Sunday, 29 January 2017

Trainers on film: Highlander

I re watched the original Highlander recently and was reminded that it's both beautiful and cheesy in equal measure. Had the execs spent as much time and money on the script as they did on the production design it would be a masterpiece. Nonetheless it was a sleeper hit whose appeal grew with the home video market of the late 80s.

One of the things I enjoy about 80s movies is the costumes. Partly because my memories of the decade are hazy and movies tend to fill in the blanks, but also I love retro-clones and am always mining for material. Hence I was interested in Russell Nash's trainers, which are featured rather heavily and stand out a mile.

Just to get as much product placement as you can into a shot, you see him crush a Coke can with his lovely sneakers.

After a bit of googling I think Diadora Borg Elites are a good contender for the shoes. The distinctive forward-facing Y-band is a giveaway. Subsequently I found this post on Reddit which seems to agree.

From the website END.:

The signature silhouette of coveted Swedish tennis pro, Bjorn Borg, the Diadora Borg Elite was an instant cult-classic upon its launch back in 1978. Renowned for being as popular on-court as it was off throughout the 1980’s...
This website also has a detailed entry. It seems there was a 'gold' variant of the shoe made from kangaroo leather (and possibly this is the one in the shots on white above), but the movie stills imply that actor Christoper Lambert wore a grey-stripe version.

There's no real reference to the grey-stripe Borg Elites being massively expensive. So what does that say about Lambert's character Nash? That he's fashionable, but deliberately un-ostentatious to keep his profile low. Perhaps with kangaroo skin shoes the Kurgan would have sniffed him out quicker?

On a side note, The Prop Gallery has an entry for Lambert's trench coat, which it lists as custom made. While Nash might have opted for this more subtle form of bespoke tailoring, there may have been a practical reason to avoid an off-the-shelf garment. The coat needed to give the actor great freedom of movement and look good under wind turbines, and no commercial jacket was found to do this.

There can be only one.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Gangs of Commorragh

Games Workshop has just released the excellent Gangs of Commorragh game and I was lucky enough to be on the playtest team when it was in development. Check out a post about the gang I created on the Warhammer Community website.

Here are some more photos of the minis.

These are the handy reference cards that I refer to in the post.

Below are some shots of the gang in action on the playtest mat I made depicting the noxious, smog-filled skies over Commorragh.

Gangs of Commorragh is an awesome game and a great addition to the lore of the Dark Eldar race. You'll find yourself banking at breakneck speed around spires, trying to hang on your target's tail while desperately avoiding being a quarry yourself. Between games you'll be tooling up your gang members in an attempt to squeeze every last bit of ounce of killing power during their next clandestine run. I can highly recommend the life of a gang leader in the Dark City!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Reigns review

Reigns is a casual app game which has been getting great reviews. You play a medieval king who must rule his subjects wisely and avoid the many pitfalls that will beset you. Its mechanic is simple - it's a choose-your-own-adventure with a Tinder-style swipe-left or swipe-right system for making decisions. You have four resources to manage - the Church (bless em'), the people (damn 'em!), your army (yessah!) and your treasury (ker-ching!). When any of these drops to zero, you loose.

What caught my attention about it was its unique art style. It uses super-lo-fi vexels for pretty much everything including the beautiful little portraits of all the protagonists. It's amazing to see how much character can be imbued with so little detail. Each person's appearance is accompanied by a short sound effect (a kind of mumbling pseudo-voice) which further gives them life.

The game isn't easy. You're going to die. A lot. But one of the game's strengths is its entertaining failures. Your death is unfailingly amusing and you're going to end up chuckling to yourself on the bus as your corpse is thrown to the dogs by angry mobs because you let the plague take root in your capital city. You idiot. Indeed, there is a quirky sense of humour that pervades the whole game. The writing reminds me a bit of the excellent Sword & Sworcery - you'll constantly be thinking "Whaaaaat?" to yourself.

It's a great little game and may even teach you something about the complexities of ruling a nation.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Epic Heresy-era Imperial Fists

I was super excited when it was announced that Adeptus Titanicus would be returning. Some friends and I decided to have a game of Epic Armageddon and I put together a small force of Imperial Fists for this purpose.

There's been a small but lively epic scale scene doing cool stuff ever since the game was published and one of the things that excited me about this small project was making the individual units more dynamic. To this end I copied some of the best examples out there by landscaping the bases. This works really well for the troops in particular and I was pleased with how the little vignettes turned out. I have also seen some utterly gorgeous examples of epic scale weathering and, part of the reason I chose Fists, was to enable the chipping to pop. I was pretty satisfied with the results, although I'm not sure how well it works on the dreadnoughts.

I made custom decals for the markings and banners. I really love banners for epic scale as they not only aid gameplay but they seem to capture the ostentatious nature of the Marines. The dinky little battlefield role icons on the vehicle also help to give them scale.

I'm not planning to add to much to the infantry, but I would like to paint up a maniple of titans at some point to support these guys. I am thinking Legio Gryphonicus (because: yellow) but I also love the use of the WWI German lozenge camo on some of the very early published titans so I might incorporate that.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Saturday, 14 January 2017


I've been lucky enough to delve into the world of VR of late. In the words of Lincoln Steffens, "I have seen the future, and it works." Though it may be too early to tell, while cinema was the art form of the 20th century, VR may very well be the medium of the 21st. This bitesize documentary from VICE UK looks at the latest trends and addresses some of the physiological and ethical issues with VR.