Project Assemble

•April 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

With my magpie-like attraction to all the new shinies that Corvus Belli put out each month, coupled with my faction-promiscuity in the game (five and counting!), I’m really amassing quite the grey pile of unassembled minis it seems. I figured some sort of intervention was in order, or at least a kick up the backside to get making and painting them.

So with that in mind I’ve launched my own little Project Assemble initiative, where I at least get them put together and spray undercoated so that I could use them in game, in a pinch and accepting the shame of playing with unpainted minis.

Here’s phase one assembly completed, a whopping 14 minis (including a TAG):

Assembled Infinity Minis

In choosing what to put together I looked at how I could improve my under-performing Haqqislam faction that are currently a bit of an unfocused hodge podge and thought I might try some fireteam-heavy Qapu Khalki sectorial action with Ghulams and Odalisques. On top of that we’ve got the remainder of the Operation: Icestorm Nomads, plus the Iguana TAG (and operator) for good measure because it looks so damn cool.

The full inventory of who you can see in the pic above, working left to right, is:

  • Nomad Spektr
  • Nomad Grenzer
  • Nomad Reverend Healer
  • Nomad Mobile Brigada
  • Nomad Iguana Operator
  • Nomad Iguana TAG
  • Mercenary Yuan Yuan
  • Haqqislam Ghulam Hacker
  • Haqqislam Ghulam w/ Rifle
  • Mercenary Kaplan Technical Services w/ Adhesive Launcher
  • Haqqislam Ghulam w/ Rifle
  • Haqqislam Odaliaque w/ SMG
  • Haqqislam Odalisque w/ Contender
  • Haqqislam Djanbazan w/ HMG
  • Come to think of it, I really should have put together the Corporate Security pre-order bonus mini from Operation Icestorm as part of this initiative so that I had all minis from that box set done. Oh well. She’ll have to be first up in the next batch.

    Oh and before I sign off on this post, I’ve decided to enter the Summer Painting challenge over on the Data Sphere forums.

    The theme for this second of their online painting thingies is Heavy Infantry so I’ll be painting Ajax, the big hammer-wielding Aleph dude. Here he is, all undercoated and with a date stamp for good measure!

    Ajax Miniature Undercoated

    I’ve got a load of part-painted Aleph minis just waiting to be finished off so this is a nice bit of motivation.


    Service Interruption Due to Dragons on the Line

    •March 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

    Apologies for the interruption in service. This unavoidable delay has been due to my soul being stolen for 170 odd hours of Dragon Age Inquisition!

    I am the biggest fan of Bioware’s CRPG series, and class the Mass Effect trilogy as my favourite game of all time. So I was delighted to discover that Dragon Age Inquisition is such a fantastic return to form after the relative disappointment of Dragon Age 2, and it would be hands down favourite if it was set in the Mass Effect sci-fi setting.

    Certainly bodes well for Mass Effect 4.

    Anyway, now that those dragons have been dealt with, all side quests completed, all character dialogue savoured, etc, I can get back to the business of painting toy soldiers.

    Coming out of Hibernation with more PanO

    •February 17, 2015 • 4 Comments

    No sooner did I start crowing on about how prolific I intended to be here on the blog this year than I went and caught a cold again that knocked me out of the painting habit. This winter, despite being milder than recent years, has seen me struggling with motivation for some reason. I think next year I might just find a cave to crawl into for hibernation!

    Anyway, the cold has gone, the sun is out, and I picked up the brushes again to finish off a couple more of the Operation: Icestorm PanOceania minis.

    First up is the ORC Heavy Infantry,

    Panoceania ORC Heavy Infantry

    Panoceania ORC Heavy Infantry

    Seems like a fairly standard dude with heavy exo-suit armour, reasonably costed and he comes with a fairly versatile multi rife. I decided to stick the urban camo on his shoulder plates to add a bit of uniformity to the squad, and also because I enjoy painting it!

    Then there’s the Akali Sikh Commando,

    PanOceania Akali

    PanOceania Akali

    Those ski things on his back signify him as a drop trooper, capable of airborne deployment. This can cause a serious tactical headache for your opponent in Infinity when you drop him in their backlines, or he can be really useful for advanced deployment to grab objectives or provide precision fire support.

    Five Year Review

    •January 21, 2015 • 2 Comments

    Was it Mark twain who coined the phrase about Lies and Statistics? Well whoever it was, they were on the button in pointing out just how powerful statistics could be at indentifying or obfuscating truth in data.

    I’m particularly interested in the topic, particularly of data visualisation and it forms a large part of my non brush-wielding day job, so when I was looking at the WordPress admin site for this blog and was started browsing through the various charts and stats that they collate for me, I figured it would be nice to share a couple of charts with you.

    First off, I’m pleased to say how happy I am that I’ve been running this blog for five years now and over that time have published a total of 257 posts, it’s been viewed over 89,000 times and I have accrued 50+ followers. That last number may seem small but I am humbled that people would want to subscribe to the blog, particularly given that I don’t go out of my way to publicise it. Thanks all!

    Anyway, those charts. First up is a look at the number of views I’ve gotten over the years,

    MVD Views Per Year

    As more content was published and more people followed I suppose it was unsurprising to see the rise up til my peak year of 2013 where I had over 23,000 views. 2014 saw a drop in activity and this is unsurprising to me as I felt that I had a particularly quiet year on the blog.

    This next chart bears that out,

    MVD Posts Per Year

    My expectation of the lifecycle of a blog would be that it would have an initial flurry of excitement followed by a steady decline in interest. I sort of had that if posts published is anything to go by but you can see that I was most committed back in 2011 – year two. As I supposed, 2014 was a fallow year for me with a paltry 28 posts.

    It’s really interesting to see this crystalised in the data and I have to say that it has galvanised me toward more activity on the blog. I’m already three posts into the year, well four counting this one, and if I keep up the pace then I could be back on for a 50+ poster!

    Regarding content, the WP admin also gives me a peek into the popularity of individual posts as well as where my traffic comes from and goes to, which is handy to get a sense of what people are drawn to on a hobby blog like mine.

    Winningest posts seem to be the few battle reports I did in the early years, then some of the tutorial stuff I switched to in recent years. People seem to like battle reports with pictures in so I should really get back to doing that and also continue with those tutorials – I’m even toying with the idea of recording some video! Another post that gets regular views is the one about wargame demo tables at Salute. I like that as it was a positive celebration of the awesome work people put into their gaming tables.

    Well there you have it, the blog is five years old and counting. I’m looking forward to picking up the pace again in 2015, painting more minis and posting more regularly, and it’s probably time for a new lick of paint round here.



    Operation Icestorm Fusiliers and a Marut TAG

    •January 18, 2015 • 3 Comments

    I’m painting like a demon right now and seem to be getting satisfactory results faster than I’ve ever been able to before. My current goal is 300 points of PanOceania troops and of the ten models I’ve finished the first three, with the next – the Operation Icestorm ORC Heavy Infantry – well on the way.

    Anyway, here’s a group shot of the finished Fusiliers,

    Infinity PanO Fusiliers

    I also realised during some forum discussion that I didn’t have a representative photo of my Aleph Marut TAG, so while I had the camera set up for those Fusiliers, I snapped a few shots.

    Infinity Marut TAG

    Infinity Marut TAG

    Infinity Marut TAG

    Another Fusilier and a Camouflage Painting Tutorial

    •January 13, 2015 • 10 Comments

    Progress toward 300 points worth of PanOceania miniatures continues with another Fusilier from the lovely Operation: Icestorm starter set.

    PanO Fusilier 2

    PanO Fusilier 2

    This one took me about 3.5 hours as I slowed up a little with some of the blue blends and also took a little longer on the face and hair.

    I mentioned in the comments of my last post that I would take some WIP shots as I worked up the urban camouflage and, you lucky people, I did just that. So, here we have a quick little step-by-step guide to painting some urban camouflage.

    Step 1 – Pre-painting

    Painting Camo Tutorial Step 1

    I usually start by painting the whole area with the midtone but also shading and highlighting it as if I wasn’t going to be painting a pattern over the top. I may not be quite as smooth and tidy but it’s still useful to get those values in.

    I went predominantly for a grey-brown colour that was made up of something like a 1:3 mix of Vallejo Panzer Aces Highlight German (Black) and Vallejo Model Colour Medium Sea Grey.

    Step 2 – First irregular shapes

    Painting Camo Tutorial Step 2

    Taking a darker version of my midtone, in this case about a 1:1 ratio of those same constituent colours, I laid down some fairly large organic shapes, taking care to ensure the edges were irregular but not overly bothered if the coverage wasn’t entirely even.

    You can see that I probably covered about 40% of the overall area with the darker colour here.

    Step 3 – Thin black splotches

    Painting Camo Tutorial Step 3

    Now taking a near black colour – I’m using a wet palette so I’ve got the luxury of grabbing a bit of the previous colour and stirring in a drop of VMC black – I draw in some random spidery lines that overlap light and dark sections.

    The camo is really starting to take shape now.

    Step 4 – White spidery splotches

    Painting Camo Tutorial Step 4

    There, I got to say “white spidery splotches” again!

    Ahem. Here I was basically doing exactly what I did in the previous step but this time with pure white.

    To be honest, I think the white might be a bit much and I could maybe have stopped at the previous step. Given more time I would probably glaze back over with a bit of the midtone colour to flatten things back down a bit, and even go in with a darker glaze to re-emphasise the shadows and volume.

    But this is meant to be a quickie, and I’m plenty pleased enough with the result given the time taken.

    So there you have it, painting an urban camouflage scheme in four quick and simple steps.

    Hope you found this little tutorial helpful and easy to follow. Leave me a comment and let me know! 🙂

    PanO Fusilier Speedpaint

    •January 5, 2015 • 6 Comments

    Not a New Year’s resolution as such but I’m intending to get better at finishing stuff off in 2015. OK, I guess that is a resolution. Anyway, what it means is that I’m going to have to get more efficient with my painting time if I’m going to make any headway with the recently audited grey pile of Infinity miniatures. So these PanOceania and Nomad factions will be getting a relative “speedpaint” in order to get them ready for play.

    I mostly took my sweet time with the Haqqislam and Aleph, with miniatures taking me from 4-10 hours to complete and even then those four hour Haqqislam paintjobs were really a speed record for me.

    That’s a record that I have just slashed by an hour!

    I present my first PanOceania Fusilier, all finished (bar the varnish and base logo) within a mere 180 minutes:

    PanO Fusilier Miniature Speedpaint

    He’s really untidy and not what I’d normally feel comfortable publishing here on the blog, but I really want to get this squad done as quickly as I can and still be happy to push them round the tabletop, making pew pew noises.

    Quite pleased with the colour scheme, sticking to a fairly standard blue/white situation, but with the red-orange accent as I intend to go mostly NeoTerran and it seems appropriate. Also happy with the urban camouflage trousers and collar as it emphasises that future military look.

    I usually find painting the guns to be pretty boring and leave them mostly grey or black but here I added white panels as it seems in keeping with PanO having the most advanced tech in the game. Makes the combi rifle a bit more interesting visually at least.

    So, there he is all done in record time, and the good news is that I’ve got the colour scheme all worked out. This means they should only get faster from here from here on out, which I think buys me a little time to keep things tidier with the blends and highlighting.

    2.5 hours for the next Fusilier?