The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Assembly Guide - Karist Praetorians


Posted on Monday Aug 14, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


The assembly guides on the Maelstrom's Edge website are missing the new units added by the Faction Expansion Sprue. Last week, we went over the assembly of the Epirian Suppression Team, and so this time around we'll look at the other unit created from the sprue, the Karist Praetorians.

Karist Praetorian Assembly Guide



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 knee, hip, torso, and arm positions when gluing 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.

Karist Praetorian Assembly Notes


Karist Praetorians are fairly straightforward to assemble, being just a modification of the basic Karist Trooper. Three models can be assembled using the following sprues:

Karist Trooper Sprue:


Faction Expansion Sprue

You will need the below parts from those sprue. We've used one rifle and one pistol just to show how they go together, but you could of course choose to use all rifles or all pistols when you assemble your own unit.

One design decision that might seem a little odd is the splitting of the legs from the lower torso/crotch piece. This had to be done because the upper leg armour is not possible to mould in injection moulded plastic without having to make some ugly tweaks to it that would have really reduced sharpness beyond what we were willing to tolerate. We decided to split the legs at the top instead, allowing ease of conversions and sustaining the crisp armour plates.

All three lower torsos (part F) are identical, as are all three torsos (G). Legs are paired with the same letter (eg; part M is both the left and right leg of the same pose). We recommend the first step in your Karist Trooper assembly should be sticking the legs on the lower torsos.

Add the loincloths next, as this is easiest before there are other parts to get in the way. There is a recess on the inside top of each loincloth that fits neatly over the groin armour. All three loincloths work with all three leg poses, but as usual it's a good idea to do a quick dry-fit before gluing to check that they look how you want them.

The most complex part of the build is the arm / weapon assembly. This is because three points need to be glued at the same time - the arms to the torso and the hands to the arms. If you are using polystyrene cement, you'll get a minute or two of re-posing time which can make this a lot easier. Arms are paired by code as well (eg; part C is both a left and right arm that go together). Mixing up your paired arms will mean some odd posing!

The shoulderpads (part A) are designed to be optional if you are so inclined - underarm detail is sculpted on the upper arms. We've not made any models without them though as we enjoy the distinctive profile the shoulderpads gives to the Karists. If you postion the arms so that the shoulders are just below the top of the armour, the shoulder pads will butt up neatly against the sides of the torso.

From the Karist Trooper sprue, Part K is the Karist Pulse Carbine. Part J is the Radwave Emitter and part L is the Grenade Launcher.

There is no Karist hand that holds the cybel blade neatly, although with a little conversion you can make the closed fist work. The easiest approach though is to glue the sword to the model's back, where it would presumably be held in place with a magnetic lock.

The cybel glaive does have a hand on the expansion sprue to hold it. You can use any of the right arms from the Karist Trooper sprue for this. Some of the rifle arms have a small wedge of wrist attached to angle the rifle correctly across the body. While not essential, it will look a little better if you cut this wedge off along the front edge of the forearm armour.

Once the hand is attached, you can glue the arm onto the torso, and then the glaive into the hand.

As with most models with poseable heads, we recommend building the whole model and then putting the head in place last of all.


For some more ideas for building or converting your models, check out the Karist Praetorian Spotlight article here.

You can pick up your Contractor and Expansion sprues from the Maelstrom's Edge 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.

Assembly Guide - Epirian Suppression Team


Posted on Monday Aug 07, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


The assembly guides on the Maelstrom's Edge website are missing the new units added by the Faction Expansion Sprue. So this week, we're going back to basics and running through assembly of the Epirian Suppression Team.


Assembling Epirian Contractor Suppression Teams



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 knee, hip, torso, and arm positions when gluing 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.

Epirian Contractor Suppression Team Assembly Notes


Three Epirian Suppression Team Contractors can be made from the following sprues:

Epirian Contractor Engineer Sprue


Faction Expansion Sprue

Assembly is straightforward and the two above sprues will make up three models with the following parts. Please note that arms are paired, so do not mix them up or you'll have a really hard time putting them in pairs again! Pairing is done by number, so A1/B1 are a pair, as are A5/B5, etc. You can choose between the rolled-sleeve versions on the Contractor sprue, or the sleeves-down arms on the Expansion sprue.


The main build considerations with the Epirian Contractors are that some of the arm poses do not work well with some of the leg poses due to the angles involved, so as always, be certain you dry fit things first. If in doubt, try to copy our studio assemblies for good effect.

As with our Epirian Handler model, the torso has a slight lean to it, and because of that, if you place one foot higher than the other when basing your models, you'll open up much more posing flexibility. This can be done easily by bulking up your basing texture underfoot, adding a pebble or slope to the base, or a multitude of other options.

Cleanup and assembly is fairly easy with the Epirians, with everything going where it should. One point of note is this little mould line on the kneepad strapping:


That raised mould line between the front and rear halves of the part looks a lot better if it is shaved down but as it is a little bit deeper than our usual near non-existent mould lines, it can be missed when trimming. Please note that in the photo above we've used a pre-production prototype piece with mould lines that are much worse than our finished products so that you can see more clearly.

Legs, torso and heads go together as you would expect.


Suppression Team members magnetically lock their 'spare' weapon to their backplate when not in use. So if you choose to have rifles in hand, you can glue the shock weapons to the model's back. Alternatively, you can glue the rifle to their back or sling a pistol off their belt, and put the shock weapon in hand. Use the rifle arms that have the index finger on the trigger, rather than the extended-finger hands - the fingers are close enough together that they still look fairly natural gripping a handle instead of a pistol-grip. The Shock Baton does have a chunkier grip than the Maul, so if you're having trouble getting it to fit, you can shave down the sides of the grip a little.


For some more ideas for building your Suppression Team models, check out the Epirian Suppression Team Spotlight article here.

You can pick up your Contractor and Expansion sprues from the Maelstrom's Edge 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.

Developing Stories for Maelstrom's Edge


Posted on Friday Aug 04, 2017 at 10:00AM in Fiction


One of the things we were most passionate about when we started working on Maelstrom’s Edge was making a new world. We love games where there are lots of stories and background material to get people excited about the context surrounding the game itself - where are the battles taking place, who is fighting and why is there a conflict between them?

As part of the initial universe design, our lead writers Stephen Gaskell and Tomas L. Martin wrote a number of short stories exploring different parts of the setting. These first insights into the Maelstrom’s Edge universe were released in our first short story collection, ‘Tales from the Edge: Emergence’. In addition, during the runup to the Kickstarter for the Maelstrom’s Edge game, we approached a number of other professional writers to provide their take on our world, including exploring new factions, planets and ideas. Now, a second anthology, ‘Tales from the Edge: Escalation’ has been released, containing a wealth of fantastic new short fiction from award-winning and bestselling authors such as Alastair Reynolds, Aliette de Bodard, Jeff Carlson and Jaine Fenn.



From the beginning we also knew we wanted to launch with a set of stories telling the backstory of our first set, the Battle for Zycanthus, and so following on from those initial short stories, Tomas and Stephen wrote the fiction that would become our first two novels, Faith and Sacrifice, set on the planet of Zycanthus. Zycanthus is a frontier planet a few light years from the Maelstrom’s Edge, halfway through terraforming by the Epirian Foundation and their robots. In the boxed game, there is a conflict between Foundation and the shadowy religious group known as the Karist Enclave, who wish to convert the people of Zycanthus to their beliefs about ascension in the presence of the Maelstrom. To set up the battles that people were going to be playing with their miniatures, our team of writers set out to tell the story of what happened on Zycanthus just before the events portrayed in the box set, when the Karist Enclave first revealed itself and the fighting began.

Initially, the task of telling this story was split into two – Stephen Gaskell wrote a series of stories set from the viewpoint of Zafah, one of the Karist missionaries who lands in secret on Zycanthus, whilst Tomas L. Martin wrote the opposing view of the Epirian Foundation, where a backwater Sheriff called Kyle Wynn uncovers the Enclave’s secret invasion. We wanted to publish the books ourselves to have the freedom of getting it to our players in whatever format worked best, but printing a book of that size is challenging and would have meant needing to charge more than we felt was appropriate, so we made the decision to split the story into two smaller novels, Maelstrom's Edge: Faith and Maelstrom's Edge: Sacrifice. You can find them in the Kindle store right now.

What follows is an excerpt from Chapter Five of the first book, Maelstrom's Edge: Faith, where a pair of Epirian lawmakers encounter the Karist Enclave, including a monstrous alien Angel, for the first time.

Kyle Wynn is an Epirian Sheriff keeping the peace in the small desert town of Venusai on the planet of Zycanthus. When he and his partner Randall get reports of terraforming robots disappearing in the desert, they head out to investigate. When they find a set of footprints and strange markings in the sand, they follow them, never expecting the dangers they are heading into...



Maelstrom's Edge: Faith, Excerpt from Chapter Five

Wynn and Randall tracked the footprints for several hours. They sent the drones a few klicks ahead of the prowler, set them crisscrossing the trail with infrared cameras. The evening had really started to set in now, and only the dull purple glow of the Maelstrom in the east gave any illumination. It cast cruel shadows in its sickly half-light.

“I hate that thing,” Randall said, staring up at the bruised sky. “Just staring down at us like that, so you never forget that it’s coming.”

Wynn wondered if the Maelstrom was all that was coming to Zycanthus. When he had been a prospector, he’d heard stories from worlds close to the Edge. Before their destruction, there had been reports of strange creatures attacking isolated outposts, shadowy coups, riots and public executions. These stories seemed to get more and more intense and confused as the Maelstrom got closer, ending in tales of destruction that Wynn had always written off as a product of the panic that set in as the planets fell apart.

Now he wasn’t so sure. The footprints continued to march across the sand for klicks, rarely breaking out of their steady pattern. Wynn thought he could spot at least five different tracks, but he also occasionally saw the imprint of something larger, but always indistinct, as if the thing making the impression was hardly touching the ground at all.

They were nearly at the location of the third terraforming drudge when the signal of one of the patrol drones winked out.

“Huh?” Randall tapped a monitor, on which the drone’s sensor feeds had been replaced by static. “Where did it go?”

Wynn said nothing. He was watching the other patrol drone’s feed. It was hovering above a ravine. In the rocks at the bottom, he could see five figures, clad in frost-white armour. Heavy carbines dangled from their shoulders, and canisters filled with purple energy were strung around their waists. They were the most dangerous looking people Wynn had ever seen on Zycanthus, and they were staring straight back at him.

“Randall,” he said, “We have company!”

Wynn flicked a switch and sent the video feed to Randall’s station. Hidden in a hollow, the group of armoured figures stood, checking heavy looking weapons. From the looks of it, they were military, but Wynn didn’t recognise their markings, two scythe like points either side of a circle, deep black against their white armour.

“Who the hell?” Randall said. “Those are not a bunch of kids. When exactly did we get invaded?”

“Apparently a few days ago,” Wynn murmured, studying the footage. The soldiers held themselves bolt upright, with the discipline of many years of training. Their armour was wickedly curved at the edges, and their helmets had only one eye, with a trio of small lenses where the other eye should have been. “They can see the probe,” Wynn said. “Why aren’t they shooting it down?”

Something flashed across the drone’s camera, blocking the view to the soldiers. Something big. Wynn took in a dark blue body, with a gaping maw above glassy, alien eyes. Below the tortured face, the structure faded away into an amorphous mass of tendrils. Wynn and Randall had one more look at its face before a lithe limb snaked out and snapped into the drone, and the video feed cut out.

“Call for backup,” Wynn said, staring at the screen. “Call for backup right fucking now."

“I’m trying!” Randall said. “There’s no satellite coverage out here, I can’t get a signal.”

“Well, keep trying!” Wynn said. He grimaced as he imagined what that creature would do to the prowler. The vehicle was tough, but it definitely hadn’t been designed to be alien-proof.

“What the fuck was that thing, Kyle?” Randall reached over and locked the prowler’s door. “What did they bring here?”

“I think they called them Angels,” Wynn said slowly, thinking back to the stories he’d heard out in the black. “I heard some spacers talk once about how they show up as the Maelstrom approaches. How the hell did it get here?”

“Sheriff,” Randall said. “How far away was that drone?”

Wynn looked up. In the gloom of the Maelstrom-tinged sky, he could see in the distance the raised silhouette of a pair of recessed cliffs, below which a ravine fell down to the dry riverbed.

“They’re less than a mile away,” Wynn said.

“Who are these people?” Randall said. “And what the hell do they want with us?”

Wynn killed the engine, and reached for his rifle.

“I don’t know,” he said, turning the headlamps and the lights of the cab off. “But I think if we don’t kill them, we’re not going to make it back to Venusai alive.”

“Wait,” Randall said. “Sheriff, what are you doing? Why aren’t we getting out of here?”

Wynn turned and pushed his deputy against his seat, his face close.

“You saw that thing, Randall. That Angel, or whatever you want to call it. Whatever it was, that thing was flying. Do you really think we’d get far?” Randall fell silent. Wynn reached over the seats and grabbed Randall’s shotgun and ammo pack, and shoved them into his deputy’s arms.

“The course they’ve taken,” Wynn told him. “It leads right back to Venusai.”

“What?” Randall’s eyes bulged wildly. Wynn had seen men taken by panic before during the hairier moments of prospecting new worlds. They couldn’t afford for that to happen today. Not if they wanted to get out of here alive.

“Now,” Wynn said as calmly as he could manage, “I don’t intend for that to happen. I intend to stop them before they can go home to Rania, Maggie and the rest of the town. So I’m going to get out of this truck as quietly as I can, move to a defendable position, and take them down. I can’t do it by myself, so I need you to calm down and move with me. Can you do that?” Randall thrashed about for a second, his eyes darting to every possible escape route. Then his body seemed to relax, and he nodded.

“Ok,” he said. “All right. I’m not going to let whoever they are get to Maggie.”

“Then let’s go before they get here,” Wynn said. He pulled his rifle onto his shoulder and cracked open the driver’s door of the prowler.”

“Sheriff, wait.”

Wynn’s heart sunk. If he couldn’t get Randall to overcome his fear, they’d be sitting ducks in the cab of the prowler. But to his surprise, his deputy wasn't cowering. He was clambering over the back seat into the control centre jabbing a finger at the controls. He passed Wynn a headset with a bud microphone curling down from its strap, and then put one on himself.

“We need all the help we can get,” Randall said. “I’m activating all the remaining drones. Even the unarmed ones can provide a distraction.”

“You can’t stay here,” Wynn insisted, pulling on the headset. “You saw what that thing did to the terraformers, we’d be carved apart.”

“I’ll stay long enough to get all the drones moving,” Randall said, stabbing at the control panel, “and then I’ll take the remote headset and move to higher ground. But it’ll take a few minutes to get them all activated, so you should get somewhere you have good line of sight, and I’ll join you later.”

Wynn hesitated for a moment, then nodded and clambered out of the cab. Randall’s plan was about the best they could hope for, and it would do neither of them any good to waste any more time.

He dropped the last few rungs of the ladder to the ground, and set off on a crouching run towards a series of escarpments leading up to a rocky bluff to the right of the prowler. As he left the vehicle he heard the whine of several drones starting up, and a couple sprung up from the rack and began buzzing about the sky, as he pulled himself up onto a prominent cluster of boulders. Wynn dropped to a prone position and unfolded the stock of his rifle, resting it against the edge of the rock, looking down at the prowler some twenty metres away. His rifle, an Ednotech maglock weapon, had been with him since his prospecting days, although he’d upgraded pretty much every component over the years. He cocked the rifle, pulled the butt in against his shoulder and settled his eye at the scope. Just like old times.

For several minutes, nothing happened, except the occasional flash of movement as a drone left the prowler’s rack. Wynn began to hope that maybe the intruders had not heard the prowler, had assumed the drones were on their own and carried on walking. But then he saw a flash of off-white armour plating at the foot of the valley and all thought of getting out without a fight vanished.

“I see them,” Wynn told Randall through the headset. "At the foot of the valley. Try and keep the drones hidden until I can get a shot off.”

“Gotcha,” Randall replied. “Three more to launch.”

Wynn tapped the microphone in reply, and settled into his position. He watched the soldiers advance, using the cover of the boulders that lined the valley, moving in pairs. There was no hope of Wynn getting all of them in one go, they were too well trained for that. His first shot had to work.

One of the soldiers peeled off the main group and crouched, aiming his weapon at the prowler. It was a larger gun than the others, with a belt that fed canisters of what looked like cybel energy into the magazine. Cybel energy, harvested from the cybel network that linked the stars, was incredibly potent and powered many of the ships and industries of the galaxy, but the stuff was so volatile that only the most foolhardy or brave would use it as a weapon.

The soldier barked a command at the other three and fired a round off. The ball of purple-white energy looped up in the air like a mortar shot, splashing into the ground with a sound like thunder. A crater exploded into being in the sand beside the prowler, rocking the vehicle and spraying it with debris but not harming it. With his range sighted, the soldier shifted position for another shot. He would not get another try. Wynn squeezed the trigger of his rifle, sending a bullet straight down the line of the valley. The shot splintered the soldier’s helmet just below the three lenses that covered the soldier’s eye, spraying most of his head onto the rock behind him. The soldier collapsed to the ground, lifeless.

The others span and aimed their carbines in Wynn’s direction, trying to work out where the shot had come from. Wynn reached forward slowly and capped the lens of his scope, hoping to stay hidden for just a bit longer.

“Ok,” he said quietly into the mic, “They know I’m here. Go crazy with the drones, and then get to cover.”

“You got it,” Randall said. A phalanx of patrol drones rose from the stones, pinging laser shots at the soldiers, sending them diving for cover. While they were distracted, Wynn risked another shot, but the soldier in his sights moved at the last moment and the bullet impacted harmlessly into the sand.

One of the drones found its mark, burning a dark hole in the back of one of the soldiers’ armour, sending him sprawling. The remaining intruders sprayed shots at the drones, sending two robots crashing to earth. Then the soldiers hunkered down out of sight and called out to someone behind them.

A tortured sound filled the air, like the squeal of metal on metal. The desert breeze carried the smell of ozone, reminding him of the workshop’s smell when Rania used her plasma cutter. Then the monster emerged from behind the shadow of the escarpment.

The creature was massive, as tall as the prowler. Its features were squid-like in some ways, and bat-like in others, but attempting to compare it to an animal could only vaguely approximate its strangeness. Its body was an elongated smooth surface, with a number of limbs stabbing out from it. Two of these furled back against its body, thin membranes hanging between them as wings. More indistinct limbs propelled the beast along the ground, while at least four more tendrils dangled in front of it, their tips armed with sharp spikes or pseudopods. It was a deep dark purple, almost but not quite black, that seemed to be eaten up by the Maelstrom-tinged shadows of the escarpment.

Behind the creature was a much smaller figure, a crooked, thin man in a hooded robe, carrying an awkwardly large satchel across his back. He had a large staff held in both hands, a large flask of purple cybel energy at its base. The man used the other end to stroke the skin of the creature, and prod it forward towards the prowler. The creature opened the maw at the centre of its body and screamed that tortured metallic sound, like two spaceships colliding.

“Skyfire,” Randall swore. “Are you seeing this thing, Kyle? Is that really there?”

“An Angel,” Wynn muttered. “It’s real all right. You better get out of there.”

“Are you kidding me?” Randall said. “Against that thing? I think I’d rather take my chances in the prowler. Let’s see how it likes a bit of the Foundation’s finest.”

Randall’s surviving drones rejoined their formation, hovering in one place to let the last few launch from the prowler. Then he sent the five robots flying at the new appearance, buzzing the creature with the lasers and light machine guns mounted on their wings and cupolas.

The Angel screeched and flinched at the impacts on its body. Through the rifle’s scope Wynn could see most of the bullets passing harmlessly through the creature’s body, the holes they made closing behind the slug’s passing like it hadn’t even been hit, as if the drones were firing through water. Then with a sudden movement, the Angel leapt forward, its wings unfolding and tendrils leaping out from its body, further than their original length appeared to allow, the creature’s flesh changing in mid-action. Within seconds the drones had been smashed to the floor, strewing mechanical parts across the sand.

“Well,” Randall said in a breathless voice, “Storms. That could have gone a bit better.”

###

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from the first novel in the Maelstrom’s Edge universe. You can read more in Maelstrom's Edge: Faith by Tomas L. Martin and Stephen Gaskell - on Kindle now!

Terrain Tutorial - Hedges


Posted on Monday Jul 31, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Stands of forest or jungle trees are staples of most of our gaming collections. Sometimes, though, you want your greenery to suit a more civilised warzone, and for that, you just can't go past the humble hedge. So this week, we're looking at a quick and easy way to churn out some shrubby scatter terrain.



We start with a thick kitchen scourer. For a standard green hedge, you would ideally want a dark green or black scourer, although you could easily use other colours to make alien hedges. The scourer I'm using here is about 20mm thick, and has a really coarse texture. You could use thinner scourers by gluing a couple together, but that may wind up with a visible seam line.



Cut the scourer into strips using a sharp knife or a fine saw. The width of the strips is up to you, depending on how tall you want to make your hedges.



Next, paint the strips of scourer with some PVA glue. Work the glue into the weave of the scourer a little, but try to not leave any big lumps of glue right on the surface, as that may make the outside of your hedge a little blobby.



Finally, scatter flock over the glue. You'll get the best results here with a fine grade flock, which you should be able to find in most gaming stores' modeling supply sections or anywhere that sells model trains. Don't use the chunkier, dyed-sawdust stuff - it will just wind up looking like dyed sawdust stuck to a sponge.



Let the glue dry, and you could easily use your hedges as is to stick onto terrain pieces or scatter around a table. For a slightly more urban look, you can add some boxwork to them using strips of plasticard or the support struts from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. For the below, I've used a strip of 5mm masonite as a base, which will help to give the hedge section a little more weight.



Paint the boxwork up however suits your terrain collection, and then glue the hedges in place with some superglue or PVA glue.



You can mix things up a little by making sections in different heights, to create some lower cover and some full line-of-sight-blocking barriers. Battle damage can be added by cutting or tearing away pieces of the scourer before adding the flock.



To create a burnt effect, I left the flock a bit patchy around the damaged part of the hedge, and once the glue was dry gave it a quick spray with some flat black, followed by a light dusting of flat grey.



If you want to get really carried away, you can also shape the scourer using a knife or some sturdy scissors and create some topiary features.



The trunk of this ball topiary was made from a short piece of a wooden skewer, dyed with a little brown ink and then glued into the scourer ball with superglue.



If this all has your green thumb itching, grab yourself some scourers and hedge away! As always, feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page - first one to post a miniature garden maze for their gaming table wins a cookie! (Or possibly just the adulation of the masses and fleeting fame...)

You can find the full range of Maelstrom's Edge models, including the ever-useful terrain sprue, in the Maelstrom's Edge webstore here, and a collection of modeling articles, tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects in the article roundup here.

Army Spotlight - Epirian Bot Army, Detachment Two


Posted on Monday Jul 24, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Last week, I shared part 1 of an Epirian Bot army that I've been putting together, which you can find here. This week, I'm fleshing it out with a second detachment, to bring the force up to the 120 point mark, suitable for small games.



Unsurprisingly in a bot-themed force, the second detachment is comprosed of a whole bunch of extra robots!



To keep with the bot theme, I wanted the second Command unit to be a Scarecrow rather than another Bot Handler.



Scarecrows are shifted to a Command slot if you give them a Command Array. That's slightly problematic, since I've been using the Command Array part to put masks on my Scarecrows. I got around this by taking one of the aerials that had been cut off the array and gluing it onto the side of the Scarecrow's head, behind the mask.



The Scarecrow commander is required to take at least two Core units, so I needed another two units of Spider drones. This time around, I went with Flakk Guns instead of the Cutters, for a bit of close-range supporting fire.



To round out the detachment, I selected another Hunter for my force.



I had built this bot a while back, just to find out how the Hunter would look with a chainsaw in place of the Hydraulic Fist. The saw blade is taken from a Games Workshop Space Wolf kit. Rules-wise, it will still count as the fist.





The bases on this detachment were a slight change from last week. I hadn't been entirely happy with the bases on the first detachment, and so I changed to a slightly darker colouring (Vallejo Heavy Brown, washed with Army Painter Strong Tone and then drybrushed with P3 Jack Bone) and added some grass tufts for a little extra pop. To keep things consistent, this obviously meant going back and redoing the bases on the first detachment as well...







And so, the full force combined:



2nd Detachment:
Command: Scarecrow Sniper
- Command Array - 14 points

Core: Spider Drones
- Flakk Guns, replace Apprentice Bot Handler - 8 points

Core: Spider Drones
- Flakk Guns, replace Apprentice Bot Handler - 8 points

Anvil: Hunter-class Warmech
- Suppressor Dual Machine Gun, 2 Strike Missile Pods, Overdrive - 10 points

Total - 40 points.

Combined with Detachment 1: 120 points.

So, what's next for this force?

The obvious choice is to add some Fireflies, and I'll definitely be doing that as soon as I can. I'm also playing with some more homebrew rules, to create a spotter drone that would work in concert with heavy weapon-equipped robot units, possibly by being able to allocate a Command point to a friendly heavy unit within a certain radius that shares LOS to a selected target.



I also built a prototype for a Scarecrow spotlight article a while back, of a Scarecrow that replaces its legs with turbines from the Firefly kit. This was equipped with twin Clingfire sprayers, but I'm thinking that a unit of these equipped with twin Maglock Assault Rifles might be a fun option for encouraging enemy units to keep their heads down.



I'm picturing these guys as being able to move freely over obstacles, but being fairly slow moving and not particularly robust, due to the delicate balance required to keep such unwieldy creations airborne.

Stay tuned - I'll post another update on this force when I get these finished off!


If all of these robots are leaving you feeling inspired, you can pick up the full range of Maelstrom's Edge models 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.

Army Spotlight - Epirian Bot Army, Detachment One


Posted on Monday Jul 17, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

The Epirian Foundation utilises a wide array of different bots on the battlefield, and the Maelstrom's Edge roster system allows you to create a force that makes the most use of them in place of human troops. And really, why wouldn't you? Robots!

I had a few assorted bots put together in a weathered metal colour scheme for a few previous articles, and so I decided this week that it would be fun to flesh them out into a usable force.



An army, of course, needs a leader. There are a couple of HQ options currently for Epirian forces, but I already had a Journeyman Bot Handler that I put together a while back and then never did anything with, so decided he would have the somewhat dubious honour of being the lone human in the force.



This guy was built from the Bot Handler sprue, with a few modifications.



The head was taken from the Contractor sprue with a face shield added with some 'green stuff' putty.



I gave him the spread-leg pose by taking both sets of legs from the handler sprue and cutting them apart vertically through the groin, and gluing the opposing halves with the matching straight legs together.



Rather than having him holding his pistols, I thought a mini gun-drone would be fun, so I mounted two pistols under a single turbine taken from a Firefly drone. This little drone is pinned to the Journeyman's shoulder, to give it the appearance of flight without needing a flight stand.

Painting was kept fairly simple, to match the bots that I had already built, and so used the weathered metal process that I've shown in several articles now - red undercoat, followed by a coat of brown, then a metal layer, and then a wash with Army Painter Strong Tone.



Yellow chaps and a shiny red faceplate tie in with the more subdued highlights used on the rest of the force while letting him stand out a little from the crowd of bots.





With paint in place, the Journeyman joins the Hunter mech that I originally painted up for the weathered metal tutorial, and a slightly modified Scarecrow that I built for a spotlight article on the lanky, elite units.



The army wasn't going to get far without troops, and so I grabbed a few Drone sprues and put together two units of Spider drones. To stick with the bot-theme, I made use of the upgrade option to replace the Apprentice handler who normally accompanies units of Spiders with a third drone instead.



To round out this first detachment, I added some fire support from two units of Scorpion Drones. These are a home-brew unit that I created for an article a while back, rather than a standard Maelstrom's Edge unit - You can find their rules card and a tutorial for building them here.



That rounds out the first detachment, which comprises around half of the planned force. Roster-wise, it looks like this:

Command: Journeyman Bot Handler
- second pistol, Command Booster - 17 points

Core: Spider Drones
- replace Apprentice Bot Handler - 9 points

Core: Spider Drones
- replace Apprentice Bot Handler - 9 points

Hammer: Scarecrow Sniper
- 2 linked clingfire sprayers, Overdrive - 5 points

Anvil: Hunter-class Warmech
- 2 flakk cannons, 2 cluster missile pods - 20 points

Anvil: Scorpion Drones - 10 points
- 2nd unit (Multi-unit selection) - 10 points

Total - 80 points.

Next week: Detachment 2.



Spoiler: There will be robots!

If you would like to build your own robot army of doom, you can pick up the various Maelstrom's Edge kits 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.

Crafting Tales from the Edge


Posted on Thursday Jul 13, 2017 at 02:10PM in Fiction


In the summer of 2014 several members of the team had the opportunity to attend WorldCon in London and give a sneak-peek of Maelstrom's Edge to some of the world's best science-fiction authors. The aim? To showcase our universe and convince them to lend their awesome storytelling talents to our project. Presenting the backdrop, artwork, and prototype models, many of the authors we pitched to came away impressed with both our vision and our commitment to building a long-lasting IP. We came away from the London Excel centre having signed up a great mix of highly-acclaimed established voices and up-and-coming superstars to contribute to our project.



Tales from the Edge: Escalation is the result of that fruitful few days at science fiction’s biggest convention. The anthology brings together a wealth of talent contributing short fiction work to the Maelstrom's Edge universe:

Alastair Reynolds
With over a decade of experience as a professional astrophysicist to back up his writing chops, Alastair Reynolds is deservedly called the "reigning master of the intergalactic space opera", and brings a compelling edge of hard-SF to his unique brand of galaxy-spanning science fiction. Author of the Inhibitor trilogy that kicked off with the seismic Revelation Space and ended with the chilling Absolution Gap, Alastair's star has only risen over the last twenty years, and has been nominated for the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award three times.
http://www.alastairreynolds.com/
Here's what Alastair said about getting to play in the Maelstrom's Edge universe:

"Maelstrom's Edge is something different: an SF game universe put together with real originality and incorporating some genuinely clever and inventive thinking. There are enough worlds and stories waiting to be explored to last a lifetime..."

With his gritty blend of dark sci-fi, speculative science, and galaxy-spanning drama he is a perfect match for the Maelstrom's Edge universe and we're delighted to have him on board with our opening story, ‘Remainers’, in which a ship’s captain accepts a client’s dangerous request to return to a world doomed by the Maelstrom.

Rob Ziegler
Author of the spectacular Seed, which Paolo Bacigalupi described as "A hungry beast of a book, rippling with slaughter and sex, powerhouse action, surreal post-human horrors and bigger-than-life heroes", Rob's work combines kinetic action, bleak landscapes, and characters drawn from the grimy underbelly of society. As such we think he is perfect to help us flesh out some of the stories happening at the margins of the Maelstrom's Edge universe, particularly those involving the Broken, our very own faction of survivalists who mix the high-tech and the squalid together with the violent and the tender. ‘Little Bots’, Rob’s story in ‘Escalation’, is a terrific tale of a group of orphans, sneaking and tricking their way to survival.
http://zieglerstories.com/

Jaine Fenn
Described by SFX Magazine as "A major new talent" on the release of her debut novel, Consorts of Heaven, Jaine Fenn has proceeded to flesh out her Hidden Empire series, charting seven-thousand years of future history as humankind adventures among the stars. Known for writing tense and fast-paced stories set in vivid locales, we felt Jaine would create the kind of gripping fiction perfectly suited to the universe of Maelstrom's Edge. For her first story in our universe, Jaine set her sights on two of our future factions – telling the story of a noble Champion of the Artarian Remnant Fleet, amongst the ragtag flotilla of a Broken fleet, in the cracking short story ‘Over You’.
http://www.jainefenn.com/

Jeff Carlson
In the Plague Year trilogy Jeff Carlson unleashed a nanoplague on humanity that killed all warm-blooded life below 10,000 feet. In his Frozen Sky novels humankind discovered a deadly species in the icy waters of Jupiter's ice moon, Europa. Who better than this Philip K. Dick Award Finalist to help bring the Maelstrom's Edge universe to gripping life? When we told him about the Maelstrom's Edge universe and invited him to spread his fictional wings he had the following to say:

"These days I write sci fi and tech thrillers that, I hope, are chock full of monsters and chills and cutting edge science. When I heard about Maelstrom’s Edge, I begged its designers to let me play in their sandbox. An unstoppable wave of hellish energy. Civilizations destroyed. Terraforming corporations, mech, refugees, cults, strange planets. Man, that’s what I do!!!!"

Jeff’s story ‘The Spaces Between Us’ is something both beautiful and brutal, telling a tangled family tragedy on a world with something truly worth saving.
http://www.jverse.com/books/

Aliette de Bodard
Nominated for multiple Hugo, Nebula, and BSFA awards, and winner of the Nebula and Locus awards, Aliette de Bodard is a highly-acclaimed author who will bring brilliant prose allied to poignant characters to the Maelstrom's Edge universe. Subverting the usual tropes for original twists, and substituting by-the-numbers heroes for vivid individuals deeply entwined with familial and cultural shackles, we were really excited to see what Aliette did with the apocalyptic backdrop of Maelstrom's Edge, and her story, ‘Losses We Bear’ is a superb demonstration of her skills.
http://aliettedebodard.com

Tomas L. Martin
Well, that’s me! Together with Stephen Gaskell, I’m one of the lead writers who helped develop the background to the Maelstrom’s Edge universe, as well as together writing the short stories that made up our first collection, ‘Tales from the Edge: Emergence’, and the two Maelstrom’s Edge novels, ‘Faith’ and ‘Sacrifice’. When not writing for Maelstrom’s Edge, I’m a lecturer in materials physics at the University of Bristol, as well as occasionally dabbling in other fiction endeavours! My story, ‘Fleet Champion’ is a little introduction to the tangled politics and heated contests of the Remnant Fleet and the power-suited Champions that compete for the honour and reputation of their noble houses.
http://www.tomaslmartin.com

Jonathan Cooper
Coming via Wolverhampton, Dublin and London, Jonathan Cooper is a novelist and occasional journalist now living in Amsterdam. He has written on film, TV and pop culture for the Mirror and the Independent and has short fiction published in the New London Review and Scrivener Creative Review. He is also the author of Lethbridge Stewart: The Showstoppers, a new novel featuring Doctor Who's very own Brigadier. In this anthology Jonathan gives us ‘The Daughter of Arin’, where a Comm Guild courier delivers a strange package that leads to an increasingly chaotic conspiracy.

Karin Lowachee
Winner of a boatload of awards including Warner Aspect First Novel, Prix Aurora Award 2006, and Spectrum Award 2006, not to mention twice being shortlisted for the Philip K. Dick Award, Karin Lowachee's Warchild Universe explores the experience of fictionalised child soldiers learning to survive in a war-torn galaxy. When we asked her to expand on what drew her to Maelstrom's Edge universe she had the following to say:

"In a genre that can literally explore anything the imagination envisions, the opportunity to sink my teeth into a doomsday event of galactic proportions was too good to pass. Everything about Maelstrom's Edge speaks to my creative inclinations: high stakes, complex characters, an expansive setting, and a sense of wonder. The possibilities for exploration both external and internal are endless, and my fascination with the human condition—our frailties as well as our strengths—is something I will explore. A psychological close-up of what a random band of survivors on a frontier planet are willing and able to do to reach their destination—and presumably their saving grace to get off-world ahead of the Maelstrom—will take an unflinching look at the nature of selfishness, exploitation, compassion and love."

Karin's tale ‘The Flesh of the World’ explores a lawless, frontier-type world that has been abandoned by the corporations, leaving the population alone to face the coming Maelstrom.
http://www.karinlowachee.com

Stephen Gaskell
The other half of the Maelstrom’s Edge lead writing team, Stephen is a prolific and talented writer both of fiction and for games. When not writing for Maelstrom’s Edge, Stephen works as a Senior Writer for Amplitude Studios, where he recently completed work on the popular 4X strategy title, Endless Space 2. His fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Interzone, Years Best Military SF, and elsewhere, and he is currently seeking representation for his debut novel, The Unborn World, a dystopian eco-thriller set in Lagos, Nigeria. An alumnus of University College, Oxford, he holds degrees in physics and artificial intelligence. Stephen’s contribution to the anthology is the fantastic ‘A Keeper’s Duty’, which explores the moral dilemma of a convert to the Karist Faith, growing up to become one of the Keepers who looks after the otherworldly alien creatures known as Angels.
http://www.stephengaskell.com

Liz Williams
With degrees in philosophy and artificial intelligence, a mother who was a gothic novelist, and a father who was a part-time conjurer, it is no exaggeration to say that Liz William's is one of the most original voices working in science fiction today. Short-listed for the Philip K. Dick Award for her novels no less than four times, Liz is also a master of the short form with her work appearing in many Year's Best anthologies. Writing dark and strange yet utterly compelling fiction, Liz's piece for our Maelstrom's Edge anthology is titled "’Moon Desert’ and is a fantastic read.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Liz-Williams/e/B001HCXOL2

Maelstrom's Edge has a comprehensive long term fiction plan which we give as much attention as the game itself. From day one we've been trying to develop a universe which will grab the interest of anybody who has even a passing interest in Science Fiction, and with some of the best sci-fi authors in the world committing stories into the anthology ‘Tales From The Edge: Escalation’, Maelstrom's Edge is going from strength to strength, with plenty more to come from us in future.

Terrain Spotlight: Experimental Cybel Gate


Posted on Monday Jul 10, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

As the Maelstrom's apocalyptic conflagration closed in on the planet Devlin IV, rumours began to circulate amongst those still desperately trying to find passage off-world that scientists in a secret Epirian Foundation facility had been working on a new kind of Cybel gate that might prove to be their salvation. Whilst most Cybel gates are massive, space-borne affairs, this gate would supposedly operate from the planet's surface! While the rumour would ultimately lead to disappointment, as the project had been a dismal failure, it nevertheless gave temporary hope to many who had given up on escaping the Maelstrom's wrath and fueled a frantic search for this device.





I had an idea a while back for a table themed around a Cybel gate research facility, where the experimental gate would form a centrepiece that would double as both a cool focal point and a potential objective for scenario-driven games. Capturing a resource such as this would, of course, be a worthy goal for any of the various forces encountered in Maelstrom's Edge, and there is all sorts of additional potential for thematic events when the gate is activated. Below is what I came up with, built from foamcore, cardboard, and components from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue.

I started out creating the basic shape for the gate by tracing two concentric circles onto a sheet of 5mm foamcore and cutting the resultant ring out with a hobby knife.



I then used the foamcore ring as a template to make two more rings from thick card.



The circle cut from the inside of the foamcore ring was the perfect size to act as a base, with a channel cut down the middle for the ring to sit in.



The three rings were glued together, and set in place to check the fit.



Next, I cut a bunch of trapezoid shapes from plasticard, sized to fit neatly inside the trapezoid window from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue.



These were glued at intervals around one side of the ring.



Over these, I glued 5 trapezoid windows, with power units cut from the bottom of the energy-fence posts glued around the outside of the ring.



I took a ladder and cut the outside edges off with a razor saw.



A second ladder was glued to a sheet of flyscreen, and then the flyscreen trimmed around the edges of the ladder and the cut pieces from the first ladder glued onto either side.



The base was bulked up a little with another layer of foamcore.



I then used a file to carve out an angled ramp down the front of the base.



The ladder assembly slots neatly into the ramp recess.



Finally, I put together a control panel using a light fixture and three trimmed computer panels.



With the addition of some legs made from trimmed down energy-fence posts, the control panel was glued in place, and the gate was ready for painting.



I wanted a bit of contrast in the gate assembly, so decided to go with a coppery ring and darkened steel details. To get started, I sprayed the ring with Army Painter Army Green, partly to give a nice base layer for the copper and partly because I didn't have a lot of time for painting this week, and the Army Painter sprays dry nice and quickly...



Over the green, I did a couple of coats of some old Citadel copper that I had laying around.



The base was sprayed with a medium grey colour.



I then picked out the steel parts with black. It's a little hard to see in this lighting, but I also drybrushed the base with a light grey and added some dirt scuffing with some lightly drybrushed brown.



The ring was given a couple of coats of Army Painter Strong Tone, and the steel parts drybrushed with P3 Pig Iron and then washed with Army Painter Dark Tone.



Finally, the control panel screens and some hazard lines were added, and the ring was given a light drybrush with silver to lift the edges a little.









If you would like to build your own experimental Cybel gate, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue 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.

Terrain Spotlight: Giftbox Garage


Posted on Monday Jul 03, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

A while back, I shared a scifi western-themed building constructed from a Plast Craft Games plastic kit and the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. This week, I wanted to have another try at that vaguely-western, raise-facade, scifi styling, but with more of a mass-produced, cheap colony building sort of vibe. Something a little more urban, but with a nod back to the frontier. This is what I came up with:



This is built from one of my favourite bases - the good old cardboard giftbox.



You can pick these up from just about anywhere that sells giftwares or from many craft shops, and they're generally fairly inexpensive. Craft shops will also often have raw cardboard versions without the printing on the outside, which does have the bonus of looking slightly less hideous while you're putting it together, but can have a rougher surface texture.

For my previous giftbox buildings, I used the lid upside down on top to form a walled-in roof area. This time, I used the lid for the facade. So the first step was to cut the lid to the height that I wanted the front of the building. I also cut away the end wall of the box, so that the hole for the front door only needed to go through the facade - The door inset is deeper than the width of the card, so would I otherwise have needed to cut a second door hole in the end of the box and hope that they lined up properly.



Speaking of a door hole: I took the garage door from the terrain sprue, sat it in place against the facade, and traced around the back of it before cutting out the resultant rectangle. The garage door was then glued in place.



The same process was used on the intact end of the box to add a small door and shutter window from the terrain sprue.



The facade was then glued in place.



I glued a couple of support struts onto either side of the building, for a little texture.



A row of lintel pieces from the terrain sprue were glued onto the top edge of the back wall.



I then layered strips of plasticard along the roof, working up towards the front of the building.



The final building, ready for painting:





Quick and easy paintjob, that will be quite familiar for anyone who has been following these articles. I started with a black spray undercoat, to give a solid layer to cover over the printing.



This was followed by a spray of flat grey, and while this was still wet I oversprayed this from above with a lighter grey to add a little bit of a natural highlight.



The metal parts were then picked out with Vallejo Beasty Brown.



Then a drybrush of P3 Pig Iron.



Then a wash of the most useful paint on the planet: Army Painter Strong Tone.



A final drybrush of silver over the metal bits and some detail work, and the newest addition to the table is ready to go.







This design can be very easily tailored to different buildings through using different sized boxes and choosing different sprue components. If you would like to build your own, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue 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.

Conversion Spotlight: "Silverback" Mercenary Fire Support Mech


Posted on Monday Jun 26, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

A variation on the Hunter War Mech chassis, the Silverback was an attempt by Epirian engineers to develop a mobile platform for heavy support weapons. Trading in speed for stability, initial deployments showed promising results, however over time the mech's ponderous movement began to be perceived as a liability. When this was compounded by some odd personality quirks that tended to develop in the experimental twinned bot cores used to give the Silverback increased tactical capability, the model was slowly phased out by Epirian forces. Some were sold to planetary security forces, while others found their way onto the black market, where they became a favourite of mercenaries who favoured a more blunt approach to martial engagement.



A mercenary bot handler and his Silverback charge.

The Epirian Hunter is a fantastic kit which presents some fun modeling possibilities straight out of the box. Sometimes, though, it's fun to do something a little more extreme, and it's from this that the Silverback was born. This wasn't made with any rules in mind, just something fun to build... although now of course I have some ideas percolating around for mercenary units, so this may be something I come back to in a future article.

To give the Silverback more gorilla-like proportions, I cut down the tops of the thighs level with the top of the protruding panel on the side. This also required slicing off the locating pin and reattaching it lower down. I also added a bit more of a bend to the left leg by slicing carefully through the top of the knee joint, cutting out a small wedge, and regluing the leg at the new angle.



With the torso angled forwards, the top of the existing 'head' serves admirably as a neck. To add a new head, I used a razor saw to slice a drone chassis in half.



The front piece was then glued in place on the torso.



I wanted the arms a little straighter than is allowed by the hunter's elbow arrangement. So I trimmed away the back of the forearm piece, allowing more movement in the joint.



I then took some small pipe fittings from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue and trimmed the square border off.



A small piece of plastic tube was then slipped into the fitting, and this glued in place against the 'hand' end of the forearm.



The hands were constructed from the back half of the drone chassis and small pieces cut from the drone's sprue (recycling for the win!).



With everything glued together, the arm was glued in place.



I initially only had two joints on each finger, but it just didn't look quite right, so I added an extra joint when I built the second arm, and then went back and did the same to the first one.



Another couple of small sprue pieces formed the ends of the thumbs, and I added a weapon purloined from a Games Workshop Tau battlesuit kit.









I wanted a dark, slightly sinister paintjob to emphasise the brutish nature of the mech, so started with a black undercoat.



Over this I did a heavy drybrush of P3 Pig Iron.



Then I washed the whole thing with a generous coat of Army Painter Dark Tone.



Once the wash dried, I lightly drybrushed all over with some more Pig Iron, and then did the detail work. A few panels here and there are picked out in different colours to give it a bit more of a ramshackle appearance, in keeping with its mercenary nature. It's not an award-winning paint-job, but is a nice, quick method for getting a table-ready model.











Feeling the urge to hack up a Hunter or two of your own? You can pick up the Hunter, Drone or terrain sprue from the Maelstrom's Edge 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.

Terrain Spotlight: Landing Pad


Posted on Monday Jun 19, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Terrain is a bit of a passion of mine. It can make such a difference to your games having a table full of nice-looking terrain pieces, and this is helped along with the addition of a shiny, impressive centre piece to dominate the battlefield.

With that in mind, I set to work this week to build a landing pad for my table. Landing pads look great visually, can be easily tailored from game to game with the addition of some crates, landing craft or other small terrain features on top and make for nice line of sight blockers in the middle of the table.



I started out, as so many of my projects do, with a few Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues and a sheet of 5mm foamcore. A dinner plate served as a handy template for the pad itself.



After tracing around the plate, I drew in an inset rectangle on opposing sides, to break up the circular shape a little in order to make the pad a little more visually interesting. The the shape was cut out with a hobby knife, and some guide lines drawn on for some detailing.



A round detail in the centre of the pad was created from the large pipe fitting, cut down to match the thickness of the support struts. I used a couple of spare struts as height gauges for a razor saw to cut through the pipe fitting sideways.



I then laid support struts out along the guide lines, cutting them to length so that they extended to the edges of the pad.



For some detail around the edge of the pad, I took some more support struts and rolled them carefully over a glue primer tube to give them a curve.





These were then glued around the edges of the pad, and held in place with some hat elastic until the glue set.



A landing pad on the ground is functional enough, but not much good for blocking line of sight, and certainly won't impress the neighbours. So I made a formwork from some more foamcore to go under the pad. In between each of the formwork supports, I spaced some off-cuts of foamcore to serve as guides for the outer wall.



The outer wall was made from thick card, which was bent around the outside of a coffee mug.



This was then glued in place around the outside of the support formwork, with the help of a few cardboard tabs to reinforce the joints.



A little more foamcore and some doors from the terrain sprue created the bare bones of a control tower.



This will have multiple access points, through the lower door, a second door off the pad surface, and a ladder from the ground to the control platform. The ladder can be just glued directly to the wall, but this never looks quite right to me, as it would make climbing it a little problematic unless you cut recesses in behind it. In this case, I decided to space it out from the wall instead, using some off-cuts from the terrain sprue lintel piece.



Because the inside of the upper door can be seen from the control platform, I used a second door on the inside wall. Two doors back to back are a little thick for 5mm foamcore walls, so I trimmed the inner door's back down flush so it would fit in neatly.



The floor of the platform was made from some tile-pattern plasticard, with a recess created for the inner door - this would have a short ladder up to the main platform.



I also made some computer terminals using some computer panels and lintels.



Opposite the control tower will be a lift. I wanted this to be functional, just for a little fun. So I made a wall section from some textured plasticard and glued on a couple of picture hooks that I had flattened out with some pliers and a hammer.



The lift platform was made from a rectangle of foamcore with detailing around the edges provided by some lintels and a support strut. On the bottom of one of the long sides I affixed some nice, strong, rare earth magnets. These allow the lift platform to be attached anywhere along the flattened picture hooks, and are strong enough to hold it up even with models standing on it.



The base of the platform still needed some more detail, so I made some buttresses to going around the perimeter. These are just a wedge of foamcore and some pieces cut from support struts. Normally I layer a piece of 5mm and a piece of 3mm foamcore to match the width of the support strut, but this time I decided to go for something a little more visually striking and just used a piece of 5mm foamcore with extra reinforcing pieces added on either side.



These buttresses were then glued around the base of the platform, lining up with the support struts on the platform top.



The top of the platform needed some more detail, and so I cut some wedges of card to slot in between the support struts.



These were sprayed black, and then painted with a coat of PVA glue and pressed onto some plastic flyscreen. I used a sharp hobby knife to cut around the edges.



(Spraying them black before gluing the flyscreen on makes painting a little easier, as it can be tricky to cover all of the tiny little nooks and crannies in the flyscreen)

While the glue was setting on the flyscreen, I took the time to glue the landing pad down onto a base board of masonite. A handy, nearby gumball dispenser filled with marbles served as a weight to help the glue bond everything nice and tight.



When everything was set, I glued the flyscreened wedges into place on the platform, and added some landing lights made from small pipe fittings and offcuts of sprue.



With the control tower then glued in place and a row of trapezoid windows added for controller protection, a ramp up to the lift built on the other side of the pad, and a few other little details here and there, construction was complete.











Painting was kept fairly simple: I basecoated with black spray, and then added a coat of grey for the base and walls. The metal parts were then painted using my weathered metal method shown here. Add in the details (including the obligatory hazard striping) and the job's done!















If you would like to build your own landing pad, or if this has sparked some ideas for some other terrain pieces, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue 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.

Conversion Spotlight - Kaddar Nova Mini-Diorama


Posted on Monday Jun 12, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Sometimes it's nice to take a break from putting together armies and just paint something for fun. There's nothing better than taking some plastic and doing something new and shiny with it for getting some creative juices going, and it's a great way to explore the rich background of the game.

When I first got my hands on the plastic Kaddar Nova kit, I had an image of him standing in some imposing fashion unleashing a minnow like a trained hunting bird. I built the bare bones of this little diorama some time ago, but only just found the time to get it finished off and painted.



This piece was assembled from 3 different kits. The balcony was assembled almost entirely from components from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, with a little plasticard to fill in around the sides. The balcony floor is cut from a garage door, with the windows filled in with the gratings from the support struts cut into a trapezoid shape. The railing is made from a ladder, with one side trimmed off. The trimmed off side served for the sides of the staircase, with the stairs themselves made from lengths of support strut glued in detail-side down.





The Kaddar Nova is largely stock, although there was some small alteration of the legs (narrowing the groin area to bring his legs closer together and bending out the right foot so that his toe-tip would touch the lower stair).





Likewise, the Minnows are assembled as normal, with the one launching off the Nova's hand losing his original tail and a new one made with a length of wire and some green stuff. The wire is glued into a small hole drilled in the Nova's forearm, which is covered up by the putty.



When painting something unusual, I like to try pushing my boundaries a little as a change from the repetitiveness of painting gaming forces. For this piece, I decided to go for a nice, bright, white armour, as I generally tend towards darker colour schemes. The trick with white, oddly enough, is to not make it white. Most white things aren't actually white to look at. Shadows add layers of grey, and reflections add other shades to the mix. (This goes for black, as well!) I wasn't about to try painting reflective armour this time around, but I did use Vallejo Light Grey blended into the white to shade the armour. The end result is possibly a little more grey than white, but I'm still pretty happy with how it turned out.





The Minnows were painted using a slight variation of the scheme I used for my winged Mature Angel a couple of weeks back. They were undercoated black, and then drybrushed with dark grey (Vallejo Heavy Charcoal, in this case) and then with purple (some old Citadel Warlock Purple and Tentacle Pink mixed together). This was then washed with some Army Painter Dark Tone to smooth out the drybrushing.





The balcony was painted using the weathered metal recipe shown in the article here, with the addition of some scratches, hazard stripes and yellow detail around the window/vents to break up the expanse of rusty metal a little.





The end result is a simple little scene that I think is nicely evocative of the Maelstrom's Edge setting. If you want to try something similar, you can pick up the components used here from the Maelstrom's Edge webstore. 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.

Terrain Spotlight: Comm Tower


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


- by Iain Wilson

One of the things I really enjoy about working with the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue is that with a little imagination and a sharp knife, there are so many potential uses for most of the parts. I think I've used the ladders, energy fences and pipe fittings far more as other things than I have for their original purposes.

This week's build is no exception, as I had a bit of a brain-flash as I was looking at the energy fence posts and decided to build a communications array!



The main focus of this terrain piece is, of course, the cross-shaped array on the roof. The transceiver panels on this array are each built from a fence post and a series of hexagonal shapes cut from a sheet of plasticard. I cut a few test panels from cardboard to get the size and shape right, and then used one of those cardboard testers as a template to mark out the plasticard.



Once cut and cleaned up, the panels had a small length of plastic rod glued to the back, and then glued in place onto the fence post.



The four resultant transceiver arms were glued onto a pair of trapezoid windows to form the array. I sat this on a post made from plastic tubing and some pipe fittings, with a control panel mounted on the front for servicing and fine-tuning - because as any sci-fi buff would tell you, intergalactic regulations require any piece of important equipment to have a control interface positioned somewhere accessible from outside, but exposed to enemy shooting.



The array obviously needed something to stand on, so I made a basic building frame out of foamcore.



I set a hatch into the roof, and surrounded this with a railing made from a cut-up ladder - because while the control panel needs to be exposed, the Epirian Foundation still (on paper, at least) follows strict OH&S standards.



I wanted to use trapezoid windows in the sides of the building, to tie back to the shapes in the array, but they needed to look different to the array centre to reduce the number of people looking at the building and asking why it had windows on its aerial. So I cut some pieces of aluminium mesh to fit snugly inside the window frames.



With everything glued in place, the comm building looks like this:







I kept the painting on this one a fairly simple grey, to match some other terrain from previous articles. The building section was sprayed with a medium grey undercoat, and the array sprayed red on the less important parts and black on the transceiver plates and 'moving' parts.



The building then had a light spray with a lighter grey, pitched from above so that the darker grey would stay in the indentations and form some natural shadows. The array and the metal parts on the building were painted using the weathered metal recipe from the article here. Then I finished up with weathering added with drybrushed brown, the door light and control panel screen painted in blue, and then added a couple of printed signs and some fineliner graffiti on the side and back walls.













A cheery, grey city in progress...



If you would like to build your own communications array, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue 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: Winged Angel


Posted on Monday May 29, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Nobody knows what the hell they’re even made of, never mind what they’re thinking.
- - Gladius Belaru, survivor of the Angel attack on Morningstar Station, Thusia system

The fully mature Angel is a truly terrifying creature to encounter in the flesh, and their otherworldly scream is a harbinger of nightmares across the Spiral Arm. Dwarfing even the tallest of humans, the Angel is a tapering mass of writhing tentacles, gelatinous membranes, and bristled claws, smelling of sulphur and ozone.

The plastic Mature Angel kit allows players to build angels in their combat form, which is one of the three common forms favoured by these bizarre creatures. While there is no particular need to model the angel's other forms, where would we be if we just went around assembling kits to spec? So this week, I'm building a Mature Angel in its flying form.



I started out with a length of wire glued into a hole drilled up into the bottom of the angel's torso. This was curved around to the front, with a spike cut from one of the angel's claws glued onto the other end.



Over the wire, I sculpted a tail from 'green stuff' putty, and added some tentacles down the side to make it a little more visually striking and to help represent the angel's fluid nature.



Wings can be sculpted over a similar wire armature, but to save a little time and effort here, I decided to purloin some from another model instead. The donor was a fire demon from Reaper's Bones range.



I cut the wings at the elbows, trimmed off the 'fingers' and glued the wings in place in the angel's arm sockets. A little more green stuff filled in the gaps.









Painting - I kept the colour-scheme fairly simple, as angels are basically just black. Visually, just going with plain black isn't very interesting, though, so I tried to represent the angel's internal cybel energy by adding some purple highlights wherever seemed appropriate. The eyes and mouth were similarly painted purple, but highlighted up closer to white, to help them to stand out.









'Family' shot, with some minnows for company:



If you would like to build your own hideous flying spectre of doom, you can pick up the Mature Angel kit from the Maelstrom's Edge 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.

Terrain Spotlight: Catwalks


Posted on Monday May 22, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

As the Maelstrom creeps inexorably across the galaxy bringing Armageddon to world after world, many wars are fought in the shadow of once great cities. Where once were towering beacons of hope, the shining pinnacle of human endeavour, now lies ruin - seething hives of scum and villainy where only the strong survive.

For those inclined to less flowery prose: I thought it might be fun to explore what could be done to create multi-level terrain using the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, for games set within the gloomy nether regions of gigantic cities on those worlds where everything has just gone a little bit wrong. Within these cities would be various tall structures linked by ladders and catwalks - essential if you want to get around without having to leap onto the roof of a passing taxi!



So this week, I'll be presenting a few ideas for different ways to construct catwalks to link your buildings together. Starting with the bare bones, Evil-Overlord-thinks-minions-don't-deserve-handrails version:



This is simply a strip of 5mm foamcore cut to an appropriate length, with some panel lines scored across at intervals with a razor saw (you could do the same with a hobby knife, but the saw helps to keep a consistent width and depth). The edges are covered up with reinforcing struts from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue.



For the slightly more OH&S-conscious city builder, here's example 2:



This is another strip of 5mm foamcore, but this time I've used ladders from the terrain sprue glued sideways along the edges to create handrails.



This catwalk is also a little narrower than the first. Varying the width of your catwalks allows for some visual variety, and also mixes up how the catwalk will function in-game, by changing what can fit on it, and whether or not troops will be able to easily block off enemy advances along it.

For something with a little more texture, example 3:



This one starts with another strip of foamcore, but this time I have glued a sheet of aluminium mesh to the top. Support struts from the terrain sprue are cut to size and glued around the perimeter of the top to hold the mesh down and cover the cut edges, and more support struts run around the outside edge of the foamcore to pretty things up.

The handrails are made using the top halves of half a dozen energy fence poles, with the railings cut from lengths of 1.5mm x 2mm plastic rod.



For a break from foamcore, the base of the catwalk can be made from plasticard or sturdy cardboard:



This catwalk uses 1.2mm plasticard, with some embroidery mesh cut to size and glued on top to add some texture, interspersed with support struts from the terrain sprue. The handrails are made from lintel pieces from the terrain sprue topped with leftover window strips cut from doors I used a few weeks back for barriers in my scatter terrain article.



And finally, the freestanding version:



Back to the foamcore for this one, with the embroidery mesh once again providing some detail on the top. The handrails use the bottom halves of the fence posts used for the 3rd catwalk, with railings made from 1.6mm round plastic rod. The legs are door frames that were also left over from the scatter terrain article.



These are obviously just scratching the surface. You can easily mix up these designs by changing the dimensions or detailing. Replacing the foamcore with sturdy mesh gives you a more open, industrial style. You could even build some junction pieces and lay out catwalks on the table for a space corridor bug-fight!

Where to from here? One of my next projects will be to create some matching buildings to hang these off, based around modular bulkheads like this:



If you're feeling inspired and need more catwalks in your life, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue 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.