Sunday 27 July 2014

Ships of the Line calendar 2015

 Well, it's arrived!

 And it doesn't disappoint.

 I thought I'd go through each month and describe the image (or what I think is going on), picking out the bits I find most fascinating. I've even included some (very poor quality) scans of a few images. Only snippets, mind, not the whole image (except for the centre-spread image which has been easily accessible online since 2012) otherwise who would bother to buy the calendar when they could just gawp at it here for free?

Cover: Vanguard Down, by Doug Drexler

The original Constitution-class USS Enterprise defending Starbase 47, aka Vanguard, against Tholian fighters.

This image is from the cover of the final novel in the Vanguard series, Storming Heaven, released in 2012.

January: Explorers, by Jenny DeSalle and Ali Ries

The Columbia-class SS Enterprise passing a stellar phenomenon.

February: Xindi Reptilian, by Jenny DeSalle and Ali Ries

The Columbia-class SS Enterprise travelling with two Xindi-Reptilian ships.

March: Zero Hour, by John Eaves

The Sovereign-class USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E after performing saucer separation in a planetary system, together with two V-class attack fighters, 227 and 469.

April: Prowling, by Douglas E. Graves

A Klingon D'ama-class battlecruiser flying over a cratered moon.

May: Leif Ericson, by Gabriel Koerner

In close proximity to a ringed gas giant planet, the USS Enterprise holds position with the Leif Ericson.

June: U.S.S. Titan, by Tobias Richter

The Luna-class USS Titan approaches a Watchtower-class space station in orbit of a class M planet.

Center: Starbase Bajor Proposal, by Doug Drexler

Modular space station 173 under construction near the Celestial Temple in the B'hava'el system. In the background, an Excelsior-class starship arrives through the Temple gates, and in the foreground, workbee 003 and three Danube-class runabouts (including the USS Rio Grande NCC-72452 and the NCC-72752*) carrying cargo modules assist in the construction efforts.
This temporary station is being put together by the Starfleet Corps of Engineers as a base of operations and support hub for the imminent construction of Starbase Bajor, the replacement of the destroyed Deep Space 9.

This image is similar to the Typhon Pact novel Raise the Dawn's cover image from 2012. The main difference is that this does without the Sphinx workpod above the Rio Grande in the lower left.

* The registry number of the second runabout is actually NCC-72452, the same as the Rio Grande's, so, as it's barely legible, I've taken the liberty of changing the 4 to a 7 as it's the least recognisable number in the sequence.

July: Assault on the Moons of Nibia, by D. M. Phoenix

On an attack run towards one of the moons of Nibia*, four Sabre-class starships; USS Garza NCC-61813, USS Sanders NCC-61822, USS Sentry NCC-61898 and USS Peterson NCC-61815, come under fire from a moonbase.

* Memory Alpha assumes Nibia is a planet, but Khan's little tirade gives no indication that this is so. I rather think Nibia to be an individual, perhaps a self proclaimed queen of the star system or area where the moons exist.

August: Joint Operations, by Alain Rivard

The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A's type-4 shuttle, Galileo, departs the Miranda-class USS Reliant's shuttlebay 1, leaving behind a travel pod and a couple of workbees.

September: WOLF 359 + 8 days, by Andrew Probert

The Annie, DT-2015, and two of her sister ships along with numerous Sphinx workpods, retrieve lifeboats and ship wreckage from the aftermath of Starfleet's battle with a Borg cube at Wolf 359

Among the damaged and destroyed ships are the USS Kyushu, USS Saratoga, USS Ahwahnee and the USS Princeton. Wrecks of a Nova-class, a Nebula-class and two Constitution-class starships can also be seen. A lifeboat, D-05, bearing the registry NCC-2101 indicates that the USS Star League was present at the battle, and Sovereign-type escape pods retrieved by the Annie mean that either a very new starship class was also present (although not a Sovereign or Akira-class as these weren't in service in 2367), or an older ship that had been refitted with the new pods.
October: Occupation, by Alain Rivard

Three K't'inga-class and two D5-class battlecruisers docked at Deep Space 9.

November: Romulan War, by Dan Uyeno

A Romulan bird-of-prey attacks three Daedalus-class starships, including the USS Archon and USS Essex, during the Earth-Romulan War. The Federation starships are launching missiles from their dorsal launch tubes.

December: Sisters, by Michael Wiley

SS Enterprise and USS Enterprise side by side above a class M planet.

 And there you have it. Another amazing selection of starships from some very talented artists. I can't wait for next year's now!

If you're interested - and how can you not be? - the calendar is on sale now. Here are some handy-dandy links: Amazon UK, Amazon US. I can't be bothered to do any more, but you're not stupid - I'm sure you can work it out for yourselves.

 Right. I'd better go as I can feel that unpleasant tingle that means Witchface is about to reappear...

Wednesday 23 July 2014

They had two chances: fat and slim*

 Nothing of too much importance here. Just another reminder of what I've read so far this year for when (if?) I get around to the end-of-year review.

11. One Constant Star (Star Trek: The Lost Era), by David R. George III
12. The Bumper Book of Dinosaurs, by Keiron Pim
13. The More Things Change (Star Trek: The Original Series), by Scott Pearson
14. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
* Post title from page 81
15. Federation: The First 150 Years, by David A. Goodman


Sunday 20 July 2014

Triumphant Tin Foil Hats 2014

 Thank you all for returning on this auspicious occasion. If you would like to take your seats-
 No, here at the front, Norma! I've reserved seats for you VIP bloggers due to all the celebrities in attendance. Honestly, one couldn't move backstage earlier due to all the scantily-foil-clad reality TV stars!

Don't worry, I've locked Dan Osbourne and his tiny tinfoil trunks in my dressing room so he doesn't cause any further distractions during the award ceremony. I'll need someone to keep an eye on Tom Daley, though - Any takers?

Real stars; Elizabeth Taylor, Lady Gaga, Abba, Katy Perry and, uh... Vanessa Feltz(?) can't wait to find out who has won.

 So, the time has come. Voting is over and all ballot boxes have been emptied and counted. I am now in a position to reveal the winner of the 2014 edition of the Tin Hat & Tales Competition. Actually, I'm going to pass the honour of announcing the winner - for there is only one winner - over to Jennifer Anniston:

 Oh, for heavens sakes! Is it really that much of a surprise, Jen? Sigh... I'll just do it myself, then.

 And the winner of the Tin Hat & Tales Competition 2014 is:

Uranus Rising, by Ms Scarlet!

Congratulations Ms Scarlet! Not only were you the Popular Tin Foil Hat winner by garnering the most votes (narrowly pipping Mago to first place), but also the Technical Tin Foil Hat winner (just beating the last compo's winner, Eroswings). I hope you've prepared a speech? Your prize will be in the post shortly (i.e. when I've actually decided what it's going to be).

 Finally, before the celebrations begin, I would just like to thank you all for taking part and making this event a success. All the hats were marvellous - We should do this again sometime?!

 Right. I'm off to my dressing room to, uh... See to, umm... Find a... Oh, just start the Champagne, I'll be back in ten minutes.

Friday 18 July 2014

Stalking Concorde

 This is just a quick reminder to let you all know there're only a couple of days left to cast your vote for your favourite tin foil hat. 
If you really can't be bothered to scroll down to the preceding post, just click here to be magically transported to the Tin Hat & Tales: Flights of Fancy exhibit (currently held, with kind permission, in the Infomaniac Art Gallery).
 Remember: You can either vote in the comments, or email me if you would prefer a secret vote (email address in my profile).

~ ~ ~

 To help while away the days - and to provide imagery for this post - I tasked my tin foil creation, Silverbolt, to find and photograph that elusive creature: Concorde. I strapped my rather crappy digital camera to Silverbolt's shaft and sent it on it's way, rather like a drone. These are the best images available:

A fearsome Concorde at the Intrepid Museum, New York.
We think it's eyeing up that line of smaller planes dragons as hors d'oeuvres.

This ferocious Concorde looks like it's been shackled to the ground at Filton Airfield, Bristol (UK).
Possibly after having devoured most of the cars from that car park on the left...


Sunday 13 July 2014

Tin Hat and Tales Gallery 2014: Flights of Fancy

 Welcome! And thank you all for coming to this, the preview showing of the 2014 Tin Hat and Tales Competition: Flights of Fancy. 
 I must apologise for the late change in venue. Unfortunately, the Tate - the original location - succumbed to a plague of Scraplets, so MJ very kindly offered the use of the Infomaniac Art Gallery, for which I am eternally grateful. Just don't venture into the west wing. Or the basement, for that matter...

 Anyway, on with the show.

Just look at those critical eyes.
Can you feel yourself withering under their glare?

 We invite you to cast your critical eye (or eyes, if you're not a cyclops) over these exquisite exhibits and let us know, in the comments, upon who you would like to bestow the winner's crown (made of tin foil, of course).

 First up, we have xl's submission: The Right Smurf

The Right Smurf

This entry honors the 53rd anniversary of the flight of the second American in space, Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom in Mercury-Redstone 4 capsule Liberty Bell 7 on 21 July 1961.

~ ~ ~   

 The second entry is from our gracious host MJ: Superman's Package

Superman's Package

Up, up and away!

Superman has a package for you!

~ ~ ~

 Moving on, the third of our gallery submissions is by Ms Scarlet: Uranus Rising

Uranus Rising

 Ms Scarlet has graciously given a little background information about the creative process of her triumph of tin foil hattery:
Here is my hat... here is my story....

And so began the slow, torturous artistic process. Now that I was technically adept at tin foil modelling, I could at last focus my energies on artistic creativity. I retreated to my purpose built garret at the bottom of the garden and awaited for inspiration to take flight. It was not often that I was given a task of such import. Crawling through the back passage of my emotions, I re experienced hideous moments of my life that are probably best forgotten, it was a long and arduous journey, but I was determined to suffer for my art... and finally, when the sun was parallel to Pluto and Uranus was rising, my work was done.

The flight inspired tin foil hat, in all its explosive glory, stood before me. I was a shadow of my former self, but I knew that the 14 minutes I had spent creating it would benefit mankind for centuries to come.....

To be continued...........

~ ~ ~

 Passing through the gallery, on our right we have - 

....just a way to get past security.
Have a wonderful contest! 

 What the...?! How did this get past the stringent screening process? This submission from Norma is clearly in violation of the Tin Hat and Tales code of etiquette!
 Oh, give it a rest. We need something to bulk this compo up a bit. Besides, how do you know Norma didn't resurrect Liz Taylor's ancient carcass, slap a bit of filler on and fashion the hat out of tin foil, flowers and... Are those cigarettes??
That's probably not even the real Liz. Norma probably made her out of wax, created the weird smokers garden chapeau and plopped the whole lot in front of a Freemason's luncheon.
So, what's with the urine sample she's holding?
 I must say: Bravo Norma! It's a masterpiece. However you created it.
 OK, OK. Stop gushing. Let's continue on to our fifth exhibit, shall we?

~ ~ ~

 From Artiste Internationale, Mago: The Duck.

The Duck

I hate flying. At least sitting in a tin can and being shot to another continent has nothing in common with my idea of flying. I would board a balloon immediately. Or climb a board a glider. I would even sit my precious body into one of these Canadian post boxes that fly from lake to lake - but I hate jets. I flew in these machines twice in my lifetime - and the journey itself was without any hassle or inconvenience - both travels towards Southern destinations in Europe. But I can not fight the fear, strong martini helps.
I am not prone of levitation, but at one or two occasions in my lifetime I felt something that is best described as flying. One time I was playing billiards under the influence of mind altering substances, and at one point I was the ball on the table, within twenty minutes or so I was flying above the table. In this narrow space of time I could have done anything with the balls, and I did some really amazing shots. The second time is not for a blog.
So generally I'm flying like a dead duck, so you see the animal on my head - my personal totem. And because I like masks, and that sheet of tin foil just came in handy, that's it.

Deadlines ... pah ...

~ ~ ~

The final submissions of the Flights of Fancy exhibit are just down here on the left, in the Eros Wing of the gallery. This collection has been kindly loaned by that Texan Tinfoil Trickster, Eroswings.

 How to travel quickly and safely in today's world.

Air travel is so complicated and burdensome these days with all the scanners and lines and so many regulations that seem to urge the air traveler to hurry up and then wait for a long time to catch a plane. To breeze through the checkpoints and scanners, I introduce entry number one: 
The Snakes On a Plane hat.

Snakes on a Plane Hat

With your Snakes on a Plane hat, no airport screening agent will risk patting you down, not unless they want a poisonous deathly bite from your snake hat.  You'll just stroll right through the line to the boarding gate.  Bonus:  No pesky kids or annoying passengers will want to come near you, much less put their carry on luggage in your overhead compartment.

And when you arrive at your destination, say, for the World Cup Soccer games in Brazil, you can put on entry number two: 
The World Cup Soccer Slayer hat.
World Cup Soccer Slayer Hat

You'll notice Christ the Redeemer on the mountain in the background, protecting you from evil spirits.  The soccer player has a wooden stake in his hand, not because he's playing field hockey, but because in Brazil, there have been confirmed sightings of
the notorious Uruguayan vampire, which sinks its teeth into its victims in broad daylight on soccer fields.  Keep the wooden stake on your World Cup Soccer Slayer hat close, because you'll never know when the Uruguayan vampire might fly out and try to sink its teeth into your shoulders.  So far, he's shown a preference to biting Europeans!

But the Uruguayan vampire isn't the only flying danger you should be worried about.  With all the pollution causing climate change, the world is more dangerous with more powerful storms creating havoc and disasters on massive scales never seen before.  Forget raining dogs and cats.  These days, you have to worry about sharks flying in the air in tornadoes!  Thus, our final entry, the
Sharknado gear hat!

Sharknado Gear Hat

Your Sharknado gear hat is armed with a chainsaw to stop those flying sharks from chomping down on you!  And when you run out of gas or your chain breaks, use your ax to chop those sharks dead. Then reward yourself by using your chef's knife to make yourself some delicious sashimi and ceviche.  After all your hard work, you've earned yourself a treat!

~ ~ ~

 Now that we have viewed all the entries, please show your appreciation by voting for the chapeau that you'd like to win. You have a week to cast your vote, be it in the comments, or by emailing me if you don't want to give anything away (email address in my profile). As before, there could be two winners: One that you, the voting elite, choose; plus a technical winner that I shall declare based on adherance to the rules. I shall be tabulating your votes at the weekend and announcing the winner/s on Monday 21st July.

 Don't forget: You can make donations in the foyer before you leave. The collection pot is next to the Silverbolt tin foil hat fashioned by ourselves especially for this auspicious occasion.
Silverbolt, by IDV

Saturday 12 July 2014

Last chance

 This is your last chance to submit a tin foil hat for the 2014 Tin Hat and Tales Competition.

Don't make me narrow my eyes...

 You now have five and a half hours to reach minimum safe distance finish your submission and submit it in time for the gallery opening tomorrow.


Sunday 6 July 2014

Flying in to Cromer

 Well, I've received the first of many (I hope) submissions to the Tin Hat and Tales Competition 2014. With it, I also received a modicum of panic as I haven't even thought about my own submission, nor, after checking the cupboards of Castlette DeVice, do I have any tin foil!

 There was only one thing for it: I had to make a trip into Cromer.

 Despite being daytime, I decided - due to the sporadic rain - to travel in on Broom, hoping that the inclement weather would keep the majority of terrestrial travellers safely under their umbrellas from where they wouldn't see me gliding majestically-
* cough cough *
 Ahem. Majestically overhead.   

Hang a left at the lighthouse...

... and straight on to Cromer.

Cromer pier and the church tower peeking out from behind the cliffs.

An umbrella-less pedestrian foils my descent...

... and I veer off over the cliff, out of sight.

Cromer town heaves into view. An unexpected crosswind momentarily keeps me from alighting on the cliff path behind an unwitting couple.

 With no cherry trees to inconvenience my landing, I made a surprisingly graceful touch-down. After hiding Broom, Hat and my flight cloak deep in a gorse bush, I walked the rest of the way into town to purchase some foil and partake of a coffee and cake in Huckleberry's.

 Right. Now that I'm home again, I'd better do something with this tin foil. And the same goes for you lot! Go on - Snap to it!