Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Call of Duty Zombies?

 I think I have mentioned in the past that I am not a Call of Duty (CoD) fan, I am more of a Battlefield fanboy (although that is not such a thing these days as the latest Battlefields have become little more than a team CoD). However, CoD does do a nice Zombie game mode in it's games and it seems like the latest iteration of the franchise is no exception.

One of my favourite vloggers is Glock9 who usually does 7 Days to Die recordings, but today he did something a little surprising, he uploaded a game recording entitled:  Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies - Round 11 Exfil!

Now, I had no intention of buying the latest CoD, but after watching this video I find myself kinda tempted...

The only thing holding me back is that I have been saving up to buy Zombie Army Dead War 4 (by the guys who did the excellent Sniper Elite series). Decisions, decisions!

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Lest we forget...

 Yeah, I know, the irony...I forgot to post this up yesterday!


In remembrance of my father's friend Bobby Moore, died in service and buried in Derna in 1942. My farther wrote as a caption to this photo:

"Bobby Moore; accidentally killed at Derna, 31st December 1942. Far from the Scotland he loved."


Name: MOORE, ROBERT H.
Initials: R H
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Royal Army Service Corps
Unit Text: 39 Detail Issue Depot
Age: 29
Date of Death: 31/12/1942
Service No: S/10541813
Additional information: Son of Adam and Mary Hanvidge Moore; husband of Janet Moore, of Larkhall, Lanarkshire.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: 8. D. 24.
Cemetery: BENGHAZI WAR CEMETERY

RIP

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Spooky War Movies

It's maybe a tiny bit late for a Halloween post, but my Celtic ancestry means that Winter as a whole is a time for ghost stories and spooky goings on, so I was glad to find a couple of  spooky war movies on Netflix.

The first is based on one of my guilt pleasures - a Nazi Zombie movie! The second is more of a 'jump scare' supernatural horror.

Sadly - for me at least - the hay day of Nazi Zombie flicks is kinda been and gone. Movies like 'Outpost', 'Dead Snow', 'Frankensteins Army', and 'Bloodstorm' were a long way short of Oscar material but they had their own particular charm (if you are the sort of person that like 'bad' movies)! 😆

'Overlord' (2018)

'Ghosts of War' (2020)

Sunday, 1 November 2020

'Triple Frontier' - Modern War Movie Thoughts

I used to love 'war movies', but as I've gotten older and time moved on things have changed. I come from a different time and have different ideas about what makes a good 'war movie' - films like 'A Bridge Too Far', 'The Longest Day', 'Bridge Over The River Kwai' and 'Dam Busters', to name but a few.

But as new generations came along they wanted to watch movies about war which reflected their values and ideals... You kinda know where this is going with this, suffice to say that the war movies I grew up with are - mostly - a bygone thing.

Link: Timeout - The 50 best war movies of all time

Not that there aren't modern war movies I cannot relate to, Guy Richie's 'Dunkirk' and Sam Mendes's '1917' are examples of contemporary films which echo the narrative style and feel of earlier movies. More importantly there was a new unembarrassed willingness to accept that there is an heroic and patriotic side to warfare that should be acknowledge (while, through the late 1960s and up until the 80s or 90s the weight of younger societal morality - perhaps influenced by the experience of the Vietnam War - considered that there was little glory in war).

Anyway, short story - it seems that - from the 1990s - the 'war movie' became fashionable again.

So you would think I would be happy and enjoying a new crop of war movies? Well, not really, and perhaps it's because my attitude has matured and I realised that war should not simply be viewed as 'entertainment'. We all grow up eventually.

Now, it's all about the story and not just the action. I like war movies with a message that gives a nod to the realities of war so that the audience can understand that real heroics are the actions that are undertaken despite conflict and not because of it. 

Last night I watched a modern take on the war movie called 'Triple Frontier' that seems to be 'our' new attitude to making war movies - an acceptance that as a commercial endeavour it should entertain (which in this case means action and violence) in order to make a profit, but also at the same time have some sort of moral so that audiences can feel that they have not sullied themselves by finding too much pleasure in war.

...Perhaps...

I enjoyed 'Triple Frontier' and while not the best movie - as you might say it rather too cynically trod the careful path between titillation and edification - but overall I was left feeling that there was enough of a moral to the tale to make the violence an acceptable vehicle.

I rate it 6.5/10. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Phasmophobia Beginner's Guide

 For those of you who saw our attempt to play 'Phasmophobia' - the PC ghost hunting game - and couldn't tell what was happening because WE didn't have a clue what we were doing, here's a good intro to playing the beginner's level game...

Honestly, while we did have a laugh I wish we had of watched this video first as it was clear that we weren't using what equipment we had properly. 

We are going to have another go and I really hope we can make a better job of it this time! :)

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Bletchley Park’s contribution to WW2 'over-rated'?

The above title is a direct quote from a BBC article and it certainly is a nice piece of click-bait by whomever wrote it (kudos) as it was bound to raise the hackles of many of the BBC's core viewership. 

While professional historians seem to relish 'reformist' history as lazy way of making their pet projects sound more interesting than they actually are to the general public - by deliberately offering contrary and controversial hypothesises that fly in the face of perceived and established (or should that be 'establishment') history - they completely forget that as a culture 'we' tend to build our interpretation of history on how we prefer to believe it took place. Apologies for that very long sentence.

The 'Bletchley Park Problem' is one of those issues.

We think we all know the story, of how a group of nerds - er, sorry, mathematicians - were brought together to crack one of World War Two's greatest secrets and in doing so making one of the greatest contributions to the Allied victory. At least that's how the 2014 film 'The Imitation Game', staring Benedict Cumberbatch and Skeletor (Keira Knightley), tells the story...

My wife and I recently watched this movie as it seemed to combine both our interests in one of those 'for couples' narratives, as she is a science teacher and I like war movies! But it wasn't long into the story before my 'spidey senses' were jangling at some of the claims about the importance of the work were being pronounced by the ever tenable Mr. Cumberbatch. I mean how could Sherlock Holmes not be telling us the exact facts about, well, anything!

The crux of the problem for me was the premise that knowing the enemy's secret plans by cracking their most important code was - in effect - 'game over' and was THE event which precipitated the winning of the war.

MR. Cumberbatch's character - he was playing the tortured Alan Turin - was almost dismissive of the part played by the soldiers, sailors and airmen (and women) who put their lives on the line in direct physical combat! In an attitude which was so reminiscent of Sheldon from 'Big Bang Theory' the implication was that it was intellect that won WW2 and not the martial toil of the 'ordinary man' (or women)!

This irked me (as indeed the character Sheldon does).

Fast forward to this morning's online BBC News and this article caught my eye...


"Bletchley is not the war winner that a lot of Brits think it is," the author, Professor John Ferris of the University of Calgary, told the BBC.

Link to the BBC article: Bletchley Park’s contribution to WW2 'over-rated' By Gordon Corera

It seems that the idea that intellect is the infallible superior to 'animistic' endeavour - to put it in turn of phrase that both Sheldon and Spock would expound - is NOT the full story.

The article is definitely worth a read as it seeks to re-calibrate the strongly held notion that Britain's Intelligence (with a big 'I') was instrumental in the Allies winning the war, an idea that makes a good plot for a weird romantic movie between two weird actors doesn't quite add up in reality.

What annoyed me was how the idea that a 'bunch of boffins in a wooden hut' single-handedly brought down the Third Reich under valued and underplayed the role played by the combined arms of the Allied military forces on the beaches of Normandy, the jungles of Asia, the Steppes of Russia and the Islands of the Pacific (in the air, on the sea and on the ground)!

This expounding of the notion of technology over manual toil - to me - smacks of the old Audi moto 'Vorsprung Durch Technik' with all it's vaguely Nazi implications! And seems just as arrogant an idea as was the Nazi's desperate plan for it's 'super weapons' to win a war they had already lost.

OK, I may overstate the comparison slightly BUT while I totally admire the important contribution our boffins made to the war effort, no secret weapon or technology ever took a foot of actual enemy territory on it's own, they merely helped our forces job a little less risky.

Science and technology undoubtedly saved many, many lives during World War 2 - and beyond - but let's not forget that science and technology also ended many lives as well.

The spirit of British victory in WW2 was not the intellectual superiority of a minority of elite, but the way in which we overcame the threat of Nazism as a national whole. An idea we should perhaps remember as we try to overcome the current threat to our society of Corvid 19.

...I await a movie in a few years time when Mr. Cumberbatch dons a white coat and peers enigmatically down a microscope with nurse Keira Knightley moping his tortured brow! 😛

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Pulp Sky Adventures - 1930s Fighter Aircraft

I've just completed my latest 'peg aeroplane', a little wooden toy plane made in a cartoon style. This time I went for a historical design as the bases for my model, the classic 1930s Being P.29 'Peashooter'...


This project reminded me just how much I loved the Pulp fiction genre - sometimes called 'Diesel Punk'. Dieselpunk is a genre of Speculative Fiction based on the 1920s-1950s period, spiced up with retro-futuristic innovations and occult elements. The air adventure element of the genre fascinates me - as a fan of 'Biggles' and 'Buck Danny' - and I loved the 2004 movie 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow' (who didn't)!

Anyway, this all left me keen to try some more early 1930s vintage fighters, of which there are several novel designs. Here's a few of my favourite examples...

The Dewoitine D.500 (France): To me this embodies the Art Deco spirit of the 1930s and must have inspired many a travel poster of the time! Amazingly, these planes were still in the French Air Forces inventory when the Germans invaded in WW2! How beautiful is this plane?

Grigorovich I-Z (USSR): Yes, before you say anything, there is definitely a certain similarity of design going on as with these early 30s fighter aircraft, but there again I believe that this sort of convergence of design goes on to this day (just look at today's fighter aircraft). However, what makes this typical early monoplane design stand out was it's coupling with another Soviet aircraft - the Vakhmistrov Zveno Aircraft Carrier! (I kid you not!) ---->

You can't get much more DieselPunk than that! 😊

PZL P.11 (Poland): And finally, here is one of my favourite aircraft, the distinctive P.11. I love underdogs stories and the PZL P. 11 is one of the greats - when the brave pilots of the Polish Airforce met the Luftwaffe's Me109s in their obsolete aircraft who would have imagined that they would surprise the Germans with their determination and aggression. ['A total of 285 German aircraft were lost according to Luftwaffe records, with at least 110 victories credited to the P.11 for the loss of about 100 of their own.' Wikipedia.]

If you want to read about how I went about making my little wooden P.26 then follow this lonk over to my 'Molatero' blog: Peg Monoplane (Boeing P.26) Complete