Tuesday, 10 July 2018

1880s Egyptian Army Line Regiments

An ongoing project of mine is the Mahdist wars. Many reasons for this - some personal, some practical (i.e. I've a massive desert table thats gagging for it) - but its a project that I am determined to work on and see everything painted and nicely done, unlike many other projects. Yes, I'm looking at you, massive French and British unpainted Napoleonic armies of shame!

I've roughly three armies for this - Egyptian, British, Mahdist - with the intention of being able to fight some earlier actions too and getting a good coverage of the era. Not interested in the second invasion though. Omdurman doesn't really do a lot for me, gaming wise, even if its interesting history wise.

So.......heres some Egyptian line regiments, forming the main block of the brigade. These took much much longer than I usually spend painting, in spite of them being quite my favourite looking uniform and army. Something about those whites and a fez. Lovely.

In fact, I'd found these such a chore to work on that I put them down at one point, painted an entire two armies worth of other stuff, a hefty wedge of Wars of the Roses and assorted other things before picking them up again and being determined to get on with it.

Done now, at least.

Discipline. Thats what gets armies painted, people. Discipline.

Monday, 9 July 2018

English Civil War Army

Seems like I haven't put any pictures up of my ECW armies as they currently stand.

Essentially, at the beginning of the year I had a couple of units painted but nothing too much else, with everything sitting in the grey shame in their boxes. Once life had settled down slightly, following a job change and finishing archive school, I scheduled in a big game (this one!) and got steadily painting and working away - ain't nothing like a deadline to get ones arse in gear

So, couple of pics. Couldn't even fit them on the usual board for photographing my stuff :)

Taken before I'd added flags and some other small bits, by the look of it. Will come back to this project at some point, but for now - its at peace.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The Final Programme (1973)

The only Moorcock book to make it to film, that I know of, and for years a hard film to find - reasons abound for this, but it was a real bitch to see until Network released that DVD a few years back. Of course, now it gets shown monthly on telly seemingly, but thats the way of the world.

Jerry, dear Jerry Cornelius, a role model for a certain type of person in small doses as you couldn't be like this all of the time. Jon Finch - crabby bastard extraordinare: = : = : = perfect casting as far as I'm concerned.

Plot? Well, its a retelling of Elric in its way, isn't it? With Jerry as Elric, Frank as Yyrkoon, Catherine as Cymoril and the family house being Imrryr. Plus some stuff about the perfect man, Ms Brunner as a..........well, I've never been quite sure what Ms Brunner is, frankly, computer programming, some irresponsible drink driving and Robert Fuests particular eye for good, weird, screen filling tableau:

(clearly one of those inflatable tunnel maze things that I used to run around in during summer holidays as a schoolkid. 10/10 for creative use, mind)

Still - Jerry. Cool as fuck, isn't he? Nothing more to be said there. Sheer class on that front in his Ossie Clark threads, locks and "fine, I'll drink instead" disassociative decorative attitudes. Sometimes tries a bit hard, but can't have everything, can we?

Seriously, what was Fuest able to put over people during this period? He made this, Phibes and Phibes Rises Again and they are clearly singular vision film making and all contributed to my personal tastes for cinematic look.

Speaking of LOOK, Magee. Wonderful MAGEE on top form pulls his astonishing form and out of nowhere..............."LOOK" at top volume - only Magee can do this correctly.

May try this next time I'm in a difficult meeting and need to command the room.

Admittedly, they don't quite follow the book - but, to be fair, the whole guitar stuff I'm quite happy to see dropped and the end never made much fuckin' sense anyway. 

Fact is, film is here, its grade A and should be viewed, right?

Maybe paired with Le Frisson Des Vampires for full intoxication.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Dracula AD 1972 (1972)


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.


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)


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


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.