Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Blue Angels

While the Royal Air Force’s flying displays by the Red Arrows are world famous, and the US Air Force has a Thunderbirds team, there’s a US Navy squadron that seems to be less well known outside America. The Blue Angels was first launched in 1946 and, in spite of some federal budget cuts, are still flying today with their standard blue and yellow livery. 

The Blue Angels current jet of choice flying in demos is the Boeing (MD) F-18 Hornet. A premium quality diecast model produced by Hobby Master proved un-affordable, so far, but I have a Motor Max version (in 1:72 scale) that’s a perfect place-holder, until I can find £40 to spare.

Older aircraft flown by the Blue Angels in previous decades, include the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II (1969-73), which is one of my favourite planes, and I have a Corgi model of this in 1:72 scale  

Another plane from an earlier period is the Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star (alias, T-bird) used by the Blue Angels in the 1950s. The Falcon model is excellent quality in the much preferred 1:72 scale.

The Blue Angels use a US Marines-crewed Lockheed KC-130F Hercules, nicknamed Fat Albert, and my Corgi model of this (in 1:144 scale) makes a superb addition to the collection.


I hope to get older planes like Grumman’s F6F-5 Hellcat and F-11F1 Tiger, also in the Blue Angels colours, but the models of these planes by Falcon and Hobby Master are too expensive.

Monday, 8 December 2014

GOTG



While the Marvel comicbook Guardians Of The Galaxy was a memorable combination of space opera and superhero action, James Gunn’s movie rejects the original comic’s ‘cosmic Avengers’ - a team of genetically adapted 31st century humans, in favour of a newer but dumber generation, in a line-up of supposedly media-friendly stereotypes. Although it’s good to see a blockbuster ‘space movie’ that is not just another pointless addition to the Star Trek franchise, or an undesirable continuance of the overworked Star Wars universe, it’s a shame that Disney fare has been crudely shoehorned into a Marvel venture, and I suspect that many fans of previous space operas, Farscape and Firefly (TV shows that were frightfully over-rated), might enjoy this GOTG movie far more than I did.

Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon are primary influences on this lone-Earthman-lost-in-space adventure, that’s hampered by its affectation for 1980s references (Kevin Bacon was a cultural hero in Footloose?) with a mix-tape batch of tiredly unimpressive (but, probably, easy to acquire the copyright clearances for?) pop songs that can hardly be considered ‘classic rock’ exemplars. They add no dramatic spirit or sense, or even faddish value, to the interstellar warfare scenario that desperately needed some social concern or political relevance in accessible, if metaphorical, terms.

As green Gamora, a weaponised slave ‘daughter’ of death deity Thanos (introduced in Avengers Assemble), Zoe Saldana can do nothing more than overact and strike blank-faced action poses. As blue Nebula, former Doctor Who starlet Karen Gillan so easily out-classes Saldana, especially in their scenes together, that it’s embarrassing to note the misjudged hierarchy of casting choices. Champion wrestler Dave Bautista makes a fist of vengeful Drax the Destroyer, but never manages to grant his intentionally stilted dialogue the right measure of tongue-in-cheek appeal. Glenn Close plays Nova Prime (leader of the star cops) as if she’s got bills to pay and is having a bad hair daze. Michael Rooker makes noble savage Yondu into a blue-skinned variant of The Walking Dead’s redneck Merle.

Apart from the welcome presence of Benicio del Toro, as the creepy Collector, there is very little here that is appropriately uncanny with eerie alien improbability. Cheap TV show Lexx boasted rather more genuinely imaginative and witty use of its sci-fi weird aspects, and even the Riddick movies had a greater dosage of astronomical and inter-planetary strangeness. Now if only they could hurry up and remake Blake’s 7 on such a widescreen scale as this, that might offer us a lot more chills, and real fun!   

Monday, 17 November 2014

Genre mags

New issues of TTA Press magazines were received today.

Interzone #255 includes my regular column, 'Laser Fodder', of DVD & blu-ray reviews.
Here's the line-up of titles with ratings:

Bones - season nine (7/10)
Space Station 76 (3/10)
Kite (6/10)
Red Shift (4/10)
Filmed In Supermarionation (7/10)
Godzilla (7/10)
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared (8/10)
Debug (6/10)
The Day The Earth Caught Fire (8/10)
Out Of The Unkown (7/10)

The cover artwork (by Wayne Haag) puts me in mind of a sci-fi variation of plane-crash movie Flight Of The Phoenix

Black Static #43 has 'Blood Spectrum' with lots more reviews of movies (and TV) on disc...

    Camera Obscura: The Walerian Borowczyk collection
Theatre Of Mr & Mrs Kabal (6/10)
Goto, Isle Of Love (4/10)
Blanche (5/10)
Immoral Tales (6/10)
The Beast (8/10)

The Walking Dead - season four (7/10)
Devil's Knot (4/10)
The Hour Of The Lynx (6/10)
Leprechaun Origins (3/10)
Dark Touch (8/10)
Found (5/10)
WolfCop (6/10)
Cold In July (7/10)
Grand Piano (6/10)
Oculus (5/10)
All Cheerleaders Die (6/10)

    Slasherama
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (9/10)
Graduation Day (2/10)
See No Evil 2 (5/10)

    More Bad Feelings: round-up 
Devil's Tower
Nailbiter
Afflicted
Reaper
Kidnapped
Open Grave
Treehouse
Bad Milo!
Wrong Turn VI
Dark Tourist
Bloodshot

Monday, 15 September 2014

TTAday

For a great start to the week, and the middle of this month, here are the latest issues of TTA Press' magazines, just received in today's post...

Interzone #254 includes my 'Laser Fodder' column of DVD & blu-ray reviews, and this is the line-up: 

After The Dark (5/10)
The Zero Theorem (7/10)
The Double (7/10)
Divergent (5/10)
Last Days On Mars (6/10)
The Changes (5/10)
The Boy From Space (5/10)
Mindscape (5/10)
Transcendence (6/10)

    KippleZone: also received
Ashens And The Quest For The GameChild
RPG - Real Playing Game
HK: Forbidden Superhero 


Sister mag Black Static #42 covers horror stuff and has my 'Blood Spectrum' coverage of movie & TV reviews:

The Raid 2 (6/10)
Bound (8/10)
Faust (5/10)
Lizzie Borden Took An Axe (5/10)
A New York Winter's Tale (4/10)
Killers (5/10)
Painless (6/10)
Blue Ruin (5/10)
Wolf Creek 2 (5/10)
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (6/10)
Penny Dreadful (8/10)

    The Werner Herzog collection
Aguirre, Wrath Of God (6/10)
The Enigma Of Kaspar Hauser (5/10) 
Nosferatu, The Vampyre (9/10)
Fitzcarraldo (8/10)
Cobra Verde (7/10)
Burden Of Dreams (4/10)

    Negativextra: also received
Miss Violence 
Elsewhere
The Battery
The Unleashed
Cheap Thrills
Wasteland
Almost Human
The Cabin
The Quiet Ones
Varsity Blood
The Captive
The Mirror
Attack On Titan
Werewolf Rising

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Harriers



For a (slight) change, instead of another post about collecting diecast model helicopters, here’s the latest on my growing collection of Harrier jump-jets. 

My favourite airplane since childhood, I remember reading magazine articles about the original Hawker Siddeley aircraft, way back in the early 1970s. At the time, it seemed to me this was a sci-fi innovation, an S/VTOL jet fighter that could fly like something from one of Gerry Anderson’s genre TV shows.

The first seven planes I bought are in various scales. The all-blue version is a BAe Sea Harrier FRS mk.1 (circa 1982), an inexpensive but highly detailed Amercom model at 1:72 scale. My set of three Matchbox editions have (left to right) US Marines, RAF, and Royal Navy markings/ colours, but - of course - these are big-wheeled toys and not especially accurate models of the aircraft.


The silver-coloured Harrier II is another RAF variant, and the model is produced by Del Prado at approx 1:100 scale. The plane tagged as ‘NASA 719’ (on its tail-fin) is a Harrier AV-8C, one of two such aircraft used for testing and training purposes at the Ames Research Centre. This model was made in 2005 by Corgi, approx 1:100 scale, as part of their ‘100 years of flight’ range. There’s also a 1:72 scale edition of this, but (at £40 boxed!) I simply can’t afford to buy one. 


Finally, I have a large version of the AV-8 Harrier (built by McDonald Douglas for the USMC) at 1:40 scale. This model is 14 inches from nose to tail, with a wingspan of nine inches. Bought unboxed/ second-hand, the model has clearly had a bit of shelf wear, but it’s only been on display, not played with, so its condition is still very good. 

There are no manufacturer’s details on the model, but I found out that it’s made by Toy Zone, as part of their Air Power range - military replica series.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

LonCon 3

This year’s Worldcon in London was a significant improvement on the already-great experience of Glasgow’s event in 2005, with so many interesting media and literature panels that I ended up missing lots of things. There was simply too much good stuff going on, over this SF convention’s five-day run (of panel talks, movies, and shows), to choose from.

Thursday's programme featured Melinda Snodgrass moderating a 'History of Blockbusters' (which I thought neglected Irwin Allen as godfather of that cinema format); and the irreverent/ silly fun of a stageplay about TV puppet-hero 'Captain Tartan', marred by a ridiculous half-hour queue to get seats. Throughout the long weekend, the screening programme by Sci-Fi London presented an impressive variety of TV and movie items, launching with steampunk feature, War Of The Worlds: Goliath, a Malaysian produced anime sequel to Wells’ story, with a voice-cast that included Adrian Paul.
 
Friday began with a discussion about ambiguity in fiction, and an entertaining media-related panel on 'Godzilla at 60'. Janie Fenn moderated the 'Space on Screen' panel that included Paul McAuley and Alastair Reynolds, and Gravity and Elysium were moving targets for criticism. The philharmonic orchestra assembled for LonCon 3 was clearly the highlight of the convention’s music programme, and I thought the interpretation of Doctor Who’s theme was stunning. If the BBC ever allows another big-screen production, something very like this would be a perfect score. 
 

I enjoyed the 'Politics of Utopia' panel on Saturday morning, where Kim Stanley Robinson and Maureen Kincaid Speller talked a lot good sense about a complex topic, and threads of that discussion were picked up by the following panel on what the SF term 'Banksian' means. On a tiny stage, two-hander 'Terminal Zone' was a play (by Andrew J. Wilson, circa 1993) about Rod Serling facing up to cancellation of Twilight Zone on TV. After the talk by artist Chris Achilleos, the late movie was a baffling sci-fi mystery, Cycle, which borrowed heavily from the imagery of Tron and 2001: A Space Odyssey, but lacked enough hints of narrative coherence to be fully entertaining, even as experimental art-house SF.

On Sunday, the media panel about spy-fi was amusing, and honest about cross-genre campiness. After that, I saw a TV screening of one episode from a BBC documentary about apocalyptic SF The Martians & Us: The End Of The World As We Know It, with contributions from the usual British genre suspects and thoughtful narration by Peter Capaldi. The science panel about 'Speculative Design' had some fascinating comments, but failed to focus on its topic beyond discussing the contrast between commerce and creativity, and industry versus art. Retro TV screening The Other Man (a 'lost' episode from the ITV-play series), was alternative history that starred Michael Caine and John Thaw. It was incomplete, and shown here mainly for its curiosity value, but this might be a worthwhile TV movie if a full restoration project ever becomes possible. 'War on Science' was a divisive topic, and the panel of working scientists discussing it neglected religion, in favour of profit, as the primary motivation for damage caused to research and studies. Scandinavian black comedy LFO: The Movie was a witty, and occasionally hilarious, low-budget SF drama about a mind-control system, and the ultimate effect upon its haunted inventor.

The last day started with an excellent panel on the 'Image as Idea' in genre cinema, Nick Lowe and Adam Roberts dominated the entertaining discussion, which ranged between intellectualism and artistry. Prof. David Southwood’s inspired talk, 'Science Fact and Science Fiction', proved to be a nostalgic reverie from the heart of a retired space engineer. I enjoyed every minute of his commentary on genre history. An 'Interview with Jim Burns' covered his 40-year career as a major SF/ fantasy artist. The final TV screening was the episode Fifteen Million Merits, from anthology series Black Mirror, created by Charlie Brooker. 15MM is a dystopian satire about consumerism and trash-TV. I can’t say that it’s tempted me to buy the DVD set, but I suspect the rest of this British series is worth seeing.

My suggestion for another British event is 'HALcon' 2018 (worth a WorldCon bid?), to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kubrick and Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Wouldn't that SF con be something to look forward to?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Hover-time

An update on my collection of diecast model helicopters...


Bought an Agusta NH-500E, a licence-built Italian version of the MD-500E (above). This completes my set of the 500 series, as I have already got several Hughes 369 and 500C or D models. This one has the pointed nose, along with the usual 5-blade main rotors and T-shaped tail fin. The model is by New Ray at 1:32 scale.

Also got an Agusta Westland AW-109S Grand, in Ferrari livery (below), another New Ray model, but this one is a larger helicopter so it's at 1:43 scale.

The Grand is a stretched version of the AW-109 Power (Hirundo), pictured below.


I got this model last year. It's in Italian police colours, and was imported from Italy. It's another New Ray model at 1:43. You can see an AW-109 helicopter in Avengers Assemble, where it's the SHIELD transport in the movie's crash sequence.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

TTA mags

New issues from TTA Press, just received -

INTERZONE #253 has my ‘Laser Fodder’ column of DVD & blu-ray reviews:

If... (7/10)
Gagarin: First In Space (6/10)
Her (6/10)
Under The Skin (7/10)
The Night Is Young (5/10)
Frau im Mond (5/10)

    Farting Excuses: also received
Mirage Men
Escape From Planet Earth
Hunting The Legend

BLACK STATIC #41 (with my name on the front cover, again... yay for me!) includes my ‘Blood Spectrum’ column:

    Massive Spoilers!
    (Sorry, but did that get your attention?)  

The Last Horror Movie (3/10)
Cellar Dweller (4/10)
Demon Legacy (3/10)
Pit And The Pendulum (6/10)
I, Frankenstein (5/10)
Re-Animator (8/10)
The Pit [aka: Jug Face] (4/10)
True Detective (7/10)
True Blood - season 6 (7/10)
13 Sins (6/10)
Rapture (6/10)
Haunter (4/10)

    Drudge Work: also received
    (Be a critic; they said. It’ll be fun; they said.)

The Forgotten
The Attic
Delivery
Devil's Due

Friday, 6 June 2014

Copterama

Habit or hobby? Another update about my collection of diecast model helicopters... 

With its blue tail and American bird motif, the Sikorsky SH-60F Ocean Hawk (US Navy) - made in 1:72 scale by Amercom - looks great, and it completes a range of all the ’Hawk variants that I could find.



Adding to my European helicopter models, I bought a Dutch navy version of the N.H.I. NH-90 Marine NFH (NATO frigate helicopter).



It’s a highly detailed 1:87 scale model by Schuco, and its light grey finish contrasts with the green and black German army NH-90 TTH (tactical transport helicopter) model - produced at 1:72 scale by Amercom - that I got in March this year.



Now my shelf load of Russian helicopters is practically complete, I also bought a couple of models from Poland, including a PZL SW-4 Puszczyk - trans: Tawny Owl (Amercom - 1:72), which looks like the Polish equivalent of a Eurocopter AS-350 A-Star.


 

This 1930s style Bat-gyro plane, in a new casting from the Johnny Lightning brand, is a metal kit produced at 1:64 scale.   





Monday, 19 May 2014

TTA zones

Just received the latest issues of TTA Press magazines.

BFS award winner, Interzone is up to #252 now, and the issue includes my ramblings about sci-fi movies on DVD & blu-ray. Here's the line-up, with ratings...

Sparks (6/10)
Scopers (3/10)
The Last Keepers (4/10)
Astronaut: The Last Push (2/10)
Ice Soldiers (5/10)
RoboCop [remake] (7/10)

Also out this month is Black Static #40, with another batch of my DVD & blu-ray reviews covering the the horror genre...  

    Old Is The New Cool
Blind Woman's Curse (6/10)
White Of The Eye (7/10)
Blood Sucking Freaks (2/10)
Phantom Of The Opera (6/10)
Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings (5/10)
Tourist Trap (6/10)
Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (5/10) 
Sisters (7/10)

    Duff Stuff: also received
Butcher Boys
The Borderlands
Antisocial
The Invoking
Hustlers
The Last House
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
Wrecked
Camp Dread

Sunday, 20 April 2014

New books


It was a bit of slog to get through, but I finished NEPTUNE’S BROOD by Charles Stross (Orbit). The numerous data-dumps about banking and debt made it a chore, as space opera, but in the ledger’s plus column of witty amusements there are talking-squid communists and the accountant-heroine is turned into a mermaid. 

This book is never as enjoyable as SATURN’S CHILDREN, and its SF content doesn’t compare to fix-up novel ACCELERANDO, but I liked its ‘jubilee’ ending as the interstellar empire emerges from its wholly dystopian state. 




From that otherworldly life aquatic (without Steve Zissou!), to something that’s even stranger... Adam Roberts’ bizarre TWENTY TRILLION LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (Gollancz), nicely illustrated in a traditional style.

It’s been half a lifetime since I first read Jules Verne's submarine saga, but I still have the Bancroft hardcover that I got for Xmas when I was eight years old. Roberts pays due tribute with a fabulous adventure set partly in the late 1950s, aboard a French experimental  sub, and partly in the weird cosmic depths of a watery universe, that's ruled by a crystalised entity with god-like powers, found via the mysterious portal at the bottom of Earth’s oceans.   


 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

New IZ & BS

Interzone #251 is out now, featuring my 'Laser Fodder' column of DVD & blu-ray reviews.

Here's the line-up, with ratings:

Frankenstein [TV, 2004] (4/10)
Bangkok Assassins (1/10)
Nick Fury: Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2/10)
Thor: The Dark World (8/10)
Ender's Game (4/10)
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (6/10)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (5/10)
The Machine (3/10)

    Band Cult: 88 Films
Doctor Mordrid (6/10)
Robot Wars (3/10)

I also wrote the editorial (a rant about movies, of course) for this issue.

Interzone arrived with the latest Black Static (#39), which includes my 'Blood Spectrum' column on movies and TV.

This issue's coverage:

Dracula: The Dark Prince (2/10)
Vikings - season 1 (4/10)
Alice, Sweet Alice (5/10)
Banshee Chapter (1/10)
Dolls (6/10)
Dead Of Night (8/10)
Phantom Of The Paradise (5/10)
We Are What We Are [remake] (6/10)
In Fear (2/10)

    Entrance Strategies - is about first movies by new directors... 
Muirhouse
Nothing Left To Fear
The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts Of Georgia
Paranormal Xperience
Skinwalkers
Bloody Homecoming 
Memory Lane
The Black Water Vampire
Hatchet III
Outpost 3: Rise Of The Spetsnaz

    Exit Signs: also received
Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero
Evidence

  

Saturday, 8 March 2014

WSFC & etc


PERCEPTION & COMMUNICATION
March this year began with a twittering hullabaloo of Wossgate, a storm-in-a-thimble of unwary insults in reaction to news that Jonathan Ross had been invited to host the Hugo awards ceremony at Worldcon (London, this August). After blame-game fallout and much post-mortem blogging, one particularly odd reality emerged. There are still many fans and professionals alike who believe a community or even a family exists in genre circles. I have only attended a few conventions (including Glasgow WSFC 2005, and four British cons since), but found no evidence of any community spirit - whether tribal, social, or philosophical. There is no more likely a ‘community’ in science fiction or sci-fi than could accurately be located amongst cineastes or book lovers; charted in gatherings of alcoholics or chocolate-addicts; or identified in protests by the so-called LGBT community demanding equal rights. Even if sociopolitical leanings are similar, groups of individuals assembling to celebrate a field that’s as vastly diverse as science fiction are no more likely to share common interests than car owners all driving down a motorway in the same direction. To assume that fandom reactions - to naming such a mildly controversial minor celebrity as a toastmaster of the Hugo awards - would be roughly uniform is, obviously, utter folly. My suggestion for someone more suitable to present rocket-ship shaped awards is: ask an astronaut; there are two or three British spacers to choose from, after all. Of course, UK astronauts would be no more relevant to the Hugo awards than a TV chat-show host, and I’m sure that some fans of science fiction would object (to Helen Sharman or Michael Foale), but that’s the whole point.

In a field like SF, composed of literary or screen media - some passive entertainments and others interactive, there can be no consensus. Critics and scholars fail to agree on a single, all-embracing definition of SF (and will even debate what those initials stand for), so there is little or no hope of reaching harmony on such issues as a public figure with an appeal that is broad enough to satisfy the many without angering the few. The best that we (and I only use that plural pronoun as a generalisation!) can expect from any committee-led choice is an unhappy compromise. Conflict is, quite probably, the only constant in the quagmire of disparate concerns thrown together under the leaky umbrella of SF. Even my limited experience of genre conventions in this country (can England and Scotland still be grouped politically as UK or not?) made it fairly clear to me that SF fandom is nothing like a community of any sort. Rife with the bookish, the introverted, trivia-obsessed geeks, charmless extroverts, and riddled with goggle-eyed cliques, fandom is a convergence of inequalities and vested interests; more unhealthy patchwork of many clashing colours than an explanatory Venn diagram of overlapped professions and hobbies. All the genre conventions I have attended seemed like failed experiments in recreating the Babel myth. Today’s SF cons are constructed from dust motes and air bubbles, not bricks and mortar. The measure of success for such events is only how much hot-air can be generated for a balloon to rise. Fandom is more like a mirage than a monument.

But where did the misconception of an SF community first come from? Even if it’s not entirely to blame, perhaps the faulty thinking can be traced back to a popular cultural misunderstanding of McLuhan’s term, ‘the global village’, a wholly illusory worldwide medium linked by the Internet, where Twitter storms offer the very latest in rumours and gossip alongside hard-won facts and news items condensed to sound-bite format, with no readily discernable difference between vital truth and trash talk. As we (again I use that for want of a better term) meander through daily life, isolated by physical/ geographical distance, connected merely by consumer electronics, while attempting to redefine via social media (like Facebook, etc) what ‘friendship’ means, and create newfangled working relationships without maintaining (or ever making) eye-contact, there seems no hope that networks built entirely online could be used as the basis for anything resembling a practical community.

I am old enough to remember when media/ fiction magazines had letter-columns like a built-in fanzine. Nowadays, publishers (like TTA Press) have online forums, and yet readers very rarely use them; the same few names pop-up month after month, and so it seems as if only the regular contributors bother to communicate with each other in a meaningful way. It’s no wonder then that individual blogs have superseded, but not properly replaced, reviewing sites. The fabled conversation that SF used to be is gone. In its place is the randomised noise produced by instantly ‘published’ comments and ‘like’ buttons, and texts of 140 characters. With such limitations on the messages that are broadcast with gleeful ignorance, and responded to with a lack of concern for any glimpse of the big picture, it’s no wonder that Internet activity has long since become a massive time-sink and a sheer waste of effort.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

HeloDrome

Here's some details about my latest Rotary Action related purchases, now on display in the ‘Hanger 13’ cabinets...  
Chop Chop helicopter
This 'Chop Chop' plastic helicopter is battery operated but it’s at least 35 years old, so modern batteries don’t fit into its differently sized compartment. Made in China for American company Marx Toys (long since gone), it is in good condition for its age. The USAF or RAF markings and window stickers are missing but, anyway, it’s the colour (my favourite) that makes this plastic toy such a collectible item for me.

Sikorsky’s MH-X Silent Hawk, is a version of the UH-60 (S-70) Black Hawk modified for stealth. Two of these helicopters were used by the SEAL team in a mission against Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan (as depicted in the movie Zero Dark Thirty). This is a neat diecast model, the very first of its kind, made by Italeri (who previously produced a fine model of an Agusta-Westland AW-101 Merlin from Skyfall), at a scale of 1:100. 
Silent Hawk
It’s a great addition to the ’Hawks (note the six-blade rotors, a contrast to the usual four on this type of helicopter) of my Sikorsky collection, which includes two Black Hawk models (New Ray - 1:60, and Amercom - 1:72), an SH-60B Sea Hawk (New Ray - 1:60), a bigger MH-60G Pave Hawk (FOV - 1:48), a U.S. Coast Guard HH-60J Jay-Hawk (Winged Ace, easy model - 1:72), a sand-coloured Desert Hawk, and a VH-60N ‘White Hawk’ (the U.S. President’s ‘Marine One’ flight), both smaller models made by the Maisto brand. An SH-60F Ocean Hawk (Amercom - 1:72) is still on my wants list.  
Super Stallion
Also added to my Sikorsky range, the CH-53E Super Stallion (Motor Max - 1:72), was bought cheaply (only £7) in Amazon’s New Year sales. Unlike the better quality model of the similar MH-53E Sea Dragon (Amercom - 1:72) that I bought last summer, this Super Stallion is a contrast with shiny and rather plasticy-looking finish to its die-cast weight, presenting itself as something in-between a collector’s model (boxed for static display, the CH-53 is screwed onto its own labelled stand), and a fairly detailed toy for playing with. Nonetheless, it’s a nifty item suitable for positioning on top of a small cabinet.  
Sea Dragon



Friday, 24 January 2014

IZ250

Without a big fanfare, Interzone reaches its 250th issue, and I'm proud to be a part of its critical success - that, hopefully, will continue for many years to come. 

My usual 'Laser Fodder' column of DVD & blu-ray reviews for this landmark issue covers mostly newer SF & fantasy material:

Man Of Steel (8/10)
Big Trouble In Little China (9/10)
Elysium (8/10)
Upstream Colour (7/10)
Riddick (5/10)
Scavengers (1/10)
Game Of Thrones - season 3 (7/10)

    Peripheral Sighting: also received
Wolf Children

Also published this week, Black Static #38 includes another 'Blood Spectrum' batch of horror movie reviews:

The Conjuring (7/10)
Insidious 2 (4/10)
Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters (4/10)
You're Next (3/10)
Blood Glacier (4/10)
Bounty Killer (5/10)
The Complex (6/10)
Kiss Of The Damned (4/10)
Odd Thomas (5/10)
John Dies At The End (8/10) 

    Job Lot: also received
Big Ass Spider (3/10)
The Colony (2/10)
Prisoners (4/10)
Frost (1/10)