From the Editor’s desk...
What? Our thirtieth anniversary so soon?! As I write this Volume thirty of Sci-fi & Fantasy Modeller has just published and is winging its way to subscribers, readers and trade outlets around the globe... a fitting time, I thought, to finally add to this site the ‘Editor’s Blog’ I’ve been meaning to write ever since we took the decision to publish in our new ‘mook’ format (half magazine, half book) way back in 2005.
My intention with this occasional tome (I will, however, keep it regular - I promise!) is to bring you greater insight into what we’re up to, freed from the restraints of the contents pages in the book, where restrictive column centimetres dictate that I write only a small number of words each issue. I also thought it might be fun to let you in on how we put Sci-fi & fantasy modeller together, and to share with you some of the challenges and satisfactions of producing a specialist niche title as a small, independent publisher in a rapidly changing media world. [ Photos-top to bottom: Specials Editor Andy Pearson in full beard mode with Mike. Mike and partner Jane with Barry Ford (foreground) at Dave's birthday party. Dave's considers the bill. He's not ignoring Andy - honest! Mike and Dave consider a second hand computer from Honest Victor's Lunar Super Store. ]
The marmite effect
At present, as well as working On Volume 31 of Sci-fi & fantasy modeller for October release, we’re also putting the finishing touches to our next ‘special’ - Steampunk Modeller III - a book we’re particularly delighted with in terms of look and contents. For those of you who’ve just said ‘Steampunk WHATsiz??’ I’d better explain. Steampunk Modeller is a futuristic modelling title that is completely at home in our stable of SF hobby publications. It is centred on the current huge and constantly expanding fascination with all things ‘Steampunk’ - a retro-futuristic take on hardware and technology and lifestyle that imagines what late-last-century society would have been like had the Victorians applied our/future levels of technological sophistication to their construction principals and design aesthetics.
Hence Steampunk Modeller III features highly entertaining and inspiring articles on, amongst other things, a riveted, portholed spaceship called The Celestial Sphere; a lethal looking ‘Steamfleet Command’ phaser with lights, sounds and a spinning emitter; a flying hornet-ship, heavily armed planetary probes based on captured War Of The Worlds alien technology, and even a Steampunk Flux Capacitor. Like our other titles it’s packed with hundreds of step-by-step photographs and modelling and finishing techniques and is great, great fun.
We’ve noticed that Steampunk Modeller is a little like Marmite where our regular readers are concerned, with around half of you loving the book and with many new modeller/readers who haven’t discovered our main title rushing to buy every edition, while the other half of our regulars are a little more reserved as to whether they should ‘suck it and see’, and have yet to add a volume to their modelling library. If you’re not yet a Steampunk Modeller reader my respectful recommendation would be to dip a toe in the water, plump for Volume III and discover all that Steampunk modelling has to offer you and your hobby. The title contains everything you buy Sci-fi & fantasy modeller for, coming at you from an exciting new angle that will stimulate your imagination and, if you’re anything like me, I think you’ll marvel at what the incredibly talented modellers featured this issue have accomplished. Steampunk Modeller III publishes in September, but you can pre-order your copy now from this site for delivery on day of publication, and you’ll find some amazing images from SP III on our home page right now.
The incredible shrinking year
In our heads Dave and I are always living three to six months ahead of the actual physical date. We have to have pre-publicity and mock-up covers out for future titles some four to five months ahead of actual publication, and, with such a small team (yes, it really is just Dave and myself at the design and editorial core of the title, plus my partner Jane handling subscriptions and accounts, and the inimitable Andy making a superb job of formulating and editing our specials) we constantly have to keep an eye on the future.
For example, at the moment we’re working on the October issue, gathering together the Jan 2014 issue, and Andy is collecting and editing all the exciting elements (and I do mean exciting) for 21st. Century Modeller III, scheduled for publication early next year.
It’s a funny thing, but, because we’re always living at least one issue ahead of you, the readers, we’re sometimes put on the spot when a new issue comes out and someone asks us what’s in it... with us being hard-pressed to remember! You see, at that point we’re already heavily involved in the next one, with the upcoming issue representing the current line-up of articles as far as our heads and publication focus are concerned... yes, it’s a weird, year-truncating world when you’re a publisher.
Talking of Volume 31(October), I last night received emails containing some finished shots of a couple of builds from regular teamster and meticulous modeller Gary Welsh (he makes me so jealous!). All I can tell you at this stage is that they’re spaceships and that, as usual with Gary, they are jaw-droppingly fantastic! I’m personally working on a duo of test-shot figures from Moebius for Volume 31 and the likenesses to their human counterparts are flawless - superb sculpts and poses, guys! Andy has just delivered his latest article and images and the place is buzzin’ as usual. In fact, I’d better take off my blog hat at this point and re-don the tri-corned, ceremonial editorial one with the plum-coloured velvet tassles and the fetching little bell. I promise to update you soon with a new blog. In the meantime thank you, as always, for reading, and be sure to take advantage of the still-light nights to get well ahead with those modelling projects!