Monday 30 April 2012

Book Review March / April

Here is this the second of my bi-monthly round ups of my reading list.

“Gallimaufry”, “Look Who’s Talking” & “Second Thoughts”
By Colin Baker

Yes, The Colin Baker of the multicoloured Doctor Who coat fame has penned a collection of short stories. Any viewers of Mr Baker's time as The Doctor will recall his Doctor's love of language, which was obviously an injection into the character by the man himself. Colin's two earlier books were collections of his articles as a columnist from the “The Bucks Free Press”, this time we are treated to ten original short stories of mystery, suspense and recompense and three short stories featuring his incarnation of the space and time travelling Time Lord. And a splendid read they are too. It is one of those books that time literally flies by whilst reading.

This month I have also read the two compendiums of Colin Baker’s articles. The first volume ‘Look Who’s Talking’ covers many topics that he has felt compelled to pen comment on over the last fifteen years. Some articles would put the gathered members of ‘Grumpy Old Men’ to shame with their wit and quite frankly just observations on life. These are a timeless read, irrespective of their age, many articles written fifteen years ago are as pertinent today as they were then.

The second collection, “Second Thoughts” contains another delve into the archives of Mr Baker’s output for The Bucks Free Press, again voicing his opinion on a world gone made, a world of call-centres, phone service menus, customer service (or lack thereof) , his life as The Doctor, as writer and school governor.  These books are worth reading for their humour and to convince yourself there is some sanity left in the world.

The Flight of the Budgerigar.  
By John Leeson

This is the autobiography of John Leeson, from the title you would never guess that he provided the voice for that much loved robot dog K9 from BBC’s Doctor Who, past and present. He was also, for a time, that cuddly talking bear Bungle in Rainbow. But this is the story of an actor who tells a tale of a child living in a haunted house to lecturing on wines and playing the fall guy for Jeremy Beadle.  Is this worth reading? As K9 would say, “Affirmative Master.”

Sherlock Holmes -The Breath of God
By Guy Adams

At the turn of the century Sherlock Holmes finds himself in a world where everything could change. A mysterious death in snow covered London starts a case of the macabre and mysterious. Not only is Holmes joined by his ever trustworthy Watson his path is soon to cross other characters from this period of literature, John Silence, the so-called “Psychic Doctor”; supernatural investigator Thomas Carnacki; and the real life Aleister Crowley as they investigate the cause of this and other strange events.

Personally I didn’t think the novel needed to draw on so many of the other characters, if you don’t know who they all are I suggest a visit to the ‘Wordsworth Editions, Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural’ however even though I was wary of a non Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes I did enjoy it and felt that Holmes and Watson were true to their original characters and the story is again told through the eyes of Watson in much the same way as Watson found himself investigating The Hound of the Baskervilles on behalf of Holmes.

The Shadow Saga - Book One,
Of Saints and Shadows
By Christopher Golden

Christopher Golden the New York Times bestselling author needs no introduction to readers of this genre. I first encountered his books in the Buffy range of books, so when looking for a good read and up came the first novel of The Shadow Saga came my way I just knew I would enjoy it. This is another collection of vampire detective novels, but ‘Of Saints and Shadows’ delivers a mix of Dan Brown’s conspiracy, Anne Rice’s depth of vampire mythology and the detective world of the PI. Should you trust a vampire, some maybe, but certainly not, and should they even trust us and each other.

Personally I can’t wait until I get my hands on the next in the series.

Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural,
All Saints' Eve
By Amelia B. Edwards

Amelia B. Edwards told tales of murder and mystery, and many of these tales were tinged with elements of the supernatural. Although by today’s standards these tales are not scare your pants off, they still provide an enjoyable read and provide sufficient suspense to keep you reading. The ‘Four-fifteen Express’ and ‘Was it an Illusion?’ stood out for me.

For more details:-

Hirst Books, Look Who's Talking By Colin Baker, 978-0-955-71492-4

Hirst Books, Second Thoughts By Colin Baker, 978-0-956-64176-2

Hirst Books, Gallimaufry By Colin Baker  Colin, 978-1-907-95902-3

Pocket Books, The Shadow Saga               
Of Saints and Shadows By Christopher Golden, 978-1-847-39924-3

Wordsworth Editions, Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural, 
All Saints' Eve By Amelia B. Edwards,  978-1-840-22094-0

Hirst Books, The Flight of the Budgerigar By John Leeson, 978-1-907-95931-8

Titan Books, Sherlock Holmes -The Breath of God By Guy Adams, 978-0-857-68282-6

Sunday 29 April 2012

Those Addictive Apps.

I’ve been meaning to talk about these iPhone games for a while now. It was about a year ago I finally gave in and upgraded from a ‘dumb’ phone to a ‘smart’ phone. Until then I had just used a mobile to make calls and send texts, no camera, no apps, no wibbly wobbly wotsit gizmos. 

Now I wonder how I ever coped without it. From the ability to snap photos at any time, a lot of the photos on here are now taken with the phone. Evernote synced to the laptop with lists and notes for when I’m out. 

Other things such as checking how the tubes and local buses are running in real time, (An update just buzzed through as I am writing this to say the Jubilee Line has severe delays again), weather updates, maps, navigation, music the list just seems endless.

These devices really are straight out of the world of science fiction that I watched as a child.

Then there’s the social networking side, the Google+, Twitter, Facebook blar blar which seems to be almost as essential as email now, oh yes and that too. Oh and not forgetting the latest craze Draw Something.

And then came the games. I tried and failed to avoid them. One that I started with was Crime City by Funzio, here you build a mob and a hood and through your weight around the city taking bribe money, robbing and fighting. The part that actually hooked me to start with was actually the building your town, for a while in the early days I even toyed with the notion of making actual 3D models of the hood. But I’m so glad I did not start that I don’t get time to complete the builds on the table top game models yet alone start this as a project.

The thing with most of these is that they start off as free down loads but to get better advancements then there are in game purchases, and if you get hooked into this it could be a very expensive pass time. To date, and for the very much foreseeable future I cannot see myself going down this road.

Funzio have another game out which is similar but a medieval version with orcs, zombies, trolls and dragons to fight. This is called Kingdom Age. Again you have to build your own town and these models may have some similar buildings made as this does fit in with the models I am building. The thing with these games is you need to build up a large gang of linked players, otherwise other players can trash your towns. You can form bonds with other players if you know their codes.

Anyone who also plays and wants to request friendships my codes are shown below and to the right hand side of this page.

So where would we be without our modern technology? Bring back the old quill and parchment I say. Hey, I hand drafted the Karl – Birth of Mystery book, and the second book has also been written by hand for the first draft. There is something very personal about the first draft which no computer of smart phone could ever replace.

But if you want to find me:-

Crime City: 892-108-458

Kingdom Age: 244-170-300

Draw Something: djkettlety

Twitter: djkettlety

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Zandina’s House Painting Continued

Not a lot of work completed on the models this week, just some paint work on Zandina’s town house which features in Karl’s story. Thought I would share some more ‘in progress’ photos.

First thing I did was to mix the black paint with water to wash over the brick work around the lower front part of the building. This gives the brick work a deeper, more solid appearance. Once this was dry, I dry brushed with the basic orange.

For the roof which had already been painted with a mix of burnt umber and black I also dry brushed/smeared with the orange.

I know BigLee talks about quality of paint brushes, for this work when painting on wood, wall filler and cardboard I tend not to pay out for brushes which get wrecked very quickly. I’ll save the good brushes for when I get back to the figures. These brushes are larger sized and really have seen better days but for smearing, dry brushing large areas and stippling they really need to be hard wearing rather than quality tipped. 

Friday 20 April 2012

Karl is shipping

It has been a long time in the waiting, but the wait is finally over. The books are hot off the press and being dispatched this weekend to those who have pre-ordered. For those who have been waiting, many thanks for your support.

This is the adventure of my original RPG character, albeit not the adventure he was originally created for. The story has developed quite a lot since that first time Karl set foot in the streets of mystery and adventure. 


Now that would be telling, as the old saying goes, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Monday 16 April 2012

Zandina's House First Painting

The blog has been a bit quiet mainly because I wanted the posting to be about model work, and not much model work has been achieved recently. I will soon be adding another book review and a piece about my love / hate relationship with the iphone – the device I’ve used to take these photos today.

The one thing that has progressed is Zandina’s house. I managed to finish the roof and sanded down the sides to get any excess wall filler off the wood work, and cleaned up the wood work filling in any gaps. Next step was the black under coat. I used a basic black acrylic paint worked into the nooks and crannies using an old paint brush. This had to be repeated a second time as once dried, the paint left small white speckled patches. Again a slightly more watered down black paint was worked into the gaps to give a good consistent undercoat.

Then using just three additional basic paints I set about applying the first base coat of actual colour. These are the darker shades that will be brought up lighter with varying layers. So far I’ve used Pound stores’s Black and Orange, Wilko’s Burnt Umber, and Americana’s Butter.

The black was used as the undercoat, and then mixed with the orange for the first colour layer of the brick work; it was about 75% orange to 25% black. The roof tiles was about 50% mix of burnt umber and black, the wooden side panels was burnt umber and the plaster walls Americana’s Butter. The wooden beams will be painted over with quality black paint after once the walls are finished.

The next stages will be to add the lighter shades and weathering.

Monday 2 April 2012

Doctor Who Adventures with Figures

Especially for Nikko, and anyone else interested in the rubbery figures that come with the occasional issue of Doctor Who Adventures, here are the full details of the current issue, and the recent two other issues with these figures on.

Current issue
Cover date: 29 March – 4 April 2012, UK price £2.99, Issue 262
9 – 771750-171982-13

You’ve got the 5 coloured Daleks
Judoon, Ood, Silurian, Cyberman & Sontaran
2x Weaping Angels, Med Bot, Silent and Minotaur.

Recent Issues
Cover date: 9 – 15 February 2012, UK Price £2.50, Issue 255
9 – 771750-171036-06
8 Silent & 8 Silurian

Cover date: 2 - 8 February 2012, UK Price £2.50, Issue 254
9 – 771750-171036-05
8 Judoon & 8 Ood

Sunday 1 April 2012

Up on the Roof

The sun is up,
The sky is blue,
The garden’s a mess,
But I’ve a back ache too.

With the weather having taken a change for spring, I really should have spent today mowing the lawn and getting the garden back into some semblance of order, but the old back is still playing up. I hope to see a physio next week to have my legs twisted and my spine pulled in such a way as only they can. I’ve had it done in the past and it really helps, so I hope that come the Easter weekend I’ll be in a better shape to get the garden challenge done. Watch this space, or twitter because I’ll probably be calling for someone to come and find me lost in the long grass.

Anyway with the sun out and not too strong, I took  the opportunity to sit in the garden with the sun warming my back (see purely medicinal you understand) I got the chimneys added to Zandina’s house using some plastic spongy packing covered in the ready mixed wall filler. I had tried to find my foam board off cuts but they’re buried somewhere at the moment – spring clean certainly needed inside as well as out at the moment – so I used this packing stuff instead, cutting two rectangular blocks which I then cut triangles out so that they fitted over the roof.  I glued them on then covered, after a while, with the ready mix filler. Once I had allowed that to go off I finished tiling with small cut squares of card to finish the roof. To cap the tiles I used thinly rolled snakes of the wall filler and pressed them down along the top edges. Once this has dried I will forge ahead with the clean up before under coating the whole model.


Just a quick note as well this week to other Doctor Who fans, this week’s issue of Doctor Who Adventures comes with an assortment of monster figures, some not having been released before. This looks like a mini selection box, and I’m sure from their rubbery texture they all have soft centres.

You’ve got the 5 coloured Daleks
Judoon, Ood, Silurian, Cyberman & Sontaran
2x Weaping Angels, Med Bot, Silent and Minotaur.