Saturday, November 30, 2013

Starbase Olympia Report: TMP Enterprise Toys Part One!

    December of 1979 was an important month for Trek fans young and old as it saw the release of Star Trek The Motion Picture (TMP).  I certainly remember how excited I was when my family went to see it.  Not only was I a spaceship fanatic at that age; I was also obsessed with understanding special effects.  This film certainly catered to both those obsessions.  I loved the new Enterprise design!  It was still very recognizable when compared to its television counterpart, but imbued with a new sleekness and grace.   
    There were two Enterprise toys released in conjunction with the film. First off, the South Bend Electronic Enterprise.  Alas, I never owned it myself.  For this reason it has achieved a legendary status in my memories.  The South Bend toy was especially cool in that it could be disassembled and reconfigured as different Starfleet styled ships. It had great sound effect features as well.   It's very rare these days.  I imagine a collector would pay a hefty price for one MIB.   Thankfully, Dan has been generous enough to send photos of his South Bend Enterprise for our enjoyment.  Due to its fragile condition; Dan has it permanently suspended from his hobby room ceiling.  Thank you very much Dan!  Tomorrow we'll take a look at Dan's Dinky diecast TMP Enterprise.  I've also included the original trailer for Star Trek The Motion Picture.  Enjoy!

It's a very nice representation of its movie counterpart

With the exception of slightly shorter nacelles it's not too dissimilar from the film
Extra slots along the saucer and secondary hull allowed reconfiguration of  nacelles for cool starship customization

Speaker for cool sound effects!
Slot for 9 volt battery!
A great trailer!

Historic Meeting Between The Project Sword Moonbase Blog And The Secret Space Base!

   I'm very excited right now!  I'm going to be heard on The Project Sword Moonbase Podcast (Swordcast) Dec, 1 2013 on Celtica Radio.  This is a major privilege for me.  I'm a huge fan of their blog and podcast.  We'll be chatting about Doctor Who, Daleks, toys, and the like with Mike Burrows (Scoop)!  I'm adding a link for them below.  By the way, the awesome image above featuring the Gemini capsule and the Agena Target Vehicle was modified by the Moonbase Blog!  I'm planning a pair of End of Year podcast specials; one of which will focus on The Project Sword Moonbase crew!  I can't wait to have them on our show!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thoughts Concerning The Day of the Doctor and Doctor Who at the Proms 2013!

    My Wendy and I saw The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special The Day of the Doctor this last Monday (11-25-13) at a theater here in Tucson.  Certainly the special was very enjoyable, but what really amazed me was the turnout for the event.  I've been to this particular theater many times and I've NEVER seen it this packed.  In retrospect I'm glad we chose to arrive 2 1/2 hours early.  The majority of the people  there had come specifically to see the Doctor.  This was clear by the amount of cosplay, sonic screwdrivers, and other Who items people had brought with them to celebrate the event.  A local Doctor Who group even brought a full scale TARDIS exterior (very nicely constructed I might add) for photo opportunities.  It really was a celebration.  I suppose that's what I'll really take away from the experience.  Viewers of all ages showing appreciation for a 50 year old scifi series produced in the UK.  That is the power of good storytelling and an extremely well developed character. To conclude the 50th Anniversary articles here at The Secret Space Base I've included the video for the 2013 Doctor Who at the Proms Special.  Enjoy!

Wendy and the TARDIS!

Doctor Who at the Proms 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

  Happy Thanksgiving to my readers wherever you may be on this crazy world we share.  The one thing I miss on Thanksgiving were the annual Mystery Science Theater 3000 marathons they used to show on Comedy Central back in the day.  So my gift to you this day are some classic MST3K presentations.  We have Prince of Space, Fugitive Alien, and Mighty Jack.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Origins of Doctor Who...An Adventure In Space And Time!

   My Wendy and I just finished watching An Adventure In Space And Time; the BBC's docudrama about the origin and early years of Doctor Who.   It was brilliant!  Like many older, American fans; I didn't see Doctor Who until the Third Doctor's tenure.  I missed out on the First Doctor and the serials that would set the stage for all that came later in Doctor Who.  Watching this film reinforces the respect I have for all that have worked so hard to put good science fiction programs on television.  Getting Doctor Who on the air was clearly not an easy process.  Keeping it going was an even greater challenge.  I highly recommend this film.  It's not always a happy story to watch, but it's certainly worth watching.

Happy Fiftieth Anniversary Doctor Who!

   I just wanted to take this opportunity to say Happy 50th Birthday to television's longest, ongoing science fiction adventure serial, Doctor Who.  To think, television's most unique and engaging space adventure series first aired this very day in 1963.  50 years of time travel, alien locales, horrifying monsters, and alien invasions.  It may have begun as a uniquely British series, but it has become a global sensation. Entire volumes have been written about this series and it's title character so I won't rehash what most of you already  know.  Instead, Scoop over at the Project Sword Moonbase Blog wrote a very nice article for which I've included the link below.  Enjoy!

The eleven actors who have played The Doctor during his 50 years on television

An Amazing fan-made animated montage

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wonderfest Hobby Expo! Sounds Awesome!

     I've been to a fair number of comic and pop culture conventions in my day, but never took the time to attend Wonderfest in Louisville, Ky. It's been around since the early 90's and has been THE event for scifi and horror hobbyists.  Model builders should be especially awed by what's on display at Wonderfest.  I have no excuse for not having attended in the past considering my love of scifi models and props.  I really must correct that in 2014.  The next Wonderfest will be May 31-June 1st.  In the meantime I've found two videos from Wonderfest 2013.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Amazing Ultraseven Coin Bank!

    If you can't trust your hard earned cash to Ultraseven; whom can you trust? Tsuburaya Productions 1968 tokusatsu series has long been favorite of mine. I picked up this cool Ultraseven coin bank at the same San Diego Comic Con where I Picked up the diorama from the preceding post.  It's very solid and looks great on my Ultraseven shelf. The eyes light up every to you drop a coin in it. It didn't have any packaging and the dealer I bought it from couldn't tell me much about it other than the obvious.  The labeling states Not For Sale on the back.  Very cool despite having a somewhat nebulous pedigree.

Frankenstein Is Big In Japan.....Really Big!

     I love giant monsters.  Love em!  By extension I love Toho Studios and their legendary special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya.  No studio EVER had such a good handle on the daikaiju (giant monster) genre than Toho Studios.  One favorite Toho films is the 1965 masterpiece Frankenstein vs Baragon.  In this story Frankenstein (in this case a clone regenerated from the original monster's disembodied heart) must battle the subterranean monster Baragon.  Easier for Frankestein than you might think since radiation has turned him into a giant monster as well.  The special effects in this movie are fantastic.  Eiji Tsuburaya and his effects team really outdid themselves.  The diorama I'm posting is a trading kit I picked up at San Diego Comic Con a few years ago.  It depicts the film's amazing climactic showdown.  The details in the diorama are beautiful.  It captures the final battle perfectly.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Rather Speedy Tortoise Revisited

       On Mar 15, 2011 I posted an article featuring the Tortoise automobile from the 1968 Tsuburaya television series Operation Mystery.  It's the patrol car for the Scientific Research Institute (SRI).  I have since learned from blog reader Steve Michelsen that the car was a heavily customized Subaru 360.  This was confirmed from a Japanese book on fictional TV vehicles entitled Super Machine.  Steve was kind enough to send a picture of his very own Subaru 360.  Thank you Steve for your kind contribution.  Enjoy!
The Tortoise as it appeared in Operation Mystery

Steve Michelsen's very own Subaru 360

My own model of the Tortoise

Starbase Olympia Report: USS Enterprise vs USS Vengeance

   I enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness.  It had a lot of great moments.  My favorite scene is displayed above.  The David vs Goliath confrontation between the USS Enterprise and the USS Vengeance.  Dan, as always, has been kind enough to provide photos of his Hot Wheels Enterprise and Vengeance.   They're in scale with each other which is doubly cool.  I do enjoy the complexity of the Vengeance design.  Hot Wheels Trek replicas reflect their screen counterparts very nicely.  I wish to thank Dan for his contributions to the blog.  You're the best my friend.

While We're on The Subject of Yamato; Here's Their Robot, Analyzer!

    One of the really neat characters on Space Battleship Yamato was their resident robot, Analyzer (IQ9 in the Star Blazers dub).  Despite being a robot he was an inveterate skirt chaser and was in love with one of the ship's female crew members.  I really like the character's design. Very rugged looking and in the show he could certainly take  a lot of punishment.  Thankfully, he was included in the updated series Yamato 2199.  The toy I'm displaying today was produced by Banpresto (makers of my favorite video game series Super Robot Taisen).  Just like its television counterpart; the toy can be dismantled into three parts.  In the show he did this to fit into tight spaces such as the  backseat of aircars.  Although the toy isn't exactly poseable, it certainly looks good on my Yamato shelf.  Enjoy!

We're Off To Outer Space! Space Battleship Yamato, Yamato 2199, and Star Blazers

   I've been a longtime fan of Space Battleship Yamato.  The original 1974 series, its sequels, the english dub Star Blazers were great entertainment.  The story follows the mission to save humanity from extinction at the hands of the ruthless alien Gamilas (Gamilons in Star Blazers).  The star of the show was the Yamato; a powerful space battle ship constructed from the remains of its WW2 namesake.  The American dub was very good too and didn't edit out most of the death and destruction from the original Japanese version.  The Japanese have recently re imagined the series as Yamato 2199.  The original plot remains intact as do most of the original characters.  Using CGI for the space battles was a good move.  The best news is that Voyager Entertainment, the company that holds the rights to Yamato in the US; will be releasing Yamato 2199 stateside as Star Blazers 2199.  I've decided the post the openings to the original Yamato 1974, Yamato 2199, and Star Blazers for comparison.  Enjoy!

1974 Series
Yamato 2199
Star Blazers

Popynica Has Got A Lot of GUTS Part Eight: The GUTS Marine

    We've finally reached the GUTS Marine.  Super GUTS submersible scoutship.  I like this craft a lot.  It has a very interesting design quality that is never demonstrated during the three episodes the GUTS Marine appears in.  The two port and starboard structures that I assumed were part of the propulsion system are in fact manipulator arms.  Rather than being simply a gimmick for the toy; this feature was verified on page 29 of the Terubi Magazine Ultra Man Dyna book.  It can be docked with the GUTS Eagle Beta and has been shown doing this in the actual series.  In any case it's really cool.  Enjoy!