For a while now I’ve had a few homemade ruined 40k buildings to litter the battle field, mostly designed to either block line of sight, or to give a vertical aspect of the game. Both of which were needed during the recent campaign of death that my Astra Militarum boys faced against the Orks.
The buildings fit perfectly into the apocalyptic battlefield but they do bring large swathes of greyness to the table. That combined with the fact two of my armies are grey (Necrons and Grey Knights), I decided to add a bit of colour with some tiny war propaganda posters.
This is the problem I faced:
However a quick Google search for “40K propaganda posters”, and variants thereof, combined with a few minutes in Photoshop I came up with a printed sheet of tiny pro-war pictures. Please note I don’t take credit for these images, they’re 99% the work of others.
I had several sheets of full A4 labels, so I printed on them and then hit the sheets with a blast of sealant. After it was dried I applied them individual to the buildings and covered the corners with a few dabs of superglue. To get a bit of roughness and to hopefully help age the images, I hacked at them for a bit with the back of my knife.
This ‘roughing up’ worked well as I then splashed some washes on the images and it got into the new crevasses and generally weathered the pictures.
Now my ruins have a bit of war-torn colour added to them. Not bad for an evenings work in front of the box too.
I’m sure many people reading this know that the ancient Mayan civilisation predicted the world was going to end on the 21st of December 2012. Thankfully those ancient Maya must have their calculations wrong ‘cos the world didn’t end!
Ha, in your face ancient civilisation.
Strangely enough though, even the Maya didn’t think the world was going to end on the 21st. Yet we as a ‘more intelligent’ civilisation, interpreting their calendar, we thought they thought they did.
Ha, in your face modern civilisation!
In case you have no idea what I’m talking about…
The Mayan ‘apocalypse’
The Maya people lived from around 2,500BC to 900AD, at which point their empire collapsed. The Maya had a calendar very similar to ours, grouping their calendar into the equivalent of days, months and years. Their calendar also had an extra metric of time, a block of 5,125 years, called the ‘long count’. The current block of 5,125 years, ran out of days on the 21st of December.
The Maya however believed that after the 21st, a new era simply starts. The calendar resets. Much in the same way we’ll celebrate the 31st of December as the end of one era and the beginning of another. I’ve never heard people discuss the apocalypse or end-of-days before breaking out with Auld Lang Syne.
In fact, this ‘doomsday’ marks the end of the 13th era. So as a world, we’ve survived 13 doomsday’s already. Go us!
Yet even without the creators believing it, the modern world has been whipped up in a media frenzy about doomsday.
Faith, the Mayan and the media
Many religions mention an end-of-days, or apocalyptic time. Whether that be to mark the start of a new era, or to rapture people to their god is irrelevant to this article. I don’t have a problem with people having faith in a system that predicts the end of the world. People shouldn’t however, believe the world is going to end and then go look for a religion that fits it. Or worse, read the world’s going to end and then just accept it.
If you genuinely believe the world is going to end, you must have come to understand it from some point or another. You’ve also done more than understand it to, you’ve adopted that theory into your worldly beliefs. The source of your information is what your belief is based on.
As an example, I believe the rapture is possible in my lifetime. I believe it because the Bible talks about it. Jesus talks about it. My faith is in those things, not the rapture itself.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that 99% of people who have heard of the Mayan date of the apocalypse did so through the recent flurry of media stories. A further 99% of those people, didn’t go to any museums or libraries to learn about it further. The majority of these people probably didn’t know the Maya existed until they read articles about the coming end of the world.
People have based all of their understandings from mainly one source, most likely one medium too. They essentially created a belief system off of the understanding the world was coming to an end. Ouch.
It’s easy to sit there and think people who believed this ‘event’ are gullible or less mature, yet as you’ll see below, people have now destroyed their lives based on this.
The media is an insanely powerful tool in any society.
No wonder James Bond tried to save us all from a media tycoon in Tomorrow Never Dies.
Yes I’ve coined a new term. There’s probably already a term for it, but I like this new one. So I’m running with it.
Below is a few stories and pictures found online showing how the Mayan doomsday event has changed people’s worlds.
French village of Bugarach closes borders
The police have had to stop an influx of people entering the village of Bugarach in France after some connection between the Mayan ‘prophecy’, the Bugarach mountain and UFO has come about. Apparently when the cataclysmic end of the world occurs, aliens will leave from this mountain and take some people with them. I actually don’t know how to even process this. Why would a south American civilisation pick a mountain in France for their escape route? Where has the idea of aliens being involved come from? All rather strange.
Bob around the world in safety
A Chinese farmer took the survival of the Mayan doomsday into his own hands, spending about $350k to build seven floating “survival pods”, or “ping-pong balls” as he refers to them as. Liu Qiyuan has spent 2-3 years building these guys, so he was well aware of the Mayan date before the media jumped on board. Gotta’ give him credit for that foresight.
Sadly I have no idea how many of the 84 seats he managed to sell, but hopefully all of them at $4.1k or greater, otherwise he’s going to have some serious explaining to do to the banks.
Made of a mix of fibreglass and steel, and holding 14 people each, I’m not entirely sure what the plan was. Ride out the 3000 foot wave he had built them to withstand (???) and then casually bob around until they found land?
Man builds ark of safety
If bobbing around aimlessly in the ocean isn’t your thing, then perhaps a nifty little boat would be better. Some guy has spent his life savings, some £100,000 to build an ark to literally ride the wave of chaos that we should have experienced.
Inspired by the 2009 film about this special date in December, starring John Cusack, many people have linked ideas from the film with everyday reality. I’m no expert in naval technologies, but my money would be on this boat not surviving any apocalyptic wave.
Panic buying in Russia
With pending doom around the corner, shops in Russia have been hit by panic buying survivalist. Demand for products have gone through the roof for candles, fuel, matches, torches, drinks flasks and tinned food. Needless to say I don’t think any amount of candles is going to stave off meteors or tsunamis, but you can never be too ready for the apocalypse (I have to say that, you never know when the zombies will rise!)
Surviving – what’s the point?
If tomorrow some archaeologists dug up ancient proof that the world was going to end soon, later to be conclusively agreed upon by dozens of experts in various fields and nations, why prepare to survive it?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all up surviving the fall of society due to war, zombies or man-made scenarios. What I’m not entirely clear on, is why people would try to survive a scenario put in place by a god, ancient or otherwise.
If this hypothetical dug-up proof talks of worldly destruction, decided upon by a god(s), how is buying candles and fuel useful? Will billions of other people die because they didn’t have enough tinned food? Unless the doomsday event specifically addresses that all logistics will fail around the globe, it’s unlikely to help.
By definition, “doomsday” means “The last day of the world’s existence”. So being ready for it with physical products isn’t going to be much good.
On the other hand, if the people are panic buying products because they predict a collapse of society, due to the reaction of others to a non-existing doomsday scenario, that’s another situation all together. Society collapsed for large parts of the state of Louisiana in 2005 when we saw Hurricane Katrina tear through it, causing looting and desperate mobs taking to streets after the disaster. Nothing drives the need of survival more than the fear, whether real or implied, that society is going to be destroyed around them.
I think if this hypothetical proof were ever dug-up, societies all around the world would tear themselves apart in terror…
Ironically producing some sort of horrific situation that borders on the apocalypse.
Merry Christmas 😛
A couple of sources if you wanna read around the subject:
If you like’d this rather long post, I’d really appreciate a share or like. You may think otherwise, but a lot of work was put into this. Getting people’s feedback would be lush and make it all more rewarding. You’re a star cos I know you’ve already liked it on Facebook…
Battle Los Angeles starts us off in the thick of the action with explosions, confusion, dirt, shock and sporadic gunfire. We see the chaos of unplanned combat. While we’re still trying to get a grounding on what’s happening, we jump back 20 hours to before the invasion begins.
Hardly a great way to start a film, using cheap director’s tricks that many viewers find disconcerting. Time doesn’t flow backwards in normal life, it pans out in a linear chronological order. We like that order.
Saying that, I think the director (Jonathan Liebesman) can be excused partially; Battle Los Angeles was never going to be a film where the plot was anything but obvious. The technique also works to highlight how quickly the chaos has ensued.
Of course, opening with a bang also engages us quickly before we jump back to more of a serene time.
Battle Los Angeles – Back to the beginning…
Once we’ve jumped back 20 hours, we get the action-film’s equivalent of character development. We’re introduced to Staff Sergeant Michael Nants (Aaron Eckhart) who’s just had his retirement reluctantly approved by a superior officer and close friend. SSgt Nants wants out for personal reasons, and his minds made up.
Unfortunately before he manages to enjoy a few cold beers on his porch, the shores of Los Angeles start getting hammered by dozens of small meteorites. With some lovely visual effects too. Sadly we quickly learn this isn’t a meteorite shower at all, or even confined to LA. This is an invasion.
Back into uniform and reassigned to a new platoon, SSgt Nants and his team are flown to Santa Monica Airport where they are to begin their mission. We’re now introduced to the rest of his unit, including one of my favourite female-action protagonists Michelle Rodriguez.
Not only under gunfire, but also under a tight time-scale, the marines must fight deep within the invaded area to rescue trapped civilians. The White House has approved and initialised a fire-bombing protocol, to stop further invasion of LA. Time to target: 3 hours. Fire-bombing of urban areas; somewhat of a de facto response from governments in apocalypse films (28 Weeks Later anyone?).
Battle Los Angeles Critique
Needless to say that after the action begins, it doesn’t stop exploding, shooting or running for a good 2 hours. The special effects were very good and the scenes were similar to Cloverfield in the way you don’t actually see the aliens but know they’re only a street away.
One point of critique that this film suffers from severely is the use of action/military clichés. The entire film experience would have been better without these rather cringing moments, but perhaps Liebesman left them in to portray a lighter atmosphere among the chaos and scenes of destruction. He wasn’t shooting for an 18 certificate after all.
Before I make my next tiny critique, I’ll admit I have no military experience, only common sense and lots of hours experiencing military based media (movies, games, books etc). That said, the highly skilled marines make some very strange tactical decisions in this film. Moving from cover, giving their position away and walking down the centre of war-torn roads etc. Yes I agree it’s an entertainment film and not a factually correct manual for special forces, but it felt like it undermined the actors portrayal somewhat. Also as a counterargument to my criticism the film was about aliens invading Earth… so perhaps normal combat tactics can be ignored in these circumstances
Eckhart & Rodriguez
Most people are likely to recognise Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent from The Dark Knight, where he put in a really good performance as both of his characters. As SSgt Nants, he doesn’t let us down either. Nants is without a doubt the strongest and biggest presence on our screens for the whole movie. Throughout the film he excellently portrays a retiring forces Sergeant, as well as his motives and emotions. Very believable work Mr Eckhart, well done.
Michelle Rodriguez is one of my favourite female actors, fitting the tough-chick boots very well and appearing in such explosive films as Resident Evil, SWAT and Avatar. Her background of playing other military character’s must have boosted her performance here. Unfortunately the butt of many cliché moments in BLA, she still manages to put in a solid performance.
Battle Los Angeles – The crunch conclusion…
I originally saw Battle Los Angeles at the cinema and it definitely warrants a large screen with a loud sound system. A friend of mine perfectly described this film as the result of blending Independence Day and Black Hawk Down together into one 2 hour action film.
Is it worth watching?
Yeah I’d say so. If you’ve got a good movie set up at home I think you’d appreciate this film more than those who don’t. For the visuals and action scenes it’s probably worth grabbing on Blu-ray too.
I’m giving this film 80%,only being let down by cliché and overdone apocalypse action scenes.