I get around to most jobs, eventually.
For years, I’ve been taking pictures of run-down and characterful buildings in and around Manchester (and elsewhere, when I’ve been able to visit other cities). I’ve finally started uploading them to Redbubble, so you can get them printed onto various items. Every image is available as a card, but some of them are also available on mugs, phone and tablet covers, and as larger prints. You can even get a redbrick miniskirt.
I’m only up to 2010 so far, so there’s more to come. Keep dropping in to see what’s new. Ruins of Manchester isn’t the only series I’m doing. I’ve got other photos, and several designs, that are also available. Check out all my works here.
Perfect for modern-era or near future wargaming, this bus shelter can be used as a waypoint or landmark on your mission. Not great for hiding behind or for avoiding zombies, but there may be a late bus home.
Another new 3D product designed by me. I’ve got a bunch of 1:32nd scale car models in the to-build pile, many of them Japanese. So I’ve designed some interior parts inspired by drifters and Kanjo street racers. There are extended gear shifters (one based on a samurai sword), a hydraulic hand brake, battery isolation switches and digital data loggers.
Street furniture for your modern or near future urban games. These bins are mounted on 20mm circular bases, so you can use them as objective markers or cover to aim for.
So, we’re going to have an election, because Theresa May expects things to get much worse as the Brexit debacle rolls on. She’s terrified that the incompetents she’s put in charge of negotiations will deliver a disaster, taking her down with them (and the rest of the country as well, of course, but she doesn’t really care about most of us).
I listened to her announcement of the election (twice, because I’m some sort of masochist). It was six minutes of blaming everyone else for her party’s failures. And then, on the front page of the Daily Mail this morning, the bile we’ve come to expect from the rag, labelling everyone who doesn’t do exactly what Chairman May demands a saboteur.
If that’s what she, and they, want to call sensible, decent people who have serious and well founded misgivings about this whole farce then I’m going to embrace it. I’m a proud saboteur.
The design’s available on clothes, mugs and stickers from Redbubble
Here’s a mocked up view of what it’ll look like on a T-shirt-
Update Now available in blue as well, ideal for white T-shirts etc.
The lowest I can price my books on Amazon is 99 cents. In the UK and Eurozone, because of VAT, they price match to 0.99 (pounds or Euros). In other shops- India, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Canada- it matches the local currency. But, in all those places, I could price them lower. So, I just went through my catalogue and lowered the prices of my cheapest books. The following are now available at bargain prices, if you’re in the right place-
I really need to stop describing items as cool. I said “Which is cool.” far too many times whilst recording this. Which is not cool.
Gift-giving time is almost upon us, so, I would like to point you to the places you can buy Spinneyhead stuff.
If you want physical presents to give away, there are a few places you can go.
I have a store hosted by Zibbet, where you can buy cards, buttons, badges and cufflinks made from coins, odd, naughty boxes, and vintage items.
You can get 3D prints of stuff I’ve designed from Shapeways. It’s mostly model rail related stuff, but I’m going to be adding new designs as soon as possible.
I may have forgotten some of the places you can get my stuff, I have tried out all sorts over the years, but these are the main ones I use at the moment.
The bunker echoed with its first human sounds in decades, the slap and squeak of rubber soles on marble flooring.
A slight figure sprinted out of the corridor into the three storey atrium, hurdled a chaise and slid to a halt in a crouch. With a sweep of her legs, she turned to face back the way she had come. There may have been the hint of amusement in the eyes as she looked back down the corridor.
Her black hair was cut haphazardly, and a scarf covered her mouth so she didn’t have to breathe all the dust she stirred up. Only her eyes and a slit of dark skin around them were visible. Dressed in loose trousers, dark body suit and light jacket and with an old courier bag over her shoulders, she had weapons and exploration equipment carefully secreted about her body. She was ready for the men who chased her.
Her name was Maxine, and it was her job to be the decoy. She was enjoying it more than she should.
She couldn’t yet see her pursuers, but they made enough noise to compensate for that. They were doing what they were supposed to, following her into the residential wing so she could lay a trap for them. Now that she had them here, she had to work out what that trap would be.
White circles in the ceiling were light domes, diffusing the daylight far above that had been channelled through mirrored light tubes. Rectangles set into the wall lit up with uncertain flickers. They would be powered by the mini nuclear plant far below the floor. Even after all these years, the automated systems still worked, which was impressive. Maxine studied the newly illuminated room, doing a tactical assessment.
The atrium was circular, with only one entrance on its lower level, the one Maxine had entered by. A semi-circular balcony looked down from the level of the first floor opposite the corridor, a dark wood double door at the mid point. Curved stairs led up to the balcony, and a jumbled mix of marble and bronze statues were gathered around the walls. So far, so much like the plans Maxine had seen.
Darting toward the nearest statue, Maxine jumped up on to its hunched shoulders and pushed off from its head to grab the balustrade of the stairs, clambering over them. It saved her whole seconds over the less flamboyant route from the foot of the stairs.
The double doors swung open easily, opening onto a darkened room. As more motion sensing lights turned on, Maxine closed the doors behind herself and drew a seat across to barricade them. It wouldn’t hold for long, but she only wanted to create a small delay. She studied the tableaux revealed by the lamps.
She was in a large dining room, dominated by a long table. Three desiccated figures were sat before their final suppers. Judging by their attire, two women and a man. One woman was sat nearly upright in her chair, head twisted toward the door and mouth open in what could as easily be a smile as pain. The other woman, across the table, had slumped forward into whatever she had been eating.
The man sat at the head of the table. There was something lopsided about his head. As Maxine neared him, she recognised what was wrong. Most of the left side of his skull was missing. She walked around the back of his chair and there, still clutched in the leather wrapped bones of his right hand, was a large semi automatic pistol. The fingers snapped off as she pulled the weapon from them. On the table beside the man’s meal was a box of cartridges.
Outside the room, there were voices, shouts of orders, then a hammering as her pursuers tried to force their way in. She held up the gun. Pulling back the slide to chamber a new round, she didn’t like the feel of it. She had seen too many guns disintegrate under test firing to trust this one. There was a .38 revolver in a holster under her arm that she did trust, and a 9mm on her hip, but she wasn’t sure the guys on the other side of the door were worth the expense of bullets. She felt like improvising.
False windows in the walls looked out onto idealised visions of the world before, back when there had been abundance. They looked like nothing Maxine had ever seen. She imagined they bore little resemblance to the world that had led the occupants to build this bunker, either. Under the windows were long tables laid out with the pretty and pointless possessions the rich folk hiding here had felt were important. An array of big watches caught Maxine’s eye. There was a pile of pashminas and shawls in silk and cashmere beside the watches. She wrapped one of the soft wool scarves around her fist and picked up the heaviest, most unnecessarily knurled of the watches.
Beside the doors, there was an override switch for the room’s lights. Maxine turned the lights off and stood beside the switch as the battering on the door began to splinter the chair barring it. It gave way, finally, with a creak and crack, and the door pushed open. Two figures entered, back lit from the atrium.
“She be here?” the nearest one said.
“Must be. None else to go to.”
“Why no lights?” said a voice from the balcony.
“She hide. We find her.”
“We find her, we do her good.” the nearest one said.
Continues in Pickers 1: The Find, which is released on July 4th. You can pre-order it now.
Pickers 2: The Trip is released on July 18th, and can also be pre-ordered.
I’m going to start designing more stuff for 3D printing soon. Here’s one of my existing products. For use with 1:32nd scale/54mm figures, they bring an extra range of gestures to your models.
The figure slumped against the concrete didn’t acknowledge the compliment beyond flinching away from the sound of his assailant’s voice.
Something heavy rumbled over the bridge above them at speed. Even as Saturday rolled over into Sunday, there were still vehicles on the motorway.
The bulky, black clad figure stood over his victim, blocking the view of anything but his dark shape. Danny registered, barely, the light rustling noise that accompanied his assailant’s movements, but he was even less able to understand it than he had been before the beating started.
“Of course, being so tough has just meant I had to hurt you more.”
It’s the Summer solstice.
Maria wants to find her cousin, who has been put into a children’s home run by a company called Vantage and disappeared.
Tomas wants to help Maria, and find out who Vantage are bribing to get all their contracts whilst he’s doing it.
Kay Wood has just landed her first ever murder case- a body pulled out of the Irwell with a strange symbol carved into his chest.
Irwin Baker has been called by his old boss at MI6, asking if he can help Manchester Police investigate a murder with links to killings in Iraq.
It’s going to be a very long day for all of them.
When Maria and Tomas find dark secrets in Vantage’s offices, they find themselves in great danger, hunted by a killer who leaves his signature in the bodies of his victims. Can Kay and Irwin get to them before the killer does?
Solstice is out now for the Kindle. It’s the second adventure featuring Irwin Baker, and finds him helping Greater Manchester Police investigate a murder with ties back to corruption in the early days of the occupation of Iraq. Taking place on the day of the Summer solstice, it’s a race against time to stop a killer with a grisly signature and uncover the horrors that go on behind the doors of a privatised children’s home.
This presents a conundrum for me. I sell Kindle books through Amazon and, when I start making enough money from them, I shall pay tax on that income. Meanwhile, the company plays all sorts of games to make sure it pays the bare minimum tax.
I think Amazon should pay a fair amount of tax on the trade it does in this country, so I’ll be signing the petition. But I won’t be boycotting them. I hardly ever buy anything through Amazon at the moment, so the only boycott I could do would be removal of my own books from them, and that would hurt me, and the British economy, more than it would hurt them. If you want to join the boycott, please remember that my books can also be purchased from Smashwords and other sites.
I have a shoe box full of vintage postcards, some of them over a century old, which I have slowly been working my way through and putting up for sale on a site called Delcampe. I think I should share some of them with you. This set all relate to World War 1, mostly showing the devastation after battles.
You can find all the postcards, and some cigarette cards, that I’ve listed at the Spinneyhead store on Delcampe
I like cufflinks. In fact, now that I no longer work in an office, I only own nice shirts that need cufflinks. So I’ve started making cufflinks.
These links are made from 1967 vintage threepenny pieces attached to blank cufflinks with Araldite. Each pair has a head and a tail coin.
You can buy them from the Spinneyhead shop at Zibbet.
Not long to go until Christmas, so, if you’re unsure about what to get your friends and family, may I suggest a couple of online shops.
I have a small stack of, mostly, Image comics from the nineties, a sharp knife and a guillotine, and I’m going to make some art. Working on some comic book themed ideas, my first series is going to be called “Crossover 1”. Two comics- Brigade series 1 issue 3 and C23 issue 3, collide in strips on the page. These being Image comics from the nineties, some of the resulting pages will be no less coherent than the originals.
There will be two versions of each page. A pages start with C-23 at the top, B pages with Brigade. Once I have a few more pages in stock, I shall be putting them up for sale on Spinneyworld and Zibbet.
These arrived today, and I am very pleased with them. They’re the latest test prints of my first set of modern image bikes for model railways. The larger bikes are O gauge (1:43rd), and look to be ready for market. You can order them from the Spinneyworld shop, with the first full scale print late this month or early next.
The smaller bikes are OO (1:76th). At that size, the handle bars and pedals were too fine to print (I had to fatten them up for the O gauge ones). The question is, would people buy them if they need to fashion their own handle bars? I could make them in etched brass, but that could be expensive, or make them from wire, a little labour intensive. But I’m selling to resourceful folk, maybe I can rely on them to do a bit of the work.
Modellers, what do you think?
GOD Hunt is now available for the Kindle from Amazon.
Tammy, Tatiana and Miko- enhanced humans working for a mysterious Artificial Intelligence known only as Ruby Horse- have been sent to an Eastern European forest to shut down a secret lab which has started offering combat robots to the highest bidder.
“General Ordnance Division, shortened to GOD, had been the prefix attached to the model names of the original series of military robots out of the old United States of America. The name, with all its overtones, had stuck and been used to describe any robotic device seen in proximity to a human in uniform. From the humblest personal load carrier all the way up to the autonomous stealth cruisers- some of which were reputed to still be patrolling the Pacific and committing acts of piracy for spares and consumables- each one was a GOD.
With the exception of ghost navies and other legends most of the gun-toting GODs had done away with one another in the resource wars which had scarred the years before the emergence of the Patrons. But there were a lot of surplus unarmed GODs knocking around, and numerous civilian versions had appeared based upon the tech. GODs, particularly the older ones, were simple by the standards of current Intelligences. They were easy to work on, though modifications tended to have unintended consequences which were usually of the dangerous kind.”
After the Resource wars and ecological collapse, humanity has been saved by the mysterious artificial intelligences known as the Patrons. Facing open hostility and violence, the Patrons have recruited human enforcers. Part human, part machine, the Mongrels keep the peace and do their Patrons’ dirty work.