Theatre Studies

So, as it’s my birthday weekend and I’m usually gallivanting around the country at this time of year, this weekend doesn’t usually see much in the way of hobby-related activities being completed. However, what with the reduction in overall salary coming in, a jaunt to far-flung places couldn’t really be justified this year – so I was treated to a surprise lunch at an Ascot restaurant, followed by a trip to the cinema. And because my family like to surprise me, it wasn’t until the title card came up on the screen that I knew which movie I was about to see…

It was the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which, for a long-term Queen fan such as myself, was a treat in itself. Not strictly 100% historically accurate, but an enjoyable celebration of Messrs Mercury, May, Taylor and Deacon, with some spot-on performances by the actors concerned. And plenty of cracking music.

Anyway, birthing-day stuff aside, I found my modelling talents called upon this weekend to assist my daughter, who is studying Drama at A Level. She was required to produce a model of a theatre set to show to her teacher how she would stage a specific play.

There she was, sitting in the middle of the lounge, surrounded by cardboard boxes, mouth turned down at the corners and getting stressed due to the fact that she had a few rough sketches of what she wanted to achieve, but no real idea of how to go about it.

My wife turned to me and said, “Jeremy, Can you help her?”

I, of course, being a responsible parent, immediately said “Yes, of course,” whilst rubbing my hands together inside my head with glee.  So, I cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war…gaming.

She needed the ‘black box theatre’ main building, the set – which must have two working doors and a large picture window – and a variety of scale furniture, including a filing cabinet, desk, two chairs, a coat-stand and what she described as an ‘old telephone’, i.e. a rotary dial ‘phone.

So, having talked it back and forward with her, we began work and it was finally completed about 10.30pm last night. And this is the result;

To give a sense of size, it’s approximately 1: 24 scale, so 1 inch equals roughly 2 feet. This is a bit of a departure for me, as I usually work at 28mm, which is approximately 1:56-ish.

I was responsible for the all the furniture and have to say I’m pretty pleased with how it came out, as everything is immediately identifiable as what it was intended to be. Whilst not obvious in the picture above, the filing cabinet does have individual handles on each drawer.

So, a weekend where I was treated to lunch out, a visit to the cinema and actively encouraged by my wife to unleash my inner geek for the benefit of my daughter.

Can’t really complain now, can I?

Until next time…

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Corvuscope – A New Place to Visit

After my last post, The Doctor and the Crow, it occurred to me that whilst I did want to post reviews of tv shows, movies and books, this blog wasn’t really the ideal platform to do so.

So rather than interrupt the regular (or semi-regular) posts regarding my exploits in the wargaming hobby arena, I’ve decided that a separate blog should be created that will just feature the content noted above.

It’s called Corvuscope – which roughly means “What the Crow saw”. I know it’s not 100% grammatically or linguistically correct, but Corvuscope sounds a bit cooler than “Visum Corvus”.

Just an introductory post on there at present, explaining the purpose of the blog and not currently searchable via Google – it takes a while for it to pop up on the search engine – but once it does, it will probably be the first choice, as my previous search on this name only came up with two results.

So, if you are at all interested in my views on those fictional worlds that are created on the big or small screen or within the pages of a book, join me over there, where I will give my considered and honest opinion of them, in my own inimitable style.

You may agree, you may disagree, but hopefully you’ll find it entertaining and it just might point you in the direction of something you haven’t heard of and encourage you to give it a try.

The Doctor and the Crow

Something a little different for this post…

As long-term readers will know, I am a big fan of the BBC television series Doctor Who. Unlike other fans out there, I do not differentiate between what they refer to as “Classic Who” and “Nu-Who” – as far as I’m concerned, it’s all one series, which had a bit of a break in transmission between 1987 and 2005.

And long-term readers will also know that that I’m not afraid to express my considered opinion, even if it is variance with the general consensus of the nation.

For example, whilst I did thoroughly enjoy the Black Panther film, unlike other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seemed a little…familiar. Basically, in my opinion, Black Panther is The Lion King with a big dollop of James Bond.

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And now I’ve probably ruined it for everyone…

Anyway, let’s get back to Doctor Who.

Once again, unlike the polarised views of the viewing public, I don’t give a monkey’s that the Doctor is now female. When selecting an actor to portray the Doctor, you choose the best person for the role and gender isn’t an issue. Was there a big outcry when Michelle Gomez was revealed as the Master? Of course not, because she was so bloody good in the role.

Having now watched the first two episodes of the new series with Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor and Chris Chibnall as lead writer and showrunner, I feel that I can give a considered opinion on the new series.

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The first episode introducing the new incarnation of the Doctor should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from this version – we knew what sort of Doctor we were getting with Eccleston, Tennant and Smith from the off, as we did with all the previous incarnations. Capaldi took a while to develop fully, so I didn’t immediately warm to him and it appears that Whittaker may follow a similar path…which brings me to my issue with the series so far.

Chris Chibnall is probably best known as the creator and writer of Broadchurch, which has been rightly hailed as a decent bit of television. And he is no stranger to the Whoniverse, having written five episodes of the main series, as well as eight episodes of the Torchwood spin-off.

But, whilst his particular brand of deep characterisation may work well over a complete series such as Broadchurch, it doesn’t fare so well in a series such as Doctor Who. His previous episodes for Doctor Who were the tenth Doctor episode “42”, and the eleventh Doctor episodes “The Hungry Earth”, “Cold Blood”, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” and “The Power of Three.” I think we can safely discount his Torchwood writing credits, as he was responsible for the most godawful episode ever -“Cyberwoman.” Trust me, if you haven’t seen this episode, count yourself very fortunate.

The thing that all these episodes share is that the focus is on the other characters in the episode, rather than “Who” it should be. The order of importance should be: The Doctor, the threat/aliens and then the companions. Chibnall puts the peripheral characters first, followed by the Doctor and the plot of the episode is almost an afterthought.

Given that his last work on Who was back in 2012 with “The Power of Three”, an episode that was all about the Ponds with a particular daft plot and nonsensical ‘villain’, and he’d been doing sterling work on Broadchurch in-between, I thought I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and approached the new series with an open-ish mind. But having watched the first two episodes, they fall into the same category as his previous ones.

In “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” we get introduced to a bunch of characters that we know are going to end up as the Doctor’s travelling companions and don’t actually see the new incarnation of the Doctor until at least ten minutes in. Lots of backstory for these characters, but not much for us to get to know the new Doctor, who initially comes across as a slightly hyperactive Victoria Wood.

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“By ‘eck, did someone say Eccles Cakes?!”

Then we get our ‘villain’ – a knock-off Predator in a rather cool suit, who disappointingly doesn’t turn out to be a multi-eyed bug under the helmet, but an intergalactic blue tooth-fairy. Called ‘Tim Shaw’…

It’s the first episode of the new series and it should have been…bigger. Louder, more dangerous, with a truly memorable villain. This felt like a mid-season episode, a filler, after the grand opening and before the big finale.

Perhaps we’ve just been spoiled over the previous years, but it was like an indoor firework – it promised so much, but the packaging didn’t match the product.

The second episode “The Ghost Monument” was an improvement, but again the characterisation of the tertiary characters seemed more important than cementing in who this Doctor actually is or the video-game like plot of the episode.

It just doesn’t feel like Doctor Who yet, which is not a good thing. Even Class, the teen spin-off that aired on BBC3 and is available on Netflix, felt more like Doctor Who after it’s first episode – and the monsters were a damn sight more imaginative, dangerous and scary than what we’ve seen so far on the new series. If you’ve got Netflix, go and watch it – it’s pretty cool.

So, currently no overly enamoured by “Chibi-Who”, and rumour has it that we shall not be seeing any of the Doctor’s classic foes. This does not bode well.

We shall have to hope it improves.

Carrion Crow – The Return

Since my last post on 19th August, there has been speculation in certain quarters as to the reason for my absence in the blogosphere – both posting and commenting.

I can categorically state that I was not spirited away to the Red Planet, fighting four-armed green warriors in the company of pneumatic scantily-clad natives, nor was I ensconced in an Arctic crystalline fastness, brooding in solitude. I was also not trapped in a either a Welsh coastal Village or digitised virtual world, with or without a spoon.

However, I may have been on a sun-kissed Mediterranean island…

I may have followed directions found hastily scribbled on a flyer in a hotel lobby to a certain ecclesiastical building…

And I may have found myself wandering subterranean passages, hewn from Limestone, where I encountered something that frightened me quite badly…

However, being made of somewhat sterner stuff that an Investigator with a low SAN score, I was not reduced to a gibbering wreck and returned relatively unscathed to the shores of good ol’ Blighty.

However, you don’t visit my blog to hear about my trials and tribulations – you’re here for the gaming stuff.

So, whilst the next instalment of The §ingularity War, which will feature two quartets of Cosmic adventurers battling to secure a valuable prize, still remains unfought, I thought it might be time to introduce the instigator of this war – Kronus.

Now, a fair old while ago, I was outbid on some Colossal scale Heroclix figures on eBay. However, I really fancied owning the DC Heroclix Anti-Monitor figure (which was part of the auction), but couldn’t find it at a price I was willing to pay. So, remembering that Eaglemoss did a range of statuettes of various Marvel and DC characters, I searched for this character from them instead and managed to get the figure for less than the original retail price – including postage.

And this is what it looks like in its original format:

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Suitably imposing and an ideal character to be re-purposed, as it’s not quite as well-known as some of the other characters produced by Eaglemoss. Obviously, it would need re-painting to match my vision of Kronus, Rewriter of Reality, Destroyer of Universes and ALL-Round Bad Egg, so the first step was to give it a thorough undercoating of white, like so;

Having decided that my colour scheme would echo both Dr. Doom AND would follow the time-honoured tradition of villains wearing costumes that featured both purple and green…because villains apparently have very little in the way of fashion sense, I block-painted the various parts of Kronus in the colours I had chosen.

And this was the result;

Not bad, although it does look like he’s wearing green wellies (Wellington boots for our non-UK audience).

So, the GW Worm Purple parts were highlighted with GW Purple Ink, the GW Chainmail parts with a wash of Docrafts Noir and the GW Woodland Green with a wash of this mixed with more Noir. The base was also painted with Chainmail, then given a generous wash with GW Brown Ink, to give a oily metallic look. The eyes were my own “Pumpkin Orange” blend and the mouth was painted in Docrafts linen, then given a wash of Docrafts Burnt Umber.

And the finished article looks like this;

The actual shading is more noticeable on the real thing and my camera is playing up a bit, so it might not look quite a detailed as it actually is.

And to give a sense of scale, here he is with a Warlord Games plastic Cyberman fawning about his ankles, like some kind of tin-plated cat…

If you have a villain with a ridiculously convoluted and sinister plan, he should be a bit more impressive than a bald guy in a suit…

Now, that I’ve got my hand back in, expect posts on a more frequent basis.

The Crow has returned to it’s nest…