Catapult Contest at Maker Faire

One of my favorite memories of Foo Camp was sitting around with MAKE’s Dale Dougherty, Bill Gurstelle, and others, in the evening, while Bill bounced around ever-crazier ideas for burning down, blowing up, and launching stuff at the upcoming Austin Maker Faire. Dale seemed no less interested in this brainstorm, in theory, but had the obvious challenge of balancing ballistic fun and envelope-pushing pyro with real-world safety and liability concerns. For me, I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was lucky enough to be working with people for whom such a conversation was considered official company business.

Anyhoo, that Austin Maker Faire is swiftly approaching (Oct 20-21). One of several events and activities that’ll hopefully keep Bill Gurstelle and his cohort occupied is the King of Fling Catapult Contest (which is, of course also open to the Queen of Catapults, the Baroness of Ballistas, etc.). Folks are encourage to build, bring, and fire a catapult. Prizes will be awared, but have yet to be announced (and are obviously not really the point). I can’t wait to see what the Bill Gurstelle’s of the Maker world come up with.

To find more about the event and contest rules, see the King of Fling page. To learn more about catapult building, visit Build a Catapult.


Great Comic-Con Coverage, Too Much Coffee, Man!

The game-obsessives over at Kotaku have been doing a fine job covering this year’s totally sold-out Comic-Con in San Diego. Above is from their piece on a new Hasbro Transformer PlayStation controller, due out next month.

Of all of the nerdgasms possible at this year’s Con, the thing I wish most I could have seen is Shannon Wheeler’s “Too Much Coffee Man: The Opera.” Gee, do you think it’s coming to Broadway? Hey, stranger things have happened.

UPDATE: I found out more info on TMCM: The Opera. After the jump, find Shannon’s Press Release. Coming back to Portland in Spring ’08!


Rocketcar Day Wrap Video

Street Tech pal Mark Pesce has put together a great little video wrap-up of Rocketcar Day 9. Totally sweet. Takes me back to my reckless youth when we used to strap Estes motors onto anything and everything. There’s nothing like a rocket engine whirly giggin’ around your feet to get your attention!


Mind-Boggling Miniature Painting Contest

A few years back, I got obsessed with sci-fi tabletop wargamming (namely, Warhammer 4000). I even ran a popular sci-fi game modeling site for a time. As part of covering the hobby (at least that’s what I told the taxman), I attended several Games Day conventions in Baltimore. I thought my painting and modeling were pretty damn good. And then I saw the Golden Demon Awards, the model conversions/painting contests held at these cons. The conversions were incredible, the paint jobs were absurd. Keep in mind as you look at these images that these figures are 28mm scale (that’s about 1.1 inches!). You start with bare metal, and after hours sometimes counted in the hundreds, you end up with results like these. An eyeball on one of these models is like the point of a pin, and yet, these painters manage several levels of highlights, reflections, and glints. A current trend is painting lighting effects, torch light or laser blasts reflected on models and scenery. Crazy.

Pictured above is Natalya Melnik’s Gold-winning “Dark Angels Company Master” and Bennett Blalock-Doane’s Sisters of Battle Canoness which took Silver, both in the WH40K Single Miniature category. Bennett also took Gold in Warhammer Regiments, with his Beastlord and Retinue (seen below). Natalya, who’s sort of a rock star/goddess in the miniature painting world, took home the grand prize, the coveted Slayer Sword, also for her Company Master.

For all the coverage of this year’s Baltimore Games Day and the Golden Demon Awards, check out Games Workshop’s website.


Werewolf Specimen and Hunting Kit

Alex CF, who did the amazing “Lovecraftian Specimen Jars” in my Wired Steampunk piece, has a new piece up for auction on eBay UK. It’s a seriously cool Werewolf Research Kit, complete with an albino lycanthrope foetus in a jar, handwritten notes and drawings, other forensic samples, and some silver bullets to have on hand, just in case.

Here’s a link to the eBay listing. And one to Alex CF’s website.