Sunday, 22 November 2015


The funny thing about having a hobby that I call ‘extreme collecting’ - mainly diecast models of helicopters, aeroplanes, assorted NASA vehicles, and sci-fi/ fantasy related items - is that when looking out for new stuff on e-bay now, the problem is I’ve already got one (my list of rotorcraft is 29 pages, but I’ve actually lost count of how many models there are), or I am really not interested (WW2 bombers, numerous airliners, blah), or - in a few cases - I simply can’t afford one (seen the ridiculous prices for Product Enterprise’s Gerry Anderson range?).
I have also reached the stage where all the display space left in the house is down to just a couple of shelves.  

My recent bargain buys include four aircraft of types that can float in water (see also 'flying boats'). Two are imported part-works from the Russian/ USSR Legends magazine series:

#63, Beriev A-40 Albatross (NATO name: Mermaid), a rare a jet-engined amphibious aircraft. The diecast model is by DeAgostini - 1:350 scale.

#82, Shavrov Sh-2S (nicknamed ‘Rusalka’ in USSR) a small wooden aircraft, this was the first mass-produced Russian plane of its type in the 1930s. From DeAgostini, this small (wing-span only 12 cm) diecast model (scale - 1:111) is the ambulance version.

The third is an Italian military float-plane, the three-engined CANT Z.506B Airone (Italian for ‘Heron’). It’s a sturdy diecast model produced by Altaya in 1:144 scale. 

I also bought a Savoia-Marchetti S.55X. A twin-hulled flying boat, this was used by Italian air marshal Balbo in a V-formation flight of 24 planes for the historic Atlantic crossing to Chicago for the World’s Fair in 1933. Exquisitely detailed, this diecast and plastic model is produced by Italeri - 1:144 scale. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

New mags

Due to the mystery of consciousness we apprehend our world via pattern recognition. Cloud shapes are signs from above. Untoward events are omens from beyond. Optical illusions defy our mental processing, attaining a form of modest perfection in cinema. Thinking one thing leads us to think of another thing but we often confuse connection with causality because everything is relative. Except for scientific evidence, objectivity is impossible, but well informed opinions are more useful than rushed judgements, or unconsidered viewpoints. Of course, when abandoning rationality and logic, in favour of the metaphorical and the poetic, there is a profound risk of creating art, or, at least, recognising it for purposes of media commentary. So, is realism in movies insufficient for artistic expression?

Meanwhile, the latest issues of TTA Press magazines are out now. Interzone #261 includes my 'Laser Fodder' column of blu-ray & DVD reviews. Here's the line-up + ratings:

The Dance Of Reality (7/10)
The Flash - season 1 (6/10)
Arrow - season 3 (5/10)
Iceman (6/10)
Infini (3/10)
Max Max: Fury Road (8/10)
Turbo Kid (6/10)
Dark Matter - season 1 (6/10)
Haven - season 5 (6/10)
Metal Hurlant Resurgence (4/10)
Terminator Genisys (4/10)
Technotise: Edit & I (7/10)
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (3/10)

     Spec Ops: Retro
Eyes Without A Face (8/10)
Seconds (7/10)

     Skunky Chunks: Round-up
Tour Of Duty
Elimination Game
Alien Strain
Song Of The Sea

There's also Black Static #49 with my Blood Spectrum column about horror movies & TV.

The Canal (3/10)
Hard To Be A God (7/10)
John Wick (7/10)
The Man Who Could Cheat Death (6/10)
Gotham - season 1 (6/10)
Bones - season 10 (6/10)
Insidious - chapter 3 (3/10)
Wer (3/10)
The Naked Prey (5/10)
Pay The Ghost (5/10)
The Skull (6/10)

     Utter Matters: Round-up
Final Girl
Blood Moon
The Houses Of Halloween
The Passage
A Christmas Horror Story
Deadly Virtues
Knock Knock
Let Us Prey
The Messenger