Saturday, 27 February 2010

The MFX Sonic Screwdriver - Coming to a Pound Shop near you soon

I received the following email today from our friends at MFX:

 It would appear that all is not well at MFX Replicas. Ever since I pointed out how shit and inaccurate the MFX sonic screwdriver was, it seems that sales have been less than vigourous. Combine this with the frantic phone calls Gorton has been making to every Doctor Who merchandise retailer in the land to try and offload these sonics and the fact that Gorton has now resorted to giving them away as prizes on the RPF, it doesn't take a genius level IQ to figure out that something has kaiboshed MFX sonic sales.

The above email, spin it how you like, is the last gasp of a desperate man trying to offload a job lot of crap sonics. This is sad news for two reasons:

First, it devalues the product. If Gorton is standing by the product and insists it is so good, you wouldn't need to go to such desperate lengths to shift inventory. Giving them away is even worse. If something is worth selling, it's worth selling for money and if it's good, then it's worth selling for lots of money. Giving it away just makes you look desperate and tells the entire world exactly what you think of your product. If this ploy doesn't work, I wouldn't be surprised if we see Gorton flypitching them out of a suitcase down Portobello Market:

Secondly, this is a surefire way to seriously piss off his loyal customers - customers who have paid a premium to get hold of one of his sonics on the back of misleading and false advertising claims and whose money, paid upfront as pre-orders,  has funded their production.  If he's going to seriously cut the price after 5 months, the least he could do is give those who ordered either a refund of the difference or a credit note equivalent to the differences in the two prices. Dropping the price like this is a cuntish thing to do, however you look at it.

To be honest, I wasn't really surprised by this. There have been murmurings from inside MFX for a while that things have not been rosy in regards the state of their licence. I won't let the cat out of the bag just yet but do not be surprised if MFX's laser screwdriver and master's ring never see the light of day. I've always maintained that licences should be awarded to those that produce the best product. That opinion still remains. I am more than happy to pay a licence fee and go legit but sadly the BBC licencing department are a bunch of feckless cunts who refuse to engage me in any kind of meaningful dialogue so what can I do?

Anyway, just to prove I'm not a total dickhead, I urge those cheapskates out there for whom accuracy and quality are unimportant, swan along to on Monday and pick up a cheap sonic :-)

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

RPF Custom Sonic Competition

I've got word that some of the RPF crew are holding a 'custom sonic competition'. Aside from the fact that the rules are a bit half baked and open to some serious gamesmanship, the idea behind it is a good one and I hope it inspires lots of great designs.

Personally I would either have a found object custom sonic competition or a totally machined competition. A mishmash of both really penalises those without access to lathes and CNC tools. Obviously me entering would have been a no-no since I would wipe the floor with the competition (with the exception of Rylo - a supremely talented machinist and propmaker but not quite in my league yet).

The best custom sonic I have seen thus far is this:

This is a lovely piece of work made from found bits and really has a balanced, solid and functional design. I especially love the end bulb section. Straker could do a lot worse than to refine and develop this design.

One thing I have found funny is that first prize is an MFX Sonic. Says a lot methinks that MFX has resorted to giving them away. Quite sad considering it was supposed to be a limited edition. Still, the product does speak volumes.

Good luck to all the participants and I hope they produce some cool shit.

Monday, 22 February 2010

CT Vs MFX - The heavyweight showdown of the century

This is it, the long awaited side by side comparison shots. I'll be completely honest here and state that would prefer a straight up comparison of my Tennant season 3-4  sonic with the MFX but I have been bugged stupid by some of you that I thought I'll compare my Season 1-2 version with it just to give you an idea as to what an utterly different beast it is to the MFX and also to lend the lie to Gorton's laughable claim that I have copied his (which I completely shotgunned anyway, after posting a video of mine in action 24hours before the first MFX's shipped).

Anyway, here are the contenders...

In the blue corner, we have the MFX. Ludicrously inaccurate, mis-sold, expensive and reliability issues. No sound and shit packaging to boot. Claimed to be a faithful replica of the filming but is anything but. However, it is officially licensed by the BBC so you get a nice colour printed cardboard tag and hologram sticker :-)

In the red corner, we have me and my sonic. Arrogant, abrasive and with a healthy dose of madness with  an eye for detail. My sonic has been cooking for three years and is a true 1:1 replica of the Season 1-2 prop (in truth it is bang on to Season 2). Cheaper, better machined, sound and light and with a nice presentation box. This has been better engineered and made using superior equipment and materials but is unlicensed.

The intro's over, LET'S GET READY TO RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let's start with some straight forward comparison shots:

As you can see,  the differences pointed out in my previous blog become readily apparent. The end bulb, finish and lens cap immediately stand out. The MFX just looks 'wrong'.

Let's take a close-up comparison of the head:

The finish is completely wrong on the MFX and the proportions and dimensions are all over the place. The head should look elegant and slender yet on the MFX there is a squatness and cylindrical look. Compare with my head which looks more balanced, more slender due to the correct window placement and thicker struts. Overall detail in the MFX is incredibly low with dull edges and lack of definition especially in the struts which need to stand proud of the main body in order to avoid the flat cylindrical shape the MFX exhibits.

The lens cap is also the wrong shape and colour. The prop possessed a shiny gloss cap of dark blue yet the MFX has a dull matt finish and the incorrect colour. The shape is also wrong in that it is a partial hemisphere. The prop possessed a straight cylindrical side topped with a hemisphere as does mine. It also varied in height depending on who assembled the prop so therefore the lens cap sometimes sits quite high up in the emitter head  showing more of the straight sides and sometimes low. I have adopted a mid position often seen during Season 2 as seen here:

Following on from this, take a look at this shot:

The MFX lens aperture and lens cap are too wide. The difference in strut profile is also painfully apparent.

The final comparison is with the end caps:

The MFX endcap is substantially incorrect. It looks too boxy and squat. The original props had some degree of variance in their dimensions but the overall shape still fell within certain parameters of a millimeter or so. All exhibited a noticeable and distinctive taper. The MFX endcap is just plain wrong bears little to no resemblance to any filming prop.

Compare to the original filming prop MFX claimed to have copied:

And the 2005 Season 1 prop:

Here's what the MFX endcap should remind you of:

Yes, your eyes deceive you not, it does look very similar to a CO toy endcap!

So there you have it. Knockout I think.

Monday, 8 February 2010

The blind leading the blind

I have noticed a disturbing trend on Doctor Who message boards especially amongst the Cosplayers, (that sad and lonely but generally harmless subset of fandom), that whenever anyone asks a question regarding costumes, one gurning idiot appears as if by magic.

This idiot goes by the online name of 'Timelord25' or 'Manofsteel25' but his parents know him as 'Bob'. Like the Candyman, he materialises dressed in an appalling caricature of Tom Baker's season 12 outfit gurning like a simpleton to offer his definitive and authoritative advice on all matters concerning Who costumes.

Nothing wrong in that, if this cocksicle actually possessed even a modicum of observational ability. Sadly, he doesn't. However, undeterred by this fundamental handicap he enthusiastically bluffs, blunders and stumbles his way through the finer points of Doctor Who sartoria with all the finesse of Stevie Wonder in a knocking shop. Anyway, Mr Bob Mitsch has teamed up with a character we all know and love, Mr Daniel Pawlik aka 'Risu' to produce Tom Baker's Season 12 neckerchief  with what he can say with "certainty that it's at least 90% accurate to the real thing.".

Allow me to show what a deluded fuck nugget this man is.

Pic on the left is Baker's screen worn neckerchief. Right is Mr Mitsch and his "90% accurate" replica.
As you can see, they look NOTHING alike. The base colour is wrong for a start. Pattern is utterly wrong and the stripe colour is like nothing I've seen. How it can be "90% accurate" is anyone's guess. Obviously Mr Mitsch's mathematically ability surpasses his observational ability.
Blind leading the blind? Blind and dumb leading blind and dumber.
In the very near future I shall be expanding into costumes and for the first time ever I shall make museum quality, accurate costume pieces available to you all. Judging from the mess above, it can't come a moment too soon...

The moment you've been waiting for...

It's been a bit quiet around these parts since before Xmas and for that I can only apologise. There is a perfectly valid reason for this and that is:

As you can see, I have finally finished this. Behold, possibly the finest replica every to grace Doctor Who fandom!!! I shit you not, this thing is spectacular and I am justifiably proud of it. Bragging rights be damned, I feel I have made the best Sonic Screwdriver replica ever made and I will beat the shit out of anyone who thinks otherwise.

This has taken up nearly three years of my life and the personal and financial cost has been extreme but I am a stubborn bastard and I refuse to let this dream die. So what have we got? Well, I'll tell you:

  • Accurate dimensions to the filming prop to within 3 thousandths of a millimeter. Yes, 3 microns!!!

  • Accurately coloured and shaped lens cap. Note the straight sides below the dome and accurate Pantone matched blue (yes Primrodo, I am using Pantone...)

  • Screen accurate paint with baked lacquer automotive top coat

  • Screen sampled sound chip and working LED light

  • Hardware machined from 303 stainless steel, brass and 2218 Duralumin.

  • Fully strippable using screw threads with tight tolerances throughout.

  • Machined solid perspex internal rod

  • Correct ridge thickness and shape (the ridges were too thin by 50% on my prototype due to my mistake in scaling)

  • Corrected the emitter windows with the correct radial curves on the corners (again they were 50% too small due to a mistake in scaling)

  • Serial numbered on the internal battery compartment

  • Storage case near identical to those used by the BBC prop department to store the actual prop (here's a screenshot of the prop in the BBC workshop in Cardiff to prove it):
    Here it is in action:

    Many apologies to those that have ordered. There was a delay in shipping caused by typical Chinese bureaucracy. I had originally shipped these out two weeks ago but Chinese customs deemed that shipping a device with batteries already installed was against regulations and therefore they returned them and I have had to repack each and every one and redo the shipping paperwork. Anyway, they have left now and anyone who has ordered will have their's in the next 7-10 days.

    To ease the wait, here's some pics. This is one seriously groovy replica:

    Enjoy the pics and hope to be separating you from your money soon xx