Tuesday 31 December 2013

The end of the year

As we approach the New Year it is tempting to look back rather than forward, to reflect on failure or past successes rather than look to future glory. A friend of mine once suggested that he should not move forward because he felt he had no "happily ever after" to look forward to. I disagreed, he was persuaded by my disagreement, and these days he is as happy as I have ever known him. You could be Wellington after Salamanca, and feel you have done all you can. You haven't. Look to the future for success. The past has nothing but itself to show you. Build on that past. Build a greater victory. Happy New Year, folks, and build yourself a better future!

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everybody! I hope you have a lovely day!

Friday 20 December 2013

Review: really cheap tank from a cheap store: Part I

I was out in Macclesfield the other day, and was compelled by habit to amble around the local shops. It was bittersweet to hear on leaving that the girl who had just served me had been wished a "Happy Christmas" by none before me. Really, it was only a few days ago, and when comes Christmas? Where is the seasonal spirit of all those other shoppers? Anyway, among some truly Christmassy things, I picked up this wee thing: a kit of a "British Armoured Tank" or "British Main Battle Tank". For £3 it didn't seem too out there. In truth, even after discovering its deficiencies, I'd still recommend it. If you don't fancy reading to the end, all you need to know is this: a) buy it, and b) buy superglue.

OK, first things first. It comes in a cardboard box. Slash that open with your aggressive knife. Um, carefully. Don't lose fingers. Red is a Christmas colour, but let's be sensible. Then the main elements are held in a plastic bag. A piece of paper dishonestly informs you how to assemble the kit. I had reason to peer at this paper as I attempted an honest construction, and came to discover how this small image was supposed to resemble that tiny part. Rely on it when it bids you join this large piece to that, and cast it into the outer darkness when it enjoins you to glue this radio to that turret. In short, joining big bits to large bits is fine, but uniting small ones with large ones is tricky, if using this corporate map thingy.

The kit is a bit odd. It comes with a turret, but if you attach the turret in the advised way it's but a static mount. It will not rotate. The gun is inarguably ugly, and - to an erstwhile 40k-player - somewhat ugly. So I trimmed off the end of the gun, and all the doodahs on the hull which could have negatively impacted it. I decorated the hull a bit, and with some plasticard sealed off the underside of the hull, hoping to make it seem reasonable. Fans of plausibility should probably try a bit harder, making the body of the beast somewhat deeper. Not such a problem for me. Notes: polystyrene cement is useless here. Use superglue. The tracks have no detail. There are multiple tanks available - I saw an M1A1 kit, but didn't buy it. I have added more detail to the vehicle, but we'll visit that in Part II.

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