Times Gone By

July 2016
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My 40K Space Wolf – The build so far

So here’s what I’ve been up to over the last few months, on and off.

I’ve been building myself a 40K Space Wolf cosplay. So basic bits built so far are chest, legs & arms. The backpack is nearly finished. I’ve cut out the templates for the huge shoulders and the massive boots. But those will require wood work to give structure to the foam.

IMG_20150605_201545 IMG_20150605_201620 IMG_20151106_213249 IMG_20151106_214209 IMG_20151107_161203 IMG_20151107_161216 IMG_20151107_161458 IMG_20151107_173207 IMG_20151107_184951 IMG_20151108_205452 IMG_20151111_215452 IMG_20151115_163237 IMG_20151115_184352 IMG_20151115_192803 IMG_20151115_212210 IMG_20151115_212532 IMG_20151119_214900 IMG_20151119_215824 IMG_20151201_212120 IMG_20151201_212123 IMG_20151201_212129 IMG_20151201_212146 IMG_20151201_212201 IMG_20151201_212413 IMG_20151201_212433 IMG_20151020_183924 IMG_20151020_191125 IMG_20151021_130215 IMG_20151101_195519 IMG_20151101_202238 IMG_20151101_202702 IMG_20151101_202818 20160613_193052 20160614_132218 20160614_132516 20160614_140607 20160614_145226 20160614_161756 20160614_170642 20160614_172636 20160614_181411 20160621_150658 20160621_173908 20160612_160229 20160612_160258 20160710_190658 20160710_190743

 

My First Trip To The Ace Cafe in London

So I finally passed my MOD 2 back in January. So my blue bandit was destined to go on a trip. So the last Friday of every month, the Ace Cafe in London has it’s “Bike Night + Performance & Fast Bike” gathering.

So I met up with my friends at Bedford, collected a couple of extra bikers on route. I found that fast bikes in the Hatfield tunnel sound awesome! And then somewhere on the north circular, bikes of every size, variety, noise and awesome appeared out of no where.

Bikes! Just loads and loads of bike. And the sound. Rather incredible 🙂

Outside Ace Cafe

Parked up with my friends

Parked up with my friends

Learn to pop a wheelie without wiping out.

Learn to pop a wheelie without wiping out.

Mini custom bike

Mini custom bike

An astonishing custom paint job on a Boosa :)

An astonishing custom paint job on a Boosa :)

Custom Suzuki Intruder

Custom Suzuki Intruder

Building a Wolf Helm

I’ve been thinking about a 40K Space Marine Cosplay build. And I like the Space Wolf chapter. So a wolf helm is in order. Thank fully there is a shop on Etsy that has loads of different polygon masks. So go check it out. You buy a PDF file that you simply print out on you desktop printer. Cut it out and stick it together.

http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Wintercroft

I purchased myself a wolf mask and a skull mask a while back. I had great fun putting them together. So for my cosplay build, I printed out the design onto the thickest cardboard my printer would take. But then I also cut out templates on some 6mm sleeping mat. As I wanted it too look thicker.

Here’s what I ended up with.

IMG_20160406_171959 IMG_20160408_165904 IMG_20160408_170046 IMG_20160408_170145 20160508_192941 20160508_193111 20160508_193135 20160508_155150 20160508_155202 20160508_181834 20160508_181856 Wolf Helm

Getting ahead of myself

Suzuki Bandit

First BIG bike :)

It seems that I may be possibly getting ahead of myself. I’ve not yet got my full UK bike license, but I’ve gone and purchased myself my next bike. A bit of a step up from the Yamaha XV125 Virago, to a Suzuki GSF600S K1 Bandit. But think of the fun 🙂

So fingers crossed that I don’t screw up my Mod1 and Mod2 tests in October.

Simple snowballing plans

Or – The joys of motorbike ownership

It’s starts out so simple. Then subtly snowballs. So a simple plan of “Find out why Orihime rattles”. Well I know it’s coming from the air box. So a little read up of the manual and it’s out with the tool box.

First task: undo 2 hex bolts.

Why the hell is there rusty oily water coming out of the hole for the frame mount? Seriously, WTF?

So retreat to the house and get cloths.

Bolts off, why won’t this come away? Oh, HT lead to the front cylinder is routed around the frame. Did you take your bike out for a ride before? Is the engine hot? Did you burn your hand? How many bad words did you utter?

The neighborhood is now quiet, all the birds have flown away. All the cats have scarpered. And most of the dogs have now stopped yapping.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have found the truth of the rattle. Which is when there are supposed to be two screws holding the frame on, it helps if there are in fact two screws. Rather than just one.

So that was simple. But now you have found that there is also only one rubber pipe attached. The manual said there would be two. Oh there it is. In mid air, not actually attached to where it should be.

Well, while you’ve got the air box off, you really should take a look inside.

WHY? Why would I do this. The “Can of worms” metaphor is clearly lost on me.

I undo the one screw holding the lid on. Inside is a lot of debris and the captive nut rattling around from the other screw mount. There is also the foam air filter.

Now I think it’s safe to say that this hasn’t been opened in quite a while. I’m quite certain that this is supposed to be oiled. I’m rather confident, that even with my nonexistent biker mechanics know how that the foam should not disintegrate into dust before my eyes.

Yep, that’s naddgered.

So more cleaning out of debris and a parts list now forming in my head. Along with a single dark thought of “If the air filter is this bad, what the hell is the oil filter like?” Which gives me a feeling of cold dread.

So after a lot of cleaning out, and by some miracle having enough of the foam filter to give a light coating of WD40 to, I put Orihime back together. Connecting the pipes to where they should go. Acutely aware that there is still only one screw holding the air box together.

And amazingly she starts and runs!

So now that lunch has been consumed, it’s off to the bike shop to order in some parts.

Child’s 40K Space Marine Chainsword

To go with a 40K Space Marine Bolt Pistol, why a Chainsword of course 🙂

IMG_20150324_191346

Child scale 40K Space Marine Chainsword

Child scale 40K Space Marine Chainsword

Finish construction child scale 40K Bolt Pistol

So the Mini Marine needed some weaponry. And what 40K Space Marine wouldn’t have a bolt pistol? So I made the top out of standard flooring foam. And then canalized a toy Beretta for the grip and sound electronics. This is haw it turned out.

Child scale 40K Bolt Pistol

The unfinished bolt pistol on the left is Adult scale.

Budget VR

So take an Android phone. Download the free Google Cardboard app. Sort yourself out some goggles to hold your phone. And hay presto! Budget VR. I’ve got to say, I’m rather impressed with what can be achieved is such a simple way. I have high hopes for the Oculus Rift when the retail version is relieved.

In case you want your own headset, I got mine from the link below. Only took two weeks to arrive from China to the UK.

www.chinavasion.com/china/wholesale/Home_Audio_Video/Video_Glasses/VR_3D_Glasses_For_Smartphones_Revelation_-_Adjustable_Pupillary_Distance_Adjustable_Strap_Fits_4_To_7_Inch_Smartphone/

The "Revelation" 3D VR Headset The "Revelation" 3D VR Headset - Indipendant lenses The "Revelation" 3D VR Headset - Fully Open VR on a budget

 

 

Embrace Your Mid-Life Crisis – Get A Motorbike

Last summer I had the amazing idea that I should learn to ride a motorbike. I’ve been using several different explanations / excuses. One has been that I have been that I have been lead astray by naughty biker friends. So that will be John and his Hayabuse with me on the back some where in the vicinity of 109 mph. The other being that I am very quickly approaching my 40th birthday. So there for now is a good time for a “I’M NOT OLD HONEST – LOOK I’VE DONE SOMETHING CHILDISH AND THERE FORE YOUTHFUL!” kind of thing. And I’ve kind of wanted that cruiser style bike since my teenage years.

So last August I took my CBT. A month or two later I passed my theory test and hazard perception test. And in December I attended a Mod 1 lesson. It became quickly apparent that I was way out of practice. Therefore my dream of fast track direct access motorbike fun, quickly came to halt in the face of cold hard logic. I hate it when that happens. So a new plan was bore out. Get a learner legal 125cc motorbike for myself and practice every free moment I could get my hands on. So that’s what I did.

Yamaha Virago XV125 - 1999

Yamaha Virago XV125 – 1999

I am now the owner of a Yamaha Virago XV125. And I am rather delighted. Ok, it’s not pristine. And that’s a good thing. If the bike was immaculate then I would be terrified of dropping it. So there is a bit of rust here and there. The seat has a split. The indicator stalks are a bit scuffed and an indicator lens is cracked. But who cares? It’s my motorbike. And with a long enough run up, on a slightly down hill slop with a tail wind, I can get 63 mph out of her. Yes – I named my bike. For the curious, I called her “Orihime”. And if your thinking of the anime “Bleach”, then you would be correct. Japanese and a red-head.

So now I need to practice being a biker. And despite the cold, I’ve got a massive grin on my face. It’s a lot of fun. And that’s what life needs.

A Very Big Grin On My Face

A Very Big Grin On My Face

The never varying variable speed limit of the M4 at Newport

It is said that “You never know unless you ask”. So I have pondered over the last few years “Why the hell is west bound section of the M4 past Newport always set to 50Mph?” It makes no sense. Over the last 10 years, the congestion along the M4 in South Wales has been horrific. But it was going to be OK, as it was going to make everything better in the long run.

So after years of work, the section of motorway near Cardiff got an extra lane. The metal centre barrier was replaced with a concrete wall. And Newport got a variable speed limit. I vaguely remember a time back in early 2011 when it was possible to drive past Newport at over 50Mph. But for years, now the west bound section between J25 to J26 has been set to 50Mph. Regardless to time of day or night, weather conditions or temperature, always 50Mph. Whats the point of a variable limit that never changes?

So I asked. I asked Traffic Wales. And I’m surprised I got an answer. So I’ll strip out the three paragraphs of rational and get to the actual answer.

_________________________

Q: Why is there a section of the west bound M4 variable speed limit section that never varies?

A: On the Westbound Carriageway, following the Brynglas Tunnel Fire in 2011, reduced lighting has been in operation which requires the permanent display of a 50MPH speed limit being applied on the approach and travel through the tunnel. Welsh Government are seeking to provide a more permanent solution through provision of new lighting in the westbound bore of the tunnel. Such a solution will have a significant impact on the road network during works to install these and must therefore be carefully scoped and planned prior to any works taking place.

_________________________

So what ever you do, please don’t tell the Welsh that when the sun goes down it gets dark. Otherwise they have a nation wide 50Mph maximum speed restriction in place.