Friday, 29 November 2013

Gadgets & Gizmos Greeks Bearing Gifts Plus

Torchwood Gadgets and Gizmos
By Mickie Newton


It has to be said, and anyone who has seen all the episodes of Torchwood will know that there are some episodes that lack the tech we expect to find in sci-fi and an example of this is Countrycide. It has to be the least techy of all three series (there’s going to be another out there somewhere I am sure). So I have decided now to change how I do things a little as trying to find the gadgets for every episode is very hard if not impossible, especially if there are none!  In this and future issues I shall try to pull various gadgets and techy things from all points of the series; so touching on just a few bits here and there. If an episode we are focusing on in the issue has plenty of techy stuff then the episode name will head the gadgets and gizmos article.

In this issue I am focusing on three such items. two specific items from the episode ‘Greeks Bearing Gifts’ which are The Pendant and The Transporter and also the hand-gun weapons, both Jack’s and the teams.

As for the usual ‘What on Earth’ section, this is being left out as all these are either earth based technologies or there is no ‘earth based’ technology existing that is the equivalent.

The Pendant

A psychic pendant, which features in the episode ‘Greeks Bearing Gifts’,  was given to Toshiko by Mary, who was originally a prostitute from 1812 until she was killed and her body taken over by an escaped alien prisoner from Arcateenian who’d crashed to earth.

The pendant allowed Tosh to hear the thoughts of those around her, including an estranged husband who was plotting to kill his wife and child. Tosh found it upsetting when she could hear what her Torchwood colleagues thought of her, with the exception of Jack, whom she was unable to read at all.

As time passed Toshiko’s behaviour had started to change as she was getting more disturbed and upset by others thoughts. Mary, who was also sleeping with Toshiko, was also manipulating her emotionally in order to get into Torchwood.

Jack had noticed the dramatic change in Tosh and realised that it was Mary controlling Toshiko in some way. After Jack had rid both Tosh and Torchwood of Mary. Toshiko, herself, destroyed the pendant deciding it was far too dangerous to keep, even somewhere as secure as the Torchwood Hub.

The Transporter

This was the device used by the Arcateenian Alien Mary when she crash landed on earth back in 1812 before she killed and took over the body of the prostitute Mary. She left this buried, along with the body of a young soldier she had killed by ripping out his heart.

Almost two centuries later both the skeleton of the soldier and the transporter were discovered. Due to the alien nature of the, as of yet unknown, transporter and the severe damage to the skeleton the team set out to find out what this gadget was and how the individual had died.

Later, after Mary was discovered as both being an alien and the killer of the soldier as well as being the culprit who was manipulating Toshiko, Jack reset the co-ordinates of the transporter and sending both it and Mary into the heart of the sun.

Torchwood Issued Hand-Guns

Webley Mk. IV, .38/200 Calibre Revolver – Captain Jack Harkness

A 51st century man who is dressed in a World War II Royal Air Force uniform and carries a 20th century Army Issued hand-gun! In truth this says so much about this man. He prefers this period of our earth. And why use something modern when this great hand-gun is just as good; especially in the very experienced and skilled hands of Captain Jack Harkness. I am very sure Jack could point, shoot and hit his target if he was very drunk and blindfolded! But enough about its owner, what about the Webley?

The Mk revolvers were in issue between 1887 and 1963 (how apt, it became obsolete the same year Doctor Who started) and was the standard issue service pistol for the armed forces of the United Kingdom, the British Empire, and the Commonwealth. Its origins, as you can maybe tell by my previous statement, are British through and through and was designed by the gun smiths Webley & Scott. It was used in numerous wars such as the Second Boer War, First World War, Second World War, Korean War, British colonial conflicts, as well as many others. The Webley Revolver is also known as the Webley Break-Top Revolver or Webley Self-Extracting Revolver.

It is a top-break revolver with automatic extraction, meaning that when you break open the revolver for reloading it operates the extractor. This will remove the spent cartridge from the cylinder. Jack’s Mk IV rose to prominence during the Boer War of 1899–1902. So it’s possible that this was the period when it was issued to Jack. Due to firing a large .455 calibre, Webley are the most powerful of the top-break revolvers.

Now as you will discover in the next section about the hand-guns of Torchwood, they were all, in some way, modified with alien technology. But whether or not this applies to Jack’s Webley is unclear. I don’t remember this ever being mentioned in any of the novels or in the series for that matter. But let’s face it, its user was modified and due to his longevity, he has become very skilled in his use of weapons and so is a crack shot!

The Webley Mk IV Specifications:

Weight:                      2.4 lb (1.1 kg), unloaded
Length:                     11.25 in. (286 mm)
Cartridge:                 .455 Webley Mk II
Calibre:                     .455 Webley
Action:                       Double Action revolver
Rate of fire:              20–30 rounds/minute
Muzzle velocity:      620 ft/s (190 m/s)
Effective range:      50 yd
Feed system:           6-round cylinder
Sights:                       Fixed front blade and rear notch

SIG P228 – Used by the TW Team

My goodness, you’d think this would have been easy, but no, it was harder than getting blood from the proverbial stone!  There seems to be many thoughts on what the main hand-guns are used by the Torchwood team, with the exception of Jack. So, the SIG P228 is just ONE possible. I was starting to get to the head banging stage and decided that maybe I should just pick one and look at that.

So here we go! The SIG P228, the compact version of the P226, which has been modified. The Torchwood version has TORCHWOOD on the side of the barrel and an extra attachment underneath the barrel. What the apparent modifications are I have not been able to find out. But it has been mentioned in the Torchwood novels that the modifications tend to be alien.
One possible modification could be the magazine. The normal SIG has a13 round magazine, though you can use the larger capacity magazine used with the P226,  with a 9mm barrel, and it’s possible with the Torchwood issue this has been increased. I would imagine the type of ammo has also been modified. One that is far more likely to have impact on most aliens they encounter. The weight of a normal SIG P228 is about 1.5 Ibs, but with its modifications I would imagine this has increased.

Other possible modifications could be such things as the sight. In what way this could be modified I am unsure; it may have built in zoom or enhanced vision. Another could be the ammo. Ammo that is good against anything from earth maybe as much use as a chocolate fireguard against a Weevil or a Nostrovite. Equally well the ammo you use on a Weevil my not be suitable against the Nostrovite. So it is possible that the team have alien modified ammo to suit most needs. These modifications could be acid tips, ammo made of particular alloys (possibly even alien ones), softer tipped, inner glass casing containing salt water; the possible list is endless.

Though origin of this hand gun is Switzerland, it has been adopted by various law enforcement agencies and the US Army and was used by soldiers with small hands and so is a favourite of women in the forces due it it’s smaller grip and lightness. It’s a much easier weapon to handle than some of its much bigger brothers like the Berretta M62. It is also more reliable and accurate than most.

SIG P228 Specifications of the unmodified hand-gun:

Weight: 1.5 lbs (.7 kg) 
Calibre: 9 mm 
Barrel: 3.86 inch (9.65 cm) 
Action: Double Action / Double Action Only 
Range: 165 ft (50 m) 
Payload: 13 + 1 
Made in: Switzerland 


General Resources:

Torchwood: The Encyclopedia by Gary Russell

Torchwood Items: Wikipedia

Webley Mk IV: Wikipedia

SIG P228: Wikipedia (this also includes the SIG P228)

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