Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Mighty Canadian Moose

My latest purchase from Pulp Figures included this rather large moose.  It's a big model, it was quite intimidating to start but I was quite pleased with the result after base coat and dry brush.

Afghan Hand Cart

My last purchase from Eureka Miniatures included a brand new goat cart. I assembled it with the little goat, but it just wasn't credible to me.  However, a quick substitution and I now have a nice little hand cart!

I also painted a dog.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Afghan mule cart

This latest addition is a mule cart from Eureka Miniatures.  It's brand spanking new, not even in the catalogue yet!

Horse and mule drawn carts are still common in Afghanistan.  In a country where muted colours are common, these carts stand out as the horses tend to be decorated with brightly coloured pompoms, tassels or ribbons.  I've tried to reflect the fondness for bright colours with this paint job.

The cart comes with a chap to lead the mule but I've substituted a seated driver as no self-respecting Afghan would walk alongside a cart when he could ride!

Sooner or later I'll come up with cargo for the cart but for now the driver is sufficient for me.


Nah, probably shouldn't go there.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Vladimir Trunkov

Based on a recommendation from the Lead Adventure Forum, I've been keeping an eye out for die cast cars from the Pixar Cars films, as the models are pretty close to 1/55 in scale, and are thus well-suited to my 28mm figures.  Many of the vehicles are race cars, or obviously American (so unlikely to be encountered in Central or South Asia!), or are otherwise unsuitable.  However, I just scored a great one here with Vladimir Trunkov.

My first impression of Vladimir was that he had the smooth lines and elegant styling of a Lada, but a quick visit to the Cars wiki revealed that he is actually based on a Zhaporozhets.  I'd never heard of Zaporozhets before, but my wife assured me that these vehicles are renowned throughout Russia for their fine looks and mechanical reliability.

The Cars cars come with a sort of mouth moulded on to the front of the vehicle, so I used some modelling putty to fashion a radiator grill over top.  The rest of the conversion is just the painting.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Afghan Border Police

Whenever the ANP are mentioned, there is a tendency to add in a description of just what a rotten group they tend to be:
  • The ANP recruits are not just conscripts, but conscripts that lack the ability to dodge service in a better part of government or to simply desert and return home. 
  • ANP are corrupt and shake down local villagers for food and money, which is closely tied to the tendency for ANP not to get paid, as the higher ranks withhold pay or divert it to their own use. 
  • Many (most?) ANP recruits are illiterate, so enforcing laws or rules becomes arbitrary and irregular since they are not following a specific written set of laws. 
  • ANP members tend to be sent to serve in a different part of the country than their home district.  This creates a concern as often the ANP members won't even speak the language of the district where they are serving:  they end up being as alien to the local population as the international ISAF or OEF forces. 

Corruption within the ANP ends up reflecting poorly on the Government of Afghanistan as the ANP is the most visible element of government presence.  A corrupt police force reinforces a negative perception of the government, which provides the Taliban with moral force which a less corrupt police force could negate.  Just look at the discussions in Canada and the USA about police powers (for example, police tactics at G20 in Toronto or Black Lives Matter), and then magnify that by putting the police in the middle of the Afghan insurgency.  If people can't trust the cops, can they trust the government?  And in turn, bad cops just provide the insurgency with greater moral authority.

At any rate, my first AGF recruits turned out to be ANP.  Since I've finished them, the insurgency has received many more recruits, and I realized I needed a few more AGF types to give the poor ANP a chance.  So in my latest order to Eureka, I added in another dozen ANP with helmets, and to further distinguish them I decided to paint them as Afghan Border Police.  The Border Police are a slight variation on the ANP.  They tend to be recruited more on a tribal basis and serve in their home districts.  They are bound to each other by ties of kinship and are familiar with the border areas that they patrol. 

They also wear camouflage that looks a bit like the chocolate chip pattern used by US forces in the First Gulf War, so I had a chance to paint something a little different!

A group shot

RPG troopers

With their ANP comrades in arms

And finally, the combined AGF to date!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Trumpeter Salute 2016

A funny thing happened this weekend.  I'd been waiting for months for the annual Trumpeter Salute wargame convention.  I knew I couldn't attend the whole weekend, so I had determined some time ago that I'd only go for the Saturday morning session.  I got up in the morning, headed out the door to the Bonsor Community Centre, paid my fee and explored the hall.  I visited the vendors, purchased far too many packs from Bob Murch of Pulp Figures (considering that I haven't painted everything that I got from him last year!), had a short chat with Brian and Bruce with whom I used to game in Victoria and looked at the setups for the upcoming games.  These all showed the great care, love and attention that the GMs had put into getting them ready for the convention:

Giant stompy robot game:

Air racing game:
Cameron's WWII in Normandy game:
Age of Reason battle:
MiGs vs Tomcats
Foreign Legion vs Arabs:
Time Travellers trying to escape Tattooine:

Battle of Cannae:
WWI balloon busting:
Formula Dé:
And WWII naval battle:

But after spending a half hour wandering the con, all I really wanted to do on a lovely spring morning was spend time with the people I love most in the whole world.

So I did.