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"Listen, Dukie. Who worries about a few spills?"
— Smudger, Granpuff, fourth season

Smudger was a narrow gauge tank engine who worked on the Mid Sodor Railway. He was later turned into a generator.

Biography

Thomas & Friends

According to Duke, Smudger was a show-off who rode roughly and often came off the rails. Duke tried to warn him to be careful, but Smudger refused to listen to his advice. He was finally punished by being turned into a generator and being put behind the engine shed.

Granpuff47

Smudger as a generator.

No information was given about his fate once the Mid Sodor Railway closed, so it must be assumed that he has either remained there, was moved to a different location, was restored back to working order, or was scrapped.

Smudger's downfall was used for Duke to lecture Stuart and Falcon. The two engines became "unusually good for several days".

In a magazine story, when Duncan was being careless, Sir Handel and Peter Sam tried telling him the story of Smudger.

Personality

Smudger was a complete show-off and often derailed, but refused to listen to advice. Duke warned him to be careful, but he took no notice until he was put in his place by being turned into a generator.

Technical Details

Basis

Smudger is based off of the Talyllyn Railway's Dolgoch, a Fletcher Jennings Class Bb 0-4-0WT. Rheneas, Jennings and Rusty's Ghost Engine (firefly formation) share the same basis.

Livery

Smudger was painted dark green with black lining. He had black and brass name and number plates on the sides of his boiler and coal bunkers respectively. Promotional artwork and merchandise ranges have depicted Smudger with either a black or brass dome. Despite being numbered on television, no toy or artwork has shown him with his number.

As he shared the same model as Rheneas, the inside of his cab and the front of his cylinders is red. In a promotional image of Smudger as a generator, the red from Rheneas' coal bunker and wheel arches can be seen.

Background Information

The Railway Series

Smudger is the first character in the television series to not originally come from the Railway Series. However, his role replaces that of Stanley (No. 2), a red American 4-6-0 narrow gauge pannier tank engine from Duke the Lost Engine. Unlike Smudger, Stanley was converted into a pumping engine.

In the illustration of Stanley as a pumping engine, he is incorrectly portrayed as saddle tank engine. The same error was made in the magazine story, Duncan Has a Spill.

Behind the Scenes

O gauge model

Smudger was repainted and recycled from Rheneas' model, which was custom built to run on O gauge track. Four different facial expressions worn by Smudger on screen. The faces were first sculpted in clay, and from that resin casts were made of a silicone mold. The model had a motor to power it mounted inside the chassis as well as an eye mechanism. The eye mechanism used servos which were mounted in the cab, the servos were hidden by blacking out the cabs and windows. Metal rods went all the way from the servos in the cab to a bracket in the smoke box behind the faceplate, one for up and down movement and one for left and right movement. This limited the range of movement of the eyes as well as being cumbersome and jamming often.[1]

After the events of Granpuff, Smudger's model was later reverted back to Rheneas. In the fourth season episode, Gallant Old Engine, Rheneas is seen wearing Smudger's upset face-mask. In the fifth season episode, Toby's Discovery, one of his faces was reused for Bertram.[2]

Appearances

Voice Actors

  • Nobuhiko Kazama (Japan)

Trivia

  • Several of Smudger's features would later be reused for other characters, such as:
    • Due to financial difficulties, his face was reused for Bertram.
    • His whistle sound was mistakenly used for James in the fourth season episode, Bowled Out.
  • Smudger is the only engine or road vehicle introduced between Seasons 1 and 4 to not get a nameboard during the intermissions. Every other character introduced between these times without nameboards were rolling stock.
  • Smudger's Ertl prototype, and a promotional artwork image have Rheneas's face.

Quotes

"Smudger," said Duke, "was a show-off. He rode roughly and often came off the rails. I warned him to be careful, but he took no notice. 'Listen, Dukie!", he snarled. "Who worries about a few spills!?' 'We do here!' I said, but Smudger just laughed. "Hahahaha!"
Until one day, Manager said he was going to make him useful at last. Smudger stopped laughing then!"
"Why? W-w-what did he do?"
"He turned him into a generator. He's still there behind our shed. He'll never move again."

- Duke lecturing Stuart and Falcon about Smudger in Thomas' story, Granpuff, fourth season

Merchandise

  • ERTL (discontinued)
  • Wooden Railway (discontinued)
  • Trading Cards (discontinued)

References

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