13 episodes of Tugs were made in total although looking at the models and from word of mouth it seems that pre production
had begun on a second series although budget constraints and politics meant that was never to be. Through the Star Tugs Company,
Tugs of Bigg City Preservation Group and the continuation of Thomas & Friends, Tugs does have a future but what that
future holds only time will tell.
The Tugs have mentioned in Model Boats on three occasion to date with Special Features in the July 1990 and the August
|Events, Page 7
|Featuring an interview with Robert D. Cardona, Producer of Tugs.
Tugs Models in Thomas & Friends
Before Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends was transformed
into the modern CGI series that we have today it used many of the models from the Tugs TV series as background props. The
photos [that will be shown shortly] below show a selection of those models in their respective roles within the series.
Most notably Big Mickey played a few roles as did the Fultan Ferry and many other models with little modification. One of
the ocean liner models provided a regular backdrop for the series although it was repainted on many occasions and given new
liveries depending on the nature of the filming. One Tugs character though, OJ was given a new livery and refitted to become
Some of these models have made the transition from the "Live Action Animation" format of the series to the more modern
GGI version. Here is a sample of some of the characters and models that have been reincarnated for the latest generation of
Thomas the Tank Engine fans.
The sale of the Tugs Models
Since filming of the series came to an end many of the models
were sold to different individuals. The spare Seaplane model came to be under the ownership of Bigg City Port, whereas some
of the faces were sold to other individuals. I was told that this plane like Sally originally had eyes and a mouth but they
were taken off when production came to a close, one day I may get round to making it look more like Sally Seaplane, however
I don't want to ruin what is a nice model as it is and with its registration number I'd rather keep the name of Phoenix that
I have given it as a nickname for now.
The Tugs Models
A group of fans who are members of the Sodor Island Forum got together
in 2013 to buy 18 of the character models from the television series in order to preserve the models with a view to putting
them on display. With some help from other fans through a crowd funding program they have achieved their goal with
mixed results and now have a small exhibition open on selected days and have merchandise on sale featuring characters from
the original television series. This organisation originally called the Star Tugs Trust now operates under the title, The
Star Tugs Company Limited.
As part of the Tugs Appeal we would like to know where the models are
that aren't in possession of the Star Tugs Companyor the Tugs of Bigg City Preservation Group,
for more details of TBPG please go to the Tugs Appeal page. We are on the lookout for anything from buildings to character
models and faces.
The production crew moved on to other work after Tugs here are some of the Television series that they have worked on.
The official Thomas the Tank Engine Website
Theodore Too- The official website of the real Theodore Tugboat, (The Series was Directed by Robert D. Cardona)