Thomas & Friends: Mystery Shorts
Hot on the heels of HIT Mattel’s reimagining of the iconic Thomas & Friends franchise, Kong Studio had the opportunity to create fully animated Thomas: All Engines Go! episodes.
Kong Studio has a long history of making online content for the world-famous talking train series. Previously, Kong produced numerous Thomas & Friends Around the World spin-off episodes in motion comic form. The studio went on to deliver a series of Thomas Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies in the style of pop-up books. And it could even be said Kong Studio were founded off the back of an online series for Thomas and Friends’ crossover with DC comics.
In late 2022, Kong finally had the opportunity to flesh out the classic personalities with full-character animation. Something we had been hungry to do for years!
Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go is co-produced by Mattel Television and Nelvana, a world-leading producer, distributor, and licensor of children’s animated and live-action content. All Engines Go is a kinetic 2D animated reimagining of Rev. W Awdry’s classic characters. It’s zany and characterful, and was right up Kong’s Street!
The online Mystery Short episodes, commissioned by regular collaborator and animation guru Ian McCue, were the catalyst for Kong to make their long-mooted transition to a ToonBoom animation pipeline. Something that opens exciting possibilities for the studio’s future in series production.
The first episode received over 1.6 million views in under three months, and counting. All three episodes can be found on Youtube.
Kong Co-founder Bill Elliott said of the nursery rhymes series;
“Kong Studio have a history with Thomas & Friends. We’ve been asked to re-invent and interpret the iconic trains in new and interesting ways on numerous occasions. However, this is the first time we’ve been commissioned to create full-blown animation with this property. The recent Thomas re-brand by Mattel has created a dynamic well-designed look with top quality animation. This left us chomping on the bit to add our contribution. The new T.V series is quality animation through and through, and I feel that team Kong addition to these online episodes more than did this justice. ”
Ian McCue, Content Consultant for Mattel’s Pre-school Franchise team, said;
“I am so proud of the work Kong and I did on the Sodor Mystery Shorts, and the viewing figures on YouTube confirm they are being well received and enjoyed by the target audience. The new look of Thomas & Friends takes us back in time to classic 2d animation in its design and movement. It’s a quality show, and I had no hesitation In Kong being able to deliver content that seamlessly matched the look and feel. Kong did an Abso-toot-ly fantastic job, and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to work with them again soon.”
Creative Producer: Ian McCue
Co-Produced with Scruffy Dog Media
Direction: Elliott Baker
Production Manager: Cathryn Gamble
Story Artist: Dominika Brodowska
Art Director: Wiktoria Lewandowska
Animation Supervisor: Rebecca Balint
Technical Director: Jodie Haslam
Character Animators: Elliot Crutchley / Chloe Peters / Leah Panigada – Carey
Studio Manager: Amy Wilkinson
Executive Producer: Emma Burch
Audio Post Production: Fonic