Saturday, 31 December 2011

review-my top 5 moments of 2011

With the arrival of a new year in just half a day, it seems appropriate to review my best moments of this past year. Here are five of my personal bests:

5) Getting my first guitar:
Having long wanted to start playing music, I bought the sexy guitar you see below. I have yet to learn to play it, but it sure is tempting with a guitar this nice.

4) Seeing Papa Roach/Madina Lake:
A good pair of moments, both taken from the mid/later half of the year. Papa Roach was my first major gig attendance, and one that will not be forgotten. A more detailed account of the Madina Lake gig can be found HERE if you’ve yet to see it.

3) Starting University:
With increasing prices next year in the UK, 2011 was a mad dash for a university place. With about double the number of applicants, it seemed hard to get a place for some. Thankfully, I got my place at the University of Huddersfield, and am happily settled into my course.

2) Getting my first Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought:
Having seen this design and loving it on sight, I had to have one. Even with a slight order mixup, I still created an epic centre piece for my thousand son’s collection. Its ‘brother’ is still Work In Progress.

1) Getting together with my girlfriend:
Possibly a rather obvious moment for those who know me, but easily one of the best points of 2011. Having met my girlfriend, one who actually cares and listens, it’s hard not to mention this, and even harder not to make it my best feature of this year. Nine months-and-a-bit on, I am still happy, and dream of an amazing 2012, 2013, 2014 and beyond with her.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas wishes and general festive cheer

Thought it would be appropriate and festive to wish all my viewers and followers a very Merry Christmas, and the usual message wishing for you to have a great time.

Christmas is a time of giving, and so I'll give you a Christmas message. Everyone should have someone to share Christmas with. This year, I'll be spending my first Christmas with my lovely girlfriend, as well as the usual family favourites. However, if not in a relationship, or particularly close to family, find someone at least. Firstly, it makes it all the more cheerful for you. Second, it gives you a potential drinking partner! Also, with so much Christmas 'nonsense' (knitted jumpers come to mind) it's better to look like an idiot with others than a solitary buffoon.

Being who I am, I am not much a fan of most generic 'xmas tunes' so here's a little something mores suitable.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Discussion: The art of Scratch-building

For some the beauty of a finished kit, is enough to satisfy the hobbyist's need. For some it is not. Through either a lack of funds for the high end kits, or for a skills challenge, people choose to build things entirely from scratch, using parts from other kits, plastic sheeting, sculpting putty and even rubbish.

I myself have decided to venture down this route. I doubt it will become a permanent thing, as it is very time consuming. I imagine the kit I decided to imitate, had I purchased it, would have taken about a tenth of the time to produce, and will most likely be a better finished product. However, I am content with my efforts, and considering I was considerably determined to get the details right, am happy with the final outcome.

 The above picture shows an actual Hell Blade (a sci-fi jet essentially) produced by Forge World, where as the image on below shows my attempt to replicate it. Whilst not 100% accurate, I feel it is a very good representation.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Charity highlight: Sophie Lancaster Foundation

Hey guys, thought I'd tell you a serious story about a charity that is rather close to my heart, The Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

I understand that some people are seen as 'different', in this context, belonging to what is dubbed a 'sub-culture'. I myself maybe considered 'emo' to some, due to my love of My Chemical Romance and my black/red hair. I have no shame in hiding this, and openly express this image. Unfortunately, there are some in this world who see this uniqueness as an excuse to bully, abuse, and even attack people. I could devolve into a rage about these kinds of sick, twisted people, but I want to present a calmer view on this.

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation begun after the tragic death of Sophie Lancaster, on August 24th 2007, following a horrific attack on her and her partner by a group of 'youths'. They were attacked simply because they were branded 'goths'. To any right thinking and respectful human being, social intolerance is a ridiculous reason to attack somebody.

The foundation's aims are to help people who belong to sub-cultures, and also to educate others. Founded by Sophie's mother, Olivia,  they offer group sessions, with the aims of educating people on different sub-cultures, and spreading ideas of respecting people, whether they wear black, have piercings, green hair or otherwise. Support and advice for victims of attacks or abuse also exists. Promotion is achieved through their WEBSITE, benefit gigs and charity events. Currently, a campaign is being put forward, to have the UK Hate Crime legislation extended to include people from “alternative subcultures” or “Lifestyle and Dress”. I greatly hope they achieve this.

I urge you to at least look through their website, feel free to donate. Hopefully the story behind the charity will make you think twice about bullying the 'emo kid'.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Showcase: Modified Chaos Land Raider

If you were viewing this Blog last week, you will have seen a picture, showing of a corner of my latest project. Now I can reveal it to you. This is the Chaos Land Raider I have been working on in my spare time.

I originally bought it second hand, for way under half its RRP. If you had seen it, you could see why. It was built, lets say, sub standardly, with glue stains swelling from the panel gaps, parts on wonky, and even the side guns housings were upside down (unfortunately, so much glue was used this was unsolvable, so I made do).

I was also keen to try out something a bit more radical on its basic design. With the recent release of the Land Raider Proteus, a retro-styled variant of this very kit, I wanted to imitate some of its design features, namely the overlapping tracks. I did this by removing the glue stained roof/track guards, and cannibalising a second Land Raider for more tracks. These were carefully overlapped over the open hull. The roof was simply spare parts and plastic sheeting, including retro hatches.

The painting is identical to the Contemptor Dreadnought that was displayed on The Rock/Geek Journalist a few weeks ago, but with more intricate patterns. However, since this, in game, would bear the brunt of more fire, I wanted to look more beaten, worn and torn. Pigment powders made another appearance, but in larger doses. I also tested a new rust pigment (only on the engine grill, but I'll add more later on. Overall, this was a fun project, and one I am proud of. Now, to fix up the donor....

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Quiet one today.....but I have a surprise

Sorry for today's post being short, in advance. I have been busy work university work, trying to contact people who don't reply back, and preparing my lovely girlfriends 18th birthday/Christmas presents. As you can imagine, it has been a busy time.

 However, I will leave you with a teaser of my next post, which should hopefully be up this weekend. See if you can guess what it is...

Saturday, 26 November 2011

DVD review: Devil May Cry, The Animated Series

Apart from Gundam Wing, and a few others, I have never really been that into anime. However, this recent purchase has improved my opinion.

It starts of with an apology. I know I said I would do a CD review, but I got distracted. Saw a hard-copy of Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2nd edition) and had to get it, but I did find this gem quite cheaply. The Devil May Cry animated series, based off the popular video game series (I don't have much experience with these, but I did enjoy them). Seeing as it looked interesting, and was a good price, I picked it up, and finished watching the whole series a few hours earlier. Now here are my thoughts on it.

Dante, the daemon-slaying protagonist, tends to stick to his arrogant devil-may-care attitude, which I give the animators and producers credit to. His general devil killing bad-assery kept me watching all the way through. That and the lack of anything else to do, but shush. It all leads up to an thrilling conclusion [SPOILER ALERT]...

 ...with the pitiful weird looking guy becoming an all powerful daemon lord, which Dante is almost defeated by. The daemon's themselves were pretty gruesome, and, as the sticker says, shouldn't be seen by the young. I was half expecting (and hoping) to see a possessed tank, like in Devil May Cry 2, but oh well, can't win them all.

Only one nit-pick. Patty Lowell, the young girl Dante takes in at the start (far left), and throughout the series. She is by far the most annoying, whiny character I have known of, worse than Ashley in Resident Evil (although I was never a fan anyway of the RE series). You just face-palm at some of the things she does in the final few episodes.

Apart from that massive elephant in the corner, Devil May Cry as an animated series has a lot of promise, and I surely recommend buying the DVD, its not that much!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Work In Progress....A7X Dreadnaught

You know you like too much 40k/Avenged Sevenfold when...

This came about after introducing someone to the game. We both liked metal music, so I thought I'd cross the two for them. Decided to go with Avenged Sevenfold for this one. I had this thing lying around in a spares box, so though, 'Why not?'

It is work-in-Progress, but thought i'd share. have gone with the death-bat/skeleton theme, as I thought it suited perfectly. That's it for today folks, stay tuned, and I'll be back in the future, possibly with a CD review.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Product Review/showcase: Forgeworld Contemptor Dreadnought

Now, before we proceed, I would like to say (please read this as casual and not a rage please *smiles*), yes, I am a gamer-geek. I do like table top gaming and model making, and I see nothing wrong with it. It’s a hobby, and people I’ve known are cool with it, and that is that. It's not like it is the only thing I do. There, now we can proceed merrily.

This project started with miscommunication. I had originally asked a friend to order a Thousand Sons Dreadnought with Dreadfire arms. Whilst the arms were correct, he had mistakenly ordered me a Contemptor Dreadnought. However, I held nothing against him, as I liked the design, although it would require a lot more work. Thankfully, the arms fit perfectly, despite the body being a completely different design.
This being a Forgeworld piece, a specialist’s kit, I wanted to do this justice. Thankfully, the cast I had was well done, apart from some massive mould lines going over the top of the legs, but these were easy to remove, and hardly noticeable. After carving off the eagle icons
 (I wanted a flat base for designs) I assembled it in the striding pose you see here. I added scripture along the sides of the head, and added a loin cloth from a Daemon Price kit. The whole thing was topped with a horned skull and some gemstones.

On to painting. To match with my Thousand Sons, after spraying it black I painted it Regal Blue, then, Ultramarine Blue, with highlighting. The yellow sunbeam patterns was desert yellow, with many thin layers of Sunburst Yellow and much cursing trying to do straight lines. The cloth was built up from grey to white. the metals were drybrushed boltgun, with brown washes and chainmail chips. Now, since this is a centrepiece, I wanted to use pigment powders, to represent sand grime and dust. Overall, I think I did a good job, although the clear varnish spray blasted a lot of the powders off. Overall, I am proud of this dreadnought, and will be soon working on its brother (pictured below). Rate and comment (keep it clean).

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Madina Lake Live @ Manchester- My thoughts

What can I say...amazing comes to mind.

Oddly under-crowded, I had thought that the show would be a flop. Thankfully it was not, and will be remembered as another great night of my university life.

Firstly, it would be good to start with the supporting bands, Super Happy Fun Club (the name which amuses me) and My Passion (which I was told would be dire). Fun Club, despite the almost Kids-TV-show name, played amazing music. They were above par in terms of supporting talent, and was glad I could have herd them. My Passion however, well I was less than impressed. Whilst their music was quite good, I must concede that the seemed a bit too 'up themselves' to put it lightly. Some humility would have been nice, and would have raised my opinion of them.

Now, onto Madina Lake. I felt a bit out of touch with the fans, as I had only herd of their older (comparatively) stuff and nothing from their latest album, World War III. However, I did attempt to join in with lyrics! The night was surely one to remember, the loud awesome music, Large balloons filled with confetti being thrown into the crowds, and the strange behaviour of yours truly...despite a fear of being crushed, I was second row from the front stage!! Even got to shake hands with the band as they make their way across the front lines. All in all, It was a great night, with great music, and one I would love to repeat...

Tune in next Thursday for my next blog (warning, it will be a nerdy blogpost next week, so a word of warning to those who expect music)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Retro Review: 'infest'-Papa Roach

Hey hey rockers and gamer geeks alike...
Thought this might interest you, particularly Papa Roach fans....a little review I did a while back that you may enjoy.

After a lengthy search in a used CD store, I discovered a rare gem staring back at me on the middle shelf: a numbered limited copy of Papa Roach’s ‘Infest’ album, number 02630. After picking it up for a very reasonable £2.50 (for a rare CD might I add) I proceeded rapidly to a working CD player. Having seen them live only once before, after much encouragement from the girlfriend, I left the gig wanting to hear more of their music. I was keen to hear the tracks on this CD, even though this particular CD has existed for many years. And, having listened to it multiple times, often in a single sitting, I am very impressed. Thus I was inspired to write this retro-review of my experience with this album.

The CD is made up of 13 tracks, including a live performance of the song ‘Dead Cell’ which, having heard it, must have been amazing to witness live at any gig it was performed at. The other tracks hold up well, following a consistent style that the band is known for, and I didn’t find myself skipping over any tracks, which is a good sign, coming from me. The genre has always been a love of mine, and I was glad that Papa Roach’s CD did not deviate from my expectations (like a rising number of artists these days).  In all honesty, my only nit-pick is with the first track, which took some time to build up (in panic, I had believed my CD player to be broken!) before sound slowly began to emerge from my speakers.

Overall, I am very pleased with the CD, and Hope this retro-review encourages you to purchase it. It is a well thought out album, and my only criticism at the time of writing is the previously mentioned silent part when you load the first song. Other than that, it is an ideal buy. I would highly recommend either downloading the album from ITunes or buying a CD of it, ideally the limited numbered edition, which comes with a metal embossed tin and includes paper lyric pages and artwork, if you can find a copy out there (it has the added bonus of it being worth 10 times the price I paid for it!). Whichever version you obtain, I can guarantee that Papa Roach and general rock fans alike will be pleased with this investment.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The inaugural post (of sorts)

Hey there killjoys, rockers, fellow nerds and potential clients.
welcome to the first post of the rock-geek journalist (Me for those not graced with perception). With this blog, I plan to write about many different things, from topical seriousness, geekly showcases, music related posts, and shameless self promotion of my services.

I hope you, as my readers and friends, enjoy my weekly updates, antics and mutterings, good day for now

Killjoys, make some noise (cookie to those who know what I'm on about)