Web Posted March 24, 2007
Updated March 24, 2007
To Hell and Back
Greeetings autoduelists. I gladly admit I sent CWIN to Hell last year. My work schedule was as controlled as leadership in an outlaw gang enjoying ice-cold beer kegs.
I do not blame you for thinking CWIN and SWAT have fallen off the face of the planet. I have been lurking in the online auto-combat community. Except for a minor addition SWAT HQ has not been updated for over 14 months. I will address this problem this month.
Although I am clearly the primary cause of CWIN's schedule being shot to pieces, I continue to receive few reports and articles from you and other autoduelists. If I had more contributions -- on a regular basis -- I would have incentive to get this old magazine out on time. (The exception to the lack of articles is the "50 Years Ago Today" column. I usually have more "autodueling technology in 2006" articles that I need.)
After seeing month after month pass in 2005 without me sending out an issue after Vol. 8, No. 2, I have decided to change this newsletter's frequency from monthly to quarterly. I no longer have content to support a monthly publication nor can I depend on myself to get the newsletter out on time.
All of you, especially the long-term subscribers, deserve a journal
that is released in a timely fashion. I am not ready to abandon CWIN
yet however I need to focus on quality over quantity. If I reduce the issues
per year I have a very good chance of sending you a magazine with better
quality (theoretically) and a vastly improved release record.
There are two buyers and sellers of tabletop and electronic games I want to acknowledge for exceptional customer service and great prices. They do not support CWIN but since I have had success with them for my own gaming collection I wanted to mention them.
Noble Knight Games is one of the best sellers of new and used tabletop games today. If you are looking for a rare game, Noble Knight Games is the first place you should check. Noble Knight Games often has new games before most stores receive them.
Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe is a seller of classic computer games with
a very large inventory of items a gamer rarely sees today. I was able to
get a mint copy of the Wasteland Survival Guide from Ye Olde Infocomme
Shoppe at a price that did not require me to sell all of my other games.
Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe
Please support these sellers (and the other retailers mentioned in this newsletter). Thanks.
Jimmy Henderson and the rest of MADHAT deserve special recognition. For the past several years, Jimmy and MADHAT have been running many play-by-Internet Car Wars games that have been rated as fantastic. Now Jimmy and MADHAT have evolved their virtual autodueling to the next level: podcasts of duels. You definitely want to visit MADHAT's Web site and watch the action. Thanks, Jimmy for keeping the playing of Car Wars (versus the discussion of Car Wars which I have been primarily doing with SWAT HQ and CWIN) alive and well.
Mid-South Autoduelists and Handgunners Attack Team (MADHAT)
Play-by-Internet Game Podcasts
Descent into Darkness
In November 2005 I developed a serious infection that continues to plague me on a regular basis. I was diagnosed with an addition to Descent: Journeys in the Dark, the new dungeon-crawling boardgame produced by Fantasy Flight Games. The illness has became severe enough for me to create a Web page for Descent on SWAT HQ.
(Translation: Descent is a blast. Think of the Descent as the 1990s Milton Bradley/Games Workshop HeroQuest boardgame on anabolic steroids. If you like the Gauntlet arcade series of games, you will enjoy Descent.)
SWAT HQ: Descent Portal
Car Wars turns 25 years old in 2006. For the next issue, I would to
receive suggestions on how to celebrate this special occasion. Receiving
stories of the first Car Wars game you ever played would be a great start
of this anniversary.
Thank you for nine years of supporting this old autoduelist. I hope this newsletter and its Web site will continue to be slightly useful to your auto-combat gaming.
Michael P. Owen
A TIP LEADS TO POLICE TO ROCKET LAUNCHER IN CAR
Thursday, June 2, 2005
Seattle police confiscated a rocket launcher early Monday that was found in a car parked at a Capitol Hill fast-food restaurant.
A security guard for the restaurant called police just after 1 a.m.
to report that he had contacted a man who appeared to have a military-style
rocket launcher in his car.
Police called the arson bomb squad, which confirmed that the device was a military rocket launcher; it was not loaded. It is legal to possess a rocket launcher as long as it is not loaded, police said.
Officers also found a laptop computer and a small amount of cash in
the car. The man was not found.
A PEEK INSIDE THE REAL BATMOBILE
The strange looking vehicle from Batman Begins is really eight cars. Four of them are truly fast.
Peter Valdes-Dapena, Staff Writer
CNN.com and Money Magazine
June 28, 2005: 2:01 PM EDT
New York -- If the crouching, jagged Batmobile from the movie "Batman Begins" looks to you like the offspring of a Lamborghini Countach and a Hummer, congratulations. You hit the nail on the head.
When production designer Nathan Crowley was trying to conceive the car's look, he went to a hobby shop and bought 1:12 scale models of a Lamborghini Countach and a Hummer.
Crowley cut those two models apart and combined them, dropping in the cockpit from a model of a P-38 Lightning.
"It looked awful," Crowley said. But it was a start, and it was headed in the right direction.
The concept went through several revisions before Crowley and his colleagues were satisfied that they had found the new Batmobile.
After creating each model, Crowley would photograph it. Then he used graphics software to superimpose the Batmobile's image onto photographs of New York City street scenes. Those were the closest things he could get to Gotham City at that time.
"Batman Begins" was produced by Warner Bros., which is part of Time Warner, as is CNN.com.
When he finally had a finished model, Crowley took it to car builders at England's Shepperton Studios where Chris Cobould and Andy Smith led a team that constructed the actual cars used in the film.
"They did a fantastic job," Crowley said.
He felt strongly, he said, that there had to be no compromises on the car's appearance. The finished Batmobile had to look just like the model or it wouldn't be right.
Crowley also didn't want to use any digital effects in scenes involving the car. Even the best computerized visual effects wouldn't have the gritty, realistic look he wanted, he said. That meant the car had to be fast and be fairly maneuverable.
Initially, it was thought that the hardest part of building the real car would be the front axle. Or, rather, the lack of a front axle. But its builders were able to create a strong enough front suspension based on two huge articulated arms, just like the model.
Under full acceleration, the car would actually rise up on its front "legs" while the front wheels stayed planted on the ground creating an effect like a giant spider -- a "bonus," according to Crowley.
The hardest things to get right were the tires. It took the filmmakers three months of searching to find the off-road truck tires they used for the rear wheels and the wide racing tires used on the front.
The four fully driveable Batmobiles the crew built are powered by a 340-horsepower General Motors V8 engine. Despite its tank-like appearance, the car is capable of going from zero to sixty miles an hour in 5.3 seconds, said Crowley.
The "jet engine" on the back of the car was fed by propane tanks.
There were four other Batmobiles created for the movie, as well. Two, used for scenes in which someone got into or out of the car, were powered only by electric motors. The space normally occupied by the engine was taken up, instead, by the hydraulic machinery used for the complex opening roof.
Two more Batmobiles, empty rolling shells, were shot out of huge air cannons to create leaping shots like those in which the car jumps through a waterfall into the Bat Cave.
A miniature car was used for a few scenes that couldn't be safely filmed using a full-sized vehicle.
Chase scenes through the streets and highways of Gotham City were filmed in Chicago. Although Gotham was modeled on New York -- Crowley called Bruce Wayne's hometown "New York City on steroids" -- Chicago agreed to shut off 12 blocks of the city for "Batman Begins" chase scenes.
Stunt driver George Cottle trained for months, Crowley said, taking the Batmobile for laps on a closed race track. Visibility from inside the cockpit was extremely poor, said Crowley, limited to a small area directly in front of the car. Video cameras wired to screens inside the cockpit provided views to the sides and back of the car.
For all of its capabilities, one thing the real-life Batmobile did not have was air conditioning.
"You lose a lot of weight driving that car," Crowley said.
MILITARY LASER BRINGS 'STAR WARS' REALITY CLOSER
Reuters and CNN.com
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Posted: 1:12 p.m. EDT (17:12 GMT)
London, England -- A U.S. Pentagon invention could make air combat resemble a battle scene from the movie 'Star Wars' with a laser so small it can fit on a fighter jet, yet powerful enough to knock down an enemy missile in flight.
The High Energy Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS), being designed by the Pentagon's central research and development agency, will weigh just 750 kg (1,650 lb) and measures the size of a large fridge.
To date, such lasers have been so bulky because of the need for huge cooling systems to stop them overheating, that they had to be fitted to large aircraft such as jumbo jets, New Scientist magazine reported on Wednesday.
But the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency reckons it has solved the problem by merging liquid and solid state lasers to cut the size and weight by "an order of magnitude", according to its Web site.
Liquid lasers can fire a continuous beam but need large cooling systems, while solid state laser beams are more intense but have to be fired in pulses to stop them overheating.
"We've combined the high energy density of the solid state laser with the thermal management of the liquid laser," New Scientist quoted project manager Don Woodbury as saying.
Dubbed the "HEL weapon" by its developers, a prototype capable of firing a mild one kilowatt (kW) beam has already been produced and there are plans to build a stronger 15-kW version by the end of the year.
If everything goes according to plan, an even more powerful weapon producing
a 150-kW beam and capable of knocking down a missile will be ready by 2007
for fitting onto aircraft.
"TOP GUN" TOMCATS SET FOR ONE LAST HURRAH
The Seattle Times
Saturday, September 3, 2005
Page updated at 12:00 AM
Norfolk, VA -- The Navy's "Top Gun" planes are on their last combat mission.
The two squadrons of active F-14 Tomcats left Naval Air Station Oceana this week to join the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which pulled out of Naval Station Norfolk on Thursday en route to war duty in the Persian Gulf.
About 7,500 sailors are on the ships in the Roosevelt strike group. The air wing also includes F/A-18 Hornets, which along with Super Hornets will replace all the F-14s in the next year.
Cmdr. Rick LaBranche, head of one of the F-14 squadrons, said the fighter plane first built in the 1970s has an enduring following.
"It's the pride of any air show," he said during a telephone interview before he flew out yesterday. "People come around to see that bad boy."
The nature of the Persian Gulf mission is hazardous, LaBranche said. But he added: "We definitely want to make sure that she ... goes out on top."
Maintenance is the reason the Navy is replacing the F-14s with the smaller, slower F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets. The Hornets' advanced technology makes them easier to maintain.
When the squadrons return to the Virginia Beach base, the process of
converting to F/A-18s will begin. LaBranche's squadron will go last, making
the final switch to Super Hornets by late summer or early fall 2006.
NASCAR ENGINEERS HELP DESIGN NEW COMBAT VEHICLE
Bjorn Carey, Staff Writer
Posted: 13 September 2005, 08:59 am ET
The U.S. military unveiled this week a concept combat vehicle that combines new blast-deflection technology with the safety features of a commercially available truck and NASCAR engineering.
Everything from the materials to seating configuration has been rethought.
Built on the skeleton of a Ford F-350 truck, the vehicle is called the ULTRA AP (Armored Patrol). Its builders melded some of the latest advancements in vehicle defense with the maneuverability and safety features of an "off-the-shelf" truck to develop a concept vehicle that may one day replace the familiar Humvee in the battlefield.
"The idea of using an off-the-shelf vehicle is that it already has that
stuff in it," Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) principal research
engineer Gary Caille told LiveScience. "The automotive industry has spent
a lot of money evaluating these chassis for safety and we can make use
Safer seating setup
The ULTRA AP was developed at the GTRI, which brought together engineers from the commercial automotive and military worlds. The idea was to save money by marrying advanced armor materials and designs with proven safety designs from the automotive industry.
"By bringing together experienced commercial vehicle designers with experts in advanced materials and cutting-edge engineering, we are providing a test bed for evaluating technologies that can help the military develop true 'leap-ahead' concepts," said David Parekh, GTRI's deputy director. "By including persons with high-performance automotive engineering and NASCAR expertise as part of our team, we were able to root this advanced concepts project in real-world vehicle design."
Specifically, GTRI engineers wanted to safety and survivability. The first step was to use lightweight, cost-effective armor.
Second was to shift the four passengers from the traditional two-by-two seating configuration to a diamond arrangement with one person facing out the front, one facing out the back, and one facing each side. Not only does this give all around better visibility, but it provides better protection from land mines.
"This moves people away from the wheels, which are typically what initiates
a mine," Caille said. "The idea is to move passengers further way from
Passengers are also tucked into what is called a "blast bucket," an armored shell in the vehicle that deflects explosions and acts as a roll cage if the vehicle flips.
Computers integrate steering, suspension and braking, Caille said, providing a level of mobility and safety that's unparalleled by even the most advanced current production military vehicles.
"The performance features are standard stability control and anti-lock brakes," Caille said. "And because the vehicle is based on a commercially available model, other features like active cruise control can easily be added."
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) provided funds to help build the ULTRA AP to evaluate technology that could improve future vehicle designs. The vehicle has been delivered to the ONR, which will now evaluate it and determine whether to move on with the project.
The ULTRA AP will be on display at the "Modern Day Marine Expo" at the
Marine Corps Air Facility in Quantico, Va. from Sept. 13th to 15th.
BUGATTI: 1,001 HORSEPOWER, $1.24 MILLION
Reports: VW starts production of its new supercar, the Bugatti Veyron.
September 16, 2005
Posted: 3:42 p.m. EDT (1942 GMT)
New York -- Volkswagen's latest product probably won't be very good on gas and it has a rather high price tag. But that hasn't stopped a handful of people from putting down payments on the car before production started earlier this month.
Each Bugatti Veyron 16.4 will cost an estimated $1.24 million, according to media reports. For that, buyers will get an all-wheel-drive two-seat sports car with a lightweight carbon-fiber body and 16-cylinder engine capable of producing 1,001 horsepower.
VW purchased the Bugatti name in 1998, according to a report in the industry newspaper Automotive News Europe, and introduced a concept version of the Veyron at the Tokyo auto show the following year.
It has taken the intervening six years to perfect the car, according to the Automotive News report and others, and there had been doubts that the car would ever actually be sold. In a 2003 public debut at Laguna Seca Raceway in California, a prototype Veyron spun out of control.
In 2003, according to Automotive News, the car still suffered from two major problems: The enormous engine tended to overheat and the car, capable of top a speed of well in excess of 200 miles per hour, was unstable at high speeds. Several reports have placed the car's top speed at about 250 miles per hour.
The Bugatti name originated with a company that built high-performance cars from 1910 to 1956. Bugatti now operates in the same Alsace region, now part of France, in which the original Bugattis were made.
The company announced that it will build a four-door version of the
car in the future, according to a report on Edmunds.com's Inside Line Website.
POLICE: DRIVER AIMED AT CROWD
Driver accused of assaulting his mother
Associated Press and CNN.com
Thursday, September 22, 2005; Posted: 8:31 p.m. EDT (00:31 GMT)
Las Vegas, NV -- The driver of a stolen car who authorities say deliberately plowed into pedestrians on the Las Vegas Strip, killing two and injuring a dozen others, will face charges of murder and attempted murder.
Witnesses said the driver, Stephen M. Ressa, 27, of Rialto, California, accelerated as he drove along the crowded casino sidewalk, Deputy Police Chief Greg McCurdy said.
One witness described it as "humans being mowed down like a lawnmower," McCurdy said. "It appears he did this intentionally."
Ressa was arrested Wednesday at the chaotic scene that stretched for yards under the marquee of the Bally's hotel-casino. There was no record Thursday that Ressa had retained a lawyer.
The injured were strewn along the sidewalk and treated in the street by emergency workers as stunned tourists looked on. An off-duty Las Vegas police officer, Martin Wright, rushed from a nearby restaurant to help.
"All I saw was bodies on the sidewalk and in the bushes," Wright said Thursday.
The victims, including 11 tourists, were walking in front of the Bally's and Paris hotel-casinos when the car struck them, then crashed into a wall and came to a stop in a landscaped area in front of Bally's.
Eight of the injured remained hospitalized Thursday, including two in serious condition, officials said. Gordon Kusayanagi, 52, of Hollister, California, died Wednesday; Mark Modaressi, 26, of Irvine, California, died Thursday.
Ressa also had been sought by his hometown police in a near-fatal assault Monday on his mother, who owned the car Ressa was driving in Las Vegas.
He was held Thursday without bail at the county jail and could face a court appearance as early as Monday.
During interviews with detectives, Ressa appeared lucid and correctly answered questions about his ability to determine right and wrong, McCurdy said. But Ressa's statements were "bizarre in nature," McCurdy said.
Results of alcohol and drug tests were pending.
Rialto police Det. Sgt. Reinhard Burkholder said Ressa was wanted for questioning in the assault on his 54-year-old mother. He had not been charged in that case.
"He punched her numerous times in the face and choked her into unconsciousness and stood over her with a butcher knife," Burkholder said.
Ressa may have been under the influence of methamphetamine, Burkholder said.
He was not being pursued by officers when he crashed in Las Vegas, police
ON MOSCOW STREETS, IT'S DRIVERS VS. PEDESTRIANS
By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
The Seattle Times
Friday, September 23, 2005
Page updated at 12:00 AM
Moscow -- On the streets of Russia's capital, it is the loser who ventures out without a weapon.
Once the armament of choice was a small Lada. These days, it's likely to be a Mercedes. Yet the dynamics of battle remain the same: The front bumper trumps the pedestrian, who is sent somersaulting over the hood almost every time.
So frequently do automobiles and pedestrians come into contact that a body at the side of the road covered with an overcoat barely draws a crowd. Elderly women, faced with a green crossing light, break into clumsy sprints with the help of their canes; students gather in herds like nervous gazelles before dashing across crosswalks in carefully timed streaks.
Last year, 34,506 people were killed and a quarter of a million injured in road accidents in Russia — nearly double the rate in the United States. In Moscow alone, more than 14 cars a day hit pedestrians; 300 have died this year. Officials estimate that road accidents cost the nation 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product in lost worker productivity last year.
The urban toll has prompted a rare bout of self-reflection among some drivers and a national campaign to promote courtesy toward those on foot. Last week, Moscow traffic police and a coalition of city newspapers began passing out windshield stickers bearing the zebra-crossing symbol of a crosswalk and the words "I Let Pedestrians Pass."
Pedestrians who use only crosswalks and underpasses, as opposed to wading defiantly through six or more lanes of moving traffic, will be eligible for stickers of their own.
"An attempt to cross a busy street in Moscow at an unlighted pedestrian crossing is a life-threatening experience for any pedestrian," said Vyacheslav Lysakov, head of the motorists movement Freedom of Choice, one of several organizations promoting the initiative. "It is high time our drivers realize that pedestrians crossing streets are not crazy hares to be hunted down and run over, but our children, our wives, mothers, relatives and friends ... "
The campaign has elicited grumbling on the part of Moscow drivers, some of whom argue that slowing down for pedestrians puts drivers at risk of being rear-ended by less charitable motorists.
"I would like to be polite and considerate and generous. I would love to let the pedestrian pass by me. But who can guarantee that the back of my car will not be smashed the next minute, if I stop?" said Galina Konova, who has driven a taxi in Moscow for 32 years. "I may even be doing him a disservice if I let him pass my car, because the other cars will simply speed up and hit him.
"You see, it's a matter of hatred," she added. "Both drivers and pedestrians simply have no respect for each other. And it's not all the drivers' fault. You see a pedestrian, he runs into the street, you stop your car suddenly and almost crash, and he suddenly comes to a stop, turns around, and runs back!"
Pedestrians develop their own survival techniques. Few will venture into a crosswalk without an obvious invitation. Even then, they usually step suspiciously onto the field of battle, like mice in a roomful of cats.
"Half the time, people speed up instead of stopping," complained Sophia Konavalova, 56, a cleaning woman who was gathering petunia seeds on an island in the middle of a downtown boulevard last week, near where a wreath lay for a fallen pedestrian.
"In general, there is no respect for human life in this country," she
said. "The driver's position is, 'I'm in a hurry, I need to get there whatever
happens, I have no time for you.' And it's not only the pedestrians who
die. I go walking in the street at 6 in the morning, and you see cars smashed
to smithereens all over."
IS DRIVING EASIER WHEN MR. T'S RIDING SHOTGUN?
To cash in on in-car GPS market, media firm to offer celebrity directions.
Roland Jones, Business Editor
Updated: 4:11 p.m. ET Nov. 15, 2005
Centuries ago, navigators looked to the stars to work out their location on Earth and plot their courses. Today, stars are again set to guide lost travelers to their destinations, but they won't be the celestial bodies seen in the heavens each night.
Instead, think Mr. T, Burt Reynolds and Dennis Hopper -- they've all signed up to deliver celebrity voice content for turn-by-turn driving directions in the Navtones car navigation system produced by Los Angeles-based Wanderlust Media and digital map and location content provider Tele Atlas.
If you already have an expensive navigation system in your car, you're already familiar with the generic woman's voice telling you to turn left at the next light. The idea behind Wanderlust's new offering is to give drivers something a little different, explains CEO Will Andre. Mr. T not only guides, he also threatens: "Pay attention to what I'm saying," he bawls. "Mr. T gonna get you there in one piece … you gonna be there safely, or else!"
"The idea behind this came when we heard anecdotally that a lot of people were frustrated with the voices on their navigation systems and talked back to them," Andre said. "That led to some research and we found that a lot of users referred to their navigation systems by a specific name, like Jane, so we decided to capitalize on that relationship."
Andre says the celebrity navigation idea is part of the "the personalization of consumer electronics," and he hopes the venture will be as popular as the craze for personalized ring tones for cell phones.
Directions from celebrities like Mr. T will be available for download on to stand-alone, portable navigation devices by the end of the year, while celebrity voices will be available in embedded car navigation devices in the first quarter of 2006, according to Andre.
A single celebrity voice will cost about $10 to download online, while unique character-themed voices — think of a generic surfer dude, or a cowboy — will cost about $5 each, Andre said. More celebrity voices are planned for later this year he notes, although he declined to disclose any specific names.
Wanderlust is also exploring other celebrity navigation projects, such as the development of culturally-relevant voices in other languages and the use of Dennis Hopper's voice in Dutch navigation systems firm TomTom's "TomTom Rider," a GPS navigation system for motorbike riders. "We thought an Easy Rider voice would be of interest," he said. In August, TomTom launched a navigation system for European drivers using the voice of Monty Python star John Cleese.
Whether a portable unit or built into an automobile's dashboard, car navigation systems that use radio signals from global positioning satellites to pinpoint an exact location, or plot travel directions are becoming popular items for drivers who loathe losing their way. They come as standard in high-end cars from manufacturers like BMW, or Mercedes, and can be bought as optional extras in many other makes of car sold in the United States.
But GPS car navigation has not seen the same popularity in the United States as it has in Europe or in Japan, where cities and towns are rarely laid out in an uncomplicated grid pattern as they are the United States, notes Will Strauss, a principal analyst with Forward Concepts, an electronics market research firm in Tempe, Az.
Strauss notes that to date the strongest demand for in-car GPS systems has come from rental car companies and large trucking fleets, for whom getting lost costs time and money.
"These systems are growing in popularity in the United States as they start to look less like a straightforward maps and people start to enjoy using them more," said Strauss. "And the ability to find a restaurant or a hospital is appealing to some people too."
Strauss says the number of GPS systems shipped for personal car owners
is growing steadily, rising from 5.5 million units in 2004 to an estimated
6.9 million in 2005 and a projected 8.7 million in 2006. And Strauss expects
the number to rise to 16.2 million by 2009.
JAMES BOND'S ASTON MARTIN FOR SALE
Cars made for James Bond, Al Capone and Hank Williams, Jr. to be sold at auction.
November 16, 2005
Posted: 5:19 p.m. EST (2219 GMT)
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the location of the auction. We regret the error.
New York -- James Bond's car -- really, ** the ** James Bond car -- will be going up for auction in January. Cars custom-built for Al Capone and Hank Williams, Jr. will also be for sale at the same event.
The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 driven by the character James Bond in the movies Goldfinger and Thunderball will be sold to the highest biddder at RM Auctions' Vintage Motor Cars in Arizona to be held in Phoenix, Ariz., on Jan. 20, 2006.
The car is one of four created for the films and for promotional use. It is not clear if this particular car was actually used in filming the movies, a spokeswoman for RM Auctions said. The car has a variety of optional equipment for both offensive and defensive purposes. This includes a pair of .30 caliber Browning machine guns that deploy from behind the headights (these are non-firing props), and a wheel-mounted tire slasher. An oil-slick ejector squirts out from the left-rear light cluster and a smoke-screen system is located next to the car's exhaust.
The license plate revolves to display any of three different plates and the car still has its hydraulic ramming bumpers. In the interest of safety, the ejector seat has been replaced with a standard, non-ejecting passenger seat. RM Auctions would not comment on the car's estimated value.
A 1928 Cadillac built for the Chicago gangster Al Capone has its own array of weapons and defenses. It's bullet-proof, with steel-plating reinforcing the car body and with windows more than an inch thick. The back window folds down to facilitate the use of firearms. The car is painted in the same color scheme as Chicago police cars of the time and it's equipped with a siren and flashing police lights.
The car was seized by the U.S. Treasury Department and is said to have been used by President Franklin Roosevelt for a short time. It's value is estimated at $250,000 to $500,000.
Hank Williams Jr.'s 1964 Pontiac Bonneville used guns in a different
sort of way. The car was given to Williams for his 15th birthday. It's
decorated with 18 pistols -- 12 large ones and six small ones -- as well
as 547 silver dollars, 12 silver horseshoes and 17 sterling silver horse
heads. Inside, the center console is fitted with a saddle. The car's estimated
value is $100,000 to $200,000.
Photograph: James Bond Aston Martin DB5
This 1964 Aston Martin DB5 is one of four created for the James Bond films Thunderball and Goldfinger. It has a variety of equipment for both offensive and defensive use. This includes a pair of non-firing .30 caliber Browning machine guns that deploy from behind the headlights, and a wheel-mounted tire slasher. An oil-slick ejector squirts out from the left-rear light cluster and a smoke-screen system is located next to the car's exhaust.
The license plate revolves to display any of three different plates.
The car still has its hydraulic ramming bumpers. In the interest of safety,
the ejector seat has been replaced with a standard, non-ejecting passenger
seat. RM Auctions would not comment on the car's estimated value.
Photograph: Al Capone Cadillac Town Sedan
This 1928 Cadillac customized for the Chicago gangster Al Capone is designed to be bullet-proof, with windows more than an inch thick. It includes a smoke-screen device and the back window folds down to facilitate the use of firearms. The car is painted in the same color scheme as Chicago police cars of the time and it's equipped with a siren and flashing police lights.
The car was seized by the U.S. Treasury Department and is said to have
been used by President Franklin Roosevelt for a short time. It's value
is estimated at $250,000 to $500,000.
Photograph: Hank Williams Jr. Pontiac Bonneville
Hank Williams Jr.'s 1964 Pontiac Bonneville is decorated with 18 pistols
-- 12 large ones and six small ones -- as well as 547 silver dollars, 12
silver horseshoes and 17 sterling silver horse heads. Inside, the center
console is fitted with a rhinestone encrusted saddle. The car's estimated
value is $100,000 to $200,000.
HIGH-SEAS PIRATE ATTACKS ARE ON THE RISE
Tom Maliti, Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Last updated 12:19 p.m. PT
Photograph (AP/Norman J. Fisher): The Somali pirates in their small boat carrying rocket launchers.
Saturday Nov. 5, 2005. The cruise ship was attacked by pirates above near Somalia. Regular patrols of Somalia's waters by navies from neighboring countries may be the easiest way to deal with the lawless country's increasingly daring pirates, who no longer just target fishing vessels, but attack bigger vessels along an important shipping route, officials said. Recent hijackings or attempted hijackings on Somali waters have become of great concern to the shipping industry because the pirates are not only attacking vessels near Somalia's shoreline, but target ships as far as 180 nautical miles (207 miles; 333 kilometers) into the Indian Ocean, said John Muindi, the International Maritime Organization's regional coordinator for eastern Africa.
Nairobi, Kenya -- The pirates audacious enough to raid an oil tanker off Iraq -- where the U.S. military patrols -- were anything but the stuff of romance and legend.
The three boarded armed with machine guns and knives, according to a recent report by a shipping industry agency that tracks piracy. They tied up two crew members and took three others hostage before ransacking the master's cabin and escaping with the ship's safe.
Piracy is happening with a disturbing frequency in the 21st century, as evidenced by incidents recorded by the International Maritime Bureau, a watchdog that is part of the International Chamber of Commerce.
The locations are exotic -- the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait, off southwest India's Port of Cochin. The pirates range from thugs armed with machetes and armed bars to apparently sophisticated bands.
Arild Wegener, director of the Norwegian Shipowners Association, noted a slight decline in incidents this year compared to last, but said "pirates seem to apply more violence and be more ruthless in their behavior.
"Kidnapping has become more prominent," Wegener added. "The pirates are also better equipped."
It's not just major shippers who are at risk, said Klaus Hympendahl, a German yachtsman who maintains a piracy information clearinghouse on the Web and has written a book chronicling attacks on private yachts. When he sailed around the world in 1986, Hympendahl's only worry was the weather. Now, he cautions yachters to check the security situation along their route before they set out.
"The situation has changed completely," he said, blaming in part an increase in the number of wealthy people setting out to sea. Their well-equipped boats attract pirates looking for cash and gear.
The 1,880-mile coast of Somalia, which has had no effective government since warlords ousted a dictatorship in 1991 and then turned on each other, has emerged as one of the most dangerous areas for ships. Somali pirates have a growing reputation as well-organized, trained fighters with knowledge of the sea - perhaps remnants of the country's navy or coast guard.
Somali pirates are not only attacking near shore but more than 200 miles into the Indian Ocean, said John Muindi, the U.N. International Maritime Organization's regional coordinator for eastern Africa.
One of the boldest attacks was on Nov. 5. Two boats full of pirates
approached the Seabourn Spirit, a cruise ship carrying Western tourists,
about 100 miles off Somalia and fired rocket-propelled grenades and assault
The Seabourn crew used a weapon that directs earsplitting noise at attackers, then sped away. None of the passengers, most of them Americans, was hurt, but one member of the 161-person crew was injured by shrapnel.
The next day, a cargo ship in the area also was fired on with rocket launchers and machine guns. It sped away.
Somali pirates have even hijacked three cargo ships carrying U.N. food aid for Somalis, all owned by Kenya's Motaku Shipping Agency.
The hijackings "really shook us," said Karum Kudrati, Mutaki's managing director. The company secured the release of two vessels, but a third has been held since early October as negotiations over ransom drag on.
Kudrati said relatives of the crew come to his offices seeking news.
"I tell them we have to be patient, people are working on it and we have to hope they will be released soon," he said. "You can see tears in their eyes when they come and talk to us."
In its most recent worldwide report on piracy, the International Maritime Bureau reported fewer attacks overall for the first nine months of 2005 compared to the same period last year. But there were trouble spots, it said, citing Indonesia and Somalia. An increase in serious attacks off Somalia -- 25 in the last six months - followed a quiet spell of nearly two years.
Ali Mohamed Gedi, head of a transitional government struggling to impose order in Somalia, last month called on neighboring countries to send warships to patrol his coast, Africa's longest.
Countries in the region say they realize the problem is serious but that they have not yet discussed how to respond. Kenya, heavily involved in attempts to stabilize Somalia, would likely bear the brunt of the duties. Internal political crises elsewhere in the region, such as in Ethiopia, could pose problems.
An international force to combat piracy off Somalia will be discussed by the 166-member International Maritime Organization at its annual meeting next week in London, Muindi said.
Pirates "have to be tackled by people who are also armed like them or more or better than them," he added.
On the Net:
MAN LIKES NAME ON CAR TAGS, BUT NOT 666
Christian Plans To Get New Plates
KIRO TV 7 Seattle
Posted November 16, 2005, 8:03 am PST
Eau Claire, Wis. -- Ken Hasenmueller doesn't want the sign of the devil on his red Oldsmobile.
He was randomly assigned the Wisconsin license plate number 666-KEN.
Hasenmueller said at first he thought it was kind of cool, having tags with his first name. But he said he worries people might think he is a Satanist who had ordered custom plates.
His wife, Jean, added that they're a very strong Christian family.
DMV officials said people who find their plates offensive can turn them
in and get new ones for a small processing fee.
NEVADA INMATES MAKING REAL 'OUTLAW' BIKES
'Big House Choppers' expanding to larger prison facility
Nov. 21: A new Nevada program allows inmates to spend their jail time learning to build custom chopper motorcycles. KRNV-TV's Billy Churchwell reports.
Updated: 4:56 p.m. ET Nov. 21, 2005
Carson City, NV -- If you're looking for an "outlaw" motorcycle, Nevada prison officials have a deal for you: a custom, high-powered chopper that costs $40,000 or more and is built by real outlaws.
The prison system's "Big House Choppers" venture is expanding from a small wooden shed involving a few motorcycle-savvy convicts to a larger prison shop in southern Nevada that will employ as many as 30 inmates.
"We are producing the only true outlaw motorcycles being produced by outlaws in the United States," Howard Skolnik, head of the state's prison industries program, said Monday.
Skolnik boasts that buyers also will receive a certificate that confirms pieces of scrapped prison cell bars went into their bikes -- in the form of 5-inch-long fender supports.
"Little things like that make these bikes look desirable," he said.
Skolnik told a legislative oversight panel that payment of a $15,000 licensing fee to the state Department of Motor Vehicles will clear the way for sale of the custom choppers.
"You know, there's no accounting for bad taste, senator," Skolnik said
to state Sen. Bob Beers, who asked for details on the program and its market
appeal. "People want these bikes. They really do."
WHAT DOES THE VW VAN MEAN TO YOU
Cecelia Goodnow, Reporter
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
This just in: It's the end of the line for classic, air-cooled VW vans.
A staple of the hippie era, the vans will cease production on Friday at the company's plant in Brazil, according to the Associated Press. And so passes another era.
To which we say, "Bummer, man! Now you're getting personal." Because my family has a long history with the hippie-mobile, and maybe yours does, too.
Buying a '73 VW camper van was a great idea back in 1986, when we needed a spacious vehicle for commuting with our 4-year-old daughter. Since then, we've gone through three transmissions and two engines, not to mention spit and baling wire, to keep the trusty tin can running. Just finding parts for the big guy is a challenge. I was ready to give it a hero's sendoff years ago, but my husband refuses to release his white-knuckle grip on the wheel.
"I'm going to be buried in the backyard in that van," he says, brooking no argument. (Hmmm, maybe sooner than you think, I muse.)
But, hey, he loves his van, and I love him -- and the way he flashes a peace sign whenever he passes another VW van driver. Instant rapport.
Yeah, we've got a lot of memories tied up in the old buggy, from camping
trips with our two kids to frigid, early-morning commutes to the ferry,
with a portable heater humming in the back to counteract the leaks in the
floor boards. No more VW vans? Perish the thought. (But don't tell Jack.
If he hears that, he'll never get rid of old faithful.)
BOND SPY CAR SELLS FOR $2.1M AT AUCTION
Associated Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Last updated 1:05 p.m. PT
Phoenix, AZ -- One of the Aston Martin spy cars from the James Bond movies "Thunderball" and "Goldfinger" has been sold for $2.1 million at a vintage cars auction.
The winning bidder for the 1965 Aston Martin DB5 was not identified by RM Auctions officials.
The vehicle was one of four built for 1964's "Goldfinger" and 1965's "Thunderball," as well as promotional tours. The auction car was primarily used for promotion.
Some of the special options on the Aston Martin include replica machine guns, a wheel-mounted tire slasher, a retractable rear bulletproof screen, an oil slick ejector and a smoke screen system.
It was one of several celebrity automobiles offered by Tennessee's Smoky Mountain Car Museum, which has had it on display since the late 1970s.
Also at the auction was Al Capone's 1928 Cadillac Town Sedan, which sold for $621,500, and Hank Williams Jr.'s 1964 "Silver Dollar" Pontiac convertible, which went for $214,500.
Photograph: This promotional picture provided by RM Auctions shows the
1965 Aston Martin DB5 used in "James Bond" movies photographed in Detroit,
MI during Oct. 2005. The Aston Martin spy car, complete with machine guns
and tire slashers -- is on the auction block and could fetch up to $2.5
million at RM Auctions' 7th Annual Vintage Motor Cars Auction Jan. 20 at
the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spain Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/RM Auctions)
ITALIAN FIRM GOES NUCLEAR WITH ATOMIC TOYS; WRONG @#*&ING WAY!
Roland Jones, Business Editor
Updated: 9:02 a.m. ET Feb. 24, 2006
Those of us who enjoy military history usually just switch on the History Channel for our daily fix of guts, gore and armed conflict. But if you're a serious war buff, and you want to relive one of the most horrifying moments in the deadliest war in human history, an Italian toy maker has just the thing.
Brumm recently unveiled miniature models of "Little Boy" and "Fat Man." Those names may conjure up images of cuddly cartoon characters, but they're actually the codenames for two atomic bombs that the U.S. military dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the final days of World War II.
The bombs were detonated above the Japanese cities in August 1945, killing tens of thousands of Japanese civilians, and thousands more would later die as a result of nuclear fallout and from cancer. Just in case the gross insensitivity of their new products went unnoticed, Brumm chose to unveil its mini bombs earlier this month at of all places the Nuremberg toy fair in Germany.
"In everyone's mind eye the words Hiroshima and Nagasaki have always evoked the nuclear tragedy. However very few people know the actual appearance of the bombs that caused this tragedy," notes Brumm in breathless tones on its Web site. "With the faithful scale reproductions of ‘Fat Man' and ‘Little Boy,' we plan to provide a small historical contribution so as not to forget what generated the worst catastrophe of the twentieth century."
Tiny weapons of mass destruction are an unusual departure for a company that to date has focused on miniature models of Ferraris and Fiat Pandas that it fashions from a metal alloy of zinc, copper and aluminum at its factory near Como, Italy. Each bomb costs around $10 and comes mounted on a fetching display inscribed with the location, date and exact time of detonation.
Not surprisingly, Brumm has been roundly condemned for making the atomic
toys. Critics say they are in poor taste, but the criticism, apparently,
is unwarranted. A Brumm spokesman said the company was only trying to do
its bit for world history, protesting "against the insanity of nuclear-war"
according to a report in the U.K.'s Scottish Daily Record. We reckon actually
producing these tasteless model bombs will end up being a fairly insane
Wrong @#*&ing way!
Tired of that sweet, polite voice giving you directions from your car satellite navigation system? You're in luck -- well, if you're in the U.K.
According to The Sun newspaper, a company called Voice Skins is offering impressions of Ozzy Osbourne's voice for download to navigation systems.
You can download a version with swearwords or one with just bleeps. The newspaper reported that the Osbourne voice tells drivers when they've reached their "@#*ing destination." Delightful.
MSNBC.com's John Schoen and Colin Hurlock contributed to this article.
THIEVES MAKE OFF WITH $26,000 OF BEER
Semi trailer loaded with Miller goes missing in Wisconsin
Associated Press and MSNBC.com
Updated: 1:28 p.m. ET Feb. 25, 2006
West Bend, WI -- Authorities are hoping to break up what must be quite the party after beer thieves made off with almost $26,000 worth of suds from a delivery truck.
A semi trailer loaded with cans and bottles of Miller beer was stolen from a trucking company in Richfield, according to a Washington County Sheriff's Department report. The trailer was found four days later -- sans beer -- at an Oak Creek trucking firm.
The trailer had been dropped off at the Millis Transfer Co. sometime on Feb. 17 for delivery to a beer distributor in Menomonie, authorities said. Later that night, the trailer was discovered missing.
Company officials didn't report the loss immediately because they thought a driver must have picked up the wrong load.
The sheriff's department is investigating with Oak Creek authorities and Miller officials, said Sheriff's Capt. Dale Schmidt.
The missing product, valued at $25,788, included:
* 384 24-packs of Miller Genuine Draft cans
* 560 18-packs of MGD 12-ounce bottles
* 980 18-packs of MGD 12-ounce cans
* 40 24-packs of Miller Light 16-ounce plastic bottles
'MCCLOUD' STAR DEAD AT 81
Associated Press and CNN.com
Monday, February 27, 2006
Posted: 8:34 p.m. EST (01:34 GMT)
Los Angeles, CA -- Dennis Weaver, the slow-witted deputy Chester Goode in the TV classic western "Gunsmoke" and the New Mexico deputy solving New York crime in "McCloud," has died. The actor was 81.
Weaver died of complications from cancer Friday at his home in Ridgway, in southwestern Colorado, his publicist Julian Myers said.
Weaver was a struggling actor in Hollywood in 1955, earning $60 a week delivering flowers when he was offered $300 a week for a role in a new CBS television series, "Gunsmoke." By the end of his nine years with "Gunsmoke," he was earning $9,000 a week.
When Weaver first auditioned for the series, he found the character of Chester "inane." He wrote in his 2001 autobiography, "All the World's a Stage," that he said to himself: "With all my Actors Studio training, I'll correct this character by using my own experiences and drawing from myself."
The result was a well-rounded character that appealed to audiences, especially with his drawling, "Mis-ter Dil-lon."
At the end of seven hit seasons, Weaver sought other horizons. He announced his departure, but the failures of pilots for his own series caused him to return to "Gunsmoke" on a limited basis for two more years. The role brought him an Emmy in the 1958-59 season.
In 1966, Weaver starred with a 600-pound black bear in "Gentle Ben," about a family that adopts a bear as a pet. The series was well-received, but after two seasons, CBS decided it needed more adult entertainment and cancelled it.
Next came the character Sam McCloud, which Weaver called "the most satisfying role of my career."
The "McCloud" series, 1970-1977, juxtaposed a no-nonsense lawman from Taos, New Mexico, onto the crime-ridden streets of New York City. His wild-west tactics, such as riding his horse through Manhattan traffic, drove local policemen crazy, but he always solved the case.
He appeared in several movies, including "Touch of Evil," "Ten Wanted Men," "Gentle Giant," "Seven Angry Men," "Dragnet," "Way ... Way Out" and "The Bridges at Toko-Ri."
Weaver also was an activist for protecting the environment and combating world hunger.
He served as president of Love Is Feeding Everyone (LIFE), which fed 150,000 needy people a week in Los Angeles County. He founded the Institute of Ecolonomics, which sought solutions to economic and environmental problems. He spoke at the United Nations and Congress, as well as to college students and school children about fighting pollution and starvation.
"Earthship" was the most visible of Weaver's crusades. He and his wife Gerry built a solar-powered Colorado home out of recycled tires and cans. The thick walls helped keep the inside temperature even year around.
"When the garbage man comes," Jay Leno once quipped, "how does he know where the garbage begins and the house ends?"
Weaver responded: "If we get into the mindset of saving rather than wasting and utilizing other materials, we can save the Earth."
The tall, slender actor came by his Midwestern twang naturally. He was born June 4, 1924, in Joplin, Missouri, where he excelled in high school drama and athletics. After Navy service in World War II, he enrolled at the University of Oklahoma and qualified for the Olympic decathlon.
He studied at the Actors Studio in New York and appeared in "A Streetcar Named Desire" opposite Shelley Winters and toured in "Come Back, Little Sheba" with Shirley Booth.
Universal Studio signed Weaver to a contract in 1952 but found little work for him. He freelanced in features and television until he landed "Gunsmoke."
Weaver appeared in dozens of TV movies, the most notable being the 1971 "Duel." It was a bravura performance for both fledgling director Steven Spielberg and Weaver, who played a driver menaced by a large truck that followed him down a mountain road. The film was released in theaters in 1983, after Spielberg had become director of huge moneymakers.
Weaver's other TV series include "Kentucky Jones," "Emerald Point N.A.S.," "Stone" and "Buck James." From 1973 to 1975, he served as president of the Screen Actors Guild.
Weaver is survived by his wife; sons Rick, Robby and Rusty; and three
'POPE GLASS CREDITED WITH SAVING GI LIVES
Jerry-rigged protection becomes signature in Iraqi battle zone
Spc. Anthony Jorgensen, 24, of Philadelphia mans the turret of a Humvee
called Frankenstein's Monster that has been modified with "Pope Glass"
around the turret. Photograph by Todd Pitman, Associated Press.
Todd Pitman, Associated Press
Updated: 3:53 p.m. ET April 1, 2006
RAMADI, Iraq -- The 21-year-old gunner was standing atop the turret of a Humvee called Frankenstein's Monster when the bomb exploded on the ground beside him, sending a wave of sizzling shrapnel and ball-bearings toward his head.
Knocked down inside his vehicle by the blast, Spc. Richard Sugai regained consciousness minutes later and realized he was lucky to be alive.
His savior: a glass cocoon of 2-inch thick bulletproof windshields he had welded around the top of his turret three days earlier.
Troops mockingly call the modification "Pope Glass" because it brings to mind the ballistic-proof glass box the late Pope John Paul II traveled in after being wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt.
The jerry-rigged protection has become a signature on the turrets of Humvees across the main U.S. base in insurgent-plagued Ramadi, where troops are adding ever-more armor to protect against snipers, small-arms fire and roadside bombs.
"I would have been gone if that glass hadn't been there," Sugai said.
"I probably wouldn't have a head."
Pioneers in armor
The Vermont National Guard's Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 172nd Armor, became the first to start using the so-called Pope Glass after one of its support soldiers, 40-year-old Spc. Scott Betit, added on his own with a colleague's help after his initial run through Ramadi in late July.
"It was really uncomfortable keeping myself above the turret that first time. I felt exposed," said Betit, of Whitecreek, N.Y., while standing beside his Pope Glass-fitted Humvee, the gun-shield of which is painted with a red-scarfed Snoopy manning a machine-gun.
"When I put the glass on, everybody was like, what the hell is this guy doing? But then they started asking for it."
It soon spread throughout Alpha Company and other units.
The added glass -- fashioned out of three Humvee front windshields welded above the armored-steel ring around the sides of the gunner's turret—are roughly 18 inches high.
Alpha Company commanders say the glass has spared seven gunners from either death or severe head trauma over the last six months.
Concerned about the constant threat of insurgent attack, extra armor
is being added on everything that moves off base, including tanks, trucks,
and tracked medical vehicles.
Reversing a trend
It's a far cry from the days of the 1991 Gulf War, when U.S. troops actually stripped down already unarmored Humvees, removing glass from side doors to avoid glare that could reflect miles across deserts, said Capt. Duby Thompson, Alpha company's 40-year-old executive officer.
Such thin vehicles are almost never used off-base now, derided among troops as "hillbilly armor."
Today it's all about "up-armor"—adding on more. The Army has shipped thousands of M-1114 Humvees to Iraq with specially armored doors and bellies and ballistic-proof glass.
Though gunner turrets on these vehicles already are surrounded by a flank of armored steel, some soldiers feel their back and sides are exposed.
"Everybody going outside the wire should have it," said Thompson, of
Danville, Vt. "I love the stuff. It saves guys' lives."
Sugai survived the bomb blast one morning in October.
As his colleagues were inspecting the site of a previous blast, he was pulling guard duty, with his fingers on a 240 Bravo machine gun.
The bomb, believed made of artillery shells strapped to a propane tank, exploded a few feet away, and the shock wave hurled Sugai from side to side, slumping him down inside the Humvee.
Minutes later, he awoke, patting his body parts to make sure they were still there.
He suffered only a damaged eardrum, several minor scratches and a tiny pebble lodged in his eyebrow.
Shrapnel completely shattered one of the Pope Glass panes.
The ballistic glass was replaced, but the Humvee's rear back side is still peppered with two dozen shrapnel impacts.
Capt. Robert Beaudry, 37, of Milton, Va., said Pope Glass had been added
to nearly 100 Army Humvees in Ramadi.
Drawbacks of ‘Pope Glass'
Motorpool mechanics have cannibalized existing stocks and added them to Humvees at request.
"It's all based on what we have available here. The Army is talking about fielding a similar kit in six months, but that probably won't get here for a year. It doesn't help us now," Milton said.
Some gunners have added wooden boards atop the glass to protect against rain. Others have spray-painted the glass black in some parts, so their heads aren't silhouetted.
Not all gunners like them.
The three ballistic panes together add 400 pounds onto vehicles that already weigh nearly 10,000 pounds.
That can make a Humvee harder to drive and more liable to roll over.
It hasn't been cheap, either. Each pane costs about $2,500.
Someday, gunners may not have to expose themselves above their vehicle at all.
This week, Sugai went on a patrol west of Ramadi in a so-called CROW -- a Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station.
From the back seat, he manned an MK-19 40mm grenade launcher mounted above, operating it via a joystick.
Trash-strewn streets appeared on a color screen in front of him. A camera is attached to the gun, which spun around at his command.
"It's definitely safer inside here, but I'll sit in either one," Sugai
said, comparing the CROW to his Pope Glassed Humvee. "They're both safer
than what we used to have."
October 2005: What's new?
Good news! Black Flame have start re-printing the old Dark Future novels, and in addition, have a couple of new ones coming as well. Golgotha Run is out now and American Meat is coming in December. These are available from all good book shops or online stores like Amazon, so what are you waiting for?
Black Flame Books
Still no word from the Games Workshops legal department, so maybe they don't mind after all?
-- Francis Greeanway, Future Highways Webmaster
GENERIC FORMULA CARS BY CAFE GAMES
Cafe Games Limited is pleased to announce two sets of Formula cars perfect for use with racing games like Formula De, Speed Circuit, Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix, etc. These exquisitely sculpted race cars are cast in pewter, and are ready to paint.
CGL1960: Vintage Formula Cars of the 1960s
Price: $9.95 U.S.
Vintage "Cigar Cars" of the 1960s. This set contains 5 each of 2 different cars. A V-8 Formula car and a V-12 Formula car. Cast in pewter, these cars look great when painted.
CGL1970: Classic Formula Cars of the 1970s
Price: $9.95 U.S.
One each of these 10 Different classic open wheel racers from the 1970s that were the vanguard of today's modern Formula Car. This set contains 10 different cars, including look-alikes of: Brabham, Lotus, Ligier, Tyrrel'73, Tyrrel 6-wheeler, BRM 160, Ferrari '75, Ferrari '79, Penske and McLaren. Cast in pewter, these cars look great when painted.
FORMULA DE PLAYING PIECES BY SLEEPY HOLLOW MODELS
Formula De Playing Pieces are in high quality white metal! SHM has tooled these pieces especially for the Formula De games!! These pieces have good detail and look like the real cars! Now you can stay up all weekend and have real endurance racing with European sports cars, American sports cars or North American stock cars on your Formula De tracks!
Sportscars GT Cars: Pre-Painted and Unpainted
Sold in sets of 10 cars, $8.50 per set. Cars are picked by you.
Historic Stock Racing Cars: Unpainted
5 x Daytona High Wing Stock Cars
5 x 1960-70s Stock Racing Cars
Sold in sets of 10 cars, $8.50 per set.
Modern Stock Racing: Unpainted
10 x Modern North American Stock Cars
Sold in sets of 10 cars, $8.50 per set.
(Editor's Note: Sleepy Hollow Models also occasionally sells 10-car
packs of Mini Cooper miniatures for Formula De on eBay. )
SECOND CITY MINIATURES
Badlands 25mm Car Wars/Mad Max Miniatures
Cars are resin. Some with metal and resin fixtures, most have cast stowage - £4.50 each unless stated
BC1 60's hot rod, fuel cans, front railroad sleeper bumper
BC2 E type Jaguar with lascannon
BC3 ZZ Top Eliminator
BC4 Pick Up Truck, sand bag extra armour standard wheels
BC4a Pick up Truck with large 'Big Foot' wheels
BC5 Closed Top sports car with twin machine guns
BC6 Station Wagon open back
BC7 Corvette mg on bonnet, sand bags rear protection
BC8 Dune Buggy
BC10 Mack Rig sand bag extra protection £9.50
BC11 Tanker Trailer for Mack Rig, ladder, sand bags, emplacement £12.50
BC11a Fortified Flat Bed Trailer for Mack, mg turret, sandbags etc £9.50
BC11b Trailer flat bed for Mack Rig plain for conversions £6.50
BC12 Stretch Limo sandbag extra protection
BC13 Hot Pursuit Car with spare wheel
BC14 Security Van
BC15 Dodge type rig, spare wheels, sand bagged etc £6.50
BC15a Trailer for Dodge rig, spare wheels, mg turrets £6.50
BC16 Transit Type Van, dozer blade
BC16a Transit Van, dozer blade and bigfoot wheels
BC17 Morgan Racing Car, rear facing mg's
BC18 Formulae One car with mg's
BC19 Rough Terrain pick up, enclosed rear, spare tyres
BC21 Toyota sports car, crash bumpers, grilled windows
BC22 Ice Cream Van armoured doors
BC23 Snow Cat tracked vehicle extra fuel tanks
BC24 London Taxi
BC25 Pick Up Truck with arms cache in back
BC26 Op's car, mg on bonnet and two forward firing rockets
BIKES 25mm - £3.50 each
BB1 Road Bike and rider
BB2 Bitsa bike, large front gun, rider and passenger
BB3 3 wheeler trike and rider
BB4 Bike with sidecar, chain gun, rider and passenger
BS1 Taxi Café £4.50
4Games: Game Reviews
In-car carnage. "It's a Shockwave driving combat game -- full 3D, with explosions, ejecting cartidges, machine guns, exploding barrels, and rockets", reports Jim, "The aim being to hurl all the computer cars to their deaths from a great height". And that's where the "Sumo" element comes in -- the shooting and explosions are all a lot of fun, but pushing cars off the cliffs is the quickest way to victory.
And, fortunately, all of the four arenas have plenty of sudden drops for that very purpose (is it just us, or is the "Desert" level the trickiest to spot where the edges are?). "Cars are upgradable and you can save your progress for later", Jim continues -- he reckons it "needs a 3D card and a half-decent PC", though even then you're never going to mistake the graphics for Grand Theft Auto.
Controls: Arrow keys (or W, A, S, D) to steer, accelerate or brake, mouse to aim, mouse button to fire, Shift to launch rocket, Space for handbrake (when you're approaching a cliff slightly too quickly).
Tips: The computer cars aren't too smart and will often drive off the
edges on their own, but the explosions of a rocket, oil barrel or dying
car will often help them on their way.
Road Rage Forum
New GAME! Coming soon "CARNAGE"
Sun Dec 14, 2003 04:51
Just thought I'd drop into the site to drop a blatant plug for "Carnage",
the game of asphalt warriors in modern day Britain. It will be available
from Amazon Miniatures. Web addresses for the current discussion group
and the rather limited Web site are listed below.
Yahoo! Groups: Carnage
You win you get glory, but more importantly a lot of money! This will buy you fresh upgrades and your driver learns new skills (such as "Lantern Jawed Hero" or "Schumacher's Hands").
If this takes off (as it undoubtably will), I plan to host a Grand Prix-style tourney with cash prizes. (I also plan to stop smoking and fix my garage up as a wargames room. Does it ever happen?) But I'm optimistic for once.
Check this out and together we shall make it the new DBA/Magic the Gathering.
It will make Pokemon look like a niche market!
2005 Independent Games Festival Competition Entrants
Developer: FlashPoint Games (Brownsburg, IN, United States)
Dev. Time:12 months
Description: Demolition is the most over-the-top car combat/demolition
game ever, featuring optional weapons, widely varied cars, game-play integrated
bullet-time, and high-tech eXtreme level designs that will have you ramping
between skyscraper rooftops and dealing with multi-directional gravity
zones. Not to mention the unique, innovative game modes.
Wizards of the Coast
New rules designed for running a d20 Modern campaign in a postapocalyptic setting.
This new rules supplement provides everything players and Gamemasters need to participate in adventures in a post-apocalyptic setting, including rules and designs for apocalyptic events, such as nuclear war, environmental disaster, alien invasion, or Armageddon. The book provides new rules for barter, scavenging, equipment, mutations and robots. Three ready-to-play campaign models are included.
Item Code 880460000
Release Date June 2005
Format Trade Paperback
Page Count 96
Price $19.95 U.S., $28.95 CAN
d20 Apocalypse Art Gallery
Wizards of the Coast
Noble Knight Games
Our Price: $15.95
Retail Price: $19.95
FORMULA DE EXPANSION TRACKS 34 AND 35: SHANGHAI AND BAHRAIN
EGD2817 FD15: Shanghai (China) and Sakhir Racing Circuit (Bahrain)
Price: $22.95 U.S.
Full Auto Official Web Site
Full Auto for the Xbox 360 preview
19 May 2005
Sega and Pseudo Interactive have teamed up to make a new Xbox 360 combat racing game called Full Auto. Two races are available in a playable demo being shown on the floor at E3 2005, so we made a beeline for Sega's booth to give it a shot.
Cars with guns bolted onto them -- the concept is a classic, and it works nicely here. The A button fires your machine gun, and the B button launches rockets. The analog triggers are used for your gas and brake, and the Xbox 360's shoulder buttons are used for turbo boosts and to "unwreck". Hitting the unwreck button causes time to rewind, which is really handy if you launch off a jump incorrectly or smash directly into a wall. Your ability to rewind time is limited, but you'll earn more boost and unwreck time by driving crazy and shooting up other cars and buildings. Your car also has four sections of armour, one on each side. As you crash and get shot up, that armour gets depleted. If you take too much damage, your car explodes, but you're quickly reset on the track to continue racing. The two races shown here at E3 put you up against seven opponents. You'll face off against sports cars, SUVs, and plenty of other car types as you race.
The overall feel of the racing is fast and loose, and the game gives off a "Burnout with guns" kind of vibe. The steering is fairly wild, and the ability to brake and hand-brake makes the game extremely powerslide-friendly.
Full Auto also looks pretty sweet. Though it seems like it's fairly early in development, the game performs well. Explosions pop off the screen, the buildings and environments are nicely detailed, and the cars and other destructible objects blast apart very well as you pump machine-gun rounds into them.
Overall, Full Auto is a pretty impressive game. The demo being shown
at E3 plays well and has some sharp graphics to back up that gameplay.
The unwreck mechanic and combat-filled racing mesh well to form what could
be one of the games to watch when the Xbox 360 is released later this year.
GOLIATH: WHAT THE APOCALYPSE COULDN'T KILL, GOLIATH WILL
Goliath is a team-based vehicle action game. The player takes on the role of one of 16 human or AI controlled vehicles known as the Road Warriors defending a world under siege from an enormous and seemingly indestructible tank known as the Goliath. The player has a choice between multiple vehicle types, ranging from agile dune buggies to heavily armoured trucks, and multiple weapons.
The Goliath Game Demo includes:
* The single player and multiplayer demo level
* 16 player LAN multiplayer
* 3 featured vehicles
* 3 featured weapons
Suggested minimum spec:
* Microsoft Windows 2000/XP
* Microsoft DirectX 9b
* 2.8 Ghz processor
* 512 MB RAM
* DirectX 9 compatible videocard with 128MB RAM (ATI Radeon 9600 or nVIDIA Geforce FX5700 or better recommended)
* 100% DirectX 9 sound card
* 100Mbps network card (required for multiplayer only)
* 180MB hard disk space (required)
HARD TRUCK: APOCALYPTIC WARS
Release Date: 2005
Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars -- a third person action-driving game.
The plot puts you in a post-apocalyptic world.
You enter the reality of the year 223 since The Great Cataclysm. The world we knew was erased as the result of a mysterious accident. In less than one hour the most part of the world population disappeared. Those who survived try to adapt to new conditions. There are new cities and settlements with trading alliances and mobsters. The vital transport hubs are controlled by gangsters and pillagers. Hence, armored heavy truck drivers have become the only resisting force against the "shadow" elements.
You are to drive through dangerous regions of the new Earth with its mysterious places and hostile habitants. Your ultimate goal is to reveal the guarded secrets of the lost civilization. Your heavy truck is the only hope. You will need it to travel, earn your lining and fight your way through the perilous areas. It's crucial that you continuously upgrade your truck. Your ability to equip smartly your "iron buddy" will make or break the success of your journey. So, go to towns and villages, trade with them, help them and you are sure to raise the cash required for powerful weapon and new gadgets.
The action and the RPG elements are closely intertwined to create a stunning game experience: the action part embraces the driving, chilling combats with the use of wide range of destructive weapons; the RPG part allows you equipping your truck to flee your enemies from battlefield.
Unveil the fate of the mankind. Joining with powerful allies come over
the resistance of deadly enemies.
* Modify and upgrade five basic truck models to turn them in the mighty
* Test more than 30 types of weapon to find the ones that will instill awe in your enemies.
* Defeat numerous enemies such as battle trucks, war transports, robots, infantry, 4 big and 12 small bosses.
* Accomplish random challenges which will appear on your way.
* Submerge into realistic driving and combat physics to learn what it takes to handle battle machine.
* Experience stunning 3D graphics enriched with spectacular vehicle damage and weapon effects.
* Develop your trading skills using your truck as the mean of destruction and transportation.
OS Windows 98/Windows ME/Windows 2000/Windows XP
Processor Pentium IV 2 GHz
Memory 512 MB RAM
Video nVidia GeForce 3 / ATI Radeon 8500
Free Space 2 GB
Sound DirectX 9.0c compatible
HOTTEST RACE IN THE WORLD
Malaysian F1 track launches race game
Posted 2005-04-04 20:09:52 by damonwhite
An Anonymous Reader Reports: Sepang International Circuit (SIC), home of the Malaysian Grand Prix, launched the "Hottest Race In The World" board game in conjunction with the recent F1 race in March.
Designed by Edwin Wong, the country's first game designer, the game has taken the country by storm. Used as the official promotional tool of SIC to "bring motorsports to the man on the street", it will also be used to draw the world to the 2006 Malaysian Grand Prix.
In an unprecedented move, the game, while being sold as an officlal F1 track merchandize, is also available absolutely free -- courtesy of the national press, New Straits Times, who published the complete game in full color over 6 issues, and can also be downloaded from its main sponsor's site.
Hottest Race in the World Board Game
PanGlobal Insurance and Sepang International Circuit
Gamers can also download additional tracks from this Web site as a year
long competition is being held in conjunction with the 2005 F1 season.
Re: Board Games: Malaysian F1 track launches race game
by emodels on Apr 05, 2005, 04:35 AM
This game was actually released in 1999 by the same designer under the label ShaunEquest (Malaysia) in conjunction with the 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix. There was a two page article in 1999 by Malaysian press, The Star on this intiative.
Since then, it has been fine-tuned and revised based on the many feedback from players, many of whom (including yours truly) were F1 fans who saw the first Malaysian Grand Prix.
This year, another Malaysian press, New Straits Times ran a full page review of this game a month ago and in their fortnightly "test drive" sessions, gamesters (game review group) rated the game a high 4 of 5, on par with many popular designer board games such as Cosmic Encounter, etc.
New Straits Times
Most notable about this outstanding effort is that the designer is in fact the CEO of the country's leading lifestyle insurance company! Its quite a hip-and-happening company, having twice been voted into the Top5 insurers in Asia. How hip? Check out its sister site, the top indie artists music portal, musiccanteen on which The Star carried a two-page article in today's issue, In-Tech section.
Do download the free game! Its a blast to play, though the rules could
do with some illustrations and examples.
Latest Pilot and TV Updates
Posted Friday, January 13th, 2006, 10:19pm
Various pilots have just been greenlit by the networks. Amongst them:
"Jericho" (CBS): To be executive produced and directed by Jon Turteltaub.
This high-concept soap follows a small town in Kansas that's dealing with
life after a series of nuclear attacks destroys most of America's big cities.
Junkyard Races is a game from John Yianni, the creator of Hive, in which you race around a junkyard trying to gain bottle tops. Watch out for your opponents as they can modify their carts just like you to include a mad array of stuff that they've found in the junkyard, like jet engines, gladiator wheel rims, chainsaws or even a mallet wielding robotic hand. All this in the wackiest scrap racing game ever.
$43.95 U.S. + Shipping
£30.00 + Shipping
MEXICAN MOTOR MAFIA
Drive Around and Blow Stuff Up
Mexican Motor Mafia is a fun spirited Western where you get to blow the ever loving stuff out of just about everything. It's not a traditional Western in that the character's drive around in muscle cars rather than ride horses. But this is cool because cars explode.
Mexican Motor Mafia is shareware. Download and play the first chapter before you buy it! The price is $16.99 U.S., and is subject to change.
* 600 mhz Pentium 3 or higher
* 96 megs of RAM
* Geforce class graphics card or higher with 32 megs of video ram.
* Microsoft DirectX 9.0c or higher
* 1.0 Ghz Pentium 4
* 128 megs of ram
* Geforce2 or above graphics card
* Windows XP
Please try the demonstration version first in case of compatibility
MIDWAY ARCADE TREASURES
Midway Arcade Treasures 3, featuring eight classic arcade auto racing games, includes Badlands, a fast-paced, battle-intensive racing game between armed cars set in the dangerous ruins of a post nuclear war zone. Battle your way through 4 laps on 8 different extremely hazardous tracks. Shoot playfield targets to earn extra points and bonus missiles. Upgrade your cars with loads of extras including missiles, tires, turbo, speed and shields.
Platforms: Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft XBox, Nintendo GameCube
Price: $15.00 U.S. - $20.00 U.S.
RACER KNIGHTS OF FALCONUS
Racer Knights of Falconus Official Web Site
Arthaus Publishing and White Wolf Publishing
Speed and Valor Bring Victory
Enter the arena to race for glory! Choose your Racer Knight from the five species attending Falconus Academy -- choose an elegant alfar, a mad gremlin, a brutish ogre, a human wizard, or a cunning serpid. Build your racer from a wide variety of engines, weapons, and more. Seize the win by completing the race first, or pummel your competitors so you're the last Racer Knight on the track. And the crowd goes wild!
A constructible card game from Arthaus Publishing
* Includes a variety of plastic cardstock components from which to build your Racer -- including engines, tires, weapons, armor, and more.
* Each pack includes enough pieces for one complete Racer, a rules sheet, and two dice -- everything to start playing and building.
* Plays with 2 or more players in 15-30 minutes (one Racer per player needed to play)
* Collect and trade to gain access to all the Knights and Racer parts available -- build Racers with elements from all five species and seek out rare elite Knights, weapons, and more!
* Speed and maneuverability are matched with resilience and weaponry -- no strategy has an insurmountable edge.
* Suitable for ages 10 and up
Card Games: White Wolf to enter the CSG market with "Racer Knights Of
Posted 2005-06-07 23:01:35 by damonwhite
Damon White Reports: We have learned that White Wolf is set to enter the Constructible Strategy Game (CSG) market under their Arthaus Publishing division. Looking to go head to head against WizKids later this year with racing goodness. Check out the details:
"Speed and valor bring victory! Enter the arena to race for glory! Choose your Racer Knight from the fivespecies attending Falconus Academy an elegant alfar, a mad gremlin, a brutish ogre, a human wizard, or a cunning serpid. Build your racer from a wide variety of engines, weapons, and more. Seize the win by completing the race first, or pummel your competitors so you're the last Racer Knight on the track. This constructible card game from Arthaus Publishing is introduced in packs containing a variety of plastic cardstock components from which to build your Racer including engines, tires, weapons, armor, and more plus a rules sheet and two dice.
Racer Knights Of Falconus CSG
To Retail for: $2.99 a pack
RACING GEARS ADVANCE
Official Racing Gears Advance Web Site
c|net Reviews: Racing Gears Advance
Platform: GameBoy Advance
Price: $29.99 U.S.
ROAD WARRIOR MOD FOR GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS
GTAForums.com / GTA Modding / Mod Showroom / Miscellaneous
AUTODUELIN' ON I-64 YAHOO! GROUP
Autoduelin' on I-64 is a group concerned with miniatures road wars games utilizing plentiful 1/64 scale Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Maisto, and other countless brands.
Also of subject matter is the conversion of these vehicles into suitable road wars conveyances. Topics and tips on conversion, arming, armoring, building terrain, and the tools in use are all included and appreciated. Articles, files, and photos showing examples will be posted as time goes on.
Rules in use include all genre rules and many home rules centered around the squealin' tires and shootin' fires. Some rules are: IIM's forthcoming rules, Road Rage V8 by C. Johnston, Axles & Alloys by O. Cooper, Car Wars by SJ Games, and many others.
Scenario ideas, rules variants, convention notices, and fan fiction are also highly appreciated. It is our hope that this Yahoo! Group can become a helpful clearinghouse of information for all persons interested in the genre now and in the future.
Finally, this Yahoo! Group will be the new home of the Skunkyard Challenges
GLENN LOOS-AUSTIN'S JUNK CHEST
Gaming: Scott Haring and Car Wars
Friday, July 08, 2005
DARK FUTURE YAHOO! GROUP
Battlecars: An absolute classic from the golden oldie days of Games
Workshop. Road rage at its finest. I like this game so much I remade it
at Matchbox car scale! The following reference sheets combine the car/bike
sheets with their appropriate driver sheet plus modifications specific
to that car/bike. Read my full review.Rules Summary and Reference (PDF
Wreckage: All the fun of tabletop post-apocalyptic car combat, complete with rocket launchers. The game comes with car counters, but is really designed for use with matchbox-scale cars for best enjoyment.
HERO SYSTEM CHARACTER ARCHIVE
Vehicle Adaptations: Damnation Alley Armored Car
LIBRARY OF ROGVILER
Road Rage Variants
MAD MAX ONLINE: HOME OF THE ORIGINAL MAD MAX MOVIE
THE MOVIE CAR COMPANY
MegaForce Mark IV
ROAD RAGE FORUM
THRILL KILL CAFE: AN UNOFFICIAL WRECKAGE WEB SITE
MID-SOUTH AUTODUELISTS AND HANDGUNNERS ATTACK TEAM (MADHAT)
Play-by-Internet Game Podcasts
NEW OMAHA VEHICULAR ASSOCIATION
Arena Watch: New Entries
* Wichita Speedway, Flashfire Circuit
* Oshkosh Aero Arena, L'Outrance Circuit
* Los Disneys Dueltrack, Dixie Duel Circuit
* Los Disneys Arena, Dixie Duel Circuit.
* Kansas Speedway, Flashfire Circuit.
* Atlantis Arena, Royal Crown Circuit.
Supplements: New Files
* Back Country Bob's 2053 Off-Road Catalog
Supplements: Updated Files
* Hot Rod Industries Catalog
* Metropolitian Motors
ROYAL AUTOMOBILE AND AUTODUELING CLUB (RAAC)