The Ertl Company was a toy company which produced several Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends toys from 1984 to 2004. The most notable of the toy ranges made was a line of 1/64 scale die-cast models and playsets of characters from the Railway Series and Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.
ERTL created their first Thomas model in 1985. It came with a sticker sheet so you could alter Thomas' face to make him have a different facial expression. That year they also released a larger, motorised version of Thomas.
Later during the year, James and Henry were released, both with a happy face. The stickers were soon replaced with fixed plastic faces.
The ERTL range has made new engines nearly every year since then, tallying up to over 100 models, until the range was replaced by Take-Along.
During the range's popularity, the ERTL company made miniature models of each engine, as well as Gold Rail models.
ERTL ceased production for the US market in 2001, and for the UK market in 2004. The model range has now been discontinued.
All collector cards from 1993 to 1999 featured an illustration of the character, drawn by Owain Bell.
For a time, a keyring series was available from the miniatures. A carry case was also released to house 11 models.
- Donald and Douglas
- City of Trour
- Flying Scotsman
- The Diesel
- Arry and Bert
- Diesel 10
- Splatter and Dodge
- Sir Handel
- Peter Sam
- Lord Harry
- Annie and Clarabel
- Express Coaches
- Gordon's Special Coaches
- Troublesome Trucke
- Brown Troublesome Trucks
- The Spiteful Brakevan
- Milk Wagons
- Tar Wagons
- Oil Tankers
- Old Coaches
- Mail Coaches
- The Breakdown Train
- The Chinese Dragon
- Old Slow Coach
- Slate Trucks
- Gunpowder Wagons
- Henry's Log Car
- The Silly Trucks
- The Pump Trolly
- Scrap Trevor
- Sir Topham Hatt's Car
- Soft Side truck
- Fire Engine
- Tiger Moth
- Dyson Lorries
- Lorries 1, 2 and 3
- Canal Boat
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Lady Hatt
- Dowager Hatt
- Mrs. Kyndley
Playsets and Accessories
- The track was originally made of grey plastic with rails etched into it. It was *eventually replaced by green plastic with a sticker of rails on top.
- Starter set
- Deluxe set with branchline, water tower, crane and turntable
- Water tower
- Station house
- Real sounds
- 2x Straight Track
- 2x Points Track
- Thomas Playset, including Thomas, Percy, and two Express coaches; released 2001.
- Skarloey with two points
- Duncan with two points
- Diesel with four points
- Oliver with four curves
- Stepney with four curves
- Rheneas with four curves
- Toby with four curves
- Percy with four straights
- Sir Handel with four straights
- Viaduct Bridge Playset
- A small portion of packs containing multiple different trains, vehicles, and *stock were released, mostly commonly for Shining Time Station.
- Gift Set - containing Thomas, Diesel, Scruffey and a truck (released 2002)
- Gift Set - containing Thomas, Troublesome Trucks and a Fire Engine
- Gift Set - containing Thomas, Lady, Sir Topham Hatt, Bertie, express coaches, *Annie, and Clarabel
- Two pack of Percy and S. C. Ruffey
- Three pack of Bertie, James, and Henry
- Three pack of Thomas, Annie and Clarabel
- Three pack of Thomas, James and Henry
- Five pack of Thomas, Bluebell, Annie, Clarabel and Godred
- Five pack of Percy, Toby, Peter Sam, tar wagon, and milk wagon
- Six pack of Thomas, Toby, Bertie, Terence, Rheneas, and Duncan
- Six pack of Thomas, Toby, Bertie, Percy, Terence, and Harold
- Five Piece Value Pack, including Thomas, Terence, Old Slow Coach, Derek, and a *carry case.
- Ten Piece Value Pack, including Thomas, Gordon, Percy, Bulstrode, Bulgy, Rheneas, *Trevor, milk tanker, and tar tanker, and the breakdown crane
- There have been a few special edition toys.
- Metallic Engines set – Metallic Thomas, James and Henry
- Metallic Engines set - Metallic Thomas, Percy, Rheneas and Duncan (released 1998)
- Thomas with Mr. Conductor to celebrate the release of "Thomas and the Magic *Railroad"
- Melody and Motion Thomas with a wind-up Fat Controller
- Thomas and the Chirstmas Tree Gift Set - Thomas with Christmas hat and scarf, *flatbed with Christmas tree and the Fat Controller dressed as Santa
- Christmas Thomas and grey or red "Toybox" Scruffey
Around 1991, ERTL started to produce several miniatures of Thomas and his friends. These versions had sticker faces and were packaged with random parts of a railway. Once all were collected, the parts formed a playset.
In later years most of the models were adapted into keyrings.
- Thomas with station
- Edward with water tower
- James with signalbox
- Percy with sheds
- Toby with signals and sidings
- Duck with watermill
- Bill with part of a viaduct
- Ben with viaduct
- Diesel with tunnel
- Bertie with level crossing
- Trevor with windmill
- Harold with airport
- There were also two playsets:
- Four-corner set with Thomas, Annie and Clarabel
- Six-corner set with Thomas, Trevor and the Troublesome trucks
- Multipacks released for Shining Time Station include:
- Thomas, Annie, and Clarabel
- Thomas, James, and trucks
- Edward, Bertie, and Trevor
- Edward, James, and Percy
- Other multipacks were:
- Diesel, Harold, and Toby
ERTL also made another short-lived line in the 90's called the "Gold Rail" Series. The models had magnetic couplings and tracks. The models in this range were a bit smaller than an HO scale train, and were extremely similar to the Bandai Tecs range made in Japan. The back of the model's boxes featured the same illustration as those on the Shining Time collectors cards of the normal range
- Clarabel (released 1993)
- Truck 1
- Truck 2
Playsets were also made:
- Ffarquhar (released 1993)
- Lower Suddery
- Tidmouth Sheds
- The Docks
Other ERTL merchandise
By 1985, 1/32 scale models of Thomas and Percy were released with motors.
n 1988, a remote control Thomas was released.
Pull Back and Go!
Thomas, Percy, Toby, and, Bertie models with wind up motors were released for Shining Time Station, that could be operated by dragging the model backwards along the floor so their wheels could "wind up" and letting go to "unwind".
large wind up Fat Controller with large feet was released. It was commonly released with Shining Time individually, and also came with the Melody and Motion Thomas.
Under the Shining Time range Just Toys released bendable characters, under the slogan: 'Bendable, Poseable, Collectible' Mr. Conductor Schemer Stacy Didi Music Band, as a five piece gift set
There was also an ERTL Collectibles series in 2001, which featured a 1/64 scale Ford, which appears to be the Fat Controller's car.
A battery powered Percy was released some time around 1993 in a set with two troublesome trucks.
- ERTL used to sell an eight pack of collector's card.
- In the normal series, misprints exist such as the name "George" appearing on the card of Lorry 2, "Splatter" appearing on the Magic Railroad card of Thomas, Duck put in Diesel's packaging, and Donald in package with Douglas' Nameplates on the sides and still maintaining his Number 9.
- The Christmas Thomas and grey or red "Toybox" Scruffey were packaged under "Chad Valley" instead of ERTL.
- Catherine has no buffers, but on the packaging she does.
- Percy's ERTL model was used as a toy in one scene of the episode Flour Power.
- The spiteful brakevan is just called "brakevan".
- Bluebell and Flying Scotsman's models are just modified versions of the ERTL Thomas and Gordon models. Bluebell's prototype model was accurate and even included a driver in the cab window.
- Bertram's name is misspelled as "Bertrum".
- The ERTL Lady prototype was originally to be a modified ERTL Rheneas, but it was decided to use her actual shape.
- Before he was cut from Thomas and the Magic Railroad, P. T. Boomer was set to be released as an ERTL model, under the name "Pete Boom".
- Derek's model has a BR logo with the words "Thomas Tank" written instead of "British Railways".
- Some Henry models have red siderods.
- Diesel 10 is incorrectly depicted as a 1Co-Co1.
- Smudger's model has his nameplate incorrectly placed on the sides of his coal bunkers.
- BoCo's bufferbeam is black instead of red.