‘An Overdue Catch-up’.

A picture of my hometown…just because.

It’s been a while, Dear Reader, or at least a week. I missed last week, simply because I didn’t feel up to. With the current world situation, my anxiety over it kind of got the better of me a bit, and I put off doing a post because I didn’t feel up to it. This one should have been a bank holiday bonus last week, but alas, it didn’t happen.

So this is just a brief one to get back into the blogging stride again and give a little update on my end.

One of the things that I have been up to is online learning through a company call ‘Center of Excellence‘ they have a load of good courses on offer. However, I think I’ve over faced myself with courses. I have eight or nine on the go, but one has been a main focus and that is Affiliate Marketing. I’m going to talk about this one in more depth in a future post, but I’ve been thinking about this one a lot and I’ve done a lot of research. I’m now asking myself, is it for me? I continue to study but doing these courses, the day job, the blog and trying to fit my other writing in had kind of burnt me out over the last couple of weeks.

Though that burn out happened and I took a break from all but the day job (can’t just drop that), I did continue with the model making. The Enterprise from ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ is done and I’m going to write about that in the next post.

Good news, if you remember back to my post ‘In The Face Of Adversity‘ you’ll remember how I told the tale of how I had two airbrushes break and lost a piece of the ‘Moon Gundam’ kit. I told you how I solved the issue with the airbrushes. Well, I was able to find the missing part of kit. It must have got caught up on my clothes as I found it next to my bed about a two weeks later. I’m so glad I didn’t throw the kit away.

That’s it for now, Dear Reader. I hope you are keeping well and keeping safe. As always, take care and I’ll see you soon.

‘Let’s Take A Look At…’

Hello, Dear Reader, and welcome back to my blog. Today, I’m going a bit experimental with this one. What I’d like to do now and again is take a look at the world of pop-culture and take a look at thinks that I think are going to be quite interesting from some of the news and entertainment sites I look at. Now it could be news on model kits, films, comics, TV shows etc, and I’d like to give you my thoughts on them. As part of this experiment, I have to admit, I got lucky with this first one and two things in the news have caught my attention. So with out further ado, Lets take a look at…

‘The 1:350 Scale Discovery from 2001: A Space Odyssey’.

This image is taken the ‘CultTVman’ website, a link will be available below.

This is a kit I’m really looking forward too! The Discovery XD-1 is the ship that carried David Bowman to Jupiter to go through the stargate and in to the unknown in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. This has been made by Moebius Models who created the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ models a few years back. This is their second version of the ship from the film, this time though, it’s at a smaller scale. The previous version was at 1:144 scale and is a huge and expensive kit. As much as I would have loved to have had a go at it, I have no where to keep it. So, as I was looking on the ‘CultTVman‘ website (click the link to take a look at the original post that also has pictures of the kit), I was surprised to discover that they had made a smaller version. It’s in 1:350 scale and at first I was apprehensive over it as the last time I looked at models of this scale, it was the Star Trek kits by Polar Lights and they’re big kits. So on realizing that this version of the Discovery is around 17 inches, having the ship from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was suddenly on my radar again.

And looking at the pictures, it looks an impressively detailed kit. Because it’s a long kit (even at this smaller size), it’s been nice to find out that it does have a metal rod that runs through middle of the of the kit to strengthen the thinner structure between the command sphere and the engine unit at the back. I was worried how they would do that with just plastic. It also looks like it’ll retail at around $59.99 in America, so it’s a bit more forgiving on the wallet, of course, to have it over here in the UK you’d need to have a hunt to find as good a deal as possible as it will be a bit more to get over here. My hope is, is that a company like ‘Revell Germany’ can use the molds to sell the kit in Europe, like they did with Moebius’ ‘Battlestar Galactica’ kits. To find out more details and to see the pictures, click on the link to ‘CultTVman’ above.

‘The Batman Trailer’

‘The Batman’ Trailer is available to watch now.

Over the weekend, it was the DC Fandome event. Now, I didn’t get to catch it, so I don’t know what all the reveals were. However, The important one for me was the trailer for next years ‘The Batman‘ movie (click the link to see the trailer on Youtube). I’m a huge Batman fan, but I have been quite cautious about this film. ‘Suicide Squad’ and ‘Batman Vs. Superman’ didn’t capture me in a way I wanted them too and I haven’t bothered with Justice League. And even though he was better than I thought, Ben Affleck didn’t fit as batman for me. Seeing the trailer for this iteration of Batman has me excited. Now, it’s only a trailer so what I’m about to say is purely speculation, but it looks like it’s taking a slightly different route from it’s celluloid predecessors.

The main villain looks to be ‘The Riddler’, this is an interesting choice. We haven’t seen The Riddler since Jim Carrey played him in ‘Batman: Forever’ in the mid 90’s. It also makes a lot of sense too, from the initial announcement we’ve been told that we would see Batman doing actual detective work. So pitting him against an intellectual equal will create not just physical battles but cerebral ones too. We get a glimpse of Colin Farrell as ‘The Penguin’, I’d forgotten that he was in the film and is unrecognisable under the prothetics used to create the character. We’re also going to be introduced to a new version of ‘Catwoman’ played by Zoe Kravitz, there isn’t much of her in the trailer, so it’ll be interesting to see how she fits it. We get to see Jeffery Wright as ‘Commissioner Gordon’, for me, he already feels right in the role for me and I’m looking forward to see what he does in the role in full, not too sure about the bit where it looks like he’s pinning batman against prison bars though, we’ll have to see how that works in it’s true context. I’m also curious about Andy Serkis’ ‘Alfred Pennyworth’, as with Catwoman, we don’t get much of him in the trailer, but I’m curious to see what they do with him this time around. I feel like I’m setting my self up for disappointment with this next one, but I think we’ve had a ‘Batman Beyond’ Easter egg. Towards the of the trailer, Batman confronts a gang who have there face painted. The face paint is quite interesting, it’s very Jokerlike, at least the one who speaks is. This gets me wondering if this is a version of ‘Beyond’s’ Jokerz street gang. Which intern makes me wonder if ‘The Batman’ is set in the same version of Gotham as seen in the film ‘The Joker’ and this gang have been inspired by Joaquin Phoenix’s character.

The one thing that we’ve all been wondering, is about Batman himself, Robert Patterson. For many, ‘The Twilight’ films have stained him and many judge him on those films alone. he’s actually a really good actor, he won me over in ‘The Lighthouse’ which is a brilliant film anyway, but he showed he’s much more than a sparkly vampire or Cedric Diggory. So I’m really confident that he’ll nail Bruce Wayne and Batman. And it looks like it’s going to be interesting performance, to me (again, this is just speculation on my part), but it looks like Bruce Wayne has replaced the self assured playboy with a man who feels a more outwardly broken and damaged, which is understandable when your parents are killed in front of you as a boy. But he appears to “find” himself in the suit. so could there be a touch of a duel personality with our hero this time around. we’ll have to wait and see next year (it’s going to be a long wait).

I’m going to make a bold prediction here, based on nothing really, but I think that we may get a Black and White version of this film later down the line. looking at the trailer it looks like it’ll lend itself quite well to the same treatment that, that ‘Logan’ got with it’s ‘noir’ version and ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ with the ‘Black and Chrome’ version. I imagine the details in this film will pop in the this format. Even though its a red image, you can get an idea how it would look in monochrome from the image of the logo on the Batsuit’s chest above.

So there we have it, Dear Reader. I’m going to end there as I could go on about The Batman trailer, but the idea is that this is to be brief thoughts about things I’ve seen, do let me know what you think too, it’s really interesting to hear what other people think. I really hope you do like this, I think this could be a step in the right direction for things I want to do with the blog, it’s ever evolving, and I think this is could help narrow things down to make my blog less eclectic. Until next time, take care and keep safe.

‘In The Face Of Adversity…’

Gone! The Moon Gundam is heading to the scrap heap in the sky!

Dear Reader! A disaster has befallen the Moon Gundam model I was building. And, I had two airbrush related mishaps, but that was rectified fairly easily. Let me explain further.

So the build was going well on the Moon Gundam, and I was having a great time painting it I was really happy with airbrushing, I think I’m getting the hang of it now. After completing both legs I made a start on the waist unit. I clipped all the pieces off the frames before calling it a day that evening and came back to it the next day. As I was preparing the pieces for painting I noticed a piece had disappeared. I looked high and low, all around my work space and nothing! Sadly, it was an important piece in the kit. It was the piece connects the torso to the waist.

I still have a fools hope that the piece will appear and have put the rest of the kit has been put away, but we’re about a week at this point since the part vanished. I think the kit is done.

On to the airbrush incidents! I had two issues with two separate airbrushes. On the one that I’ve become really used to using, a seal that sits behind the nozzle snapped. I thought I could get away with it but sadly, It just started to bubble where the seal should have been. So, I resolved this by pulling out an older airbrush. It was actually my first one, that I never used. I used it to start the Enterprise kit (you can read my out of box look at this here) over Sunday and Monday. Disaster struck again, Tuesday morning. After leaving some of the parts to soak over night to clean the airbrush, I noticed that the ‘inner nozzle’ (the small part that houses the sharp end of the needle) was pointing down slightly. On investigating, the thread that screws into the main body of the airbrush had sheared off. I was gobsmacked! Two airbrushed gone in a few days.

However, I suddenly had a flash of inspiration, I decided to cannibalise the broken airbrush and used some parts on the one that I had gotten used too. All was not lost. I took a seal and the needle and used them on the other airbrush. And all was right in my model making world.

It got me thinking about facing adversity in life in general and it became a bit of a metaphor. If you have a problem, do you face it head on or admit defeat? I like to think that in general we face issues head on and find solutions. I know this is depends on the situation. but where there is a problem there is a solution.

Well, I think that’s it for now. The next post is going to be an experimental one, but I’ll explain a bit more at that time. I’ve also started to do some research to do a piece on an Youtube web series that I think could be quite interesting. For now, take care, keep safe and I’ll see you soon.

“Boldly Going…”

The box art.

Hello once again, Dear Reader. We are back once again in this new era of my blog. So thank you for joining me. Today we stepping into the world of model making once more. We’re going to boldly go where many modellers have gone before at this point, and exploring strange new worlds with 1/2500 U.S.S. Enterprise by Polar Lights as seen in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and soon to be seen again in the recently announced ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’. Let’s take a look inside the box.

So when you dive into the box you are presented with four frames of parts, three of which are moulded in a gunmetal colour and one frame of clear parts. You’ll also get two sheets of decals that have all the idents and registry’s for the ship and a full set of Aztec wallpaper to detail the model. I do have a plan for painting, but well come back to that in a bit. Let’s look at the parts…

The parts for the main body of the ship.

As mentioned, three frames of parts are moulded in gunmetal so you already get an idea of what it can look like colour wise when finished and it’s surprisingly well detailed. There are parts of the ship like on the outer part of the warp engines and on the side of the secondary hull where some of the detail can be painted rather than use the decals. When I first opened the box I was surprised how much surface detail there was. On mine though I found a potential fault with the injection moulding on one of the four ‘fins’ in the top right corner of the bottom frame, there was a gap between the part and one of its connection pegs, as I say, it could be a case of a slight hiccup in the moulding process or it’s just been treated a little too heavy handed when it was being packed. Even though this is a snap fit kit, this shouldn’t cause to much of an issue depending on how I paint the part, whether it’s painted separately or as a bigger assembly, it’ll be either a drop of liquid cement or canopy glue to secure it.

The clear parts and the display stand.

The inclusion of clear parts are quite interesting, this gives the option of lighting. I know, it seems impossible on a kit at this size, but if you check out the ‘All Scale Trek’ YouTube channel you’ll see it’s possible and it turns out quite well. Now, we’re going to dip into a bit of my build process thinking now in regards to the display stand. A little while ago I bought a couple of sheets of adhesive felt. I had a plan to use this on a display base before but didn’t do it at that time (it was actually my first attempt with the Discovery kit before that went wrong). I bought a resin set, one of those with the double syringe by the ‘Gorilla’ brand. So, what I want to do is fill the underside of the main part of the base with the resin, sand it down so it’s flat and then attach the adhesive felt. It’s something you find on a lot of ornaments and Eaglemoss use it on their display stands for their ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Battlestar Galactica’ models. We’ll see how that turns out. Now, on to the decals…

The decal sheets.

Here are the decal sheets. If they are anything like the Discovery’s decals, they will be nice to apply, the only areas that could cause me an issue are the ones that will go along the edge of the saucer section and on the secondary hull. Ive heard a few reports saying that the secondary hull decals are the ones that have caused an issue when they have been applied. I an way off that stage yet. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. However, before the decals there is the paint…

The paints I’ll be using.

To start off with, I’ll be priming the kit with both a black and a white primer, the black for the gunmetal parts and white for the clear parts. The Bussard collectors on the front of the warp nacelles and the warp grills for the inner side of warp nacelles will be Red from the Vallejo Model Air range and Electric Blue from the Vallejo Game Colour range respectively. The latter of the two will end to be thinned down to go through the air brush.

As for the body of the ship itself I had a bit of a quandary of that. At first, I had an idea of doing a two tone metallic colour, then I decided just to stick to the colour scheme suggested by the box, I really liked using the Gunmetal colour from Vallejo’s Mecha Colour range on my Moon Gundam kit (I’m going to talk about that in the next blog post, it’s bad news) so I would have been happy using that on its own. Having said that, I started drifting back into my previous idea of doing a two tone colour scheme. I had three versions of ‘Steel’ from the same line as the Gunmetal colour. Here are my results…

I delved into the world of spoons!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, Dear Reader, “but James, this is awe fully organised of you!” I know, I’m just as surprised as you that I’ve actually got a plan in place. These has been created with a base of Gunmetal and from left to right I’ve used Light Steel, Steel and Dark Steel. My favourite and what my final colour will be is the Dark Steel and Gunmetal. The two really compliment each other really well and create a nice subtle contrast where the lighter steel colours have a harsher contrast with the Gunmetal. The Dark Steel also has a nice warmth to it. It’ll be the Dark Steel as the main colour of the ship, and using the Gunmetal for the end caps on the nacelles and on the deflector grousing that sits at the front of the secondary hull. In keeping with the darker colour scheme, I’m also going to use copper for the deflector dish. Not pictured with the other paints, is black and white. The black will be for the display base and white will be for the clear parts in the saucer section. To finish off, to apply the decals, I’ll be using a gloss varnish and once they are applied, a final satin varnish will be used to finish the ship off.

The box art reprised.

And there we have it, a look at the 1/2500 Enterprise kit. If I had one criticism about it, its with the price. Now I don’t blame the seller for the pricing, it was a British seller on eBay that I bought this from. but I’ve been hearing this is really a twenty dollar kit in America, but it’s suddenly between forty five to fifty pound over here. I believe that Amerang are still the distributors of Star Trek kits over in the UK that I hope that the pricing is something that can be looked at. I also hope that I can get this completed on my first attempt, ever since I was nowt but a lad I’ve always had to take at least two attempts with Star Trek kits, but we’ll wait and see. If it does go wrong, It’ll be the decals that may turn into a disaster.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this one, next one will still be a model making themed post, but there’ll be a twist so I hope you’ll come back for the mid week post. As always, Dear Reader. Keep safe and I’ll see you soon.

‘Back In The Saddle Again!’

Yep, It’s me again.

Hello once again, Dear Reader. I’m back to blogging after a brief hiatus. Wait, what do you mean ‘who are you again?! I haven’t been gone that long, I mean really!

All joking apart Dear Reader, it’s good to be back. I know initially I said it would be a week and a half absence, and that turned into a two and a half week break. It was needed. As I currently write this, it’s Wednesday the 12th of August, I’m half way through a week off from the day job and it’s given me a good time to sort somethings out. Let’s go and have a chat and I can let you know what I’ve been up to over the last while.

Now, it’s not often I talk about things like this, some would say I should talk more for my own good, but I had to have a bit of a check of my own mental health. Certain pressures in the day job and setting myself up with maybe too much to keep my mind ticking over lockdown has kind of come to a head, I was burnt out and towards the last few posts of the first twenty-six posts, I think it was showing. Basically, I think I burnt myself out and started to feel down. I needed to have a break or things would have broken me. So the Blog was thing that I could put down to help address things. With work, I was on countdown to my leave so it was a case of getting through it, and now I’m on my break, just having the rest, getting to do my own thing, I feel much better than I was and am starting to feel ready to face it all again next week in the day job.

Just because I hadn’t posted a blog for the last while, doesn’t mean I ignored the blog. I have been thinking about it: what do I want to do with it? where do I want to take it? what’s my purpose with it? these questions and more raced through my mind. I’m still very new to this blogging milarky so I bought a book:

This book in fact. WordPress for Dummies. It’s actually been quite interesting, I’ve not gone through all of it yet, but for the bits I’ve read so far, I’m glad I haven’t pushed on with some of my plans. As you’ll remember from earlier posts at some stage I wanted to monetize my site. now for some of my ideas for that, I may not be able to continue with a WordPress.com site (at least at the free level), I may have to go onto a WordPress.org one, I didn’t even realize there was a .org version of WordPress. I did have a plan to start using affiliate links for you to use if you wanted to buy things online. These would earn me a little bit of commission at no extra cost for yourselves, and with that I can put it back into the blog. That plan hasn’t been scuppered, but it is delayed whilst I find out what I can and can’t do. Just to be clear, I don’t expect to make loads from it, but it would be nice to be able to have a little bit coming in so that I can upgrade to a paid version of the site. As a spin off of that I’ve been thinking of setting up a separate email account to use and I can create a contact page tab up above. I don’t know for what purpose as yet, but I have ideas.

On the subject of pages and tabs, you’ll notice a tab entitled ‘Published Work’, this is where I’m going to list my published work. I do want to add links on there at somepoint, especially for the publishing company who published one of my short stories in their anthology. Two reasons for this: 1) lets you know what I’ve done with my writing and where you can go and find it, and 2) It’s the reminder to myself of why I’m doing this blog, to help me write and get into a flow for my other writings.

Which brings me onto another change that I’m making to the blog, there will no longer be a Tuesday and Thursday blog posts. In there place there will be mid-week and a weekend blog instead. As I mentioned earlier, towards the end of the first twenty-six posts, I was starting to feel the quality was starting to drop off. If I was feeling that, I think you would have too. I don’t want to start chasing numbers on my statistics as I know that won’t help me in the long run, but I saw a definite drop off over the last few posts, ironically the post about me taking a break had the biggest audience I had for a few weeks (should I be worried about that one?!). Another thing was that I couldn’t research a few of those blog posts as effectively as I think I could have done and so they became rushed or a blog was turning out to be bigger than I expected as I was writing it. So going forward, If I do a blog that requires research, then I’ll be giving myself that time, by not sticking to a specific day to post. It’s also worth mentioning, that there will be times where there maybe one blog post in a week, I think there will be times where researching a post may take a bit longer, so I want to take my time to get it right, not just for you, but for myself to keep it interesting for us both. And again, I don’t want to just do a post for the sake of doing it. If it’s half hearted, you’ll spot that a mile away, Dear Reader. So I’m trying to be proactive to make the blogging experience effective and efficient for myself. And to also make some time so that I can get back to writing my stories.

On the cosmetic side, I’ve changed the theme. It’s not a drastic change from the one before, but I think it looks nicer somehow. I don’t know if the mountain range picture will stay, but I kind of like that as well, it’s very much the metaphorical mountain to climb on this writing…journey (oh no, I’ve used a cliche).

And finally, a model making update. The Moon Gundam is coming on well.

I would have liked to have been a bit further on with it, but I feel I’ve still made good progress. The torso is all done and I have a couple of pieces left to complete the right leg, leaving the left leg, waist area, back pack and weapons left to build. Vallejo’s Mecha Colour paints are fantastic to use and I’m going to use them again on my next model making venture, which we’ll talk about at the weekend. You will be amazed at how prepared I am for that one, believe me I’m quite amazed myself.

So that’ll do for now, Dear Reader. This has been a really long one so thank you for sticking with me until the end, it’s wonderful to have your company again. Plans are a foot, and I hope you’ll join me on this ride into the next phase of this blogging adventure. As always, stay safe and I’ll see you next time!

‘The Short Goodbye.’

Hello, Dear Reader. It’s good to see you again. There is only going to be one this week. Quite fitting it’s a Wednesday. I’m also going to take a short break away as well.

This doesn’t mean the end of this blog, I like to think of it as the end of series one. The last couple of weeks I’ve felt like I’ve started to run out of things to talk about, It’s not that I don’t have ideas, I do and I still plan to do them, but some post were starting to feel a little forced, but I’m feeling a little tired. I’ve ended up with a lot on and my current scheduling doesn’t accommodate everything.

I’ve decide to walk away for a very short time, just to have a little restructure, reorganization and reset. I’ve had a really good start with twenty-six posts – which I never thought I’d be able to achieve – and I’ve learnt a lot so far and still have a lot of room for development, It’s something that I’m really glad I got around to doing. This is a bit of an eclectic blog and it does reflect my very eclectic interests.

So maybe I need to try and focus that a bit more. I may also be taking a look at the visual aspect as well and see if I can make it more visually interesting and learn a bit more about how WordPress works, which will give me something to look into whilst I’m away.

I just want to take a moment to say thank you for sticking with me if you have been reading regularly, I know I don’t have that many readers, but I truly appreciate each and every one of you who have taken the time to read, like and follow my blog. My plan is to return in August and we can start a fresh with a bit more focus and we’ll even try and fit in a few more adventures out and about to write about.

For now, Dear Reader, continue to take care and I will see you very soon.

The Great Divide.

This was the only picture I could find to illustrate what I’m talking about.

I scrapped what I was going to do because my mind went somewhere else, hence this blog has ended up very late. I’ve been working through my thoughts and frustrations on a few things relating to fandom recently and I felt like I needed to get it off my chest, to write it out and see how I feel afterwords about it. So in advance, let me apologize to you, Dear Reader. Angry Jim might make an appearance in this blog, and he doesn’t come out often. This all came about because of something that happened on twitter the other day. Let me tell you more…

So over the last few years, I’ve gotten to know a chap by the name of Paul through our local convention called Sci-Fi Scarborough, specifically through a Facebook page created by him for the convention called Agents of Sci-Fi Scarborough. We talk Sci-Fi, I’ve been ghost-hunting with him, above all, he’s an all round top bloke. He has a Twitter account that’s great for Star Trek fans called ‘Art of Star Trek’ (@ArtofTrek if you’d like to follow his account). Anyway, on to the incident that happened, I must preface with that it was nothing terrible, but he put up a post about the re-imagined Bridge of the USS Enterprise as seen in Star Trek: Discovery and in the new Trek series ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’. In replay I offered what my thoughts were which is that the new set looks too red, but other than that I liked it. Another user liked and replied to my post saying that he agreed (all in capitals, which made me want to reply, ‘WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING WE’RE ALL ON THE SAME TWITTER’.) I looked at this persons account and it was all anti modern era trek stuff with facts and articles that he plucked from who knows where. I dismissed it, I can’t find the energy to risk getting into a dialogue with somebody who won’t see reason. And that was that. Paul replied, mentioning the design back ground behind the colour palette and the designer’s intention. This on reflection is where I got mad, not with Paul, his comment and information there in was on point as always. I was cross with myself in my own reaction, I felt like I had to explain where I was coming from and my reasoning. I did it because of the Anti Trek commentor.

It was a moment of silliness looking back because I like to think Paul knows me well enough now to know that I wasn’t actually being negative or combative in anyway, not that his reply was anything other than measured and factual with no hint of aggression at all, but in that moment I felt apologetic and had to explain myself because in that moment i didn’t want to be thought of as complaining about new series stuff. Yet, I know that the other commentor, after looking at their, profile would have been guns blazing telling us why we’re wrong to like modern trek. As a by product of this person comment/profile, was I wrong to react like I did? I feel like maybe I was, but I truly don’t know.

So this got me thinking, I’ve been really frustrated with a lot of negativity in fandom, not just over Star Trek, but over thinks like Doctor Who too. I don’t think I’ve know a time where there has been such a divide. There is a new level of tribalism that seems to have crept in somewhere along the lines and I think it can be tracked back. The first time I was aware of at least misogyny was that some fans started to complain about female cosplayers. This small number were saying that these women weren’t true fans, that they were just models getting paid. now in some cases, at the time I could see where they were coming from, some companies would have employed models for promotional purposes. but not every one. The amount of effort that all cosplayers put into their costumes astounds and impresses me, the level of detail, to me at least, show their level of fandom. But it didn’t stop there, not much longer afterwords there we’re reports that certain ‘individuals’ thought they could get hands on with female cosplayers, this lead to a story that was report of Model Adrienne Curry who was cosplaying as catwoman who chased a man down for inappropriately touching one of her friends who was also in cosplay at SDCC 2015 (I think). What I don’t get is where in someone’s mind did it say that they could start touching people inappropriatly. I, like the majority of folk, would never dream of it.

For a long time, I was massive Transformers fan (still am really) but there was something that changed in that fandom too during the last run of comics before the reboot of the series after the Unicron event. there were some circles who didn’t like the fact that ‘Arcee’ (A female Transformer) was turned into a transgender character. Yes, these characters are robots, but this was 2008 and there wasn’t much that I’m aware of on this issue at that time, and when they started introducing other female characters, there was an outcry, ‘Why do they have gender’s, they’re all robots. For context Arcee was created for the 1986 animated movie. So some were very late to the anti-woman party. Again, I don’t get it. Does it matter that we have female representation in our favourite Transforming robot franchise? To me, no. I actually ended up leaving a Facebook fan page because some hounded out a female fan. For me, more the merrier.

To the none geek readers, if you have stuck with me on this, do bear with me, I’m using a lot of terms that you’ll be thinking ‘What’s he on about’. I do have a point…I’ll get there…hopefully.

Now, the divide grew, especially in Star Trek during the shows fiftieth anniversary year. There was a lawsuit by CBS and Paramount against a fan film, they were right to do it as this specific fan film did trade on Star Trek’s intellectual property to raise money to build a studio to film their film. It may have been ill timed on the studio’s part as I think most fans remember fiftieth for that alone. But it got a lot of fans backs up. The vocal minority already weren’t happy with the JJ Abrahms led movies. then it was announced that Star Trek: Discovery would be on its way. Since then I’ve never known anything like it. the vitriol, the pointless hatred toward this current era is staggering. and when you do challenge one these ‘fans’ they can’t actually give you a straight answer as to why they don’t like it. The response you get for the most part is ‘Its not Star Trek’ or ‘it doesn’t hold up the values of Gene Rodenberry’, and the best one, ‘It doesn’t look like classic Trek’ and when you do say you like Discovery, you’re told in an elitist fashion that you’re not a true fan. For a start, has the last fifty odd years of Star Trek not taught them anything, about tolerance, about equality both gender and race (and I say that knowing that The Original Series did have its issues with equality at times), about progression and showing us how we as a species can be better. He’s the thing in this internet age, if enough negative voices complain CBS could pull the plug on the whole thing. And those same voices would be up in arms asking for it back.

Then there’s Doctor Who, I actually like Jodie Whitaker as the Doctor, she brings a bounce and a joy to the role. But I’m aghast at the complaints of her casting. People shouting about the Doctor should be a man and a man only. You’re complaining about a fictional character that’s nigh on immortal alien that can change their shape.

Look I get it, I really do. I get the passion. But thinks change, not because we want it too but because it has to to survive. Outside of fan films do you really thing that the sixties Enterprise set would stand up to today’s standard? If your honest, the answer is no. Do you really think that a woman playing the Doctor has destroyed your childhood? if your honest, no it hasn’t. Of both examples, I focused on in this piece you have over fifty years of content to go over again, have at it! Just don’t tell people they’re wrong for liking it, if you you put your prejudices to one sign and watch these things objectively, you’d probably like them too.

We as a species are all about change and growth, yet we uphold social concepts that hold us back, it stagnates us. Science-Fiction has often held up a mirror to the real world and been the first genre to tackle difficult subjects and right know our fandom with it’s divides is reflecting the real world currently. Lets get things back to how things were before, where our little genre bubble was a safe place, where we were constructive in our disagreements, then laughed at the same things in the next breath. If we can come together now, then we can lead the way again and start to heal the divides in the worlds society. We’re better off together than apart.

Just to round off, whether you are a fan or not, There has been a lot about the Black Lives Matter movement, which doesn’t seem to be reported on as much now. Racism is something that shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere or at any time, but one of the things that has come up is education. Now, if you don’t get why this movement is important, I would like to direct you to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode ‘Far Beyond The Stars’, the thirteenth episode of series six. It’s probably as important now as it was back on its initial broadcast. Its directed by the series lead, Avery Brooks, it isn’t your usual episode. If nothing else, please watch this episode and listen and learn.

Well, Dear Reader. if you’ve stuck with me in this post, thank you. It’s a long ramble. But it’s worth bringing up especially with things as they are in the world at large. I’ve missed stuff, I know I have, I know it is only a small minority across the board, as the majority of fans are great, but you do get those vocal pockets that seem to be on the increase, and it does worry me. Please forgive me if I’ve been wrong about anything, this is from my perspective and I appreciate everyone’s views are different. This is the only time I’ll probably write out things like this and has been the culmination of several weeks/month/years thoughts that I’ve been processing, I want my blog to be a safe place where you can come and have a read of my stuff to get away from the bad stuff in the world, to have a break. And I think I needed this rant myself. Anyway, I shall see you soon for the next one. take care where ever you are.

Modern Folk Tales.

Not sure who created this or where it’s from, if you do know do let me know so that I can credit accordingly.

Welcome once again, Dear Reader. Today what I’d like to talk about was inspired by Sunday’s ‘Dorian Deathly’s Tales From The Fireside’ (I hope you’ve been able to catch his live streams, they’ve been really good. Plus, they now have a website that’ll give you all the details of upcoming events and how to watch), he introduced the audience to a creature called ‘The Rake’ and this got me thinking about about ‘folktales’ and how they are are still made today and the impact they have. I’d like to think of this as a preview as this may take some research to write it, so this is something to come back too at a later point. For now, lets just scratch the surface of this subject.

So, for starters lets establish what Folktales are stories that are recited orally and they normally have a metaphorical narrative or a moral. Now, as time passes on the ways we tell stories has changed. With the internet, the line between fiction and reality has been ever so slightly blurred. For example, Slenderman. This creature was created Eric Knudsen in 2009 on the Something Aweful Forums. the creature soon shot up in popularity and became the antagonist in many YouTube horror series such as Marble Hornets (where it’s known as ‘The Operator’).

This particular creation took on a bit of a life of it’s own as people started to think it was a genuine creature. This sadly led to two twelve year old girls in Waukesha, Wisconsin lure one of their friends into the woods and stabbed her in 2014. Thankfully, their victim survived. but when asked why they committed this attrocious act, the reply was that they wanted to prove that Slenderman was real.

Stories have power, and this particular event would spell the beginning of the end for this particular tale. but it shows how we still create these tales, its a generational thing. It’s just that these days we have technology to tell these modern tales.

As I say, this will be something to look into deeper another time of which I hope this has peeked some interest. So I’ll leave it here for now. And I’ll see you soon.

‘Blueprinting The Future.’

As you will have seen from my model making posts, I like spaceships. There is a magic to them, a sense of wonder in the possibility of exploration and a beauty in their heroics in space battles. Everything, from the Enterprise of Star Trek to the shadowy dark power of the Event Horizon from the film of the same name. They are pieces of majestic design. The Alien franchise is no different, and today dear reader, we’re taking a look at the book ‘Alien: The Blueprints’.

It’s a big book, but a good one!

Some of my favourite reference books were the Star Trek Technical Manuals these were lavish tomes full of diagrams and satisfying explanations of how the technology of the future worked. But it was the Star Trek: The Next Generation Blueprints that really grabbed me, you were given a deck by deck plan of the Galaxy Class ship which in conjunction with the technical manuals gave weight and feasability to something imaginary.

Now, part of the reason that I love the Alien films is the world building that it creates, as the viewer it feels like we are getting a small snap shot of the happenings in the bigger universe. Like with Star Trek and the adventures of the Enterprise, the actual creatures and the fight against them seems a small part of a bigger story that we are never privy to, or at least get only a glimpse at.

For me, it’s the ships across all five films that help to build the the world. these are ships with purpose, they are function over form. From the expensive looking science ship Prometheus to the built to fight aesthetic of the Sulaco. This book captures all the lead ships of the films perfectly, giving them extra depth that I don’t think we’ve had before, having said that an Aliens Technical Manual was released by Titan Books, but I think that was the only one.

The book is broken down in to five sections, one for each film and begins with an introduction over a few pages covering the production of the film including production design sketches, these are brief but they are informative and have an interesting insight into the production design of the films. But its the blueprints themselves we’re here for.

And they are great. They are really detailed for example the refinery part of the Nostromo has each of it’s tall towers explained what there specific roles are, and – unless I missed something in the film – I never knew it was known as a Cygnus Tesotek Refinery!

From the Nostromo onward, you get deck by deck cutaways of each ship and support craft that have appeared in the films, giving you an idea of where places in the ships are in relation to one an other and also the routes taken getting to specific locations in them. The Sulaco’s section is quite interesting, the ship is so long that they have put in a gatefold page (as does the Covenant) in, so as not to compromise the exterior layout of the ship by the natural page fold where the pages meet the books spine. Another interesting fact, the Conestoga Class Assault Starship can have up to ninety crew and passengers.

There are also floor plans for both Hadley’s Hope and Fiorina 161. And its not just the Human tech that gets covered, there is a few pages dedicated to ‘The Derelict’.

Their are a couple of things that I wish were covered. The massive Gateway Station from Aliens and also some coverage from Alien: Isolation would have been nice, Like a plan of Sevastopol Station.

That being said, this really is a great book with so much to discover within. It’s a great book for fans of the franchise and it’s also great for those who like there ship design and Bluprints in general. I did get mine from Amazon, but this will be available in all good book shops.

Well that’s it for this week. I got my timings a bit wrong this time so its a smidgen late, but I did start it on Thursday. Anyhow, have a good weekend and keep safe. I’ll see you next time.

‘A Haunting Interest.’

Ah, Dear Reader! Welcome back. Today I want to take you back into the world of the Paranormal. Now you may remember a few weeks back, I explained my interest in the Paranormal in my post ‘Things That Go Bump In The Night’ which also touched on the reasons as to why I turned in the direction of not believing, and you’ve read how the tours of York based Dorian Deathly has reignited my interest in the subject. Well, that refreshed interest has been solidified by an unexpected source. So come with me, Dear Reader, and let me tell you about it.

So before we carry on, I feel its worth noting that even though my curiosity has been reactivated in the subject, I’m still quite skeptical and haven’t been reconverted back to being a believer. But, my mind has definitely been reopened to the possibility that there are things that are greater in the world than our understanding can conceive at the moment. However, the unexpected source was Most Haunted. This series began in 2002 and is still in production and has aired on two different channels. It has had its ups and downs and has had many question ihe shows validity and integrity over the years and it has drawn accusations of faking it’s evidence. Real or not, its an entertaining show and over the years I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

I recently discovered that the shows creators (former Blue Peter presenter Yvette Fielding and her husband Karl Beattie) had started a Youtube channel called Most Haunted Official , at first they videos posted seemed to be more of a series of blogs, which makes sense really as they have been in Lockdown with the rest of the country and have been unable to make the show. I nearly unsubscribed from the channel, until I looked a bit deeper into their collection of videos and found a series of shorter investigations they’ve called ‘Most Haunted Shorts’. The team do there investigating, but it’s stripped down the team is in a smaller number than the on the TV version. The team also seem to be returning to places where they’ve been before. The shorts have also evolved into ‘Most Haunted Extra’. It’s the same premise as the shorts, but these are episodes that are over an hour long and each episode at most cover three locations. But what is it that I’m finding interesting.

As I mentioned, its the stripped down nature of the show. Of the episodes I’ve seen so far, at most they’ve only had a team of four and that reduced number of team members lessen the possibility of any deception, they’ve also dispensed with Yvette’s pieces to camera talking about the history of the location they are in, they just go straight into the investigation. Technology wise, at most they have a laptop with recording software to try and capture Electronic Voice Phenomena, other than that just night vision cameras. To me it increases their integrity and the teams reactions seem more genuine than in the main show, In one of the ‘Extra’ episodes one team member becomes so scared he struggles to keep his camera steady he was shaking. It’s recaptured me in a way I didn’t think was possible these days and it feels how the earlier series felt before the controversy of the TV series started.

Now, special mention has to go to another paranormal Youtube channel called ‘Are You Haunted?‘ Fronted by Most Haunted Alum, Phil Whyman. This is also another series with a stripped down investigation style even though they do try and debunk things and eliminate anything earthly before settling on anything ghostly.

It’s a really interesting concept and I’m feeling like I would rather see Most Haunted go forward in the ‘Most Haunted Extra’ Format and maybe stick to Youtube, it seems to fit the platform. Plus, they have more scope to go in depth with their investigations as they’re not restricted to add breaks or a running time. So once things are safer and they can get back to investigating, it’ll be interesting to see how the Most Haunted Official channel is developed.

I think that’ll be it for now, Dear Reader, I hope that at least I’ve given you some extra viewing if you are still at home during this period. Regardless of where your beliefs lie these are interesting, captivating and entertaining shows, and at the end of the day isn’t that all we want, a bit of entertainment to divert our attention.

See you Thursday.