The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Model Spotlight: Epirian Drones


Posted on Monday Feb 19, 2018 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Drones - the ubiquitous workhorse of the Epirian Foundation. Built around a standardised chassis that can be bolted onto a wide array of different locotion and weapon options, the humble drone can be found all over Foundation-settled worlds performing a wide range of tasks. Particularly valued by Contractor military units, the Drone's various weaponised configurations are found at the forefront of any engagement harrassing enemy units and getting into those hard to reach places. Here, we'll take a closer look at the options available on the plastic Drone sprue.



The Drone kit comes with parts to build either of two variants: the flying Firefly drone, or the agile, ground-hugging Spider drone.



The Firefly is the fastest drone in the Foundation's arsenal, and the lightest armed. Held in the air by two dorsally mounted rotors, the Firefly is capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and can travel up to 150 km/hr. Its primary purpose is as a forward scout, using its advanced sensor and communications suite to send information back about enemy positions. Its armour and weaponry is minimal and the Firefly can be easily taken out by even small arms fire - providing the shooter can hit its rapidly-moving frame. The Firefly is equipped with a Drone Class Laser System.



Slower than some of its drone counterparts but fitted with heavier weaponry, the Spider Drone is a popular choice for automated defences inside buildings where a Scarecrow's range is limited. Originally designed to operate within the rough terrain of mining tunnels, the Spider moves on multiple armoured legs, allowing it to keep its balance on the most unsteady of terrain.

The steadiness of its body allows more powerful guns with higher recoil to be added, and most combat Spider variants forgo the sensor suite used in Firefly, Rover and Stalker drones to accommodate more ammunition and heavier armour. Spiders can be equipped with Cutter Light Machine Guns or Flakk Guns.





Because the sprue was developed before the rules were finalised, there wound up being a couple of extra parts on the sprue that were originally intended to be another weapon option, but which also serve nicely as antenae for identifying 'leader' models, or for converting your own different drone classes, like this Sensor Drone:



If you would like your drones to look a little more mobile, the thin legs of the Spider lend themselves well to conversions. You can easily repose them by either carefully bending at the joints, or by slicing through the joint and reattaching at a different angle.





For those wanting the Drones to pack a bit of punch on the battlefield, you could try out the reasonably simple Scorpion Drone conversion detailed here, which takes the Spider Drone and equips it with a Maglock Chaingun from the Hunter Mech kit.



Getting a little more adventurous with the converting, I like to think that the Drone chassis would find its way into all sorts of different applications where having some robotic assist might make a task easier or more efficient. Like this Light Carrier Drone, converted from a Drone chassis and a Battlefront 15mm plastic tank kit, with a little plasticard.



Or this (work-in-progress) Journeyman Patrol Bike, converted from a Games Workshop bike and an Epirian Bot Handler, with the Drone chassis up front for steer assist and targeting.



You can also use the Drone chassis as a head for larger bot constructs, like these 'Silverback' and 'Mule' Hunter Mech conversions.



All of that can, of course, leave you with a bunch of leftover flight turbines, which can be used to build a jump pack-equipped Epirian Warden, or some floating 'Sentinel' Drones, using the turbines and the top of a Scarecrow - tutorial coming soon for that one!



What have you done with your Drones? We would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

To pick up the Drone kit, or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, visit the webstore here.

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.

Terrain Tutorial: The Foam Ball Cactus!


Posted on Monday Feb 12, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

You may have noticed by now that I make a lot of buildings. Sometimes, though, it's nice to get away from the urban sprawl, and venture out into the untamed countryside where enemy troops may wind up being less scary than the native flora and fauna.

If you were gaming back in the '90s, you might be familiar with some of the scratch-built terrain that was featured in White Dwarf magazine back then. One of my favourites, and a staple on many a scifi gaming table back then, was the foam ball and toothpick-spine cactus. It was a little goofy, but also really easy to make and looked rather effective on the table in place of all those mass-produced train set trees. So I thought it might be fun to revisit the idea, and see what I could do to modernise it a little and maybe remove some of the danger of taking out an eyeball while checking line of sight. And so I came up with this:



Staying true to the original, I found a bunch of different sized expanded polystyrene balls at a local discount store. To replace the old-school toothpick spines, I dug out an old toothbrush.



The first step is to give the foam balls a little touch-up with some fine sandpaper. This removes the mould line around the middle of the ball, and roughs up the outer surface a little to help the paint stick.



To make the ball easier to stick down to a base board, use a fine-tooth breadknife or other sharp knife to cut a slice off, making a flat surface for the bottom of the cactus.



Next we need to pike some holes in the ball to add the spines. Serendipitously, I used a toothpick, but anything pointy will do the job. Make the holes at least 5mm deep, although it doesn't hurt if they go in further. They're spaced around the ball in rough layers, without being too neat about it - slightly haphazard spacing adds to the organic look.



Toothbrush time! Take your toothbrush and, using a pair of pointy pliers, rip out a bunch of bristles. Try to hold them together - they tend to scatter if you're not careful when you let go.



Depending on how many bristles are in a clump, you might want to split the clump into halves or thirds, or use the whole thing as a single clump of spines. It's entirely up to the look you want.

In most toothbrushes, there is a small piece of metal in the fold at the base of the bristles that anchors them into the brush. Tease this out and discard it, and then separate the bristles into the size clump you want, being careful to put the extras down so that they stay together for later.



Dip the base of the bristle clump in some PVA glue, and then insert it into one of the holes in the foam ball. Mine have about half of the bristle inside the ball, to give them a good anchor and to stop them from splaying out too much.





Repeat until you have all of the holes filled with bristles.



For an older cactus, you can add extra nodules by slicing off a section on the top of the first ball and gluing the flat bottom of another ball into place on top. Reinforce with a toothpick glued in the middle, if you want a little extra strength. When that's set, poke in the holes and add bristles as above.





Mixing in some different configurations and different sized balls will help create a nice, varied look on the terrain piece.



To paint, first work around the holes with a pointy brush and a dab of brown wash or thinned brown or green paint to mask the white interior of the holes. (If you're more forward-thinking than me, you could alternatively do this before you glue the bristles in, which might be a bit easier!)



Then paint the rest. I've gone for standard green cacti, with red spines for some contrasting colour, but for alien flora you could obviously use whatever colours you please.



From there, glue your painted cacti onto a base board, and your cactus grove is ready for the table!







Do you have ideas for your own alien area terrain? We'd love to see them! Come along and share on the Comm Guild Facebook page.

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here, and you can find the Maelstrom's Edge model range and boxed game in the webstore here.

Modeling 101 - Working with resin models


Posted on Monday Feb 05, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The addition of resin models to the previously all-plastic Maelstrom's Edge collection has allowed for factions to receive some new and characterful unit options to their ranges. Working with resin is a little different to plastic, though, and so I thought it might be helpful to run through some basic pointers on how to build and assemble these fantastic new models.



So, er... what's this, then?

Resin looks a lot like plastic. With good reason: It is plastic!

In the miniature modeling world, though, we tend to use the term 'plastic' to apply specifically to High Impact Polystyrene, which is a particular type of plastic used in injection moulds. The raw plastic is melted and then injected at high pressure into a metal mould. This sort of casting is fast, but the moulds are expensive and require specialised machinery. 'Resin' instead refers to polyurethane, which is a two-part compound that is mixed together and then poured into rubber or silicone moulds. Resin produces crisper detail than polystyrene and the moulds are cheaper and easier to create, but is more labour-intensive to cast and the moulds wear out with use. As a result, resin tends to be used for smaller runs of miniatures, while polystyrene is used for models that are cast in high volume.

So, where to start?

Clean ALL the things

Resin models can sometimes have a bit of an oily residue on them from the casting process. This can affect how well the paint adheres to the model, so it's a good idea to remove it before you start painting. The easiest way to do this is to just wash the model in soapy water, lightly scrubbing with an old toothbrush to clean out the creases.



Flash! Ah Aaaaaahhh!

Flash may be the saviour of the universe (if just a man), but it's also a side effect of the casting process that can spoil an otherwise great paintjob. The moulds used for Maelstrom's Edge's resin models are replaced regularly, and so mould lines are minimal and are often minimised even further by running along edge detail rather than flat surfaces, but you should always go over the model before undercoating to catch any that might get in the way later. As with plastic or metal models, you can use a small file or emery board for this, but I find a sharp exacto-style knife blade does the best job, and works well for getting into creases and following detail. Just scrape gently along the mould line to flatten it out.



Nothing to get bent out of shape about...

During the casting process, resin will shrink slightly as it cures. This can cause thinner parts to develop a slight bend if one side cools faster then the other. With plastic or metal, you can often fix warped parts by just carefully bending them back into shape, but resin needs a little extra preparation to avoid having the part snap. Luckily, resin softens with heat, so the easiest approach is to dip the part in some hot water until it is warmed through, and then carefuly shape it to how you want it. Then dunk it into some cold water to 'set' the part again - resin has some 'memory', so will try to revert to its original shape while it's still soft. Cooling it quickly helps to avoid this.

Note that you can also use this method to reshape models to change their pose. It's particularly useful for organic shapes, like the tentacles on Karist Angels.





He's half the man he used to be...

Maelstrom's Edge resin is a little harder than plastic, but is still quite easy to cut with a hobby knife or clippers. For larger parts, or to get a nice, clean cut, I recommend a razor saw. This has a super-thin, flat blade that is just perfect for slicing through models while minimising the loss of detail from the cut.





It's worth pointing out that if you're doing a lot of sawing, sanding or filing, it's best to do it in a well-ventilated area. That's not really specific to resin models - it's always a good idea to not fill your lungs up with rubbish!

Stick with me, kid!

Plastic glue, also sometimes called poly (or polystyrene) cement, doesn't work on resin models, as it's specifically designed for polystyrene. You will need superglue or a quick-setting epoxy glue for the best bond. Epoxy, even the quick-setting kind, can be a bit of a pain to work with due to needing to mix it and having a longer 'grab' time, so I prefer to use a superglue with a plastic primer. The primer is used to prepare the surfaces to be glued, and helps the superglue to grab tightly to plastics that superglue on its own doesn't adhere to as successfully.



Use the same glue for sticking resin parts to plastic or metal. Wherever possible, make sure that the surfaces being glued are smooth and flat. There's a common misconception that scoring or roughing up the surfaces gives a better bond, but superglue actually works better the thinner it is. Having surfaces as close to flat as possible ensures that the glue spreads out super thin between them - thicker glue just creates a brittle bond.



You're not pinning that on me!

If you are concerned about larger parts going astray with use, you can use thin wire to pin them into place for some extra durability. Use a pin vice to drill matching holes into the parts to be glued, add a piece of wire that fits snugly into the drill holes and glue in place.





Some people like to use paperclips as a source of wire for pinning. I wouldn't recommend this, as superglue tends to stick rather poorly to stainless steel. Thin copper or galvanised wire, or brass rod are the best options for a secure bond.

Mind the gap!

With well-maintained moulds and some clever part break-ups, the resin models for Maelstrom's Edge go together with no real need for gap filling. If you're converting models, though, you can sometimes wind up with the odd gap or slip of the saw that needs some filling in. Kneadatite (usually referred to simply as 'Green Stuff') is your friend here. This is a two-part modeling putty than comes with a blue part and a yellow part. You mix together equal parts of each colour and then use the resultant green goo to fill in holes or sculpt extra detail. This is all a little more involved than will fit into this article, but I'll put together a 'Green Stuff Basics' article in the near future.



All the pretty colours...

There is no particularly special treatment required for painting resin models. Normal acrylic model paints will do just fine. A light spray coat of primer will help the paint adhere, and gives you a flat base colour to work with, which is particularly important when you have a mix of resin and plastic models (or converted models with mixed components or green stuff involved) and want to keep your army colours consistent. You may also want to finish with a coat of sealer to protect your paintjob, although resin tends to hold the paint about as well as plastics, and so isn't as prone to the edge wear from handling that tends to be a feature of well-used metal models.



OK... so now what?

Hopefully, all of that has been of some use in demystifying resin models. There are some great resin models in the Maelstrom's Edge range already, with plenty more still to come, so why not dive on in and have a play? You can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge range from the webstore here, and as always, be sure to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.

Modeling Spotlight: Converted Broken Gnolti


Posted on Tuesday Jan 30, 2018 at 07:06AM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

This week saw the arrival of the biggest model yet for Maelstrom's Edge: The Gnolti!

A gigantic chunk of brawn and armoured hide, the Gnolti is slow to anger, but unstoppable when roused. So as impressive as the model is, I decided I wanted to build one that showed a Gnolti really letting it all out. This was the end result:



The Gnolti is a multi-part resin kit, with a little posability in the forearms due to the circular connections. One of his hands is open, and this seemed like it was just asking to be holding something breakable. So, I sliced off the forefinger so that I could close in his grip a little, and reattached it with some green stuff, and gave him a little friend to play with, courtesy of the Epirian Scarecrow kit.







The left hand is in a closed fist, and is designed to sit knuckles-down on the base. I reshaped the flattened bottom surface of the fingers to make them more rounded, and then pinned the scarecrow's left forearm into the Gnolti's grip.



To create a more upright stance, I ran the legs under some hot water and carefully bent the lower right leg out and back. Apparently, I wasn't careful enough, as I managed to snap it off through the shin, but with a little drilling and pinning, I wound up with legs positioned how I wanted them.



Adding a Hunter mech's leg for the Gnolti to stand on, I glued the legs in place on the base, and added a piece of sprue to fill in the slot for the torso's locator peg.



Taking the torso piece, I used a razor saw to slice off the right arm at the shoulder, cutting out a wedge on the top so that it could be reattached in a more raised position. I also cut a thin wedge out from his chin at the top of his beard, and then added a cut between his lips so that I could bend his lower lip down into a mouth-open position.



The torso was then glued in place, with the sprue in the waist-hole allowing the torso to sit upright.



The lower lip was padded out with some green stuff to repair the minor damage from sawing it open. I also filled in the cavity in his waist, and started added detail back in under the right arm.



Another layer of green stuff gave him some abdominal muscles, a tongue, and a single flat tusk in his lower jaw.



Finally, the forearms were glued on, and a last run of green stuff added to replace the fur trim on his right shoulder strap.





With that, it was time to paint!

I went with a colour scheme that was reminiscent of that used on the studio model shown here, but with slightly more muted colours to fit in with my quick, wash-painted Broken colour scheme.

Ready for action!











To pick up your own wee beasty of broken doom, or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, visit the webstore here. As always, be sure to show off your work on the Comm Guild Facebook page!



For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.

Maelstrom's Edge Largest Ever Model - The Broken Gnolti


Posted on Friday Jan 26, 2018 at 10:30AM in Models


Spiral Arm Studios are proud to present their latest release - the Gnolti - a large, brutish alien which fights alongside the Broken. This four part resin model is the biggest we've ever made and is available now on the Maelstrom's Edge webstore.

The Gnolti are large, slow moving creatures with strength many times that of a human. Gnolti evolved on the high gravity moon orbiting the gas giant Encelasa, and were amongst the first alien species met by humanity. Many Gnolti remain on their homeworld, but some take up a nomadic life across the Spiral Arm, earning money with their bulky frames to send back home. Originally hired and transported to systems requiring extreme manual labour or exposure to elements lethal to humans, their normally calm, thoughtful temperament made Gnolti easy to integrate into human society. Gnolti are extremely loyal to those who treat them well, gladly risking themselves to protect their friends. Despite being incredibly useful, Gnolti are often denied berths on planetary evacuation ships due to their extreme size. Gnoltis have few opportunities to escape the Maelstrom, and stranded Gnolti are a common recruit into the ragtag warbands of the Broken, where their physical power can be a huge asset.

It takes an incredible amount of punishment to bring down a Gnolti in battle. Besides their massive strength and incredible toughness, Gnolti are blessed with an extreme regenerative trait that allows them to heal in just minutes massive wounds that would easily fell other species. Gnolti may be slow to anger, but once roused, their rage is hard to quench. A rampaging Gnolti is an image impossible to forget for those lucky enough to survive their attack. Frequently a Broken ringleader won't even arm their Gnolti comrades, as the spectacle of an enraged charging Gnolti can disrupt all but the most disciplined defensive lines. This near legendary reputation means that on the battlefield, Gnolti become a primary target of the enemy, regardless of whether they should be or not. The Broken gladly leverage this notion and use Gnolti as a screen for their more vulnerable units. The ferocity and size of a Gnolti is even used as a distraction tactic, drawing the fire of enemy troops so that other Broken can manoeuvre unhindered, to devastating effect. The Broken do not take the sacrifice of Gnolti lightly. At the end of each battle, Gnolti are given first pick of any loot that was captured, and every member of the warband stops by to wish thanks to the Gnolti they served with, or to pay homage to those Gnolti that didn't survive.

The Gnolti rules are available as always at the Maelstrom's Edge website, in the Force Listings section. Equipped with the ability to regenerate, and with massive fists to plow through enemy lines, this powerful model is a solid centrepiece for Broken detachments.

This is a four part resin model which has some posing flexibility at the forearms. Overall, the Gnolti has a mostly fixed pose designed to show the lumbering power of the model.

The Gnolti is available for purchase right now in the Maelstrom's Edge webstore.

Modeling Spotlight: Epirian Victory Point Tracker


Posted on Tuesday Jan 23, 2018 at 11:19AM in General


- by Iain Wilson

Victory. The elusive mistress that haunts our gaming hours. How do we capture her? Well, in Maelstrom's Edge, we do it by counting up Victory Points, and hopefully winding up with more of them than our opponents. The Battle for Zycanthus box includes Victory Point trackers along with the plethora of tokens and markers found within, but I decided that I wanted something with a little more spectacle, and so I built myself a VP tracker for my Epirian force.



This all started with a rough concept sketch, to get an idea of how things should fit together.



I then made a quick mockup in cardboard, as a sort of proof of concept, and to get a better feel for the size it needed to be.



The main body of the tracker is made from layers of 2mm thick plasticard. Each layer was marked out in pencil and then cut out and the edges smoothed down.









To show the current VP total, there are two dials with the numbers 0-9 marked around the edge. These are cut from thinner plasticard, with a spacer added on the top surface so that the face with the numbers on it doesn't rub against the inside of the tracker's front.



The windows for the VP display are made from a couple of trapezoid windows from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. I used a razor saw to slice through the windows just behind the interior bracing, to make them a little thinner and so that the bracing would sit flush against the front plate of the tracker.



From there, I cut a couple of trapezoid holes in the front plate to match up to the large openings in the windows, and then added a bunch of detail with various pieces of plasticard.



In the bottom corner, I added a rotary switch for tracking how many times the special faction objective has been tapped.



With detailing complete, it was time to paint!



I basecoated the tracker with Army Painter Army Green spray, and used some flat black spray on the VP dials and the rotary switch.



I wanted some metal detail on the tracker to break up the colour a little, so re-basecoated some appropriate spots with some black. I also added a little black inside the side openings for the dials, just to avoid having the white plastic showing through when it was assembled.



The metal parts then received a drybrush of P3 Pig Iron, and some weathering added with Vallejo Heavy Charcoal applied lightly with a sponge.





The numbers for the VP dials were drawn up on black circles in Gimp and then printed out, cut to shape and glued onto the plastic dials.





Finally, the front plate was glued in place, and the screen painted with some Ultramarine Blue and shaded with Army Painter Blue Tone.



My plan is to make up some smaller versions of the mission cards to sit in the screen cavity.

And then, of course, the next step will be to make some similarly themed trackers for my Karists and Broken!

Have you built anything unusual for your Maelstrom's Edge games? We would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

You can find the entire Maelstrom's Edge range in the webstore here.

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.

Terrain Spotlight: Mini Hab Domes from plastic bowls!


Posted on Monday Jan 15, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Throughout the galaxy, few structures hold up as well in hostile environmental conditions as the humble dome. They're durable, efficient, and as a bonus look nice and distinctive in a universe filled largely with pre-fabricated, angular structures. So here's a simple way to make yourself some small dome structures for your gaming table, using components from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, a little foam core board, some plasticard, and a plastic bowl.



As with the larger plantation dome that I made a while back, the basis for this building is a plastic bowl, in this case picked up in a pack of 8 from a local discount store for a couple of dollars.



I cut two rectangles of 5mm foam core board, about 30mm wide and the same height as the inside frame of one of the small doors from the terrain sprue. These formed the sides of the building's entrance, and so would need to be curved on the back sides in order to sit flush with the side of the dome.

Sitting one of the rectangles against the bottom rim of the dome, I measured the distance between the top corner and the dome, and marked that distance along the short edge of the foam core.



I then folded a piece of aluminium foil to made a long L-beam shape. With a pair of clippers, I made a series of cuts along one edge.



The uncut surface of the beam was then pressed against the side of the dome, with the cuts allowing it to bend to match the shape while the L-beam shape gave it enough rigidity to keep the curve when removed from the dome.



I then used the resultant curve to transfer the shape of the dome to the foam core, matching the foil beam up to the measured mark and the corresponding bottom corner of the entrance wall.



An exacto knife was used to cut along the drawn curve, angling the cut to account for the horizontal ci



With the addition of a piece of 1.5mm plasticard, cut to shape for the roof, the entrance tunnel was glued together and test fitted against the dome, with a little fine-tuning of the curve with the exacto knife allowing it to sit flush.



I wanted a little texture on the flat top of the dome, so I decided to use some grid-patterned plasticard. Not having a compass handy, I found a small drinking glass that fit neatly into the circular base of the bowl, and used this as a template to draw a circle on the plasticard. Once cut out, this circle was glued neatly into the recess.



For the windows, I took the trapezoid windows from the terrain sprue and trimmed down one side to help them sit almost vertically on the side of the dome.



To glue the windows in place, I grabbed a small offcut of foam core to use as a spacer, to ensure that the windows on either side of the building sat at the same height.



With everything glued in place, the building looked like this:



So, on to painting!

Because the dome is transparent, I sprayed a coat of primer inside to begin with. That way, if the outside of the dome gets a little scratched up from gaming use, it would show grey instead of clear.



The outside was then also primed grey.



The primer was followed with a coat of Army Painter Dragon Red.



I added a white stripe to break up the red a little, and painted some metal detail with P3 Pig Iron.



Finally, some sponge weathering and the roof tiles painted with Vallejo Heavy Charcoal, a quick wash with Army Painter Dark Tone for the metal parts and the roof, and some colour on the lights above the door, and the minidome was finished!









To build your own mini hab domes, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here. As always, feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!



For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.

Modeling Spotlight: Karist Angel Keepers


Posted on Sunday Jan 07, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The Karist Angel Keeper has added his goad-wielding distinctiveness to the Karist Enclave model collection, and so this seemed a good opportunity to grab a few and have at them with the exacto knife and superglue.



An addition to the new resin range for Maelstrom's Edge, the Angel Keeper comes supplied with his angel goad and grenade launcher.



Assembly is really simple: Glue feet to base, glue head to neck, glue hands to arms. The goad also has a separate piece for the blade end, which sockets onto a convenient pointy end on the shaft.



The more eagle-eyed rules watchers may have noticed that both weapons are held in hand, but the Keeper actually comes with both by default. This allowed for players to choose which would be held in hand while still keeping the parts count down for practical purposes, and rules-wise isn't an issue since we can assume that all default gear exists whether it is specifically shown or not. If, like me, you do prefer to have all of your models' gear modeled, this isn't a difficult task.

If you have modeled your Keeper with goad in hand, just grab a spare grenade launcher from the Faction Expansion Sprue and glue it onto his back beside his pouch.



If you prefer to have the grenade launcher at the ready, you can use a piece of 1.6 mm diameter plastic rod to replace the shaft. Here, I've also removed the detail piece from the bottom, to be reattached onto the new shaft.





You can also use a shaft from the Cybel Glaive on the Faction Expansion Sprue.



OK, but what if you want both weapons in hand, you say?

Luckily, resin cuts really easily, so the easy option here is to carefully remove the left hand from the stock of the grenade launcher - just trim it down to a flat surface and file it smooth if necessary.

For the goad, cut through the shaft either side of the right hand, and then reattach the bottom of the shaft to the top.





For a slightly more complex (but more hardcore!) alternative, why not combine the two weapons into one?

Take a grenade launcher from the Faction Expansion sprue, cut off the pistol grip and trim down the stock so that it is level with the bottom of the ring around the muzzle.

Trim down the back side of the goad blade so that it is flat, and cut a small, flat inset into the end of the goad shaft where the blade normally attaches.



Then glue the back end of the grenade launcher to the goad shaft, and the goad blade to the stock of the grenade launcher.



The Keeper's head has the same ball joint neck as most of the rest of the Karist range, so you can easily swap in different heads to either customise your Keeper a little, or use the model as a specialist in a Karist Trooper or Praetorian unit. The below model has a head from a Karist Heavy Trooper.



You can also create unit champions by swapping out or modifying the weapons. Below, I've filed down the shoulder pads and added Karist Trooper pads over the top, and used a head and cybel blades from the Faction Expansion sprue to create a Praetorian Tetrarch.



What have you done with your Angel Keepers? We would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

To pick up the Angel Keeper, or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, visit the webstore here.

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here

2017 - The year in review for Maelstrom's Edge


Posted on Monday Jan 01, 2018 at 05:00PM in General


2017 has drawn to a close, and it has been a fantastic year for Maelstrom's Edge. Here's our year in review:



This year saw the release of the long-awaited third faction for Maelstrom's Edge: The Broken!



The Broken Infantry Pack consists of 4 sprues loaded with bits, that allow you to build Broken fighters from any of three 4 different unit types. And this is just scraping the surface of what we have planned for the Broken - 2018 will see plenty of new releases to fill out their roster, with additional troop types and a slew of new and fantastic alien species.

Also on the release front, we launched a supplemental range of resin models, starting with the Karist Angel Hellblaster.



While plastic models are great for all sorts of reasons, they have a rather long development leadtime, which slows down releases. Adding resin models allows us to get new things out more regularly, and also lets us develop models that wouldn't necessarily be practical or economical in plastic. So the aim going forward will be to have the core range remain in plastic, supplemented with resin models which will allow us to have a new release out every month.



The Hellblaster was followed up with Karist Heavy Weapon troopers, and this month saw the addition of an official model for the Karist Angel Keeper (which previously had a playtest rules card but required some conversion to build a model). It's not all Karist love, though - Epirians and Broken will be seeing some releases very soon!

On the fiction front, 2017 saw the release of Tales From the Edge: Escalation. This is our second compilation of short stories, and features work by some great names in science fiction, including Alastair Reynolds, Aliette de Bodard and Liz Williams!



Escalation is available in print through the Maelstrom's Edge webstore, or as a eBook through Amazon.

To go along with the book release, we took a bit of a look at what went into creating the fiction for Maelstrom's Edge with a series of articles here: Crafting Tales from the Edge, Developing Stories for Maelstrom's Edge, and The Maelstrom's Edge Fiction Creative Process, by Tomas L. Martin.

For the modelers, this year continued our regular article releases, with tutorials and spotlight articles covering a huge range of different hobby topics. We showed you how to build a model to represent the Epirian faction objective:



We went to town with the terrain sprue, with tutorials on shipping containers, buildings made from plastic storage trays and drainage channel, and some ideas for scatter terrain, blast craters, hedges, streetlights and 'blanket' door coverings made from bandages. We also shared templates for making a small minehead building and a larger bunker.





We also showcased a huge array of different terrain projects, including a plantation dome and a massive landing pad piece.





The models weren't forgotten, with tutorials on sculpting your own gas masks for your Epirian contractors, painting weathered-looking metal and heat stress on weapon barrels, a run-down on a quick-painting method for Broken Rabble units, and a guide to making bionic arms for your contractors from Scarecrow arms.



We also offered conversion tutorials and homebrew rules cards for a couple of new units types: The sneaky, sniping Reaper Cadre for the Karists, and the heavy-weapon-toting Scorpion Drone for the Epirians.



Along the way, we showcased a bunch of different modeling projects, including some small Epirian and Karist forces, some variant Epirian bot ideas, and a winged Angel conversion, amongst many others.





Gaming was also covered, with another fantastic battle report from DakkaDakka's Sgt Oddball - a Karist vs Epirian 'introductory' mission entitled 'The Final Act.



We also published a series of articles alongside the Broken release, taking a close look at their rules and how they fit into the game. You can find these here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.




So, what's next?

We have a slew of projects currently in development, and 2018 will see us continue with a new release each month to flesh out the three existing factions. This will include a couple of new plastic kits for the Epirians, and something a little bit... let's say 'heftier' for the Broken. Design work is also well underway for the next faction, which will bring some fun toys to the table for battle suit enthusiasts!

Stay tuned to the Comm Guild blog or the Maelstrom's Edge Facebook page for updates!

You can find all of our miniatures, the terrain sprue, and our fiction on the Maelstrom's Edge webstore here. For all of our modeling articles to date, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here. And as always, feel free to join in the discussion in the Comm Guild Facebook Group here!

The Karist Angel Keeper - Available Now


Posted on Friday Dec 29, 2017 at 12:00PM in Models


Spiral Arm Studios are proud to present our latest release in our continuing one release per month cycle - The Karist Keeper.

This high quality resin kit contains one Karist Angel Keeper model with two weapon options and a 25mm base. The cybel Goad can be assembled in a variety of angles for added dynamism. This Command model enables an all-Angel Karist army to be fielded, creating a very visually distinct force.

Angel Keepers are a strange, isolated offshoot within the Karist Priesthood. For hundreds of years, the Keepers of the Karist Enclave have enslaved the alien creatures known as Angels, keeping them docile using regimented doses of cybel energy. The Keepers experiment on their captives, using different forms of cybel energy and electromagnetically charged cages to shape the Angels, encouraging them to grow new limbs or shapes to match the Enclave's requirements. While all Karists are secretive, Keepers take this mantra to another level. Keeper Initiates hand-picked from amongst the ranks of Novitiate priests secretly study sacred texts from venerated Keepers on both the Karist faith and the complexities of caring for the Angel creatures. Some Initiates drop out when they witness the trapping of Angel Minnows with tainted cybel energy. But those who persevere with their training find Angels to be magnificent, transcendent beings, and pledge their lives to the cause. Junior Keepers undertake a vow of silence, abandoning common human pursuits to focus solely on the miraculous Angels. Keepers study Angels for many years, learning to train and even speak to them in a rudimentary, computer-assisted, language. Those that graduate to the full rank of Angel Keeper undergo surgery to replace their vocal cords with a cybernetic enhancement, effectively allowing them to 'speak' the language of the Angels.

Keepers are the least public of the Kaddar sect, having little to do with local populations, but fulfilling the critical role of Angel harvesting and training. On the battlefield, Keepers are tasked with marshalling Angel units to attack the enemy, an often tricky prospect. As the Angels feel the effects of mass and gravity far stronger than their other senses, Keepers can lead Angels around using the pulsed gravitic generator attached to their voicebox. The combination of sound and gravitic waves is irresistible to smaller Angels, but headstrong Mature Angels often ignore these orders if more tempting prey is available. Therefore, Keepers also utilise grenade launchers equipped with Swarmer rounds to douse enemy units with Na-Cybel. Not only do enemy units become incapacitated through temporary euphoria, but the Na-Cybel also draws the attention of any Angels nearby. When a Keeper and an Angel are in harmony, the consequences for their enemies can be devastating.

Weapon and model rules are available at the Karist online unit cards section of the Maelstrom's Edge website.

The Karist Keeper is available for purchase right now at the Maelstrom's Edge store.

Spotlight: Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue Tree Decorations!


Posted on Monday Dec 25, 2017 at 12:00AM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

With Christmas upon us, I wanted to add a bit of a holiday theme to this week's article, and so the only sensible option was to take the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue and build Christmas decorations from it!



Around this time of year you can usually find various DIY bauble kits that have plastic baubles that you can stick photos or other momentos inside, or that you can paint or otherwise decorate. This particular one I think came with some rubber stamps inside for making Christmas cards and the like.



I took four of the long reinforcing struts from the terrain sprue and gently bent them into a curve over a metal tube.





These were then glued around the bauble with all-plastic glue. I used a UHU glue that turned out to be not great for gluing these struts onto flat surfaces as it contracts when it dries, which bends the struts and pops them right off the surface they're glued onto. That very property makes it a perfect glue for attaching the struts to a curved surface, though, as it will make them fit more tightly to the bauble.



The struts don't run all the way down to the bottom of the bauble, so I took the large pipe fitting from the sprue, and used a hobby knife to carve the bottom surface out to make it concave.



This was then glued onto the bottom of the bauble.



Time to paint! A quick spray of grey primer:



Season lightly with some crushed rocksalt:



Spray with Army Painter Dragon Red:



Once the spray was dry, I scrubbed away the salt under running water:



The detail pieces were then painted with P3 Pig Iron:



I followed this up with a generous coat of my old favourite, Army Painter Strong Tone ink.



After sitting overnight for the ink to dry, a quick drybrush of Pig Iron and a little silver, and up it goes on the tree!



To build your own collection of mechanical... er... decorativeness, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain kit along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here. As always, we would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Here's wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.

Modeling Tutorial - Scarecrow-arm Bionics


Posted on Monday Dec 18, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Amongst the veterans of the savage and bloody conflicts that rage along the Maelstrom's Edge, bionic limbs are commonplace. Many (at least those who can afford it) choose high-tech limb augmetics that are practically indistinguishable from the original. The less fortunate, or perhaps just the less vain, often wind up with more obvious mechanical assistance. You can find various examples of this amongst the plastic broken models, but here I'm going to share an easy bionic arm made from the left arm of an Epirian Scarecrow bot.



The arm comes in two pieces. Start by trimming or filing off any mould lines.



Take the upper arm piece and remove the round lug from the inside of the shoulder and the flange from the top of the shoulder with a sharp knife or razor saw, and cut off the arm just above the elbow pivot and just below the reinforcing struts.



On the lower arm piece, cut the hand off just above the wrist, and the forearm just below the reinforcing struts, and then also remove the struts - leaving them on makes the forearm a little too bulky.



Assemble the arm by gluing the hand back onto the truncated lower arm, the elbow pivot onto the upper arm, and then gluing the elbow joint together.



Glue onto your model of choice, and you're ready to paint and send them off to battle!



To rebuild your own warriors into an augmented force of renewed usefulness, you can pick up the Scarecrow bot along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here. As always, we would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!



For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.

Model Spotlight: Epirian Hunter Warmech


Posted on Monday Dec 11, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

For this week's article, I thought it might be fun to pause and take a closer look back at one of the models from the initial Maelstrom's Edge release - the Epirian Hunter Warmech!



Designed through an arcane mix of clever sculpting, sliding-core moulding and witch-craft, the Hunter kit is beautifully detailed while going together with surprisingly few parts. Arms and legs are solid parts, removing the need for unsightly seams, while boasting articulated shoulders, elbows, ankles and hips to give enough poseability to keep things interesting.



Towering above mere human soldiers, the Hunter is the second-largest model currently on the Maelstrom's Edge battlefield, beaten in size only by the Karist Angel (for now!)



The kit comes with a nice array of weapons - a maglock chain gun, a flakk cannon, two suppressor twin machine guns, two each of the different rocket pods, and a hydraulic fist.

Being plastic, 'borrowing' a second weapon from another kit and modifying it to go on the opposite arm is a breeze. Below, the shield for the flakk cannon has been flipped over to go on the right arm, with the top and bottom beveled parts reshaped slightly to keep the symmetry between the left and right.



The rocket pods are designed to mount behind the head, but it's too much fun to not play around with them and find other places to fit them!



The legs have a slight bend in the knee, which allows for a surprising range of motion combined with the pivoting ankle joints. For a little more speed, the knee joint can be sliced through and reattached into more of a running pose.



If pounding away with a big, metal fist isn't your thing, the hydraulic fist can be easily replaced with a chainsaw blade or other suitably brutal melee weapon of your choosing. The Hunter below has a chainsaw taken from a Games Workshop plastic kit for some extra rippy fun.



If converting is more your thing, let your imagination run wild! Below is an Epirian Uplink Drone, built from a Hunter torso, some bits from the Spider drone kit, and some tracks from a Counterblast robot model. You can see how it was built in the article here.



Venturing a little further off the beaten track, this 'Mule' cargo drone was built from a Hunter chassis with a head made from a Spider drone and some lifter hands scratch-built from plasticard. You can check it out in the build article here.



If big guns are more your thing, then the 'Silverback' fire support mech is going to be right up your alley. This was built from a reposed Hunter with hands made from drone parts and sprue, a drone chassis head, and a gun taken from a Games Workshop Tau kit. To find out how to build your own, check out the article here.



To build your own robot army of mechanical Doom, you can pick up the Hunter kit, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, from the webstore here. As always, we would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!



For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.hun

Modeling Spotlight: Assembling Karist Heavy Troopers


Posted on Monday Dec 04, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

This week saw the release of the next Maelstrom's Edge resin set into the wild, with the addition of heavy weapon troopers to the Karist Enclave lineup. Here, we're having a quick look at how to assemble these great new models!



The Karist heavy troopers come in a pack of two troopers, with three heavy weapons between them. They also include 3 optional heads - two with helmets and one open-face, an extra left arm with a spare cybel cannister, and a bunch of extra cybel cannisters to attach to their belts.



As always with resin models, it's a good idea to give them a quick wash in warm, soapy water to clear off any residual mould release, as this can affect paint adhesion. If any of the parts are a little bent, this is also the time to drop them in some hot water and then reshape them - although the casts I received of these models were all beautiful and straight, with extremely minimal mould lines, so very little clean-up work involved.

The two bodies are all one piece, and so once the frame lugs are trimmed off the bottom of the feet, can be glued straight onto your base. Because these are resin rather than polystyrene like the regular plastic kits, use a good quality superglue or fast-setting epoxy glue, rather than plastic cement.



The arms have nice, sturdy locator pins that fit snugly into the sockets in the shoulders.



Dry-fit them first to get a feel for how they sit, and then I find the easiest way to ensure the arms fit together nicely is to put a drop of glue into each shoulder socket, a small drop on the left palm, and then sit everything into place and make any minor adjustment quickly before the glue grabs. You can glue one arm at a time if you prefer, but it can be trickier to get a perfect fit that way, depending on the angle of the arms.



Finally, glue the heads in place, and you're ready for paint!



You can add a Quintarch to the unit using a regular Karist trooper, or you can add parts from the Trooper sprue and/or Faction Expansion Sprue to another heavy trooper body to keep with the heavier armour look for the whole unit.



You could also use weapons and arms from the Trooper sprue on the heavy trooper bodies to make special weapon troopers for your regular Karist units.



And for a final bit of fun, I made some conversions a while back of some Tempest Elites with shoulder-mounted weapons (from the Spotlight article here). That conversion becomes even easier with the pulse cannon and cannister arm from the heavy trooper set!



To build your own army of Maelstrom-worshipping, explody Doom, you can pick up the Karist Heavy Trooper set, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, from the webstore here. As always, we would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.

Karist Heavy Weapons - Available Now


Posted on Thursday Nov 30, 2017 at 10:00AM in The Karist Enclave


Spiral Arm Studios are proud to present our latest release in our continuing one release per month cycle - Karist Heavy Weapons.

These weapons are resin, with slightly up-armoured Karist troopers carrying and operating them. One of the weapons can now be added to your basic Karist Trooper squads for +1 to +2 points, or you can build an entirely new Anvil unit with two heavy weapons - the Karist Trooper Heavy Squad.

Weapon and unit rules are available on the Karist online unit cards section of the Maelstrom's Edge website.

The models are available for purchase right now at the Maelstrom's Edge store.

You'll also notice that the kit comes with a Karist trooper head which has the mask removed, revealing the human underneath.

The above model is also demonstrating the alternate arm option, holding a cybel ammo cannister. Parts are broadly interchangeable with the rest of the Karist range, opening up further options and conversion possibilities!