Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Ginrai (Alternate Models)

Welcome to another exciting edition of The Ark Addendum!  This week, I give yet another page to Ginrai.  Long-time readers will no doubt realize that I've already given him three pages of transformations, as well as six pages in The Complete Ark.  (I think it was 5 in The Ark II.)  What can I say?  He's the main character in Masterforce, he's got 3 robot modes, a drone, an alternate mode, a human form with and without armor... it adds up! 

This will, in all likelihood, be the last time I devote a page to Ginrai, though, as it represents my last unused Ginrai models.  Sure, I suppose I may come across a new cache of material that might include the transformation for Godbomber or GodGinrai, but barring that, this is it.

So, what are we looking at here?  First up, we've got regular Ginrai with a pair of guns.  They look pretty badass on him, mostly because they're sized for his super form. 

I also include the UNarmed character model for Super Ginrai.  For some reason, I used his armed version in the book.  I'm pretty sure I had both versions, so I'm not sure why I went with that version.  Usually I used the unarmed version if I had it.  Maybe it just looked better on the page; it certainly has a nice flow.  Maybe it was because I'd already included the stand-alone guns on the Ginrai page, and wanted to indicate that, indeed, he has weapons. 

Finally, there's a version of Super Ginrai crouching.  This model partially made it into the book.  I believe that it's mostly there to show what his collar area looks like, so for space I cut off his legs.  Now you can enjoy him in all his squatting splendor!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Farscape Geekwatch - Early Season 4

Let's do it Farscape style, no?  When last we left our heroes, they had just discovered Aeryn and Scorpius, together, Aeryn in bad shape.  S04E05: Promises picks up there (hey, it's Farscape, I wouldn't put it past 'em to go to a completely different plot) and we learn that Scorpy has saved Areyn... in exchange for asylum on Moya.  Only Aeryn's promise restrains John.  It's an... awkward development, to be sure.  Worse, it feels like a retread of Crais' arc, so recently and satisfyingly concluded.  Scorpy promptly gets rid of Harvey, probably because having two of them running around on Moya doesn't make much sense... but then, that only underscores how awkward a fit Scorpy really is on the crew.  On the plus side, Aeryn in a cooling suit looks hot. 

Geekintology is here in plenty.  "Knock knock... candygram!" is a nice Blazing Saddles nod.  There's also a lovely sequence where a frustrated John asks Scorpius, "Kryptonite, sliver bullet, Buffy, what's it gonna take to put you in the grave?"  This isn't the first Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference we've heard, but it's a good one.  I can't remember if Superman has popped up before either... I feel like he must have.  There's also a bit about how Moya must have a sign offering free HBO, not really geek culture but definitely pop culture.

S04E06: Natural Election features the crew's attempt to pick a leader.  After defeating the plant infestation, the crew selects D'Argo, which is a nice subversion of expectations.  John didn't get a single vote, which puts him behind Scorpius and Rygel in that respect.  Cute.

As far as the geek goes, John quips of the plant monster, "seems that Audry has taste," a Little Shop of Horrors nod.  Noranti is called 'school lunch lady', which is pretty cute, and Glenda, which is another Wizard of Oz reference.  PBS is also namechecked.

S04E07: John Quixiote makes up for it.  It's a real oddball of an episode, even by Farscape standards.  Stark has unleashed a VR game into the universe that involves events from their past, starting with the Gammak base where Stark encountered the gang.  Crichton and Chiana get trapped in the game, and it seems like it was designed to capture Crichton.

I like the chance to see Stark,  Zhan, Jool, and Crais, though in bizarre and stylized forms.  Seeing how Stark perceives the rest of the crew and himself (Scorpius as a fop, Crais as an ogre, Aeryn as a twit, John as bizarre, and himself mirror imaged) is kind of neat. The writers use a clever little trick to try to convince us that the characters really did get out of the game about halfway through the episode, by having John use the game in a simulation of Moya to try to combat Scorpius.  Still, it's hard for me to accept that Stark was trying to capture/kill/lobotomize Crichton.

The geek! First off, the John in the game is a video personality based on Max Headroom.  (I'm skeptical that Stark, taking the dying John's memories, got to Max Headroom, but it's still neat.)  He gives the real John his marching orders by saying "your mission, should you choose to accept it," from Mission: Impossible.  There are nods to classical fantasy and nursery rhymes.  A Sheyang in the story is called the frog princess, and we get namechecks for Grettle and King Arthur.  Finally, John Headroom suggests possible names for the real John's VR sword: Cameron and Uma, presumably for James Cameron and Uma Therman.

And that seems like a nice one to end on.   The season is still wobbly, and will be for a few more episodes before finding its real footing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Dinobot Island

I thought I'd take a break from the Japanese series to see what I had left from the US.  To be honest, it's not all that much at this point.  Still, going episode by episode, I managed to locate some gems from Dinobot Island. 

Funny story... I recently finished writing an article for the G.I. Joe fanclub magazine about crossovers, including a character model for Hector Rameriz done up in the style of the G.I. Joe Field Manual.  I rattled off a bunch of crossover events and considered bringing up this one.  Ultimately I opted not to. 

You see, G.I. Joe featured an episoded, Primordial Plot, where Cobra cloned some Dinosaurs on an island.  Could it be Dinobot Island? Well... probably not.  There are too many differences.  It's clear that Dinobot Island exists out-of-time.  It's surrounded by an energy field, and when the Decepticons begin to extract energon from the island it starts to open time portals.  It's a bit too much for me to accept that Cobra happened to be cloning dinosaurs on an island where there were strange fluctuations in chronal energy.  (I'm sure James Roberts could tie it all up in a story, but I didn't want to do too much hand-waving in a non-fiction article.)  I think it's more likely that Don Glut really liked dinosaurs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Fortress' (Cerebros') Transform

What's this?  I'm going a week without skipping an Ark Addendum?  Could it be that my life is settling back down to something approaching normal? 

Since I seem to be on a roll with Transformations, I figured I'd see if I had any more.  This one is a funny one... Fortress.  Or, if you prefer western naming conventions, Cerebros.  Despite being a giant head, he manages a pretty interesting transformation.

This is a particularly timely model, since TakaraTomy has recently announced Encore #23... Fortress Maximus!  Now, I've already got a MIB Fort Max, Japanese style with the swords, so I'm not directly excited by this.  But we also have the possibility of an eHobby FM repaint.  Oh, my, that could be a LOT of fun.  Anyway, if you've always wanted a Fort Max, this is your chance to get one for something approaching reasonable: http://www.bigbadtoystore.com/bbts/product.aspx?product=TAK11575&mode=retail

Friday, October 12, 2012

Farscape Geekwatch - Season 4 begins! (plus Field Manual stuff)

It's been far too long, but Farscape is about to enter its fourth season here on Disciples of Boltax.

Things open unevenly with 4x01 Crichton Kicks.  Our man John has found himself an elderly leviathan, Elac, so he hasn't run out of food or oxygen yet.  Heck, he's even just about cracked 'wormholes for dummies,' a non-genre pop-culture reference.  Things get interesting when a new girl, Sikozu, shows up with some Leviathan hunters hot on her tail.  We also learn that Grayza has put huge bounties on all there heads when Chiana & Rygel return.

Mixed though the episode was, it introduces Elac's DRD 1812, John's new pet.  He's awesome, and Bill named a snake after him.

In terms of sci-fi goodness, there's plenty.  Crichton calls the villains of the week Klingon, and even goes so far as to bark some Klingon phrases at them.  Yup, John studied at least a bit of Klingon at some point or another.  Wild.  He also calls them "Pirates of the Caribbean," after the ride, (Farscape predates the movie franchise) and Slaughterhouse Five in reference to them cutting up the Leviathan.  Finally, both of John's nicknames for Sikozu are at least a bit geeky, as he calls her Tinkerbell (as she's so small and light) and Sputnik (after her hairstyle.) Non-genre references include Mother Theresa, Jacques Cousteau, and Baywatch.

We then move on to the two-part episode, Sacrifice, 4x02 and 4x03.  D'Argo and Jool have struck up a relationship on an archeological dig.  Interestingly, John finds a toy with Egyptian, Sebacian, and Interon symbols on it.  This will prove important in The Peacekeeper Wars, but this episode sort of drags.  We learn that Scorpius has fallen out of favor with high command and seemingly see him shot and buried alive by Braca. Jool stays behind in the end, as we've swapped one intellectual red-head with strange powers for another.  Odd choice.  They must have really not liked her.

References include The Simpsons, as John calls Braca Smithers.  He also paraphrases Dirty Harry, rather hilariously. "Now, I don't know if you fired 500 shots or 600...", and calls a swamp monster "the creature from the Black Lagoon," Non-genre references include calling Grayza Mata Hari after the infamous WWI double agent, Steve McQueen for his part in The Great Escape, and baseball players Gaylord Perry and Joe Neikro.

We move on to a nice pun, Lava's a Many Splendored Thing, 4x04.  (Of course, a reference to the book & film.)  The gang, suffering from GrandmaNoranti's cooking, make a pitstop near a cache of wealth and interrupt some burgers. They've got shield belts that protect them from weapons fire, and lava is indeed everywhere.  It's a fun little episode, though you start to feel the lack of Moya and Aeryn right about now.  To be fair, they show up right at the very end... but that'll have to wait for next episode.

We get another Wizard of Oz nod, with the head baddie called 'Tin Man.'  John also calls one of his henchman 'Redshirt,' after the tendency of members of Kirk's away team to die horribly.    Non sci-fi references include the three stooges and Abbot & Costello (again), the city of Pompei, and the old Life Cereal commercial.  "Hey, what do you know? Mikey likes it."

Rocky start, for sure.  The show doesn't seem to know what it wants to be without the overarching threat that was Scorpius that we've had for over two years now. 

On to the Field Manual!  We're up to 9 Amazon reviews.  Seven were five stars, but there's a one and a two in there too.  Sigh.  There's also a nice discussion of it on the Powetcast Podcast episode 137: http://powet.tv/powetblog/author/admin-2/ Check them out, they seem like cool guys.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Snapdragon's Transform (dinosaur)

What's this?  I didn't skip a week?  Amazing!  Maybe I'm actually settling into the new house.

The Ark Addendum for this week is, as promised, the other half of Snapdragon's Transform, this time to a dinosaur.  While his jet mode is, in all fairness, pretty decent, this mode suffers from triple-changer-itus.  His head, specifically, seems too small for his rather massive torso.  His arms a pretty puny too.  (I know, the t. rex has small arms, but his are especially awkward.)  Using the legs of Krunk as the working jaw was a pretty clever idea, though, and one of the redeeming features of this figure.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BISH!!! Longtime contributor (and wouldn't it be nice to get him back?) David Bishop turns 26 today.  Kick some ass, friend!

Settling into the new home.  Just last week my folks bought me some new flatware to replace our ancient and mismatched set.  We also picked out outdoor furniture for my various decks and patios.  Still to be done, interior furnishing!

I figured that, since I've been talking about the move-in a lot, I should post at least a few photos, so here goes.  Let's start with the new car!  We picked up a 2012 Mustang to replace my aging 2001.  My wife and I love it, it's zippy and nice to look at and comfortable to drive.

And here's a pic of the interior of the house, the curved stairway to the upstairs.  My folks were visiting last week for the Albuqerque balloon festival and snapped some pics for us.  There's more on my facebook account if you're interested!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Snapdragon's Transform (jet)

Howdy, y'all!  Once again, time slips away.  I meant to get this up last week, but I remain swamped!  It's a good thing, but I hate to leave you hanging. 

This week, one of my two transformation boards for Snapdragon.  This is the jet version.  It's a pretty simple transform, which is I suppose fitting for a pretty simple toy. 

I never had Apeface as a kid, but Snapdragon was one that found its way into my big box o' toys.  I didn't care for the name, and still don't.  I suppose they wanted to emphasize the jaw, hence the 'snap', but it doesn't work for me.  Especially since most of the other names were all overtly head related: Apeface, Mindwipe, Skullcruncher, Hardhead, Brainstorm, Chromedome, Highbrow.  (Weirdwolf is the other odd man out.)  Also, his dino mode is pretty lackluster.  He makes a decent jet, at least.