6th June 1989
Munitions is the eleventh episode of TUGS in the UK/Australia and the fifth episode in Japan.
The towing of Naval munitions vessels is a very important job indeed. One such vessel in particular, a tramper named Kraka-Toa, is being towed by Hercules. All is going well until Bluenose, the officious naval tug, comes along. Uppity Bluenose says that Hercules may not continue on until he has made an inspection. Hercules steams off, finished with the run, ignoring him.
Hercules speaks to O.J., complaining about Bluenose. O.J. tells him he has been having the same problem, over some buoys. He tells him how munitions and fuel are being loaded aboard the same ship, which is very dangerous. Hercules goes to have a rest at the coal depot. Bluenose comes by, still being overbearingly bossy, before moving on to bothering the Fire Chief too.
At the Star Pier, Captain Star informs the tugs they will be carrying munitions for the Navy; the Z-Stacks having the explosives. Warrior is given garbage detail, Top Hat is to transport car floats, Ten Cents is sent to Lucky's Yard to pick up oil to take to the Naval yard and Sunshine is to pick up Mighty Mo to take home. Captain Star thanks Big Mac for winning the steel contract, and tells him to collect the last girder barge.
The Z-Stacks, meanwhile, are picking up the explosives, which are to be delivered to the Naval tramper, Kraka-Toa.
Ten Cents, now with the oil barge, is ordered about by Bluenose, who tells him to move out of the way. Bluenose purposely scrapes the barge, which makes Ten Cents very cross indeed.
Night falls. Big Mickey the crane is transferring the munitions to Kraka-Toa. Bluenose arrives and starts his riot. He says the barge which is being unloaded should be moved, which would be a very wrong thing to do. Bluenose listens to no-one, and ends up bumping the barge hard, disturbing the munitions, resulting in a fire starting. The tugs present make sure to stay out of the way, but Bluenose can’t because his engine has failed from shock. Ten Cents bravely tows him out of the danger zone. The fire continues, explosions going off all the while. Big Mickey is caused to collapse by the blasts. Then Kraka-Toa catches fire.
Further away, Top Hat is towing Frank and Eddie, the rail floats. They see the lights in the sky. Eddie thinks there is “a dockside celebration”. Top Hat says, “If there was a party, I would have been invited.” Suddenly, Sunshine and the Fire Chief rush by, on the way to the fire.
Puffa, the steam powered tank engine, hasn’t noticed the goings-on, and is right in the way. The tugs shout and whistle to warn him, and he makes it out of there just in the nick of time. But, suddenly, the Star line oil barge catches fire and Ten Cents tries to jumps in to move it, but is this too risky a move?
Nearby, Warrior and Lord Stinker, the garbage barge, see the lights in the sky too. Warrior leaves Lord Stinker, and rushes to the scene.
The Fire Chief has now finally arrived, ordering everyone to stay back. O.J. informs how it was Bluenose’s fault. The Fire Chief tells Sunshine to douse the flames with the fire barge. Ten Cents continues with the oil barge, to push it out to sea. Warrior arrives, and is told by the Fire Chief to use his fire hose. Warrior goes to do just that. Sunshine bravely fights the fire, while Warrior is hit square in the face by a bit of debris The Fire Chief insists he move out, but Warrior sticks to his place, saying how he is looking after Puffa, who has been badly stung. The Fire Chief understands. He then tells Zorran to help him with the other fire barge in an attempt to save Kraka-Toa. Zorran can't see the barge doing much good, but he agrees to help the Fire Tug. Out at sea, Ten Cents is still pushing the burning oil barge. Suddenly, he notices it is starting to smoke. Realising it is going to blow up, Ten Cent reverses. There is a large explosion. Sunshine sees it and is worried Ten Cents was in the blast, but he isn't allowed to go and help his friend. The Fire Chief relieves Zorran and then warns everyone that Kraka-Toa is going. She sinks into the water with one last blast out of her smokestack. But thanks to Sunshine and Warrior, the fire did not spread towards the city. Top Hat arrives, rather too late. The Z-Stacks then make fun of him.
The next morning, the tugs think Ten Cents hasn't made it. But before they can salute the brave tug, a familiar toot is heard in the near distance and then appears Ten Cents. He is covered from stack to bumper in soot. He explains how the oil barge exploded, and how he could not make it due to the water in his engine. But thankfully, Grampus rescued him. And with that, Grampus, laughing heartily, tows a disgraced and still stunned Bluenose away. Then Captain Star gives a lesson on the dangers of fire as Grampus hauls Bluenose out to sea.
- Captain Star (Narration role only on TV version)
- Ten Cents
- Big Mac (only appears on the VHS Version)
- Top Hat
- Big Mickey
- Fire Tug
- Frank and Eddie
- Lord Stinker (only appears on the VHS Version)
- Kraka-Toa (does not speak)
- Puffa (does not speak)
- Zug (cameo)
- Zip (cameo)
- Coast Guard (cameo)
- Jack the Grappler (cameo)
- Izzy Gomez (cameo)
- Johnny Cuba (model cameo)
- Mighty Mo (mentioned)
- Captain Zero (mentioned)
- This episode marks the first appearance of Bluenose.
- This episode features the deaths of Kraka-Toa and Big Mickey (although he is said to have survived in the television version, as he had fallen into shallow water).
- The briefing scene is omitted from the TV Version; many other scenes are as well.
- The VHS Version scene of Bluenose waiting to inspect Hercules is different compared to the TV Version.
VHS Version BLUENOSE: You're under navy jurisdiction. Obey orders and wait till I've made my inspection. HERCULES: I am under jurisdiction, Captain Star's. A little weight watcher like you doesn't tell me what to do.
TV Version BLUENOSE: You is under navy orders. Obey orders and wait till I've made my inspection. HERCULES: I am under orders - Captain Star's. So don't you try and tell me what to do, Bluenose, old thing.
- The TV Version has scenes of Bluenose shouting at O.J. and Big Mickey. The scenes are not included in the VHS version.
- The TV Version omits O.J.'s line, "Never fought when I was a young tug."
- Stock footage from Pirate and Jinxed is used.
- The TV Version has Captain Star narrating some extra scenes which are not in the VHS Version.
- In the VHS Version, Sunshine says to Top Hat: "Yeah, follow on, Top Hat! Fire at the old dock!" In the TV Version, the dialogue is changed to: "Yeah, Top Hat! Follow on! Fire at the old dock!"
- In the TV Version, Zorran says: "Eat your hearts out, Star Tugs!" In the VHS version, this is changed to: "Eat your hearts out, Star Stacks!" Also in the TV Version, his line: "Right. Easy does it." is different to the VHS Version.
- In the TV version, when Sunshine and the Fire Tug are going to the explosions, the Fire Tug's dialogue is different to the VHS Version.
- Former Tugs modelmaker Jeremy King was asked by the Sodor Island Forums some details about filming this episode; "Ross King supervising the explosion of lots of was and balsa scenery for about 4 weeks. Fireballs were petrol and rubber dust mixed with black powder. Terry over-cranking the camera as much as he could". When asked if the pyrotechnics were a problem in the studio, he replied "No. We opened the doors to clear the air and kept going!"
- In the VHS Version, Captain Star congratulates Big Mac on winning the steel contract, an event that happens in the previous episode, High Tide. As this episode was released on VHS before the aforementioned episode, the audience wouldn't know about the steel contract.
- In the TV Version, Captain Star (as narrator) mentions that landing in shallow water saved Big Mickey. This is not present in the VHS Version.
- In the Japanese version, the narrator does not speak when Big Mickey falls in the water, meaning he dies like in the VHS Version.
- The US VHS Version had several scenes removed, such as Big Mickey falling into the sea and Ten Cents calling Bluenose a naval twit.
- This is the only episode in the series to make reference to the events of another episode, being High Tide. This occurs when Captain Star thanks Big Mac for winning the steel contract for the Star Fleet and telling Sunshine to collect Mighty Mo from the canal as the bridge has been fixed. Both of these events are summarised in the concluding narration to High Tide where it is stated Captain Star easily convinced the Steel Company his tugs were worthy of their contract and that work started on the bridge a day after the main events of High Tide.
- This episode also possesses some similarities in events with the aforementioned episode, High Tide. These being Captain Star putting Top Hat on garbage duty, which he detests to, Puffa narrowly escaping peril and both episodes being the only time in the series where Big Mickey has a role as a character.
- Although Munitions was broadcast in 1989, the VHS version was made in 1988.
- Bluenose shakes when he moves his wheelhouse in shock.
- In front of the Coast Guard in the opening scene, a wagon reading 'STAR' can be seen, a possible link to The Star Fleet.
- Hercules calls Bluenose a weight watcher in the VHS version. Weight Watchers is a company that helps people lose weight.
- Captain Star has two alternate ending messages:
Captain Star's Ending Message (VHS Version)
The accident was caused by a few hasty words, and bad temper. Orders may be orders, but they don't supersede common sense. Bluenose was right in his way, as were Ten Cents and O.J. right in theirs'. But common sense from all three would have prevented the fire starting. Always respect fire. If you don't, it will destroy you, your surroundings, and your friends.
Captain Star's Ending Message (TV Version)
That all happened because of a few hasty words and bad tempers. Orders may be orders, but they blinded Bluenose from using simple common sense, and from keeping level headed. So a tiny incident grew into a big disaster, and the old dock was left in ruins. We should have the greatest respect for fire. Just think what might have happened to Ten Cents and his friends, just because Bluenose didn't."
- The shot of Hercules towing Kraka-Toa into port is the one used for the title cards of 15 minute episodes.
- The Japanese title of this episode is called "Thick-Skulled Bluenose".
- Hercules calls Bluenose a weight watcher in the VHS version, but Weight Watchers was founded in the 1960's and the series is set in the 1920's.
- A model of a 1934 Ford is seen at the munitions factory, despite the fact the series is set in the 1920's.
- After the fire starts, O.J. is seen backing up, but in a later scene, he is seen backing up again.
- When Top Hat says "Me?! How could you suggest such a thing?" his monocle falls off.
Munitions was first released on VHS in 1988 by Castle Vision and was released along with the episode 4th of July.
Munitions was rereleased on VHS in 1990 by Castle Vision along with 4th of July to match the style of the of video release covers.
It was released a third time in 1990 by Castle Vision under the Playbox range of videos with the same episodes.
In the 1990's TV Tokyo Video and TAKARA had released the television version of the episode on home video.
In 1992, Munitions was released as a screener VHS in the United States by VideoTec.