Tuesday, 19 September 2017

c h i l d h o o d

Its a funny thing childhood.

We don't plan to have it. Its given to us by our parents or guardians. We have no say in the matter really.

In many ways childhood is a regimented period full of dates, milestones and routines. But the bits in between are so full of wonder and toys and comics and sweets, or at least they should be, that the boring bits like School and Sunday Nights just merge into the whole great adventure like one big penny mix.

The trick about childhood is to live it. Live it at the time which is exactly what kids do. They are their own best pilots. Kids are impulsive, spontaneous, unruly and errant and would never be bogged down by grappling with the burden of their future lives. Or at least they shouldn't be.

Childhood is like the patch a kid is planted in. Good soil and .... you get the picture. Like all flower beds and veg patches, some are well-tended, some revert to nature and some blossom like Chelsea. The best soil gives rise to anything and everything, weeds and all.

Childhood is that initial burn when a rocket blasts off, the brilliant ignition of tons of fuel bursting out like a geyser of heat and light. 

Eventually the blast cools, the engines quell, the excitement wanes and the vessel settles into a slow and measured future joining the orbits of millions of others.

But, for those few heroic years the engines roared like a volcano and the sheer mapless miracle of youth vented out for all to see.

Its seems a lifetime ago now that miracle. I too have positioned myself into the steady chair of slow orbit and the brilliant sunshine of my first decade seems to be retreating like a fading star. My memory strains to see it at all these days. I am left with advancing nostalgia.

There appears to be no star before me. The future doesn't glow like the past. More precisely, growing old is not the boundless escapade of being young and possesses none of its sweet-shop allure.

Children have no need to calibrate their futures. They are wholly immersed in the present. I doubt if the past is any different to them, just a lean-to on today.

Alas I can't remember how I felt about stuff as a kid in any detail. I just have a sense that I enjoyed it and realise now that it was the most important time.

What do you think readers?

Space Tank Explorer TAURUS Hybrid toy


I do love a good toy-kitbash-cum-scratch build.

This is one cool hybrid TAURUS RC Tank created by You Tuber Sandstalker222.

The Big Trak is a clear winner but the other orange large tracked plastic toy is less obvious. 

As its a German video I'm going to say its a PIKO toy from the DDR, the former East Germany, but I can't pinpoint it. Maybe one of the MARS range?

Anyone know?

If I remember I will venture into the loft and retrieve my copy of the brilliant book about these toys called DDR Speilzeug.

Monday, 18 September 2017

boxes of loose space toys: is there anything better?

I love the phrase often used by Auctions: a quantity of mixed childrens toys.

Its a phrase which promises hidden gems and lost treasures, exactly the sort of thing we want as we cruise towards a decade of Moon Base!

The UK Auction house Vectis is no exception. Here are a few of the fine 'mixed quantities' they have featured online over the years, boxes of interest to MC readers I'm sure.

First up is this assortment of JR21 Thunderbirds toys. What a trove it is! There's every vehicle from 1 to 5 in there! I don't know whether they were all complete but it must have been like Christmas day 1967 getting this lot!



Next is this selection box of Captain Scarlet collectables. If interest to me are the plastic target figures from the Cap Gun set. If I'd have gone home with this lot I think I maight have had a go at a custom Project SWORD cap gun set like the one Rob G found this year.


Third is this cornucopia of Angels items: books, bags, brushes and, mirrors and interceptors. I wonder of the whole set of brushes and mirrors is there to make up a complete Angels vanity set?


Last but not least is my favourite mixed quantity of toys What a box of goodness! There's so much on there. Can you imagine the fun you'd have sorting through it and trying to ID stuff!

I'll have a go from the pictures. I can see a red missile from the Screaming Mee Mee toy pistol centre left.

What can you ID readers?

bad tv and films this year

It must be an age thing.

I find I have very little patience with TV shows and films these days. If I don't like them I react very quickly and I ditch 'em pronto.

There are many good shows and films out there of course - Doctor Foster, Deepwater Horizon, Spotlight - but its the reasons for bad ones I'm on about now, bad ones, when really they should be good in my personal opinion.

1. Electric Dreams: a new TV series based on Philip K. 'Blade Runner' Dick short stories, which I was genuinely looking forward to. The first was the Hood Maker. I sacked it off after 15 minutes as I just couldn't stand to watch it any longer. The acting was terrible and the whole thing was drenched in unnecessary loud music from start to finish. I couldn't hear the dialogue! Besides that there were a million people in the first scene and they never left. Far too busy with weak acting.

2. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell: this was a DVD box set I rented. Six hours worth of a sumptuous TV period drama made on location near our house in West Yorkshire! To be fair we got it for that reason and sadly it wasn't strong enough a reason to endure it after the first sixty minutes. A shame really as the premise of the series was quite interesting, the fall and rise of practical magic in Victorian England. Missus Moonbase and I were bored senseless!

3. La La Land: we bought this DVD in a charity shop largely because of the rave reviews and the trillion oscars it won. It must be good thought we. Nope. It was tedium with a soundtrack. Neither Emma Stone nor Ryan Gosling can sing or dance and barely act. Mister Gosling has the stage presence of a gnat and is only capable of a single facial expression, which I can't actually describe. What the hell happened to expressive leading men like Steve McQueen or Jack Nicholson? They probably couldn't dance but by God could they act. Why did La La Land sweep the board at the Oscars? Were the judges asleep?

Are you impatient with TV shows and films readers or is it just me?

SOUTHPORT AIRSHOW 2017

A few photos from Saturday's Southport Airshow...


The  EurofighterTyphoon, the world's most advanced multi role/swing role combat aircraft, capable of reaching speeds of Mach 2, or around 1,400 mph
.

Below, the de Havilland Vampire pair.


The de Havilland DH100 was the second RAF jet fighter, following the Gloster Meteor to enter service towards the end of the Second World War, and served with front line defence until 1953. These two classic examples are maintained and flown by the Royal Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron.


Above, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 15, a formidable aircraft from the Soviet Union,which NATO code named Fagot,  and was introduced in 1949.  It achieved fame during the Korean War, and still remains in service as an advanced trainer for the North Korean Air Force.


Here's the MiG 15 flying in formation with the Vampire Par.


A pyrotechnic display on the beach, simulating a bombing run.


The Lancaster Bomber, part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.


An Hispano Buchon, a licenced-built  Spanish version of the German Messerschmitt Bf 109, developed during and following the Second World War. The Hispano is a re-engined ME 109.


The Spitfire, perceived by the public as the main RAF fighter plane during the Battle of Britain, although in reality it was the less glamorous, but outstanding Hawker Hurricane that shouldered more of the burden of resisting the might of the German Luftwaffe.


Above, the 'Sally B' , the last air worthy B-17 Flying Fortress left in Europe.  B-17's were used by the USAF for it's daylight precision bombing raids on German industrial and military targets during World War II, although the Sally B, itself didn't actually see active service during the War.



The Sally B was one of five flying B-17's used during scenes for the 1990 film, Memphis Belle.


Another American fighter plane, the P-51 Mustang. The Mustang entered combat towards the end of the War, flying on Bomber escort and ground attacks sweeps over Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia.


There were several civilian  aerial displays including this from the Breitling Wingwalkers. who recreate the fearless glamour from times following World War 1, when returning pilots, addicted to the thrill of flying would persuade engineers and girlfriends to walk along their bi-planes linen wings .
The lady in the photo can pretty much do the job standing on her head!



There were several armoured vehicles on display. Above is a Russian Cold War BMP-1 Armoured Personnel Carrier.


Part of a parachuting display from one the members of the Tigers Free Fall Team.

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