Update: Sir Handel (#3) - named after Skarloey Railway's first owner - is one of the 10 Skarloey Railway Narrow Gauge Engines available in the Take-n-Play line as of summer 2013, along with Victor (the only Narrow Gauge Engine on Sir Topham Hatt's Railway), Skarloey (#1), Rheneas (#2), Peter Sam (#4), Rusty (#5), Fearless Freddie (#7), Luke (#22), Duke (aka "Granpuff"), and Mighty Mac (a double ended Fairlie engine who is 2 characters - Mighty and Mac - in one engine!) A little pompous and arrogant, Sir Handel first appeared in TV Season 4 (1994-95) and on the original (Spring 2010) TnP Collector Checklist. He'll do just about anything to get out of doing any job he doesn't want to do! Sir Handel is blue with red lining and a black cab roof, with his name and a tiny number "3" printed in gold against red on both sides, and has 6 black wheels. We paid $5.97 for our grandson's, and Fisher-Price's summer 2013 MSRP is $6. Sir Handel is also included in the Sir Handel at Great Waterton playset (which was our very first "Thomas" purchase!), and the Sir Handel's Day at the Quarry themed 3 pack.
A little of our own "Thomas" history... As first time grandparents, my husband and I wanted to start some type of collection for our grandson that he could possibly pass along to his own kids one day. Our grandson was 2 1/2 at the time, and had been talking a lot about a certain train named Thomas (a little fella whom - now seems hard to believe! - we'd never heard of.) After doing some research, it seemed the Take-n-Play line might be the perfect investment to engage and encourage his active imagination, as well as provide a fun way for us to interact with him. What a rewarding decision... we've had SO much fun together with this quality line of trains, vehicles and playsets! As he approaches 4, a large portion of our basement has become a wonderful Sodor land of make believe that we all enjoy visiting - and continues to hold his interest, which is quite a feat given the tendency at that age to move in and out of toy phases so quickly!