Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunny Sunday Building the Ghost Town

It is the last weekend of February, we should be under several feet of snow in the UK but instead this Sunday offered brilliant sunshine, so much so I was able to sit outside this afternoon without a jacket whilst working on the models. It is so much easier to be able to use the table outside, you can sand things down, bits of wood can fly off when you clip them without causing clean up nightmares, and I personally have more space to work on.

After completing some housework and baking (less said the better) I put a couple of hours in on the slowly growing ghost town built from coffee sticks and in a lot of cases recycled boxes.

A couple of weeks ago I had gathered up some odd boxes, glued them together, and along with a cut down Pringles tube I had build a frame work for another building. The tube I cut in half length ways, using one side for this curved wall. I over cut the length I needed, cutting the excess into a lip which I folded back and glued to the top of the neighbouring box to give it greater surface area for sticking with, then glued along the edge and bound the whole lot together with tape whilst the glue dried.

This afternoon I started applying the sticks to the building, and added more to the other pizza box based house as well. I’m using the quicker method I mentioned previously, intending to build the frame on top of the base layer of sticks for quickness. Although I do agree I prefer the look of the more rustic earlier buildings where the frame was built then smaller sticks were glued in the gaps. I have an idea to ‘rustic’ up the new approach once finished, so let’s see where this experiment takes me.

Once I have the wood covering complete on all three models I’ll then start the painting process, I hope the weather stays nice for the next few weeks so I can get these finished.

Like I said, less said the better!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Big Finish Day 2

Once again I’ve fallen behind with my postings, sorry. I didn’t get much model work down last weekend, Saturday I spent all day at Big Finish Day 2 in Barking. Lucky old me, I live locally to where Tenth Planet Events run some of their conventions, and this one run in conjunction with the company BigFinish was no exception. For those of you not in the know, Big Finish release audio drama on CD. Some of their work has also been broadcast on BBC Digital Radio station 4 More (Formally known as Radio 7)

A horde of CDs, 55 Hours worth of listening.
Big Finish have quite a catalogue of productions these days which span enough titles to warrant their own convention. They have or have had licences covering Doctor Who (Classic series Doctors 1 to 8), Sapphire & Steel, Dark Shadows, The Tomorrow People, Stargate, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes to name but a few. Recently they have started a range for Blake’s 7 as well featuring many of the original cast.

At the event last Saturday the 4th Doctor, Mr Tom Baker was in attendance, promoting his first appearance in their range, along with Louise Jameson (Leela), Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Anneke Wills (Polly).

Paul Darrow (Avon from Blake’s 7) was there to promote the new Blake’s 7 range, along with a myriad of writers, directors, sound designers, artists and other contributors to the range. Not forgetting the voice of the current Daleks and Cybermen, exec producer for Big Finish and star of their Sherlock Holmes range Nicholas Briggs.

These events are really great, you get a chance for autographs and a chance to chat with the stars in person and ask questions during their panels. Also several of my favourite authors whom I mentioned in recent posts were there, as they also write for the Big Finish ranges, John Dorney, Joe Lidster, James Goss and Jonathan Morris to name just a few - seriously I could go on all day. There is a great list of names at the bottom of this posting with Twitter accounts. Please #FF some of these guys if you're on.

I listen to a lot of these audio productions whilst model making, doing house work and whilst engaged in the great tapestry. I did actually over spend a tad, I bought another 55 hours worth of audio. I’ll be reviewing a few later along with some of the book reviews. 

There are a couple of promos I'd like to give. 

First I'd like to point you in the direction of the Companion Chronical, The Rocket Men, by John Dorney. An audio I've recently listened to staring one of the original Doctor Who cast William Russell (Ian Chesterton). Here he tells a tale of new adventure for the first Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicky. 

Yes I am biased on this I will admit, as John is also one of the semi-regular players in our D&D games. For more on the games please see Big Lee's game postings.

'Magic of the Angels' latest
book from Jac Rayner
The other is for Scott Handcock, one of the talented writers who is running the Edinburgh Marathon in May and is taking sponsorship in aid of Invest in ME. If you saw my last book review, you'll see that I mention another of my favourite authors from many of the Doctor Who books and audio range is Jac Rayner. Jac is a sufferer from this condition and will tweet on the state or lack of research and understanding for this disease. along with news on Doctor Who stuff. You can follow both Scott and Jac on Twitter. If you'd like to sponsor Scott then please follow this link  to the Just Giving Website where the funds go straight to the charity.  

For Twitter followers here is a big #FF call out for those mentioned above, either by name or reputation. Apologies to any I may have missed.

As the Brig would have said, "Splendid chaps, all of them."

Stars of Stage & Who,
Louise Jameson @Lou_Jameson
KatyManning Official @ManningOfficial
Anneke Wills @AnnekeWills
Nicholas Briggs @BriggsNicholas
Toby Hadoke @TobyHadoke

The Organisers,
10th Planet Events @10thplanetevent
Big Finish @bigfinish

The Writers (in no particular order),
John Dorney @MrJohnDorney
Jac Rayner @GirlFromBlupo
Joe Lidster @joelidster
Justin Richards @JJCRichards
Gary Russell @twilightstreets
Scott Handcock @scott_handcock
Mark Morris @MarkMorris10
James Goss @gossjam
Robert Shearman @ShearmanRobert
Nev Fountain @Nevfountain  & Mervyn Stone @mervynstone
Jonathan Morris @jonnymorris1973
Simon Guerrier @0tralala

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Book Review January / February

Instead of leaving it until the end of the year and loading up a large list of books I’ve decided to intersperse the model work every six to eight weeks or so with a summary of reading since the last update.

I think I may have mentioned before that I’m a Doctor Who fan, so it will come as no surprise that there are Doctor Who related titles in the current line up. I’ve also said that I think I’ve read nearly every Doctor Who novel published.

There are some authors in the range that I just can’t wait to read and Jacqueline Rayner is one them. I always enjoy Jac’s work, it is fresh, lively and entertaining which is what reading for pleasure should be all about.

Doctor Who
Magic of the Angels
Jacqueline Rayner
Random House / BBC Books       

This is one of the books in the £1.99 Quick Reads range, books designed to draw in the more reluctant reader. Please, if you’re not into reading and you like Doctor Who give one of these books a try, there are several Doctor Who titles in the range.

As you may have guessed from the title and cover this features the Weeping Angels, one of the scariest monsters to come from Steven Moffat. Although the plot is simple, the Doctor, Amy and Rory are on a sight seeing trip around London when they land themselves in trouble again with the Angels, the pace is quick and the adventure entertaining as the drama builds up to its climax. It’s very easy to imagine this as a TV episode as you read it. Reading this on the way to work I almost missed my stop.


Also from the world of Doctor Who are two autobiographies from companions from the classic series:-

Daddy's Girl: The Autobiography of Deborah Watling
Deborah Watling & Paul W. T. Ballard
Fantom Films Limited

“Daddy’s Girl” as the name suggests is certainly dedicated to the late great Jack Watling, Debbie’s father. Debbie recounts with love her childhood, her acting career, and life outside of show business.  The writing is truthful, encapsulating both the light and dark sides of life, in a book that comes over very much from the heart. Reading this is like having Debbie at a guest panel all to yourself, you can hear her telling her own story as you read.

Deborah Watling played Victoria Waterfield during the Patrick Troughton (2nd Doctor) era of the program.

The Flight of the Budgerigar
John Leeson
Hirst Books

John Leeson voiced most of K9's appearances with Tom Baker (4th Doctor) and was also known as Bungle Bear from Rainbow.

I’m currently reading The Flight of the Budgerigar”, I will review that next time.


I started the year’s reading in the same way as I finished last year with a couple more books from the Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural range published by Wordsworth Editions.

The Bishop of Hell & Other Stories          
Marjorie Bowen              

Uncanny Stories
May Sinclair

Just like modern works some of the older pieces are very readable and some can be hard going especially with the shift in language over time. Both of these are quite readable, you need to excuse a couple of phrases which are a bit anachronistic with today. I did however tend to find the stories in these two books somewhat predictable, although interesting, the ‘twists’ were quite obvious and often telegraphed. Again I think this shows how style as well as language has changed.