This is my first personal foray into moderns and it was influenced by Sebastian Junger's incredible book "War" which details his experiences in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan as an embedded reporter. It's probably some of the finest war reporting since reading Michael Herr's "Dispatches" back in the 1980's.
For a ruleset I've chosen Skirmish Sangin by Radio Dishdash publishing (http://www.skirmishsangin.com/). The reason for this is that the conflict lends itself excellently to low level skirmish gaming, with small squads and irregular forces etc. Also I liked the narrative role playing aspect that Skirmish Sangin promotes. At the time I was not aware that Too Fat Lardies were bringing out a modern day expansion rulebook for Chain of Command called Fighting Season. So I'll be checking that out at some point too.
The Empress Miniatures figures are absolutely lovely. Very well proportioned and excellently sculpted. When it came to a painting scheme I watched a couple of highly informative documentaries on Youtube that followed the Taliban side of the fighting one of which is called "Behind the Taliban Mask - The Other Side of Afghanistan's Front Line". You can find it here: https://youtu.be/5OI8Y0jjM0k
I was surprised that the so-called Taliban uniform isn't the stereotypical black turbans, black eyeliner etc etc. Instead it was a mixture of many styles and colours which included both civilian wear and military clothing. This is great from a painter's perspective because you can make each figure unique.
I started with a black undercoat and then applied the base coat with a brown inkwash over the top. Once dry I highlighted in the same colours. I'd considered foregoing the inkwash completely and doing layers of highlights, but once I'd tried this on a sample figure I felt it was way too bright and lacked a certain earthy, realistic feel that I wanted from my fighters.
I've currently got a few more packs on order, including some US, British and Australian forces. So watch this space for more updates!