Monday, February 24, 2014

'Fez', the Music

Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular
Saturday 23 February 2014, TSB Arena Wellington

[This post has been synched! Check out Jamas' impressions of the day, and Al's premiere review]

It's long been an ambition of mine to see a film with performers providing the soundtrack live. Chances have arisen in the past - most recently the Goethe Institute brought the NZSO and Metropolis together in a sold-out event last year, and the original members of Goblin performed the soundtrack to Suspiria for the Auckland Festival. Both well out of my abilities to attend, alas, so when Jamas offered me a seat accompanying him for a matinee performance of a reworked Proms performance for Antipodean audiences (and using their own talent), I was very keen indeed.

Not that I went in with any expectations of a synchronised screening and symphony, but that's the deal with the BBC Proms' version of Who, and at times I, too, had to pinch myself an remember that I wasn't there to just watch a very large TV playing dialogue-free stories, but that up on stage there was an entire ensemble of highly talented players, choristers, a renowned conductor and soprano to boot. And seriously, with the audio-visual and lighting displays, not to mention the live wandering monsters in the theatre, you'd be forgiven for forgetting the actual orchestra on stage at any time.

Highlighting the work of the series' composer Murray Gold from the show since its 2005 return, and emceed by Fifth Doctor Peter Davison this was in all, a very slick, very assured production, and easily the best live Who experience I've had. It was, to be honest, a little long. But you couldn't complain at being short-changed by a two-hour performance with or without a twenty minute interval, and the audience were clearly up for it. My top five moment are:

1. Companion Suite
Highlighting four of the Doctor's most recent companions and comprising Gold's love letter to Billie Piper/RoseMartha's Theme, the more off-beat Donna's Theme and for The Girl Who Waited, Amy's Theme. Clara?, described by Davison as "light as a souflle" and his own favourite came later, and it's a good 'un indeed - I'd never noticed it until now, although of them all Martha's is still my favourite

2. Classic music suite
Classic Series composer Mark Ayres selected a quartet of music from the previous Doctors' eras, ticking off a wishlist I compiled as Jamas and I entered the venue - and they were all great choices. Martin Slavin's wonderful timpanic 'Space Adventures' 60s Cybermen theme from Tomb of the Cybermen, Malcolm Clark's putting-the-'mental'-into-experimental score for The Sea Devils, Paddy Kingsland's Fourth Doctor regeneration music from Logopolis and Ayres' own composition from The Curse of Fenric. Alas, nothing of John Debney's soundtrack for the Paul McGann movie - perhaps rights were an issue, but that will have to remain an undiscovered gem.

3. A Message from the DoctorWell, two, actually. Proms attendees back in the UK of course have had live skits featuring the current Doctor, but we got Tom Baker breaking character in two addresses to his fans, thanking them for the happiest seven years of his life, and later for the response to his unheralded appearance in Day of the Doctor. Typical Tom - a little batty, but full of warmth and for me more than a little moving as the various tics and space fillers of the Fourth Doctor now seem irremovable from Baker's own speech patterns. Or is it a stage affectation? he'll never let us know, will he - uh? Mm?

4. Silver Stalker
Due to dodgy ticketing information my companion and I got separated ended up being shifted to another pair of seats - and they were closer to the action! Best of all, they put us in direct eyeline with our wandering monsters - a Judoon, a Silurian, a seriously large Paradigm Dalek, and the new model Cyberman which, I swear, trained its shark-like lifeless eyes on me as it went through the most robotic of marching poses. And then it reached out to grab me. I was four rows back from it, but the child within me was looking for the exit signs.

5. Wandering Monsters
Yes, them again, but something for the day as a young father and his boy making their way in the half-light back to their seats laughed nervously as they encountered a silver giant in their aisle, and after dodging it, realised they were then trapped between two Cybermen and a Silurian, forcing a very hasty shuffle into their row. Again, all before my eyes - you can't beat a floor show.

Very cool in that all of this was provided (Davison, Gold's music and arch-conductor Ben Foster excluded) by the NZSO, Wellington's Orpheus Choir and local soloists; again, I had to occasionally remind myself that I wasn't simply listening to a familiar soundtrack. Closing off proceedings was the valedictory Vale Decem (with mezzo soprano, rather than counter tenor) and last of all, Gold's reworking of 'the feem toon' as Denis Waterman would put it. A fitting end much prepared for, and well worth the sting of my parking ticket later on. 

Thanks again, Jamas (and Jamas' parents!) for the opportunity to see this :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Texas City Judge

Today is the 168th anniversary of the installation of the State government of Texas. You’re most welcome.

Texas, or more correctly, Texas City, or less formally and correctly Mega City 3 is an interesting place in the Dredd universe. Big, of course, taking in the original state plus Louisiana, Alabama and other parts besides, it has a long-standing rivalry with the still-unseen and even less-spoken of Mex City, and seems forever on the verge of actually splitting from the ‘union’ of Mega City One and its late lamented West Coast sibling. Plus ca change.

I quite like Texas City though, and still get a quiet thrill whenever it appears in the parent strip. It’s one of a few cases where an outside megacity has been created on points of difference as well as similarity to Dredd’s hometown, and perhaps there’s no better place to see this than the relatively obscure Megazine two-parter Texas City Sting, by John Wagner and Yan Shimony. In this, Dredd and his colleague, the Hershey-clone Colovito head to the southern megacity in pursuit of outstanding warrants on absconded perps from MC-1, but run afoul of Texas City’s belligerent Deputy Chief Judge who refuses them jurisdiction in his town. Undeterred, Dredd and Colovito turn Texas’ more liberal laws more creatively and become legally armed debt collectors, nearly scoring a hundred per cent catch (and gleefully being cheered on by their Texan shadowers.) Rather silly and wonderful, it might have been a classic in the early days of the strip in 2000AD, so it seems a shame this was relegated to the Meg, and the choice of Shimony as artist is perhaps another fumble. It’s not bad artwork – a little cartoonish and quite dynamic, but it lacks the style that a wittier artist like Ian Gibson or Mick McMahon would have given it.

Ah, McMahon again. The creator of the Texas City look. True, Brian Bolland may have given us the first true Texan judges in Che, Tex and Mex all stationed on the moon city of Luna-1, but the city itself and its resident judges get a proper role on the later strip, The Judge Child Quest (which also gave the world Texas City’s most notorious villains the Angel Gang) The judge here is simply an adapted Mega City uniform, fitted with a Stetson or ten-gallon hat and with the Texan star superimposed over the badge of justice. It’s a simple conversion, and says enough, really. We’re really blessed, though, with McMahon’s Texas City, a character in itself; all mutant reservations, theme parks, big, bold and utterly wild western ideas transported into the future.

McMahon's Texas City is a wonder to behold - goofy, solid, and filled with lots of little details, the tops of the buildings becoming stetsons, saloon doors, saddles... you name it. I love it.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lead Time Lords: The Ninth Doctor

Hah! Bet you thought I was going to be painting the Sixth Doctor. Well, no. Later. I have plans there, you see, and things to talk about in detail. Oh, detail… So here’s the ‘Ninth’ Doctor (I’m sticking to the pre-Day of the Doctor numbering for the sake of my sanity) as portrayed by Christopher Eccleston.
I really liked Eccleston’s Doctor, but I was disappointed at the same time that his tenure was so short and so defined by a single ‘amazing ™’ companion and character arc. That Eccleston turned down the chance to return to the role for the Anniversary special is also a shame, because I think we lost the opportunity to see him outside the Bad Wolf trappings as well. As it is, he’s something of an interregnum Doctor to me.

 Like his TV counterpart, there’s not a lot to say about this model – there’s very little in the way of alternatives out there – none which are readily available AND of equal quality sculpt-wise anyway. Heresy’s ‘Malcolm Ecclescake’ is pretty much what you’d want from a ninth Doctor figure; yes, the pose is not entirely him, but after version after version of Harlequin’s cross-armed posed old Doctors, the last thing you need is a self-hugging Eccleston figure mimicking his occasional onscreen posture. And maybe he’s a bit more ‘grim oop north’ in his expression than you might like, but otherwise he’s great. Fantastic, even. The jacket is high on detail, the face is suitably angular, there’s dynamism there, and they even got his ears right. Heresy’s model comes in two parts, his ‘sonic’ arm being needed to be glued on, but otherwise required little clean-up.

Colour-wise the limitations of Eccleston’s wardrobe show – black moleskins, battered black navvy’s jacket, and an assortment of toned-down shades of vest, from an olive drab to burgundy to grape. My purple option was decided on just to liven the figure up a bit, and I’ve weathered the jacket and given the trouser legs a bit of a liquorice green-black just to break up the overall darkness there, Initially I wanted a smooth, white marble and gold base to mimic the floors of Cardiff’s Temple of Peace aka Platform One, but once again my limited skill with that sort of thing showed all too clearly (an uneven and distinctly bumpy mess), and so a reddish colour scheme is on my base, once again to prevent the figure from being such a buzz-kill colour-wise.

Monday, February 10, 2014

"I'm No Longer the Centre of the Universe"

Manic Street Preachers: 'Rewind the Film' (2013)

“How I hate middle age - In between acceptance and rage”
-Builder of Routines

Over ten years ago while we were in our precocious early thirties, a friend David and I used to grimly joke about what we were supposed to be writing about 'at our age', penning songs of frustrated gardening, perhaps, or, like John Upstart, Smith and Jones' Slightly Irritated Young Man playwright, the broken demister on the Volvo. Joking apart, once the threshold has been passed, what is there left to say? 

Having dallied with its approach in recent albums, this is the Manics grasping the midlife nettle fully, exposing the disappointment and frustration of maturity, when simple championing and sloganeering will no longer do – much less the star jumps Nicky Wire once could afford to attempt on stage. Twenty years after the ravaged original, this is Wire, Bradfield and Moore’s own Holy Bible, muted and sullen, but more resigned to the reality of age, given the aural space of This is My Truth. There's very little electric guitar on the album, using more acoustic than any album before it, and harking back to traditional song structures - the opening This Sullen Welsh Heart and As Holy as the Soil (that Covers Your Skin) could be spirituals.

This is an important album for the Manic, and may be their best and most cohesive since This Is My Truth. The years colour and condemn, and a group "laminated" against its rigours look back on youth and simplicity. You could argue that previous albums have also visited this ground, particularly Postcard from a Young Man, but Rewind the Film willfully resists its predecessor's attempt at "mass communication" and is pointedly introverted, referencing the moribund likes of Morrisey (for whom 3 Ways to See Despair was written), Vidal, Lowry, Lennon and Lenin, as much as the band's own history, both happy (I Miss the Tokyo Skyline) and regretful. Wire's As Holy as the Soil calls his departed friend to "please come home, it's been so long but I can't let go."

Wire sings more here, and the band employing duets (which worked well for them in the past) but I wonder whether there's another tactic in distancing themselves from harder songs - the title track is shared by Pulp's Richard Hawley with Bradfield coming in on the choruses; Cate Le Bon provides all the vocals for 4 Lonely Roads, and Lucy Rose backs Sullen Welsh Heart. It, like Rewind the Film, covering the heavy confessions. I'm reminded of Nicky Wire opting to sing the closing song (bar one hidden track) of Journal to spare his bandmate the raw emotion of singing what has been taken by many to be a suicide note rehearsal.

Journal for Plague Lovers returns in sound with Running Out of Fantasy, a world-weary look in the mirror with some elegant phrasing and some of Wire's most economic writing:

The dying fall of my sentences / the magic of lost consequences
The seduction of a fading power / in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere

I love this album, I think, and I'm glad I discovered it a little late, away from press reviews and magazine articles (which have been largely highly complimentary.) in two months the companion album, the threatened 'Krautrock' influences Futurism will be released, its likely sound hinted at in this album's angry closer 30-Year War, Rewind's most overtly political song, driven by an intriguing array of keyboard washes, reverberating William Orbit-like percussive stabs and Wire playing the closest to a Peter Hook bass riff as he possibly can. It sounds an intriguing mix, and indicates a lot of life left in this band yet.

Cover Story: Railings on the Severn Bridge, that potent image of the band’s true crisis point, taken from a moving vehicle. This is a moving on from a past point of identity - not yet erased nor rendered ineffective, but able to be passed. A place of memory and temporary reflection.

Videos: The past returns in a Seventies-bleached slice of life in a Welsh community hall (the director apparently didn't need to put too much effort into dressing the location to period). Show me the Wonder is atypical of the album in general, being an up piece, but the past can be a happy, even wonderful place, too.

This is no threat, just an invitation
A sense of belonging, a sense of inspiration

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Aztecs: Conquest and Glory

Last week Jamas and I checked out the last week of Te Papa's exhibition of the above name; and you can read his thoughts here! Good stuff - we started by getting in on concessions (a quiet midweek day, school holidays all but over, working in our favour)and I had approximately an hour to dash round the exhibits before my own personal Cortez arrived in the form of the end of my lunch break.

Aztec culture interests me, albeit from the distance of too little learning - I haven't even seen the Doctor Who story in question. Most of its appeal to me is simply visual - I can't get my brain around some of the gods' names, let alone my tongue, and on the whole I find their culture equally fascinating and baffling. But their visual aesthetic is simply remarkable, from their codices and their literal version of sequential narrative (almost a comic strip with blank speech balloons) to their carved linear, geometric motifs combining animal and human forms to realise their beliefs in highly un-naturalised mirrors of nature.

Pop culture would have us believe that the Aztecs were a sophisticated society who almost revered death to the point of savagery, usually involving bloody sacrifice to one or more of their pantheon. The exhibition did little to dispel that notion, although to its credit places ritualised death in a reasonably natural context; that is to say, it stresses enough that beyond the spectacle (and boy was there spectacle in those sacrifices) the ritual was 'normalised' to meet a specific, regular calendar of harvest and god appeasement. Yes, having one's heart torn beating from out from under your ribcage is brutal, but this took place within an ordered society extremely close to nature, where wild animals, disease, famine and enemies could provide as awful an end, and without the questionable lead-in of a year's adoration by your butchers and heavy drugging on the day. Were the Romans any better in the days of the gladiatorial arena? We've come a long way in the west from such concerns, and such a degree of contextualising - death has become more abstract, more personalised, less a community reality; and sacrifice is something we reserve for the heroic, and those who might choose it for themselves, not those preordained by a deity. In short, it made me think a lot about death in ways I hadn't appreciated.

I wasn't expecting to see so much of an emphasis on death, though. Astonishing to see masks made from bone, a replica temple to Mictlantecuhtli, the actual sacrificial stones which topped their great pyramids. Having said that, though, my perusing companion was keen to point out Te Papa's own models of an Aztec community market and farm - and they were indeed lovely models, and served to balance things out pretty well.

Of course we know the end, or can piece it together among the fragments and the stories. Cortez, the fall of Moctezuma, and real slaughter, senseless sacrifice, and the erasing of a culture out of greed and conquest. I prefer an exhibition that flows chronologically, but there's no getting around the very final full stop that the appearance of Conquistador armour, with its crow helmet and interlocking metal plates, swift and merciless sword and, later, the transformation of offering bowl to cross-emblazoned baptismal font signifies. Death might have been at the heart of Aztec society which desensitised and normalised it, but the godless death those invading swords brought must have been beyond understanding to the mind of those people. Skirmishes between villages with equivalent weaponry - not to dismiss those ruthless looking obsidian blades, is one thing, but Cortez brought a war machine, with weapons and swift beasts (horses not being evident in Aztec culture) to mow down whole villages in a day.

In short, a really interesting, and thought-provoking exhibition. Glad I went.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sov Blok Judges (1)

The Sochi Winter Games have begun – play nicely, everyone. For now and for this blog, though, it’s an opportunity for me to unveil a picture of the ‘modern’ Sov Blok Judge.

The Sov Judges have a long and interesting history in the Judge Dredd strip, appearing for the first time during (fittingly) an Olympic event – in point of fact, the Lunar Olympics. I’ll leave the detail on that for a later post, as the judge here is not one of those grim and threatening Cold War baddies, but the post-Glasnost styled ‘friendly’ Sov Judge. The former Sov Blok, like Sino Cit and the US Mega Cities also lost a principal city to nuclear detonation, so this judge is an East Meg 2 street judge, with uniform reinterpreted (a look going back to the Apocalypse War story) by the great Carlos Ezquerra; the style has been pretty well adhered to since, save for the odd variance in cloaks and knee pads. As uniforms go it’s pretty good – distinctive without straying too far from the style set down by Ezquerra for Dredd and his fellow American judges, but with enough points of difference (a duller palette, more bullet-shaped helmet) to distinguish it. Being an Ezquerra design there’s also a sense of utilitarianism about it, too, which I like.

Other than that, there’s not much to say about the modern Sov judges. They’ve appeared in several stories, both as heroes and as enemies, as brutes, comedy fodder (the late Supreme Judge Traktorfaktori couldn’t be anything else with a name like that) and as sympathetic love interests. In the Nineties they were almost single-handedly adopted by Garth Ennis for his time penning Dredd, and his touch was light - his letterers adopt a mock-Cyrillic font for their speech balloons, and on the whole Ennis turned the former baddies into likeable semi-regular guest spots, creating the aforementioned Traktorfaktori and Judge Brylkreem (ho ho) as well, before offing both in separate stories.  So as judges go they’ve been pretty well served by Dredd’s creators and later contributors. And it would be rather cool to see them on the big screen!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Land, Old Spirits

"He iwi kotahi tatou: now we are one people."

It's Waitangi Day today, a day which observes not only the creation of modern New Zealand via the medium of contentious documentation, but also the coming together of two cultures, Victoria Regina's British Europeans and the various Maori iwi of Aotearoa. Just as the debate continues today (literally) over what Te Tiriti means and what nationhood represents to us 174 years on, so too does the meeting of cultures continue in every sense.

I'm not a deeply spiritual person, and I'm pretty sure I don't believe in ghosts, although Mrs Simian and I, like some of our student friends, lived in a flat in Dunedin that seemed to have its own set of occasional unexplained footfalls in its hallway. I'm sure most people could relate something similar, or knows of someone who can. I do like ghosts stories though, and I think they're culturally more important than the superficial spookiness we easily rate them by.

Grant Shanks and Tahu Potiki's series of New Zealand supernatural anecdotes are collected in two books, Where No Birds Sing and When the Wind Calls Your Name, a series of true stories which concern not just ghosts and restless spirits but many tales peculiar to a local sense of the supernatural. Echoes of abandoned sites of burial, slaughter and suicide, the persistence of tapu and reverence of pounamu and taonga like patu and hei-tiki, totem animals like dogs, birds and eels, and the enduring image of deceased ancestors among the living and in the landscape.

Belief in the spiritual and supernatural brings landscapes alive and adds meaning to places and names. It's worth observing that a lot of the book's stories, formulaic as they seem, concern actual encounters between the physical European world and some spiritual manifestation from the world of Maori. In many cases the story's protagonist is pakeha or perhaps sits on the fringes of traditional belief, and the encounter provides them with an explanation not only of the uncanny, but of the place where they met it. In a way the question of whether the phenomenon was real or imagined is beside the point; the story is given colour by it, but the kernel of each tale is the discovery of a history that offers some context; a story within a story connecting a spiritual sensation with an actual event. So ghost stories endure.

Stories unite people and shape their own histories in their telling. These collected stories are best described as 'eerie' - there aren't many which could be said to be actually frightening, though there are some which are deeply creepy: 'The Walkers', with its spectral drowned fishermen making their journey home across a beach and through giant driftwood stumps; not to mention Shanks' account of the titular story, an area of dead bush in a Fiordland valley featuring an encounter with an eighteen-point stag that recalls (to me at least) some key imagery of Grendel's Mere in Beowulf. The tales have a local and a universal element; Shanks' approach is as a confessed European among Maori. He compares his encounter and some of those mentioned in the book to a personal impression at a site from his own ancestry, the battlefield of Culloden, equating the same sense of awe and unease, what he describes as "the point before understanding". These are modest, personal stories, and believe them or not, they each carry a similar sense of questioning one's place in a world which is both physical and spiritual. Sometimes they are profound experiences; although at least one ('A Hand of Poker') is a wonderful shaggy dog story and a fitting end to an entertaining, thought-provoking and sometimes chilling collection.

I'm currently reading Shanks and Potiki's follow-up, loaned to me by Al who is blogging it right now. Yes, we've synchronised blogs! Head on over to Phasmatodea to read his account of When the Wind Calls Your Name.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sino-Cit Judges

Chinese New Year is well underway, so to mark the occasion, here’s Judge Dredd’s judicial counterpart from the future Chinese megalopolis, Sino-Cit 2.
Yes, Sino-Cit 2 – the first and, presumably, largest of the Sino-Cities was overrun by zombies and nuked to prevent their spread, as were a few mega cities in the early Nineties ‘epic’ Judgement Day.
Anyway, what to say of Sino-Cit and its judges? Well, they’ve been seen twice in Dredd stories, and both fleetingly – once in a drug-induced hallucination of Dredd’s in a one-off story called War Games, which established their look as drawn by Paul Marshall. And written by Mark Millar, so don’t expect too much nuance to their cameo, they’re there just to have their bottoms handed to them by a scoobied Dredd. Nevertheless, the uniform design is there in all its briefly thrilling but ultimately unimaginative state – helmet, shoulder pads, belt pouches, mascot animal on the right shoulder (a rather un-Oriental looking dragon this time). Marshall’s original shoulder pads had a ribbed, bamboo look to them (sigh), but this disappeared by the time of the Sino Judges’ next Dredd appearance then rendered by Inako Miranda for Gordon Rennie’s Regime Change in the Judge Dredd Megazine. Ostensiby there to skulk about in a fleet of would be invading ships over Ciudad Barranquilla, they turned tail when Dredd got on the air and metaphorically handed their bottoms to them.

Depressingly, that’s all we have for Sino Cit in Dredd’s world to date, outside of Gordon Rennie’s martial arts detective pastiche Jonny Woo, set partially in the joint-Sino-Brit Cit territory of Hong Tong. I don’t have any of those strips, so my judge is based on the models provided by Marshall and Miranda.

In all, the Sino judges I think have been given the rough deal of being a little too close to the Hondo City versions (which is a tad racist, but then the Dreddverse certainly has form there) in silhouette and exoticness, and too close to the Soviet judges of the Sov Blok politically. Interestingly, it’s believed that Millar’s tale, combined with a second-tier arc about the rebuild of the (also zombie-nuked) west coast Mega City Two by – it depends on who’s telling the story, either Hondo or Sino Cities (see? Nobody even remembers the story well enough to tell the difference!) was intended to usher in a future ‘epic’ in which the Sino territories launch an attack on Mega City One. A change of editors at 2000AD put paid to that, and Millar left the comic for a lucrative career in thinly-realised hero thug stories in comics and film elsewhere and the rest is unknown.
These days I can’t see either 2000AD or the Megazine daring to go with that sort of storyline, and so perhaps for  everyone’s sake, the brief appearances of the Sino Cit judges are best left alone.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Lead Time Lords: The Cinema Doctor

The harder the pushin’ the softer the Cushing, as Spinal Tap nearly sang.

After the slog of painting the Fifth Doctor’s trousers (a literal flannelling, I must say), I gave myself a breather and chose a Doctor figure I was especially looking forward to.

In fact, I started quite a few Doctors, include the even-trickier Sixth Doctor and his coat of many colours. But this is the one I finished, and it’s the one with which I am the most content.

Like the Eighth Doctor figure, Harlequin’s Peter Cushing cinema Doctor is not a frequent attendee in painting galleries, probably because he’s not generally regarded as part of the TV series continuity. Many fans have tried to fit him into their ‘canon’, but few have done it in a way that draws crowds – even Steven Moffat couldn’t manage it for the 50th Anniversary and gave up before filming. Fair enough, but we miss a treat when we overlook Cushing’s Dr Who, star of two glorious technicolour outings in the 60s, and an unsuccessful punt at a third (again, the fan community has had fun with the notion, and some even rate Cushing and Doug McClure’s At the Earth’s Core as a squint-and-it-fits follow-up). The human Dr Who of the two movies is innocent, gentle, impish and paternal, and Cushing is every bit his charming self in the role.

I’ve tried to find touches of that charm and the technicolour (a stark contrast to the TV series at the time, of course) in this figure. I believe I read on An Evil Giraffe’s blog that the Cushing Doctor’s mould is beginning to show signs of age, and that the castings have suffered as a result. Possibly this is why my figure has a slightly pinched-looking face, with heavy hands which look like Dr Who was carrying a lead snowball in each (I filed away as much as I could.) Beyond that, however, the figure’s pretty clean, with only some filing of Harlequin’s infamous paddle feet needed to help things along. The colour palette I’ve chosen is closer to that of Cushing’s second movie, Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D, with grey trousers instead of the Dr Who and the Daleks ochre-brown version. The sculpt’s moustache is a little fuller and droopier than the real thing (making him look a little like Rene Auberjonois' Clayton from Benson), but I’ve not touched it, as I don’t think I could do any better with green stuff. In fact, for the adventurous modeller, there's possibly room here to add a green stuff scarf and fob chain to match the film version - however, at this stage I am not an adventurous modeller!

Finally, the base: very nearly a ruined street in keeping with the Earth invasion storyline of the second movie, I instead wanted to use something that would compliment the costumes colours and not match the grey of the trousers too much; so a lurid Skarosian turquoise and green it is, and I’m really happy with the result. Perhaps it lacks some specific detail or points of interest, but colour-wise I like it.

And now, that side-step having been made, it’s back to the TV Doctors…