Thursday, March 21, 2002

TRU are officially v good

No sooner do I slag off TRU for being crap then it turns out that they have restocked with Hot Wheels and now (in the Brum branch at least) have a huge stock of 2001 and 2002 cars. Sorry guys...

I also finally managed to pick up a car to represent my Ford Puma on the A&A table - Hot Wheels Custom Cougars are the most disgustingly coloured diecast cars in the world (black paint, purple metallic wheels, translucent orange bonnet - yuk!) and they cry out for all of them to be resprayed with Ford Moondust Silver to represent the Puma. Obviously the Ford (Mercury) Cougar is not the same as the Puma, but the front is similar, the rear is not dissimilar (i.e. it's not really right, but close enough on that model as it is obscured by a massive spoiler) and the size difference isn't apparent in "not-quite-1:64th-scale". Since we aren't likely to ever see a Triumph TR7 in 1:64 is there any chance of a Mark 1 Toyota MR-2 that I can squint a bit at?
Car Wars Preview, Jet FIghters, TRU are officialy v poor

If you browse to Steve Jackson Games you can see the proofs of the new Car Wars rulebooks, the release of which is apparently imminent. Why am I telling you this? Because the Car Wars people have finally accepted that we all hate 1" paper counters and paper maps but we all love converted Hot Wheels and 'open tables' so they have adopted 3x scale as the official scale. The beginner sets (rules and two car counters) include 3" x 1.5" counters which, being readers of this site, you can immeadiately throw away and replace with a die-cast on the correct size base. The dropped weapon counters look nice too, I might replace my home-built counters with these (when released and shipped to the UK at least).

I haven't spent a huge amount of time with Axles and Alloys lately, in fact I've only played one game this year and that was as a Gamesmaster. I've also converted approximately one (i.e. less than two) car and even that isn't finished. The reason for this is that we (Stourbridge club) carted A&A around the Midland show circuit as our participation game for 2001, and now we are into 2002 we have been busy knocking up our game for this year.

This game is tentatively titled 'Lock On' and is an even more beer-and-pretzels version of our beer-and-pretzels game of modern jet combat. In it's original form we played out a lot of Korean War and Six Days War actions in 1:300 but for the show games we upped the scale to 1:144 and used the cheap Revell plastic kits of modern jets. We've run this at the West Midlands Military Modelling Show in Alumwell and it went down quite well. Someday full rules and model aircraft shots will be on the site, but don't hold your breath...

As a result don't expect to see Axles and Alloys at a Midland show this year. Bifrost might be an exception as this is a sci-fi show and Lock On is clearly not sci-fi. Likewise Warfayre (Halesowen) might see A&A as this is the Stourbridge club open day and although we will run Lock On there might be an A&A game on if there is the space or if another game organiser has to drop out at short notice.

On an unrelated point, what the hell is up with Toys R Us and their Hot Wheels stock? My local TRU has almost completely cleared the shelves of HW, last couple of times I have darkened it's doors they about a dozen left, half of which were Hot Birds (the crappy advertising blimp thing - useful for Aeronef though). It isn't just the Brum branch either, Chris Johnston reports similar findings in Manchester. Sainsburys have stopped stocking individuals which is a shame as I got two Treasure Hunts on consecutive days at their Perton branch. Fortunately Woolworths still stock a lot and the 2002 line are finally making their appearance in these shops.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Hell on Wheels! A blog update!

Well I wrote a M-A-S-S-I-V-E update a couple of weeks ago, detailing how I now have a Tyco slot car set (Formula World Tour), 4 modern F1 cars, 3 old Indy cars, 2 Micro Scalextric Jag XJ200s, 2 Micro Scalextric DTM cars, 4 old sets from, two home-made bodies converted from Hot Wheels Camaro Z28s, loads of track from Toys R US, two lap counters AND about a Christmas present driving Ferrari 355s, single seaters and MG ZS s at Thruxton... and Blogger timed out and ate it.

Suffice to say I was so brassed off that I couldn't be bothered to redo it, nor do any more blog stuff for a while.

None-the-less I now break silence to inform y'all of changes at Chris Johnston's Road Rage site. Chris has added a forum on all things auto-combat to his site, I intend to keep my eye on threads there, so if you have anything to discuss about A&A or motor modelling that you don't mind being in the public forum, then please feel free to post there. Chris has also added some new car photos including Daphne from Scooby-Doo being "stripped and drilled" apparently... :O

The site is

A recent DVD purchase was 'Ronin'. I didn't think this was a particularly brilliant film, although De Niro is as watchable as he always is, but there are two excellent car chases, one through the French Riveria and the other through Paris with an amazing sequence whereby the two cars race the wrong way up a dual carriageway into a mass of oncoming traffic. The number of stunt drivers needed for some of these shots boggles belief. The region 2 DVD I have (PAL, Europe) also contains a small documentary on the filming of the chase sequences, apparently right hand drive UK cars had dummy steering wheels fitted on the left side along with French plates, so that the actors sat in the cars during the stunts pretending to drive while the stuntmen actually did all the work. Neat idea...