Building armies for AK47 part 2–Individualising your forces
As I discussed in a previous posting it’s really quite easy to put together a collection of models that will enable you to put together any of the different forces you can use in AK47 Republic. That#’s OK and it gives you a lot of flexibility, but I really like my forces to have their own character and be different to those fielded by anyone else. And I’m not the only one who feels like that, over the years I’ve met (or read about) many other players of the game who feel exactly the same.
When I’m individualising my own forces I want two things, a backstory and some unique models n what you could call signature units.
The People’s Army of Ztumsia (PAZ) – a Dictatorship
Headed by President for Life “Papa Deek” Donunga the PAZ are descended from one faction of the revolutionary popular front which fought against colonial rule for many years. Immediately after independence the forces that had won the war for independence fractured along tribal lines and the country split in two halves, divided along tribal lines. One half is now called Ztumsia, the other half, Setumsia (the different spellings is a source of some conflict between the tribes). For a couple of years the two new countries were at war with Donunga falling out with his long time friend and co-leader of the revolutionary forces, “DaDa” Ngobi, now President of Setumsia. But recently the two dictators have formed an alliance after deciding that their interests would be best served if they focused their efforts on overcoming common enemies rather than on fighting each other.
Special Armed Police Service (SAPS)
Such is the President’s paranoia (he particularly distrusts most of his army commanders) that he has established an extensive police force under the command his brother Desmond Donunga.. The SAPS are the most visible sign of their power in the country but Ztumsia is also home to large numbers of plainclothes and secret policemen. The SAPS have access to some of the weapons used by the regular army and some are equipped as mechanised infantry. Though some of their vehicles are non-standard, they use Panhard Armoured cars for example, and all their vehicles are painted dark blue rather than camouflaged.
The army’s jealousy of the SAPS is legendary and this, along with other political considerations, has prevented them being allowed to field tanks. Desmond Donunga is intensely irritated by this and has been scheming for years to get his hands on some operational tanks. The SAPS regularly scavenge destroyed tanks from the battlefield and are rumoured to be trying to assemble a complete one from the bits.
Young Leith Away Team
You may have seen pictures of African militiamen wearing replica football strips, well this lot have taken it to an extreme and all wear the strip of Hibernian FC, a not particularly distinguished team from Edinburgh (and which I’ve supported since childhood, for my sins). Their main claim to fame is that they own what they think is the worlds only monster truck technical. They have it given the name of Big Bessie.
You can read more about PAZ on the AK47 Ztum Setum blog, an updated version of a website I put together for a club campaign back in the early 2000s.
WARTZ Army – Settlers
Colonial Powers or Settlers are possibly the easiest forces to individualise. If you just go along with the stereotype they’re likely to have units of white troops and could very well be supplied with kit by the current or former colonial power. That’s certainly the approach I took with with mine, the Army of the West African Republic of Trans-Zetumsia is very well supplied with (slightly old) British equipment – Chieftian tanks, Saladin Armoured Cars and Saracen APCs.
It’s a small but elite force with settler professionals backed up by regulars drawn from the native population. You can read more about the WARTZ Army on the AK47 Ztum Setum blog.
Zits Old Guard (ZOG) – a Religious Movement.
The backstory here comes from one of the most enjoyable events in the course of our long running campaign. For much of the campaign we often played two on two games and I often partnered a fellow dictator (see above) against players with a Religious Front (Ztumsian Tribal Spiritualists or ZITS) and a security force working for Petramco, an international company with interests in the area. I had a lot of fun producing a campaign newsletter, which was full of scurrilous propaganda saying that the ZITS had sold out to the foreign company and that the whole thing was a front for the drugs trade.
The other dictatorship player and I decided that we would create a breakaway religious front and painted up two complete religious forces without telling anyone about them. The look on our opponents faces when we turned up with our ZOGs forces when they were expecting the normal dictatorships was well worth all the effort.
The inspiration for our hard core religious fundamentalists came from the Peter Pig naked militia figures, the Chimbu Skeleton Dancers from New Guinea, and from my memory of a film with mostly naked African warriors with war paint skeletons. The film was probably Lost World, the 1992 TV remake, and if you’re interested you can find it on YouTube (look at 1 min 35 seconds here) We called these troops Ghost Warriors and use them for all the militia troops that make up the majority of a Religious force.
I’ve really got to do some heavy weapons and RPGs with crew wearing the warpaint sometime, but I do have technicals with appropriate crew.
The ZOGs use all sorts of old equipment including WWII era trucks and T34 tanks. Nobody want to sell any modern weaponry to this bunch.
You can read more about the ZOGs on the AK47 Ztum Setum blog.
You might find more inspiration for personalising AK47 Republic forces if you look at the warring factions in our old campaign. There’s all sorts there.