The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Terrain Tutorial: Shipping Container

Posted on Monday Jan 09, 2017 at 05:00pm in Tutorials

- by Iain Wilson

A while back, we showed off a shipping container made from components from the Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue. This week, I'll be showing how to build it for yourself.

The terrain sprue is a fantastic source of interesting bits and pieces to spruce up your homemade terrain and, for the uninitiated, looks like this:

What you need:

You'll need four terrain sprues for this build, from which you will need:

  • 4 x ladders
  • 8 x corners
  • 2 x heavy doors

(I will be going through some ideas for using the other sprue components in the coming weeks.)

You will also need:
  • 3mm foamcore
  • A sharp hobby knife
  • A steel ruler
  • A pencil
  • Superglue
  • PVA glue or Foam glue (more or less the same as PVA, but slightly faster setting and formulated specifically for gluing foam)

What you do:

Clean the mould lines off the components. Then from your sheet of foamcore, measure out and cut a strip that is 31mm wide.

From this strip, cut one piece that is 81mm long, and another 87mm long.

Using your PVA/foam glue, glue the 81mm strip bridging the tops of the two doors and sitting on top of the inset support that runs around the back of the door. The PVA is better than superglue for this initial assembly partly to avoid melting the edges of the foamcore (superglue melts expanded polystyrene) and partly to give some time to manipulate the structure as you build it, to ensure that it winds up square.

Once the glue has grabbed sufficiently to stop everything from falling apart when you move it, flip the structure over and glue the longer strip bridging the bottoms of the doors. The ends of the foamcore strip should be flush with the widest part of the bottom of the doors.

Using the superglue (or plastic glue if you prefer) glue two of the ladders together along their long edges. You can use the edge of the steel ruler to make sure that the ends are square. The do the same with the other two ladders.

Then, using the PVA/Foam glue again, glue the first pair of ladders into place along the side of the structure, with the raised-detail side outwards. You can lay the container on its side on a gridded cutting mat or use a set-square to make sure that the structure is all squared up at this point, and nudge it into shape off it doesn't all quite line up.

If you're building an open cage-style container like the one pictured at the start of the article, this is a good time to stop and let the glue set, and then paint the inside of the container - otherwise, it's going to be considerably harder to do once both sides are glued on.

Alternatively, you can cut a couple of pieces of foamcore or thin cardboard to glue to the inside of the ladder-walls to create an enclosed container.

Once you have painted the interior, or glued the interior panels in place, glue the second set of ladders on the other side. Then, using the hobby knife, trim off the bolts closest to the corners of the walls.

Take four of the corners, and glue them over the top corners of the container. Use superglue for this step, to give the structure some extra strength.

The other four corners will be going on the bottom. They need a little trimming so that they don't protrude over the bottom of the door - just bevel on corner off as below, and then opposing corner on the matching edge.

These can then be superglued in place around the bottom of the container. For this step, make sure you only get the superglue on the card side of the foamcore and on the plastic components where they touch - avoid getting glue on the foam edge of the base piece.

Once all your glue has set, the container is ready to paint! If you are intending to use spray paint, you will need to paint a thin layer of PVA or Foam glue over any remaining exposed edges of the foamcore first as, like superglue, most sprays will at least partially melt the polystyrene.

If you want to have a try at building your own containers, you can pick up the terrain sprue from the Maelstrom's Edge Online Store here. And as always, be sure to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page (!

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

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