Saturday, October 22, 2011

Armor Update

For the past months I have been slowly but surely accumulating preassembled and if possible prepainted vehicles for use in this setting. I had hoped to use plastic models but found that finding time to assemble and paint them was proving more difficult than I had hoped.

So, what I have managed to accumulate are five T-55s from two different manufacturers (Easy Model & Model Master), two Easy Model BTR-80s and an assembled Trumpeter BTR-80. The preassembled but unpainted BTR-80 was given a turret swap using a RH Models 30mm turret available separately through his website.

I have a few more vehicles on the way but am hoping to focus future purchases on soft skin vehicles and terrain elements along with more infantry. I should also note that I have a whole slew of plastic kits for Russian Hardware so there is the possibility of a big battle played in 20mm some day but only after I'm bold enough to start the grunt work.

Take care,


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Alcovia's King Addresses War Torn Nation

October 20, 2011

Today marks the one year anniversary of the civil war in the kingdom of Alcovia. Though there was no lull in the fighting between NAA and APA forces, citizens of the nation gathered in public squares, near their televisions and computers to hear King Ullo address the nation. The king was described as hesitant and pensive as he said these words in his short, direct, but heartfelt address...

King Ullo IV
 Brave people of Alcovia,

Today marks one year since our homeland was wrenched into the crushing grip of a war forced upon us by those who would seek to destroy the sanctity of our way of life. It is not a war for freedom. It is not a war for equality. It is a war brought on by mistrust, misunderstanding, and the inability to look beyond the recent hardships visited upon us all to see the greatness that has and will continue to be Alcovia.

The men who call them revolutionaries, freedom fighters, or even saviors have chosen to abandon their sacred oaths to their nation, to themselves and most importantly to you, the citizens they have sworn to protect. These men, who have taken their cause from simple defiance to open hostility have allowed their fight to spill into your homes. Because of them, you have suffered, you have seen others suffer and you have seen your beloved home cut open to bleed out like a bear on the cold winter snow.

But this you all know...

<King Ullo paused here to clear his throat and wipe his eyes>

But there is more that you should all know.

My cherished people, know that your king, your princes and your army still watch over you and value the love and loyalty you have always shown them. We will not abandon you to these rebels, these bandits, these criminals. Those who you have entrusted and who god has entrusted to protect your way of life will not waver in their pursuit of that solemn duty. They will not stop fighting. They will not stop...dying until those who are responsible for this festering wound of a rebellion are brought to justice.

I ask that all of you remain strong. Remain firm in your beliefs and your convictions. Do not let those who have lost their way drag you down into their blood-stained mud. You all know who you are and what it means to be a true Alcovian. Just as our ancestors fought to come together that they might make something more of their warring clans, so shall we all come together to preserve what they struggled so valiantly to achieve.

It saddens me to say that I cannot tell you when this will all end. What I can tell you is what my own grandfather once told me. When the wind would howl and the snows would threaten to break down our doors, he would take my hand and say only this, "The morning shall make it all better."

It is these words that I hope you will keep with you as you find your way through the trouble night. Look to the day that will make it all better. That day will come. We will bring that day, all of us. Together...

The remainder of the addresses were made by the king's cabinet of advisers with inspirational readings from notable Alcovian authors and poets as well as a somber rendition of the Alcovian national anthem. the address was closed by the reading of the names of all Alcovian citizens, some 4500, who have died on all sides of this conflict.

Monday, October 10, 2011

One Year of Civil War

October 10, 2011

With the one year anniversary of the Alcovian Civil War fast approaching many questions still loom over the nation's strife. Whether the sudden declaration of independence made by General Kusatya, the hesitation of the monarchy in declaring an exact and decisive doctrine in the conflict, or the growing indications of foreign involvement in what had begun as a civil crisis, the longer the nation of Alcovia is at war, the more confusing the entire thing becomes.

In ten days the nation will have seen an entire year of conflict with no end in sight. With public works and infrastructure starting to break down due to war-inflicted damage or general disrepair caused by lack of funds, manpower, access or available materials, many parts of the small nation have been reduced to struggling local economies with many people living at pre-20th century standards. In some regions, water, fresh food and basic medical care have become treasured commodities, often controlled and sold by the various gangs and militias who have turned a war into their opportunity. Government officials have promised an increase in aid to these depressed regions, but so far such aid has been scarce if not absent altogether.

What's more, King Ullo's insistence against foreign aid has only served to increase the hardship the war has inflicted upon the nation's people. In eastern Alcovia, the region most affected by the civil war, this policy has done much to embolden the cause of that regions various militia factions as well as polarizing the region against the monarchy. Even with UN relief stations being set up across the Borka river, the far flung edges of Alcovia are not receiving enough aid to make up for the ever-increasing tole the war is taking on its people.

The monarchy's inability to control the eastern regions has also left the long-contested border between Alcovia and Iqenistan vulnerable to incursions by dissident factions from that nation and other opportunistic governments who might benefit from sowing the seeds of unrest and rebellion. Sources within Alcovia's intelligence community have indicated that there is no doubt that at least some amount of aid is being fed to the Alcovian People's Army by Iqeni terrorist organizations as well as ethnic Iqeni militias operating within Alcovia itself.

Ambassadors from both Germany and France have visited the king and his family in the capital city of Chubakrev in hopes that a plan for the peaceful reconciliation of the conflict might be reached, however King Ullo seems reluctant to accept a non-Alcovian solution to what he deems "an Alcovian problem". Royal advisers indicated, in a press conference with national and international news agencies, that the king's reluctance comes from a concern that accepting foreign solutions and aid will weaken the strength of the Alcovian identity and cost the nation it's "heart and soul".

It is said that the coming year may see official visits from both the United States and United Kingdom as with additional rumors circulating of visits from both Russian and Chinese dignitaries. Whether or not hostilities will allow for such meetings and exactly which factions are to receive such attention is as yet to be determined. Whatever develops from any such ambassadorial missions, it should be worth watching to see how events unfold in the second year of war within the kingdom of Alcovia.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Alcovian Schnitzel


Thought you might like to see some more of my Alcovian Forces. These are Irregulars/Rebels/Para-Military etc inspired by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. I had them painted for me by Mark Griffin of Pumpkin Models and having more done as I really like Mark's wargame painting style. Plus he's a good bloke!

The figures are from Rolf Hedges' Liberation Miniatures and quite fun. Rolf's just released some guys in Balaclava with RPGs so they'll be put on order with Mark too.

You'll have notice that the Alcovian front has stalled in recent weeks. A couple of reasons behind that. Not least of which being a neurological condition which has required me to withdraw from many aspects of my life in order to allow my brain time to repair. I've withdrawn from forums and blogs and don't even look at TMP or Lead Adventure Forum. Winter of '79 has been my one and only wargaming focus and even that has proved difficult at times.  The last two months have seen a turn around but I've needed every ounce of spare energy to get over the last hurdles and after 5 months being variously in hospital and immobilised at home, prepare myself physically, psychologically and emotionally for returning to work, leading a new team in a new office and most importantly, having a normal life once again.

Chatting with Eli recently, we both found that we were experiencing the same 'frustration' with our miniatures. They simply didnt match our own internal visions for Alcovian troops. What had stumped me the most was that my vision of Alcovia was based on the ex-Hotspur range of Afghanistan era Soviets. The originals were lovely models. The inspiration came from Tims Miniature Wargaming Blog - see picture below:

Courtesy of Tims Miniature Wargaming Blog

Well, the first figures I ordered from Stonewall looked like they'd been stamped on before they were despatched and even those Maff carefully picked out for me at a wargames show were still badly moulded and in many cases had broken rifles and RPGs.

Then came a floundering search for replacement minis. Come back 15mm Sci Fi all is forgiven! Each new search presented its own challenges. Whilst sending for samples, corresponding with manufacturers etc ate away at budget, time and enthusiasm. And all this happening against a background of increasingly impaired mental and physical functions.

Rolf finally stepped into the breach, but my god! One can go snow blind looking at those lists without photos ..."as above", "as above", "as above"...... You may say "well there are photos on this that or the other forum" - I say "Bollocks" unless the thread author has said "these are left to right pack RSH11, 12 and  ARSE13" I'm left only slightly less in the dark when the choices are so vast.

All in all, frustrations and false starts turning what was meant to be fun into a morass of futility. You can only compromise your vision so far...... Hopefully Rolf's new 70's-80's Russians in body armour (with covered helmets) will reignite the spark when they are moulded next month. If not, Im calling it quits on Alcovia in 20mm, cutting my losses and moving to 28's.