Coaster Hipster

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Coaster Hipster last won the day on November 17 2018

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About Coaster Hipster

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    Reporter and PR Manager for
  • Birthday September 17

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    Travelling, Menswear, On-screen design & so on
    I'm eclectic, and hipster-ish!

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    Steel Vengeance
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  1. Coaster Hipster

    Interviews with Coaster Manufacturers - EAS 2018

    Here are as promised the interview with Martin & Vleminckx and The Gravity Group! Sorry about the delay: Chuck Bingham, Vice-President of M&V briefly discusses the upcoming arrival of Rocky Mountain Construction coasters in Asia - and his company's involvement in it The interview ran short due to circumstances on my behalf, but we'll certainly meet again for another more in-depth one probably at AAE 19! This interview is no short one on the other hand! Even after editing out many clips, The Gravity Group's Chad Miller and Korey Kiepert are just so talkative But they're also very much on-point with their comments, giving incredible insight into their work of designing wooden coasters. From layout style preferences, to the appeal of smaller family woodies, to polishing a nose car design and so on... Chad and Korey know how to communicate their passion and knowledge, while not taking themselves (too) seriously I hope you really like the interviews so far. I'll try to post more here when my schedule is a little clearer. There's yet another final one coming up with Universal Rocks - the scenery builders of Taron, Fenix, Wicker Man & more!
  2. Coaster Hipster

    IAAPA 2018

    Another good interview at IAAPA to share! This time it's Maximilian Roeser from Mack Rides answering questions for Theme Park Crazy. Max is definitely passionate about the industry - approachable but also brilliant in knowing how to communicate the great work of his company. Mack is ceetainly having a great momentum building some high-scale rides, I'm certainly curious to try some of these in the near future. Maybe coming to Movie World to see you then
  3. Coaster Hipster

    IAAPA 2018

    Coaster Studios who was at the tradeshow as well filmed this valuable interview with RMC designer/consultant Alan Schilke: @GoGoBoy you might be especially interested
  4. Coaster Hipster

    IAAPA 2018

    This is coming... to my home park!! Parc Astérix will be building an Intamin LSM multi-launch in 2021! A layout animation was shown today (well, tomorrow for you Aussies ha) at IAAPA: Features: 51m (167ft) high 4 launches, including a forward/backward/forward half-pipe with no stop 23 moments of airtime! Looks incredible and has so many daring features, but wait! Walibi Belgium has shown their work too, it's a Megacoaster with a twisty drop like Expedition GeForce... Two crazy awesome designs, both within driving distance from home! Intamin made a huge statement today, and kudos to the Compagnie des Alpes (which own both parks) for allowing the manufacturer to make their ambitions come true
  5. Coaster Hipster

    Projection mapping. What's next?

    Cool topic! I wonder if some sort of interactive media gadgetery could be possible in the future. So far you experience the ride as it was designed by the engineers and creative team... but what if you could decide and impact on the ride's course, video-game style? I guess interactive dark-ride already exist now I think about it, but is there more to do than just shoot and get a high score?
  6. Coaster Hipster

    Vekoma reveals Next Gen SLC, Flyer & more on new website

    Very good points actually. From my understanding Vekoma now creates several designs for each type of coaster (it's actually one topic I discussed in the interview linked above). Basically a customer ask for a layout which is then available for other parks to re-use/'clone' unless specifically forbidden by the original customer in a non-compete clause. So Thunderbird is actually only the first of several Next Gen SLC layouts to be revealed. My educated guess is that the park who ordered that Suspended coaster wanted something intermediate between tame family and extreme intense experiences and Vekoma came up with this design. Hence the relatively smaller 1.2m height requirement and presumably a softer force profile. Just like their new Sitdown coasters come in several sizes and elements, there are certainly bigger and more daring Suspended Thrill Coaster layouts arriving eventually...
  7. Vekoma today launched their new website just in time for the IAAPA in Orlando! The revamp not only displays their new logo and branding, but most importantly displays their exciting new concepts: Among the revelations are a layout for the Suspended Thrill Coaster, the next generation of SLCs: Finally some info about the Next Gen Flying coaster has been shown too: Also announced are an upcoming Next Gen Motorbike coaster, and the Lech Coaster (Bermuda Blitz) and Formula designs are finally present online too. (Lech photo by Flex) Super excited about the developments at Vekoma as you may know. Lech is my personal favourite coaster in Europe (above the likes of Helix, Taron, Expedition GeForce and Nemesis...) and the improvements in smoothness and ride elements from the company are spectacular. I actually met their new lead engineer Benjamin Bloemendaal for a video interview last September, and he's definitely very talented but also skilled at communicating his passion and ideas for designing rides (shameless self-advertisement there, but hey it's an insightful vid I swear!) 😍
  8. Coaster Hipster

    Interviews with Coaster Manufacturers - EAS 2018

    I've been a huge fan of the new Vekoma designs (particularly Lech Coaster), so it was an incredible opportunity to meet the mastermind behind the manufacturer's incredible transformation! Benjamin's answers were fab - really informative and definitely engaging in the way he talked me through the thought process of designing coaster elements or layouts ❤️ Also wanted to apologize for not posting here much. Been a hectic few months travelling, doing all sorts of projects and montage. But here are a few pictures from my trips Steel Vengeance lived up to the massive hype. Its airtime actually isn't the most extreme, but it's still strong ejector, and there are so many of it! The second half just keeps going at an incredible pace, and the sections through the structure make the ride even wilder. Special mention to the exhilarating wave turn - sideways airtime is so much fun! Maverick ain't bad either. The layout shines with its diversity of forceful moments, the drop is awesome at the back, and the Stengel Dives are among the snappiest transitions I ever experienced Fenix is incredibly photogenic! The ride itself was a pleasant surprise, delivering a very fine sustained airtime hill as well as an unexpectedly sustained forceful helix. It's short, but really sweet. Hyperion was pretty fun, but didn't exactly live up to my (overhyped) expectations. It doesn't have the same pushing the envelope extremeness of other Intamin masterpieces like El Toro or Expedition GeForce. Some moments are almost dull, like the floater airtime hill, and other could have been more intense to really be exciting. Still, a great ride and the twist and dive inversion is fab! Martin & Vleminckx then The Gravity Group interviews are coming next
  9. Hello everyone! Last month I attended the 2018 Euro Attractions Show, which is the IAAPA European event reuniting most of the professionals in the industry. I was covering the show for French website resulting in several interviews starting with these two: First of all I had the great privilege of meeting Sascha Czibulka and Camiel Bilsen of Intamin. Sascha is the company's Executive VP and has been with Intamin for 17 years, while Camiel is their promising young designer and has been heavily involved in the making of Hyperion. Highlights include: - Going for a bolder approach to design Hyperion and staying ahead of competitors (4:58) - The strengths of Intamin's new track design (5:55) - Intamin's new seat and lap-bar (7:18) Secondly, I also approached James Swinden who was recently promoted to Lead Engineer at Great Coasters International. In a more concise interview, James discusses various creative and technical aspects of designing wooden coasters. I very much thank him for his accomotation and patience doing this report, his serious dedication to his work truly shows I hope you'll enjoy these interviews. In any event, feedback/criticism is always appreciated. More interviews will be coming up, including one with Vekoma's lead engineer Benjamin Bloemendaal! He's arguably the mastermind behind Vekoma's spectacular renaissance and gave excellent insights into his job and the process of coming up with exciting coaster designs Some extra pictures from the event: Model of the Takabisha clone currently in construction in New Jersey
  10. Thanks for the updates @MickeyD! I'm very interested in this park and its developments, as actually I am planning to go to Shanghai next June to attend the Asian Attractions Expo 19. Although it is spead out quite a lot, Steel Dolphin has several exciting elements such as the Top Hat with a twist exit and the outward banked hill. It really tells about Intamin's drive towards more daring elements in a much more competitive ride manufacturer business
  11. Coaster Hipster

    Disneyland Paris - Tip and Tricks?

    Well all the advices put there are already very good so I don't have much to add. Been living in Paris all my life, and in fact, Disney Paris opened the year I was born I rarely ever visit due to high prices and not being very much into Disneyland stuff - so I'm not the most familiar with the place despite it being one of my home parks. Even though the resort is most generally quite busy, I believe both parks are manageable in a single day too. Agree with the plan to start with the Studios (it's a somewhat lacklustre park in comparison imo..) and you should be done with this park by 13:00 at the very most. Agree too that Crush's Coaster should be done first or at least towards the very beginning of the day. It's a generic (layout-wise) Maurer SC2000 which capacity doesn't suit best the crowds of a Disney park, so it often gets 1hr+ lines. Big Thunder Mountain's track has been refurbished a few years back. Nothing too mind-blowing of course, but it does deliver an exciting wild ride - and the setting inside an island mountain is truly impressive. Indiana Jones has good theming and a compact layout, however I find it very uncomfortable sadly. It is an Intamin/Giovanola imitation of the Pinfari Zyklon Looping coaster. Being from 1993, it predates by a long while the amazing Intamin designs of the 00s and it shows. Nonetheless the lone vertical loop is quite intense, which makes me think the ride would much benefit from updated restraints just like Hyperspace Mountain did last year. Speaking of which, Disney Paris' flagship ride is a very ambitious creative effort which, in my opinion, doesn't live up to its full potential unfortunately. Part of it is the 1995 Vekoma hardware which didn't aged so well (secretly I wish current Vekoma would completely redo the ride layout in line with their recent very daring designs, but that would be prohibitively expensive!), part of it is also the many rebrandings of the theming. Defunctland put it in a better way that I will, but originally Space Mountain Paris used to have a unique Jules Vernes steampunk storyline, which was an inspiring blend of French and US influences. This appeal is now mostly gone and replaced with the Star Wars theme we all know. But enough ranting here. Have a nice visit at Disney Paris! Even for a non-Disney fan, it is an enjoyable experience that I would recomment Bon voyage !
  12. Coaster Hipster

    Where do you get coaster news?

    If you try to follow what's going on on the coaster scene, where do your get your info and updates from? Was curious to know if we share the same sources, and maybe discover a few more insightful sites Personally, I usually get new info on social media posts (CoasterForce, rcdb, the amazing VH Coasters for Asian stuff, and also official park/manufacturers pages) but also like to check the forums (CF mostly) to keep track and get a more in-depth look at the news. Forums are also great for discussion and insights on a broader perspective, much more so than the comparatively forums. I loved following the construction of DC Rivals here for example! Even though I do not have the opportunity or think immediately of going there, also discovered blooloop which delivers great coaster-related content with a more professional and industry-based angle. What's yours?
  13. Even though Parc Saint Paul is less than 2 hours away from where I live, I somehow never bothered to visit the place. After several delays and figuring out a public transportation/uber strategy to navigate in and out there, it was finally time to discover Parc Saint Paul and its reported quirkyness The entrance sets the tone with a plastic-y gate that wouldn't feel out of place at a fairground. The Campion family - who founded the park and still operates it to its day - were originally fairground ride operators which explains the very funfair look of most scenery there, as well as the nature of the rides. Started the day on Aérotrain. The ride op which was actually very warmful and friendly, was the most remarkable thing about my experience on this tame Vekoma kiddie. It makes for some nice parking lot mini-skyline, but of course I forgot to take a picture from that angle Toilet humour. Next was the local shameful cred, Pomme (apple in French). Actually make that 2 shameful creds! Never seen this sort of hairpin style kiddie before. It's obviously fairly uneventful, but the tight hairpin turns actually deliver some soft laterals which are rarely found on the usual kid-targeted coaster. There is actually a lot of trees around the paths, which alleviates the whole tacky scenery and basic, flat pathwork of the park. Since I didn't really research into the park, was surprised to find some sort of authentic village houses around the chairswing area. They look nice enough even though they feel too realistic to fit the otherwise carefree, fun atmosphere of Parc Saint Paul. But anyway, moving on to the main draw! Wood Express is really fun! There are so many little pops of ejector air taken at a good speed thoughout the layout. It doesn't provide much if any laterals at all unlike its older French cousin Timber at Walibi Rhône-Alpes, but I found the Parc Saint Paul woodie to be smoother. Also, the second hop on the double down midway through is remarkably strong! Like all other hills the airtime is very short, but it is definitely felt there in particular. Since chest-belt GoPros are accepted here - as with most smaller French parks - I took the chance to use my camera and test its 4K abilities. Parc Saint Paul clearly made a very clever move buying Wood Express. It's a lovely ride for the whole family, but thrillseekers will certainly enjoy the fun, airtime-filled experience. I'm very pleased to see another nice new ride in France, we're truly in a good phase after years of frustrating stagnation Next door is Formula 1, my first Pax coaster :eek: The Russian manufacturer has a reputation for making wonky rides, and this one surely has its share of weird transitions! Tbh, I didn't find F1 to be really rough. It has quite intense moments, especially the main drop which is quite sudden. The bad banking and above all horrible restraints prevent me from truly enjoying this however. Still something very unique and worth trying at least once though! Ending the cred with another fairground-ish coaster. Une Souris Verte is your typical Zamperla spinning wild mouse. After trying the horrible SBF equivalent (with OTSR...) this one feels like a relief. It's still a very mundane experience. Piece of trivia: Une Souris verte is actually named after the eponymous folk song for children. The sign above actually displays the lyrics! But wait, isn't there another cred here? That's correct, but Wild Train is SBNO for the year. Shame as it was reportedly the better Pax of the two at Parc Saint Paul. Oh well... Make of that what you will 😛 Tried the drop tower. The ascend to the top is actually, really, really slow! The ride's not very tall, but the drop itself is decent I guess. With all the main trill rides ticked off, it's time for some re-rides on Wood Express! Luckily the line, which went up to 30 minutes before, ended up shortening to a 5 to 10 minutes wait at the end of the day. Kudos to the good ride employees who kept the ride running and often tried their best to fill up empty seats Ended up with 11 rides on Wood Express eventually - and it was consistently fun! I found the front row better, but the difference is very slight anyway. Parc Saint Paul was fun! Obviously it is mostly about Wood Express from my enthousiast perspective, however the rest of the park has decent enough filler to keep me interested for a short day. The employees are friendly, and the place overall has a warm, unpretentious atmosphere. It does lack the charm of other French parks (Le Pal and Nigloland come to mind in particular) and I would not want to revisit any time soon, but the good dynamic of the park has to be acknowledged Next on my trip schedule is Holiday Park, where I return for a +1 kiddie cred and more Expedition GeForce bliss!
  14. Coaster Hipster

    China's Fake Disneyland

    Good point there, also thanks for sharing the article I don't have a burning desire to visit such a park, but still have some curiosity about it. Sort of a 'how bad can it be?' curiosity (if it's actually bad at all), but yes, it's fascinating in a way. Actually this reminds me of Nara Dreamland, the Japanese loose equivalent - which however had a more subtle backstory. Defuctland made a great video narrating this (maybe this was shared here already):
  15. Day 2 & 3 - Alton Towers After a very short night (we stayed late at Blackpool and then couldn't find the entrance to Alton's hotel resort for some reason...), I was very excited to walk in Alton Towers for the first time. Heard of the park ever since I became an enthusiast back in 2005, when I couldn't hear but praise about the creativity and quality of the rides. Even with the recent backlashes I was still very curious to experience Alton for real. First impressions: the Mainstreet is alright, however I am quite impressed with the gardens and Castle! The place certainly has a distinct charm, and feels more authentic than most amusement parks. It's just very pleasant and relaxing to walk around. We went to the back of the park and chose to begin the day with Rita. Great launch, but I really feel there is some missed potential here. Intamin launch coaster racing in the woods sounds really, really good on paper. In the end, the actual layout feels rather ininspiring and the forces rather soft. Decent ride, but I can't help but wondering what could have been. I apparently forgot to take pictures of Thirteen, but I found it enjoyable really. Smooth and fun outdoor section, fairly solid scenery. Obviously knew for ages about the drop trick, but still enjoyed it for what it is. Hex was next. Really liked the pre-show and queue in general. The actual ride is classic, but enjoyable Mad House action. It is a nice touch to walk in and around the castle after the exit. A long, very long walk leads our group to the most anticipated zone of the trip: Forbidden Valley! Galactica - I remember loving Superman Ultimate Flight at SFGAdv despite its reputation as a rather tame Flyer, so was looking forward to the one that started it all. I enjoyed gracefully gliding through the short and low to the ground layout, but I thought it lacked a truly breath-taking moment. I guess that's why Pretzel Loops were invented then! Nemesis - Going straight to the point with this one: Nemesis lived up to the hype for me! I just love how well this smaller invert breaks the generic B&M formula of "loop, zero G, another big inversion then corkscrews". I feel every portion of the layout flows so well and the terrain interaction makes the whole thing even more impressive. Most of the layout is intense, though not to the extreme levels of complete gray/black-out, except for that insane downwards helix right after the first corkscrew. Helixes are generally for me a monotonous affair, sometimes intense, but most often lacking a 'sudden' element to make it truly exciting imo. (Not sure if I worded that well) Not Nemesis'. With the sudden acceleration and change in height, that helix has such a wonderful dynamic and feels like being caught in a whirlwind! Definitely a 'favourite coaster moment' in my books. Dark Ride Shooters are most often good fun, and Duel is no exception. Having only done it once and trying too hard to get a high score (and of course, failing to do so), I was too distracted to really appreciate the theming. I think it was quite good though. We then proceeded to Wicker Man, but its Q was approaching 2 hours so we walked even further to The Smiler. I have to admit I was always perplexed by this record-breaker, inversions don't over-excite me and the original Gerstlauer Infinity has 14 of them. It does look quite appealing off-ride though. The whole scenery made out of mostly concrete and metal fences is really weird to me, but it kinda... works? I mean it feels a little out of place compared to other Alton Towers, but isn't short of entertainement value. Got a 2nd row middle seat, and the first half wasn't actually that bad. Mostly smooth upside-down action and a decent pop of airtime squeezed somewhere in-between. The second act was some headbanging galore however, putting me on defensive riding mode the whole way through It's kinda worrying for a relatively young coaster really. At this point the group split off, and I chose to head straight back to Forbidden Valley hoping for some re-rides on Nemesis. Oh yeah. In the end, managed 10 consecutive laps on Nemesis! Was a perfect way to conclude the day. The following morning, we went straight to the Wicker Dude for some early hotel guest ERT, but the thing was down, and we ended up waiting over an hour on a surprisingly busy Monday at the park. To be honest, I was actually unaffected by the hype and hype backlash around the ride's construction and only followed the whole thing from a distance - as you may know I was more preoccupied with the endless Hyperion updates showing the same pullouts every time So I sat aboard the train expecting something in the range of InvadR, nothing overwhelming, but a fun family woodie type of coaster. And it felt just like that. I found Wicker Man to have rather good pacing (even that flat turnaround did not bother me very much), little airtime but an emphasis of laterals in a ride that feels a little short in duration. Nice use of the terrain, too. I also didn't watch the preshow stuff beforehand. Pretty impressive video mapping imo! The ride happened to break down right during the lap of some in our group - another half-hour gone due to an ordinary smaller GCI somehow not working properly! Thankfully though, we were compensated with Fast Passes, which were duly utilized later that day for some walk-on rerides on Wicker Man. Customer service was really decent overall during my visit I might say. Despite the issues here and there, still felt there wasn't much faffing around and that the staff was actually trying their best. We then tried - and eventually failed - to get the remaining creds. The hour-long Q at Spinball Whizzer was partly responsible for the failed cred hunt. Noticed some distinctive structure shuffling each time a car goes through some specific sections of the layout which made me worry about how comfortable the ride would be. Turns out it was a pretty intense spinner! Threw me around quite a lot, and the whole experience was wonky, but fun. I feel guilty for thinking this is more exciting than Winjas, despite the latter's wonderful theming and tricks. I like how Alton created a nice zone to enhance Oblivion's drop. It really is an elaborated build-up for the big moment. Not sure if that's an unpopular opinion, but despite all that, the ride itself wasn't as thrilling as, per example, Griffon. The drop definitely feels better at the front, however even there, I thought it wasn't as much of a deal as the whole build-up suggests. Still an enjoyable machine though. At this point, we only had about 2 hours left, so we decided "m*rde with the +1 creds, let's re-ride the good stuff instead!" Which we duly did. Along with the aforementioned Fast Pass laps on Wicker Man, we returned to Forbidden Valley for a final time. My best attempt at capturing both B&Ms in action. I was really impressed with Alton Towers in the end The valley and forest background are just superb, it is so unusual to wander a bit and to end up in a quiet, relaxing grove inside an amusement park. I appreciate a lot the park's emphasis creating an intricate ride storyline and atmosphere. The coaster line-up has some good depth and variety. However only Nemesis provides a truly breath-taking, superlative experience in my opinion. With AT's ride height restrictions, it was always going to be a tough act to follow and subsequent Secret Weapons did a reasonably good job, while never reaching the creative peak of Nemmie. Maybe I'm getting spoilt, but I can't help but imagine the park could have been even better with a more ambitious Rita, or a truly ground-breaking woodie. Despite those nit-picky considerations, Alton Tower easily becomes one of my favourite parks. It's a charming place that I would really, really recommend to my GP friends!