Tuesday, April 26, 2011

UN Aid Camp Operating in Iqenistan

April 26, 2011

UN Medical Personnel have been allowed to set up a medical aid encampment in western Iqenistan after any peacekeeper presence was disallowed within Alcovian borders.

With Alcovian leadership vehemently maintaining its position that the civil war be contained as an exclusively internal matter, foreign aid has been severely hampered and limited only to civilian groups and organizations operating independent of any government or government agency. King Ullo has stated that the situation in Alcovia is nowhere near critical enough to require foreign military aid or outside security forces. This has, not surprisingly, left the international authority frustrated and concerned over the whether or not the Alcovian monarchy still maintains a clear perception of the growing crisis within its borders.

Pakistani UN facilities commander Colonel Misor Pakhiman indicated that the Iqeni allowance of a medical station poised on the Alcovian/Iqenistan border would allow the UN to provide some aid to civilian casualties, even if such action was being done under strict scrutiny and by the permission of Alcovian forces on both sides of the conflict. Col. Pakhiman informed a press conference that transportation to the UN facility was being provided by civilian and UN ferry boats and limited airlift services from safe zone loading points on the Alcovian side of the Borka river.
So far, no UN forces have come under any sort of direct military engagement by either loyalist or rebel regular military forces, though thereh ave been isolated incidents of militias firing on UN and Alcovian transports as they transition casualties from military to peacekeeper vehicles at the designated aid stations. So far no loss of life or material has come from these attacks though they have made humanitarian efforts difficult.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dynamo 2 - Athletik 2 - Polizi 300

There was a night of rioting in the Balad as the hometeam failed to beat the visiting Athletik in a tense high scoring game. The trouble started as goats were let onto the pitch by the Athletik fans in a deliberate move to bait the notoriously aggressive Dynamo crowd.

Commissioner of Police Methodius was heard on a police scanner advising his men "that's torn it; the Agris are going to go crazy. It's going to be a long night. Stand by all units; switch frequencies and activate jamming now...."

A flare erupts in Balad Zentro

The trouble was contained in the Balad and some 300 arrests were made; Polizi casualties were minimal and Minister of Interior Blaroj has already praised the Commissioner and "the brave men of the Polizi who ensured this violence did not spread and worry our tourist guests."
Commissioner Methodius monitoring events
from his command centre

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Local News From Trebizon

Commissioner Of Public Works Petr Brokoj was today unavailable for comment over claims that Eleuthera Bridge – which featured in the recent e-campaign “Welcome to Trebizon” – is a white elephant. Mr Theo Vassos, his Deputy Spokesman did, however, go on the record. “That bridge is, it is important, it is a symbol but also, an investment” said Mr Vassos, “We have a lot of ships flying our merchant flag and the bridge links Trebizon to Hav, which where the deep berths are. You come to me and say “Vassos, how can I berth my supercontainer ship?” and without that Bridge, I look like a fool. With that bridge - I can show you we are serious people in Trebizon”.

Mr Deputy Spokesman Vassos, with Hav Docks in the background

Meanwhile, the Royale Casino Charity Evening raised over Fifty Thousand zeks. His Excellency President Gjodjon Bronjovic and his wife led the first dance to popular applause. At the tables, business was brisk with Mr Kadashian Kadashian of Kadashian Kredit acting as an unpaid croupier “all my tips go to the bank – my bank” quipped the multi-millionaire businessman. Security was tight and Colonel Brajik of the National Guard claimed “you couldn’t get a very small goat in here without me knowing”. Dmitri Zog, ace striker of the Balad Dynamo XI then produced a very small goat and was fined on the spot by Colonel Brajik who promptly donated the “fine” to the President’s Charity. Mr George Vondos, the President’s First Secretary was escorted by Polizi motorcyclists as he took the evening’s proceeds to be banked at a champagne reception at the Banque National of Trebizon-Hav on Calle Radimeu.

The Royale Casino

Commissioner Methodius of the Hav Polizi reported that there were no disturbances in the Balad overnight “as long as those Byzerks don’t get drunk and beat up the place, all will be fine”, commented the Commissioner, “I just hope Dynamo win on Saturday and we can all stand down. If Athletik Hav win then I’m cancelling all leave. I do of course guarantee that any trouble will be contained in the Balad.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Welcome to sunny Trebizon, the throbbing heart of the Borka Riviera. Here is a view of the famous resort of Epirou, with its numerous bars, restaurants and casinos. You are guaranteed a fun time in our high class, friendly resort!

It’s not just sun, sand and relaxation here though! Our internationally famous banking privacy laws and centuries of entrepreneurial enterprise have put us at the cutting edge of the Offshore Banking and Financial Services Industry. Our clientele come from all over the world and many leave their yachts in our marina, visiting them perhaps in their private jets and high performance speed boats.

Of course, in the 21st Century, any country has to think about security but here in Trebizon we have been proud hosts to the United Nations Mentoring Force Trebizon-Hav (UNMENTH) for some 15 years. You can be assured that the most modern security techniques are in use here by our Polizi, our National Guard and our elite, Spetznatz trained, Crisis Reaction Brigade.

Our history is a proud one – as the Levantine Republic of Hav-Trebizon, we fought for Independence from Alcovia, Byzerk, the Grande Porte, the Italians and the Germans. Over the years we have been a major Ally to the British (Epirou was called Port Havelock for five years and there is a statue of Queen Victoria in our Grand Square of The Republic!), the French, the Russians, Alcovia, and Italy (Garibaldi fought here too you know!).

So, for sun, sea, sand, discrete financial advice, an understanding and flexible maritime registry and a democratic regime with sound credentials – look no further than the Trebizon Riviera!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Old Terrain Test [Updated]

Today Mark, Maff and myself were all discussing terrain options through email, trying to determine what sort of terrain bits would be needed for a good Alcovian battlefield. One of the things that came up was an old project I have made, nicknamed Kardograd.

When I was big into FOW, I had built town out of carboard scaled to 15mm. As the town was built on the fly and without any sort of measuring it's a little vague in it's actual scale. It included several multi-story ruins as well as many totally ruined buildings reduced to mere corners. The centerpiece had been a church, complete with bell tower. All of this was made on the fly for a game of FOW that was supposed to be played the next day. All of it was unfinished and constructed for maximum functionality by game time. The game was a success and great fun.

Flash forward to Alcovia and I pulled Kardograd out of it's tattered box to see if it would work for the 20mm figs and vehicles that I had for the Alcovia project. I snapped a few pictures of a building full of troops as well as some laid out in a sample street.

I think it works well. Take a look and tell me what you think...

 For more on this terrain check out this post on my main blog, I See Lead People.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

New AK armed Modern Militia from S&S Models

Shaun at S&S Models will shortly be releasing a pack of 10 militiamen in berets and body armour with AK47.

 Look like they would be perfect for manning the roadblocks in Ivica. You can see more pictures on the Ambush Alley Games forum.


New Easy Model Russian Armour

Heads up on what's coming from Easy Model this year:

 The PT76 Amphibious Tank
in a choice of 5 Colour schemes

Available in 5 colour schemes
Due Decemeber 2011

And 5 more T72 MBT

There will also be 5 BTR70's and 3 T62 MBTs. Plenty to look forward to, especially those BMPs!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Mars T80U

My burgeoning Alcovian arsenal has been enhanced with the addition of a Mars T80U MBT. A surprise win on eBay for 99p plus postage.

 The T80 is a bit advanced for Alcovia but destined to be a Soviet Tank Generica nevertheless. It's a beautiful kit. Recommended


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

война миниатюры игры

After a fruitless weekend trying to work out how I could make a regular army squad out of the packs currently available from Under Fire Miniatures - and I'm talking combat poses here, not just milling around eating the Russian version of Chicken Supreme rats straight out of the tin or texting the girlfriend on the mobile - I decided to call it quits and bring my handful of remaining (30 years old?) Platoon 20 Modern Russian Motor Rifles up to full platoon strength.

Placed my order with Platoon 20 on the webstore late Sunday night, got an email from Tony on Monday to say they'd been despatched and today, Tuesday, I have them on my kitchen table.

These Platoon 20 miniatures are excellent in their own way. I may have a soft spot for them, but they arrived very well moulded, crisply detailed, no flash, practically nothing in the way of mould seams and are by far superior to the originals that I bought a lifetime ago now. 

The KLMK hooded camouflage oversuit worn by the figures is still fine for modern operations. The M60 (M40) helmet is a little anarchronistic but I may be able to make an impression of the new 6B7 with some Green Stuff if I deem it worth the effort. The M60 proxies for the M68 but this being Alcovia the older pattern M60 helmet is certainly not out of place. There's probably warehouses full of them in Byzerk left over from Cold War Soviet occupation forces.

I also included several packs of Modern Soviet Paras with my order. One pack is destined to have heads swopped with the Motor Rifles, but the rest will become hardened Alcovian milita.

Let me recommend M-SM12 Paratooper Support Weapons (RPK, RPG16) and Command - it's worth buying on it's own. Either as an 'ambush' pack OR simply because the Para BMD crewman/NCO walking with AKSU74 (photo on the left, painted by Mark Griffin) makes a beautifully arrogant militia leader and his buddy firing his AKSU74, is a perfect bodyguard figure.

I already own a few Platoon 20 East German Paras in berets. These will now become nasty Alcovian militia types. The plan is to add a pack of P-DDR6 East German Para Support Weapons with my next order to Tony to beef up their firepower.

So there we have it. Seriously nice figures. A very welcome blast from the past plus some useful additions to my Alcovian forces.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Intelligence Find

Extracts from US Army Field Manual FM100-631 National Forces of Alcovia discovered in the former quarters of personnel from the US 303rd Logistical Studies Group:

These pages were found alongside used return train ticket stubs to the port of Bulgrava and a local bus timetable.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Assault on Rebel Stronghold Continues

April 9, 2011

At the end of week three of the ongoing assault on the river port of Bulgrava, there seems to be no sign of any progress one way or another. Thoroughly ensconced in the maze of warehouses, manufacturing and processing facilities found along the waterside, rebel forces of APA have managed to repel any attempts to storm their position both from land and water.

It is thought that the rebels may be receiving aid from militia elements operating in small boats able to penetrate the scuttled hulks that have been positioned to block access to the harbor by larger ships and military craft. One source even offered the possibility that destabilizing factions from Iqenistan might even be ferrying arms and supplies across the Borka river but no conclusive evidence has been presented for such international interference and the monarchy has yet to make any official government statement on the possibility.

Artillery strikes against the port have destroyed many structures, but helicopter assaults or strikes have proven ineffective and dangerous due to a high number of concealed anti-aircraft assets in and around the port. Hand-held rockets and anti-aircraft gun emplacemrnts have been scene peppering the sky and any approaching aircraft.

In one tragic incident, a helicopter, privately chartered by a relief fund, strayed too close to the port and was shot down. Rebel sources insist that the helicopter was actually carrying commandos for a covert insertion into the port. Nothing has been officially confirmed to support the notion of national forces using civilian craft for military purposes.

Dateline: Slavikova

The crisis in Alcovia worsens today with news of the break away region of Slavikova in North East Alcovia announcing it's independence from the former Sovietbloc ally.

An official spokeman was quick to quash any suggestion that Slavikova has ceded from Alcovia. It was claimed that criminal elements and  gangsters backed by the CIA and KGB are attempting to undermine the confidence of the people of Slavikova in order to profit from the current political situation in Alcovia.

Reuters reports that armed militamen have taken the strategic village of Ivic and gun battles have broken out of the streets of Byzerk, the capital of the region. President Putin has vowed to protect the borders of neighbouring states ajoining Slavikova with whatever force is deemed necessary.

It is known that a small detachment of US military personnel of the 303rd Logistical Studies Group are in the region providing an advisory role to local units of the Alcovian army. The US Army has refused to comment on their current status. The safety and whereabouts of the Group remain unknown.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Looking at More Real Estate

Mark's been doing such a great job of finding bits and pieces that work well for creating the look of Alcovia. I'm really indebted to him and his experience in the hobby. He's been able to source things that I'd never have known about. Following up on some leads of his, I did find a couple more buildings that look like they might work for Alcovia's towns and larger villages.

The buildings I found are from Italeri and are readily available and not too pricey. I've never worked with the kits first hand but the looks of the buildings would update rather easily with just the addition of some more modern roof patches using some tar paper or corrugated tin or iron. The addition of some modern clutter around them would also move them up to present. Cinder block garden walls, a concrete wall patch on a corner, maybe the addition of electric outside lights would also add to the updating.

The "Stone House" model could even be sub-divided into two dwellings, capitalizing on the presence of the two chimneys by the addition of a second set of doors. This might require a bit of cutting and rebuilding, but it would allow the use of the same model to spice add some variety.

Now, I need to find some good shop models.


Alcovian Real Estate

Earlier in the week Eli and I were discussing whether there is such a thing as a typical Alcovian village and what it would look like. Looking at Balkan and sub-Russian villages, we find that they vary between region.

Architecture can vary from modern Central-South European to historic and traditional. Construction seems to be a mix cinder block, concrete and wood siding. Roofing again a conglomeration of  (Bitumen) tar paper, shingles and plenty of aluminum.

An unexpected day at home today has given me the opportunity to look at the Miniart 1:72 East Eurpoean Farmyard in detail and you know, it could be perfect with a little work and save on wholsescale scratch building of an Alcovian village set in the regiosn where most of our action is going to occur.

The Miniart kit comes with 4 identical sprues, each with a moulded plastic thatched roof section, a long rendered wall, a short rendered wall, wooden door with smaller inner door and accessories. These walls are whole, you have to cut out your barn doors . There is also a separate 'cottage' sprue which has a long and a short rendered wall, with windows cut out, but you choose if you want to cut out the door.

What this means is that you have enough walls for two buildings plus a long and a short wall left over! Brill! Means that you have the flexibilty to give your farm compound additional walls/lean-to's or create two barns plus a destroyed house. With two Farmyard kits - you have enough spare walls for an extra building!

The Eastern European Village House comes with 2 'cottage' sprues. Mix and matching the walls from the Village House and 2 Farmyard kits gives you the walls for 4 houses plus two barns.

I suggest Slaters or Plastikard Wills embossed  plastic sheets to replace the thatched roofing if you want that true Alcovian look. The thatched roofing can be saved for a later scratchbuilding project. I suggest a mix of pitched and hipped roofs to add variety to the buildings.

The look of the buildings can be further enhanced by giving them a brick, stone or cinder block embossed plastikard course. Maybe even replacing some or all of one or more walls with embossed plastikard cinder block.

 S&S Models rough stone walls, plastered rough stone walls and corrugated iron gates will be perfect for giving character to the larger Alcovian village 'compounds'.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Military Fuel Crisis Averted

Military commanders in the North Eastern Military Region of Alcovia have overcome the fuel shortages faced by their mechanised formations through a field expedient conversion by Starshina-Corporal Rufuz T. светлячок.

Starshina-Corporal светлячок, a former miner from Haminskyz converted his tank platoon to coal fuel in a move which Alcovian Monarchist officials claim demonstrates the "flexible and forward thinking nature of our soldiery".  

"The coal fuellled tanks have more than proved their worth. With a top speed of 6Kph and a consumption of 3 tonnes to the mile, the 313th Tankinski brigade has been able to resume it's march on the break away region of Byzerk".

Monday, April 4, 2011

S&S Models Update

The T64s ordered from Shaun at S&S Models arrived today along with a UAZ Jeep and the Wrecked BMP. I'm in love with the T64s. 20mm Cold War Commander may well be on the cards later in the year, due solely to these excellent models.

The UAZ is functional - it's a jeep, aimed at set dressing mostly in my Alcovia games - nothing to get excited about - and then the Wrecked BMP, which comradeski, is simply stunning. I'm so impressed by the BMP model itself that I have no hesitation to pick up a platoon of BMP from Shaun sometime during the summer.

On the back of the Wrecked BMP, I'm going to order Shaun's new Pickup Defensive Position (£4.50). Another perfect terrain piece for Crisis in Alcovia. It's a checkpoint, a roadblock, an ambush position....brilliant!

I'm going to suggest to Shaun that he does something similar with a London Hackney Cab for Winter of '79, 2011 Urban Meltdown, Zombie Apocalypse etc.

All in all, a good bag of goodies.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Under Fire Miniatures: Modern Russians

Contacted Bill at Under Fire Miniatures earlier this week regarding his range of Ultra Modern Russians.

Georgians in 'Fritz' helmets are in the pipeline and more Russians in 'combat' poses will be available later in the year.

Under Fire's Russians are 1/72 rather than what I would recognise as '20mm'. They are a good half to full head taller than RH Models/Liberation Miiniatures and similar ranges. The figure's heads themselves are smaller which gives the figures a more gangly look about them. Still, some good posing if lacking in 'warry' poses. The 6B7-1L helmet looks particularly good but the faces on the guys with 'OMON' helmets can lack detail.

I bought a pack each of ModRus7 (Mortar and AT14 ATGM) and ModRus8 (SPG-9 Recoiless Rifle and AGS-17 Plamya automatic grenade launcher) all lovely models and each weapon is a kit in it's own right.I felt these could stand alone regardless of minis I end up using.

Like Winter of '79, what was supposed to be a discrete project is growing arms and legs. Again like Winter of '79, my initial intention was to use Combat Miniatures (ex-Hotspur) from Stonewall Figures as the principal protagonists but have been let down in both cases by the poor casting of the miniatures.

Under Fire Miniatures have all been well cast and I like the clean lines of the sculpting - what Craig at Critical Mass Games would call a "painters' miniature". Ideally I'd like to see the range increase with a mix of weapons for both standard troopers and MVD/OMON to allow me to build a full platoon before I would seriously consider these for more than fireteam sized skirmishes.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Generic Ruins

It's a common conceit on the tabletop to have pristine 'David Winter Cottage' style farms and villages. The unfortunate truth is that contested areas in any warzone see homes destroyed.

Whilst I'm keen to have a few buildings on the tabletop that reflect the Eastern European/sub Balkan nature of Alcovia's architecture. I also want to mirror the images of war torn villages I found on the net when looking at the wars in Chechnya, South Ossetia and former Yugoslavia.

Ironclad Miniatures produce a fine range of 20mm 'generic ruins' that can be used on their own or dressed with maybe one or two less damaged typical 'Eastern Front' houses, church and scenic accessories to create a more Eastern European image.

Looking at Ironclad's 'generic ruins' sets, I feel that 20-Ruin3 provides the best value for money. 20-Ruin3 comes with 20 ruined building sections and 12 shellholes/piles of rubble/debris. Being generic in appearance, the set will also be useful for my Winter of '79, British Civil War scenario and more.


Area 9: 20mm Russian Front Buildings

I was very intrigued when I stumbled across 'Russian' buildings from Area 9 that look like they'd stepped right out of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and therefore perfect for my vision of Alcovia away from the beaten track.

Whilst I'm very tempted. Very, as I really like the look of these. I need to be convinced given that the buildings illustrated above are £19.00 (top) and £17.00 respectively. Though I can imagine being tempted to hand over some dosh at a wargames show.


PaperTerrain: South Russian Village

Resting up today following yesterday's excitement (sic). I was scanning for more Eastern European building ideas for gaming Alcovia. Now,  I thoroughly recommend Scott Washburn's PaperTerrain. I bought the North Russian Village Pack in 15mm four/five years ago and remain really impressed.

Each building in the pack also has an inner 'destroyed' shell that allows you to 'reduce' them to ruins during the course of play. You can of course use the ruined and undamaged buildings separately, doubling the number of buildings on the table at no extra cost.

For Alcovia, I would personally prefer the South Russia Hamlet or Village pack (above). The architecture feels more Ukraine, Southern Russia, northern Balkans and just feels as though it has the right 'look' for a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare version of Alcovia.

The South Russia Village Pack is available in 20mm and includes the church, ten buildings, four barns and two types of fences. The Hamlet Pack has 4 buildings and 2 barns but can be increased to a nice sized village using the destroyed buildings.

My few Platoon 20 Modern Russians don't look too bad against the 15mm North Russian buildings at table distances but they are dwarfed by Under Fire Miniatures larger 1/72nd scale '20mm'.

Worth having a closer look.


Eastern European Barn

Found this backwoods Eastern European barn as a free download: 

 2 opposing squads of infantry, a fence or two and gets yer started running missions in Alcovia.