Thursday, 1 August 2013

CGI Bill and Ben

Bill and Ben: 2003 (left) vs 2013 (right)
Earlier today, a Japanese Twitter user uploaded a picture from a (Japanese, obviously) Thomas and Friends magazine article about Bill and Ben. Rather than using model picture, fans were treated to brand new CG rendered promotional pictures of the two little engines.

Arc Productions have done a fantastic job with these renders. The size and shape of each twin looks identical to their model counterparts. Butt like Duck, they've had a few alterations to their designs.

The main ones are the additional brake pipes and lamps. While the brake pipe is excellent (they look more realistic with them), I have to ask: what are the lamps resting on? It's hard to tell from the angle that was chosen, but I'm sure we'll find out in their returns.

The writing and nameplates look a lot better as well. "BRENDAM BAY" and "SCC" seem a lot more prominent and legible than they did before and the nameplates actually look like REAL nameplates rather than printed decals or paper glued onto the saddle tank (Series 2) as they were in the model era.

The things over the coupling rods (really not sure what that's called. If anyone knows leave a comment!) look great; it's good that they've been re-painted to make them stand out more than they did in the model. But what's really strange is that they've swapped the colour they used to be (black) with the dome's colour. The black domes really don't suit the twins in my opinion; they should have been kept yellow. But I'm sure I'll get used to them.

Another weird addition is the few extra centimetres on their cabs. They look a bit taller than they used to, although that could be the perception from the picture that was taken from the magazine.

One major disappointment for me is that the faces are identical. In the model series, each twin had a different face mask fitted to that viewers could tell them apart on screen. Will Arc be able to do the same in their returns? Maybe, maybe not, but they should have at least done so for their promotional images. 

Final Thoughts
I'm really not surprised to see these pictures: Andrew Brenner has said in online interviews that his favourite characters were Bill and Ben, so it was matter of WHEN we'd see their CG renders rather than IF. Overall, Arc have done a wonderful job bringing them into the CGI world and I am looking forward to their returns, whenever that time may be.