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donderdag 28 juli 2016

The Adventures of Vin Fiz - Clive Cussler

I always been intrested in Clive Cussler since I saw him narrate the Sea Hunters decades ago, and have read quite a few of his books.

A while ago, I picked up his first children`s book in a bargain bin, more out of curiosity, and read it.


Lacey and Casey are two farmers children.  One day, their parents receive a harvest season`s help from a mysterious man called Sucop Sucoh, and when he leaves, he gifts the children a box that can make any toy come to life.
They use it to create a Wright brothers airplane called Vin Fiz, and they set out to travel from California to New York on the enchanted machine.
Along the way, they come along various adventures like runaway trains and western style bandits, before seeing at last the city of new York.


It`s actually a good story, though at 150 pages maybe a bit short.  I read it in two days worth of bus drives (I do about 30 + 45 minutes one way), but it really captivated me in that I even missed my stop on one occassion.
It`s written fluently and smoothly, and I think i`ll keep it aside for when the kid gets english at school and they need books for reports :-)

Rating: 7.5 / 10

dinsdag 26 juli 2016

Pokemon oddities: The Legend of Dratini

Well, if like me you grew up in 1996 - 1997 with the original Pokemon games (Red and Blue) and the cartoons, you wondered why the game had that large safari Zone, and the cartoon didn`t...

... well, actually it did!

It just never got aired outside Japan due to censorship concerns.  The story deals about our friends Ash, Brock and Misty arriving at the zone, and learning a Dratini had been spotted there 30 years ago.

However, Kaiza, the parc guardian, isn`t to happy about it, and tells them the legendary Pokemon is no longer there, to prevent the parc being half destroyed like when it was first said the beast was there.  Team Rocket intervenes however and Ash as a result nearly drowns, only to be saved by Dragonair who is happy to see it`s finder Kaiza again after all those decades.

That didn`t sound to bad now, doesn`t it.  Well, the censorship commitee fell over these two moments:

Not really kiddie material indeed.  Now, the episode in the original numbering was 35, so it took place shortly after the shipwreck series (with James`s Magikarp), but the numbering in Japan was different from ours, this episode taking actually place really at the beginning of the series in the japanese numbering.

For those wanting to see it, it`s still on YouTube with english dubs:

Pirate Sea Robber - Tim Severin

The third instalment of the Pirate series detailing the fictional adventures of Hector Lynch, we are bound for another trip around the world.

Now, between you and me, he must be one of the unluckiest fellows to sail the oceans though...


After escaping the noose thanks to the testimony of the woman he loves in the previous instalment, Hector and his friends find themselves in the employ of the danish.  Soon however, their ship is taken over by an old pirate aquintance, and they set sail to the carribean, where Hector hopes to find Maria again.
He learns though that she moved with her employers to the Ladrones in the Pacific, and manipulates events to go on another ship towards the asian waters, where they face off with a warlord and thieving tribes.
After escaping them with Maria, he gets forced in a conflict between two warring tribes, but all turns out well as he sails towards destiny and a better future for them and his friends.


Again tied to real historical figures and events, but with a nice sauce of fictional characters and countries poured over it, this was another enjoyable read.  Though he really gets around our Hector, and still isn`t a real pirate like we think off in series like Black Sails.  He is more an unlucky bloke he keeps rolling into affairs with pirates as he tries his utmost best to just settle down for a normal life.

It was a good book, and now I only have one more volume in my posession to go, so I`ll be reading that in the near future as well :-)

maandag 25 juli 2016

Inspirational Lego # 80

Cutting it close to the end of the monday, but here we are again with the weekly dose of eyecandy :-)

I`m hoping you like the selection once more, as we kick off with Nibleheim valley

The waterflow, the roofs, the trees... I just love this build

Next, we have a nice black and white composition making use of the banshee from the series 15 CMF`s.

Staying in the spooky theme, this bell tower looks like it came straight out of an episode of scooby doo.

Another great windmill, I love how the blades are done.

This cutaway section of market stalls against the wall of the castle is so vibrant.

A raiding party ambushes a merchant along the road.

The Solacium, a very impressive spaceship build, with strong colours and a great shape.

Otto the Octopus is giving the Sea Cow a bad day...

A great roadster based on the 1923 Ford T model.

The final build this week is this very homely clock, which I can imagine hanging in my own living room...

And there we have it, another 10 build which I hope you like, and until next monday!

zondag 24 juli 2016

Dimensions Marathon

With Year 2 only about a month away, it`s time to put in some real effort on my Dimensions game.

While I`ve platinummed it ages ago, I still have a lot of gold bricks to pick up left and right, and I want to have as good as all done by the time the excellent new stuff arrives, like the Fantastic Beasts line et all.

I`m going to do this in a few "phases", and if I`ll stick to it, I should be able to come close to the 480 mark in the end.

1. Obtain "Rulebreaker" in the few remaining unexplored Dimensions

2. Clean up the regular levels for the odd minikit or character left and right.

3. Clean up the Dimension worlds.

I`m planning on spreading this in two weekly "marathons", the coming week to get the rulebreaker and levels done, the last week of august to clean up the Dimension worlds themselves (including a lot of those dreaded racing thingies urgh).

But now, time to fire up the PS3...

Classic Build Report: 6987 Message Intercept Base

In today`s build report, I tackling the big base of the 1988 Blacktron subtheme.

At about 540 plus pieces, and some baseplates like the good old sets used to have, this was the big one of the range back then.

Manned by no less then 5 Blacktron spacenauts, the base is in the business of intercepting the messages of the Futuron spacenauts and directing their forces as such.

The first thing we are building is a small spacejet that comes with it.  This is based around black inverted slopes and a plate between them.

The cockpit of the plane is then build, as the engines are now added to the back as well.

Next, the wing section is put together and added to the plane as we install the canopy.

And the little spaceship is completed.

The second build is a small buggy as where common in the spacesets back then, but it differs in that sidebars are added to this one, adding a bit more detail.

The base begins with black stanchions placed on the baseplates, so that the central base part is raised.

Using Technic bricks, robot arms and the likes, the underside of the base is made ready to be holding tools and the likes.

The topside is then plated up.

The walls are being build, including the use of a lot of computer screens.

The central computer pylon is then made and put, well, in the centre of the floor.

Using a rail, a central elevator system is added to the pylon.

A turning device is added to this elevator to make the attached parts moveable later on in the build.

This device are two openable long arms, which are the next things we are then building and adding to the base.

Moving back outside, we are connecting the second plate to the build.

On this, a secondary, smaller part of the base is build, consisting of a small tower.

This tower is placed on the plate on a rail as well, as it will be able to slide towards the main part of the message base.

Adding some details, the base then stands completed and the Futuron message lanes aren`t safe anymore!

It`s a pretty neat base if you ask me, and it comes with a lot of playability features!