Friday, June 24, 2011

German Engineering for The Battlefield
Hobby Den's New 1/72 Mercedes 260SL

Just a quick nod to Hobby Den for releasing yet more lovely 20mm(1/72) civilian goodness. Adding to their previous truck and SUV releases, they now have a Mercedes 260SL. This can add a bit of variety to any blasted battlefield or to a motor pool for a scenario.

They have also released an armored car which could be worked into militia scenario or even converted to an urban fighting technical.

Both are excellent vehicles and add greater variety to any street-level modern games.

Take care,


Monday, June 20, 2011

Alcovian Forces Muster

Thought you might like to see the growing forces of Alcovia.

 Easy Model BTR 80s
Liberation Miniatures Modern Russians

Mark Griffin painted the Liberation Minis for me. He's a good bloke and I like his style of painting which is perfect for the tabletop. In this instance I asked him to replicate the 'partizan' pattern BDUs but 'larger font' so to speak, so that it can be identifiable on the gaming table. In all,  Mark has painted two platoons and a bunch of militia/rebels for me. The end result is really good and I'm very happy with them.

This allows me to fuss over the two tones of 'flora' pattern I'm slapping on the opposing forces without having to worry about painting the OPFOR before I can get some Red on Red Alcovia gaming in. And of course choice of opposing forces has been made more difficult by Shaun at S&S Models recasting his Motor Rifle troops.

Easy Models Hip from Rolf Hedges

Heather bought the BTRs for me as a gift via an Ebay seller and I subsequently bought the Easy Models Mil 8 Hip helo from Rolf Hedges. Don't need it as such but it's a nice statement piece and pure Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

S&S Models 20mm Lada Riva

Sunday morning is a time we blokes traditionally spend looking after the prize possession on our driveway. So to do all true Alcovians.

S&S Models Lada Riva

Here is S&S Models new Lada Riva Saloon straight out of the packet. A perfect one-piece casting, approximately 24mm wide by 62mm long, with separate metal wheels.

Just turning it over in my hands I love this little fella. It offers so much versatility from piece of urban defilade, to a taxi, police car or getaway for our Bond games; set dressing at a checkpoint and/or a militia command vehicle and run about. Those of you who play Middle East conflict games will find it perfect for Ambush Alley or even AK47. Plus, that classic shape makes the Lada Riva Saloon ideal as a proxy British 'Wayland' in our Winter of 79 and Geezer games.

I'm impressed with thhis versatile little model and will be building up a stock of them to dress my Alcovian tabletop, populate the forecourt of Hav's Motorz and give my militia much needed transport.



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Terrain Lab - Overgrown Hedges

Another quick build here, these hedges were done using scraps or card and styro for the understructure. I painted the styro grey and washed it with a dark brown before dipping the whole affair in loose model foliage. I hot glued a tree into each one to enhance the overgrown look.

Have fun!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Terrain Lab - Garden Patches

My house looks like it belongs in Alcovia.
Lately, I've been working on some light weight terrain while I take the time to score some proper buildings or build them myself, whichever comes first. As I do not like to spend a ton of money and enjoy coming up with my own ways of doing stuff, I decided to dig into the junk drawers and see what was there. The answer? Old pizza box liners.

Oddly enough, you can keep this stuff around without attracting flies and the corrugated finish has a number of uses from cheap Spanish tile roofing, to corrugated iron, and now garden patches. The process is relatively simple, though you can layer it on as much as you like and to whatever final effect you want -

  1. Cut corrugated pizza box liner paper to desired size.
  2. Round off the corners of the pizza box liner.
  3. Glue liner to stiff card, leaving a modest rim between the edge of the liner and the edge of the card. Make sure to minimize air bubbles and rippling in and under the liner. I used hot glue as it gives and instant result. Any unsightly ripples or air pockets can be taken care of by slitting the liner and then gluing it down. This has an added benefit of causing some nice irregularities in the relatively uniform corrugation.
  4. Round off the corners of the card and cut little irregularities into the straight edges. You want the patch to be pretty much rectangular, but not mathematically perfect.
  5. Build up a raised rim in the space between the edge of the liner and the edge of the card. I used hot glue again as it produced an irregular finish and hardened/dried quickly.
  6. Coat the entire piece in white glue. Make sure to brush the glue along the furrows so as not to mute the detail too much but at the same time, don't be too uniform.
  7. Dip the whole thing in fine grit and let dry.
  8. Once the grit is dry, paint the whole thing with whatever color ground you feel is best. The paint will dry irregularly because of the sand and may require multiple coats. Let mostly dry.
  9. When the earth color is mostly dry, run a fresh coat around the raised rim of the garden patch and dip the whole thing in flocking or turf. The idea is to get an almost uniform covering on the rim, with just  few stray patches in the furrows.
  10. Apply two coats of spray sealer to affix the flocking.

The above steps will produce a very basic garden patch that is good for unplanted or fallow ground. the irregularities in the paint and the flocking make it almost unnecessary to dry brush or shade. I did try brushing some dark brown ink over some of the patches that wouldn't darken up enough, but it looked fine without.

If you wanted to make the garden more or less "alive" you can add plants and minimize the amount of flocking you allow in the furrows or you can do what I did on one and heavily flock the furrows and then brush them flock around, creating a clotted and disturbed earth effect. More foliage on the furrows could give it a truly overgrown effect. I think I'll try putting some poles and strings in one of them to suggest beans or peas. I have considered adding squash, pumpkins, or other resilient self-starting vegetables in some of them.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How many Alcovian Special Forces can you get in a Jeep?


And on that bombshell, let's look at S&S Models 1/76th scale (20mm) UAZ 469B. Very much 'Top Gear' in it's own right.

S&S UAZ 469B disassembled
Gjergi? He's a Liberation Minis Modern Ruskie

Now, S&S Models normally sells the UAZ with 4 passengers for £8.50 (inc postage to UK). I wanted one purely to use as a prop, sans crew to be used for cover, as an objective for that get quick away by Soap and Price and just general set dressing of HQs, VCPs etc.

Shaun obliged and for around a fiver inc p&p he sent me this tidy, easy to assemble 6 part kit. I know I've said it recently but want to say again, that Shaun is a real gent. He's happy to help where he can and will give you a straight answer with no mucking about. This is important to me.

 S&S UAZ 469B assembled with Blu-tack

Some of you will be aware that I've spent the last three years plus, concentrating on 15mm Sci Fi gaming. I know the manufacturers, the men behind the products and the products themselves, very well. 20mm Moderns were very much a dark room, especially as my initial foray into 20mm Modern resin armour back in the eighties, left me with scars and a heavy dose of reticence about going there again.

It was a real leap of faith buying my first kit from S&S Models this year. And I'm glad to report that I haven't looked back since. The T64Bs in particular are a dream.

OK, that said, what about the kit at hand? The S&S UAZ 469B is a good, solid model designed for wargamers. It looks very much as it should on the tin - instantly says UAZ 469 to me. The wheels have a nice firm methid of being attached to the body making for sturdy construction. There was one small pin hole that needs to be filled and as you can see in the photos a little bit of excess resin to clean.

I quickly assembled the model with a little Blu-tack just to see what it looked like made-up and am pleased with the result. Looking good next to my Liberation Minis OMON sniper I think you'll agree.

S&S Model's catalogues are here if you want to check the latest prices (which include postage and shipping) or just generally browse Shaun's goodies.

Let's see how long it takes me to clean the UAZ and put it together, then I'll blog the results over the next couple of days.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

S&S Models 2011 Catalogue and Lists

I thought it would be helpful to publish S&S Models 2011 catalogues and monthly updates online. I don't know about you, but I just thought it would be easier than scouring my hard drive and also means that I can browse them easily when I'm back at work.

With Shaun's permission you can now access his catalogues using this link in the right hand panel both here on Crisis in Alcovia and on my Winter of 79 blog.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Power of The People
Militias in The Alcovian Civil War

Ethnic Iqeni militia stand for a briefing.
Militias will play a heavy part in my Alcovian games. Though I want to use a lot of Russian-style military hardware, I also have a soft spot for the underdog, heroic freedom fighters, and hardened partisans. To this end I have been thinking about just how militias fit into the Crisis in Alcovia setting.

Given that this is a war between the established government and rebel factions of the military it seems only natural that the lion's share of militia troops will be fighting on the side of the rebels. I had already hinted in the early posts that there is an established Alcovian Liberation Front (ALF) which is a name given to a semi-organized army of militiamen fighting alongside the rebels of the Alcovian People's Army (APA). But the militia movement throughout Alcovia is not entirely under the banner of the thinly legitimized force.

Alcovian militia with surplused rifles
Many militias operate under their own independent command or that of a localized grassroots command structure. Other militias are actually cells of fighters with their own agendas, often backed or even sent by foreign powers in an attempt to destabilize Alcovia or to reap some sort of revenge for past wrongs. Revenge, social outrage, hate, racism and even cold blooded murder are motivators for the common men and women of Alcovia who choose to take up arms in this war.

Covert photo of a militia resupply point. Blankets,
 food, toiletries all delivered by the trash bag full.
Typically militia groups are equipped with widely available arms and equipment. General equipment can purchased from nearly anywhere, from surplus stores, to sporting goods shops, and even the Internet. Most of this is not shipped in and each militiaman is responsible for providing his own. In the absence of true web gear, civilian backpacks even book bags and fanny packs can be pressed into service.

Weapons and more specifically military gear is a more difficult matter. Fatigues and boots are easy enough but communications gear and weapons must often be procured through black market means or supplied by rebel forces supporting local militias. Militias are often relegated to using sporting and personal protection weapons or even improvised arms instead of proper military hardware. Fortunately, Alcovia has never had a prohibition on the personal ownership of weapons classified to have civilian uses so rifles, shotguns and pistols are not hard to find. Still, there is a heavy demand for proper military weapons and so organized crime and foreign supporters are turning a tidy trade during Alcovia's strife.

Neighborhood fighters scuttle to a new position while under fire.
Note the lead man armed with video camera.
During the Alcovian Civil War, most local foreign support for the rebel forces come out of Theogonia to the west and Iqenistan to the east. Each of these nations has its own reasons for wanting to see the Alcovian monarchy fall and have gone out of their way to network support to the militias fighting in the civil war. Other sources of support have also arisen, much of it coming in through agents and clearing houses in Trebizon. These lines of support often follow the usual global agendas - jihad, democracy, communism, etc..

The official government stance on militias is one of fair treatment under the established rules of warfare. What this means in actuality is, that a militia fighter that is fighting under the open and obvious uniform, badge or banner of an established and declared militia or military arm is provided with all the rites and protection the law provides to regular soldiers. As few militias have anything of the sort, they are often allowed little in the way of consideration. Even when a militia is fighting under some sort of recognizable symbol these are often ignored when they can be, a policy overlooked by most commanders as a matter of expedience.

Though not necessarily as effective in battle as trained and well-equipped soldiers, militia do have the advantage of flexibility, invisibility and local knowledge. They are also generally fighting for their own homes and have a motivation that far out classes that of a paid soldier. Even members of the rebel APA cannot match the commitment of militias in some cases, fighting for political agendas and loyalty to their comrades instead of hearth and home.

Friday, June 10, 2011

New Troops for Alcovia

Well I've ditched the Elhiem Afghanistan VDV in helmets - looked like they were wearing potato sacks plus SS covered helmets. Some of the bayonets weren't properly moulded whihc resulted in the foresight on AKs missing. This after my previous order where the figures had a 'drop' cast shiny look, soft details and one of the Americans was missing a leg from knee down. Can't be arsed with them any more.

Good news though is that Shaun at S&S Models is remoulding and re-releasing his 1980's Russian Motor Rifles and will be available for sale shortly. He kindly sent me samples of both and despite these minis being 15 plus years old, the detail of the sculpting is incredibly good. I started sculpting myself this week and these have definitely raised the bar.

The Motor Rifles and VDV are 23mm sole to the eye and are slightly taller than Rolf's Liberation Minis but on a par with Bill's Ultra-Modern Russians at Under Fire Miniatures.

The S&S Motor Rifles ooze character. They have a helmet that could pass for the dome helmet, body armour and in many cases chest rigs. In fact, these guys are perfect fodder for Alcovia.

You can see them 'in action' in The Escape Committee's game here at SALUTE 2011.

S&S Models 'tank/BMP' riders

Shaun is a real gent. Email him at for a full set of pricelists.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Queen of Goats


Irina Hav from Slavikova has been crowned this years Queen of Goats in a star packed ceremony at the world renowned Royale Casino.

In a rags to riches story, Irina. Miss Slavikova 3 years running, was a late entry in the Queen of Goats competition and became the judges favourite following the retiral of Vanka Sleminova, who left precipitously in a shiny new Hi Lux 4x4.

Daughter of successful local motorz dealership entrepreneur Behar Hav, Irina 23, runner up in last year's X Faktor, was delighted, "I'm so delighted, the result is just so PERverse!"

Commenting on the sound of gunfire in the stairwells of the Casino, Poliz Commissioner Methodius commented: "It was just high spirits at the result, we safely escorted the international jury in their brand new Hi-Lux 4x4s, to a champagne reception held in protective custody ".

Police report that they are on the look out for the driver of an Aston Martin DBS seen leaving shortly after the ceremony.

In other news. Lemar Vlostik, star of Goats Do The Funniest Things and juror at last nights Queen of Goats ceremony was tragically found dead today following an accident when he was cleaning his silenced 6P9 pistol.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Dealz At Lucky Hav's Motorz

At Lucky Hav's Motorz today we hav a number of spezkial deals for the discerning gentlemen and Mafiyoszo! So spezkial, they're PERverse!

Ahh yes, I see your eyez is interested in this Hi Lux 4x4. No? You are lucky my friend. Every one is lucky at Lucky Hav's Motorz. I tell you, with this 4x4 you can be head of your own Militaia! All the girls will  think you are a Mafyoszo and you like the ladies?

Come into the office and we will wipe away the blood stains and put filler in the bullet holes straight away....

Aaahhh. You like the Queen? I like the Queen! And that Pip! Oooh that Pip. This was her car, yes! Her car! Land Rover Defender. The nice Mr Soap who sold it to me drove it for her. Even comes with Miss Pip's wellies and Osprey body armour.

I tell you. You will be seen as a man of distinction and your goats will ride in luxury. The envy of all other goats!

A man of business perhaps. OK. I hav just what you want. This Isuzu light truck is perfect run around, even plenty of room in back for girlfriend and goats. With this truck a man can be a transport czar. King of the road. Rubber ducky! No?

Come my friend. Let's talk business.....

Lucky Hav's Motorz Registered Office

Just some of the new fun 20mm civilian vehicles available from HobbyDen that will be coming to Alcovia via Trebizon docks, soon. Lucky Hav's Office is a 20ft ISO Container Office from S&S Models.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wills Kits

Alcovia has made me return to Wills Kits and look at them again in a new light within an Alcovian setting. I'm not going to list all the potential that's available but there is plenty if you look with at them with an Alcovian squint. What I also like about Wills Kits, is that with the exception of the 'Craftsman' range, they generally come in around a fiver and are easy to put togther.

I guess a natural start would be the SS30 Barn. It's fairly reminiscent of some of the rustic barns in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - paint that roof red, or save the roof and replace it with pantiles and hey presto! Don't get all excited about the clobber in the photo - you just get the barn NOT the accessories.

Next up, SS31 Village Forge. Fill that open gap with barn doors and you have an instant barn/bothy. Change the front/rear walls for rendered - add a couple of windows and normal doors and you have a rural Alcovian village house.

I'm even wondering about SS39 Crossing Keepers Cottage as a small Alcovian mosque with a minimum amount of conversion?

Plus there's all sorts of other goodies, such as small bridges and culverts, outhouses, railway huts and shacks, some of which need litte or no conversion for their new setting in Alcovian villages and farms.


Model Making Chat

I was given a opened but unbuilt OO Dapol Booking Hall kit. Looking at it yesterday, I found that the hipped roof is perfect for scratchbuilding another Alcovian residence.

The doors will come in handy and maybe a couple of the windows. Talking windows, I am scratchbuilding some of my own rustic doors, windows and shutters to cast with Oyumaru reusable modelling compound.

I've also made a small forest of Alcovian Birch trees following Eli's guide on I SEE LEAD PEOPLE. Unfortunately, I can't find my hotglue gun so can't stick them to bases. Once I've solved this mini crisis I'll put some photos up.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Housing Fit For The Proletariat

As Principal Mayor Bajnik of Ivic in Slavikova says "with a bungalow, a skoda and a stack of logs, a man is czar of his own goatfarm".

 Dapol C021 Bungalow

I found a great Alcovian residence in the form of this cheap but effective Dapol Bungalow (#021). I bought one on Ebay and it arrived this morning. A gem! Take out that picture window, add a few shutters, a logpile, a catslide extension to regionalise and ring the changes, and I think a couple could make a very nice Alcovian village when mixed with MiniArt's East European Farm.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Novij Boskoj Takedown: AAR

Novij Boskoj has seen better days. Today it is a run down hamlet targetted by the Mafiya as an opportunity to exploit it as a 'redevelopment opportunity' for gullable foreigner investors.

We begin the mission with Codename 'Boris' (Red Tracksuit) looking over the properties with Codename 'Vanya'. Vanya has sent his driver for Vodka  and sausages. Both men are escorted by heavily armed bodyguards.

The Mafiya are unaware of a tip-off that has allowed Narcotica Interventura Field Agent “Parnsijp" and a section of Crisis Brigade Troopers to set up in hides waiting to spring an ambush to lift the elusive Mafiya heads.

Sgt, “A”, Pvt “D” (RPG) and Pvt "E" (SVD) are in woods to NW, position 1
Pvt “F” & “G” are in the woods to NE, position 2
Agent "Parnsijp" , Cpl “B”,  Pvt “C”(RPD) & Pvt “H” are in the hayricks, position 3.
'Soap' McTavish and Capt Price, 22 SAS are in overwatch off table.

Novij Boskoj towards the end of the game.
Casualties all over the shop


The game opens with Agent "Parnsijp" and team making a successful dash to the back of the hamlet. A quick squelch on the radio informs Sgt "A" to use lethal force. An RPG tears into the Merc sports car ripping it to pieces. Meanwhile the sniper with SVD takes out Vanya's bodyguard, callsign "Potatoes", with a clean shot.

Callsign "Meat" shouts a warning as Pvt "C" rounds the corner. Boris makes off across the gardens, with his mobile to his ear. Vanya hesitates, then legs it towards the abandoned ruin (position 4). Pvt "C" shoots at "Meat" with his pistol, knocking him back into the doorway of house 'H'.- but "Meat's" AK winds 2C" who is saved by his flak vest.

Agent "Parnsijp" and Pvt "H" apprehend Boris who's 'Bottle' goes and surrenders immediately but damage is done - help is on the way courtesy of Motorolla. "Vanya" turns to fire but is cut down by a sniper round.

"Meat" fires wildly out of house "H" keeping the Crisis Troopers at bay, when the back door is kicked in by Pvts "F" & "G".... curtains.

At this point a whuppa, whuppa, whuppa can be heard and in true Call of Duty: Modern Warfare style, renegade Alcovian SF in militia pay slide down a rope from a Mil Hip 17 and man position 4 on the table. An almighty gunfight ensues.

Agent "Parnsijp" and Pvt "H" keep Boris safe under cover in the gardens.  Pvts "F" & "G" take cover behind the burning Merc. Sgt "A" and team fire and maneouvre twowards the SF position.

The renegade SF wallop the Crisis Troopers. Private "C" is seriously hit, but remains on his feet. Corporal "B" takes one to the head. Pvts "F" & "G" duck behind the Merc, whilst Pvt "D" with the RPG goes down heavily.

Sgt "A" and Pvt "E" pepper-pot to position 4 and clean out the renegade SF there with a well placed grenade.

At this point, the Vanya's driver reappears with Vodka, sausages and a pile of Mafiya militia he picked up when he heard the gunfire. Of course Maff puts a BMP on the table "worth it for the look on (my) face," before replacing it with a car load of Militia.

Not sure if they can now hold their own Agent "Parnsijp" calls for help from Price and 'Soap' (the deniable sniper team) who emerge from cover to lend a hand. Price calls in HOG 4. 'Soap' lines up the gun run on the back of the hamlet and with sixes all the way, the C-130's 40mm took made "one helluva showreel", taking out the Militia and the car in a single pass.

"Boris" fails his 'bottle' again and offers to "call off the dogs" if he could come to some arrangement. "Parnsijp" being a practical sort of man agreed to an accomodation.

Home in time for a Vodka and sausages tea!


A rip-roaring game that moved at pace that lasted 40 minutes using Cold War '83. It was hosted by Maff and played on a 2 foot diameter light earth playing surface which represented the crisis point of the action and worked far better than having a larger playing surface on which to skulk about wasting time for an hour before any action kicked off.

The figures used were: Mafia & Bodyguards = Platoon 20. Crisis Brigade = Platoon 20 VDV. Price, Soap, Renegade SF & Mafiya Militia = Liberation Minis. Buildings & Hay Ricks by Hovel. Trees by FOW.


Mafiya Boss Arrested in rural Trebizon

Good evening; we interrupt "All New Desperate Alcovian Housewives" with breaking news....

Colonel Mavropoulos of the Narcotina Interventura has just made the following statement:

"I am pleased and honoured to report that Boris Bossiya, the leading figure of the Organised Mafiya in Trebizon has been arrested and is in custody at an undisclosed location. His protegy "Uncle" Vanya Malinov was shot resisting arrest. An NI agent supported, heroically, by members of the Crisis Reaction Brigade, made the arrest in Novij Bokoj late this afternoon. Sadly, Corporal "B" of the CRB was killed in action and three other troopers wounded, one seriously. Two members of the Mafiya were also killed resisting arrest. We are also investigating how a Special Forces from ...... no? I can't say it? These dogs came here and attacked us and I can't say where they came from?? You, from the Ministry, you are a goat. Yes, you! And that mob of Militia - who paid them? Eh? Really? Tell me that again and I'll spit your lie back at you. Hah, anyway, we arrested him, he's singing like a canary. Goodnight."

Local sources are reporting a major firefight in the deserted hamlet. A British tourist, who identified himself as "Birdwatcher A" said, "Yeah, it kicked off big time, loads of AK, RPD even an RPG or two. Those CRB guys really went for it, had too really when that helo of CIS blokes arrived."

Mr Ratvo Molko a local potato farmer also said "I saw this jeep full of militia driving down the road shouting and suddenly the sky, it is full of bullets, big shells! The explosions! It's as if something was firing down from the sky! No more militia, I tell you!"

A picture of an AC130. We can only 
speculate what this picture is telling us.

Mr George Vondos, the President's First Secretary commented, "People say to us, show us Trebizon is tough on crime. This shows we are tough on these Mafiya. You say to me, is Hav safe for business? I say, Hav is serious about being safe for business."

Mr Vondas at the Hav Golf Club