Thursday, February 15, 2018

Star Trek Scale Model Kits

This post is a general review of Polar Lights 1:1000 scale "Star Trek" model kits. I'm going to go over five of these kits in this series.

           (1)- USS Enterprise 

             The Original Series 

USS Enterprise "Space Seed Edition" comes with Khan's sleeper ship, the SS Botany Bay, in scale with the Enterprise. The completed model is about 11" long & comes with a dome base capable of displaying the Botany Bay alongside the Enterprise.

Despite it's diminutive size, the model can be lit using LED's (as all of Polar Lights Trek kits can be). The dome base is big enough to house electronics (555 IC timers, a switch & power plug).

Spinning nacelle effects can be done in sequencing leds with a 555 IC + a 4017 decade counter OR mechanically spinning the inner dones using a micro geared 60 rpm motor. Both methods would require a certain amount of modeling experience. Simply lighting the domes works great too.

The kit is one of the most accurate of the original series Enterprise.  The old 1:650 AMT kits were just awful. The AMT 1:537 22" Cutaway is better than the 650's but were still inaccurate. 

The huge Polar Lights 1:350 scale version being the best at almost 3 feet long.



(2)- Klingon D-7 Battlecruiser
The Original Series

The new tooling makes for a far superior replica than the older, larger 1:650 AMT scale models. If you want windows to light, you gotta drill them out. There's plenty of room to place LEDs inside.

(3)- Romulan Bird of Prey
The Original Series 

Another great replica but with less room inside to light. The decal sheet is what gives this model the great look it has. The included base is the same as the other models in the series but it has a curved wire instead of the usual solid rod. Accurate details are a big improvement over the old 1:650 AMT version.


(4)- Refit USS Enterprise 
The Motion Picture 

This kit is one cool model. Plenty of clear cast parts, decal sheet for the Aztec patterns & more accurate than the old 1:537 AMT issues. The hull windows will have to be drilled out but it can be lit very effectively without them. I used  white 1.8mm leds for the strobing formation lights & 1.8mm leds (red & green) for the flashing navigation lights. Blue 3mm leds were used for the deflector dish, the warp engines with white leds for the bridge dome & lower planetary sensor domes. The base holds two 555 timer circuits to cotrol the flashing leds.

(5)- USS Reliant 
"The Wrath of Khan"

Another accurate kit that outshines it's old 1:537 scale AMT predecessor. No Aztec Decals are included like it's sister ship, the Enterprise, but not really necessary. There's plenty of clear parts and it can be lit up. Again, the windows must be drilled if you want them lit. There's not quite the interior room to run wires in the nacelle pylons and the roll bar weapons pod but it can be done with a little imagination. I used the same leds & 555 timers as my Refit build. A really great kit.

"Star Trek: Discovery"

As a lifelong "Star Trek" fan of over 45 years, I've had to adjust to many changes in it's history. Some were easier than others to get used to!

I favor the Original Series as it holds a special place in my life. There's been no major issues for me regarding every incarnation of Trek. Even the reboot movies by J.J Abrams (the Kelvin Timeline) have grown on me.

Such is not the case with "Star Trek:Discovery". I absolutely loathe this new series. I dislike everything about it.

It does not embody the spirit of Star Trek. The designs, the technology, the characters, the utter disregard for established canon, and just about everything they've tinkered with!

The characters are totally unlike the Trek standard as set by 50 years of canon. A completely unsympathetic group of protagonists. Characters throwing out the "F-word" just for effect...really? Back stabbing, lying, aggressive...the list goes on...

The writers have taken totally unknown and before now, non-existant characters, & made them the center of the story alongside long standing canonical characters. It just doesn't make sense.

The uniforms, the technology and even well established aliens like the Klingons have been reworked into unrecognizable states. It's as if this series was designed by non-fans who read the Cliff Notes for Star Trek to gain their knowledge of the Trek Universe! Which universe does ot take place in? The Prime Timeline? The Kelvin Timeline? Hell, at least the reboot movies were in an alternate universe & it kept the logic of the changes logical & acceptable!

The USS Discovery design is absolutely ridiculous! It resembles a discarded design created in the 1970's by artist Ralph McQuarrie. As far as the ship fitting into canon...it doesn't. "Spore Drive"? Give me a break!

Doing edgy social & political allegorical stories are not new to Trek, but "Discovery" seems to be the Social Justice Warriors of space! Maybe a better title would have been "Snowflake Trek" or "Sovereign Citizen Trek".

With a world phenomenon like Star Trek, the creators owed it to the fans, the world, to create something new without totally destroying what came before - for no other reasons than to be "edgy".

They've redesigned the USS Enterprise again. It's a completely new design and bears little resemblance to Matt Jeffries original design OR to the reboot movies version. It looks more advanced than the TOS version and too gritty for the "Kelvin Timeline" reboot version.

It's just a mess. The show, the  characters, the designs...everything. In fairness, I will say that the special effects are top notch. That doesn't help at all if you can't believe what you're seeing, no matter how great it looks.

I really wanted "Discovery"...until I watched it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"Always Watching"(2015) DVD

"Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story" (2015) is a tale from the internet born "Slender Man" mythos.

"Marble Hornets" is a Youtube found footage series centering around a student film & the "Operator" - a mysterious, deadly humanoid. The movie, "Always Watching" is a story from within the "Marble Hornets" universe.

"Always Watching" continues the found footage format & follows a news crew, found videotapes & the "Operator's" supernatural stalking of them as they get closer to the truth.

The film is well done for a smaller budget film. Doug Jones (Hellboy, Star Trek:Discovery) plays the Operator with creepiness.

The only thing that this film really suffers from is it came during the time that "found footage" films had saturated the movie market. It really doesn't add anything new to the genre or even to the "Slender Man" myth either.

It's an interesting film & worth a watch, especially if you're a fan of the "Marble Hornets" series.

Rating: 3/5 Chainsaws

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"Grabbers" (2011) DVD

"Grabbers" (2011) is a great independent Irish horror fim. I like to refer to it as "Lovecraft Lite"!

It's most definitely a horror-comedy but it has elements in it that really make it stand out from the crowd.

The creature effects are superb and effective! There's enough scares & gloopy tentacles to satisfy most horror fans. Well, maybe not hardcore gore fans, but everyone else will find it a genuinely good film!

The film did well at Sundance Film Festival in 2012 & it enjoys fairly regular airings on the Independent Film Channel.

No use spoiling the film as you should see it yourself!

Deadites Rating: 4/5 Chainsaws

"Frankenstein's Army"(2013) DVD

"Frankenstein's Army" (2013) is yet another practical effects horror romp that has made an impression on me.

Although it falls within the "found footage" horror subgenre, it does so imaginatively.

Set in the final days of World War II, a battalion of Soviet soldiers are on a mission into enemy territory.

They find the secret lab of a deranged scientist (Karel Roden) who reanimates, melds and creates horrific undead Nazi hydrids of man & machines.

The creature designs are ingenious, having just the right mixture of horror & camp.

There's enough blood, gore & creepiness for most horror fans.

If you like movies in the vein of "The Void", "The Thing", "The Deadly Spawn"- then you need to check this gem out .

Deadite Rating : 3.75/5 Chainsaw

Eibon Press "Zombie" Issue #3.

Eibon Press "Lucio Fulci's Zombie" Issue #3 Review.

Continuing the adaptation of the movie, Eibon Press has continued to prove that they are the master of Fulci adaptation!

A gore-soaked installment, the artwork seems to drip off each page.

The extras included are the awesome "Eibon Sleeve", a couple of stickers, a couple of limted edition trading cards, and two inserts.

Again, I stress that the quality here is great. Not only with the content of the material within the comic but also the quality of the product itself!

These comics are already increasing in value and will undoubtedly become more so in the coming years.

I highly recommend buying the series!

Eibon Press "Zombie" Issue #4

Eibon Press "Lucio Fulci's Zombie" Issue #4.

In this issue, the movie adaptation concluded & it continues on into new territory as our protagonists land in New York and into utter mayhem!

As usual,  the art is incredibly rendered & gory. Full credit to the creative staff of Stephen Romano, Micheal Broom, Derek Rook, Austen Mengler, Gerry Coffey & Fatboy for their hard work, dedication to source materials & quality of product!

Get them while you can! They will not be available forever!