Showing posts with label cinema. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cinema. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Pulgasari - North Korea's Godzilla

A couple of years ago I came across a film called 'Pulgasari'. There is a Wikipedia article on it here:, but in a nutshell it's a Japanese-style monster movie made in North Korea in 1985, using a kidnapped South Korean film-director. As Kaiju movies go it's actually pretty good; certainly better than some of the Godzilla movies of the 1970s (not that being better than them is that difficult). We ran it by our South Korean exchange student last year, and he enjoyed it - it was certainly good enough to while away part of a slow Sunday afternoon.

The basic story is simple (aren't they always?). set in Korea's past, it's about a bunch of rebels fighting against an evil king. The rebels acquire, via magical means, Pulgasari, a huge monster who eats iron, and with him in their ranks rampage across the kingdom. The king tries various ploys to defeat them, but is overthrown, at which point the victorious rebels have to decide what to do with a giant monster who is still hungry for iron. It's basically 'Godzilla' meets 'the Water Margin'.

Anyway, there's big battles, a monster and other HOTT stuff in there, so away we go.

The Rebels With Their Monster

1 x Warband general (Rebel Leader) @ 2AP
1 x Behemoth (Pulgasari) @ 4AP
7 x Warband (Rebels) @ 2AP
1 x Lurker (Rebel ambush) @ 1AP
1 x Sneaker (Disguised as prostitute) @ 3AP

The rebels are enthusiastic but a bit inept, and work well in bad going, so are classed as warband. Pulgasari is big and stompy. The Lurker and Sneaker add variety and reflect some of the plot elements.

Unfeasible Artillery
The King's Forces
1 x Blade general (Top general) @ 2AP
1 x Artillery (Various unfeasible devices) @ 3AP
1 x Magician (Hired priestess with back-up group of singers and dancing-girls) @ 4AP
7 x Blades (Royal troops) @ 2AP
1 x Lurker (Cunning ambush) @ 1AP

Pulgasari On The March
The Royal troops aren't up to much, but are no worse than the Rebels, so don't really merit being Hordes. They use a mix of swords and shields, and polearms, so you could have some Spears if you wanted. Blades seems the best all-round classification, though. The Artillery represents various fanciful weapons employed against Pulgasari, including fireball-hurling catapults, rocket batteries and some amazingly impractical cannon. A magical priestess was also used in an attempt to defeat the monster.

Hired Priestess
These armies would be easy to make, using various Chinese/East Asian figures. I don't think you can get a Pulgasari miniature or, at least, not one at a scale suitable for the tabletop but any Godzilla-style monster toy would work nicely. You'd probably have to scratch-build the artillery though.

I Can Haz Ferrous Metalz?

Wednesday, 29 February 2012


A Bollywood Epic for 'Hordes of the Things'

'Asoka' (pronounced throughout the film as 'A-shok') is a 2001 Bollywood epic and tells the story of a 3rd century BC Indian prince, Asoka, who is exiled from his kingdom of Maghada and travels disguised as a simple warrior. Boy meets girl, except that the girl is a princess, Kaurwaki, on the run, and so on and so forth. Anyway, he gets his kingdom back and ends up at war with the princess's kingdom, Kalinga. And so we end up with a big battle; thousands of extras, choreographed sword-fighting and elephants. Lots of elephants.

On to the lists. Both armies are pretty similar, but will be dealt with separately.

Army of Maghada

Stronghold: Indian city gateway
Hero general (Asoka armed with demon sword and whip) @ 4AP
Knights (Overconfident horsemen) @ 2AP
Shooters (Archers) @ 2AP
Hordes (Foot soldiers) @ 1AP
Behemoth (Elephants) @ 4AP
Alternatives: Lurkers or Water Lurkers (Various stratagems) @ 1AP

Maghada Soldiers
Maghada is Asoka's kingdom and its banner is a golden tiger on a white field (see the picture at the top of this post). The army tends towards red clad warriors with white turbans.

Asoka should be depicted riding a horse and wielding a huge sword reminiscent of Elric's Stormbringer. Indeed it is described as a 'demon sword' and as wanting to taste blood, whether it be that of a friend or foe. The whip appears a couple of times in the film, and is a rather unfeasible object consisting of two long strips of metal attached to a handle. It looks good, but whether it is practical as a weapon is anyone’s guess?

Overconfident Maghada Cavalry
Maghada horsemen are classed as knights because they charge impetuously towards the enemy army. Their overconfidence is their undoing, of course as the enemy have some nasty surprises waiting for them.

Foot soldiers are armed with swords or spear, and carry a small shield. They also charge wildly, so could be warband, but there a thousands of them and, frankly it is obvious in the film that they are there as filler. Three comedy guards who appear throughout the film should be put at the front of the horde element most likely to die. The only foot that have any effect are the archers, so they get some elements of their own.

Maghada elephants appear towards the end of the battle.

The alternatives represent stratagems employed against another kingdom earlier in the film. One of them is straight out of Spartacus; I'll leave you to work out which.

Princess Kaurwaki In Action
Army of Kalinga

Stronghold: Indian city gateway
Rider general (Cunning old general with white beard) @ 2AP
Behemoths (Lots of elephants) @ 4AP
Riders (Horsemen)
Shooters (Archers)
Hordes (Foot soldiers and enraged peasants)
Alternatives: Sneaker (Assassin) @ 3AP

The Kalingan general
and their flag
Kalinga is the arch enemy of Maghada, and the home of Princess Kaurwaki (who has no idea that the psychotic Asoka is the handsome warrior she loves. Oh, the irony). Their flag is a gold sun on a blue ground, and their soldiers tend towards black clothing with blue turbans.

Their horsemen are more cunning and engage in hit and run, so are classed as riders.

Kalinga makes great use of their elephants, having them turn up on time, so they get more than Maghada. They don't have a hero, so probably need the help as well. They certainly form an impressive battle-line with them, which you couldn't do with one element.

Kalinga Infantry
Again, the archers shine amongst the regular foot, so are an element by themselves. The other foot are hordes, but at least a couple of elements should be peasants armed with farm implements, and led by Princess Kaurwaki herself. Some of the figures can be the sword-armed maiden guard that appear in one scene.

The sneaker represents various attempts throughout the film to assassinate Asoka. Even before the main part of the film starts we are told that eleven attempts have been made on his life, and a number are made during the course of the film. One takes place in the middle of a battle, justifying an on-table sneaker.

Special rule: In order to reflect the source material, every three bounds both players should engage in a lively song and dance routine for five or so minutes. Having done so, return to the mayhem and slaughter. In practice they should only communicate in Hindi or via subtitles.

Figures: The film is set in the 3rd century BC so, as you can guess, figures suitable for that period are no good at all. This is a film for goodness sake, not a history lesson. Go for figures with crescent swords, pajamas and turbans and you should be about right. Asoka wears his hair loose and, oddly enough, the closest figure in 15mm I can think of is the mounted elf general in the Peter Pig army pack. He'd need to be given a big sword, though.
Princess Kaurwaki And Her Maiden Guard

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Coming Soon ...

So which one should I get more excited about ... ?

The movie which is going to have me hauling out all of my Barsoomian armies:

Or the one that's going to have me dragging out my Weird World War II stuff:

But then I suppose they are a month apart - I should have time to do both ;)

(Even from the trailer I can see that they're playing fast and loose with the story in John Carter. But the Green Martians look amazing, the leaping is just as I imagined it these 30 years past, and even the fliers have a certain something. If they get enough things, right I will happily forgive the bits they do wrong.

My wife has already pointed out that Dejah Thoris is wearing too many clothes :) )

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