Sunday, February 14, 2016


About two months ago I was honored to learn Rolf had made a pack miniatures named with my forum username (Kestrelia) and was sending me a free pack of such miniatures. I put them high up in my painting queue (i.e. two months). I was a bit slowed down last week and couldn't finish them when I wanted to because of a work trip to LA, but here they are. I painted them straight out of the pack except for a few pockets here and there that I trimmed off to look more civilian. Fortunately during my trip I was able to read a bunch and pretend that the palm trees were actually Abkhazian. The pack consists of guys with tanker hats and guys with peaked forage caps (also called furazkhas). Both of sets of headgear are proto-typical for my period. I suppose the tanker hat is fairly uncommon, but a few more can't hurt. The forage cap is extremely common for Georgian troops and Russian troops during the warmer months in Chechnya (Abkhazians and Chechen rebels sometimes wore them as well). Humorously after painting one forage cap with KLMK camouflage (green/white) I noticed under magnification that my picture showed a guy wearing a KLMK face mask, not a cap. Oh well. I found a picture of such a hat in a book I have and so now I feel OK about it. It looks cool anyway. It was also fun to paint a blue-speckled ammunition rig I found a picture of (I would have guessed it was a one-off, but I found several examples). It looks more suitable for a girl's backpack - can't wait to paint a similar pink one I have a picture of too.





1993: Georgian forces load AFV.

Opposition forces in Tbilisi (December 27th, 1991).

Chechen rebels sitting around fire in Grozy, January 16th, 1995.

December 25th, 1991: opposition fighters in Tbilisi.

Abkhazian fighters in Sukhumi (September, 1992).

Georgian volunteer near Sukhumi (October 12th, 1992).

November 11th, 1992: Abkhazian militia man front lines.

1993: Abkhazian soldier in Sukhumi.

October 19th, 1993: Pro-government volunteer in Western Georgia.

Chechen rebels grieving the loss of a comrade in Grozny (January 13th, 1995).

Chechen fighters having a smoke in Gudermes (March, 1995).

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Small Corner of Hell

At lunch today I finished reading my second book by Anna Politkovskaya, A Small Corner of Hell:Dispatches from Chechnya. Like the first book of hers that I read, Dirty War, this book is composed of material originally written for the Russian newspaper for whom she worked at the time. Unlike Dirty War, however, this book was less disjointed. The book roughly details the chaos of early Second Chechen War (especially the frequent purges), how this chaos has spread, how corrupt the war has become, why many participants in the war want it to continue and finally whose really fighting the war and whose leading those men. At this point in my Chechen studies I don't need to be convinced how corrupt the war became or how brutal the situation was/is so I found those parts dragged. I did, however, enjoy reading about the relationships between Maskhadov and the Chechen field commanders. Her interviews with the then president of Ingushetia and Maskhadov's ambassador were also enlightening. Until I read this book I didn't have a good sense of what was being fought for in the 2001-2003 period and did't understand how Maskahdov and his associates saw the future. To me Politkovskaya's first two books are essential reading for an understanding of the early insurgency period of the Second Chechen War, I just can't decide which I'd recommend more.