A Return to Chernobyl: Zona Alfa returns to the Blog!

Gasmask filters, a worn but trusty MP5, and a reliable camera. All of these are useful to document the Zone.

It’ has been far too long since I last talked about Zona Alfa. It is a game I really enjoy playing, but other games came in and stole its attention. This, combined with the simple logistics of forgetting all your Zona Alfa stuff in a Clubhouse located an hour away from you…when you don’t drive, made it difficult to work on stuff for it.

While I was away from the Zona Alfa hobby, a book dropped called Kontraband: More Salvage and Survival. This is an update by Patrick Todoroff, the author of Zona Alfa, but published outside of Osprey. It’s focus on co-op and solo play was very intriguing. As my Clubhouse tended to play Zona Alfa very cooperatively anyway(none of us wanted to break the truce and start a blood feud) this was very much right up our alley.

It focuses as well on the Deep Zone, an area of the Exclusion Zone closer to the centre, where the best loot, and most danger, lurk. For people playing in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone(where the author heavily implies is the ‘canon’ zone), we are talking Pripyat and the Reactor area. You get much better gear, better trained men/women to send in, and more wounds. In return you have much more dangerous Zone Hostiles, permadeath, and most intriguingly, you must live off the land, as you are too far from the Stalls to purchase equipment.

The author states that this is a toolkit, and I will probably tweak it with my friends to create our own unique Zone experience, but the basic adjustments to the rules are excellent. I don’t do much Solo-play, but once my gaming shed is ready I will certainly give it a go!

Of course, my Zone Rats crew is ready to go…but I wanted to enter the Stalker 7 Facebook page contest for a new crew, and was inspired by that to crank out some more Lead Adventure miniatures. I chose this time some heavily armed and well protected Military looking types. As a fan of the STALKER games, they really reminded me of Duty, a faction that sees itself as ‘fighting’ the Zone, killing dangerous mutants, bandits, etc. Clad in black uniforms with red accents, they cut a mean figure.

Lets see what I did!

The finished Crew standing in front of an abandoned Ukrainian army BRDM. These are really detailed, chunky, metal sculpts. They were a blast to paint, and really come to life with some colour. Sadly these sculpts are next to impossible to find now.
The bases really bring some “Zone Life” into the otherwise rather drab models.
The crew prepare to engage a vicious beast from the Deep Zone. Showcased well here is the deep detail that takes a wash really nicely.

These three photos I used for my contest entry, so naturally they are a bit fancier then my usual painting table pictures. But I will show off a few from there as well!

In more harsh painting light! The crew took half a day to paint, but weren’t particularly hard to do.
The leader, a Scientist named “Genius” Glushko. I wasn’t originally going to bring him, but he’s got such a cool pose…Glushko is a new member to Duty, coming from the Ukrainian science group in the Zone. His job is both to act as guide and to collect data on Anomalies to find a way to counter them. Doesn’t play well with others.
“Spare” Andropov is a young, confident Stalker. He’s made a name for himself quickly, and Duty snatched him up from the Free Stalkers rather quickly. While he could have traded his old AKM for something newer, he prefers the old dinosaur as it has been reliable and has saved his life many times.
“British” Cunningham is unusual for being a foreign Stalker. Ex-British Army, he ventured to the Zone to make money and to avoid a boring peacetime military. He speaks very good Russian, and has been accepted by Duty since he clearly knows his trade.
“Brutus” Makeyev is sometimes known less for his physique and more for his utter lack of peripheral vision. He wears both a Gas-Mask and a Altyn helmet, both known for restrictive vision. Still, he likes the protection offered by both, and somehow functions pretty well. His tricked out AK-74 is the envy of many in Duty.

I’m keen to try a game of Kontraband, with all its shiny new rules. I have some cool Zone Hostiles I’m working on.

Also on the docket for later is the first additions to my Canadian Zone idea. I have primed a few Full Battle Rattle Miniatures 28mm Modern Canadians, and will be attempting to replicate loosely the new Multi-Terrain Cadpat camouflage now being issued on a trial basis.

One of the Canadian Military Stalkers. Sadly, the delicate front sight has broken off. I don’t know how to fix that without just replacing the whole weapon.
Another Canadian Army Stalker, this time with a C6 GPMG. This is a cool, stoic pose.
A signals trooper is reporting a Mutant sighting to Cordon Command.
This Minesweeper will be repurposed as an Anomaly Detector.

Right, cause this looks doable in 28mm…

I have worked out some of the main factions for that Zone:

The Great Lakes Smugglers: Americans that supply arms to the Canadian Zone, often over the lakes as they aren’t patrolled as well since the Zone became active. They are heavily armed, but mainly seek profit, not territory.

The Canadian Cordon Task Force: A Canadian military task force that includes local Reservists and Active Service soldiers, who do tours of duty manning the Cordon wall and also delve into the Zone occasionally on Government business. Poorly funded, they however do have previous Zone experience, as some of them aided the Ukrainian Army Cordon Force, when the Canadian military was training their army. Military Stalkers may be rare, but they are professional. Unlike the Ukrainian Zone, licensed Stalkers are allowed to delve into the Bruce Nuclear Zone, so often they won’t shoot on site.

The Mercenaries: Hired by various international firms, now that the Canadian Zone is confirmed to have artifacts with health related benefits. The Mercenaries are mostly their legally, having legal Stalker status given by the Federal government. They can vary from professionals there to do a job, to amoral guns for hire, simply there for the thrill.

The Left Behinders: A group of locals that have refused to leave, and have established a local government to function. Most hire out their services as guides for Mercs and Government forces, but few simply go about their business like nothing has happened.

The Christian Front: A group of religious zealots who believe the end times are upon them, and fight almost everyone with equal vigor. Dangerous, but don’t have the numbers or weapons to pose a threat as a whole, just to smaller groups of stalkers.

The Bruce Power Security Force: Once one of Canada’s best equipped police forces, the Bruce Power Security Force have been mysteriously brainwashed during the “Blip”. Extremely dangerous, and cannot be reasoned with. They guard the power plant with fanatical intent.

File:Bruce Nuclear Generating Station From Plane.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
There is a lot of Zone that can be done here, speaking as a local.

In terms of Zone Hostiles, I have two that must show up guaranteed. The first is the vicious Rad-Coon, mutant, radioactive raccoons that travel in large packs. Hyper intelligent, they pose a serious threat if not taken seriously.

The next one is the Zone Bear: mutant Black or Brown bears with horrible skin conditions. While normal bears still exist in the Zone, these Zone Bears have a greater resistance to pain, and can be hard to put down.

In any event, that is all I have for today. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and keep your Bear detector close, and your AK closer!

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