Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mermaids from Pirates of the Caribbean : On Stranger Tides

I have updated the mermaids blog piece with more and some better images. Sorry about this as I only discovered more later on. 

OK, so I'm a little late on this ... actually I just saw this movie and it wasn't exactly as good as it was with the last 3 movies. Its still good since I was left entertained, and of course the highlight in that movie to me were ... yes, those mermaids. This is not scale modeling per se, but it is an interesting topic for one.

I have always been fascinated with mermaids since I was very young, and it took Disney's version of "The Little Mermaid" to make me appreciate mermaids again. Of course that one was only a cartoon, so I it didn't really do much except that it rekindled some interest. I had always hoped that one days a movie would come along using state of the art effects to bring these creatures to life - really life like, I just didn't expect it done by Disney.

Its by far the best mermaid representation I've seen yet, and beautifully brought to life. And it helps when they got beautiful truly ladies for the roles. Here they are some of the Mermaids posing on the set.

And here they are again after growing legs so they can blend in and sneak into all those bars and pubs without their other sisters knowledge. 

More beautiful profile shots of Gemma Ward, Jorgelina Airaldi and Breanne Berret .

Here's the concept art for the mermaids which I'm glad they weren't followed through. I rather have them as seen in the movie.

The Director had wanted them to look natural and beautiful since they are suppose to attract sailors with their singing to lure them to their doom. The models selected for the mermaid role (besides being beautiful) had to also have one very important criteria - no breast implants. Everything must be natural. Wonder how they check that. Hence another design which is much closer to what we see on screen.

More images after the jump

Friday, August 26, 2011

Just got my Complete Battlestar Galactica DVD Box Set

Collected my complete Battlestar Galactica DVD Box Set today - Finally. Had to wait nearly 7 months for these to come in since I had wanted only the originals, and almost gave up on her. The long wait was due to Tower Records' unreliable old distributor, though they are pretty good with helping me get some pretty rare classic TV series from the yesteryear's. Anyway I was informed that their old distributor had went out of business a few months ago, leaving them in dire straights as numerous orders went unfulfilled. So they had to go look for these through a new distributor, or so I was told. Nevertheless, it was worth the wait.

Of course I expected a few DVD box casings when I was told the set comes with 37 Discs, but I didn't expect them to be packaged together in one huge and heavy behemoth box. And I must be really either crazy or obsessed with BSG. My back hasn't completely healed (Yeah, threw my back out on Wednesday and am still on pain killers) and I was adamant on collecting her.

The set itself was sealed and very nice though, but pity it didn't come with little souvenirs like the other box sets. Took me a while to figure out how to open her too, since I didn't want to damage the Set's packaging.

Inside, both the old and re-imagined series were packaged into two cardboard boxes, the old in one and the new in the other, and in order too.

The old series consisted of the complete classic Battlestar Galactica series from 1978 - 1980 as follows:

Battlestar Galactica - The Movie
Mission Galactica - The Cylon Attack
BSG Complete Original Series
A bonus disc - no idea what's in this one yet
And then the dreaded Galactica 1980.

I wasn't particularly fond of Galactica 1980 and had always associated her with Star Trek V The Final Frontier - yeah, it never happened. But I guess being a fan, its good to have a complete set of these. I don't mind watching them all over again, despite the crappy story lines.

And then inside the re-imagined series box set, we have the following:

Battlestar Galactica Mini Series
BSG Season 1
BSG Season 2
BSG Season 3
BSG Season 4 Part 1 and includes BSG Razor (TV Movie)
BSG Season 4 Part 2
Bonus Disk - again no idea yet what's inside this one
BSG - The Plan (TV Movie)

And yes, no surprises here, the moment I got home, did all my house chores and began watching BSG from the beginning again. Already finished the classic movie and Mission Galactica, still have all those TV episodes to go. I plan to screen capture lots of images later as the copies are quite clear.

So if you notice me missing for a while, I'm probably in front of the TV. Thank Goodness for the long holiday next week, all that time to relieve my childhood fave TV series. Oh Frak yeah!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sci Fi Art Concepts - Space Babes

Just taking a ahort break from Starships, Starfighters, hover crafts, and what nought for the day, I decided to just browse through my old archieve folders and found these, a collection of concept art ladies beautifully rendered by their respective artist, be it by paint or through digital means.

Since they're just sitting there diong nothing, might as well share them here. Enjoy.

More after the jump

The Hornethopter in 1/35 scale is open for booking

Alrighty, after my .. ahem ... "extensive" coverage on Steampunks, lets look at the next upcoming kit from FichtenFoo called the Hornethopter. After going underwater with the Fish-Shaped Submersible, its now time to take to the skies. Another superbly unique offering with the kit looking like a giant hornet and requiring a pilot to fly this mechanized giant insect, now that in my book is truly pure science fiction. The Hornethopter's main diet apparently are Airships, abundantly found in Germany during WWI I presume?

The kit itself looks solid and very detailed with 32 resin parts, 2 photoetch frets, glass cabochon (I assume its either for the wings or eyes) and 2 pilot figures among other materials. Again this wonderful masterpiece was designed by Michael Fichtenmayer who was responsible for the Fish-Shaped Submersible. As for the pilot, he sure reminds me of something from Maschinen Krieger.

Here are some more close up shots of the details on each parts. Impressive to say the least, and assembly looks easy enough. It looks like the main legs are joined via ball joints, allowing you to pose her in various posses be it in flights, landing or attacking. The leg mid section looks rigid though so I doubt you can pose those (I could be wrong here).

More images after the jump and if you are impressed with the kit like I am, click HERE to place your orders for the first edition.

Steampunk? "Who are you calling a Punk??"

Steampunk, a radical concept with a vast following but to the uninitiated, mere mention of that word and you're going to get that response. But I'm sure a lot of you have heard of that phrase before. So what exactly is Steampunk?

I won't go into the specifics as I myself am trying to understand the concept, but it has something to the with the Victorian period (you know, those days where you dress up for no occasion, and your pinky needs to be extended out when you hold your cup of tea) plus rock and roll, and creative steam machines equals radical technological advancement in machinery development ..... OK, science fiction on drugs. And to ride along with this technology are curious characters that dresses up like they were caught between the Victorian period, a S&M Boutique shop, and the Borg during the 1920s. Don't laugh ... its cool ... in a Gothic sort of way.

So why are people so fascinated with steampunk. Well, I can't speak for everyone but to me, its how they use advance machinery to make it look simple and yet practical for everyday life, a cross between modern and the past that can't seem to make up its mind, a time when you make your own rules. Its fantasy at its simplest, science fiction at its basic, and it just looks damn cool.

FichtenFoo's Fantastical Fish-Shaped Submersible

For all those looking for really pure Science Fiction stuff, and I am talking about those nifty art work you find with all those heavy Science Fiction Novels in a bookstore, and not referring to those Mechas from Japan, the offering for scale model kits of this genre are unfortunately very limited. The reason stems from the fact that not many people are willing to foray into making kits out of these, and not many know how. That may change real soon.

Meet FichtenFoo, illustrator, modeler and model kit maker (GK) extraordinaire. The first time I got to know about this scale modeler was when he was promoting a very unique kit. And it was through this kit that I began to notice his skills and talents. I checked out his blog and was pleasantly surprised with his designs. It was as if he was bringing back the Science Fiction era of the 1950s - 80s forward past the millennium, an era I can relate with growing up in anticipation of seeing rocket ships gracing our city skyscrapers and travelling to Mars. The more I followed his WIPs (Work In Progress) forum threads, the more impressed I was with him. This man has eyes for details and is able to bring them to life, making them look... well, practical, yet surreal. Even his military builds has a mixture of elements from World War II hardware meets Battletech, elegant machines that subtly hints of their deadliness.

His work with Michael Fichtenmayer on the Fantastical Fish-Shaped Submersible shows a dramatic evolution that combines fantasy with science fiction, bringing what that was only a dream into an actual model kit. A combination of resin parts and photoetch sets, this kit is truly uniquely equal to ... none. Well, it is unique. It is also eye catching, and more importantly, it tinkers with your mind. It sorts of bring people back to their youth and make them reminiscence what they knew about Science Fiction then.

Of course the problem with young people nowadays, with the advent of CGIs, vessels and vehicles portrayed in the movies today become more complicated, fast and complex. The trend now of course is to produce intimidating looking crafts that speaks of convenience, mobility, power, and more power. That's the beauty about Science Fiction in the early years, they spoke a different tune, one of exploration, to travel into the unknown and learn. Something FichtenFoo clearly brought about with his offerings.

Lets take a closer look at the Fantastical Fish-Shaped Submersible after the jump.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Finding it difficult to scribe a straight line?

Scribing ... yes, that very word literally sends chill down a lot of scale modeler's spine. I too am a victim and without fail, I have never ever made a scribing error free kit yet. The problem doesn't lie with the scribers used, but more often the apparatus used to guide the scriber. Its not a big problem when you want to re-scribe existing panel lines, but what if you wanted to create new ones?

And when a mistake is done .. do you get frustrated and feel like giving up? I sometimes do.

Check out David W. Angust's article on re scribing panel lines HERE

The first lesson I learned about scribing is that you need the correct tools for the job. That knowledge went down the drain when I found out some "experts" were scribing perfect lines on curve objects using an ordinary X-acto hobby knife and doing it free hand. Don't you just feel helpless when you see that. But don't let that stop you from getting these tools though. They are very handy.

Then I learned that practise makes perfect. At the rate my mistakes are going, its like I'm forever learning. But there is some truth to this.

When I found out these scribers could also be used as tools to cut off pieces off your kit's parts' (and I mean cut off in perfect straight lines or curves), the fear of scribing disappeared altogether for me. Learned that when I was working on my DC-10-30 conversion project. And I found that out when learning to cut styrene sheets using a scriber.

Of course the job of cutting off all those flaps and slats was made easier since all I needed to do was to follow the recessed lines that's already there. I still have a big problem scribing new lines where there is none. I've been using Dymo tapes as a guide.

It worked for a while, but the problem with Dymo tapes is that you can only use each strip once. The moment you tear them off the surface when you're done scribing, the tape gets bent, and no longer sticks well on the next new surface. Another words, very difficult to re-use.

I needed something solid and re-usable, something that could bend along the contours of a curved surface and yet do straight lines That was when I came across these:

Pretty neat huh. Its a ruler made of Copper from SBS Models, flexible, durable and re-usable. I managed to purchase these off Hobbylink Japan. I haven't had a chance to try her out yet, but they do look promising. They? Well, yes, they come in either Metric or Inches.  

Just thought I'd share this handy tool, in case if you're like me struggling with scribing all the time, this could possibly be an answer. No harm trying.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Conversion Kit Alert - Modify your Mark VII to the VIIE Colonial Viper

Mark VIIE Viper? Is there even such a thing you ask? Well, again I have highlighted this before. Its a variant of the current Moebius Mark VII Viper, and was seen in operation on board the Battlestar Pegasus.

The variant Mark VIIE can be seen in my previous blog, with the Timeslip Creations' Mark VIIE kit, the very first kit made for the VIIE. She's a superbly crafted resin kit with lots of details, and highly accurate to the tee. Comes with a resin pilot figure but missing are the landing gears. 

Here's Starbuck piloting a Mark VIIE before doing another one of her signature landing, this time with a Razor Cylon Raider on top of her.

To see the difference, check out my highlight HERE or see a couple of images from that post below

Now do you see the difference? The bad news is that Moebius do not have any plans to produce this variant. The good news is that there is a conversion set done to enable you to modify your current MKVII to a VIIE variant. Its from Brad Hair Productions and its available at CultTVMan Hobbyshop

Here's how the conversion looks when attached unto the Moebius MKVII kit.

And Wallah!!! You now have an official Battlestar Pegasus variant .. or Atlantia, whichever suit your fancy. Neat huh ... Well .... Tricia seems to agree ....

OK, couldn't help posting that image. She did ask for it by tweeting them. Seriously there are still some work that needs to be done to completely overhaul your kit into the "E" variant. Brad Hair's parts took care of the main challenges, leaving the little things to your own creativity. I'll highlight more when I come to my Mark VIIE.