I believe I have made my position on Thomas the Tank engine quite clear: he, and all of his related indentured rail-servants on the Island of Sodor, are creepy as hell, and the ashen-grey sliced-off cherub faces they have slapped onto their boilers represent the laziest and most unpleasant form of vehicular anthropomorphisation. Send all the angry emails you want. It won’t change the truth, and neither will this bizarrely jacked-up Hot Wheels take on Thomas.
Yes, it’s Thomas’ 75th anniversary of low-key creeping out kids, so to celebrate, Hot Wheels released this version of Thomas:
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit I’ve bought my kid plenty of both Thomas toys and Hot Wheels in his young life, and I’ve even bought other toys from this line of Hot Wheels-ized trains, and they’re genuinely pretty fun.
I’m pro-Hot Wheels, don’t get me wrong; but seeing Thomas hot-rodded like this, with all those chromed, exposed steam pipes and valve chests and the rakish, overdone bodywork and the protective cowl over that incongruously, creepily beatific face just makes it all seem, somehow, off.
Also, are these multiple turbochargers?
Could you, somehow, turbocharge a steam engine? I guess you could increase the PSI of the steam being injected into the cylinder, so, maybe? Oh, you can have compound engines, where the exhaust gases pass through turbines to perform other functions, so, ok, I guess that could work.
You know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of this:
Remember when action figures started getting crazy jacked and muscular, even when the original source human of that figure was not remotely like that? It felt weird and forced, and, especially when it happened to cultural staples like Luke Skywalker up there, made us take a moment to re-evaluate just what, as a society, we were trying to prove with this shit.
It was weird then with a human (Tattoieenian?) and it’s just as weird now, with an anthropomorphic train.
Take a moment, Hot Wheels and whoever owns the Thomas brand, and maybe think about what you’re doing here. Look within. Have a walk. We’ll get past this.