A History

It’s no secret I’ve been fascinated with the STALKER game setting since ‘Shadow of Chernobyl’ released back in 2007. 30 sq km around the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor site reproduced for a single-player, first person shooter/survival/horror sandbox game, S:SoC was quirky and buggy as hell but it was also moody, atmospheric, smoldering, dangerous, and downright different than any other PC game I’d ever played. When that first bank of clouds shadowed across the open field with the dogs barking in the distance, I was hooked. I confess I lost days of productivity wandering around the Exclusion Zone.

As a miniature war gamer for over 40 years, I immediately wanted to translate that to the table top and my first thought was where to find appropriate figures. What company makes modern Russians in foul-weather uniforms with motley body armor and haz-mat gear?

This was my first attempt at STALKER figs. RAFM USX Heroes with assorted spare bitz.

After my first attempt with RAFM Terrorists, I shifted to modifying The Assault Group’s Modern Russians and Viet Cong with Pig Iron Production’s excellent gas mask heads. Much better. I ended up making squads for the major game factions.

Add abandoned buildings and derelict light industrial terrain, and I had a reasonable facsimile for the gaming table. Then along came Lead Adventure Miniatures ‘Last Project’ range and the mini-wargamer in me near fainted from joy.

Sculptor Igor Karpov absolutely nailed the gritty aesthetic for both the STALKER and METRO 2033 settings. I snatched up the entire line and set to painting.

You’d think I’d be content now, right?

Thing was, there were more Modern Russians lines from different manufacturers and the Pig Iron Productions head sprues being perfect for modifications, I had to keep experimenting. Eureka, Empress, and Pig Iron miniatures all got ‘recapitated’ at some point or another.

I’m still at it, this time making a crew for my ZONA ALFA missions. I’m back with The Assault Group figs, this time with Ash Waste heads from MaxMini.

I add in bits from GW’s Necromunda gangs and put them on 32mm MDF bases. (More scenics and easier to pick up.)

One of the ZONA ALFA game factions is a military division tasked with Zone security, (patrolling the Cordon, protecting scientists and official researchers, smuggling goods, artifacts, and weapons, assisting illegal excursions, etc…) To that end, I backed a Radio DishDash Publishing Kickstarter for some very nice Modern Russians to act as my Zone Enforcement Troops.

There’s more in the pipeline too. I’ve got a nice box of Footsore Miniatures Ukrainian Conflict figs and some Tiny Terrain Chechen War (both sculpted by Igor K) that I suspect will end up signing on to crews risking the Zone.

That’s it for now. Game on and have an excellent day.

ps. if you need any spare heads…

14 responses to “ZONA ALFA crews”

  1. Those all look really great. Especially the shambling “zomb”rades. I have a lot of the Risk figures from Battlefront, and Axis & Allies & Zombies for 20 mm figs initially. Some decent card terrain tiles as well. Looking forward to the January Release! Neil aka Brother Gunn on BGG

    1. Thanks Neil. I’ll have to look into Risk Battlefront figs now. Post some pictures of your games when you get a chance.

  2. Looking really good, I love it when a proje

  3. Looking really good, I love it when a project just keeps on growing and going. Really like your use of minis from a wide variety of manufacturers! Sorry for the double comment, that’ll teach me not to use a phone.

    1. no problem. And mix-n-match is half the fun. I get a kick out of finding figs that work together from different companies.

  4. Inspiring stuff- love it. Am working on my 20mm collection for the game.



    1. Nice. There are some 1/72 plastic sets out there, right? As well as a bunch of diecast vehicles. Post pictures when you start getting things together. I’d love to see them.

      1. Some of the first bits here from the plastic set: https://spprojectblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/18/from-the-shed-bits-and-pieces-ww2-science-fiction-and-terrain/ look us the Russian tags or Chechnya to see my collection of Soviet/ Russian stuff.



  5. Great write up and overview. Always enjoy seeing your figures in the very atmospheric terrain.

    1. Both STALKER and METRO have very distinct aesthetics and I do try to capture that. But there are other Zones in different regions of the world and I’m very interested to see what other people come up with.

  6. Pete, those look great, esp for 1/72 plastics.

  7. Norman D. Landings Avatar
    Norman D. Landings

    Hi Stalker – fellow Zone fanatic here, posting to congratulate you on a tremendous project.
    I did a four-day tour of the Exclusion Zone in 2018 with ChernobylWELcome: highly recommended!
    Two things that struck me about the terrain there:
    1: It’s flat – and I mean FLAT. The high bluffs that separate the different map areas in the game? Just not there IRL. From a high vantage point (like the ‘Russian Woodpecker’) you can see forever.
    2: Every open space is covered with thick scrub & young-growth trees. Roadways, paved areas, spaces between buildings – all choked with dense brush, and you have to pick your way through.
    Man stopped building: nature never did!

    1. Nice. Thanks for the kind words and the info.
      It would be fascinating to visit there someday. Someday…
      You take pictures? It’s not like Zona Alfa is a direct translation or realistic tactical simulation, but I’m sure people would appreciate them for mood and table top terrain inspiration.
      Happy Thanksgiving and good hunting, STALKER.

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