Purple Towers Newsround.

•July 17, 2014 • 4 Comments

It’s about time that I wrote a posting that wasn’t prop centric as really, that’s not what this blog is all about. I do like to think of it as being rather broad in its subject matter, even if ultimately, I am kidding myself. Unfortunately, I do realise that sometimes it does become single tracked… which is a shame.

In that light, I was looking at all the unpublished postings that I have racked up here waiting to see the bright spectrum of day and there are rather a lot of them. This got me thinking, why do I get the urge to write something, then not publish it?

Sometimes I can get very enthusiastic about a subject and pour my heart and soul into writing about it, but then after a while, I get second thoughts where I think to myself, “Is this really the kind of thing you should publish?”

A good example was when about four years ago, I wrote about my Father’s failing health and how a particularly nasty disease has him in its grip. Reading the entry back, I found that what I was saying was far too personal for public consumption and some readers could take it the wrong way, that I was fishing for sympathy – which I certainly wasn’t, it was just my way of paying him a tribute for everything that he’s done for me during my lifetime. So the posting was shelved.

Recently I wrote a non spoilery review on the five leaked Doctor Who series eight scripts and I was actually rather pleased with how it turned out. I only read the scripts because I was interested in the technicalities of how the writers were crafting their tales and I can assure you that I wasn’t desperate to know what was going to be happening in the new season.

Anyway, I think that I wrote a fair and balanced review of each episode, speaking about what I thought were the highlights and failings of each script (and by the way, episode two reads like a first draft of a fanfilm script written by a semi-literate 13 year old), but when I sat back and thought about it, it dawned on me that really, I shouldn’t say a word – people can get very tetchy about this sort of thing with some out there who consider it heresy to have even dared to look at them. That posting too was shelved. Since then, the first episode has also leaked. Have I seen it? No. Do I want to see it? Not in the slightest, I can wait a few weeks until it’s on the telly.

Do you know, I still haven’t seen any of those returned classic episodes either – there were a few from Hartnell’s era that turned up out of the void, followed by a few more from Troughton era. The gumption to go out of my way to see them has failed me entirely. It just goes to show you what sort of fan I am. Maybe I should turn in my membership card in shame.

So then, what else has been going on around here of late?

Well, last week I taught Alex to ride his bike. He just came up to me and suggested that he was now ready to have his bicycle stabilisers taken off after I’d floated the idea by him a week or so previously. Spanners at the ready, off came the supporting wheels, out into the car park we went and 40 minutes later, there he was, peddling around the place like an old pro. I’d like to say that he’s a quick learner, but that’d inflate his ego too much, so I’ll take ALL the credit and say what a fantastic teacher I am! It’s true, I’m just amazing. No really. I can sense you all nodding your head in agreement… I’m that good.

Oh yes, something else. School is almost coming to an end and as of September when the new year starts after the holidays, both of our kids will be in full time education. That should ease our purse strings a little and so we may even be able to resume saving for a deposit for a house, plus I may just stretch the cash a bit to start buying some replacement tools and new materials for all those projects of mine that have lain dormant for the last lord-knows how many years!

And lastly. Will wonders ever cease?

I joined Facebook.

I’ll let that sink in a little bit for you.

Yes, I joined Facebook – after having said for years that I never would.

Look, in my defence, I still think it’s a little bit pointless, but its virtues have been pointed out to me repeatedly over the years by several friends who’ve suggested that I could use it as a tool for networking. Okay, that makes sense to me.

I think I created my account back in April, but I just left it as I had nothing to say, I still don’t actually, but then within the last day or so, I started to tinker with it. I’m still learning, but if I do use it, I’ll no doubt keep it purely focused on build stuff, daily updates and wotnot… sort of like a commentary to the accompanying posts that I put up here.

Who knows, I may grow to like it or it could just die a death. At least I can still say that I don’t own a mobile (cell) phone!

My TARDIS build – 10 years old!

•July 6, 2014 • 10 Comments

It’s just dawned on me that my own TARDIS build has hit its tenth anniversary since I first picked up some timber with my Father and begun the wood butchery in earnest!

TARDIS Build_Beauty Shot

I think that I started somewhere around the end of June to the start of July 2004 and I made some really rapid progress to begin with, despite having to travel half the length of the country to get to it.

Alas the progress soon ground to a halt for one reason or another and was pretty much unceremoniously abandoned for the time being.

TARDIS Build_Blue Paint Moment

Yes, I know you’ve seen these pictures before, but they’re among the last that I took of it. This is more or less where we left off.

2008_Last time the TARDIS was assembled

To give you a visual idea of when the box was last assembled, above is a shot of Mana seeing it for the first (and last) time – this was also the one and only time that my wife got to see it too. Mana is just a little over one year old here, so that places this shot sometime around the summer of 2008. So that’s six years since I last saw it too. Hell’s bells!

At the moment, the TARDIS is laying in pieces, on its side, tucked somewhere in at the back of my Dad’s workshop, buried behind worktables, machinery and materials. Very undignified. What a shame. Thing is, as you know, I have nowhere to put it and that’s not too inspiring to get me off up there to finish it off. I hope it hasn’t warped (pun not necessarily intended) over the years.

There’s actually not much left to be done on ‘the old girl’ really. I have to fix in place the glazing, I’d like to repair a small piece of damage to the right hand wall where the centre divider came unstuck at the bottom during it’s last assembly, plus I’d like to apply replacement texture to the entire thing before repainting and weathering it down. The original texturing has flaked off in places over the years. Happens to us all I suppose.

The last thing to do is make a decision on the “Pull to Open” graphic. I’ve “ummed” and “ahhed” back and forth relentlessly about that over the years, but I’ve pretty much now come to the conclusion that I’ll go for the white writing on a blue background as I’d like to keep it in the spirit of a traditional TARDIS prop in that regard.

I can feel the urge coming on to get up there and finally finish what I started all those years ago, perhaps I should. If only “she” had somewhere to go on completion…

Rubbertoe Replicas: The 11th Doctor Sonic Screwdriver prop.

•June 27, 2014 • 5 Comments

Oh yes. Now this was inevitable. I just knew that with a bit of measured patience, one day, Nick Robatto would eventually release a fully accurate 11th Doctor Sonic Screwdriver under his own BBC license via his Rubbertoe Replicas store… and here we are.

Rubbertoe Replicas 11th Doctor Sonic

What a beauty it is!

Above, a little 360 degree turn around video of the replica. Ah, 240 lines of resolution, we meet again after all these years!

Do you remember, of course you do, that a few years ago, Nick was making the same product for QMx? But back then, the price tag was a hefty four (plus) grand – waaay out of most people’s price range, including mine – and that the run was limited to about twenty units.

However, despite all that, I did wax lyrical, even then, that it was a piece not to be sniffed at because it was made by the man who makes the originals for the show – and you just can not get better than that. Well, now you can!

For pretty much the same product, the price has dropped to about one fifth of the QMx release, now it’s about £800 with the VAT.

Okay, it’s still a light on a stick, but hey, it’s a very special light on a stick. Even better, if you want to really have fun with it, for an extra £140, you can have a sound chip installed – perfect for when you want to play around the house sonicing all your doors and various bits of household technology. Granted, it still doesn’t actually work in real terms, but it’s a joyous little bonus.

For me, that doesn’t float my boat as the screen version made no sounds whatsoever, but if you like this sort of thing, then boy are your dreams going to be fulfilled! Just make sure that you have plenty of spare underwear to hand because you’re probably going to need it.

Rubbertoe Replicas 11th Doctor Sonic_With box and stand

This time around, Nick has presented the replica in a tasteful box and it comes with an understated little stand – nothing too intrusive here and it’s definitely a vast and marked improvement over the horrible, clunky stand that he did before for the QMx release.

Yes, he knows that I didn’t like that version as we spoke about it.

Rubbertoe Replicas 11th Doctor Sonic_Side on shot with stand

This being a faithful replica… let’s call it a “duplicate” because that’s really what it is as he’s probably making them in the exact same way for the show… so anyway, the sonic lights up and can flick open too, just as you’d expect. But just be careful and don’t get too enthusiastic with the Matt Smith style flick action.

It’s a rugged piece, but not indestructible!

Rubbertoe Replicas 11th Doctor Sonic_Closed position on stand

And here it is in the closed position. I prefer it open as it looks less like a metal bell end in that guise.

Rubbertoe Replicas 11th Doctor Sonic_Three quarter shot with stand

As you can probably see, this version is the slightly later iteration of the prop, the one where the brass rear end doesn’t open to show off the “lava” red activation button.

This feature was quickly dispensed with at the start of Matt’s tenure as The Doctor and never even got to be seen on screen. Well, it did, but you really had to have a very keen eye to have even noticed it! Check out the story about the Pandorica, you see it there.

Rubbertoe Replicas 11th Doctor Sonic_Assembly shots

Nick has strengthened and improved on the prop’s construction for various reasons that I won’t go into here, but it’s a good move and this is certainly the way I would have done it if I were in charge as it makes stripping it down much quicker and far easier.

Interested in one? Then get yourself over to Nick’s store.

While you’re there, go and have a look at his Sonic prop evolution article here.

He and I did speak about the idea of fully documenting the prop a couple of years ago now as there’d been so much crap spoken about the prop since its initial debut by folk who thought that they knew what they’re talking about, when the reality is that they just didn’t. So if you want to know the truth, then read Nick’s very own write up – you won’t regret it.

I’m really pleased that Rubbertoe Replicas now have this on their stock list as it gives everyone a chance at owning such a special piece. The last time around when I reviewed this, I said that I’d consider selling my (late) Grandmother to get my hands on one of these beautiful props, now it looks like I won’t have to because the price is almost within reach to us ordinary folk… I think that I could get away with selling off a kidney instead. Any takers? No? Come on, someone must need a kidney – I’ve got two, I only need one!

Seriously, if you’re a fan of replica props, in particular the Sonic Screwdriver, then this is a real must have item – you’d be mad to pass up on such an offer! Time to get saving everyone.

Lastly, my final words on the subject; thanks for doing this Nick, I bet there are thousands of fans out there with their hearts all of a flutter at the prospect of owning such a great item, you’re making many people very happy – myself included. Good job!



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