Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Kickstarter Watch - LAM Dwarves


For the Dwarf fans of you out there, Lead Adventure Miniatures are running a rather nice looking Kickstarter at the moment.  There's a lot of choice and it's already funded.  Details here.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

More Charity Shop Finds (Pt 1)

I've not posted for a while, so thought I would do one of the no-thought-required posts on my recent purchases from charity shops.  I'd done all the photos, but still couldn't get the post written.  Then, yesterday, I found something remarkable in a charity shop...

So, here are recent finds.  First, books (in order of pulpiness).

It turns out that I already have the Poe, but what the hell - this is a nice edition!

I read a lot of Solzhenitsyn in the 80s (like you do when you're in the sixth form).  These are stories he wrote after the fall of communism and his return to Mother Russia.

I thought I already had this, but don't.  You can't beat Conan Doyle!  If you don't know his non-Sherlock Holmes stories, you must read them - especially his speculative fiction.  The Brigadier Gerrard stories are funny ones.

His and Her's

One of these hats was bought new on the internet.  The other was bought in a charity shop and cost a tenth of the price.  Can you tell which is which?

Tomorrow I will tell you about the amazing purchases I made yesterday (and about the Ones that Got Away!).

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Dr Who Wednesday #19

Doctors: Past, Present and Future

If you have the remotest interest in Doctor Who you would have had to be living under a stone to miss two recent news items.  First. the sad death of Sir John Hurt and, secondly, the fact that Peter Capaldi is to stand down as the current incarnation.

Tens of thousands of words have been written about John Hurt (after all he had a long and very distinguished career), and I have very little to add to them.  In a way his role in Doctor Who was a minor one - the War Doctor only appeared in a couple of episodes, but the character was a piece of genius retconning.  Without a doubt the concept could have fallen flat if he had been played by a lesser actor.  Hurt gave it a huge dramatic punch.

And Capaldi?  He had his annoying bits and pieces (which seem to be a necessary part of playing the Doctor these days), but on the whole I think his has been a good incarnation.  Let's see what he does in the coming season...

We're now faced with the old questions - "Can the next Doctor be a woman/be black?".  I'm not going to go down that line.  All I can say is that the writers made it very clear in the episode 'Hell Bent' that a male, white Time Lord can regenerate into a  black woman.  Some of the names mentioned as potential Doctors (and I'm thinking Idris Elba here) are too 'big' to be able to devote the time needed to being the Doctor (there's so much more work than merely shooting the show).  

All I will say is that I think the BBC will go with a young Doctor again - Capaldi was apparently lacking 'yoof appeal' and wasn't sufficient of a heart-throb.  It is said that 'they' want to appeal to the yoof market (more of which later) and ratchet up the sexual tension with the Companions.  Really, they're harking back to the David Tennant glory days...

The third bit of actory news was that it was Tom Baker's 80th birthday in 20 January.  This launched a lot of nostalgia on social media.  It also prompted the BBC Store to have a special offer on several of the Fourth Doctor seasons.

These special offers are worth looking out for.  For example, this week marks the 40th anniversary (yes really!) of one of the best stories in Doctor Who - the incomparable Robots of Death.  To mark it, the BBC Store is selling it's robot bundle (a collections of serials from Hartnell to Capaldi) at half-price if you use the code ROBOT50 (possibly someone was too young to spot the error).


Recently I've been watching Class.  It's a Who spin-off aimed a the said 'yoof'.  Initially is was only shown on BBC3 (the BBC's web-only channel), but is currently on BBC1 (I believe it's soon to debut on BBC America).  It's set in the Coal Hill Academy (as the old grammar now is).  Apparently all the timy-wimy stuff that's been going on there since the sixties has left the space-time barriers very thin and prone to incursion (one exchange in the first show was 'So it's like we're on a hellmouth?', 'No, a bit more like The Vampire Diaries'.  Nobody said 'Oh!  Exactly like Cardiff is in Torchwood before it got all wierd').  So it's down to a group of ethnically-diverse sixth-formers (plus an emigre alien prince and his slave/bodyguard/prisoner) to Save the World.  Basically it's a cross between the Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood before it got weird.  Those of my readers who don't like sex in Doctor Who (especially gay sex with aliens) better not watch.

On the Paint Table

I do have some Who figures on the paint table, but as per the rules of the Analogue Painting Challenge I won't discuss them until they've featured there.  That was supposed to be this week (I'm one of the Monday crowd), but that was stymied by a bad chest cold.  Hopefully next week.  All I will say is that they are Companions.

I was going to do a TARDIS for the 'Terrain: Home' bonus round, but have completely buggered up construction of the (two-piece) model.

Gratuitous Quill Photo

Monday, 23 January 2017

Painting Challenge Submissions: Pilots and Tong

Curt's wheeze of having a cull off those who hadn't submitted to the Painting Challenge by 20 Jan served to give me the kick up the backside I needed.  Just in time, I manged to get these fellows done.

The first is from Ironclad Miniature's splendid VSF range - the pilot from their steam helicopter.  I won't be submitting  the (still partially-finished) helicopter as part of the Challenge, as it was started some months ago, but included a picture of him in the aircraft for context..

He has a Bleriot quality

The pilot striding out to his Spitfire or Hurricane is from the ever-reliable Artizan - their Pilot Officer Reynolds.   I decided for khaki rather than RAF uniform as likely to use him in a Pulp setting.  I was rather pleased with how he came out.

For the EAST Bonus Round I thought I would submit some proper East End villains.  So here are Wing Fen, the Limehouse Scholar, and some of his 'students'. 

They were horribly rushed, and I'm far from happy with them - especially the bases.  My original intention was to try to base them with some Victorian paving stones or cobbles, but I didn't really have the time, so instead I went with my usual 'Home Counties gravel quarry' (in this case doubling as the famous yellow mud of the Yangtze).

Dr Wing is from Ironclad Miniatures' series of VSF Characters, whereas the muscle are from Foundry's Victorian range.

So that's my duck broken - hopefully there will be more soon!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Dr Who Wednesday #18

Lately it's been hard to stop these posts being advertisements for Warlord Games.  That's because I've been doing very little Dr Who related and they've been doing rather a lot!  Hopefully that will change once I get my chops in gear for the Analogue Painting Challenge - we'll see.

Spotted on the Web

Dr Who fans of my vintage will fondly remember the Weetabix promotions of the 1970s.  The artwork was the work of Gordon Archer, and it's now available in various formats through a website run by his son, Yellow Planet,  (as is the work he did tied-in with Star Trek and other popular shows).  Great fun!

OK, now for Warlord...

One of the things the company promised when it took on the licence, is that they would produce a mixture of 'New' and 'Classic Who' figures.  A couple of forthcoming releases show that they're coming good on their promise.

First is the newest of 'New Who' - figures from the 2016 Christmas Special.  You don't get much more topical than that!

Secondly, we have some 'Old Who' monsters: the Tetraps.  These are pretty obscure chaps - only seen in the 1987 episode 'Time and the Rani' (Sylvester McCoy's first story) - basically humanoid vampire bats.  An interesting choice - but release dates seem to be tied to getting approval from the BBC, etc, rather than any Grand Plan (see the interview below).

Fir those of you who want to read about Warlord's plans from the horse's mouth ("read... from the mouth"?  Surely something wrong there?)  there's an interview with Paul Sawyer:  Part 1 and Part 2.  There's a lot in the pipeline it seems!

Personally, I'm impatient for Sea Devils!

Gratuitous Sarah-Jane Picture

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The Post of The Beast

Just to explain the title, this is the 666th post on this blog.  Thanks to all of you who've kept it going so long and kept me company along the way.

Now, for those of you who didn't stick with the Alexandrov Ensemble concert in yesterday's post long enough to see the dancing sailors, here are some from The Andrew (BRNC to be precise)...

And Prince Charles joining in...

The Alexandrov Ensemble

I am very far from being a supporter of the old Soviet Union, or of the direction of Russian politics in the years since the fall of the USSR, but I've always had a respect for the Red Army.

That of course is based on the Soviet sacrifices of the Great Patriotic War, but I suppose I am a sucker for the propaganda image of the worker-soldier, grim in battle, but ready to relax with a glass of vodka and a rousing song (let's not talk of the rape of German women or the oppression of the majority of Eastern Europe).  One of the great projectors of that propaganda image was the the Red Army Choir - now the Alexandrov Ensemble (properly the Academic Ensemble of Song and Dance of the Russian Army named after A. V. Alexandrov).

The crash of the Russian Defence Ministry's Tupolev Tu-154 is of course a tragedy, and would have been whoever it was on board and whenever it happened.  But the fact that it happened on Christmas Day (as we celebrate it in the West) and that 64 of the 96 killed were members of the choir does tug at the heartstrings somewhat.

So, ignore the uniforms and the lyrics if they upset you, but sit back and enjoy some rousing music.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Terrain Tuesday #20

It's been a little while since I did a round-up of purchases from charity shops.  So here goes...

First up is a bottle of stuff I picked up a couple of months ago.  I'm sure it'll come in for basing (or I may have to make a pile of coal a la 'Railway Children')

The next I picked up last week.  I don't know if they're ornaments or the remains of a chess set, but with a little dry-brushing they will make monumental statuary.

And last Friday I hit the Pulp jackpot when the shop I went into had a half a shelf devoted to Egyptian bits and pieces! 

And while we're on Pulp, how about the greatest Pulp Hero of all time?  Not terrain, but it came from a charity shop.

Where can I get Snowy in a space suit?

And not from a charity shop, but terrain, are these skull beads which came from China via eBay and arrived just before Halloween.  They're a tad out of scale for normal use - but what is Pulp and Lost World without giants and giant apes?!  Thanks to Martin Cooke for the tip (he got the red ones and put them to good use).

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