The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

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.

Terrain Spotlight: Welcome to Hamilton!


Posted on Monday Mar 27, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

The frontier world listed in the Epirian Foundation directory as PG-4215 [designation pending] is a barely-habitable planet on the outer fringe of populated space. At the time the Maelstrom approached the system, PG-4215 possessed a single official settlement, known as 'Research & Terraforming Implementation Facility Alpha' by the Foundation and as 'Hamilton' by those unfortunate enough to have been posted there.

With PG-4215's few small, equatorial landmasses being hot, dry, and generally unpleasant, Hamilton's small population very early on had committed themselves to paving over and urbanising as much of it as possible.


Oblivious to impending conflict, an Epirian cargo drone shunts shipping containers for unloading.

Hamilton is the first table setup that I've finished off so far for my own Maelstrom's Edge games. I've used it somewhat as a test-bed for trying out different ideas, with the end result being a bit of a hodge-podge of styles.


Taking up position on the roof of the refectory, the squad watches an automated uplink relay trundle down the laneway.

Buildings have been constructed from a range of different materials, with the components from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue helping to tie it all together into a more-or-less coherent whole. The building above is made from a cardboard giftbox with the lid flipped upside down.


In the distance, past the plantation dome, a squad of heavy armoured Karists approaches, weapons at the ready.

The plantation dome was constructed from a plastic salad bowl, with foamcore used for the enclosed area at the front. You can see how this was put together in the walkthrough here.


A Warden conducts a routine maintenance check on the exterior of the planation dome.

Trimmed-down and repainted aquarium plants were used for the plantation beds inside the dome. In the background is one of my first foamcore constructions.


A Hunter warmech on patrol.

Cover is extremely important in Maelstrom's Edge, so wherever possible I have tried to include protruding elements for models to potentially hide behind, as can be seen in the buttressing on the building behind the Hunter.


A Scorpion drone lurks in the courtyard, awaiting instructions from its Handler.

Of course, some details aren't particularly useful for cover, and are just there to look pretty.


On the other side of town, a Hunter on loan from the Swamp Research Team surveys the laneway.

Painting has mostly been kept fairly simple, with the buildings all painted white with some salt weathering to make them look like they've been exposed to the elements on an unfriendly world. I wanted a unified colour scheme to help tie the disparate buildings together, so they would look like the town was cobbled together from various sources, but would still look like it was purpose built for a single organisation.


Lieutenant Bob takes up position on the balcony.

Variations on a basic design can help create a 'kit-home' look, with some different buildings that all clearly belong together. The above building was constructed using a similar template to the first foamcore structure, but with the courtyard removed and a balcony added. You can see the construction of this building in a short video here.


The Karists advance.

If you're aiming for an urban-themed board, it's a good idea to add in some area terrain elements rather than just having a table filled with solid buildings, as this mixes things up a bit for movement and cover. The same template used for Lieutenant Bob's balcony building was used to create a ruin, just by cutting off the roof, bashing things up a bit and adding some rubble on the base.


A lone Karist trooper lurks between the buildings.

In the background above you can see another building made from a plastic storage tray. Check out the build video here.


Scarecrows move to intercept the intruders.

Playing on a themed table is a great way to bring your games to life, as it helps to create the illusion of an actual battlefield, rather than just having a random assortment of different terrain.


Despite imminent conflict, Bob can't resist trying out his new camera drone...

Still to do: I have several more buildings still on the workbench for this board, including a bot storage building and some more small multi-purpose buildings. I'd also like to add some sort of water-treatment pond. This will help to expand out from 4'x4' to a more rounded 4'x6', which is better for standard games. It would also benefit from the addition of more scatter terrain to break up the firelanes a little, which will be my next terrain project:




All of the decorative elements on the buildings shown here are from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. You can find this in a handy two-pack in the Maelstrom's Edge online store here. You can share your terrain creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Conversion Spotlight: Epirian Automated Uplink Relay


Posted on Monday Mar 20, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

The dependence on robotic units and information warfare means that the Epirian Foundation relies on electronic communication to function as an effective fighting force. When pursuing conflicts outside of its zone of control, the Foundation uses portable uplinks that link to orbital satellites and airborne recon, providing battlefield intelligence about enemy positions and weaknesses and allowing Bot Handlers to remotely interface with Epirian drones on the ground.

The Maelstrom's Edge rules include an automated uplink relay as a faction-specific objective for the Epirian forces. The uplink itself is represented with a cardboard standee, as it represents a physical object that moves around the board, but I thought it might be nice to have an actual model to represent it. And so, I came up with this:






My kitbash differs a bit from the artwork on the card - the artwork was done while the game was still in its early design stages, before the models were finalised. As a result, the drone chassis that forms the basis of the upper body of the uplink is really too small for the job. The card version also wound up with only a single gun, while the finished version of the uplink, ruleswise, is supposed to have two flakk batteries.

So after initially looking at various ideas using a drone chassis, I went with a Hunter torso instead.

The track unit was purloined from a Counterblast Mekkus Defender robot. Quick and easy to assemble - just two track units and a central hub to which they both attach.



I then took a Hunter torso and cut it off at the waist joint.



A new waist joint was constructed from plastic tubing, to slot neatly into the waiting cavity in the top of the track unit's central hub.



The flakk batteries were constructed from the flakk guns on the drone sprue. I took the two weapon mount parts and joined them together, glued a flakk gun onto each mount and added a third flakk gun, slightly shaved down on either side, inset between the other two. These were then attached to the forearm magazine piece from the hunter to create something reminiscent of the boxy 'shoulders' of the drone chassis from the original uplink artwork.



One of the big, obvious details in the artwork is the big satellite dish mounted on the uplink's left shoulder. I didn't have anything suitably rounded to hand, but in a flash of inspiration grabbed the flakk cannon from the Hunter sprue and chopped through the exposed parts of the cannon barrels. The shield section was then attached at a jaunty angle to the muzzle end of the cannon, and an antenna made from the coaxial barrel from the Hunter's chaingun.



The shoulder sockets were trimmed at an angle so that the weapon arms would sit horizontal. The weapon arms were then glued in place, and the satellite dish and an auxiliary antenna made from the 'spare' weapon on the drone sprue attached to the left shoulder. I also added a square of plasticard to the front of each shoulder to cover over the original weapon attachment sockets. These have an 'X' shape scribed into them to once again tie back to the drone shoulder design. As a final nod to the drone chassis (although this is a detail on the final drone model that is absent from the uplink illustration) I added a pair of rails running along the top of the head, cut from thin plasticard.







I decided to paint this one up to match my original Epirian colour scheme, using Vallejo Yellow Green with a wash of Army Painter Green Tone, and the metal parts painted Vallejo Basalt Grey with a couple of coats of Army Painter Dark Tone.



The tracks were given a light drybrush with Citadel Boltgun Metal (aka Leadbelcher) and then another wash, this time with Army Painter Strong Tone.



The base was urban-ised with a basecoat of Vallejo Neutral Grey and a drybrush of Vallejo Light Grey. Some oil stains splotched on with Army Painter Strong Tone, some chipping, and some yellow line markings complete the scene.



And so there it is: One Automated Uplink Relay. Size-wise, it comes in as a perfect match height=wise for the card version. A little more sideways bulk, but that suits it with the size of the base anyway.

It's not a perfect match for the artwork, but I think it's close enough to be recognisable for what it's supposed to be, and is a really easy conversion.

If you would like to have a go at this yourself, you'll need the track unit from Counterblast (or something else like it - there are a fair few options out there for small, tracked weapon units), and a Maelstrom's Edge Hunter (which will also give you the base for the uplink) and two Drone sprues - You'll have enough parts left over to still build complete drones from those sprues with the other weapon options. You can find the Maelstrom's Edge sprues in the online store here.

Be sure to share your version of the completed uplink relay on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Terrain Walkthrough: Western-themed SciFi Building


Posted on Monday Mar 13, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

A few weeks back, I built an Epirian Stockyard, just to get an idea of how some more rustic styling would fit into the Maelstrom's Edge universe. So it was with a fairly large amount of delight that I stumbled this week upon some fantastic, inexpensive, western-styled building kits from a company called Plast Craft Games. These are made from die-cut PVC sheets, and make a perfect base for customisation - in this case, with the addition of some parts from the Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue to make a scifi frontier-town building.





The original kit comes as a single PVC sheet, with the cut panels attached with a few lugs. The PVC is soft enough to cut easily, and while there was some warping of some of the panels (I'm assuming from the pressure of the cutting process) they bend back into shape readily enough. The fact that the woodgrain shown in the store pics of the kit was actually embossed onto the parts was a nice surprise - I had been assuming that was just painted detail.



So, the first step was to remove all of the panels from the sheet and clean off the attachment lugs. I was a little surprised to find printing on the outer facings of the building pieces - as I inadvertently discovered three-quarters of the way through assembly, this is actually a sheet of protective film that peels off, once you know about it... It's not mentioned in the mostly-pictorial assembly instructions.



The opening for the door on the front wall turned out to be exactly the right height for the terrain sprue door, although I had to widen it a little. This was the work of a moment with a steel ruler and an exacto knife, and then I did the same for the window, which needed to be widened just a fraction and lengthened a bit. These parts could then be glued in with superglue.



The back wall of the building doesn't have any openings, but I decided to add a second door for in-game versatility. This was done by tracing around the door frame and cutting out a hole for it with the exacto knife and ruler again.



From there, the rest of the building could be assembled. There are some timber braces that run vertically up the edges of each all to disguise the panel joins. I left these on the front and back wall, but flipped them over to hide the woodgrain so that they could be painted as metal to match the terrain sprue parts. Then I added the terrain sprue reinforcing pieces on the side walls and roof, and added a railing to the front porch using a trimmed-down ladder.





(The porch roof and rails are still unglued at this point, to make painting the front of the building easier.)

Time to paint!

I started with a spray of grey undercoat all over.



Parts that I wanted to be metal were then given a coat of Vallejo Beasty Brown.



This was followed with a light drybrush of Citadel Boltgun Metal (Leadbelcher, for the newcomers)



Then the whole building was given a generous wash with Army Painter Strong Tone.



Once dry, the wash was cleaned up a little in a few places where it hadn't covered quite right, and then the wood areas were drybrushed with P3 Jack Bone, with some white mixed in for some lighter areas - this was intended to give the wood an uneven, weathered appearance. The metal parts were also given a light drybrush with the Boltgun Metal again.



At that point, all that was left was to paint up the lights on top of the doors (Citadel Ice Blue with a drybrush of white) and the green-orange-red lights on the door lock panels, give the moving parts of the door locks a coat of Boltgun Metal to make them stand out from the rest of the weathered metal parts, and to paint the sign on the front wall.













So while Lieutenant Bob there takes up his sniping position on the roof, and I go off to make up a town's-worth of these and track down some models for the Serenity crew, we mosey off into the sunset once more.

If you're feeling a similar urge to misbehave, you can find the Plast Craft Games range in various hobby stores and through their own webstore and you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue 2-pack from the Maelstrom's Edge webstore here.

As always, we'd love to see what you come up with, so feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Terrain Walkthrough: Plantation Dome


Posted on Monday Mar 06, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

On many frontier worlds, terraforming is still underway when colonists move in and start trying to install some sort of civilisation on everything. Where conditions are less favourable, this can require mean that non-native vegetation can need a little help getting established.

One of my very early ideas when the Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue was first released into my eager little hands was for a small bio-dome-style structure where food or other useful plants would be grown during the process of making the planet fully habitable. It's taken a while to get back to it, but this is what I eventually came up with:





The foundation for this building was a plastic salad bowl, found at a local discount store.



I built a 'gateway' building, to be installed into the side of the dome. This would form a sort of airlock, to allow for environment control inside the dome, and also function as a storeroom for whatever tools or drones were used to maintain the plantlife inside.



To install the airlock, I carefully cut a square hole into the side of the bowl. Apparently I wasn't quite careful enough, as the fairly brittle plastic cracked just as I was almost finished cutting. (Note for next time - use a razor saw rather than trying to get clever with an exacto knife!) I decided to go with it anyway, as a little damage on battlefield terrain obviously isn't the end of the world.



The gateway building was prettied up with doors, control panels and some reinforcing from the terrain sprue.



The hole in the side of the bowl is 5mm too short for the gateway. That allows me to add a foamcore rim around the base of the dome, with another ring of foamcore running on top, sealing in the edge of the bowl.



I wanted some detail for the top of the dome, to disguise the bowl's flat bottom. So I took some shutter windows and used a razor saw to cut the backs of the frames so that the windows sit on an angle.



These were then glued to a circle of plasticard cut slightly smaller than the base of the bowl. A square hatch in the middle forms a hub, where I imagine the machinery that controls the shutters would be located.



On the inside of the bowl, I added some large pipe fittings, positioned to sit directly underneath each of the shutter windows. This forms a venting system, to allow the atmosphere inside the dome to be vented in an emergency, or to allow controlled amounts of the outside air into the dome.



A bunch of reinforcing strips from the terrain sprue were hacked up and glued into planter boxes to go inside the dome.



To these, I added a control unit using a control panel and two trapezoid windows glued together with a small piece of foamcore sandwiched between them. This would control the environment inside the dome, administer fertilisers or other chemicals to the plants, or activate the dome's resident drones.



After marking out the inside circumference of the dome on a sheet of masonite, the planters and control unit were glued in place.



For the plants themselves, I cut appropriately-sized pieces from a few different aquarium plants. These were lightly sprayed with a matt green paint to dull them down a little and make them look slightly less plastic. These would be glued into the planter boxes and the boxes then half-filled with clear craft glue (water effects would be better, but I was in a hurry and craft glue was what I had to hand).



To add a little extra detail to the overall terrain piece, I built a water tank from some foamcore and a beverage mix tin. The ends of the tin are nested into circles cut into the inner sheets of foamcore, for extra strength.



A pipe made from a piece of sprue cut from the terrain sprue and some plastic tube joins the water tank to the dome. I built a support for the pipe from a trapezoid window and another piece of tube, and added small pipe fittings from the terrain sprue to the inside and outside of the dome. The drone tasked with watering the plants would connect to the interior fitting and syphon off as much water as required.



The last thing to do then before painting and assembling everything was to paint any exposed edges of the foamcore with some PVA glue, to protect it from the spraypaint.



My original batch of buildings for Maelstrom's Edge were painted white with green detailing, and since the gateway building for this one was constructed in a similar style, I went with a matching colour scheme.



The gateway was sprayed with a grey undercoat, and then a spray of matt white, with salt weathering to give it a nicely aged appearance.



The water tank was painted brown, drybrushed with Citadel Boltgun Metal and washed with Army Painter Strong Tone before being sprayed with a coat of green.



Again, salt weathering adds some age and experience. The end pieces, along with the base board and the dome rim, were painted with Vallejo Basalt Grey and then drybrushed with Vallejo Light Grey.



A few touches of Vallejo Beasty Brown add some dirt around the place, and some signs created in Gimp, printed out and glued in place add some character touches.



The interior needed to be all painted and the plants glued in place before the dome could be glued down.





I considered leaving the gateway unglued, so that it could be pulled out to put models inside the dome, but figured that as cool as that might look, there was little actual point in being able to do so in-game, so for a gaming terrain piece that was an unnecessary bit of fiddliness.



A yellow guideline adds a little extra detail to the broad expance of base. The base was deliberately large - the dome and water tank make for a fairly hefty line of sight blocker, so I wanted to leave plenty of free space around it. Where a little more cover is required, scatter terrain (barriers, crates, industrial bins, and the like) can easily be added to the open front corner.



And that's it - another terrain piece just waiting for a battle to spring up around it.

To build your own plantation dome, or a transport hub, or whatever other round thing strikes your fancy, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue from the online store (in a handy 2-pack!) here.

As always, please feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Spotlight: Epirian Scarecrow


Posted on Monday Feb 13, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Scarecrows are a mainstay of Foundation design, originally created to protect the wide-open swathes of agricultural assets on newly terraformed worlds, but since reimagined into a deadly military asset. Here, we take a look at the scarecrow kit, and some of the various ways that you can hack it up and get all creative on its shiny, robot posterior.





The Scarecrow sprue builds the regular Scarecrow, and also includes a variant head and command unit for the model's back to upgrade to the Scarecrow command variant, which lets you take an entire army of assorted Epirian robots.


Studio Scarecrow Models

This kit was designed specifically to allow as much poseability as possible, with joints at the elbows, knees and ankles.



This allows you to assemble the Scarecrow into anything from a stationary pose, to walking, running, or even kneeling down (for that extra sniper-y feeling!)


This model had some slight trimming done on the left elbow joint to allow it to bend a little further than normal, but the legs are completely unmodified

The maglock railrifle that makes up the Scarecrow's long-range firepower is designed to sit horizontally on the top of the shoulder pad. Thanks to the flat planes of the shoulder pad, however, it's easy to raise the railrifle up into a 'standby' position by simply gluing it onto the back of the pad instead of the top.



Alternatively, you can substitute the railrifle for the left forearm by cutting the elbow joint off the forearm and gluing it onto the back end of the railrifle.



For a slightly more complicated variant, the below model has the railrifle substituted in for the right arm weapon. The right shoulder was trimmed up slightly to allow the shoulder pad to swing around a little further than normal, the right elbow bent in slightly, and the left wrist sliced through and the hand rotated to support the rifle. The chemtech sprayer is on standby on the robot's back, where I would assume some handy mechanism allows him to swap out the two weapons as required.



A variant of the Scarecrow bot swaps out the railrifle in favour of two linked clingfire sprayers. Each sprue only comes with one of each weapon, so you'll need to steal the second from another Scarecrow sprue, but the weapons are designed to fit onto either arm.

This variant is also useable as a Subjugator bot, an assault mech used by Epirian Suppression squads. While there's no particular need to do anything to make a Subjugator visually different to a regular Scarecrow, why let that stop you?

The below model (which I'm calling a 'tiki-bot') is a stock standard Scarecrow with the command unit trimmed up a little and glued over the face.



If you prefer your crowd control to be more mobile, you can remove the legs entirely and replace them with a handy flight unit, made from scavenged turbines from a Firefly drone (which you'll have left over if you went with Spider drones instead).



For a slightly less out-of-the-box option, you can use a grenade launcher from the Bot Handler sprue and a force rod from the Faction Expansion sprue to make a closer-quarters version of the Subjugator.



And finally, the up-close-and-personal variant, made by swapping out the arms for legs taken from a second kit (this gives the shoulders a slightly wider range of movement) and adding some chainsaw blades taken from a Games Workshop Space Marine kit.



There are no rules for these last two options - I just thought they would be fun to build. I'd love to see what people come up with for them, though!

If you're feeling the urge to create some killer robots of your own, you can pick up the Scarecrow in a pack of two from the Maelstrom's Edge webstore here. And as always, feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Spotlight: Karist Tempest Elites


Posted on Monday Jan 30, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Although nobody doubts a Karist Trooper’s battlefield effectiveness, a Tempest Elite is a far more intimidating sight. Veterans of many campaigns of enlightenment, entrusted with the Enclave’s heaviest man-portable weaponry and advanced armoured suits, each one is a genuine hero of the Karist cause, capable of single-handedly devastating the enemy with staggering levels of firepower from their Ravager Pulse Cannons and Coriolis Energy Launchers. Here, we have a play with the models for these formiddable warriors.




One of the first units designed for Maelstrom's Edge, Tempest Elites are a multi-part plastic kit, with each sprue building two troopers armed with either pulse cannon or energy launcher.


Tempest with pulse cannon.


Tempest with energy launcher.

The energy launcher doubles for both the Corialis Energy Launcher and the rather more deadly Hellstorm Energy Mortar, with the difference being down to the way the Cybel charge is fired.


Studio Models

The two models on the sprue have different leg poses and arm positions, and thanks to the versatility of plastic, can be easily modified if you want to alter poses or equipment.

For a break from the standard weapon grip, this model was altered using regular Karist Trooper arms to carry the weapon over the shoulder:



To fit onto the shoulder pad, the Tempest's hands were sliced off the weapon and a hollow cut into the back left of the weapons' frame. The trigger hand was attached onto the Trooper forearm, with the wrist trimmed at an angle so the top of the hand would sit flush against the bottom of the weapon.



The same process works for the pulse cannon.



For something a little more off-the-beaten-track, this Tetrarch was equipped with a Cybel Glaive from the Faction Expansion Sprue. This isn't an option allowed by the rules, but looks so very pretty!



The head and loincloth were taken from the Kaddar Nova sprue (which comes with extras, just perfect for this sort of converting!) and the pointing arm also comes from the Faction Expansion Sprue.

And for those situations where having a great, big gun isn't quite enough, why not have two?



Assembled using arms liberated from the Epirian Handler sprue, and a head from the Shadow Walker sprue.

He probably won't spend a lot of time on the table... but it had to be done.



Tempest Elites are a veritable storm of nastiness on the table, and are the backbone of many a Karist force. If you're feeling the lure of heavy firepower, you can pick up the Tempest Elite sprue from the Maelstrom's Edge online store, and as always feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Conversion Spotlight: Epirian Mule Cargo Drone


Posted on Monday Jan 23, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

A lot of Epirian tech was originally developed for industrial or agricultural purposes and later modified and adapted for a military role. The Hunter warmech, however, was specifically designed for warfare. I thought it would be fun to see what might happen if the Hunter chassis was retrofitted back to more benign uses, and from that the Mule cargo drone was born.





One of the obvious changes is the removal of the integrated processor unit and replacement with a head formed from the core unit of a standard drone. This was intended to reflect the civilian adaptation of the robot, with the more advanced processor unit swapped out for a less robust, less advanced (and likely much cheaper) alternative. I envisage the Mule as being much less autonomous than the Hunter and more limited in function.

Adding a head ran the risk of making the rest of the robot look a little stumpy by comparison to the regular Hunter, and so I started out by bulking up the feet to give the legs the appearance of extra length.

This was done by adding some platforms under the heel and toe of each foot, and adding a kickplate on the front to help tie these into the shape of the foot. I also added some spikes to the heels, which I imagine being rammed into the ground and used to stabilise the robot when it is lifting something tricky.



For the head, I carefully removed the Hunter's original head unit with an exacto knife.



I then trimmed up a T-shaped piece cut from one of the Hunter's sprues to form the neck. This sits nicely inside the front of the torso.



Taking a drone, I cut off all of the extraneous bits, leaving just the central unit. The hole in the bottom for the Firefly flight stem was widened to the width of the neck shaft, and this was then glued in place.



At this point, the legs and torso were all assembled as normal.



A cargo drone needs lifty arms (yes, that's the offical terminology), and so I took two forearm pieces and cut them off flat on the 'wrist' ends.



Note: You only get one of these forearm pieces on the Hunter sprue. If you have built another Hunter with a ranged weapon on the left arm instead of the hand, you'll have a forearm piece left over just waiting to be used for something like this.

The parts for the forks were then cut from plasticard and glued together.



Once the glue on the forks was set they were attached to the forearms with plastic tubing, to create an assembly that looks capable of rotating, for fine control when toting those bales.



With the arms then glued in place, the Mule looks something like this:





All that's left to do then, of course, is to paint it.

A nice, bright, construction-site yellow was the only possible choice for painting my walking forklift. Metal parts were painted to be battered and weathered, and I added generous amounts of chipping and scratches to the yellow to show that this is a piece of hard-working machinery.









Game-wise, I picture this robot as an upgrade to a Spider drone unit, with minimal combat functionality but the ability to strip Victory Points from objectives at a more rapid rate than normal. It would also be fun to develop the design further and come up with other variants - perhaps a mining drone, an emergency response drone, or a construction unit.

Do you have ideas for your own drone variants? Grab some robot sprues from the Maelstrom's Edge webstore and see what you can come up with! And as always, feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Terrain Walkthrough: Epirian Stockyard


Posted on Monday Jan 16, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Someone once declared that there are no cows in space. Which would be disappointing, because then there would be no Space Cowboys... and then where would we all be?

Since I prefer to believe that there are cows in space (can't stop the signal!), I decided to have a bash at building somewhere to put them, using the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, some old guitar strings and some air-drying clay.






The aim here is for a terrain piece that will block movement in certain directions while still allowing fairly open fire lanes, just to mix things up a bit. To this end, rather than building a nice, neat yard, I decided to make it a bit of a beaten-up derelict - something that you would find on an old battlefield, rather than in the midst of a new settlement.



The first thing to do was to remove the doors from the doorframes. I cut as far down each side of the door as I could with a razor saw, and then scored around the top with an exacto knife until it was weak enough to snap the door out. This was repeated on the other door, and then the two door frames glued together back-to-back with a support strut running along the top joint and some fence posts on either side.



Next I traced a circle onto the base board using a bowl as a guide, and spaced out the doorway and the fence posts around the circumference. This would form the boundary of the yard.

I wanted the ground in the yard to look churned up by the constant stream of livestock that would have been going in and out when it was operational. To this end, I pressed a thin, rough layer of air-drying modeling clay over the interior of the circle and the area just outside the doorway.



Into this, I pressed hoof-prints with a piece of sprue trimmed off square and carved into a rough hoof shape.



While this was drying, I built a trough out of the corner pieces and the cut-down support struts. This was pushed into the clay beside the fence line, so that it would sit flat once the clay was dry.



Once the first lot of clay was dry, I prepared a second batch of clay by kneading in some fine sand/gravel mix for texture and a little PVA glue to help the gravel bond in. I pressed this around the area outside the fence, wearing rubber gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints. To create some patches of slightly chunkier texture, I then pressed some scattered patches of gravel into the surface.



As this left me once again waiting for clay to dry, I built a condenser unit to fill the trough. This used the square hatch as a baseplate. On top sits an upside-down large pipe fitting, then two trapezoid windows butted up together along their bottom edges to create a hexagon shape, and then another large pipe fitting. A length of plastic pipe with some metal mesh wrapped around it over some spacers, capped off with the top of a knife blade cylinder, finished off the condenser itself, and then I added a control panel using a cut down display unit and a piece cut off the end of a lintel.

The condenser unit would sit on the outside of the fence, with a fill pipe running between the railings and over the trough.



At this point, it was time to add the fence. I ran lengths of guitar string around the perimeter, gluing the strings into the emitter forks on the fence posts.



To create a little extra detail and avoid only having a single entrance to the terrain piece, I put a break in the fence on the side opposite the trough.



From there, all that's left is to paint it.

The whole thing was sprayed with some matt red. I then basecoated the metal parts with Coat D'arms Hairy Brown, followed by a heavy drybrush with Citadel Boltgun Metal. The ground was painted with a coat of Vallejo Heavy Brown, slightly watered down so that the red tint would show through in patches. The whole thing was then doused in a liberal coat of Army Painter Strong Tone.



Once that dried, the metal was given another light drybrush with Boltgun Metal and the various panels and lights painted in. The ground was drybrushed with P3 'Jack Bone.

Some tufts of static grass were scattered around for some colour, and some longer grass tufts made from toothbrush bristles placed wherever seemed appropriate. I concentrated the grass patches a little around the condenser and trough, as the plan was for this to still be functional. To this end, I poured a small amount of Woodland Scenics water effect liquid into the trough, and stirred in a couple of drops of Strong Tone and Green Tone to make it look sufficiently ick.



You may notice a shiny patch in front of the trough in the above picture. This was the result of some messy pouring from the water effects bottle dripping onto the ground in front of the trough. Accidental, but I decided I liked the effect so made sure the shiny patch goes all the way up to the side of the trough where it is presumably leaking out through a hole or crack underneath somewhere.

With the first layer of water effects dry, I added just a touch extra on top to reduce the concave shape of the water surface. As a final touch, the toothbrush bristle grass tufts were given a wash of Strong Tone and a drybrush of Coat D'arms Putrid Green.

















If you would like to have a go at building your own stockyard, you can get the Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue (in a handy two-pack) from the online store here. If you don't happen to play a guitar, cultivate a friend who plays for their cast-off strings. Otherwise, stores that sell guitars will often have discount strings that they are clearing out (the quality of the string as an actual guitar string is irrelevant here, so cheap ones are just fine!) and may even have some broken strings laying around that they would be happy to get rid of.

As always, we would love to see what you come up with, so please feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page here!

Modeling Tutorial: Epirian Contractor Gas Masks


Posted on Monday Jan 02, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

In my continuing quest to find all of the fun and cool ways to customise the range of Maelstrom's Edge plastic models, this week I'm having a look at enhancing the humble Epirian Contractor, through the addition of a gas mask or rebreather to help him to stay upright and functional in some of those less human-friendly environments that they might come across on frontier worlds.





What You Need:



Aside from your contractors, you'll need a little green stuff, some sculpting tools (something flat, and something rounded - I like silicon clay shapers (also sometimes sold as 'color shapers' for painting), as they don't stick to the putty the way metal tools do), a little 1mm plastic rod and you may also find a hobby knife and some superglue useful.

You're best off working with the heads before they have been glued on the model, as you have a little more room to maneouvre that way. I find just working with the head on the sprue works well for this.

Note: For those new to putty work, 'green stuff' is the common name for a product called 'Kneadatite', which is a two-part epoxy putty. You have a blue component and a yellow component that you mix together until they go green, at which point they are pliable for sculpting for an hour or two, after which they set to a slightly-rubbery-plastic consistency.

What You Do:

Roll a small ball of green stuff, and press it lightly onto the Contractor's lower face.



Tip: If you're trying to make a number of identical masks, roll out a long, thin sausage of green stuff, and cut off segments for each mask. This makes it much easier to get the same amount of putty for each mask.

Using a flat sculpting tool, press the front of the ball down flat, angling down towards the chin.



Using a rounded or conical tool, roll the sides of the ball down to meet up with the Contractor's earpieces on either side.



If necessary, use a sharp knife to cut the mask off just a fraction below the chin. If it juts down too far, you'll have problems getting the head to sit right without cutting off the front of the collar.



Then, cut yourself two 1-2mm lengths of plastic rod.



Press these into the 'cheeks' of the mask so that they protrude out diagonally downwards. It can help to add a small touch of superglue to the end of the rod that goes into the putty, to help it stick in place. Otherwise, they can work loose once the putty has set.



Leave for a couple of hours to let the putty set, and you're ready to glue the head in place and paint.

You can easily vary the design by modifying where you place the rebreather canister...



...using some guitar string instead if plastic rod, and running it down to a canister on the belt or armour harness...



...or leaving the canister off entirely and having an inset rebreather grill. This style also works well for converting a Karist Angel Keeper.





Working away at your own Contractor Squad? We'd love to see your work! Wander on over to the Comm Guild Facebook page to share your creations!

Terrain Spotlight: Watch Tower


Posted on Monday Dec 19, 2016 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

It felt like far too long since I had built any terrain, and so this week I decided to throw something together out of some leftover scraps and odds and ends from some Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues. And so, a watch tower was born!





I started with just a vague idea of how this was going to turn out, and gathered up a bunch of useful materials: foam core, some thin cardboard, an offcut from an old postage tube, and of course the terrain sprues.



I also made use of a door assembly that I put together for a tutorial a little while ago and hadn't got around to sticking onto anything yet. This was build from one of the small doors off the terrain sprue, with boxing added around the back from a couple of the reinforcing detail strips.



To fit the door to the curve of the tube, I rubed some chalk on the bottom of the tube, pressed the door against the tube with the top panel overhanging the chalked edge, and then rubbed it back and forth a couple of times to transfer the chalk to the inside of the panel. The it's just a matter of cutting away the chalked part of the panel with a sharp knife.



I wanted some buttresses spaced around the bottom of the tube. It's always a good idea when making gaming terrain to consider how the terrain piece will fit into the game. If you want your buildings to be more than just line of sight-blocking cubes, having some small protrusions around them that can be used for partial cover (buttresses, pipes, small balconies, etc) that models can lurk behind on their way across the battlefield is great for making them more useful on the table.

The buttresses were made from some 5mm and 3mm foamcore glued together, with reinforcing strips running up the angled outside edge.



These were then glued in place at 90 degree spacings around the bottom of the tube.



Then it was time to build the watch chamber to go on top.

Taking some 5mm foamcore, I marked out the first wall.



Using a sharp hobby knife, I carefully cut this out, and then used it as a template to make three more.



Trapezoid windows from the terrain sprue were glued into the window cavities, and then I chamfered off the back edges of the walls slightly to help them fit together for gluing. This wasn't particularly exact - that would have required far too much maths for a sunday afternoon, due to the angle of the walls. They'll be held together quite firmly by the glue and some cardboard reinforcing on the corners, so it doesn't matter too much if they don't meet up perfectly flush.



Speaking of cardboard reinforcing - these are just some 2cm-wide strips of thin card, cut with a bit of an angle at the top so that the outside corners don't stick up past the tops of the walls. Once superglued to the outsides of the corners, these add a bit of strength to the wall joints.



A square of foamcore with chamfered edges drops in to form the floor.



A similar but slightly larger square went in just above the windows, to create a roof with a nice little balcony. This comes back to the functionality aspect again - I like to have lots of buildings with game-friendly space on top. A hatch from the terrain sprue adds an access point from within the building.

(Note - if you care about having functional-looking and/or painted interiors in your buildings when they can be seen through the windows, remember to sort out the inside before gluing the roof on! Alternatively, painting the interior black before adding the roof makes it much less visible once everything is sealed up, or you could just glue small pieces of card over the insides of the windows so you can't see through them, and paint them up as opaque glass.)



Then all that remains is to glue the watch chamber to the top of the tube.



Once all of the glue is set, the watch tower is ready for painting and basing!



If you want to try your hand at building a watch tower of your own, or are feeling inspired to try something different, you can pick up the terrain sprue from the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Be sure to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MaelstromsEdge)!

Epirian Warden Conversion Tutorial and Unit Card


Posted on Monday Dec 12, 2016 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

In amongst my early tinkering with the miniatures released for Maelstrom's Edge, I came up with a concept for an Epirian 'Warden' - a jump-pack-equipped solo character armed with a flame thrower, built rather handily using leftover parts from the Scarecrow and Drone sprues. He proved rather popular, so I've put together a tutorial showing how to build one for yourself.

The original conversion:






Building the Warden

The original version requires a length of guitar string (or similar sized wire) for the flamethrower's fuel line and some pinning to hold the flight rotors in place. In order to keep things easier for beginners, I fine-tuned the design a little, replacing the separate tanks and fuel line with an integrated fuel canister, and slightly changing the way the jump pack goes together.

To build this version yourself, you'll need the following parts:

  • A 25mm base
  • Contractor or Bot Handler legs
  • A Contractor torso and rifle arms (in this tutorial I have used the sleeved arms from the Faction Expansion sprue)
  • A Bot Handler helmet
  • A Maglock Pistol from the Contractor sprue
  • A Clingfire Sprayer from the Scarecrow sprue
  • A Choke Grenade (part F) from the Faction Expansion sprue
  • Two rotors and the Drone side parts they connect to from the Drone sprue




Start by prepping and assembling the legs, torso, head and arms (if you're less confident about getting the arms right, leave them unglued until you have the weapon ready to go on as well!)



To alter the clingfire sprayer to be man-portable, take the sprayer, pistol and grenade and chop them off along the red lines below a knife or razor saw.



The cuts on the pistol and the sprayer should wind up at matching angles - if they don't you may need to sand or shave the back of the sprayer down a little more to make them fit together squarely. Glue the pistol grip onto the back end of the sprayer, and then glue the grenade upright onto the underside of the sprayer's casing. The end result should look something like this:



For the jump pack, take the drone side panels and remove the slight protruberance on the inside edges, where the pin-stripe trim runs around and finishes slightly past the facing of the part.



That lets the two pieces sit flush against each other. Glue them together, and then glue the rotors on. They will be upside down from the way they normally attach on the drone, and the shape of the joint piece on the rotor's connecting strut will cause them the flare backwards slightly when they're glued in. You should wind up with something like this:



The clingfire sprayer can be glued in, and the jump pack mounted onto the model's back. If you sit it on the shoulder straps on the torso back, angled up so that the top end of the pack is just touching the back of the collar, it will glue snugly in place with a nice angle to it - gluing it flat against the model's back makes it look awkward for taking off. Your finished Warden will look something like this:





You can pick up the parts you need to build your own Warden from the Maelstrom's Edge online store (www.maelstromsedge.com - You'll need the Epirian Contractor, Handler, Scarecrow, Drone and Faction Expansion Sprues, although if you already have those units (and went with Spider drones instead of Fireflies) you can probably build the Warden from your leftover parts.

If you're interested in using the Warden in your games, you can find a custom unit card in PDF format here. This card isn't an 'official' release for the game from the design studio, just something fun that I put together myself. So if you're planning on using him in your force, be sure to run it past your opponent first.



I would love to hear any feedback you have on the Warden's rules, or on the conversion and how you went with replicating or adapting it to suit yourself, so please share your creations, questions or comments on the Comm Guild Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MaelstromsEdge)!

Angel Keeper Conversion Tutorial and Rules


Posted on Tuesday Nov 15, 2016 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

I've previously shown off a couple of conversions built to represent Karist Angel Keepers - a HQ unit that is currently in development and intended to offer a different way of playing Karist forces, by giving them access to an army potentially made entirely (other than the Keeper, of course) out of Angels. The conversions garnered a fair amount of interest, so I thought I should put together a brief run-down on how to do it. Of course, nice conversions are all well and good, but you also need rules to use them. So as an extra bonus, I snuck into the rules development vault and purloined an early playtest version of the Angel Keeper's unit card, which you can download as a PDF here.




The PDF includes two cards: The Angel Keeper unit card, and a 'companion' card that includes new rules that apply to the Keeper. The rules on both of these cards are 'Playtest Rules', meaning that they're rules that are still being worked on, so you should ok it with your opponent before using the Angel Keeper in your games. Once the development process has been completed, the rules on the companion card will be rolled into the normal rulebooks and a final version of the unit card will be issued.

Obviously, the Keeper's force roster isn't yet as complete as it could be, because there are currently only the two angel kits - Minnows and the Mature Angel. Rest assured there will eventually be more unit options (and the associated model kits) to fill those other slots!


Building the Angel Keeper

My initial idea for the Angel Keeper included a sculpted mask and a flail lifted from a Games Workshop kit. He looked the part, but the sculpting required was going to be a turn-off for some players, so I worked up a second incarnation that used only MEdge parts, which looks like this:



To build this version yourself, you'll need the following parts:

  • A 25mm base
  • Kaddar Nova legs and crown
  • Shadow Walker Torso
  • Karist Trooper arms and shoulder pads
  • A bare head from the Kaddar Nova, Trooper or Expansion Sprue
  • Ripper Grenade Launcher, Cybel Glaive and grabby hand* from the Expansion sprue
*Yes, that's totally the official designation for it.



Assembly is mostly fairly straightforward: Build the legs as you normally would for the Kaddar Nova. You can create a slight visual break from the Nova by trimming off the bottom-most layer of the tabard, so it looks slightly less fancy than the Nova's if you like. Assemble and glue on the torso and the head.

One of the main identifiers for the Angel Keeper is the mask that they wear, which aids them in communicating with their angels. This mask covers the keeper's lower face, and is made by taking the Kaddar Nova crown and trimming away its peak, as below:



This is then glued in place with the former peak pointing downwards over the Keeper's nose and mouth. To give it a slightly better fit, slice off the Keeper's nose and if you're using a Kaddar Nova head (which is slightly more gaunt than the Trooper heads) it can help to make the mask a little more curved - hold it upright between your thumb and forefinger and give it a gentle squeeze to bend it very slightly, and then glue it in place.

There is a small hollow in the small of the Nova's back, which is normally filled with the Nova's giant backpack. For the Angel Keeper, it's a handy place to glue the Ripper Grenade Launcher, hanging in reach on the Keeper's back for when it is needed and nicely disguising the hollow. If you're modeling your Keeper with the grenade launcher in hand, you can instead glue a grenade there, like on my first-generation keeper below:



The Angel Keeper is armed with a Cybel Goad, which he uses to encourage the angels in his charge to do as they're told, and also to whallop nearby enemies when the need arises. I envisaged the goad as potentially taking various forms depending on the preferences of the individual keeper - So some may use a staff or prod, others a whip or lash of some kind, or something else entirely. This opens up all sorts of modeling possibilities, but I'll show a couple of relatively easy options that I've come up with so far.

The easiest version of the goad uses just the shaft of the Cybel Glaive. Chop the head off just below the energy unit, along the red line shown below:



I picture this goad having a small cybel cannister in the round part behind the spike, which distributes a tiny jolt off cybel energy along the spike when it comes in contact with something.

Alternatively, you can trim the bottom spike and the blades off the glaive, as below:



This one is more of a taser-style unit, still requiring contact to use and administering a small cybel charge directly to the target rather than along a blade or spike.



Option number three is a little more complicated, using the handle from a Cybel Blade (from the Expansion sprue), the spike from the bottom of a Cybel Glaive and a short piece of metal guitar string to make a whip, as below:



I have this one coiled up to hang on the Keeper's belt. The coiled guitar string is bound with a little fine copper wire to keep it together.

If you want your Keeper to have his grenade launcher in hand instead of his goad, the easiest option is to use the grenade launcher from the Trooper sprue instead of the Expansion sprue version, as it has the firing hand attached. For a single-handed grip, just slice or file off the support hand from the grenade launcher's stock. The pistol arm on the trooper sprue is nicely positioned out to the side for the grenade launcher - just cut off the pistol hand at the wrist, and glue the grenade launcher hand in its place.

For the Keeper below, I have also used Shadow Walker legs with an Expansion sprue loincloth, instead of the Nova legs. This is an easy way to give your Keeper a slightly more dynamic pose or to make him slightly less austentatious.



You can pick up the parts you need to build your own Angel Keeper from the Maelstrom's Edge online store (www.maelstromsedge.com - You'll need the Kaddar Nova, Shadow Walker, Karist Trooper and Faction Expansion Sprue, which will build you an Angel Keeper and because of all of the extras on the sprues will still leave enough spare parts to still build a Kaddar Nova, a Shadow Walker and a unit of Karist Troopers or Praetorians.

We would love to hear any feedback you have on the Angel Keeper's rules, and see how everyone is building their own keepers, so please share your creations, questions or comments on the Comm Guild Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MaelstromsEdge)!

Friday Photo - An Evil Looking Kaddar Nova


Posted on Friday Nov 04, 2016 at 05:00PM in Models


We've shared a few of our red Karist forces now, but this is the first showing of the very evil looking Kaddar Nova. The withered, blackened flesh lends itself well to a commander who has spent decades exposing themselves to deadly volumes of na-cybel radiation, ready for their ascendance. The colour scheme on this model just makes every little detail of the plastics pop so nicely in our opinion!