Monday, 4 June 2018

Dracula AD 1972 (1972)





Best line: "DIG THE MUSIC KIDS"


AD 72, a touchstone of greatness really and a litmus test of "those who do" against "those who don't" - those who don't being tight arsed potato based dullard puce muthafuckers, of course.

Breaking continuity with whatever shreds of continuity were remaining after the utterly regrettable Scars, we find ourselves in possibly the greatest time and setting for Drac possible - regal era Kings Road, where Helmut Bergers Dorian is peacocking and Jacki, Julian and Agememnon are hosting in Cheyne Walk.

Precisely.

Doesn't matter that the film is utterly unhorrific in any way at all, doesn't matter that Cush needs a pen and paper to work out that "Alucard" is "Dracula" spelt backwards, all that matters is that film is stone cold classic Friday night fare of the very highest order and thats all there is to it. This is the kind of film that I spent my teen years leaving pubs and parties to walk home to see, living miles from civilsation in a country village at that point, arriving back in the early hours and causing much bafflement to the people around me?



Now, older, heavier, settled and much more comfortable we can watch these films at any time we wish, but the fact is its the context and memory that classic films like this bring to Those of Us Who Do that get conjured up like Drac from ashes n blood spilled across Munros bosom and accompany the films meaning NO REGRETS about what could have been.



DIG THE MUSIC KIDS - a statement for how to live.

To say this film does it for me would be an understatement. Much like many of my favourite films, its part of being and outlook. Odd how I always notice something new in it each time I watch - this time around being

1 - Dracula mooching about on his own in the moonlight, not going out, not doing much. Just vibin' in the moonlight.

2 - Cush and Murray don't suss that Johnny has been vamped yet. We know, but theres a small line where they are discussing the victims and assuming Drac is responsible for all of them. Thats some tight plotting in a film where there ain't a whole lot of plot in the first place

3 - The swooping pano shot of the Thames early dawn...............much like the opening shots of Satanic Rites.

Method of Dispatch

A good one - Cush finds the lair, gets buy in for 24 hours of no Police presence, so heads out there and tools up for the coming battle. All kicks off royally with weapons, a "he's dead! No, he's back!" moment, Drac giving it the big I am with a "I've commanded nations" brag* when it leads out to Cush on the floor outside. A Drac is pausing for the kill, the ol' holy water in the face does it, then he falls into a pit of stakes that Cush had dug and camoed up earlier. This doesn't quite finish the job, So Pete batters him with a spade until the stakes well and truly do the job. Cue dissolving scene.

Thats how you do it.......................except we get a legit sequel, which is its own bag of undead joy.


*"I who commanded nations" - a still live Dracula at the head of armies (obviously Vald Tepes here) going out against foes and doing whatever. A potential army project and games campaign, if ever there was one.











Friday, 1 June 2018

Wars of the Roses Household #2

Finished another set of household troops for WOTR, this time the Somerset banner and house.


Not bad all in and painting the split blue/white colourings on various units made for some nice variety.
 
 






Obviously being a proud ally of the house of Lancaster, here they are lined up with the rest of the project...........all Yorkist







Finally, some snaps of the Foot Knights I knocked up quickly. I'm 50/50 on these as I love the models - well recommended, that Perry box, as its great fun to make - but I decided to spray them silver at night (don't ask) and managed to flood them with thick spray paint and had to mount a rescue operation. Oh well.







Some crossbows next, I reckon.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)










Best line: YOU DRINK IT!! YOU DRINK THE FILTH!!!


Taste. TASTE! Classic Friday night fare and one of my early Hammers that I remember watching. This and Death Line in quick order, if I remember rightly. Not sure - I was ten, after all.


Have to say, this is probably my favourite of the "in period" Draculas plus its got gothic trappings up the kazoo, lovely autumnal leaves sweeping everywhere, a kind of "coy testing" of the waters for nudity where Hammer are concerned (theres a bit of T&A in this, but they went more full on with Vampire Lovers soon afterwards).


So, Dracs found impaled on a giant cross by Roy Kinnear mugging to camera in horror, following directly and dollying in from the end of Risen From The Grave. We cut to families leaving church in good ol' London and get an introduction to each over the credits rolling - very nicely done.


Later, the three patriarchs gather for their monthly "charity work" in the East End, really a front for whoring, drinking, debauching and generally worshipping at the altar of Dionysus.


The sight of a coked up Peter Sallis being ridden on all fours by a scantily clad whore occurs in this sequence - buyer beware!


A young dandy enters, steals one of the women, ruins the party and then sweeps out. Turns out he's a wrong un who is known in society for his SCANDAL. The old boys decide to join him for a black mass. Enter Roy with Draculas powdered blood, a great ruined church, young heaving bosomed daughters unhappy with home life and we've got ourselves a great recipe.






As Lord Courtley (the dandy) is getting busy with the black mass, imploring the gents to Drink. Drink!!, they chickenshit out, kick the crap out of him, leave him for dead and leg it.


Except, of course, he'd drank the blood..........so who comes back? The Big Man, of course.






Cue Drac lurking about being all predatory, young women under his spell, doom for all and a bloody good time for the viewer




METHOD OF DISPATCH


An odd one, this. Even by Draculas rather low standards. He's spent the whole film lurking in a ruined church, right? Enter young hero, who drapes a table cloth on the altar and puts a cross on it. Drac's riled up and flinging bits of furniture and pipe organ about when he spots the stained glass and susses "hang on? I'm in a fuckin' church?!?!?", falls off balcony and dies, crumbling to dust.


Yeah, not good. Not his worst, but pretty bloody silly all the same.




Never get tired of this one, oh no. Especially the bit when the three gentleman (Three Imposters? They are faking their reasons for being and about after all, and a Machen pun is always worth attempting) are walking up to the churchyard in expectation of a black mass and clutching their pearls.







Filmed in Highgate, I believe.



Battle Report - WW2 Coastal Town Assault

Quick write up and pictures for a recent game, played in our usual location (Old Sergeant pub, Wandsworth).


The scenario and details are found here: Scenario


Spot of bad luck pre game, as one of the group fell ill on the day and we had to substitute a set of Germans for British models. These things happen.


Initial set up and deployments








British tanks and forces began the game inactive and could only properly begin if the alarm was given from the sentries. This led to lots of darts, tea swilling and sitting on deckchairs.








Disguised Germans arrive on the beach and for some bizarre reason, known only to themselves and in spite of having kitted up as Americans to attack the fuel depot..............decide that their very first action - before even moving - is to open up with the mortar on a group of Berbers milling about in the far distance.


 

This missed, obviously, and had the effect of :


- Making every single British unit aware of enemy in the midst.
- Uncovering the other hidden German units on the Eastern edge of the town.
- Making the tank crews run to their vehicles and start them up.
- Effectively making the mission utterly impossible to win for the Axis.
- Royally pissing off the GM.


On the first choice of the game. With command like that, no wonder they lost the fuckin' war..........






So, the rapidly uncovered flanking Axis wondering what the bloody hell was going on so early, quickly opened up a firefight with a couple of units in respectable range












British tanks begin to roll out and anticipate threats.







The Faux Americans try to establish a solid point of entry to the town, but end up being shot to pieces, split up and having to go around the long way. A well placed machine gun nest kept things very tidy around that end of the town.









The firefight at the other end of town continues, with the SAS Berbers holing up in a building, two units of regulars getting demolished and breaking.




This allows the majority of the force to launch an attack along on side. Plenty of furious building to building firefighting going on here - great stuff!



The Faux Americans continue to be pinned down and taken apart in pieces.






This results in a predictable massacre over on that side of proceedings.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the Germans are steadily moving through town, both sides trading shots and building occupation.







Eventually, the British form up around the tanks and lead a sustained assault on the remaining Axis, with the resulting victory swig of tea that results.





Final German dregs being cut down like dogs/valiantly laying down thier lives for Das Fatherland (delete as appropriate)





All over. British well deserved victory.


Thursday, 24 May 2018

Battle of Wendle Moor

Scenario and report of a recent game played - I normally try and run one or two big games per year, so this is here for posterity more than anything.






A Great Fight At Wendle Moor:
Where the Lieu General William Seaton and all his chief officer,
and all the quarters in the hnrble New Model Army with associated frces advance:
and treaty the motion of the Surrender of Wendlesmoor.
 
Alfo the manner of the taking of the town of WENDLE
 
The Kings Forces to advance and ROVT the Parliaments army:
Under the command of Mjr Henriie Snark;
Together with a lift of the Lords, Knights, Commanders
And common souldiers there being the whole army.





Each side will be under the general command of a player,  with myself as the Parliamentary command and Lord Beige as the Royalist command. They will be responsible for GM’ing, rules mastering and directing the overall strategy for each force on the day. Other than this, each sub force is self contained under the command of the player assigned them.

 
Scenario: The year is 1645, Royalists are holding the town of Wendle and surrounding moor, with it providing a strategic staging post for sallies and munitions distribution. The New Model Army, continuing its advance from Digsville have sent an outlier force to take the moor, treaty for the towns surrender and those Royalist forces within.
 
Royalist Considerations: Wendle holds a strategic position on the approach to London, being a commanding position on the approach to the city and able to provide shotte, powder and supply to your allies in the area. You must protect the town, advance and defeat the Parliamentary forces in the field, ensuring the strength of our position in this region

 
Parliamentary Considerations: Fairfax has ordered the surrender of Wendle, so that the primary forces due to move through this region on the advance to thee downs are free from attack and harry. Your force will advance and ensure the town, plus all supplies and munitions, are take. Local forces may be available to assist as we have friends in the region.





Unpainted models bring ignomy and shame 'pon their command, so carry the "Freshly Raised" special rule.

They are also at -1 command when being given orders, such is the shame of the brigade commander at having troops on his side in a state of naked undress.


Battle Report:

Table layout







Parliament deployments. As we had driven back the royalists earlier (an earlier games results), we were able to deploy at an advanced position.

East flank:


Centre:


Cavalry massed on the West:


The Royalists had deployed almost directly opposite us, almost like for like, with a large massing in the town itself.



The inital advances didn't exactly start well, with brigade commanders across the table being slightly hesitant to advance. Damned command rolls!



On the West, a plucky storming party advances straight at the royalist cavalry, takes cover behind some barrels and begins blasting away. The subsequently find themselves charged by the enemy...........


...but manage to hold on enough to only be driven back behind a nearby clump of brambles. As the Royal cavalry return to their main brigade, the plucky firelocks then retake the barrels, this time with support from the dragoons and a nearby musket unit.




Meanwhile, nigh constant firefighting has been taking place around the town, with no side gaining the upper hand. This forces Parliament to advance and attempt to break the stalemate.



Royalist pike advance to lend support where needed..........


........which ends up in a huge ruck, with Parliament coming better off.


However, the Parliament muskets have been heavily damaged on this side, but this leaves a broken brigade within the Kings forces in Wendle.

In the centre, Royal guns advance to attempt to divide the Parliament force in two, but come unstuck as a Pikeman unit advances and destroys some artillery, then finds itself too far ahead of its line and gets twatted by close range cannon fire.


Muskets advance in quick support, but find themselves in a tricky position as nearby enemy units trap them.



At this point, when both of the battle lines were battered, the Royalist cavalry had been damaged and the pivotal hour of the battle, Parliament cavalry swings into action and proceeds to batter up the Eastern flank, sees off the opposing cavalry and sweeps along the back line.

At one point, a unit of Royal pike suicidally attempted to charge horse, but were countercharged and massacred (pike - not a charging weapon, a defensive one!), leading to a general rout of the remaining Royal forces and VICTORY.






Decisive Parliamentary Victory.

Another stunningly close game - both sides were really on the ropes mid game and a couple of moves here and there could have seen it either way. Once the rout began though, it began in grand fashion.