The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Terrain Spotlight: Pop-up Lamp Reactor!

Posted on Monday May 17, 2021 at 05:00pm in Tutorials

- by Iain Wilson

I came across this idea a little while ago in a Facebook group, and thought it was too good to not give it a go. Turns out, there are a bunch of pop-up LED lanterns currently floating about that are just perfect for turning into fantastic light-up reactors!

So, the foundation for this build is a pop-up lantern that I found on Amazon. There are variations available all over the place, all with a very similar design. The light comes on automatically when you lift the top of the lantern, and goes off when you push it closed.

These look pretty amazing just painted up as-is, but I couldn't resist tweaking a little. The handles are spring steel wire, pushed into holes in the top of the lamp, so I removed these and put them aside. Then I gave the outside of the lamp a light sand with fine sandpaper. This part isn't essential, but I like to do it with unfamiliar plastic as it can help the glue and paint stick better.

From there, I took the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues and added some details. I cut down some support struts from the first terrain sprue to make some bracing for the sides, and added the square end pieces from the struts onto the small protrusions spaced around the base of the lamp. I also cut the tops from some railing posts from the second terrain sprue to cover over the handle holes, and added an iris portal to the top as a heat vent.

It looked like it needs just one last thing, so I used the vent pieces from the support struts to add a little more detail around the top of the lamp, and then it was ready for paint.

To paint up the reactor, I started with the clear plastic light cover. I used a sponge to apply a rough layer of Scalecolor Elandil Violet (a dark purple) and then when that was dry, a layer of Army Painter Warlock Purple. Normally I would do this on the inside of the clear plastic, to protect the paint, but it proved impossible to disassemble the lamp without breaking parts, so it went on the outside, and then I sealed it with a coat of Testor's Dull Coat.

To paint the rest, I started with a basecoat of Army Painter Wolf Grey, drybrushing white onto the upper edges. After gluing on some printed signs worked up in Gimp, I then sponged on some weathering using Army Painter Dirt Spatter, adding scattered white highlights on some of the broken grey. The metal grills and iris were given a coat of Dirt Spatter, a sponge of Vallejo Heavy Charcoal, a light drybrush with P3 Ember Orange, and finally a touch of Army Painter Dry Rust. To finish up, I drybrushed some more Dirt Spatter and Vallejo Beasty Brown into the creases.

Because the fit of the light tube is rather tight, it does run the risk of rubbing the paint off by lifting or lowering it, so I've settled for turning it on and off by just taking the batteries out, instead. But other than that, I think it turned out quite well. The light is not as bright as it was originally, but it still gives a noticeable glow, even with the lights on!

Put together your own evil reactor of purple-powered doom by picking up the terrain sprues, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge range from the webstore here.

Then pop on over to the Comm Guild Facebook group to show us what you're working on!

For other building ideas, modeling tutorials, army spotlights and conversion walkthroughs, check out the Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Find the Maelstrom's Edge rules and the full range of models at

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