Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Less Bangs but Bigger Bucks?

A November Update

(*) For a Who's Who see below.
You may have noticed that I’ve not got much in the way of model building done recently. That has something to do with the fact that I’m not only working with Tenth Planet Events signings and Doctor Who conventions these days but also Fantom Films as well. This has meant that I was at seven events over six weekends not leaving a lot of time for building work.  These are fun to do and if you’re into science fiction and fantasy, especially but not limited to Doctor Who then why not come along to an event. These are held in Barking, Chiswick, Newcastle, Peterborough, Slough and South London – so covering quite a few miles travelling as well. 

Also, if you do come along and would like me to bring a set of Karl books for you then drop me a line, because then I can offer them a special event price. You can find the next event I’ll be at featured in the right hand rail of this site.

That’s not say that I didn’t take time to do my Dagenham walkabout following the national celebration of my brother’s birthday. Ok, so maybe November 5th has other significance as well which is why the fireworks are let off. It might have been because the date fell on a Thursday this year, that when I took the walk this year’s haul was incredibly small by comparison to previous years.  But before anyone starts to shout, I’m in total agreement that fireworks should be restricted, they do scare pets and wildlife and it is not fare on them at all, but whilst they are still sold I shall continue to round up what sticks I can to recycle into these buildings. All the frame work on the haunted house was built from the rocket sticks from the last couple of years.

Building work aside I am also dedicating a lot of time again to writing, working on the new project that has been in progress now for a year or so since Karl was completed. 

There are currently two volumes planned to the new series of books – I’ve given some hints out in the past but not going to reveal too much at the moment, only to say that I was very excited by one of the figures in the recent Lego Minifigure series that was released, you might be able to guess why from this photo.

(*) Seen here with Barbara Windsor, Ralph Watson, Andrew Hayden-Smith, Peter Purves, Jimmy Vee, Daphne Ashbrook, Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Bonnie Langford and Nicola Bryant.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Karl Axilion Trilogy Update

Back in September it was announced that the book arm of Berforts, Berforts Information Press, was put into administration. There are more details in the article on PrintWeek. Berforts were the publishers of the paperback edition of the Karl Axilion Trilogy. 

At the moment I hold the remaining stock of the books, but once these have been sold there will not be another print run unless the books are republished by another publisher.

I shall continue to offer them for sale via the blogsite and at various conventions I attend while stock remains.

Once again, when they are gone, they may be gone forever. I can make no promises to future paperback editions being made available.

The Kindle editions are not affected and will continue to be offered via the various Amazon websites.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Rubbish Re-used Part Three

Another photo update showing further progress on the new Ghost Town models built only from recycled boxes, card and coffee sticks. The first model is now awaiting a quick rub down with sand paper before undercoating. I’ll tackle this job once a couple more models are ready and do them together.

Model two is this cycle is progressing well, this looks a bit like a church now it has started to take shape.

Model three has been put together from more boxes and the roof, as before, created from Amazon package card. I find these quite good to work with.

I now have a whole box of boxes awaiting treatment, so I think it’s time to allow some to head back to the recycle bin for now; otherwise I won’t be able to move in the kitchen. However, in honour of the many readers of this blog in the US, imported at great expense I hope you notice the Twinkies boxes in this collection ;-)

Friday, 2 October 2015

Karl Book Two Offer

The 66% discount has now expired 
but you can still get book 2 for a 33% discount 
on the Kindle edition until Friday 9th October.

This weekend book two of the Karl Axilion Trilogy, 'Karl - The Lost Adventurer' enters the Kindle Countdown Deals, in the same way that book one did back in August.

The deals start low with the greatest reduction then the price slowly rises back up as the week progresses. So if you previously downloaded book one and have yet to download book two now is a good time.

On the price drops to 99p for the weekend this Saturday 3rd October and Sunday 4th October then rises back later in the week to £1.99 then finally it will be restored to £2.99

On the price drops to 99c for the weekend, this Saturday 3rd October and Sunday 4th October then rises back later in the week to $1.99 then finally it will be restored to $2.99

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Rubbish Re-used Part Two

A quick photo post update today showing the recent progress on the latest ghost town model which started life a couple of weeks back as a pile of small old boxes. The roof was made from the card out of an Amazon box. Now the model is almost complete as far as being covered in coffee sticks to give the wooden structure its required appearance.

Here is the next one, basic shape brought together with the boxes having been tried in various configurations before being settled and glued together. Again a roof made from the rest of the Amazon packaging, note I’ve used the natural bond on their packaging to give a ridge along the top of the building which will be covered in sticks as well.  I’ve left one side of the roof open, here I intend to have a hole in the side of the roof as if something has broken out.

And finally an exclusive heads up to blog readers.

The Kindle edition of book 2 of Karl’s trilogy
'Karl - The Lost Adventurer' 
will be on special offer Countdown Deal starting October 3rd

Don’t miss your chance to continue the adventure...

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Rubbish Re-used Part One

Aborted support, even sticking strips 
together at 90 degrees so that they 
supported each other the support 
was not rigid enough.
I’ve started to make use of the recycled materials I mentioned in the last blog post. The aim here, to add a couple more models to the Ghost Town made from the coffee sticks. 

A couple of these had their base shape constructed from foam board; others were made from old boxes. 

There were a few issues with some of them during construction which I hope I can address this time round.

Boxes turned inside out

The main problem is the weakness of this cardboard to hold up under building, but once they are fully coated with the sticks then they become quite solid. I start by taking the boxes apart and reversing them, so that they are inside out. This turns the shiny sides in, which means when you leave some card bare for the windows it will take the paint better.

It was whilst sitting in contemplation that thanks to an empty loo roll I was reminded of the strength of the humble tube. I tried a couple of ideas to add support to the inside of the boxes before sealing them up, but the tube is the best strengthening idea other than filling them with plaster – but that’s excessive, expensive and too heavy.

With the first of the tubes as support.

The tube was cut down and slid into the box before the end was fitted. Depending on the size of the box you’ll need several of these to support the middle and corners. Toilet roll tubes don't come round that frequently, so other tubes are needed. Some I made by rolling up those annoying flyers that come through the letterbox and what drop out of magazines, glued and taped in a roll then cut to the right length to support the boxes. Other tubes were made from corrugated card from a mail-order delivery. The thing to remember when using this cardboard is to ensure that you cut the card so that the direction of the corrugations is vertical for your tube, if they stand horizontal the tube will collapse under pressure.
New collection of boxes

I put the three boxes together in various patterns before deciding on this configuration. Then started to collect my next set of boxes. I did not expect these to be mainly made up of medicine boxes and ice cream boxes, but with a recent chest and throat infection this became the origin of the next collection.

I used one of the Lemsip boxes collected from the medicinal collection as an additional front entrance to the first of these buildings.

This model doesn’t look like much at the moment, but just wait and see what happens to it.

Previous blog in this series: Rubbish or Raw Material?

Friday, 28 August 2015

Rubbish or Raw Material?

In Doctor Who – Pyramids of Mars, Sutekh tells the Doctor: ‘Your evil is my good.’ The same reversal of truth often stands with scratch building models.

You can spend a huge fortune in a model shop buying polystyrene strips and blocks, thin strips of wood or sheets of cardboard to use in the construction of the model in question, and then throw away exactly the same materials as rubbish the next day.

It’s no secret on here that I collect up old coffee sticks and firework sticks post Bonfire Night to use for the wooden planking and beams on my models instead of buying strips of balsa wood, but there are so many other raw materials for building that can be sourced cheaply or for free that can make this a very cost efficient hobby indeed.

My mind has sometimes been described as a scary place. I admit it can tick over slightly differently to many others. It has been known for its darker side, as you would know if you have read the Karl trilogy, but it also tries to see more than is obvious.  Hence any unusual packaging that comes my way is almost always sized up for its potential.

A colleague at work came back from vacation with some chocolaty treats to share. Very nice they were too. However my greater excitement came at the packaging, there I could see exactly what I needed to make more window panes or broken windows from. This is just the right sort of stiff plastic that I need, and this time it is slightly cloudy hence these windows will be either misted over or dirt smeared depending on what effect I’m going to go for this time.

With a growing CD collection of audio drama I have had to invest in a couple of new storage towers. These came as flat packs, and once the Krypton Factor (Look it up) test had been completed without any of the listed pieces being left over I did have left over pieces that were not going to end up in the rubbish skip. These blocks and strips of polystyrene packing will make excellent starting points for walls and other constructions.

All the items in the above photo have been viewed as potential in one way or another and later I’ll share more of these thoughts. In the meantime since my coffee stick mountain is growing I am going to add a couple more cheap and simple buildings to the ghost town layout. The exact style and shape of these will depend solely on the next few empty boxes that come my way.

The first will be made from the Nature Valley, Cupasoup and Gu boxes...