Friday, January 24, 2014

Heavy Gear...Southern Forces: Step-by-Step

Heavy Gear?!? Yup. I've liked the aesthetics of these models for a long time, but have never taken the plunge...until now.

Local (awesome) hobbyist and painter, Jarrett Lee, has recently been selling off his backlogged inventory of un-started and partially-started projects. I bought his collection of Heavy Gear miniatures, a couple of which were already painted.

There were over 25 models in the collection; a mix of Northern and Southern Heavy Gears. Jarrett had painted four of the Southern Forces Gears. And here they are...

I separated out all of the remaining Southern Gears and got to work building them. They are sweet little models (1/144 scale). For reference, the bases on these figures are 1" across. The models are about the size of 40K Space Marines.

Each model consists of 8 to 10 parts, and honestly...each part requires mould line cleaning.

So...I had an interesting challenge in front of me. I wanted to match Jarrett's painting style on these new Gears, but I didn't have Jarrett's paint list. He was also using an exaggerated highlighting style, which really works well on these small models. Going through the process of matching Jarrett's style was a good exercise for me. I'm very timid when it comes to exaggerating color modulation. Being forced to paint super-strong highlights turned out to be a worthwhile experience.

Anyway, I started with a black undercoat. As I planned out the layers of color I'd use on the models, I realized I was over-thinking the problem...but better to have too many layers of color than too few.

Next was an over-spray of Vallejo Model Air Intermediate Blue.

Then a downspray of US Intermediate Blue.

Next came another down-spray...this time with US Blue Grey.

As I looked at the models at this point, I realized Jarrett's had a much starker shift from dark to light colors on his models. So, I went in and deepened the shadows on mine with a blue-black wash.

I then sprayed on the highlights, which started with Pale Grey Blue. I then mixed in some White for the final highlight pass.

The next step was time-consuming. I went in with a brush and added all the specular highlights with the Pale Grey Blue/White mix. I also base coated the guns with Reaper Blackened Metal, and added the red accents with GW's Scab Red and Blood Red.

In this photo, you can see one of Jarrett's models in the middle, and then my models. I didn't achieve quite the stark modulation that Jarrett did, but I'm happy with how close I got in the attempt.

After applying a protective coat of Future Floor Wax, adding the decals, sealing with Testor's Dullcoat, applying highlights to the weapons and finishing off the seven new Gears (and two robot drones) were complete.

Here are Jarrett's original models mixed in with my copies. I re-did Jarrett's bases to blend in with mine. A close enough match all around...and now I have the core of a Southern Gear force!

Back sides of the models.

This was a fun project, and actually didn't take too long. Next up, I have a stack of unbuilt Northern Gears. Time to get to work!

'Til next time.


  1. Well done Kevin, a very competent paint job! I am impressed with how quickly you painted so many minis. It really makes me want to invest in an air-gun. Thanks for the inspiring blog.

  2. When you mention down spray, your talking about just airbrushing at a downward angle which leave parts lower down and underneath the darker color correct?

  3. Totally digging this paint job a la Giraldez.