As has been revealed on the Roll Along Thomas blog, Poland has shown King of the Railway for the first time. With this, we were given the obligatory "spoiler pictures", including the one above of Jack the Front Loader... but not as the majority of fans would know him to look like!
Like the narrow gauge engines and Duck, Jack has been given a bit of a makeover. But unlike the previous two examples, Jack's is a bit more extreme. His main body shape is now square with rounded edges (the same goes for his face), while the usual additional rivets festoon his bodywork - as well as an extra hydraulic mechanism for his bucket.
While many aren't fond of the new look, I really like it. He looks more realistic now. However, because of how much he's changed, there really should be an explanation as to why he looks like this. We all know machines go to workshops for services, but kids don't, so it would be nice if they explained this to them in such a way so it doesn't sway too much from the main plot.
Most of all, though, I'm quite shocked. Jack hasn't been in many (main series) episodes, nor is he really discussed as anyone's favourite character, so for this redesign to touch fans' nerves so much is very surprising. I really don't like how fans are blaming HiT for this, though. If it was, he'd have been redesigned FAR earlier than King of the Railway. If you want to blame anyone, blame Arc. They're the ones in charge of the animation, including what characters look like. It's wrong to blame HiT for every "negative" thing that happens!
My final thought is this: if you like Arc's animation, fine. If you don't, just don't watch the show anymore. There's no turning back for Jack now!