Friday 30 October 2015

Found Objects: Truth in advertising

As a renter for the last ten years I, of course, despise the real estate industry and everyone in it but even I have to admit this is one of the best posters I have ever seen. The tag line might be completely irrelevant but you'll never forget it. 

Thursday 29 October 2015

100 Model Challenge Redux

I tried doing a 100 Model Challenge once and gave up at about twenty. This was because I swore off buying new miniatures and it was just bloody inconvenient.

So let's try this again without the pressure. Starting today I'm going to see how long it takes me to paint 100 models. Rules are simple: one model is one model whether it's a mere infantryman or a massive super heavy tank. I'll post pictures of the models as I finish them and once I've reached 100 I'll post up a massive line-up of the lot, which if nothing else will look gloriously weird considering how many different projects I tend to flit between.

I mean, right now I'm working on Empire, Lizardmen, Space Orks and Mantic Abyssal Dwarfs (who will be Chaos Dwarfs once I'm finished with them). There's various elves and undead on the backburner, not to mention the Space Marines I inevitably drift back to like a fool.

Zero pressure and a chance to show off. What can go wrong?

Lots. Obviously lots of things. 

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Hobby Project: Steam Tank "Von Zeppel"

A simple delivery mistake: I ordered one Empire Steam Tank and was sent two. Simple screw up, easily fixed. Well, if I wanted to fix it. I could return it. I could do it honestly like a nice person or I could claim I ordered two by mistake and claim an undeserved refund as an act of petty revenge for them destroying my favourite fantasy world and replacing it with Norse mythology with the serial numbers filed off.

Or I could make something cool and get even better petty revenge by enjoying the world and game they so casually destroyed. There used to be a bunch of different Steam Tank variants, you see: there was one with a battering ram, one with a mortar, one with a volley gun... but the one that interests me is Von Zeppel. This one had no cannon or steam gun turret but a fighting platform on top with a bunch of engineers standing on it, each armed with a different fun weapon.
Von Zeppel as painted by Tammy Haye.
So, Project: Von Zeppel, what I need:

One: Steam Tank for a basis. This I have.

Two: A flat surface for the fighting platform and some form of fencing to surround it. Fencing I can get from any model railway range, preferably a larger gauge than the typical OO. The platform itself I'm not sure but if all else fails I can cut up an old 20-man movement tray.

Three: Shields to stick to the fencing to make it look Imperial. I have tons spare from my Halberdiers.

Four: Six figures to make the Engineers. Probably use Free Company for this, I have some spare.

Five: The list of weapons: Hochland Long Rifle (the clampack Engineer, me thinks), blunderbus (Free Company sprue), repeater handgun (spare from Pistoliers), a halberd (spare from State Troops set), a ball and chain (probably from Flagellants) and a man-catcher (not sure).

So really, the only sticking point is the fighting platform and the fencing. This is going to be fun, it's been such a long time since I did a really involved conversion. Part of this is the march of technology, there are so few things worth making that don't have models now (well, for the moment...) tat it really has been years since I needed to do something like this. 

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Definitive (and highly speculative) Ranking of Big Finish's "New Series" Offerings

Big Finish have announced a lot of projects since they got their license extended to include modern Doctor Who. Yesterday they announced the long-rumoured Tenth Doctor Adventures, which will be a trilogy of single disc stories out in May 2016. This is all cool but, like a lot of people, I'm not sure I can afford it all right off the bat so here is my ranking of how much I'm looking forward to these projects, from least to most anticipated:

#9 Torchwood
Never got into the series, never really felt it worked outside a few good episodes in the second season so I'm skipping it.

#8 The Churchill Years
On the one hand I'm interested in having Churchill travel in the TARDIS for one story and that one of the others is set during his retirement. On the other hand, without the usual excuse of the relevant Doctors being dead I'm not sure I can be bothered with stories where the Doctors are read in by other actors.

Call me back when you have Ian McNiece and Colin Baker in an adaptation of Terrance Dicks' novel Players.

#7 Jago & Litefoot & Strax
I don't doubt it'll be entertaining, it's Jago & Litefoot, but just slipping in Strax seems a sad halfway house to the Paternoster Gang spin-off fans have been asking for. Still, as a one-off special it'll probably be amusing enough.

#6 UNIT: The New Series
UNIT has always been a problematic property for Big Finish. Hell, not even just them: BBV, Reeltime and even the BBC after, oh, 1975 have never really been able to make it work without the original cast. The Kate Lethbridge-Stewart/Osgood team seems like it'd have a chance and I'm really interested to see how it goes but quietly cautious, as well.

#5 Classic Doctors, Brand New Adventures
Halfway down the list, right between “meh” and genuine anticipation, we have a box with Peter Davison vs. Weeping Angels, Colin Baker vs. Judoon, Sylvester McCoy vs. Sycorax and Paul McGann vs., um, Sontarans. Yeah, in all seriousness no one could figure out a fourth new series monster for McGann to go up against? Also, these stories seem to be companion-free and I've never been fond of that format.

#4 The Diary of River Song
I am very, very curious about this because it will be the first time, aside from that one scene in Closing Time, that River will be written by someone other than Steven Moffat. Not that I don't like Moffat's River, it would be funny to be looking forward to this if I was, but getting other creative perspectives on this character is something I'm really looking forward to. Speaking of which...

#3 River Song in Doom Coalition 2
Mainly, this snaps #3 because I was already looking forward to it. I loved Doom Coalition 1 and I want to see where this goes, especially if the Eleven returns. River's presence is icing on the cake.

#2 The Tenth Doctor Adventures
Whilst Series Four is far from my favourite part of the RTD era, I have to admit the Tennant/Tate team was amazing. There are also only three stories in the first season so I feel confident in the quality control going into this. Big Finish have a tendency to go a bit overboard when they have a big signing and whether it's a conscious decision or the consequence of Tennant's schedule I'm glad that there's some restraint coming into this.

#1 The War Doctor / The Eighth Doctor: The Time War
I'll be perfectly honest here: I think the War Doctor needs a good old-fashioned redeeming. Not in the sense that the character went through a redemption arc in his one television appearance but in the sense that he was built up as this monster the later Doctors denied even being a part of themselves but he was... well, a cuddly grandpa sort played by John Hurt. If Big Finish can do for the War Doctor what they did for Colin Baker then I will be very happy. 

Monday 26 October 2015

The End of The Great Reconsideration

Today, The Underwater Menace comes out on DVD and an era ends for Doctor Who fandom. With this last release the entire extant canon of the classic series has been released: every surviving episode on DVD, every lost episode represented as a narrated soundtrack and fan-made reconstructions.

The episode of The Underwater Menace recovered in 2011 and released today, barring a miracle, is the last time I will see a “new” episode of classic Doctor Who and the last time fandom at large will have reason to reconsider a story.

And it's a Season Four Troughton story, to boot. One more episode of the painfully under-represented Ben and Polly, who have only one full story to their names (The War Machines). One more episode of Troughton, whose performance depends so much on his physicality, lurking on the edges of scenes and scheming from the sidelines. It's even one of those rare stories where he gets a human opponent, not the best one he ever got but seeing him play against someone rather than something is a distinct pleasure.

It's a story from before The Moonbase, which is where Troughton's character really settled into its default mode so it'll be interesting to see how different he is in this one from the character as more usually defined.

I'm not kidding myself here, The Underwater Menace is something of a legendary trainwreck and 25 extra minutes of moving pictures is probably not going to change that but it is an interesting and extra special way to end my (and a good chunk of fandom's) journey through classic Who

Thursday 1 October 2015

October Goals

Hobby Goals

Getting a real start on the Empire, so by the end of the month I want to AT LEAST...

paint my Handgunners unit.
paint my Battle Wizard Lord General.
build my Demigryph Knights and Knightly Orders.
work out conversions for the final three Battle Wizards for the Drinking Society (the Grey, Amber and Jade members).

The big game is scheduled for the last week of November now, so I have more time than I thought to get this army up and running.

Audio Catch-Up

I have a couple of Big Finish box sets sitting on my hard drive, all of them ones I was really looking forward to so I should probably listen to them:

The Early Adventures: The Yes Men
The Companion Chronicles: The First Doctor volume 1
The Third Doctor Adventures volume 1

I really want to see how Tim Treloar works as the Third Doctor. The logical part of my mind knows that re-casting the Third Doctor is no different from re-casting any part when the original actor has passed away but the fan-reptile brain can't help but consider it heresy. Same goes for Elliot Chapman as Ben Jackson in The Yes Men, though I'm told he doesn't have too big a part there because they were still trying the idea out.

DVD/Netflix Catch-Up

Since Jessica Jones goes up on Netflix next month I really need to finish Daredevil, which is amazing but exausting. Same goes for polishing off the first season box set of Arrow.


My old friend Jon is passing through London on Sunday and I am meeting him for a drink. This will be the first time I go to London alone and I am terrified. I know the odds of something going wrong are incredibly small since there are so many other people there for people to mug and murder that my anonymous ass isn't going to stand out from the crowd but, still, it's London and all I'm going to do is sit in a pub outside a railway station for a few hours.