Category: Articles

Regular articles all about everything The TARDIS Guy gets up to. The things he makes, the place he goes and the people he meets. What on earth is going on in his mind? Want to know? It’s all in the articles.

Exciting News! – Call of Cthulhu Kickstarter Announcement.

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You might have seen a few teases of something we’ve been working on – something not about superheroes, but still involving cosmic power. And it’s coming to you next month as part of the first ever Type40 Kickstarter campaign!

We’ve teamed up with Chaosium, makers of the classic roleplaying game of cosmic horror, Call of Cthulhu, and in August we’ll launch our first licensed Chaosium product – the Call of Cthulhu leather document wallet. Each one is constructed by hand from real leather, equipped with multiple pockets, and embossed with an Elder Sign to protect your books, character sheet and other documents from the gaze of the Great Old Ones – or possibly with the head of Dread Cthulhu himself, to invite him in!

Watch this site for more information soon, and get ready for the campaign launch in early August – because there will be a few exclusive rewards, including some only available to the first backers of the campaign.

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How Hard Can It Be? Dealing With Growth and Change

September  25 2012 was the date I posted my first profile picture on the Facebook page. It was of the first TARDIS I built for my friend, Nic.  Since then I’ve posted 127 profile pictures, 192 cover photos, 2727 mobile uploads and 774 timeline photos.

In other news, the Facebook page has, at time of writing, 4703 likes and on Instagram there are 2588 likes and have been 1523 posts.

What does all this mean? Apart from me spending too much time posting pictures when I should be making things?  It means I’ve  grown, changed, met people, made things, made more things, learned things, messed things up, had mighty triumphs and failed a bunch of times.

It also means that I’m incredibly grateful. For the people who started following me way back when, for the person who followed me about five minutes ago. Grateful for that person who just keeps buying whatever I make and for the person who shyly bought a necklace off me at Nerdmania last weekend. You are awesome.

However, this isn’t one of those, “OMG I’m so grateful and thank you”, posts. I want to look at change in general, because it’s scary, it’s hard and it’s inevitable.

When I’m interviewed or asked to speak on what I do, I often glibly say , “how hard can it be?” The actual answer is “sometimes it’s very hard.” Change is the same for me. I see it coming , I watch it approach and then it’s on me and my ,”pffft, sure, whatever”, has changed to,”OMG what have I done?” So it doesn’t help that to grow you have to change.

If you type, “dealing with growth and change”, into Google, it will return pages and pages of information. I’m sure it’s all very informative but me being me, I didn’t read any of it, I mean , how hard can it be?  So here is my quick guide on what I do.

Firstly, what I used to do.

Step one – see change coming

Step two – ignore change

Step three – wonder why I’m panicking and things aren’t like they used to be. Try to carry on in my usual manner. Fail. Panick. Look at change from the corner of my eye. Fight change in a death battle. Begrudgingly say “OK” to change when change makes me tap out. Tell change that it’s a jerk. Grow.

What I do now

Step one – see change coming

Step two – plan for  change’s arrival

Step three – eye change suspiciously, welcome change to the door with apprehension, show change my plan, watch as change laughs at my plan and sweeps it off the table and dances on my plan, call change a jerk, work out a new plan with change, do new plan. Grow

See, look, it’s July 29 2016 and I’ve grown. I’ve changed. I’m getting better.  I’m smashing it. Kinda. I’m pretty proud of that though. I don’t panic anymore and I don’t hide from it, (I hide a little).

There will be more change in the future , I’m sure. As I create more pieces. The Loki staff, the Infinity Gauntlet and many more will force change upon me.  The people I meet and the paths I choose to go down will all make me grow. So I welcome change and will eye it off suspiciously then give it mighty hug and hope it doesn’t strangle hold me into submission. How hard can it be?

My International Convention Experience 

Jack just wants his truck back

Yes, I did go to Rome and yes, I did hold Jenson Ackles and Jared Padalecki in my arms about six weeks ago. That was at JibCon, probably the best Supernatural convention out there. Let’s not focus on how much fun Jared was or how insanely cool Jenson is, I mean, he’s Humphrey Bogart levels of cool. Let’s not focus on my being unable to speak in front of him when asking him to sign my Angel Blade. I had a whole speech prepared and everything, dammit. Let’s not focus on any of that. Let’s focus on my international convention experience.

JibCon is superb, it’s a three day, intensely focused fan event concerned purely with Supernatural the TV show. I love Supernatural so much. SO MUCH YOU DONT UNDERSTAND STOP JUDGING ME!

Sorry , yeah, Supernatural, it’s kinda great. So is JibCon, but it’s in Rome, Italy. That’s Europe. Siri tells me that were I a crow, Rome is 15,982 kilometres away. I’m not, so I have to get a couple of flights and it takes around 24 hours to fly there.  Everything is a long way away when you live in Australia, especially Friday, so don’t ever moan to me about your week.

Back to the point. JibCon was my first Supernatural con and one of the few conventions I go to as an attendee. Mostly I’m at conventions as an exhibitor. I’ve been to fan cons before and I love them . People immersed in what they love. You spend all day listening to people talk about the thing you love, then you spend the night in the bar talking to other people about the thing you love, then you go to bed. After three days of it you aren’t tired, you are tired but you aren’t. You just want more and for it to never stop. Then it does. The con drop or con blues after a fan con is pretty big but after Supernatural it was like a blow. You see, I had met all these new people and I love new people. I completely geeked out over the cast of Supernatural and said some pretty nerdy things and not once did anyone blank look me, or try to stop me, or interrupt me, or not “get me” and it felt good. So when it ended I didn’t know what to do.

img_2877Except I did. I knew exactly what to do. Go to London, find my Airbnb and then go to the UKs largest pop culture convention, MCMLondon comic con. Less than one week later I was at the doors of Excel London convention centre watching all the people mass on their way in.  MCMLondon comic con is a very different beast to JibCon and much more like what I am used to, only bigger. Like, WOW, bigger.  These were my people, nerds, geeks, cosplayers, everyone and I smiled. In fact the only difference was the funny accents, they talked a little like me. A UK accent and not Australian. It took me a while to adjust. It’s a three day con in two large halls with an attendance of about 140,000 over the weekend. That’s big to me, the biggest here in Australia is about 55,000, but it didn’t feel crowded , it flowed well, the signage was great and there was not one unhappy face the whole weekend.

I spent a lot of my time ar MCM networking and chatting to people about their experiences there. Small exhibitors, big exhibitors, charity groups. How did they find the venue, the organisation ,the attendees. You see I was there to see if there is an audience for what I do and I didn’t hear one bad word. At one point I even met the sales director and he seemed very interested in what I do, so that sounds promising.

The panels were good and the guest list extensive, which you would expect from the UK. I was surprised, however, that the guest list didn’t flesh out until maybe  two weeks before the con. It seems all cons work the same in that regards. The list of guests looked like, nothing, nothing , nothing, everything all of a sudden.  Something I did like we’re the mini 20min panels they had on the con floor with guests which you could catch at random while just wandering around. I saw John Noble talk Fringe and Lord of the Rings, awesome.

Like most conventions of this kind it’s full of shops and retailers all selling the same thing. More pop vinyls than is decent and many flavours of tshirt. The fan art and indie creatives areas were well represented with some kooky and quirky booths, but nothing too out of the ordinary and no one doing what I do. Promising. Another surprise was the comic book artists. Bob Layton was there but he was the biggest name. I guess the pop culture cons leave the actual comic conventioning to the dedicated comic conventions. A little disappointing thought. The Australian scene really nails this over here.

I can’t finish this article without talking cosplay. I went in full Cap costume on the Saturday and loved it. So many photos and so much attention. There were some great cosplays there in many forms, giant Space Marines including a Female Emperor, plenty of Stormtroopers and Marvel and even Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China. It was all very good but nothing out of the ordinary.

The verdict is that Jenson Ackles is adorable and Jared Padalecki is a bag of kittens level fun. Also, I appear to have developed a taste for overseas conventions.  Maybe next year I will be exhibiting, maybe something bigger?

Screen Accuracy – !@$&!@!

Warning, I’m about to get my rant on. Look away if you are squeamish because this won’t be pretty.  Also , this isn’t aimed at you, that’s right, this is not a personal attack on you.

Warning over, here we go, hold on, it might be a bumpy ride.

Screen Accuracy. It’s the holy grail of the prop building community. Is it screen accurate?  Does it match up exactly to what you see in the movie or TV show?  Screen accuracy is basically the attempt to exactly replicate a prop used on screen. The exact size, the same colour, the same materials, everything. It’s often used as a measure of legitimacy, quality and as a stamp of approval.  As if somehow, the one on the show is the absolute pinnicle of desire.

Let’s take a look at the concept of making something that is screen accurate. Tagging something you make as screen accurate just isn’t possible unless you somehow have access to actual screen used props, the original molds or perhaps the 3D models. Getting hold of them is next to impossible. So your thing is not screen accurate, it’s as close as you can get from reference and mensuration, (look it up, it’s basically what you are doing when you estimate sizes based on reference images). It’s not screen accurate, it’s your best shot.

So why do people insist on saying that there new thing is screen accurate, let me refer you back to paragraph three. Firstly , it’s often used as a measure of legitimacy. People strive to capture what they see on screen in the “thing” they are ever so passionate about , believing rightly or wrongly, that if it’s accurate it must be right, good, perfect.  It offers some measure of connection with that which is held so dear and that’s ok, mostly, if that’s what you really, really want. What this doesn’t leave any room for is your own input. What it also does is devalue some of the best work out there by comparison and that’s not cool.

Quality is a funny word, we know it when we see it but it means different things to different people. I suppose if something is made screen accurate you could assign a certain amount of quality to the “thing” by virtue of it being made in a similar manner. But as we’ve already discussed, unless you are a movie prop builder using the same methods and materials and have the actual dimensions , your thing isn’t screen accurate.  Most people don’t have access to that kind of kit. They do what they can with what they have. They approximate. So the quality will vary from prop to prop, person to person. You will know quality when you see it, but let’s not mistake accuracy with quality. They are not the same.

Lastly,(not really , there’s more and I commend you for even indulging my rant this far), I see screen accuracy used as a stamp of approval from others, “wow, looks so accurate” , “is that shield from the movie”, that sort of thing. That’s very nice and those comments are good, however it betrays the unseen grip our obsession with screen accuracy has on us.

We are more impressed with accuracy than we are with talent, hard work, time spent or creativity. Therein lies my main issue. We hobble ourselves with it.  It holds back our own personal creativity. Yes we want to recreate something we love, but let yourself go. Change, innovate, improve. Make it different. Add something of yourself. It’s so freeing. You simply  cannot make a mistake. The angle is wrong, who cares. It’s slightly larger than the one on screen, it doesn’t matter. Do you like it, is it pleasing to you? I’ve got news for you, you nailed it!
Let’s stop placing so much importance on screen accuracy and start appreciating the talent and creativity out there.

Thanks for listening. This rant was inspired by the mad skills of http://www.soloroboto.com/store/winter-soldier-chrome

Check it out.  I’m very sure it’s as screen accurate as he could get but the point is , I’m also very sure he poured hours and hours of time and talent into this so let’s give some credit.

Purpose not Profit

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Question: did you know that most global businesses fail after forty years?

No, neither did I. I don’t really know why they fail as I was catching the tail end of an interview with a “futurist”, (no , not Tony Stark), on the radio. Now, this is the important part, those that don’t fail focus on purpose, not profit.

Purpose, not profit. Those three words have stopped me in my tracks.  If you read these articles you may know that I have been planning and creating my own vision. A business plan if you will. It has both helped and hindered me. I know long term that it will be a great light to guide the way.

Now I’m not saying I’m a global business, I’m just some guy in a workshop in Melbourne, but surely these high ideals of purpose not profit should apply universally, right?

My vision, my purpose is to create beautiful, mind blowing items that make people gush and go, as one lady recently did ,”JESUS CHRIST!”  That blurting of emotion is a delight, I can comfortably say internally,”my work here is done”. When that happens  I have fulfilled my purpose. But what of profit? If I don’t make money, I don’t eat, pay rent etc. is being profitable such a bad thing ? I don’t think so, but if I’m truly honest it’s the purpose that feeds my soul and makes me happy , not the profit.

Purpose not profit may be the shortest sentence that has the biggest impact on me in a long while and it happened about 20 minutes ago. There is a good chance I heard it at just the right moment, which is also good.

Warning, this next bit is purely speculative:

How do we make it so we can concentrate on our purpose, not our profit? I think it might go a little like this.

A: First, work out a purpose. OK , I think I’ve done that bit.

B: Work out how much it costs to keep focused on my purpose. My materials, my rent and food and all those life and business costs. Plus maybe a bit for the odd Hot Toys or Lego kit here and there.

C: Set your work rates and prices at a level that is fair to you and your audience, the people who support you by purchasing your purpose. Review this every now and then. Nail that stuff right down.

D: Put it in a drawer, cupboard, oubliette, turn your back then fulfill your purpose everyday, every moment you can.

Major caveat here, I’ve done some of this but not all of it  I don’t know if it works. It sounds cool but that’s the thing with hearing impactful, three words sentences on the radio.

But it’s worth thinking about, isn’t it?