Monday, December 14, 2009

Some More Works in Progress

I spent some time painting this weekend. I think my technique has improved a lot over the past couple years.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Three Elans and a Few New Pictures

First of all, I got some new miniatures last Friday and I started painting immediately (for once). On Sunday, I finished these three Elan ORVs. I'm also working on a platoon of Jackrabbit ATVs and another platoon of straight up infantry. The idea is to reinforce my Eastern Emirate freedom fighters army with both infantry and tanks. These guys will be part of a rapid deployment force.

Second, I reshot some pictures of my older miniatures to post the on the miniature website Coolminiornot. Here are some of the new shots.

You can view my gallery here. Don't forget to vote generously!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Reports of my Death Been Greatly Exagerated

Many things have kept me busy and away from my blog in recent months: work, my lovely wife's pregnancy, and drinking, but I am not dead yet. I have just started getting back into painting after a short break, this time working on my Black Talon army (I love painting stealth Gears: they almost paint themselves) with pictures to follow (hopefully next week).

And, of course, I want to congratulate Unclean, from HeavyGear-France, who won the first edition of the painting competition they had going. I love Unclean's painting style, and I have to say his recent works (a fantastic looking Caprician army, still in-progress) came out even better than his Northern army, which was chosen as the winning entry.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Sorry for the few people who may be following this blog; I somehow thought that having more free time this summer would encourage me to post more often and get some work done on my painting projects, but it turns out having nothing but free time does not encourage productivity very much.

I'm one of those people who need structure to be productive. I'll have to remember never to get a job where I have to work from home...

Something that happened recently though, is that I got my hands on a bunch of Dark Heresy books. I may not like Warhammer 40K as a game, but it makes for a fantastic setting, RPG-wise, and Dark Heresy can best be described as Call of Cthulhu on steroids in the 40K universe.

Given that there are absolutely no players here (none I know, at least), I don't think I'm going to be running any game any time soon, but I'd have to look at the upcoming new edition of the Heavy Gear RPG before I decide what game I'd lean toward.

Dark Heresy got me thinking, though, about the miniature game that I always liked best: Necromunda. Oh, sure, it hasn't been around for a long time now, but in the late 90's, I used to play a lot. Necromunda had a great balance of fast-paced, action packed gameplay and a very strong narrative element where your gang gained experience and exploited the territories it controlled for cash.

Some of my fondest gaming memories are from a campaign I played in with my cousin André and a few others. The crazy thing was that André was always both a good painter and a great terrain builder, so that made for a truly great gaming table. I played Escher, my cousin played Cawdors, as did Karl. Shawn played Delaques. Phil played Scavies and Dom played Spyrers. But the most active players were my cousin and me. Eventually, we also got some Ratskins, but I only remember my cousin playing them once. He lost pretty badly.

One time, I went to my cousin's place and my friend Karl hinted that we'd have a treat for the game that night. When we got in the gaming room, my cousin showed us his latest creation: a ruined cathedral, complete with stained glass windows and frescoes. It was crazy. I wish I had pictures, but that was before anyone had digital cameras

I dug into my old miniatures and I found I still have four whole gangs, with ALL the minis that were available for them: Eschers, Ratskins, Delaques and Spyrers. I also have a few special characters. I stripped them of the old paintjob.

Maybe I'll get around to painting them sometime...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pinning: An Amateurish Demonstration

Someone on the DP9 boards recently asked me if I could show how I pin my miniatures and I readily replied I'd get a tutorial together. A couple of weeks flew by and I finally got around to putting some pictures together.

Since they have so many parts, I think pinning is essential when assembling Heavy Gear Blitz! miniatures. Otherwise, they break or shatter very easily.

Now I have to say a few words first: I'm no professional modeller. Neither am I a pro painter. Take the following with a grain of salt and try things out for yourself. Because you're working with small parts, you have to always use your judgment and be careful so you don't mess up an expensive miniature.

1) Be careful with your hand drill. Use light pressure to create a guiding hole and don't let the tip of your drill move around. I don't know how many guns I've destroyed; thankfully, Blitz! miniatures come with enough spare guns to field a couple small armies.

2) Don't use too much glue. If you're pinning, you want just enough to ensure the pin is solidly in place and keeps the joint solid. Soak any excess glue off with a bit of tissue, so as not to have dried superglue masking off your mini's details.

3) Keep your workspace neat and all you miniature parts in safe compartments so you never throw a Gear's arm with the trash. Yeah, I did that. You can point and laugh now.

First, Separate all the bits. Choose which weapon you're going to use. Remove the basing slot. Clean all mold lines and repair any defect before moving on to the next step. Here, I'm working with an Anolis Gear.

Drill a hole in the middle of the circle in the leg half of the miniature. This is usually not necessary, but with this particular miniature, the joint will be too flimsy without a pin. I always simply "eyeball" my holes and I've never had any problems. Just be careful and always "dry fit" parts before actually gluing them together.

Here you can see the hole. Only a couple millimeters deep is enough.

Insert the pin. I always use bits of metal paperclips cut in short segments. It's cheap, and it still has a little bit of flexibility to it, as opposed to something like an actual pin, which is more likely to break in case of shock.

Do the same thing for the backpack, being very careful to keep your holes aligned and not to drill all the way through the backpack.

At this point glue together legs, torsos, and backpack. Your miniature's pose is going to be pretty much final after this point, so think it through.

Here I glued the head on, which doesn't require pinning, and Ive drilled a hole where the arms will fit. Again, this will act to reinforce the bond between limbs and torso.

Stick pins in the drilled holes and glue them in. Make sure the pins are roughly aligned together, so that your Gear's shoulders don't have a weird look to them later on.

Your weapons are going to stick out and come off easily if you don't make sure they are sturdy enough. Here, I have used a pin in the fist, again being careful not to drill all the way through. Drill a matching hole where the gun handle is. The gun is a small part, so be extra careful and take your time. Start by drilling very lightly so as to create a guiding hole in the gun and then go for it. If you drill too hard right away, chances are you'll misalign your pin or damage you weapon.

Here, I have affixed a medium rifle to my Anolis. Yes, I know it's an illegal swap. Sue me. The problem with this Gear and the arms I have to go with it is that the Very Light Autocannon it's supposed to carry just doesn't fit: it's to small for the barrel to rest into the Gear's left hand. Plus, The medium rifle looks better.

Finally, I drill holes into both feet and stick in longer bits of paper clip. These will be used to pin the Anolis into it's base, but also to insert into a wine cork or something similar during priming, painting and finish. You want to keep your fingers off you miniature as much as possible while you're working on it.

And... Voilà!

Feel free to give me feedback, as I'm always eager to improve my modelling skills.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Terrain Modelling Article

There's a pretty cool article on how to model Sci-fi buildings on the Reaper website. Even though it's originally intended for their CAV line, I figure it would work just as well for Heavy Gear.

Check it out!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Second Place in Paint Your Squad '09

I'm in a very good mood this morning. My OPSEC Squad took second place in the Paint You Squad competition at

Hurray! And, of course, congratulations to the other winners. Those are some great looking Gears.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Missile Pods

Because I am naturally lazy and I'm always looking for shortcuts to systematize my painting, I wanted to get a bunch of missile pods done so I could just go and pin them on finished models. It also frees up some space around the head of Gears while I am painting, and makes reaching small spots easier.

First, I pin the pods on paperclips and mount them on a plastic cork (natural cork it to hard to pin something into). I then prime them.

Second, I basecoat them in black. In this case, I used two thin coats to get a really even color without losing any details.

I then brush on the metallics. In this case I used three shades, from darker to lighter: Shadowed Steel, Honed Steel and Polished Silver.

Then, I fix the black on the front and back of the missile pod.

Fifth, I apply decals. I just don't trust myself to get a good result through freehand. After the decals are completely dry, I brush on a generous amount of brush-on sealer, before spraying gloss varnish to really seal in the decals and prevent them from coming off later on.

Finally, I paint the individual pods with two coats of bright red. One of my gripes with Heavy Gear miniatures is that they are often not cast as well as they should, so you often get imperfections that are very hard to fix. Missile pods are the most common victims of this, with many individual missile pods often deformed and not looking like circles at all. So at this stage, I have to make sure I get perfect red circles to at least give the illusion that the pods are perfectly formed and aligned.

I will probably finish the pod by doing an extremely light whitelining highlight to add definition to the details, such as the panels and the pods themselves.


Saturday, May 30, 2009


This is my third entry for the miniature painting contest at I'm rather happy with the results.

A Chameleon. The black shoulder plate unwisely indicates this is my army commander. But thanks to Stealth (5), no one will get to shoot at him.

A second Chameleon, with its DPG upgraded to a LBZK. A nice small survivable Gear with some extra bite.

Panther (New Shots)

I've added a new layer of varnish from a different can (both matte, strangely) to my Panthers and I've been able to get rid of that weird gloss. Yay!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


These guy are not going to make it into the Squad contest ( I can't put them in a legal Squad yet), but here they are anyway.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Towards a complete OPSEC Cadre, Part 1

I've been working on my OPSEC Cadre for the HG squad painting contest.

One of the Snake Eye Black Mamba is done already. I have two Chameleons (one of them with a stinging surprise) that are coming along nicely.

So here is the second SE Black Mamba. First, with base colors and blacklining done. I want this one to look really crisp:
Second here is the same mini with the edge highlights done. I'm much happier with this one than with the first one, where there was much more streaking.
But it's not always easy to paint when you have to keep fighting off intruders who like the smell of paint.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

J. G. Ballard, 1930-2009

I have to admit, I've never liked reading sci-fi. Movies, games, no problem. But I've never enjoyed reading sci-fi. There's just something about writers who work with the assumption that ideas and science are more important than the actual craft of writing that I find entirely uninteresting.

Two exceptions: William Gibson's Neuromancer (not so much his other novels) and my personnal favourite, James Graham Ballard.

I saw Empire of the Sun when I was 13 and I really liked it, as opposed to Steven Spielberg's other movies in those days. I only read the book much later, while I was finishing my M.A., and I much preferred it, since it lacked all the cuteness of the movie. Completely uncute, but great, was Crash, both the book (which informed my own writing for years) and the Cronenberg adaptation.

I then read an anthology of Ballard short stories, which blew me away, especially his more experimental, fragmented short stories such as those found in The Atrocity Exhibition.

And then while on a one-month trip to Thailand, I read a few more books, such as The Crystal World, Cocaine Nights, Super-Cannes, and The Concrete Island. Not all of them were equally great, but they were all enjoyable. Not all of them were even sci-fi, but they all had that melancholy, that sense of an end of the world, or an end of a world, examining either science, sociology, technology, with this sad eye only he had. Nothing quite compared.

J.G. Ballard died on April 19, after a long battle with prostate cancer. His voice will be missed.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Back to Work

After my demoralizing experience in January, it took me a while to get back to painting, but here are some things I am working on. It doesn't hurt that DP9 just announced a squad painting competition. The deadline being at the end of the month, I'll have to get on with it if I want to participate. I don't see myself winning this, as my painting style is purposefully not flashy and I don't do major conversions, but it'll be fun to see what I can come up with. And what others come up with...

I showed pictures of these guys a while ago, but here are some more.

I'm planning for this Black Mamba to represent the army commander in my WIP Free Basal ESE Army. The lines and shadows came out quite nicely, I think.

Two Basilisks for the same army.

A Panther, for no army in particular (the model is really cool, and it's the easiest paintjob ever.)

I've been working on a large scale article project for the Aurora magazine, and while the writing is no problem, I want to have some artwork too, so I'm also painting Northern and Sourthern Gears to use for vignettes.

A Sabertooth

Two Dartjagers. I really love the bug head...

More to come when I'm ready to shoot said vignettes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Return to Cat's Eye

I'm getting very excited at the release in April(?) of the new Blitz book, Return to Cat's Eye, which will introduce a number of new factions, such as Caprice, the Liberati, the CEF, and my personal favourite, the Black Talons. RtCE will also advance the timeline to TN1950, making it current with the old books. That means that everything that comes out after that will be fresh, never seen before stuff. I can't wait. In the meantime, I love the look of the Caprician models...

One caveat, though, I would very strongly recommend anyone to buy the PDF version of the new book, as they'll get a full color version, cheaper, and with eventual updates that will fix the typos and mistakes that inevitably plague Dream Pod 9's books, as well as the ability to print new copies whenever they want. For those who are buying printed versions, well... you have been warned.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Tragedy

After arriving at my mother's house yesterday, I opened my mini case to realize there must have been too much wiggle room and things must have moved around quite a bit as my suitcase got thrown around.

Most of my Jagers and Black Mambas got smashed to bits and will have to be repainted eventually. Mostly, it happened to minis I painted a while ago and that had not had their limbs and weapons pinned. I almost cried as I saw all those little arms and rocket pods and guns at the bottom of the case.

So wrap your minis more safely than I did. Or mail them. Or leave them at home.

My heart is broken. I'll just go crawl in a corner and cry myself to sleep.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Travel Abroad

So that my very few readers do not despair in vain of new updates, let it be known I shall be leaving this god-forsaken island (Taiwan) tomorrow for an even more god-forsaken land (Canada).

I'll be back on February 20.

I'd like to wish everybody a happy Chinese New Year!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Gear, the Bad, and the Ugly

I've been building more Badland terrain recently, and I've stolen a page from Sergio Leone's book with this piece, though I can't quite remember from which movie's intro this is ripped from.

I've moved away from smaller terrain pieces, which I have plenty of, to larger ones. There's still a bit of cutting to be done on this one, but I should be able to prime it later tonight and paint it tomorrow.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Quick and Painless Basing by Dummies

Because Unclean, of HeavyGear-France asked me about my basing texture, I'll give quick step by step. I'd like to state first that this is the way I do it. There are many better ways. You will probably prefer some more flashy way of basing, and CMON is full of gorgeous bases that look so much better than mine.

I came up with this basing process because I didn't like sticking minis in slotted bases, and then applying some flock or texture. I like pinning. I love pinning. If you play with HG miniatures for any length of time, because they are so poseable and therefore have a lot of fragile parts, you'll learn to love pinning too. But I also like simplicity. And speed. This method is meant to represent some very broken ground, with lots of slate or maybe something vaguely volcanic. I was also inspired by the way mud dries and cakes in dried-up lakes and such.

The first step is to take your standard hexagonal base and a sheet of cork (the kind that's used for pinning things on your wall, for example). I used to prefer GW's round bases, but after much reflexion, I find the though more expensive, DP9 Hex bases are just of superior quality.

The second step is to plug the slot in the base. I use toothpicks and standard PVA glue.

Then, tear a small piece of cork that will vaguely cover your hex, but leave some clear areas. You want an irregular shape that will look more natural. You also want to tear strategically so that your cork is of the proper shape for your mini's feet to stand on, and also so that you don't have to pin through the toothpick. Glue it in place with PVA glue and let it dry completely overnight.

Apply white primer to the base. I use spray, but you can use brush-on primer if you want. I'm lazy that way.

Next, give the base a couple coats of diluted paint. I use Citadel's Foundation line here (Kalthan Brown, I think) because it has rich pigments with very good coverage. But even so, because you are working with cork, two coats at least will be necessary since the cork will "drink" the first one.

Brush lighter colours on the elevated cork area of the base to give it depth. Apply PVA glue around it and sprinkle on the basing material of your choice. I am a very big fan of the Japanese company Kato, producers of railway models, when it comes to these things. Very high quality, very low cost. Remove any excess material before it dries in place.

Finally, pin your mostly painted model in place through both feet. Here is an unfinished Cheetah on such a base. Make sure to spray varnish on the base after the PVA is entirely dry, as the varnish will provide added solidity to you base.

Ta-daa! They don't look perfect, but these bases are guaranteed to be fast, tough, and provide a feeling of unity to your army. You can add extras such a lichen or rocks, but I like fairly bare bases that don't distract from models. Enjoy!