designer and Artist Oleg Savytski
created these brilliant watercolour concept paintings for the movie which were rescued (purchased) before being
sold off in an estate auction. The originals measure approximately 24 x 18 inches. Of interest is the beautiful painting of
"Lady and the Magic Railroad", representing what might have been an early concept visualization of the Magic
Railroad. Fans should also be familiar with another of Oleg's artwork featured in the movie - the portrait of Lady seen
in Burnett Stone's Muffle Mountain workshop. (click image below to view them)
Oleg had also delved into some conceptual art design and
had taken some behind the scenes photos of his creations, which are pictured below with his kind permission and our many
One of Oleg's early conceptual sketches for "Lady"
- note the extra set of wheels.
Another conceptual sketch for "Lady"
Inside Grampa Stone's Muffle Mountain workshop set - constructed
inside the Port St. Mary Station goods shed on the Isle of Man.
The crew setting up Grampa Stone's Muffle Mountain workshop
Lady's full-sized prop beautifully displayed outside in
full daylight where we can appreciate the aesthetics of the workmanship that went into its design and construction.
Rear view of Lady's full-sized prop.
Oleg's conceptual sketch for Diesel-10 with his claw detail.
An early conceptual sketch for "Spaltter"...
...and his sidekick "Dodge".
Construction underway for "Shining Time Station" at the
Castletown Railway Station.
Oleg's conceptual artwork of Shining Time Station's interior...
...and the constructed Shining Time Station interior set
built in a studio in Ballasalla.
Road A1 in St. John transformed into the town of Shining
St. John as Shining Time - note Britt Allcroft and Doug
Lennox (PT Boomer) on the far right.
Distant view of the Shining Time sign scene locale - next
to the Tynwald Hill Inn in St. John's.
A view of Grampa Stone's cottage - Port Cornaa, Isle of
Director of Photography Robbi Hinds
was in charge of the movie's principal and green screen visual effects. We've been unsuccessful so far with trying
to contact Robbi for his recollections, but below is a selection of his green screen work for the movie from his showreel
on his YouTube channel.
Richard Kriegler faithfully captured
Britt's vision of a living Magic Railroad portal in his digital matte paintings that are easily recognizable in
the movie. The magic depleted portal is depicted in a state of decay, whereas the luxuriant green is the direct
result of Lady reinvigorating the Magic Railroad portal with gold dust energy. The scenery seen between the
Portal and Sodor is very reminicient of C. Reginald Dalby's artwork for the Railway Series books. We've been unable to contact
Richard directly, but you can view examples of his other brilliant movie artwork on his website.
|Artist Oleh Valenyuk
Footnote: We've recently
discovered that a Ukrainian artist émigré to Canada had a hand in creating a few of these masterpieces. Oleh
Valenyuk is credited as a Watercolour Matte Artist (Digital Visual Effects) for Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
Oleg sadly passed away of suspected heart failure on Friday, August 10, 2012 at the age of 48. Thomas and the Magic Railroad
was Oleg's first major project since arriving in Canada (Toronto). His artistic contribution to the movie was a source of pride
for his family as daughter Nadiya recalls, "When it came, we were so proud of it, we just watched the movie over and over."
In-depth technical articles that we have compiled about how the crew and contracted agencies
built some of the features seen in the movie. We begin with how Production hired 4-D Modelshop
of London to construct specialized trees made of brass for Thomas and the Magic
Railroad. (Click the banner to view the article).