Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends ERTL Models

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere

The Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends ERTL models are a set of die-cast models of the characters from the Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends TV series and The Railway Series books, by ERTL. The range originally consisted of only the main characters, but it eventually extended to include almost all the characters.


Ertl created their first Thomas model in 1984. It came with a sticker sheet so you could alter Thomas' face to make him have a different facial expression. This year they also released a larger, motorised version of Thomas.

Later during the year, James and Henry were released. They featured only their 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, they made miniature models of each engine, as well as Gold rail models. Some were only released in America, such as Thomas with Annie and Clarabel, Percy and the Foolish Freight cars, as well as Toby, Henrietta and a truck. These were quite big, and lacked in detail, but they were still fun to play with.

Ertl ceased production for the US market in 2001, and for the UK market in 2004. The model range has now been discontinued. Also all packaging from 1989-1999 featured a detailed illustration of the character and with a wonderful background with it which were drawn by the talented Owain Bell.

The Range


  • Thomas
  • Edward
  • Henry
  • Gordon
  • James
  • Percy
  • Toby
  • Bertie
  • Terence
  • Annie and Clarabel (could only be released in a 3-pack with Thomas or Percy until 1993)
  • The Old Coaches


  • Duck
  • Diesel
  • Troublesome Trucks
  • Trevor
  • Sir Topham Hatt
  • Very Very rare brown troublesome trucks


  • Bill
  • Ben
  • Harold


  • Donald
  • Douglas
  • Henrietta


The ertl brand was now given a re-vamp. The packaging changed. A few models were introduced:

  • Mavis
  • Oliver
  • Daisy
  • Boco
  • City of Truro
  • Milk and Tar Wagons
  • Sodor Fuel Tankers


  • Breakdown Train


This was the first use of a non-TV series character. These were the models:

  • D199
  • Express Coaches
  • Toad


Series 4 had now fully aired. The narrow gauge engines were introduced.

  • Skarloey
  • Rheneas
  • Sir handel
  • Peter Sam
  • Rusty
  • Duncan
  • Godred
  • Culdee
  • Lord Harry
  • George


A small handful of models were introduced:

  • Duke
  • Stepney
  • The Diesel D261
  • Caroline


This was the year that the metallic engines came out.

  • Wilbert
  • Sixteen
  • Bluebell
  • Chinese Dragon
  • S.C.Ruffy with a Truck (until 1999)
  • Bulstrode


Season 5 had now fully aired. the packaging changed AGAIN. This one is rather bland. Just blue with the character's name in yellow.

  • Iron 'Arry
  • Iron Bert
  • Defusit Gunpowder Wagons
  • Sodor canal boat
  • Sodor soft-side truck
  • Lorry 2
  • Lorry 1 on Flatbed


  • Silver Millenium Thomas
  • Lady
  • Diesel 10
  • Splatter
  • Dodge
  • Bertram
  • Derek
  • Old Slow Coach


New models were released. these ones are indeed bright and cheerful, but quite detailed as well

  • Cranky
  • Gordon's Special Coach
  • Scrap Trevor on a flatbed - (Trevor, smothered in 'rust' paint, on a well wagon labelled "Saved from Scrap")
  • Sodor Flat truck
  • Sodor crane
  • Pump Truck
  • Narrow Gauge slate trucks
  • Flying Scotsman
  • Smudger


America had now stopped making models, and Australia are having difficulty getting any new models, but the UK are still making them this year. The packaging changed again. The packaging is now the engine's name in red, with a little cartoon of the character in the top right-hand corner. The coupling style now changed from the basic "Hook and eye" style to a U-hook. it is believed to be sturdier, and lasts longer.

  • Harvey
  • Frank
  • Salty
  • Elizabeth
  • Neil
  • The Silly Trucks
  • Spiteful Brakevan


The TV series was now on its 7th season, and the models were still being shrunk to TT scale in the UK!

  • D7101 "Bear"
  • Isabel
  • Catherine the mountain coach
  • Emily
  • Spencer


  • Arthur
  • Jock
  • Jack
  • Alfie
  • Murdoch
  • Fergus

Special Editions

There have been a few special edition Ertl toys, which are even rarer:

  • Metallic Thomas
  • Metallic Percy
  • Metallic Rheneas
  • Metallic Duncan
  • Metallic Duke
  • Metallic Sir Handel
  • Metallic Rusty
  • Metallic Lord Harry
  • Metallic Engines set – (includes Metallic Thomas, Metallic James, & Metallic Henry)
  • Golden 50 year Thomas (1995)
  • Silver Millenium Thomas
  • Thomas with Mr Conductor
  • Musical Thomas
  • Thomas Christmas Train (Thomas with Christmas Hat, Flatbed with Tree and The Fat Controller as Santa)
  • Thomas Toy Special Train


Around 1991, Ertl started to produce several miniature models of Thomas and his friends. These versions had sticker faces that were previously used in the regular models. They were packaged with random parts of a railway, and, once all were collected, formed a playset. In later years the models were adapted into keyrings. The models that existed were as follows:

  • Thomas
  • Edward
  • James
  • Percy
  • Toby
  • Duck
  • Bertie
  • Trevor
  • Harold
  • Bill
  • Ben
  • Diesel
  • Troublesome Trucks
  • Annie
  • Clarabel

A re-release of the range included Henry and Mavis. An advertisement for the sets featured Troublesome Trucks with tan (china clay) instead of black (coal) tops.

The playsets included:

  • Windmill
  • Airport
  • Sheds
  • Station & Siding
  • Level Crossing
  • Yard
  • Loop track

Ramp pieces were also included and later on viaduct connector pieces were included.

Gold Rail series

ERTL also made another short-lived line in the 90's called the Gold Rail Series. The models had magnetic couplings, and had no tracks. The models in this range were a bit smaller than an HO scale train, and were extremely similar to the Bandai range made in Japan. Rather surprisingly, the range included Bill and Ben but omitted Henry. Models:

  • Thomas
  • Edward
  • Gordon
  • James
  • Percy
  • Toby
  • Bill
  • Ben
  • Annie
  • Clarabel
  • Troublesome Truck 1
  • Troublesome Truck 2

Playsets were also made.

  • Ffarquhar Station
  • Lower Suddery Station
  • Engine Sheds
  • Docks

See also

External links

The world of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends
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Book series: The Railway Series
TV Series: Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends
Series particulars
List of Railway Series Books
TV Series Seasons:

Movie and spin-off releases: Thomas and the Magic RailroadCalling All EnginesOn Site with ThomasThe Great DiscoveryHero of the RailsMisty Island RescueDay of the DieselsBlue Mountain MysteryKing of the Railway

ThomasEdwardHenryGordonJamesPercyTobyDuckDonald and DouglasEmily
The Fat ControllerBertieTerenceTrevorHarold

The Railway Series: Major CharactersMinor CharactersUnfeatured Characters
TV Series: Major characters Narrow gauge enginesRolling StockNon-rail vehiclesPeople & animals
Movies: Movie-only characters

Island of Sodor
Railways: North WesternSkarloeyArlesdaleCuldee FellMid SodorSodor & Mainland"Other"

Other locations - The Railway SeriesTV Series

Significant people and organisations
Rev. W.V. Awdry (series creator)Christopher Awdry
The Britt Allcroft CompanyGullane EntertainmentHIT Entertainment
Other relevant pages
Thomas and Friends Portal
The Railway Stories (audiobooks)Thomas and Friends video releasesShining Time Station
Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends merchandise
TUGS (redirects to TUGS at Ship Spotting World)
Thomas & Friends fan fiction

Fan Fiction Character Glossary

Fan Fiction Series

Last of the Railroads • The Sodor Engines • Thomas and Friends: The New Life • Thomas and his chums • Thomas the Trackmaster Adventures • Thomas the Wooden Engine

Human Series

Garcia And Friends • Human Thomas and Friends

Merchandise Ideas

Wooden Railway • Trackmaster • Railway Series Books • Thomas Story Time • DVDs • DVD Gift Sets • CDs • Video Games • Take-n-Play • Voice Cast • Episodes • Bachmann • Hornby • Movies/Specials


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