Elephant Walk – a HotT army

Whilst chatting in the comments to the Burmese with Arsenus Lupenus it occurred to me that the big Burmese elephant with a crew reminiscent in numbers to a large McDonald’s outlet looked as much a piece of fantasy fiction as it did an historical miniature. I then started to think of what I could use it for in a Hordes of the Things army.

What conjured the images of elephants?

Tarzan movies certainly. I recall whenever one of the natives was about to be crushed by an elephant a look of absolute fear would come into his eyes and he would scream out the word “tondo!” which I took meant, when translated from Swahili to English, “bugger, I am about the be crushed by an elephant”!

The starboard side view of the elephant and crew - this is the side where the crew have fallen off
The starboard side view of the elephant and crew – this is the side where the crew have fallen off

The other word I remember from the Tarzan movies was “oong-gow-ah!” normally spoken firmly by Tarzan himself as he jumped in front of a herd of charging elephants whilst pointing to the right which I took meant, “‘ere, you lot, bugger off that way!”

Amusing certainly but not really HotTish around elephants. I mean, I could do a jungle themed HotT but I would need to add hunters, Tarzan, natives and so on. I wanted something elephantish.

The 1954 movie Elephant Walk then came to mind. It starred Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Finch and some other blokes and was set in Sri Lanka before Sri Lanka was Sri Lanka and whilst it was still British Ceylon. The tagline was “one man claimed the land. Two men claimed the woman who lived there.” So, the typical love story – he loves her, she loves the other bloke and the other bloke is bowling from both ends! It wasn’t the love story or the heat, passion and jungle that was interesting for me but rather that, as I remembered, the elephants seemed to have it in for Elizabeth.

Hmm, today it is Angry Birds, in 1954 it’s Angry Elephants. Now we are starting to get more HotTish.

Of course, if you are thinking about a movie called Elephant Walk, your mind is going to remember that piece of music called Baby Elephant Walk from Henry Mancini in 1962 movie Hatari ((or you mind turns to that if you are older than 45 I guess)). Click the link and listen to it.

Like a blinding flash of light the HotT Elephant Walk army came to mind. It is a 15mm army ((although if wealthy and built like an Olympic weightlifter you could do it in 28mm and if you do it in 6mm then use 2mm for the dwarf elephants))and looks something like:

  • 1 x Behemoth (the Irregular Burmese elephant illustrated – also look at Chariot Miniatures or Outpost)
  • 1 x Hero or Paladin (any Asia elephant with a bloke sitting under an umbrella – elephant should be a white elephant ((sorry, devil made me say it that way but I really mean a white elephant))
  • 1 x Artillery (the elephant with the artillery on its back – Irregular makes one of these)
  • 1 x Lurker (6mm elephants on a base – sigh – “dwarf elephants” living in the jungle)
  • 2 x Knights (elephants with a howdah and a bloke with a pike, amongst others – like a Greek Successor type) – elephants with a bit of punch)
  • 2 x Riders (elephants with archers on board – elephants with a bit of sting)
  • 2 x Beasts (riderless elephants that simply run amok)

A good mobile army, a bit restricted by bad terrain but the appearance of it on the other side of the table will likely cause a good degree of consternation in your opponent, leastwise once they get over the oh’s and ah’s as everyone loves a Nellie on the table.

It has been a few years since I have built or painted any HotT armies but I am tempted to do this one just for the fun of it. If anyone does build it, let me know and send me picture please.

Saturday Morning TV – Solomon and Sheba

Solomon: Set them to burnishing their shields, have them shine like mirrors.

What could be better over a late Saturday breakfast than on old sand and sandals epic. Yul “just don’t smoke” Brynner, Gina “va-va-voom” Lollobrigida and George “the gentleman” Sanders along with Masia Pavan and David Farrer. The movie is not one of the great ones, and certainly I (and many others) would love to see the original 1921 version of the Solomon and Sheba.

It was filmed in Spain in 1959, with actors from Italy (Lollobrigida, Pavan), England (Sanders and David Farrer), Russia (Brynner) and elsewhere (I guess Tyrone Power who still appeared in the long-shots although having died halfway through the production of the movie provides the American connection). Sheba appears to be converted to Judaism at the end of the movie. The movie itself bears little resemblance to the biblical story of Solomon and Sheba.

I must admit the only inspiration for me from this movie would be for a Hordes of the Things fantasy army. The battle scene towards the end when the Egyptians with Adonijah (Solomon’s brother) leading attack the remaining troops of Solomon’s sort of provided HotT inspiration. The moving however is a dud – perfect for Saturday morning viewing!

Adonijah: You and your Sheban slut have defiled the fair name of Israel.

Yep – that about sums it up! See iMDB on Solomon and Sheba for more information.