Thursday, 24 July 2014


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
Devil's Due

Friday, 6 June 2014


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
The Invoking
The Last House
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
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.