The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Terrain Spotlight: Sci-Fi Temple


Posted on Monday Jun 18, 2018 at 03:05PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

This week, I'm showcasing another terrain build, but for a change of pace I thought it would be fun to build something in a more unusual style.

I've been eyeing off the Japanese building range from Plast Craft Games for some time, and in particular a three-level temple that was just screaming to be turned into a table centrepiece. So I grabbed the temple from one of my regular go-to online stores, broke out some Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues, and set to work!



The Plast Craft Games buildings are flat-packed, assemble-yourself-style constructs in a similar vein to the various MDF offerings out there, except that instead of MDF they're made from sheets of die-cut, foamed PVC. This material is somewhere in between styrofoam and plasticard in density, and is nice and easy to work with and surprisingly sturdy once assembled.



My plan was to not get too crazy with modifying the building, as I love the general design of it. It just needed some sci-fi-ing up to fit on my table. So with that in mind, I discarded the resin screen doors that come with the kit in favour of the single doors from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. The existing doorways on the temple were exactly the right height for the plastic doorframe, but a little wider, so I filled in the gaps on either side with strips of scrap sheet cut to size. Other than that, the bottom level was assembled as per the instructions.





Similar treatment was given to the second level, although this level only has doors in two walls instead of all four.



The top level has a smaller doorway in a single wall. Rather than cut out the door hole to fit another full-sized doorframe in there, I filled in the doorway with some leftover sheet bits and glued on the square hatch from the terrain sprue. I also replaced the spire on the roof peak with another square hatch.



The railings that came with the temple were a little low, and a little low-tech for my liking, so I replaced them with ladders from the terrain sprue. This required some fudging to make it work, as I discovered when I started gathering ladders that I had run out. Luckily, I was able to cobble together a few discarded cut sections to fill the last of the railing on the second level. It's a little rough if you look too closely, but I can always pass it off as a rushed repair job (those lowest-bid contractors at work!).







I wanted to do the bulk of the painting before adding the roof sections, as I figured that would be easier than trying to work around them. So the building was given a basecoat with black spray, and then a top-down spray with grey, leaving the black in the lower recesses for natural shading.



I then picked out all the metal parts with Citadel Leadbelcher, before giving them a wash with Army Painter Dark Tone.



The balcony levels were painted with Vallejo Neutral Grey and drybrushed with Vallejo Light Grey, and the wall panels were basecoated with Vallejo Heavy Brown and drybrushed with P3 Jack Bone. At which point, it was time to add the roof sections.



I'm not sure if it was my slightly rushed assembly, or a flaw in the temple kit, but I found that the roof sections for the two lower levels were actually too short to reach the corner beams. Luckily, I had some corrugated cardboard that matched the card used for the roof almost exactly. Cut to size and with tile-grooves added by 'scoring' across the corrugations lightly with a sculpting tool, they were a close enough match to hold up to all but the closest scrutiny.



My improvised roof sections were painted black before gluing in place, and then all of the roof pieces were drybrushed with Leadbelcher and washed with Dark Tone. Finally, I picked out the lights above the doors with a drybrush of Citadel Ultramarine Blue, Ice Blue and then white, and added a masonite base sprayed with grey and white for a quick concrete effect. If I have time later, I may go back and replace this with a tiled slab to pretty things up some more.

The finished building:







To pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, 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, or for help or advice, or just to share your work, feel free to visit the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Terrain Spotlight: Cardboard Gift Box Ruin


Posted on Monday Jun 11, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

If you've been following my hobby articles for any length of time, you may have noticed that I'm rather fond of using cardboard gift boxes to make buildings (If you're new here, you can see examples here, here, or here). But while intact buildings are all well and good, a balanced battlefield should include a mix of line of sight blocking terrain and area terrain, and so this week I'm breaking out the old gift boxes and the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue for some good, old-fashioned ruins.



The structure for this build comes from two cardboard gift boxes, bought from a local discount store.



The lids were flipped over to create a walled roof, and I removed a corner of the smaller box with a sharp hobby knife so that it nestled in neatly against the larger box.



I used a door and a shutter window from the terrain sprue to mark out positions for doors and windows, by sitting them in place and tracing around them with a pencil.



Then I used the hobby knife to cut the door and window holes out, and marked out a rough plan for the building damage - the line around the building shows where the walls would be cut down, leaving more raised areas on corners, where the structure would be stronger.



The hobby knife was put to use again, as I cut along the ruin line all the way around the building.



Once done, the cardboard structure went together like this:



As a handy side-effect, the pieces removed from the tops of the walls can be saved and used to create other ruins later...



Because the ruin line wound up around the bottom of all of the window frames, I just left them bare. For the doorways, though, I chopped the door panel out from the surrounding doorframe, and cut the frame into shorter pieces to match the height of the ruined walls.



The doorframe pieces were then glued in place, and I also added some support struts on the corners of the walls, also suitably cut down to height and with the cut ends messed up a little with some clippers to simulate explosive damage. With these all in place, I glued the whole building structure to a base board of masonite.



If you're just after a quick and easy ruin, this is the point where you can call the job a good'un and go and slap some paint onto it. For some extra detailing, though, I chose to glue some chopped up card from the gift boxes and some leftovers from the cut terrain sprue bits around the building, and then using a generous amount of PVA glue added some gravel and sand.





After leaving the glue to dry, it was time for paint!



I started with a basecoat of grey spray, and then a light spray with white around the walls and the bigger rubble patches.



The exposed sections of the baseboard and the building floors was then re-based in Vallejo Neutral Grey, and then drybrushed with Vallejo Light Grey.



Everything was then dirtied up with some Neutral Grey sponge-weathering and spots of drybrushed Vallejo Beasty Brown.



I added a couple of extra details for colour - the number on the roof railing by dabbing through a number stencil with a large brush and some red paint, and a little graffiti on the back wall painted with yellow and some blue ink straight over the grey wall to give it a faded appearance.



The final step was a quick blast of black spray into the interior of the building to create some contrast.



And that's it - one ruin, ready for the table!

If you're keen to try this for yourself, you can pick up the giftboxes from gift stores all over the place, or online with a quick Google search, and the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from 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, or for help or advice, or just to share your work, feel free to visit the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Modeling Spotlight: Converted Gnolti Longhorn


Posted on Monday Jun 04, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Slow to anger, but difficult to put down once roused, Gnolti form an implacable, craggy backbone of the Broken forces. As awesome as a regular Gnotli is, I thought it might be interesting to explore the different ways that being forced into warfare might affect different Gnolti. I thought it might be likely that younger, more headstrong Gnolti would be more ready to turn to anger, while older, experienced veterans would be more prone to careful consideration and strategy. With the seeds planted, I grabbed some putty and a few extra bits and pieces, and the Gnolti Longhorn was born!



Obviously, the core of this model is the fantastic, resin Gnolti model.



To make him stand out a little, I wanted some suitably scavenged-looking armour, although this would be more for decoration than anything, given the Gnolti's craggy hide. So I grabbed the front half of an Epirian Hunter Mech torso and removed the lower section.



With some battle damage and careful trimming added with a hobby knife, the torso front fit nicely on over the right shoulder.

To create the eponymous 'longhorns', I drilled into the ends of the horns, and glued in some curled lengths of steel wire.



I reshaped the locator pin on the bottom of the torso a little so that I could twist the torso slightly to the side. Then I heated the right leg in hot water and bent back slightly, allowing the legs to be posed on a low piece of rubble.



The Longhorn was going to lack the shield generators worn by regular Gnolti, but removing the forearm shields completely would have required considerable resculpting of the arms, so instead I removed all of the tech details and added a bunch of battle damage, turning them into ordinary, garden variety bracers.



To allow the left arm to be angled closer in to the torso to rest it on the left knee, I hollowed out the elbow joint with a hobby knife, and slightly reshaped the elbow end of the upper arm.



At this point, it was time to break out the putty. The horns received an initial bulking-out layer.



Once this was set, I added additional putty and smoothed it into the horn shape, and then added striations to match the existing horn sections using a silicon clay shaper.



Rather than worrying too much about getting the horns identical lengths, I made one shorter and squared off the end, to make it look like it had been broken off.



The right hand needed repositioning to hold the gun properly, so I sliced through the wrist with a razor saw, and reattached it at a better angle. The gun itself was borrowed from a Mantic Veer-min Nightmare, with some grips added from plastic tube. I'm picturing this as a Chem Cannon, but haven't fully settled on rules yet.





After final assembly and some minor gap-filling here and there, the Longhorn looked something like this:





Painting was very similar to my previous Gnolti conversion, although I went for a slightly more stark highlight on the scales and a white/grey beard to help convey his veteran status.



The skin is Citadel Liche Purple, drybrushed with P3 Jack Bone and then washed with Army Painter Purple Tone. Scales were painted with Vallejo Neutral Grey, washed with Army Painter Dark Tone and then given a careful drybrush of white.



The harness, cloth and leather armour plates were painted with various shades of brown and washed with Army Painter Strong Tone, and the metal armour was painted with Vallejo Beasty Brown, drybrushed with P3 Pig Iron, washed with Strong Tone and then given a drybrush of Army Painter silver. The darker tone on the weapon was from a black basecoat, a heavy drybrush of Pig Iron and then two coats of Dark Tone.



With basing in my standard Urban theme, Grampa Gnolti was ready for the table.



The other end of the spectrum is, of course, the young, impetuous (relatively speaking) Gnolti. Stay tuned!

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

To pick up the Gnolti 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.

New Forsaken Chieftain for the Broken, now available!


Posted on Thursday May 31, 2018 at 12:01PM in The Broken


The Forsaken are commonly dismissed as simple, degenerate pirates, but the truth is that they usually attack only out of necessity. Piracy is many times the only way their community can survive a hostile galaxy: stealing food, fuel, ammunition and anything else of value they can get their hands on. The Forsaken rarely send out their forces en masse, knowing that a single crushing defeat could mean the end of their entire tribe's existence. Instead, they strike in small patrols, typically led by a Chieftain.



Though a Chieftain is granted his or her position of authority by The Assembly, they must first earn the respect of their fellow Forsaken to even be nominated. A Chieftain must be equal parts fighter, diplomat and cunning tactician. Knowing that their forces can never win a stand-up fight against a prepared opponent, a Chieftain leads his warriors to strike unseen from the shadows, quickly fading away before the enemy can root them out and respond in kind. Many an opposing force has underestimated the ingenuity of a Broken force led by a Chieftain, only realizing too late their folly, as improvised booby traps decimate their defensive positions and Broken secretly approach from their rear.

The appearance of a Chieftain can vary wildly both based upon the culture of their original homeworld, but also from that of the Broken Freeport they are now a part of. Chieftains tend to have slightly nicer clothing and equipment than standard Broken rabble, and many see it as almost their duty to show that even amongst the ranks of the Broken, an individual can still rise up and carry themselves with dignity and class. When the Broken do manage to defeat an enemy officer with particularly fancy clothing or an heirloom weapon, a Chieftain will confiscate these valuable items. A Chieftain wears these purloined treasures into battle, as both a reminder of their past victory, and to display their status as an iconic Broken leader.



This high detail resin model contains two alternate weapons for the left hand and a xeno spotter in the right hand, and is available now from the webstore here! You can also find the rules for this model in the Force Builder section here.

Broken infantry sprue: which arms fit which weapons?


Posted on Wednesday May 30, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


Originally posted on Dakkadakka by Sgt.Oddball.

Hi all,

The Broken Infantry sprues have a total of 13 different weapons (not counting grenades) and 36 different pairs of arms. I thought it would be convenient to know which arms fit which weapons. Scientific testing was set up:



Egg crates full of arms.



Weapons to be tested (from top to bottom, name/part: slug rifle/w0, beam blastgun/w1, longbeam rifle/w3, massive torch/w4, torch/w5, EMP Harpoon/w6, Glue Rifle/w7, Slug Pistol/w13, Chem Pistol/w14, Chem Launcher/w16, Glue Carbine/w17, Beam Pistol/w18, Auto Slugger/w29.

Before relaying the results, a disclaimer:

- I only used the one torso/leg combination (legs 3 and torso 3). I think the pairings will work for most torso/leg combinations, but see a little addendum at the end on torso number 6 which is definitely different. I also stuck to the arms as paired on the sprue (didn't mix and match left and right).

- I stuck the arms to the torso with tacky glue and dry-fitted the weapons. Hence, stuff will fit a little nicer when you actually glue it properly. Also, I couldn't take pictures of some combos for lacking three hands.

- It's a rough guide: not all the fits shown are ideal, I might have missed one that kinda fits as well, and of course if you're a little creative and/or do a tiny bit of converting, more fits are possible.

Then, finally, with the Broken sprues it's useful to know that all the '1' arms create a similar hold, all the '2' arms create a similar hold, etc. The numbers for the arms in no way match specifically with the torsos that are on the same sprue, that's totally unrelated. Generally the 1 arms are good for the Slug Rifle, Beam Blastgun, Longbeam Rifle (but 5 is better), Massive Torch and EMP Harpoon. The 2 arms are good for pistols. The 3 arms are good for having your gun resting on the ground. 3E will do a dual pistol. The 4 arms are good for the Torch and Glue Carbine. The 5 arms are good for the Auto Slugger and Longbeam Rifle. The 6 arms are good for the Glue Rifle, Slug Rifle, Beam Blastgun and EMP Harpoon.

So, results:

Slug Rifle works with: 1A, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 2D, 3C, 3D, 3F, 4D, 5A, 5E, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.


Beam Blastgun works with: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 3C, 3D, 3F, 5A, 5C, 5D, 5E, 5F, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.


Longbeam Rifle works with: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 3C, 3D, 3F, 5A, 5B, 5E, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.


Massive Torch works with: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 5E, 6A.


Torch works with: 2AS, 2D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 4F, 5D, 5F.


EMP Harpoon works with: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 3A, 3C, 3D, 3F, 5A, 5C, 5D, 5E, 5F, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.


Glue Rifle is a bit odd as there's several ways one might hold it. I have my preference but just showed them all. Note that the gun is upside down in one of the pics. I think this might be because I dropped it and then redid the photo without noticing I held the gun wrong, which would mean this combo should work the right way up, but I'm not sure ;). Works with: 1D, 1E, 3B, 3C, 3D, 3F, 5C, 5E, 5F, 6A, 6B, 6D, 6E, 6F.


Slug Pistol works with: 2A, 2B, 2C, 2E, 2F, 5C, 5D, 5E, 5F.


Chem Pistol works with: 2A, 2B, 2E, 2F, 3E.


Chem Launcher works with: 1D, 1E, 2F, 5A, 5D, 5E.


Glue Carbine works with: 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 4F, 5D, 5F.


Beam Pistol works with: 1A, 1E, 2A, 2C, 2D, 3E.


Auto Slugger works with: 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D, 5E, 5F, 6C, 6E.


Small addendum regarding torso number 6, which I think is the only one that makes a serious difference for the arms:

In general, torso 6 points the hands closer together. This makes arms 3 and 4 almost useless, but gives a lot of options for the torch and glue carbine as those shorter guns now take advantage of the many arms that usually accommodate longer guns. It's surprisingly hard to find any arm combination to actually fit the basic Slug Rifle, so beware of that. I did slightly less extensive research on this torso (no pics of every combo), but here's my results:

Slug Rifle: 6C, 6F.
Beam Blastgun: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1F, 5D, 5E, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.
Longbeam Rifle: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 6A, 6C, 6D, 6F.
Massive Torch: 1A, 1B, 1D, 1E, 6A.
Torch: 1A, 1B, 1D, 1E, 1B, 2D, 2E, 2F, 5B, 5D, 5E.
EMP Harpoon: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 6A, 6B, 6D, 6E, 6F.
Glue Rifle: 5E, 6A, 6C, 6D, 6F.
Slug Pistol: 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F.
Chem Pistol: 1A, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 3E.
Chem Launcher: 2B, 2D, 2E, 5E, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.
Glue Carbine: 1C, 1D, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 5A, 5B, 5D, 5E, 5F.
Beam Pistol: 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 3E.
Auto Slugger: 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 6C, 6F.


General pose of the 1 arms:


General pose of the 2 arms:


3 arms are basically useless with this torso (unless you do a little bit of converting), but you can still do double pistols:


4 arms aren't much use for weapons, but might work if you want to model somebody gesturing whilst talking ;)


General pose of the 5 arms:


General pose of the 6 arms:


Terrain Spotlight: Knights of Dice Desert Residence meets the Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue!


Posted on Monday May 28, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

A few weeks ago, I showcased a dice tower made from a Knights of Dice MDF blank and some bits from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. This week, I'm giving a similar treatment to a desert building from the KoD 'Tabula Rasa' range.



The Tabula Rasa terrain range is specifically designed to be fairly basic, both as a cost-effective way of filling your table and to serve as a base for people to add their own detail... which obviously makes these buildings a perfect match for the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue!

The building I've started with is the 'Desert Residence 1', which when assembled straight out of the pack looks something like this:



Before gluing the building together, there were a few modifications to make. To begins with, the doorways are a little small for the Maelstrom's Edge doors to fit in. So I sat the door over the doorway, traced around it with a pencil and then carefully cut the resultant enlarged doorway out with a sharp exacto knife. MDF cuts fairly easily, so this isn't too onerous, but if you would rather avoid it you could alternatively build a boxwork around the door, as I did on my watch tower) and just glue it over the existing doorway.



There are two differently-sized windows scattered around the building. The larger of them, like the doorways, is a little small for the shuttered windows from the terrain sprue, so I repeated the door process, using the top corner of the window hole to line up the plastic part, and then tracing and cutting a larger hole. Again, if you would prefer to avoid cutting MDF, the shutter windows work quite well just glued straight to the wall.



For the smaller window holes, I covered over two of them using the cast-off MDF pieces from the larger windows, and to this I attached part of the energy fence pylon from the terrain sprue to make some sort of mechanical gubbin (I have to admit, it looks a little like a high-tech toilet cystern to me).



For the third small window, I took the large pipe fitting from the terrain sprue, and glued a small circle of plastic mesh into the back of it. This was then glued over the window hole to make a covered vent.



As a nice little touch, all of the Knights of Dice kits come with a little crowbar-sort-of-thing in the top corner of the MDF sheet, which can be used for prying parts out for assembly, or pulling removable roofs off. With a little bit of trimming up, they also serve quite well as upright bars for attaching ladders. I trimmed the ladder from the terrain sprue off so that it was short enough to work on either of the two building sections - the hooks on the top allow it to be hung from any free stretch of roof railing without needing to glue it in place.



With the leftover piece of ladder and a couple of MDF cast-offs, I made a smaller access ladder to hang between the roof sections.



The final touch was to add some support strut sections from the terrain sprue to cover over the joint holes where the roof supports attach to the walls. I could also have removed the other joint gaps by filling with some filling plaster or putty and sanding it down smooth, but I actually like the wall joints for creating a pre-fabricated slab-assembly look.





With some paint and weathering, the final building winds up looking like this:











Some Karist troopers, taking up station:






To tech up some buildings of your own, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, from the webstore here. As always, be sure to share to see your creations, or pop in with any hobby questions to 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.

Painting Tutorial - Konstantin Moor, Veteran Bot Handler


Posted on Monday May 21, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Last week, I ran through a conversion tutorial for a veteran Master Bot Handler who I'm calling Konstantin Moor, a nasty, multi-weaponed individual built, along with his faithful drone companions, from the new Epirian Master Bot Handler kit (If you missed last week's article, you can find it here).

Well, now it's time to get some paint on him!



Before I start, a quick note on paints: I tend to use paints from a few different ranges, as I collect whichever paints I like rather than sticking to a single brand. If you're looking to match any of the paints I use, you might find this Paint Compatibility Chart somewhat handy!

I'm painting Konstantin for gaming rather than display, so this is a fairly quick and easy paintjob, with nothing too complicated or fancy going on. I started out by basecoating all three models with Army Painter Army Green spray.





Next, I painted armour sections and the drone chassis with Vallejo Yellow Green, and metal sections with Vallejo Heavy Charcoal. I also gave Konstantin some Vallejo Neutral Grey pants, and a base layer of skin using Citadel Scorched Brown.





Once that was done, I went over the yellow green with a light wash of Army Painter Green Tone, and the metal, grey and skin with Army Painter Dark Tone.





When the washes had dried, I went back over the green sections with a fine brush and a little more green wash, applying very thin layers onto downward-facing surfaces to give them a little more shading. Then I applied a light highlight to raised edges using Coat D'Arms Putrid Green. The metal areas were given a similar highlight with P3 Pig Iron, and I used Vallejo Light Grey on Konstantin's pants. For his skin, I highlighted by lightly drybrushing with Citadel Tallarn Flesh.



Finally, the models were all transplanted to fresh bases, painted up in my urban scheme. I added some light grey onto Konstantin's eyebrows, and painted the lenses on his Neural Nodes with Army Painter Pure Red before giving them a spot of white in the centre. For the laser tips and the shield generator on the firefly drone (Cassio), I painted on a layer of Citadel Ultramarine Blue before drybrushing with Citadel Ice Blue and finishing with white. A few other details, like the red eye lenses on the drones (Pure Red, shaded with the red mixed with a little black and then a highlight spot of white), the Epirian badge on Konstantin's chest (Pig Iron, with a spot of P3 Cygnus Yellow), and picking out the missile tips on the spider drone (Iago), and the trio were ready for the table!







Group shot:



Stay tuned for an unofficial rules card to use Konstantin in your own games, coming later this week to the Force Listing section of the Maelstrom's Edge website!

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

To pick up this 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.

Modeling Tutorial - Konstantin Moor, Veteran Bot Handler


Posted on Monday May 14, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

I've been having an awful lot of fun playing with the new Epirian Master Bot Handler kit (as evidenced in the Modeling Spotlight article from last week. Amongst all of the other conversion ideas that popped up when I started looking at the sprue, I had one that I thought warranted a conversion article all of its own. And so, let me present Konstantin Moor, Veteran Bot Handler, along with his companion drones: Iago and Cassio!



The main things that set Konstantin apart from his brethren are the additional pair of weapon arms, and the independent movement of the weapon arms, as opposed to the normal direct control rig that links to the forearm. To replicate this build, you will need two Epirian Master Bot Handler sprues and the Faction Expansion Sprue. You will also need a Drone sprue to build Iago and Cassio.

I built the body as normal, using the bent legs and the matching torso. In place of the normal helmeted head, I used the bare head from the Faction Expansion Sprue, although there would be nothing stopping you from just using the normal head if you prefer the armoured look. Note that the head from the expansion sprue is designed to go with the Karist Trooper torso, and so has a slightly thicker neck than the various Epirian and Broken heads. As a result, the neck needed a little shaving down with a hobby knife before being glued in place.



The arms were largely left alone, with the only modification required being to chop off the mounting peg for the weapons.



Now for the fun part. I took the backpack, and underneath the existing weapon arm socket, I smoothed down the corner of the pack and drilled a small guide hole with the tip of my hobby knife. Then I found a drill bit that matched the diameter of the arm socket (11/64", although a 4mm bit would do the job for the metric-inclined) and drilled out a new arm socket. I did this with the drill bit held in my fingers and twirling it - you could use a dremel or similar rotary tool, but plastic is soft so there's not really any need when the drill bit is large enough to grip it securely with your fingers, and this helps to reduce the risk of accidentally over-drilling the hole by drilling too fast.



Next up I assembled the two sets of weapon arms and glued them with a bit more than a 90 degree bend in the elbow.



These were glued in place on the backpack, and the backpack and arms glued onto the body. I also glued the Neural Nodes in place on the backpack weapon ports.



Time for some weapons!

Konstantin is armed with two linked sets of Drone Class Laser Systems. Without these being joined to the forearms, I wanted to change how they mounted onto the weapon arms a little, to give them a more open range of movement. Using a hobby knife, I cut through the rear half of the mounting ring off the back of the weapons. The cutoff piece was also cut in half.



The weapons were then glued onto the ends of the weapon arms, pointing directly forwards with the remaining half of the mounting ring socketing over the ball joint. I attached one half of the cutoff ring section on the outside, to reinforce the joint a little.



After one final tweak (repositioning the right arm to be extended forwards instead of down) Konstantin was assembled and ready for paint!







Moving on - Iago!

Iago was assembled as a concept for the Master Handler modeling spotlight article, and I liked the idea too much to not get him onto the table. To put him together, I used a Spider Drone and a Master Handler backpack with Cluster Missile pods.

The bottom protrusions were sliced off the backpack with a razor saw, and the back of the drone chassis was similarly cut down flat.



I then glued the backpack onto the back of the drone chassis. The chassis sidepods needs shortening a little - I cut them down so that they butted up flush against the backpack.



With the addition of a set of Spider Drone legs, Iago was all set.



And finally: Cassio!

Cassio is based on a Firefly Drone, with the normal laser system replaced with an energy field projector. To create the projector, I used a flakk gun from the drone sprue, cut as below, and the muzzle of a radwave emitter and a cybel mine from the Faction Expansion sprue.



I assembled the drone as normal (sans weapons) and then glued the projector in place underneath, using the cut-down flakk gun as the mount, gluing the cybel mine to the front of the gun, and then the reversed radwave emitter muzzle to the front of the mine.



With turbines glued on and a flight base added, Cassio was ready for action.



The unit all assembled:



Next week: painting and rules card!

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

To pick up this 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.

Tactics: Equipping the Epirian Master Bot Handler


Posted on Saturday May 12, 2018 at 09:30PM in Gaming


EQUIPPING A MASTER BOT HANDLER

A Master Bot Handler is one of the most powerful figures in the Foundation, able to command legions of robotic minions and carry a vast array of weaponry that common soldiers can only dream of. However, this dizzying amount of options can also make deciding exactly how to equip your own Master Handler a bit daunting. Have no fear though! Once you finish with this article, you’ll have all the insider information of what Master Handlers are capable of and know how you’ll want to equip yours.



TACTICAL ROLES OF A MASTER HANDLER

There are three main roles you can equip your Master Handler to fulfill:

  1. Bot Commander.
  2. Gun Heavy.
  3. Support/Melee.


* * *


BOT COMMANDER

No matter how you choose to equip your Master Handler, you’ll want to be aware that, above all else, they are a force multiplier for Foundation robotic units. So if you’re looking to field a force that has a preponderance of Contractor or SecDef (coming soon!) units, then you might want to instead just stick with taking regular Journeyman Bot Handlers as the Command Model for your detachments.

With a Master Handler, while you pay a premium in points to take them, you get a heck of a lot of value by way of improving all the robotic units in your force. With his Neural Interface, a Master Handler effectively has the Command (3) ability, which means he’s able to issue orders to up to 3 friendly units within 18” per turn. Anytime a Bot Handler (of any level) issues an order to a Bot unit, that unit gets to enable its Bot Protocols for the turn, which makes them perform much better: Hunter Warmechs get to move and shoot more effectively, Scarecrows get to fire more shots, Firefly Drones dodge incoming fire better and Spider Drones make better use of cover they’re hiding in. If you’re looking to make the absolute most out of this ability to buff nearby robotic units in this way, then there are a few options for the Master Handler that are pretty much mandatory:

Neural Nodes - Master Handlers are able to take up to 2 Neural Nodes. Each one allows them to issue an order to 1 more unit then they normally would be able to. A Master Handler has a WP of 5, which means, especially later in the game when you have a lot of Command Points available, you can put 5 Command Points onto the Master Handler and with the help of a couple Neural Nodes, be able to issue orders to 5 nearby robotic units (thereby enabling Bot Protocols on all of them).



Command Booster Micro Drone - Being able to issue orders to 5 nearby bot units is great, but with a command range of only 18”, you’ll have to keep all those units pretty well clustered around your Master Handler, which is less than ideal. However, Master Handlers are able to take a Command Booster Micro Drone, which increases their command range up to 24”. If you’re looking to make your Master Handler into a true bot commander, then taking a Command Booster allows you to keep your Master Handler back out of harms way while still issuing orders to your bot units that need them.

Firefly Defender Drones - In order to get the most out of your Master Handler as a bot commander you’ll want to keep them roughly in the center of your force, within command range of as many of your bot units as possible. Unfortunately, a Master Handler's prickly superior attitude prevents them from joining friendly units, so to keep your Master Handler safe, a great tactic can be to keep him hidden behind a big obstacle or piece of area terrain so that the enemy can't even spot him. However, a canny opponent might try to counter this by outflanking that terrain in order to get some wide open shots on your Handler. While the Master Handler’s impressive MAS 3 can protect him from a small amount of enemy fire, if the opponent does get a decent-sized unit with open shots on your Master Handler, you're probably going to lose the linchpin of your entire force, and along with it, the game. Therefore taking 1-2 Firefly Defender Drones can be a solid idea to help protect your Handler. As long as you enable their Bot Protocols, Firefly Defender Drones grant their unit (including the Master Handler) the Dodge ability equal to the number of Defender Drones in the unit (so 2 Defender Drones means the unit gets the Dodge (2) ability).

Cheap Weapons - As your goal will be to keep your bot commander Master Handler hidden from the enemy behind terrain, it doesn't make sense to spend extra points on weapons that will probably never be used. As such, sticking with the 0 point weapons (like a Flakk Gun and/or Repair Claw) is the smart choice for a Master Handler acting as a bot commander.

Master of Machines faction objective - Finally, if you want to get the absolute most out of your Master Handler as a bot commander, then taking the Master of Machines as your faction objective is pretty much a must, as it potentially allows you to enable Bot Protocols on a 6th friendly bot unit, and better yet, one that’s beyond your Master Handler’s command range:

MASTER OF MACHINES This objective may only be utilized if your force contains a Master Bot Handler. If utilized, a Master Bot Handler is automatically your force commander for any objective type that requires one. This objective type can generate a maximum of 3 VPs per game, after which you may no longer utilize the Bot Mastery ability. ----- Partial: (each end phase) If at least one of your Master Bot Handlers is on the table and the Bot Mastery ability was not utilized that turn, gain 1 VP. Full: (end of game) If at least one of your Master Bot Handlers is still on the table, gain all of this objective’s remaining VPs. Bot Mastery: Once per turn, you may automatically enable one of your unit’s bot protocols when that unit is activated (regardless of whether its activation discipline check is successfully passed). You must have at least one Master Bot Handler on the table to utilize this ability.


SAMPLE ‘BOT COMMANDER’ MASTER HANDLER
  • Master Bot Handler - 16 pts.
  • 1 Firefly Defender Drone - 3 pts.
  • 2 Neural Nodes - 2 pts.
  • 2 Flakk Guns - 0 pts.
  • Command Booster Micro Drone - 3 pts.
  • TOTAL - 24 pts.


* * *


GUN HEAVY

The next major role a Master Handler can fill is one of straight-up shooty death to the enemy. The Master Handler’s powerful exo-skeleton allows them to carry more and heavier guns than any other Foundation infantry model released to date. That means when equipped properly, a Master Handler’s unit can be one the most devastating shooting units in your arsenal. But be warned, this is also the most expensive configuration for a Master Handler.

Fire Assist - One very important limitation to be aware of is that, while Master Handlers have the Fire Assist (+1) ability, this only allows them to fire a maximum of 2 weapons during each round of shooting. That means the only reason you’d want to equip your Master Handler with more than 2 weapons is to give you the tactical flexibility to choose the best 2 weapons to fire in any given situation.

Cluster Missile Pods - If you’re looking to get maximum firepower out of your Master Handler, then taking 2 linked Cluster Missile Pods is definitely the way to go. Linked weapons add +1 to the number of shots the weapon normally is able to fire (and also only count as a single weapon being fired). So if you can manage to find a target where you're able to cover 3 models with the Cluster Missile Pod's AoE template, then you’re looking at getting to fire 5 shots, plus any 6’s you manage to roll count as 2 hits instead of 1!

Arm-mounted Weapons- For a gun heavy Master Handler, you really can’t go wrong with any of the arm-mounted ranged weapon options. However, you do want to pick weapons whose range and weapon profile are a good match to be fired alongside the linked Cluster Missile Pods. The Cutter Light Machine Gun is the obvious choice. A Flakk Gun can be a great choice for your second arm-mounted weapon because it is 0 points and is useful to fire instead of the Cutter when your Master Handler happens to find themselves in an up close and personal situation with the enemy. The Drone Class Laser System (DCLS) is a fine choice to take instead of a Cutter if you desire, providing your Handler with the absolute maximum number of shots possible (albeit with a PEN of only 1), that pair nicely with the shooting of the Firefly Defender Drones that are part of the unit.



Firefly Defender Drones - While Defender Drones are great at keeping the Master Handler protected from enemy fire, they are also all equipped with a DCLS as well, which means when you take a full squad of 4 of them and combine their firepower with that of the Master Handler, you can obliterate almost any enemy light infantry unit right off the table, regardless of whether they’re in cover or not!

Aerial Drone Strike - One thing that should never be forgotten is that the Master Handler also has an Aerial Drone Strike: a one-time use, incredibly powerful area effect weapon. Best of all, using an Aerial Drone Strike just counts as firing a single weapon, which means the Master Handler can fire the Aerial Drone Strike and also fire another weapon at the same time (including his linked Cluster Missile Pods, for example), and all of this gets combined with the shooting of his Defender Drones as well!

Aerial Uplink & Targeting Micro Drones - There are two great Micro Drone options for your gun heavy Master Handler. The Aerial Uplink Drone allows the Master Handler to fire his Aerial Drone Strike two times during the game, instead of just once, which is great for obvious reasons. An even better fit is the Targeting Drone. This gives the Master Handler and all of his Defender Drones +3 SKL when shooting (except during close quarters fighting), which unsurprisingly ups the deadliness of their combined firepower to near obscene levels.

SAMPLE ‘GUN HEAVY’ MASTER HANDLER
  • Master Bot Handler - 16 pts.
  • 4 Firefly Defender Drones - 12 pts.
  • 2 linked Cluster Missile Pods - 4 pts.
  • 1 Cutter Light Machine Gun & 1 Flakk Gun - 1 pt.
  • Targeting Micro Drone - 2 pts.
  • TOTAL - 35 pts.


* * *


SUPPORT/MELEE

While the bot commander and gun heavy roles for the Master Handler are fairly straightforward and easy to define, you can also mix and match different aspects of these roles a bit to create something unique for your Master Handler. In addition, the inclusion of a Repair Claw allows a Master Handler to perform yet another role: that of helping to remove suppression from nearby bot units.

Repair Claw - Giving your Master Handler a Repair Claw can be a great choice, not only because it is 0 points, but also because it gives the Handler the Bot Repairs (2D3) ability. This means that whenever the Handler finishes an Advance & Fire or Dash action within 6” of another friendly bot unit, he can remove 2D3 suppression tokens (STs) from them, turning him into an excellent support unit (Note that you cannot use this ability on the Bot Handler’s own unit though). Considering that you'll be keeping your Handler near your bot units to help enable their Bot Protocols, you will often find him within range to perform these types of repairs. You can also consider giving your Handler 2 Repair Claws. While this doesn’t allow him to remove any additional STs from friendly units, it does turn him into quite the close quarters (CQ) powerhouse. Since the Handler is able to fire 2 weapons per round of shooting (which includes CQ fighting), this allows him to use both of his Repair Claws to their full effect. That’s a total of 8, PEN 4 shots during CQ fighting (on top of any shots generated by his Defender Drones) which ain’t too shabby! Be warned that the Master Handler is a pretty slow mover so it can be a bit tough to get him into CQ fighting, but once there, he’ll certainly be able to cause some significant damage.



Firefly Defender Drones - Whether you’re running your Master Handler next to your bot units to remove STs from them, or trying to charge into CQ fighting, either way you’ll definitely need to protect your Handler with at least 2, it not the max of 4 Defender Drones to dissuade the enemy from picking him off and to soak up the inevitable defensive fire he takes from the enemy.

Flakk Gun - If you’re taking 1 repair claw on your support Handler, then the obvious weapon to pair with that is the Flakk Gun, which excels at short range shooting. Since a support/melee Handler will often find himself near the enemy (when removing STs from your bot units and/or running around trying to get into CQ fighting) having a powerful short ranged weapon is a great choice.

Aerial Uplink & Defense Micro Drones - While there isn’t one Micro Drone choice that really excels for a Master Handler in a support role, the Aerial Uplink Drone is a solid pick. Because you likely won’t have the great firepower of a gun heavy build, being able to unleash an Aerial Drone Strike twice during the game can be quite useful. On the other hand, the Defense Drone is perfect for the Handler that is trying to get into CQ fighting. Sure it's a one-use item, but it’s 0 points, and for the turn it's used the Handler gets the Field (2) ability (great for when his Defender Drones have been destroyed) and makes him an absolute melee monster. Plus, because the Handler can fire 2 weapons, he’s able to use the Defender Drones melee profile as well as one Repair Claw in CQ fighting!

SAMPLE ‘SUPPORT’ MASTER HANDLER
  • Master Bot Handler - 16 pts.
  • 2 Firefly Defender Drones - 6 pts.
  • 1 Cluster Missile Pod & 1 Neural Node - 4 pts.
  • 1 Flakk Gun & 1 Repair Claw - 0 pts.
  • Aerial Uplink Micro Drone - 2 pts.
  • TOTAL - 28 pts.


SAMPLE ‘MELEE’ MASTER HANDLER
  • Master Bot Handler - 16 pts.
  • 4 Firefly Defender Drones - 12 pts.
  • 2 Neural Nodes - 2 pts.
  • 2 Repair Claws - 0 pts.
  • Defense Micro Drone - 0 pts.
  • TOTAL - 30 pts.


* * *


How will you use your Master Handlers? To share your tactics or modeling ideas, or to discuss the loadouts described above or any other aspect of the Maelstrom's Edge game, visit the Comm Guild Facebook page.

You can find the Epirian Master Bot Handler, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, in the webstore here!

Modeling Spotlight: The Epirian Master Bot Handler


Posted on Monday May 07, 2018 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

The Epirian Master Bot Handler is the latest plastic kit to be added to the Maelstrom's Edge range. Striding about the battlefield in his powered exoskeleton, he has the ability to lay down impressive amounts of firepower from a wide array of weapons, or finely co-ordinate his forces through networked neural nodes. Here, we'll have a look at some of the modeling options available with this fantastic model.



Built straight off the sprue, the Master Handler has multiple weapon options available - Repair Claws, Cutter Light Machine Guns, Drone Class Laser Systems and Flakk Guns can all be chosen for the arm mounted weapons in any combination, and the rectangular sockets on his backpack allow you to place Cluster Missile pods for even more punch, or Neural Nodes for throwing command points around with wild abandon.



You can find the Assembly Guide for the Master Handler here.



The Master Handler also brings some other impressive 'guns' to the table, with sleeveless and rather buff arms. If you prefer a more covered look on your models, the arms can be fairly easily replaced with the armoured arms from the regular Bot Handler kit. For the below model, on the sides of the torso I removed the protruding arc of plastic that sits just above the Master Handler's shoulders, and added a small locator pin made from a piece of plastic rod to the backs of the regular Handler's forearms. The arms were glued on to the torso with the tops of the shoulder pads sitting about where the original locator arc was, and the weapons slotted onto the locator pins on the arms as they do with the normal Master Handler arms.



The sprue comes with two sets of legs, one in an upright stance and the other in a knees-bent, braced stance. To mix up the posing a little, you can cut through the groin with a razor saw or sharp hobby knife and switch legs between the two sets to create a stance with one straight leg and one slightly bent. You might need a little gap filling with putty if the cut leaves the waist with a gap. On the below model, I have also extended the right arm out by cutting the top of the shoulder off square, gluing it to the torso and filling in the armpit with some 'green stuff' putty. The left arm has also been slightly repositioned below the elbow, and I have used a head from the Epirian Contractor sprue in place of the Master Handler's helmet.



The leftover legs from the above model were used below, with a similar reposing of the right arm as well.



I thought it might be handy to have a repair claw that was independent of the Handler's arms, so cut down one side of a backpack and drilled out a socket to attach one of the weapon support arms. I used two repair claws clamped over the ball joint on the end of the support arm to create a beefier, four-fingered repair claw. I also took the two Neural Nodes and cut them in half so that they would both fit on the other side of the backpack, and used a helmet from the regular Bot Handler sprue.



The neck joint on the Master Handler torso is compatible with any of the different plastic Epirian heads, and also works with most of the heads from the Broken Infantry pack, which is handy if you want to create an alien Handler for your force. For the below model, I aso left the weapon support arms off entirely, and built the Drone Class Laser System directly into the backpack by trimming off the backs of the weapons at an angle to match the backpack panels.



Because the Master Handler comes with two sets of legs and torsos, you're going to wind up with some spare parts. It seemed a shame to waste these, so I used a leftover helmet from the regular Handler sprue, and some Clingfire Sprayers and a command module from the Epirian Scarecrow kit to create a twin-flamethrower-equipped model that I'm calling an 'Eradicator'. The fuel hoses on the backs of the weapons are made from guitar string.



I thought it might also be fun to add some of that shiny, missile-pod goodness to a drone unit, and so I took a Master Handler backpack, trimmed off the bottom and stuck it onto the back end of a Spider Drone. I don't have a name for this friendly little fellow yet... I think I'll have to revisit that in a later article!



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

To pick up this 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.

Assembly Guide - Epirian Master Bot Handler


Posted on Monday Apr 30, 2018 at 11:00PM in Tutorials


Assembling the Epirian Master Bot Handler



General Notes


Polystyrene cement - only use superglue if you want to go insane! All of our models are designed to be assembled with polystyrene cement as it gives some time to re-pose while gluing, fuses the models together and prevents brittle joins like other glues do. Make sure you have polystyrene cement in your toolkit before you begin.

We want you to experiment! We've broken our models up into lots of parts and given a fair few spare parts so that you can push yourself out of your comfort zone, learn new skills and create some really unique models. We've tried to price things so that it won't break the bank if you make a mistake, so please cut stuff up and have some fun. Start simple with a slice here and a re-pose there, and watch your confidence and skills increase until you are a master modeler!

Basing - Always make sure you glue your model to its base with an eye on the arc markers on the sides of the base. The arc marker indents should be at the halfway point between the front and back of the model to show the front and back halves of the model when gaming. See the Maelstrom's Edge rulebook for more detailed notes on this.

Dry fit before gluing! - There are lots of pose options possible, but that means there is also the freedom to screw up and make some bad poses! Sticking the parts together and seeing how things look will usually lead to a model that is fairly static and repetitive. You should consider the parts available and ensure that you have a pose in mind before you start gluing things together. If in doubt or insecure about your talents in the posing area, we recommend you try to copy the poses from some of our studio models found here in the gallery.

Master Bot Handler Assembly Notes


The sprue comes with parts to assemble one model, with two different body options, two each of four different arm weapons and two each of the backpack equipment options:



You can find the rules and options for the Master Bot Handler's equipment in the Force Builder section of the Maelstrom's Edge website. It's worth noting that rules-wise, if you go all out on ranged weapons you'll wind up with one more weapon than the Master can actually fire in a turn, so while that can be handy for versatility if you have the points available, it's worth considering how you will use him on the table before you start gluing bits on!

The body options provide two different poses, with the torso paired with the legs to create a crouched, braced-for-firing pose, or a more upright stance. Torso parts 1 & 2 go with legs part 5, and torso parts 3 & 4 go with legs part 6, although the torsos do fit on either pair of legs if you want to play around with the posing.



The neural nodes (part 16) cluster missiles (part 17) fit into the rectangular recesses on the top of the backpack, and can be paired or taken as one of each.



Note: Due to a well-intentioned but mistaken last minute change by the sculptor before the sprue went for tooling, the neural nodes and cluster missiles have differently-sized locator bars on their backs that slot into matching recesses on the backpack. As the bar on the neural node is slightly longer than that on the cluster missile pod, this means that if you want to use a dual-node configuration (or just want to put a single neural node on the left instead of the right) you need to trim off the ends of the bar to allow it to fit into the missile pod's slot.



Backpack, head and arms can be glued in place to set up the basic posing.



Assembling the weapon arms all in one go is a little fiddly, so it's best to glue your chosen weapons onto the arms first. The sprue comes with the following weapons:
  • 2 x Repair Claw (part 10)
  • 2 x Cutter Machine Gun (parts 13 & 14)
  • 2 x Drone Class Laser System (parts 19 & 20)
  • 2 x Flakk Gun (parts 11 & 12)




The support arms for the weapons are made up of parts 21 and 22, and two of part 18.



The flat disc on part 18 slots into the middle of the two matching discs on parts 21/22. If the fit is a little too snug, you can file or shave down the sides of the disc a little. Don't get too carried away, or you'll make it fit too loosely.



The two parts joined at whatever angle fits the posing of the arms and weapons. The best bet is to glue the join with a touch of plastic glue and then dry fit the support arm against the model to get the right angle on the joint, ensuring that the larger ball fits neatly into the recess on the backpack, and the smaller ball sits into the outside of the ring on the weapon. Once you're happy with the angle of the joint, glue the ends in place.



From there, your model is ready for painting!




For modeling help, to discuss how best to use the Master Bot Handler in your games, or to share your models, head on over to the Comm Guild Facebook page.

You can pick up the Master Bot Handler, his accompanying Firefly Drones, and the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge miniature range, from 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.

Our Latest Plastic Model - The Epirian Master Handler


Posted on Monday Apr 30, 2018 at 09:00PM in Models


We at Spiral Arm Studios are proud to present our latest model - the Epirian Master Handler. This alternate command model allows you to lead your robotic force with the ultimate robotic Handler. We previewed this model at Salute 2018 where it sold out very quickly, and now it is available on general release for everyone!

Rules are available immediately as normal on the Maelstrom's Edge website Force Lists section. As you can see there, a lot of interesting equipment is available.

The sprue contains enough parts to build any of the combinations in the rules, and has two variant bodies and legs for different posing. The real interesting bit is the backpack and supporting mech arm structure though, which is fully ball jointed, allowing a huge range of posing and angles. We originally wanted to make this kit in resin, but the complexity and detail of the mech arm parts demanded plastic and we are very glad we went that route!

The Epirian Foundation became one of the dominant forces in the Spiral Arm for two reasons: its terraforming technology allowed the Foundation to convert barren worlds into productive and verdant paradises, and its legions of robots and drones allowed it to harvest resources from inhabited planets and desolate asteroids alike. Both would be nothing, however, without Bot Handlers striding amongst their robotic charges, directing their actions and optimising their workflow. The limited AI of Epirian bots means that the true power lies in a Handler's control, and for many, training to become one of the Foundation's machine shepherds is the ultimate career to aspire to. By the time a Bot Handler reaches the hallowed status of Master, they are the Foundation's most valuable resource, guiding entire robotic divisions and piloting whole squadrons of starships on their own. They are so precious, in fact, that their corporate superiors overlook all manner of eccentricities and odd behaviors, both of which become increasingly common the longer a Handler plies their trade. As a Handler spends increased time with their consciousness projected into their robotic subjects, the more they become detached from humanity.

A Master Handler has spent decades diving into the electronic pathways of machines. Having to spend a few minutes conversing with another person is excruciating when one is used to simply thinking a command and have it be perfectly understood and followed. Master Handlers are often awkward and disdainful of other humans, which can unsettle those within their proximity. The elite human soldiers in the Foundation's SecDef division resent a Master Handler's lack of cohesion, despite the formidable abilities they bring to bear on the enemy. Master Handlers therefore refuse to serve embedded with any other Foundation unit, instead relying on custom built 'Defender' Drones to protect them. These modified Firefly drones have their clingfire payload replaced with state-of-the-art armour. Their vastly improved neural processors perform a 'swarm defense', continually scanning for potential threats, positioning themselves as a seemingly easy target, only to dart away once they have drawn enemy fire.

Master Handlers wear powerful machine-assisted armor normally reserved for elite SecDef forces, and wield an arsenal of weaponry that normal soldiers can only dream of. Some Master Handlers eschew additional weapons and instead utilize Neural Nodes: an incredibly expensive and controversial technology that combines a powerful machine neural processor with a tiny portion of the Master Handler's cognitive functions. The Neural Node acts as an independent, duplicated version of the Handler's consciousness for a brief moment, before safeguards purge its core memory. The Neural Node creates a powerful momentary electronic copy of the Master Handler's mind into the target drone, to assess the situation and provide the drones with a specific order. There are many voices both outside and within the Foundation that decry the use of Neural Nodes, claiming they are a form of A.I., which puts all of humanity at risk. The Foundation remains resolute that purging a Neural Nodes at regular intervals prevents any potential issues from arising. Master Handlers themselves ignore the controversy, relishing any opportunity to become closer to the robots under their control, to devastating effect amongst those that stand in their way.

As a brand new command model, you also get a new, different faction objective for the Epirians if you take this unit as the head of your detachment:


MASTER OF MACHINES
This objective may only be utilized if your force contains a Master Bot Handler. If utilized, a Master Bot Handler is automatically your force commander for any objective type that requires one.

This objective type can generate a maximum of 3 VPs per game, after which you may no longer utilize the Bot Mastery ability.

-----

Partial: (each end phase) If at least one of your Master Bot Handlers is on the table and the Bot Mastery ability was not utilized that turn, gain 1 VP.

Full: (end of game) If at least one of your Master Bot Handlers is still on the table, gain all of this objective’s remaining VPs.

Bot Mastery: Once per turn, you may automatically enable one of your unit’s bot protocols when that unit is activated (regardless of whether its activation discipline check is successfully passed). You must have at least one Master Bot Handler on the table to utilize this ability.

Check out the Maelstrom's Edge store today to pick up your Master Handler for just $8.49/£5.99!

Modeling Spotlight: Epirian Bot Handlers


Posted on Monday Apr 23, 2018 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Bot Handlers serve as unit and force commanders amongst many Epirian forces, with their neural interfaces allowing them unparalleled access to tactical information and the ability to control bots at a distance. The Maelstrom's Edge Bot Handler sprue comes with parts to build two Bot Handlers, and this week we're having a bit of a look at just what you can do with them.



There are two different types of Bot Handlers in the game at the moment - The Apprentice Bot Handler, and the Journeyman Bot Handler. Apprentice Handlers lead units of Spider Drones in battle, while the more experienced Journeyman Handlers serve as low-level army commanders. These serve below the Master Handler, who will be added to the range soon with a new model and rules card.


Apprentice Handler (left) and Journeyman Handler (right).


The Apprentice Handler is equipped with a Maglock Dominator Pistol (a more powerful version of the Maglock Guardian Pistol used by Epirian Contractors) and uses a Tactile Bot Interface on one arm to interface with the bots under his direct control.


Apprentice Handler. The left arm has been slightly converted to look like he is motioning with the tactile interface gauntlet.


The Journeyman replaces the tactile interface with a more sofisticated Neural Interface, which frees up his hand to take a second pistol, or a forearm mounted grenade launcher.


Journeyman Bot Handlers (right).


Thanks to the modular nature of the Maelstrom's Edge kits, making small modifications to your models to personalise them a little is extremely easy. The standard Handler helmets can be swapped out for heads from other Epirian kits, or even from other factions.


Bot Handlers with heads from the Broken Infantry Pack.


Journeyman Handler with arms taken from the Broken Infantry Pack and the more streamlined helmet from the Faction Expansion Sprue.


Getting slightly more advanced, the below model was given a new pose by cutting two sets of legs apart at the groin and swapping halves to create a wide-legged, braced stance. A visor was added over a regular Contractor head with 'green stuff' putty, and the dual pistols were built onto a mini-drone made from a Firefly Drone turbine.


Converted Journeyman Bot Handler.


Or for something more outside the box, this Handler was reposed slightly by bending the legs outwards and replacing the right hand with an open Karist hand from the Faction Expansion Sprue, and was given a Drone Bike made from an Epirian Drone chassis and a Games Workshop bike.


Born to ride.


To pick up the Epirian Bot Handler kit, or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, visit 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.

Terrain Spotlight: Epirian-themed Dice Tower


Posted on Monday Apr 16, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

There's nothing worse than throwing a bucketload of dice on the table and having a stray ricochet take out that carefully-painted model sitting perched on the edge of a piece of terrain, or having to launch an expedition under the table when the dice decide to go on an adventure. There are a few common solutions to this problem - dice trays, rolling on another table, never painting anything, ever - but this week, I decided to build a dice tower from a Knights of Dice blank and some bits from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue.



For the uninitiated, a dice tower is a box or tube that has some angled ledges inside. Instead of flinging your dice all over the table like some sort of uncultured barbarian, you drop them into the top of the tower where they roll down from ledge to ledge, eventually rolling out into the tray at the base of the tower where their predilection for wanton destruction is safely contained.

The KoD tower that I used as a base for the build is a plain, laser-cut MDF affair, that when assembled as standard looks like this:



I wanted something that would look like it belonged on the table, and so dug out some terrain sprues and tools, and went to work.

First step was to pretty up the opening at the bottom. I took a garage door from the terrain sprue, and found that it would fit into the existing arch with some cutting for the top corners, and something to fill in the top of the arch as it was higher than the door frame. So I marked out the door frame against the front wall of the tower, and also marked the scrap piece that was cut from the arch to leave an arc that would fit in above the door.





I then used a razor saw and exacto knife to cut the door out of the door frame, and glued the frame and the MDF arc in place in the archway.



With a dry fit of the tower, I discovered that the dice were sometimes getting stuck behind the sides of the door frame, as the plastic addition made the opening for the dice narrower than was originally intended. I fixed this by taking a lintel piece from the terrain sprue, cutting it in half, and gluing the two pieces on either side of the doorway, creating a bevel to funnel the dice out the door.



One of the less pleasant things about dice towers is that they can be rather loud and echoey when the dice are working their way through. I fixed this by taking some craft foam and cutting it to the size of the ledges, and then gluing it on top.



At this point, I also sprayed the interior of the tower black to match the foam. This would also make it relatively unobtrusive on the table.



I assembled the walls of the tower, and started adding detail to the outside. I took a piece of scrap MDF, and cut it to serve as a balcony. I used the top halves of a bunch of energy fence posts and some plastic rod to make handrails. (You can find other ideas for handrails in my catwalk article here!)



To support the balcony, I cut the sides off two trapezoid windows, and glued them in place on the back wall of the tower.





Finally, two ladders and some cut down corner reinforcing pieces made an extending ladder that could be hung from the balcony, fire-escape-style.



To add a little extra detail to the front of the building, I made a large Epirian Foundation symbol using pieces from a reinforcing strut from the terrain sprue.



With the addition of a few more bits on the sides to hide the ends of the interior ledges, and a sign board made from the cutaway garage door to disguise the filled-in archway, the tower was ready for painting. To avoid getting spray on the interior, I filled in the top and the doorway with some cardboard and a piece of foamcore.



Painting was a quick and easy spray with a grey primer, and then a quick downwards spray with some white to leave the grey in the recesses and shadowed areas.



The metal parts were painted with P3 Pig Iron and then washed with Army Painter Strong Tone, and the white parts given some weathering with a sponge. (You can find a handy sponge weathering tutorial here!)



Once the wash was dry, everything was dirtied up a little with a drybrush of Vallejo Beasty Brown.



A little detail work here and there, and the tower was ready for the table.




Feeling inspired? You can pick up the Maelstrom'd Edge terrain sprue, along with the rest of the 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.

Epirian Sentinel Bot Conversion Tutorial & Unit Card


Posted on Monday Apr 09, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The Epirian faction in Maelstrom's Edge includes a number of fantastic robot options, and with some careful planning it's even possible to field an all-robot force. I went for an almost all-robot force with my starter force, including a lone Journeyman to lead them. I thought it might be fun to add some robot 'not-contractors' to the army for some extra firepower, and so turned to a conversion that I put together for a spotlight on the Scarecrow kit some time ago, which I dubbed a Sentinel bot.



The Sentinel uses parts from the Scarecrow, Drone and Contractor kits.



From the Scarecrow:

  • Head
  • Torso
  • Left Arm
  • Left Shoulder
  • Right Shoulder
  • Fuel Tanks
  • Chemtech Sprayer
  • Base

From the Drone kit:
  • Turbines
  • Turbine-mount side pieces
  • Flight Stem

From the Contractor kit:
  • Maglock Assault Rifle


Start by gluing the two Drone side pieces together and attaching the turbines, as below. There is a small ridge of plastic on the inside faces of the side pieces that needs to be shaved or filed down so that they sit flat against each other. A couple of pieces of spare sprue serve nicely to hold the turbines in place while the glue sets.



Take the Scarecrow torso and cut through it just below the top of the hips.



The torso then glues neatly into the middle cavity created by the two side pieces.



The left arm is assembled as normal. For the right, cut the pistol grip off the maglock rifle, and also cut the back of the rifle at an angle matching the ridge along the top, as shown below. The take the chemtech sprayer and cut the elbow joint off the back. This is glued onto the back of the maglock rifle, and then the weapon be glued to the upper arm.



To keep the unit with a similar silhouette to the contractors they are replacing, take the flight stem and cut it a little above halfway up.



This is then glued to the middle of the base. You will need to drill a corresponding hole in the bottom of the turbine assembly for the peg on the top of the flight stem.



With head, tanks and arms glued in place, the bot can be glued onto the flight stem (or left separate if you're planning on spraying a basecoat, or just if you're a messy painter!) ready for paint.



Scale shot with a Contractor:



Painted up, the Sentinels are ready to take to the field. I have added a command unit to one model to create a unit leader, and equipped the third with the auxilliary grenade launcher version of the Maglock Rifle.



You can find an (unofficial) rules card for fielding Sentinel units in the Force Builder section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here. Alternatively, you could just field them as Contractors.



To pick up kits you'll need to create your own Sentinel unit, visit the Maelstrom's Edge webstore here.

We love to see what people are doing with their models, so be sure to also visit 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.