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    eFX Collectibles' Black Panther and Suicide Squad Prop Replicas

    We get up close with the beautiful helmet and prop replicas made by eFX collectibles at Comic-Con. Chatting with eFX founder Bryan Ono, we learn about how they're fabricating the Black Panther helm from Captain America: Civil War, and the process of replicating Harley Quinn's weapons from suicide squad.

    Jurassic Park Prop Replicas at Comic-Con 2016

    We check in with the team at Chronicle Collectibles to see their latest Jurassic Park statues, marquettes, and replica props. We learn about the sourcing of the reference assets from production archives and private collections, and what fans can expect next.

    Cutaway Millennium Falcon Model Miniature!

    One of our first stops at this year's Comic-Con was the Quantum Mechanix booth, where we found some amazing new scale models. John Eblan of QmX's FX Cinema Arts shows us an incredible cutaway Millennium Falcon, a new Star Trek ship, and a fully realized Milano from Guardians of the Galaxy! (Minor Star Trek Beyond spoilers within)

    Sean Bishop's Ghostbusters Ecto-1 Replica!

    Ghostbusters fans have been making replicas of props and costumes from the film for decades. But not many people have taken on building their own Ecto-1 replica. We meet Sean Bishop, who has built a highly-detailed reproduction of the iconic car, both outside and in!

    What's in Our Camera Bag for Comic-Con 2016!

    We're down in San Diego for Comic-Con! As we prep for a week of travel and production, Joey shows you the camera gear he's packed to shoot and edit the videos we're making from the convention. We discuss how we go about shooting our show floor videos, and what new gear we're excited to test on location!

    Tested Goes to the 2016 Replica Prop Forum Party!

    Every year, members of the Replica Prop Forum gather to share their projects and works in progress. Here are some highlights from this year's RPF party, including great replicas of movie props from Star Trek, Jurassic Park, comic books, and even Pixar films. Check out that Pizza Planet Truck!

    Star Wars TIE Bomber Cross Section Model

    We catch up with modelmaker Jonathan Faber at the Replica Prop Forum party to get an update on his Star Wars TIE Bomber projects, including his recently completed cutaway model. Jonathan explains how he designed the imagined interiors of the ship and points out some of its great detail.

    Brian Mix's "Lost in Space" Analog Computer Replica

    Replica prop builder Brian Mix is obsessed with the 60s sci-fi show Lost in Space, and has built a working analog replica of the computer on board the Jupiter 2 spaceship. He explains how the prop was sourced from a real Burroughs B205 computer, which was also the same one used in the Adam west Batman show!

    Adam Savage Visits the Stanley Kubrick Exhibition!

    After making its way around the world, the incredible exhibition of Stanley Kubrick's work has arrived in San Francisco. Adam Savage tours the exhibit to show you some of his favorite items. From rare camera equipment to pre-production artwork and film props, these objects connect us to one of cinema's greatest minds.

    Tested: Radeon RX480 Video Card Review

    Going for second place seems like a weird business strategy, but the RX480 GPU fits in with AMD's CPU strategy of trying hard to stay in second place in a race where only two major players exist.

    It's also a smart strategy, at least on the GPU end. Make the most of what you have, and go for the mass market. The potential volume for $200 graphics cards dwarfs that of cards like the GTX 1070, which costs about twice as much.

    So can a $240 graphics card deliver performance necessary for modern DX12 gaming? Let's take a look at the numbers – first, the GPU specs, then performance.

    By the Numbers

    Nvidia's GTX 970 looks to be AMD's main target for the RX480 when it comes to performance. So let's take a look at the specs of the two GPUs side-by-side (chart below).

    Nvidia shader ALU (called CUDA cores by the company), and AMD's shader cores (which AMD refers to as stream processors) differ architecturally, so you can't really compare performance based on the number of ALUs. The clock frequency for the RX480 disappoints a little – I'd expect more from 14nm FinFET logic. The good news lies with the die size. At 230mm2, AMD likely has some pricing flexibility.

    I also appreciate the fact that AMD finally dumped the DVI port. Owners of older displays may be disappointed, but it's really time to move beyond DVI to a more modern interface. An owner of a DVI-only monitor will need to buy an adapter, however, unless they're willing to replace said monitor.

    Beyond the raw specs, AMD offers several interesting features which Nvidia can't quite match. The Polaris GPU includes native support for FP16 (16-bit floating point, aka half-precision), which can be useful in certain types of GPU compute applications, but unlikely to factor in much with games. Nvidia's Pascal converts FP16 to FP32, then uses that converted format, which reduces FP16 performance a bit.

    The geometry engine includes features supporting small, instanced objects, such as an index cache. That will help games which uses instancing, mostly real-time or turn-based strategy games which might throw hundreds of similar objects onto the screen.

    Testing a Micro RC Model Bomber Plane

    It wasn't so long ago that small, lightweight RC models simply didn't exist. It took some pretty significant leaps in the miniaturization of batteries and radio components before anyone dared to dream that tiny RC aircraft were even possible. Now, these ultra-micro (UM) ships are wildly popular and can be had in a wide range of off-the-shelf kits.

    My first UM model was the ParkZone Vapor. It looked a lot like you would expect for a model that could be comfortably flown in most living rooms. It had a spindly skeletal frame made of plastic and composite materials. The tail surfaces and 14.75 inch wing were loosely draped with thin Mylar. It looked more like a kite than an airplane. But looks can be deceiving.

    My first ultra-micro model was the ParkZone Vapor, a fun model with looks that reflected its slow flying abilities.

    That first Vapor (and others) proved to be a great flying model at indoor venues and in calm outdoor weather. It was so lightweight (.5 ounce) that it was nearly impossible to damage from a crash. The Vapor flew slowly enough that you could walk beside it. This model was a success story in nearly every respect. I credit the Vapor with kickstarting widespread interest in the UM class of RC models.

    My latest UM model, the E-flite UMX B-25 Mitchell ($120), provides a yardstick to illustrate the huge strides that have been made in small model design and technology. You don't have to look very hard to find traces of the Vapor in the B-25, but the differences are more apparent. The Mitchell has an onboard stabilization system, two motors, and removable landing gear. This airplane is more sophisticated than some of my models that are many times its size.

    Analyzing the UMX B-25

    This is how the UMX B-25 looks out of the box. It just requires radio set-up to be ready for flight.

    The aspect of the Mitchell that is perhaps most appreciated by RC pilots is that this is a recreation of the famous WWII bomber by the same name. With a 21.7 inch wingspan, the E-flite B-25 is about 1/38 scale. It lacks the level of detail that you would find in a static plastic model, but it is quite good for an RC model of any size. The scale outline is very accurate, so there is no question what airplane this model represents. The designers even captured the characteristic gull wing of the real Mitchell.

    Like most UM models, the B-25 is completely assembled at the factory. The packaging doubles as a storage and travel container. This model also comes with a factory paint job which represents the typical olive drab color scheme and insignia used early in the war. The kit includes a set of decals that allows you do replicate the specific markings of any of the Mitchells used in the famous Doolittle Raid.

    Hands-On with BattleBots RC Toys!

    Something we were surprised to encounter at this season's filming of BattleBots were RC toy versions of fan-favorite robots. Hexbug was on site in the builder's pit to show off their upcoming BattleBot toys, based off of four competitors. We chat with Jason from Hexbug to learn how these toys were designed from the originals, and see what we can do in the tabletop battlebox.

    Imported Warbirds: Appreciating the Nanchang CJ-6

    For many airplane enthusiasts, the term "warbird" invokes images of P-51 Mustangs, T-6 Texans and other American-made military classics. There is also a wide variety of lesser-known foreign aircraft that satisfy the warbird distinction. These metric machines have found favor with many American owners who appreciate the non-traditional attributes that only an imported warbird can provide. I recently spoke with the owner of a foreign warbird to better understand the benefits and challenges that these airplanes offer.

    Flying For Good

    Kimberly and Bill Mills are the driving forces behind Mills Aviation Charities (MAC), which provides scholarships for college students pursuing aviation-oriented degrees. A large part of the organization's outreach efforts involves flying its aircraft at various public events. I visited the organization's hangar in Florida to get a closer look at one of those airplanes, the Nanchang CJ-6.

    The Nanchang CJ-6 is a Chinese military trainer that has found favor with civilian owners due to its ruggedness and affordability. (Chris Dilley photo)

    The CJ-6 is a 2-seat, single-engine trainer that formerly served in the Chinese military. Now that it is a civilian airplane, the Mills' colorful Chinese warbird is one of the most photographed of the American-owned CJ-6s. The couple can be found in the MAC CJ-6 performing in airshows and flyovers across many states…often in formation with other CJ-6 owners. They even host an annual airshow at their home airport in Palm Coast, Florida.

    If you fancy yourself an airplane aficionado but, you're not familiar with the CJ-6, don't feel bad. I felt the same way when I first stepped into the MAC hangar. I walked out with a much better understanding of the airplane and why it's so appealing to private owners.

    Making Historical Fantasy Cosplay Armor for E3

    For this year's E3, our very own Frank Ippolito was charged with fabricating three cosplay costumes for Ubisoft's upcoming game For Honor. The three costumes of wildly different historically inspired characters with varying armor, helmets, and weapons, which require a wide range of materials and build processes. We stop by Frank's shop ahead of E3 to learn about these builds!

    Making the Mad Max R/C Car Part 2: Fabricating the Accessories

    When we last left my little obsession, I had just finished making a vacuum formed plastic shell body for my LaTrax Teton R/C car. So far, my experiment had been going smoothly, but something was missing. While the stock car body was baby skin smooth, I wanted my new scale model to have all the bells and whistles of a full sized vehicle! So, I set about building all of the accessory pieces.

    In recent months, I've been diving into 3D printing with both feet. Thus, it made sense for me to make many of these tiny parts with a 3D printer. Since I had 3D modeled the master part for the car body shell, I could model the rear rack, custom rims, headlamps, jerry cans, and other accoutrement perfectly to scale.

    All of the parts were modeled in Fusion 360 and prepared in Simplify 3D. Then they were printed on my Dremel Idea Builder and it performed magnificently! I used a standard PLA filament and printed the parts at the highest possible resolution. I was actually really impressed with the parts that this champ of a machine pooped out!

    Since some of these parts were very small, thin, and weirdly shaped, many of them required quite a bit of support material. While this did triple the filament used, and take quite a bit longer, the resulting parts came off the support material quite easily and required very little clean up.

    Any hideously offending printing artifacts were filled in with a little bit of red spot putty and then I got to sanding. Most of the sanding was done to remove as much of the horizontal printing lines as possible. For this task I employed 220 grit sandpaper and sanding twigs.

    What Killing the 3.5mm Headphone Jack Could Mean for Android Phones

    When choosing a new smartphone, it's often hard to find something with literally every feature you want. You might have to go without things like wireless charging or the latest and greatest processor in order to get the best overall fit. However, one thing you haven't had to worry about losing is the headphone jack. That may well be a real concern in the not too distant future.

    Motorola is has announced the Moto Z without a headphone jack, and although this isn't the first foray into Android phones without a standard 3.5mm jack, it's certainly the most high profile.

    Headphone History

    In some ways, this feels like a real blast from the past. The first few Android phones in 2008 and 2009 didn't have headphone jacks either. Back then, HTC was fond of the extUSB port, a tweaked version of a standard miniUSB with a few extra pins that could carry analog audio. This graced such iconic devices as the HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1) and HTC Magic (Google Ion/T-Mobile MyTouch 3G). A version of the latter was re-released later with a 3.5mm headphone jack because let's face it, not having a headphone jack is annoying.

    A headphone jack is the standard way of outputting analog audio, but the early experiments in jackless phones were doing that as well. You could use an adapter for the extUSB port to get a standard 3.5mm jack, or use headphones with extUSB. I think about four of those ever existed because it was far too early to ditch the 3.5mm jack.

    However you get audio out of your phone, it needs to be an analog signal when it reached your ears -- something has to process the digital signal, and thus far that has always happened in the phone with a DAC (digital to analog converter). Some phones have toyed with using more powerful, high-end DACs for a supposedly better audio experience. LG even sells a DAC module for the G5 in some markets.

    A few OEMs think that the move to the reversible USB Type-C plug is the perfect time to get rid of the old standard, but it might not be a clean break with the past.

    Tested: The Best Ways to Sear a Steak!

    Summer is here, and it's time for some food science! We team up with Serious Eats' Managing Culinary Director J. Kenji López-Alt (and the author of James Beard Award-winning cookbook The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science) to test for an ideal way to sear a steak. Adam and Kenji discuss some misconceptions about steak searing, and test four searing methods at different temperatures.

    Tested: eVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Video Card

    I'd crown the new GTX 1070 as the new God-Emperor of gaming GPUs, except that this card really the baby sister to the GTX 1080, which offers even better performance. On the other hand, eVGA's GeForce GTX 1070 SC costs $439 -- $10 shy of Nvidia's own "Founder's Edition" -- while delivering clock frequencies roughly 6% higher than the reference clocks. Audible noise levels seem slightly lower as well.

    While I ran the usual set of benchmarks on the card, I've been living with with eVGA's GTX 1070 in my main system for nearly a week, running games on my 3440 x 1440 pixel Dell U3415w display. Subjectively, I could tell little difference between this card and the GTX 1080 Founder's Edition I'd been running. I did have to dial back ambient occlusion a bit in Tom Clancy's The Division. Doom, Mirror's Edge Catalyst, XCOM2, and several VR titles on the HTC Vive all seemed to run with excellent frame rates on gorgeously high settings.

    So What's a GTX 1070?

    Take a part that starts out life as a potential GTX 1080 GPU, disable one graphics processing cluster, and voila! You now have a GTX 1070 chip. Each graphics processing cluster consists of 5 graphics compute cores (which Nivdia dubs "streaming multiprocessors" or SMs for short). Let's break down the differences with the reference design -- er, Founder's Edition –in the table below.

    The GTX 1070 uses less exotic GDDR5 memory, clocking said memory at a pretty serious 4GHz – faster than the 7gbps memory used in previous generations. So the GTX 1070 includes fewer shader cores, slightly lower clock frequencies, slower memory, and should cost roughly $300 less.

    Nvidia suggests some 3rd party cards will be priced as low as $379, though all currently available 1070 cards seem to cost more than $400. Availability remains tight, but a cards from MSI and Gigabyte seem to be available. Supply will no doubt catch up with demand after several months.