The Take-n-Play range has gone through two major changes. The first change occurred in 2013, when numerous models were re-designed with noticeable upgrades and/or alterations to their faces, wheels and overall detailing. New introductions to the range all acquired this change in their initial release. The change also coincided with the moving of production from China to Thailand. A brand new box-like packaging was also incorporated to house the models replacing the previous, back-to-back vision packaging style. Promotional images were also accompanying the traditional names on the boxes.
The second change occurred from late 2014, when numerous models were again re-designed with complete re-works to their overall appearance including: their wheel configuration, height, length and overall detailing. The second re-design was the biggest change in Take-n-Play's history. All new introductions to the range acquire the changes in their initial release. Most re-designed engines now use a standard four/six-wheel chassis and engines who have more than six wheels having their additional wheels moulded onto the sides of their undercarriage. Furthermore, all tender engines now receive a four wheeled tender while models with once moving bogies, all gained static structures. The smaller two-way magnets were also replaced with a new one-way system, identical to that used on the Wooden Railway range of toys. The cabs, domes, whistles and any other detailing on the top of the engines also shrunk in size. This re-design is the current design for the Take-n-Play range to date.
2015 saw another packaging re-design to house the models in a more compact space, shrinking the promotional image and name tag on the boxes in the process. Although many models took a drastic re-design, models such as Bertie, Harold, Butch and Captain did not receive a re-work, as it was not necessary to re-construct their models. Instead they were re-produced in the year sporting their 2013 designs but were re-released in this new form of packaging.
An overall third packaging re-design took place in 2016. From this year onwards, many models were again re-released with this brand new package and all new releases also acquired this new display box. 2016 will be the final year for the Take-n-Play range, as it was replaced by the Adventures toy range.
Gordon, Emily, Murdoch, Spencer, Hank, Hiro, (both normal and patchwork versions), Freddie, Connor, Caitlin, Gator, D199 and Class 40 have a reduced number of wheels due to sizing constraints.
Belle's initial and 2013 models have the most wheels of any engine (not counting tender wheels).
Kelly's prototype was a re-painted Take Along Monty with the breakdown train's crane part added on.
The Storybook Car's prototype had gold magnets.
Captain's models do not have masts.
The Knapford Station set has shed doors.
Whiff's original model had an incorrect 0-4-4 wheel arrangement. The 2013 re-designed model gained the correct 2-2-4 wheel arrangement.
Salty's bufferbeam was red instead of yellow on his original model. This was corrected on the re-designed models in 2013.
Annie and Clarabel's wheels were white instead of black. This was corrected on their re-designed 2013 models.
Sidney's models are missing the hazard stripes underneath his face.
The prototypes of Emily, Molly and the Big City Engine had six wheels on their tenders, while their final models have four.
Some engines do not have a hollow area for their cab; this is the case with all post-second re-design engines with the exception of 'Arry, Bert and Hiro.
On the 2013 models of James and Edward, their handrails extend onto their smokeboxes, though this portion is unpainted.
Charlie's prototype had a black dome.
The Slate Loading Station is a re-coloured Load-n-Go set.
The front end of Victor's saddle tank above his smoke box in his flashback, sea-soaked and partially-repainted models is black instead of yellow.
Luke, Norman and Class 40 have black buffers instead of silver ones.
D199's side detail is reversed compared to his other merchandise models.
Class 40's bogies do not rotate.
A prototype drawing shows that Sir Handel was going to be included in the Tidmouth Tunnel Starter Set.
The tank engines (re-releases or new releases from late-2014 onwards with circular magnets) have squatter cabs and domes, the former with the windows blacked out.
All tender engines except Hiro (re-released or new released from late-2014 onwards with circular magnets) do not have inner-cab detailing and their cab windows are blacked out. They all have four-wheeled tenders and have their leading and trailing wheels moulded to the sides of their undercarriage.
The bogie engines or rolling stock (re-releases or new releases from late-2014 onwards with circular magnets) do not have rotating bogies, instead they are static moulds to their undercarriage.
The 2014 re-release of Kevin has rail wheels and magnets on both front and rear, incorrectly depicting him similar to a railway runner.
The prototype for Stephen the Original Steamie had Dash's cab and bunker, a tall funnel and a silver driving wheel.
Stephen the Original Steamie, depicts Stephen with a tender, despite him not having one prior to his restoration.
So far, three characters exclusive to the Railway Series have been produced: D199, Culdee and Big City Engine.
Timothy, 'Arry, Bert and the post-2013 re-designed models of Diesel, Paxton and Sidney all have side rods moulded onto their sides.
Duncan's prototype, like his Take Along model, has white wheels. His final model gained the correct black wheels.
Toby's 2015 re-designed model's windows are on the sides of his face, rather than above it.
Hank's models do not have front couplers despite that his television series model does. Interestingly, Connor and Caitlin's models have front couplers, while their front couplers are concealed in the television series. This is also the case with their Wooden Railway models.
Stafford's prototype had no number or nameplate.
Culdee's model has buffers, despite the fact that his Railway Series illustrations and depiction does not.
Harvey's original model had a metal hook, while his 2015 model has a plastic hook that is moulded onto his crane arm. His crane arm is static to one position and cannot move up or down, it only has motion to move 360 degrees.
From 2013, many of the newer models have buffer prints that go beyond the raised area.
From their 2013 re-design, Edward, Henry and James gained lamp irons; however they are not painted.
As of mid-2014, many of the models do not have painted details on the areas around their running-board such as their buffers, cylinders or step-ladders.
From 2013 onwards, most of the packages feature a picture of the engine in CGI. Engines who have not yet appeared or are unlikely to appear in the CGI series are given a pseudo-CGI look on the packaging (although Ryan, Skiff, Mike and Rex have the same pseudo CGI illustrations despite being in the television series). The exceptions are Harvey, Molly, Donald, Douglas and Hector, whose packaging features their television series models. Harvey was later given a CGI promo with his 2015 model.
Whiff's Banana Blooper, Stanley's Construction Clash and Bash's Tree Tumble are all promoted as part of the Spills and Thrills DVD. However, none of those engines nor their situations appear in any of the episodes on that DVD.
Belle is given a 2-6-2 wheel arrangement and Henry and Edward are given 2-6-0 wheel arrangements in their 2015 re-releases.
Flora's prototype model has a yellow roof instead of a black one.
Diesel 10's 2015 re-designed model's claw arm, unlike his previous models, cannot move up and down.
The prototype for the Thomas and the Slithery Snakes' model featured the 2013 model (note the old magnets). The new magnets were used on the released model. The official model also had smaller logs as a snap-on piece with 3 green snakes on it.
Merrick was to be included in graphic form in Spiral Tower Tracks with Diesel but was removed for unknown reasons.
Stephen's tender is moulded into his main body.
Mike's and Rex's prototypes had silver smoke boxes and chassis, their tenders were connected by two plastic ring couplers and their nameplates were larger, making the lining inaccurate. The final models have the correct black colour for the smoke box and chassis, magnets are used to connect the tenders to the engine and their nameplates were shrunk, making the lining more accurate. Their tender wheels also changed from red or green (respectively), to their correct black wheels.
Some models that were released with the new magnet system have fully painted buffers on their fronts but unpainted buffers on their rear or tender.
The Millie's Dusty Discovery prototype was a version of the original 2013 model (notice the old magnets) and small spots of dust all over her. The final model uses the newer model of her with the newer magnets and the dusty effect is achieved with a light-blue undercarriage and much fewer specks of dirt.
Neville is the only tender engine to have buffers in between his cab and tender.
Originally 'Percy's Fossil Dig' was named 'Percy and the Break-Open Boulder' and 'Ben's Cement Mix-Up' was named 'Ben and the Cement Cannon'.
The set 'Skarloey at the Wharf' is a re-coloured version of 'The Sodor Dieselworks' playset, with Skarloey.
There are two versions of the 2013 release of Henry, one with a more classic, model face while the other one has his CGI face. It is unknown why there are two variants of his model.
The 2014 prototypes of Bill and Ben depict them both with having black wheels, as they did in the model series. Their final releases gained their red wheels, as seen on their CGI models.
Ryan, Skiff, Mike and Rex's promo pictures feature a pseudo-CGI image instead of their proper CGI models. Ryan, Mike and Rex's faces look identical to James'.
As of mid-2015, the Thomas' Favourite Friends multi-pack includes Duncan instead of Bertie.
In 2013, the Sodor Paint Shop Set was re-issued, replacing Paint-Splattered Bill with Stanley.
From Bertie's 2013 re-design, he has a silver wheel arch and a silver door border instead of black ones.
King of the Railway was the last film to have individual characters (that were officially introduced in the film) packaged in promotional boxes. Promotional boxes are instead now only used for some multi-packs and play-sets, that are inspired by the annual film release.
The packaging for Ben's Cement Mix-Up says "As Seen on DVD" with Tale of the Brave shown, however that situation does not happen at all in that special.
Gator's, Ryan's and Porter's 2015 models have black bufferbeams/footplates instead of red ones.
The 2015 version of Hiro, 'Arry and Bert are the only re-designed characters not to have a blacked-out cab, despite all other re-designed engines acquiring the change.
Although being released in the 2015 packaging, Bertie, Harold, Butch and Captain have not been re-designed a second time. They still retain their 2013 models.
The prototype of Pirate Salty showed him having 6 black driving wheels (possibly the classic Salty). His final model has 2 rusted, middle driving wheels, with the other 4 wheels being in his ordinary black colour.
The 2015 Talking James incorrectly has buffers on both sides of his running-board.
The promo image of the 2015 Douglas displays his tender in the packaging backwards.
Gordon's 2015 re-designed tender has circular buffers instead of having his usual oval ones.
Edward's 2015 re-design depicts him as a 2-6-0 instead of a 4-4-0.
Shooting Star Gordon has black wheels rather than his classic blue wheels that he is supposed to have.
The prototype of Axel showed him having Vinnie's tender repainted. His final model has his correct tender.
Axel's final model has a few errors.
His tender is backwards.
He has buffers at the back of his cab above the magnet.