Last flight from Kabul

Legal disclaimer: After consulting with both MoD and NATO sources, all unclassified official reports conclude that nothing of what you are about to see... ever happened.


During the events of the evacuation of Kabul International Airport, chaos engulfed the whole country. Western nations were trying their best to evacuate their personnel, Afghan interpreters and other workers, as well as their families if possible. But not everyone could easily reach the airport compound. Embassies were contacting the local workers in order to ID them and their families and grant them pass through the checkpoints. But to achieve that, they had to reach Kabul first...


Three men were standing on the landing track while the monstrous plane behind them was getting ready to flight again. The lights of the airport made the night even more menacing, if that was possible.

- Tell him about the missing one- the Ambassador asked his assistant.

- All the workers in the area are identified -he responded- and we know they are outside the checkpoint. They all managed to reach Kabul. All but one. Habibullah Dustarrah, "Javi", the interpreter. Apparently his little brother was kind of an activist and the Taliban executed him just yesterday. They caught Javi last evening and will most likely execute him anytime soon.

-You see the situation? -the Ambassador asked to the soldier.

- Hm-m -he grunted-. What intel do we have on the place he's under custody?

- Last phone signal placed him right here -the assitant pointed some place on a map. An unpronounceable village kind of ten or twelve miles from where they were- apparently he had tucked a phone away and was able to give me a location. We lost contact six hours ago. We believe he will be executed in the morning.

The soldier looked around at the night and checked his watch. A few hours until dawn.

- If we're doing this, it has to be done now -he finally grunted.

- We know, Captain.

- I've been talking to the people in charge of the airport here. You get me clearance for the op from the Minister, I can get a helo, if you fill the paperwork.

- Consider it done, Captain -the ambassador was anxious to get things done.

- Right. I can't compromise more than a fire team. Well trained veteran spec ops team. Should be enough.

- I'll take what you give me -answered the Ambassador.

- Right, sir. You get the Minister on the phone and do your thing. You coming with me -the Captain told the Ambassador's assistant- with all the info available. We're briefing my team. We're against the clock.


Before dawn came, the helicopter left the spec ops fire team far enough from the village to remain undetected. The five men would have to move fast. They got to the coordinates with the first lights of the day. It was nothing else than a few huts. A couple of armed guards and a pick-up in front of a door gave the place away.

- OK, guys, you see? That's the place. Everyone knows what to do?

- Yes, Sarge.

- Let's go then. Move!


This puny story is my excuse to play a game of Skirmish Sangin. It had been truly a long time since I last played, and the current events of these days provided me the perfect frame for a tiny game.

The fire team will try to get to the hut, rescue the interpreter and leave the board on the same point where they entered from. The Taliban guards will start the game unaware of the menace.

Spec Ops team on the right of the pic, will have to move quickly

First of all, please excuse the three buildings on the left. I was planning to paint them properly, but I had this little window of opportunity for a game with no prior notice, so I rushed it all and just glued and primed them.

I won't be detailing the game, as I already did here (with a bunch of monochrome pics like these of today!), so I'll just tell the story as it unfolds.

Ready for action?

Go, go, go!

The team moves stealthy

Guards fail to spot the quick movement

Things are going smoothly so long...

The team splits. Master Sergeant Martin will lead the rescue team while Pvt Lopez and Pvt Silva get to that roof to give support fire.

Pvt Sanz gets ready to cook a smoke grenade...

I had forgotten this. Skirmish Sangin is the Rogue Trader of modern warfare gaming

I mean it. There are charts for kind of everything

The grenade kicks the ground. Gaming wise the whole plaza is covered in smoke, limiting LoS for 6 rounds

Time to move!

Even at this range, Hakim misses his shot

Hakim is taken down while everybody runs

A second Taliban, Molla, is badly injured

Zabiulah shots Lopez, but misses

This is getting really nasty

If we had a drone, this would be what we could see

Despite the risk, MSG Martin decides to storm the hut, or else they can get pinned down on that corner.

The Taliban moral is falling down, so it was a calculated risk

Pvt Sanz stays on the door while MSG Martin and Pvt Aguirre confront the guard inside

Out! We have our man! Get outta here!

The shooting is intense, but no one gets injured during some rounds

You can see I'm getting into no detail at all, but trust me, this game deals with a lot of details. A lot. The alternate activation system is probably one of the best things of the game, but you do have to micromanage everything quite well and get sure you have each character perfectly identified.

Things were going incredibly well for the operation, but that can change any moment...

Reinforcements! They have a RPG!

At this point I took the fallen guys out of the table, just to get things easier

Ouch, this is going to hurt...

It misses and luckily hits the corner of the building. However, Silva and Aguirre get injured

Light wounds for both, these are the consequences

No one is left behind

They help their comrades while the interpreter is escorted out of the village

We're almost out. Keep formation!

Mission accomplished! Now get to the chopper! Wait, where did I hear that before?...

Well, you can see things were too smooth at the beginning, with the initial assault being incredibly successful, and then how suddenly everything changed. I have to say I didn't plan a symmetrical scenario at all. The stats of the spec ops team were absolutely decisive during all the game, and less veteran troops would have most probably failed. I'm pretty sure I did some things wrong during the game, but in the end it was enormously fun and the narrative kept coherent, which was my aim over all other considerations.

On a more serious tone, this is but a game, but I do hope (more a wish than a hope) the evacuation of Kabul ends well. All the best for the people on the ground (or in the air).



 Coming back to this game from this post (April?? Seriously? Man , I have a problem). I have painted the Aliens, which seemed the easiest way to move forward on this project. Sure, thery were a lot (my pal's game and my own), but they are the easiest to paint, compared to the rest of the minis.

I'm showing the basic steps I took. I'm using the Drones as an example for my technique.

I have an issue with those tails

The minis are great. The sculpt is wonderful and are pretty nicely casted. BUT the tails are quite a pain in the ass. They come separated, so you have to glue them. No need to say it's a tricky thing, having just one single, tiny anchor point. Besides, the tails I was provided with were as you see above, quite unrolled. A couple of attempts of bending a tail with hot water ended in broken pieces, so I didn't insist and glued them as they were. As you can see, the effect is... well, odd.

Whatever, I'll show you the thre easy steps to paint these.

Black priming (Oh, you don't say)

Highlights using Boltgun Metal (or whatever it's called nowadays)

A final generous wash of Nuln Oil, but the glossy variant

 This was quite a random discovery. I had never used Nuln before, and I was curious about it. But I made a mistake when I got it, and bought the glossy one. I wasn't satisfied, but then this project popped up and I knew these minis were perfect. I mean, the metallic highlights were not enough, but a gloss varnish would have been too much. However, this Nuln thing has quite an oily finish that is simply fantastic for the Aliens.

My pal got some 3D printed bases. At first I thought of wonderful Sulaco bases by Fenris Games, but Brexit issues and stuff made it quite... unadvisable. Fuck Brexit.

So my pal provided me all the bases we both were needing for the whole game. I left any other thing I was doing and painted them. Trust me, quite a tedious, repetitive  thing to do (and it means something coming from me; remember, I'm the guy who painted three Firefly games at a time, for example: Part 1 Part 2). Here you can make an idea of the size of this project.

OK, that's easy, isn't it? Just prime and ink them...

 Well, not exactly. You know me. Please look closer...

32, 40 and 80mm bases

Of course they all have hazard stripes, warning signs (generic warning, high tension or flammable signs) and the pipes underneath are coloured in red, green or yellow, so they have that industrial vibe from the movies. Once again the Nuln Oil proved to be great, I like that oily effect on the floors.

So just to complete the WIP pics series

 There are three kind of basic Aliens:

Drones, Warriors, Stalkers

 My pal's and mines:




Once again you can confirm I cannot take decent pics for the sake of my life. Take my word, the minis in the group pics are just the same than in the individual examples you've just seen.


The special features:

The Royal Guard


Crusher (that's a 80mm base!)

Of course, the Queen

 These are the two hives combined:

Buuuugs! Ehm, oops, that's from another movie

These are not all the Aliens in the project, but certainly most of them. I have a few more, but they are special minis from the Kickstarter campaign or stuff like that, i.e., minis with their own bases. I only painted those which needed these 3D printed ones. I think I'll leave those special ones for the end and I'll be painting the basic models, both the Predators and the Colonial Marines. I hope I can show them anytime soon!