Sunday, 17 May 2015

Roundabouts



Just watched The Magic Roundabout (2005), which had been on my DVD rental queue for years. Whereas The Clangers was a great sci-fi/ fantasy, the original Magic Roundabout of the 1960s was never as marvellously eccentric as genre entertainment or quite astonishingly weird as cultural artifice for children’s TV.

Stuffed with star voices - including Tom Baker, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley, Bill Nighy, Ian McKellen, Robbie Williams, Ray Winstone, and Kylie Minogue (who also does a new theme song) - as this movie is, there’s no denying it is basically a British attempt on the American market’s dominance of fairytale quests in animated format. 

Here we have Dougal ‘Baggins’ and a fellowship of the runaway train from the village square in the shire, that is clearly designed/ intended to compete with those kung fu penguins, and whatnot. 

It’s a colourful adventure, with a superhero cinema plotline (baddie Zeebad schemes to freeze the world with magic diamonds), and various po-mo jokes (Dylan is a Kinks fan!), that lacks the obvious charms of Wallace and Gromit. Oh well, it’ll soon be time for bed. 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Flying boats



I have always liked old flying boats and the amphibious type of aircraft rates highly on my top 10 planes list. As throwbacks to a nearly-forgotten era of bygone aviation freedoms, these big sea-planes remain iconic simply because they didn’t need runways. Any stretch of open water made landing and takeoff easy, although it helped if the plane could coast up to a pier or jetty for passengers to disembark or for unloading cargo.

Centrepiece of my flying boats collection of diecast models is a Short S-25 Sunderland III, a BOAC ‘Hythe’ class prop-liner (reg. G-AGKY) named Hungerford. A very heavy model of solid construction, this is a shiny limited edition (at 1:144 scale) from Corgi. 


Also a BOAC aircraft, I have a Boeing 314 Clipper (not pictured). It's another Corgi model, but only a very small one (wingspan: 125mm) of an unknown ‘fit-the-box’ scale.   


The main American flying boat I have is a Consolidated PB2Y-3 Coronado. A highly detailed 1:144 scale model (more plastic than metal, see above) made by Amercom, this diecast product usually comes with a free magazine.



Japanese ‘Emily’ is a Kawanishi H8K2, and this 1:144 scale model from Amercom is another part-work of the fortnightly Giant Warplanes magazine collection.


On my wants list:
German plane Dornier Do X (above) is a Lufthansa aircraft with six engines, and the model is produced by Postage Stamp Planes - scale 1:350, and Russian Beriev A-40 Albatross (rare jet-engined flying-boat only built as a prototype), from DeAgostini.     

Friday, 20 March 2015

Eclipsed

While I wait for the Solar eclipse to darken a solid grey sky, here's a quick update about what's in two new issues of the magazines...

Interzone #257

My 'Laser Fodder' column of DVD & blu-ray reviews:

Extant - season 1 (4/10)
The Haunting Of Black Wood (6/10)
Enemy (4/10)
The Maze Runner (4/10)
The Rendlesham UFO Incident (1/10)
Coherence (2/10)
Dark Planet (7/10)
Game Of Thrones - season 4 (7/10)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (3/10)
Continuum (4/10)
Halo: Nightfall (4/10)
The Device (1/10)
The Signal (5/10)


Black Static #45

My 'Blood Spectrum' column of movies & TV:

The Guest (3/10)
Dark House (3/10)
Grace: The Possession (2/10)
Jessabelle (3/10)
The Babadook (7/10)
The Calling (4/10)
Annabelle (4/10)
The Other (6/10)
Clown (5/10)
REC: Apocalypse (6/10)
Wolves (3/10)
Horns (5/10)
Zombie Resurrection (1/10)
Doc Of The Dead (4/10)

    Dunce Macabre: round-up
Ninjas Vs. Monsters
Phobia
Hunting The Legend
Exists
Scar Tissue
A Haunting At Silver Falls
Kissing Darkness

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Look up!



Here's another post about my collection of diecast models...
 
Long before British squad the Red Arrows became synonymous, the world over, with aerobatic displays, the RAF had other flying teams, using different planes. My diecast model of the Reds' BAE Hawk is a budget-priced Corgi version at 1:72 scale.



Way back in the 1950s, the Black Arrows (of RAF 111 Squadron) flew Hawker Hunter jets, and the team still hold a couple of world records (including one for 22 aircraft performing a loop in formation). This Hawker Hunter F, mark 6, diecast is 1:72 scale - again by Corgi.  



In the 1960s, the RAF’s 92 Squadron took over, with the Blue Diamonds also flying Hawker Hunters. 



This popular British plane was also used by Belgian display team the Red Devils (aka: Diables Rouges). All three of these diecast models are just variations of the same Corgi product.



The immediate predecessors of the British ‘Reds’ team, an RAF unit called the Yellowjacks, flew in a jet trainer called the Folland Gnat. My diecast model of this plane is by Aviation 72. 



The Gnats were inherited by the Red Arrows and operated until 1980, when the team switched to flying the Hawk. I also have the 1:72 scale Amercom version of this plane, which is a more detailed model than the Corgi diecast (see top), but it's a lighter product using more plastic than metal.      


Friday, 23 January 2015

IZ&Co

The new issue of Black Static (#44) includes my 'Blood Spectrum' column of movie & TV reviews. Here's the line-up with ratings:

The Girl Who Knew Too Much (4/10)
Nekromantik (5/10)
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (7/10) 
Deliver Us From Evil (6/10)
Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead (6/10)
Ragnarok: The Viking Apocalypse (5/10)

    TV 21: State of the Art
Vikings - season 2 (5/10)
True Blood - season 7 (6/10)
The Strain - season 1 (7/10)

    Barmy Surplus: round-up
The Rover
Honeymoon
Ganja & Hess

Arriving on the same day, Interzone #256 has my regular column, 'Laser Fodder', of DVD & blu-ray reviews, including:

X-Men: Days Of Future Past (7/10)
Out Of This World: Little Lost Robot (5/10)
Spirited Away (3/10)
The Congress (8/10)
Patema Inverted (6/10)
Left Behind (4/10)
Before I Go To Sleep (5/10)
The Giver (6/10)
Beyond (2/10)
Ejecta (1/10)

Pleased to note how my rambling editorial rant about spoiler-mania chimes in - well, sort of, anyway! - with Jonathan McCalmont's excellent 'Future Interrupted' column of telling comments about the Allure of Ambiguity. Whether considering books or movies, it seems we're both thinking about the importance of interpretations.