Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Two Dozen+ Links to Free Paper craft Models

The Zealot Wiki Free Paper Model page offers approximately two and half dozen links to sites that offer free paper models. From miniature war games, space shuttles, cruise ships, digital navies, and model railroading in various scales, paper enthusiasts will find links to all types of paper models here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Foundation

Over the past week I have been listing to a BBC radio drama of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series. The original Foundation series consisted of a set of seven science novels. This radio (podcast) is an adaption from what is commonly known as the Foundation Trilogy, which consists the Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation novels.

The BBC has done a very fine job in not only presenting this series, but in also creating sound effects that were created especially for this series. The show consists of eight parts and runs for roughly eight hours.

I do remember reading the Foundation when I was young and remember trying to make sense out of all of it. Listening to the series on my MP3 player while out for a walk has been very enjoyable and has rekindled my interest in Isaac Asimov.

Anyone who loves Science Fiction and or Isaac Asimov should listen to this podcast. I am sure that in doing so it will give you a new appreciation for this author, as it has for me.

Do you know of any science fiction podcast s? Please let me know.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nimbus: A Steampunk Novel

I found some more free Steampunk reading. The Nimbus is a serialized Steampunk fantasy novel, that can be read online for free, or downloaded to your Kindle for a nominal fee. You can either read the novel in its entirety or read several short stories that were taken from the novel.

I have not actually read the novel, yet, but have read the summary and a couple of the short stories, which were good reading.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Another Blasted Planet Miniature Completed

This is my forth Blasted Planet miniature that I have completed. The Wooly Bool resembles the now extinct Mammuthus, proboscideans, which once roamed Europe, Asia, and America and northern Mexico

The miniature comes in two parts, the body and tusks. I used cyanoacrylate to glue the tusk in place. The body casting included a spot for the tusk piece that had been molded into the body.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Multiple Steampunk Short Stories are Available for Free

The Steampunk Short Stories page offers links to several Steampunk short stories from around the web. Nine authors are featured. These readings will give you peak into this fascinating genre.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Free Steampunk Magazine

The publishers of the Steampunk magazine are offering free downloads of their 110 page Steampunk magazine. The Streampunk Magazine is published periodically and is full of “madness, fiction, history, and theory”.

The Steampunk genre is one of speculative fiction that explores alternative Victorian scenarios. For instance Bruce Sterling and William Gibson’s, “The Difference Engine” explores an alternative take on history. What if Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine would have been completed and improved on, what would that era have looked like?

Of course this genre goes well beyond the speculative alternative historic bent and is quite fascinating to read. The Steampunk genre marries Victorian mores with technological advances (steam powered mind you) that were non-existent in that era. This genre also often includes elements of not only of science fiction, but fantasy as well. So you might have werewolf, vampires, and steam-powered airships all in the same story.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

10 Inspiring Landscape Photos That Are Actually Small Scale Models

10 Great Landscape Photos That Are Actually Small Scale Models

Matthew Albanese, a diorama artist, creates fantastic and captivating landscape photos out of painstakingly detailed small scale models. The special effects Matthew employees using special lighting and other clever photography techniques are awe inspiring!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Special Effects are Everywhere

Since good acting is a rarity now-a-days, movie producers are relying on special effects more and more. Most of the movies I remember watching growing up were jammed packed with special effects. Special effects, along with a good plot, make movies the block-busters they eventually become.

There are a many situations that cannot be acted out in a safe way; this is where special effects come in. “11 Reasons Why Special Effects Are Awesome” explains how producers use technology and special effects for all types of special situations.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

8 Jules Verne Inventions That Came True

It is no exaggeration to say that Jules Verne was a visionary. Verne’s science fiction writings are full of futuristic inventions. Many years before their actual creation Verne envisioned all the following: Electric Submarines, Newscasts, Solar Sails, Lunar Modules, Skywriting, Videoconferencing, Taser and Splashdown Spaceships. The online article “8 Jules Verne Inventions That Came True” mention’s eight of Verne’s’ novels were these inventions were first mentioned.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Plastic Toy Soldier Pictures Blog

Although the blog has not been updated for a while, the Plastic Toy Soldier Pictures Blog features an assortment of images of Marx, Toy Soldiers of San Diego, and Conte toy soldiers. The author has taken quite a few photos of toy soldiers, which includes all sorts of “toy soldiers”, not just GI types.
You might remember playing with Marx toys when you were young. The one thing I don’t remember, at least not vividly, is the amount of detail these toy soldiers had. Their faces, at least contain, a surprising amount of detail while the rest of the casting is slight on detail. Many of these old Marx toys are now collectors’ items and some are being recast by other companies (Pirates of the Caribbean, by Glencoe).
Conte is a purveyor of collectible figures. These are not your run of the mill, mass-produced kids toys. Conte figures are full of detail. Toy Soldiers of San Diego offers some nicely detailed pieces as well, which like Conte are geared toward the collector.
It is simply amazing what some are willing to pay for a box full of plastic.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Vintage Aircraft Has Been Seen Overhead

This vintage WWII aircraft was seen flying over my home town the other day. I took cover as it came in from the west and strafed the populace. Luckily, no one was injured during the raid and the invader was quickly repulsed through the fire of our anti-aircraft guns.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

For your Viewing Enjoyment: A Spanish Galleon the Neptune

The Pirates Galleon offers four pages of some striking images of a pirate’s galleon. The ship was built from plans from an original Spanish galleon and was built for the production of Roman Polanski’s movie “Pirates”. The Spanish galleons were some of the largest vessels built and some were very ornate. I doubt that a pirate ship would be this ornate, unless or course, the pirates had commandeered the vessel from its original owners.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pirates of the Spanish Main

These three packets arrived in the mail a little over a week ago. Although now out of production Pirates of the Spanish Main were created by Whiz Kids. Each packet, which are about the size of a set of baseball cards include two ships, an island, nine pieces of eight, and a few crew tokens. The packet also comes with instructions the details construction of the ships, and basic and extended rules.

The general idea of the game is to travel to islands, collect gold pieces, and to hinder or sink your opponent’s ships, thus gaining an advantage over them. The game can be played on any flat surface, however a three by three foot table seems to be an optimal size for the game.
The rules are quiet basic and are in need of some enhancements, which I am in the process of writing. The game, with a few additions and enhancements should be an interesting and fun game.

Friday, April 12, 2013

10 Sci-fi Futures that Could Come True

Some of the science fiction futures listed in the Top 10 Sci-Fi Futures may be more possible than others, but all ten of these possible futures, taken from popular culture, give us a glimpse into what may come to pass. I am guessing, we are probably in store for some type of dystopian outcome. Many of the listed futures lean toward the dystopian.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

In the Search for a Nautilus Submarine Model

Pegasus Hobbies Nautilus model isn't the only model of its sort. Many of models listed on the Jules Verne Nautilus Models page are replicas of Disney’s Nautilus submarine like the one being offered by Pegasus Hobbies. The trouble is not in the finding of such models, but the locating a purchasable copy of such.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Pegasus Hobbies Nautilus Submarine Kit is now Available

Well folks, here it is, the Pegasus Hobbies Nautilus Submarine Kit. I was kind of hoping that it would be a bit more economical, but alas here you have it.

Three Sources for the Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail War-Gamer

The Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail page features a small collection of links for an Age of Sail miniature war-gamer. Links to gaming rules, painting and rigging, and sources of miniatures are offered.

A sail of Glory is a Kick-Starter that hopes to offer a tactical ship-to-ship miniature game. It looks like they have some good looking sculpts.

The Miniatures page offers a Modeling 1:1200 Scale Napoleonic Sailing Ships treatise on how to paint and rig a couple of GHQ sailing ships. GHQ manufactures some of the most highly detailed and the most expensive miniatures on the market.

It's White's Move

Monday, April 8, 2013

Short Science Fiction Collection Volume 001

I started to listen to the Short Science Fiction Collection Volume 001 that I had downloaded from Librivox, over the weekend. The collection of audio books includes a collection of ten science fiction short stories. The stories range in time from 12 to 44 minutes and give you about five hours of running time. I have listened to seven so far and have enjoyed all the stories so far. I have noted those that I especially liked with a (*). Listening to an audio book is very rewarding and allows you to digest literature while out for a walk which I enjoy to do.

The stories can be downloaded separately or as the collection. Here is the list of the stories, with their authors and running times.

  1. *The 4D Doodler by Graph Waldeyer – 00:34:01
  2. *Bread Overhead by Fritz Leiber – 00:38:18
  3. *Image of the Gods by Alan Edward Nourse – 00:36:07
  4. Martian V. F. W. by G L Vandenburg – 00:13:44
  5. *One Shot by James Blish – 00:33:08
  6. Out Around Rigel by Robert H. Wilson – 00:43:28
  7. *Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley Grauman Weinbaum – 00:44:42
  8. *The Repairman by Harry Harrison – 00:28:41
  9. Toy Shop by Harry Harrison – 00:12:04
  10. Warning From The Stars by Ron Cocking – 00:41:55

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Its Red's Move

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Okay, I know I said that I probably would not get to this text any time soon, but I couldn't keep myself away from it. The story actually has a decent plot and is written in a most intelligent way. It holds your attention with its elements of adventure, melodrama, some adult content, and moments of tongue and cheek. I am finding the comic good reading and will be ordering the second and third volumes shortly.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Risk Game #003

This game of Hasbro’s Risk was played between my wife and I. My wife is playing red. As you can see I am still in control of North America, but for how long? My wife could have punched through my very inadequate defenses a few plays ago, but has decided to perform mop up operations and take control of the last few countries in Asia. I did control Asia for a few turns and was able to reap a large set of additional armies at the beginning of my turn.

The tide turned when I had mercy on my wife when she had started her conquest of Europe. My wife uses her feminine charms (psychological warfare) whenever I am about ready to retake a country that she had just taken from me. In addition, the dice would not corporate when it came time for me to counter attack.

I have realized that I cannot play a competitive game with my wife; I just cannot bring myself to show any form of aggression towards her very delicate disposition. My wife had the game won before we even started. Atlas, my playing Risk will have to be confined to playing with the guys.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

For Ye Names Sake

The name of my site-Ye Olde Site of Curiosities, as you have probably guessed is a reference to the classic from Charles Dickens – The Old Curiosity Shop. This classic is one of my favorite Dickens novels.

I was doing a vanity search the other day-you know –a vanity search is when you search for occurrences of your name and such. My search was for “Ye Olde Site of Curiosities”, the name of this site, and came up with pictures; yes the images that I have uploaded have been indexed by Google, as well as a post or two. That inflated my ego and that made me feel good. (“Vanity, vanity, all is vanity”.)

In addition, several references to the “Ye Olde Curiosity Shop” in Seattle, WA came up in my page of hits, by the way Google they came up before my pages-what gives? At any rate I was delighted to see someone else had the same idea as I had for the name of their site.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop opened its doors over one hundred years ago and sell oddities like shrunken heads and other bric-à-brac. The shop is like a cross between a museum and curio shop. You can read all about the shop, view a vintage photo of the shop, or view a short video.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

D & D Game Zone

I just stumbled across the D & D Game Zone site. D & D Game Zone offers miniatures for many popular board games. The prices look pretty good for many of the miniatures and they offer free shipping on orders over $8.00.

Elves- HistoriFigs, F-5, 28mm Elf- Firing Longbow

Now that I have an elf in my collection (HistoriFigs, F-5, 28mm Elf- Firing longbow) I have done some research into these mystical creatures. According to Microsoft’s Word Thesaurus the following are synonyms of the word Elf (Pixie, Imp, Sprite, Fairy, Gnome, Goblin, and Brownie), however upon closer inspection each of these characters are quite different.

Elves or the singular Elf are supernatural beings are found in German mythology. Earlier traditions thought of Elves as having certain magical abilities capable of helping or hindering humans. Later traditions have Elves using these abilities to harm instead of doing well to humans.

In the fantasy genre, J. R. R. Tolkien’s makes use of Elf characters in the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Elves in these two novels live in middle earth and have come together with the forces of good to overcome evil. Although Elves are mentioned in these novels much more is mentioned about these supernatural beings in Tolkien’s, “The Silmarillion”.

In some traditions the elf is very similar in appearance to humans, but having a much fairer complexion. Some images of elves depict them as having pointy ears, while other depictions I have seen do not make this distinction. There are some Old Norse traditions that mention some cross-breeding between humans and elves. The offspring were the heroes of old.

I have found two sites that carry a line of Elves, one I assume is now out of production, Citadel miniatures, being created in the 80’s, and the other Reaper Miniatures, still carries a line of Elf miniatures.

Monday, April 1, 2013

14 Super Submarines That Took Science Fiction under the Sea

Although Jules Verne wasn't the only one to write about the fabulous submarine, he does get the credit for writing two novels that featured submarines. As the title implies, here are fourteen submarines that took us under the sea. The fourteen submarines from popular culture are mentioned in comic books, novels, movies, and sitcoms.

Here is a list of the fourteen submarines that are mentioned in the article:

  1. The HMS Sword from Facing the Flag by Jules Verne
  2. The Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  3. The Iron Fish from the British comic The Beano
  4. The USOS Seaview and the Flying Sub from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
  5. The Hydronaut from Around the World Under the Sea
  6. Proteus and Voyager from Fantastic Voyage
  7. Supercar from Supercar
  8. Stingray from Stingray
  9. Thunderbird 4 from Thunderbirds
  10. Skydiver from UFO
  11. P-1 from Marine Boy
  12. The Leif Erikson from The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
  13. The Red October from The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
  14. The seaQuest DSV 4600 from seaQuest

The list will give me fodder for future research and reading.

Can you add to this list?