I recently got a new phone. I thought it was time, since my last one was bought before the advent of most social media. While its all business for me I did want to share the little luxury I bought myself to go with the phone. As you can see is a great piece of artwork by Sam Croes on a protective case. Depicting giant robots in a burning cityscape. From a future project, don’t ask, as this image is all you will see of the project for now. Its one for 2015.
Enjoy the picture and thanks to my good lady for taking the shot, as you can imagine its hard to take a picture of your own phone case while your phone is in it!
I am not often overcome with an urge to carry out a silly joke but I did feel the urge to do so upon getting a Kindle for Festivemass. After spotting a reduced price bright white silicon rubber cover for it I decided that if I got the cover it might well make my device look it a Datapad. Daft I know but the children like it and it makes me smile!
You can read my review of my first Kindle read here. I will be reading more on my Datapad soon but first some DVD and print books to look over I think.
The news this weekend in Scotland has been all about the terrible helicopter crash in Glasgow in which, it seems now, several (now confirmed nine) people lost their lives. People in the helicopter died and also in the Clutha Vaults bar that it landed upon. This is very sad and the reasons are not quite clear as yet. I actually got two emails to Alternative Armies and some to my own email account asking if I or anyone I know had been involved in the accident. The answer is no. Everyone I know is safe (I checked all my friends who live in the city too). I used to go into the Clutha when I was a student (scene of many fun evenings but no more about that) but its been years since I have been in that part of Glasgow. My thoughts are with all involved. A sad weekend for Scotland.
The one in the middle is the most real
But the other news item this week that caught my attention came from one of my favourite places, the land of the rising sun Japan. Lady Gaga, there on promotional work, unveiled two singing life sized dolls. Creepy in the extreme but ultimately disappointing as the early twitter and news posts spoke of them being actual AI (Artifical Intelligence) capable of hugs, kisses and conversation. Robo Geisha! But no. They are impressive constructs certainly, but just a gimmick. Seems I will have to wait a bit longer for Bladerunner to become real. Have a look at this video for the build guide.
A weekend of sadness and weirdness. I am glad to see it over.
Today is a good day. Why you ask…well its simple. Today I got back the near two hundred pounds that Vodaphone took from my bank account. Let me tell you a little story.
On the 28th of August I looked at my current account and discovered that two hundred pounds was missing. Now that is not small change to anyone. Asking in the bank I was told it was a charge from Vodaphone against my good lady. Which was odd since she no longer had a phone contract with them having cancelled and paid if off a month plus earlier moving to another provider. I, being a civilised fellow, thought that a quick call to the company would resolve this and get my money back. But no….
On the evening of the 28th my wife made half a dozen calls to their call centre and I kid you not the workers there not only did not help her but they all ‘accidentally’ hung up on her during the calls. Eventually finding a decent chap we were told that they simply did not know why they took the money as we had no account! Don’t worry we will sort it out they said. Time passed, time passed. We phoned back and tried again the next week and were promised a speedy solution and a return of the funds. Well that was the 31st of August and here we are on the 9th of September. That is, in the age of Paypal and instant communications, nearly two weeks to get a resolution. Just not good enough. Not at all!
I had to cancel plans, cut down my expenditure. No one suffered but I feel strongly enough about this to say that they just ‘stole’ the money and then sat on it.
Well done Vodaphone you moved me to make a blog post like this something I avoid normally. You will never get my custom again.
Two weeks ago I got the chance to be treated to a showing of Pacific Rim at the Odeon Kilmarnock. It has taken me some time to get around to posting this review of the film basically because I have been mired in the shallows of the summer school holidays, birthdays, house guests and other things which have slowed me right down on non-essentials (see I do this blogging lark out of love not money!). But now here we are and the film is still very much on at the cinema so its still relevant. A full 3D experience in a modern and this time fully functioning cinema (my experience last year with Dredd was interrupted by technical problems in the same cinema)…how was it?
As normal I tried to avoid trailers, adverts and especially reviews of the movie before going and in this I was successful. Aside from a TV spot and the basic idea I knew nothing and went into it with an open mind. A mind that was frankly very excited to see the film since I really like giant robots, giant monsters and the whole anime roots and premise of Pacific Rim. I also really like the films of Guillermo del Toro too and Hellboy as well. So my mind was looking for comparisons for Pacific Rim and while some people have used Transformers and the 1990’s version of Godzilla they are wrong the true father of Pacific Rim is the seminal Robot Jox from the 1980’s (which you should watch if you like mecha) and it delivered big style.
The giant robots and the monsters were superbly rendered on screen and the action set pieces were at times really tense and nail biting too. Characters are often a let down in summer blockbusters but not in this case as the cast played off each other brilliantly. From the names of the ‘Jagers’ to the names of the pilots there was a tongue in cheek humour. The film had heart and drive while dropping the nod to its source material. At no point in the cinema did I feel bored or did my attention wander from the screen and while you could have written the ending on a postcard and mailed it from minute one of the performance it did not matter. In short it is a very good film in its own right before you get to the genre and in terms of the genre it is one of the finest of its kind ever filmed. Go and see it!
In terms of wargaming there is plenty of scope for giant robots in scales such as 15mm with 1/100th and 1/72nd plastic kits…heck even a few 1/60th if you want really big. Gives me ideas!
Pacific Rim Movie book and Pacific Rim Year Zero book
Finally I got a package this morning ordered just after seeing the movie containing the two books that go along with the Pacific Rim film. Excellent! Once time allows I will read them and hopefully post a wee look at each of them.
This posting is a little late as it had been planned for last Friday but if you look at the post previous to this one you will see that South West Scotland, where I live, was battered by one of the worst blizzards in living memory and that I was also affected by it. Though the snows are currently gone, they may return, it has meant I am playing catch up now. So…on with the show eh!
The ‘SupaBases’ logo designed by Sam Croes
Last week Alternative Armies and 15mm.co.uk both released the ‘SupaBases’ range of MDF Wooden wargaming bases into the hobby market. This was the culmination of several months of effort on my own part and others as although there are a few other makers of these kinds of bases in 2mm and 3mm thickness’s none of them were suitable as suppliers to the company. So we decided to create our own and we were determined to source the wood and get the job done in Scotland. The bases are precision cut with a tool, not a laser, and this gives a lovely finish to what is currently fourteen different sizes of square, rectangular and circular. You can see them below in the picture.
I personally think that although the company offers white metal and plastic bases these wooden bases have a lovely feel and especially for 15mm scale miniatures as singles and elements in wargames they give an impressive finish. From this point on I will be using them for all of our own new releases and so on.
Its not always all about new miniatures and the excitement of new game systems sometimes its the tasks without the glamour which give a lot of satisfaction. Hundreds of customers had asked if we would make these bases, so we did. Not a lot more I can say except that if you want to you should give them a try especially the larger ones like the 75mm and 100mm circles as these are not practical in other materials and allow for some great set pieces or dioramas or vehicle mounts. Thanks for reading and if you want to see the SupaBases then click on your choice of link below:
I actually carried out what this post is about a couple of weeks ago but work and other things have kept me from publishing this post…mainly as until this morning I thought I already had!
In a previous post I told you all about the artwork and article Sam Croes and I had created for Irregular Magazine. Sam based the artwork on my description of the giant fighting machines of the 22nd century. I thought the image was so awesome that I had it printed at a very high resolution and then framed by Green Jam here in Girvan. Green Jam do an excellent job in framing, highly recommended. Its an A2 sized print in top grade ink on a thick vellum like paper which is a little raised for a rich feel which was then fitted into a wooden frame with white border. Normally I only place frame prints of my wargame titles on the walls (you can see DarkeStorme to the right of the Robo Basho picture) but I made an exception here. Eventually wall space will run out but for now I am gold as they say.
Sam saw the print when he was here last week and he liked it a lot. I offered to send him another A2 sized print if he desired it, perhaps he shall.
Anyway call it a sin of pride but I just wanted to show you all what I got! 🙂
Doctor Who’s Dalek creator Ray Cusick dies aged 84
I learned today that the man who created the iconic shape and form of motion of TV’s most vicious foe had died from heart failure. Ray Cusick may not have been as famous as Terry Nation or as recognisable as Tom Baker when it comes to Doctor Who but his contribution to the series went a long way to making what it was and what it has become in recent years.In a 2008 episode of Doctor Who Confidential on BBC Three, Mr Cusick explained that inspiration for the Daleks’ design came from a lunch with special effects expert Bill Roberts, who was responsible for making the creatures.
“Mr Cusick picked up a pepper pot and moved it around the table before he said: “It’s going to move like that – no visible means.” Dr Who viewers were told on the show that the Daleks had been the creation of a scientist who believed they would help him survive a war on their home planet of Skaro. But the alien race was later responsible for his death. Mr Cusick, from Horsham in West Sussex, leaves two daughters and seven grandchildren.
It is the fiftieth anniversary of the series this year and while this event will not greatly impact on the events planned it will make them a little sadder.
Its a sad Boxing day for me. I had not intended to post on the blog until the end of the week (with a look at some of the films and books Christmas brought me) but I have just heard that one of my favourite film makers and innovators has died. Gerry Anderson died today aged 83 after suffering from some ill health and Alzheimer’s disease as well. Creator of supermarionation and programmes like Thunderbirds and Stingray, including my favourite Captain Scarlet he had a big effect on my childhood and I spent many rainy weekends watching videos (yes, not DVD’s!) and also BBC2 re-runs. Programmes that, in an age before computer animation and digital effects did things that no live action film could hope to emulate on screen.
I wish his family well and its a shame that unlike the Captain, Jerry was not indestructible. Follow the links to learn more and have a look above if you missed the tense and often very violent Captain Scarlet. I have used it many times to inspire wargame scenarios and the like. Honestly to me its one of the best spy genre series ever made.
It’s a sad day for me today as the world’s most famous astronomer has died. Patrick Moore died just after noon today at home, peacefully, aged 89. I watched The Sky At Night right up to this year beginning as a lad some near thirty years ago. Moore had his critics and some even accused him of being barmy at times too, but this never bothered me as he was ALWAYS about the science and to say passionate about a subject for so long is very inspiring. This brings the run of the sky at night to an end as the longest running programme anywhere on TV with the same presenter (being on since 1957 ). His death sees another part of that generation lost to us all. That generation of the 1940’s, 1950’s who believed that science could solve anything and that the stars were our right and proper future.
Patrick Moore, to people my age, also has a place in our hearts as the Gamesmaster in the seminal 1990’s TV programme of the same name. Moving there from science to science fiction.