The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Entries tagged [buildings]

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 Template and Tutorial - Bunker

Posted on Monday May 08, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials

- by Iain Wilson

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a template for building a small minehead structure from foamcore, cardboard and the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. For something a little larger and more impressive-looking, I have put together a new template for a bunker. This builds on the basic design of the minehead to keep some design consistency on the table.

You will need some 5mm or 6mm foamcore (either will work, although the roof piece will overhang the sides slightly with the thinner foamcore), some thin cardboard - around .5mm thick, PVA glue, and the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. A sharp pencil, a steel ruler and a sharp craft knife will get you by for tools.

You will also need the building template, which can be downloaded from here: Bunker.pdf

From the terrain sprue, the following components are used: one of the small doors (either will do), three shutter windows*, two corner braces, the square hatch, and six of the long support struts.

*There are only two shutter windows on a sprue, so you'll need to grab one of the windows from a second sprue. Alternatively, you can build the bunker without the rear window in order to stick to just a single sprue.

Print out the building template, and cut out the panels using steel ruler and knife.

You can then lay the panels on top of the foamcore and card (the parts are labelled for which material they need) and draw around them with the pencil to transfer the outlines. The solid lines on the parts show where you need to cut.

You need multiples of some parts - the quantity required of each is listed on the part. Some parts also say '(flip)' after the quantity. For these, trace the panel once and then flip it over to trace the second. When cutting foamcore with a knife, the back of the piece can wind up a little rougher than the front, so flipping the template makes sure that you have two 'clean' surfaces for the outside of the building.

Once you have traced all of the parts onto the appropriate material, use the ruler and knife to cut them all out. If you have never cut foamcore before, don't try to cut through in one go. Lay the ruler along the line you want to cut, and then make several passes with the knife, working deeper as you go and being careful to keep the knife blade vertical so you don't wind up with a bevelled edge. If you're building the single-sprue version mentioned above, don't cut the rectangle out of the middle of one of the end wall pieces.

The end wall pieces lean inwards, so need to be bevelled at the bottom. Use a knife to cut an angled strip out of the back of the bottom of each of the wall parts.

There is a protrusion on the bottom of the shutter window that needs to be removed. Trim off with a knife or file it down on each of the windows so that the bottoms of the windows are flat. You can then glue the windows into the end walls. They sit angled out at the top, as below. The outer edge of the window frame sits flush with the wall at the bottom, while the back edge of the window should sit against the outside edge of the hole at the top.

Take the two side wall pieces and two of the end walls and glue then together. The end walls sit inside the side walls, as shown below:

Glue the door into the door section.

Then take the door section, the third end wall and the two main walls and glue them together. The end wall sits inside the main wall sections, while the door goes across the other end, outside the main wall as below:

The two sections then slot together, and can be glued in place to form a t-shape.

Glue on the side panels. These sit flush with the front of the door panel, to cover over the cut edge of the foamcore and to reinforce the joint.

Fold the corner panels along the middle fold line, so that they form a 90-degree angle. These can then be glued in place into each of the inner corners of the 't'. You can use superglue for this step to speed things up a little, as there is no exposed foam to worry about. This helps to give the structure some rigidity while the PVA glue sets, and also covers over any messiness or gaps where the walls join.

The roof can now be glued in place.

Glue the two corner braces in place on the roof corners above the door.

Take the support struts and cut off the vent and rivet strip from the end with a knife.

These are then glued onto the end walls, covering over the cut ends of the foamcore. The vent piece goes on the roof, with the rivet strip butting up against the top of the support strut.

Finally, glue the square hatch onto the roof, in the middle of the 't', and your bunker is complete.

Let the glue set, and it's ready for painting.

For variation, you could replace the door section with another angled end wall, leaving access through the roof or underground, for more of a fortified pillbox. Or you could stack the small minehead building on top, making a balcony above the door section for troops to stand on.

If you want to try it for yourself, you can grab the template from here and the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue from the webstore here. I'd love to see what others can come up with to do with the design, so as always please 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 Template & Tutorial - Minehead

Posted on Monday Apr 24, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials

- by Iain Wilson

This week, we're sharing an easy building tutorial that would be perfect for those looking to dip a toe into the terrain scratch-building pool for the first time. The project is a small outbuilding, which I think of as an access to some sort of underground facility, although it could also double as a small utility or detention building.

You will need some 5mm or 6mm foamcore (either will work, although the roof piece will overhang the sides slightly with the thinner foamcore), some thin cardboard - around .5mm thick, PVA glue, and the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. A sharp pencil, a steel ruler and a sharp craft knife will get you by for tools.

You will also need the building template, which can be downloaded from here: Minehead.pdf

From the terrain sprue, the following components are used: one of the small doors (either will do), two trapezoid windows, two corner braces and two of the long support struts.

Print out the building template, and cut out the panels using steel ruler and knife.

You can then lay the panels on top of the foamcore and card (the parts are labelled for which material they need) and draw around them with the pencil to transfer the outlines.

Once you have traced all of the parts onto the appropriate material, use the ruler and knife to cut them all out. If you have never cut foamcore before, don't try to cut through in one go. Lay the ruler along the line you want to cut, and then make several passes with the knife, working deeper as you go and being careful to keep the knife blade vertical so you don't wind up with a bevelled edge.

Check the fit on the holes for the trapezoid windows by pushing the windows into place. You can trim around the edges where necessary to make them fit nice and snug. If you have cut the window holes too large, you can pad them back out by gluing a strip of cardboard onto whichever cut edge has a gap. Once you're happy with the fit, run some glue around the edge of the window hole and then push the window into place.

Next up we need to glue the walls together. Because of the angle on the back wall, the bottom of the wall will protrude past the bottom of the building, so will need a little trimming. If you hold the back wall against the side as below, so that the top edge of the back wall sits level with the top of the side wall (left-hand image) you can see the triangular part that needs trimming off (right-hand image) - trim this off with the knife, or sand it down, so that the bottom of the back wall sits flat on the table.

From there, glue the side walls to the rear side of the front wall. The run a little glue down either side of the back wall section. Spread the side walls out slightly, hold the back wall in place, and squeeze the side walls back in against it. Give the glue 30 seconds or so to start to grab, and then sit the building down on the table. You can look down from above here and nudge the walls around as necessary to square everything up. A cutting mat with a printed grid is a big help for this step, as you can line the walls up with the grid.

The cardboard side panels can then be glued one onto the front of each of the side walls, so that they cover over the exposed polystyrene edges of the front wall. The roof panel goes (surprisingly...) on top - run a little glue around the top edges of each wall, and sit the roof on top.

Take the two support struts and slice off the grill piece as below, leaving the recessed rivet strip attached to the grill.

The grills are glued onto the back edge of the roof, one at each corner with the rivet strip to the edge. The remaining sections of the support struts are then glued running up the sides of the back wall, covering over the exposed polystyrene edges of the side walls. Check for fit first - if they protrude past the bottom of the building when lined up with the roof at the top, bevel off the bottom of the strut with your knife before gluing in place.

Finally, take the two corner pieces and glue them to the front corners of the roof. What you wind up with should look something like this:

All that remains is painting, once the glue has set. Paint the building up in whatever colours suit your table or preferences. I like to weather my buildings, but it's not necessary - a simple spray with grey, white or a muted (not pastel, but not too bright) primary colour with the details picked out where appropriate works quite well with these as well.

Here's my prototype version painted up, with some added salt weathering and some paper signs created in Gimp and printed out on paper for gluing on wherever they seem appropriate.

The graffiti on the back wall was made in an online graffiti creator (google it, you'll turn up a few different ones with different functions and fonts), printed and glued in place. You can see the edges of the paper if you look closely, but from game-playing distance it does the job. The numbers on the green strips and door were done the same way.

(Note that the windows in the painted example above are in a slightly different position to the template. This was a design change between the prototype and the template creation, as I think it looks better with the slight gap between the window and the raised side panel.)

And there you have it - one mine access/detention cell/utility closet/bike garage/whatever else you can think of to use it for.

If you want to try it for yourself, you can grab the template from here and the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue from the webstore here. I'd love to see what others can come up with to do with the design, so as always please 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.

Tutorial and Spotlight Article Roundup

Posted on Monday Apr 17, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials

The full list of articles is getting a little unwieldy for a single page, so rather than keep updating an increasingly confusing list here, you can find the full collection of articles broken down by sections in the Hobby area of the Maelstrom's Edge website here!

If you've seen anything here that has lit that modeling flame, you can pick up the various plastic kits currently available in the Maelstrom's Edge range from the webstore here.

Maelstrom's Edge also has a Facebook group, known as 'the Comm Guild', where you can post any questions you have about the rules, the models, or upcoming releases, or share your modeling projects. The group can be found here. We love to see what people are working on, so whether you're a modeling veteran or a complete newcomer to the world of miniature wargaming, feel free to join in.

And in the meantime, stay tuned for the plethora of modeling content that we have still coming down the pipeline!

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!

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!

Terrain Tutorial: Drainage Channel Buildings

Posted on Monday Feb 20, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials

- by Iain Wilson

In my continuing quest to turn every interesting thing I encounter into wargaming terrain, I often find myself wandering up and down the plumbing aisle of the local hardware store. The result of the latest meanderings, once combined with some foamcore and an assortment of parts from the Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue, looks like this:

This started out life as a section of plastic drainage channel, that looks like this:

There are a whole bunch of variations on these, in different sizes and with different detailing on the undersides, which become the buildings' roofs. I chose this particular one through the arcane process of just buying the cheapest one (which was around AU$15).

Clearly having designed this product with wargamers in mind, the manufacturer has quite helpfully broken the length of channel into 5 sections.

Taking to those dividing lines with a hacksaw results in 5 equal lengths, just the perfect size for a building.

Rough edges on the cut ends can be sanded or trimmed with a sharp knife.

To fill in the ends, I used foamcore. You could also use plasticard, cardboard or corrugated plastic signboard, but I like foamcore for its ease of use.

To get the shape right, sit the building shell end-wise on the foamcore, and trace around the inside with a pencil.

Cut out the resultant shape with a sharp knife.

Once your end piece is cut out, check the fit against the shell, and trim wherever necessary to get a neat fit. Then add details from the terrain sprue components. I'm starting with a garage door - these are designed to be inset, so cut out a hole for it by tracing around the frame and then cutting out. Check for fit, and then glue the door in place.

The end panel can then be glued in place in the end of the building shell. Recessing the wall a little, rather than having it flush with the end of the shell, will provide a nice little nook for models to take cover in.

A note on glue - Skip this part if you've read any of my previous articles on gluing things to random assorted plastic objects: Plastics used for plumbing fittings are not generally designed with gamers in mind, but you can usually get away with a good quality superglue. For gluing plastic to plastic, you can buy specialised 'all plastic' glues, some of which are a two-part system (a tube of superglue, and a 'primer' that helps the glue stick better) and some that are just really sticky glue. For foamcore, you can use superglue if you're just gluing onto the cardboard outer shell, but superglue will melt the interior foam, so for gluing to the edges of the foamcore you'll need a good PVA glue or a specialist Foam glue, which you should be able to get from any craft store.

Repeat for the other end, using whatever detail components seem appropriate.

Each section of this channel has a raised, rectangular detail midway down each side, which I believe is to help keep it in place in the ground, for those rare situations where you might feel inclined to buy these for their actual, intended purpose. These are turned into windows by adding a panel of foamcore with a shutter window inset into the middle. On this section, there is also a small hole below the window where the grating clipped in. This is also covered over with a little foamcore.

The back on some of the sections also needs filling in with a little more foamcore.

A couple of reinforcing struts from the terrain sprue add a little extra detail down the sides of the building shell.

On the roof, errant text or (in this case) batch symbols can be covered over with hatches or extra reinforcing.

With detailing complete, the building winds up looking something like this:

There are some differences between the separate sections of this channel. The above was from the middle section. The next section along is almost the same, but with a raised ridge down the middle.

The sections on either end have a circular detail in the middle, for attaching downpipes.

This turned out to be a perfect spot to place an old PC fan.

Over this, I added a section of mosquito barrier, intended for insertion into guttering downpipes. This had some text around the outside, which I removed with a bit of sanding.

Once clipped in place over the fan and with a section of ladder glued onto the outside for access, this creates a nice visual detail, and a functional watch platform.

So the resultant building looks like this:

Construction complete, the end result is three different buildings that all look similar enough to represent mass-produced structures with slight variations for specific roles.

Astute readers may realise that this leaves two sections of the original channel. The only logical thing to do with them was, of course, to combine them and make a two-story version:

On the upper story, I recessed the end walls even further in and added a floor from foamcore, to create a good-sized balcony on either end of the building. The railing was made from two ladders.

From there, all that's left is to paint them!

I used a Killrust Satin Black spray as a basecoat - a decent quality spray is a good idea, as cheaper sprays may not stick as well to the plastic used for these channels. This was followed up with a coat of Rustoleum 'Oil Rubbed Bronze', which I thought would make a nice, dark, weathered metal layer to show through for the weathering. A coat of sealer and a sprinkle of salt (there's a tutorial on salt-weathering coming in the very near future), and then a top coat with Army Painter 'Army Green', before scrubbing off the salt. Then some final detailing, and the buildings are ready for the table.

If you're feeling the urge to head on out to the hardware store to recreate these yourself, you can pick up a two-pack of the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues from the online store here. As always, feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Terrain Tutorial: Plastic Storage Tray Buildings

Posted on Monday Feb 06, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials

- by Iain Wilson

The Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue contains a slew of assorted plastic bits and pieces that can be used to pretty up your home-made scifi terrain, including a bunch of essential elements like doors, windows and pipe fittings. A few months ago I posted a tutorial on using cardboard gift boxes to create quick and easy buildings, which you can still find here. This time around, I'm using plastic modular storage trays to create buildings like this:

These trays can be found at most hardware stores, or anywhere online that sells plastic storage - you can find a few different examples on Amazon, and they're generally pretty inexpensive and available in a bunch of different sizes.

Here's a glimpse of what we're going to do to it:

Before getting started, a quick note on glue.

Obviously, versatility for making wargaming terrain isn't a prime design consideration for the people making these trays, and so the plastics used for them can be a little variable to work with. Plastic (polystyrene) cement won't work on them, but for the most part I've found that superglue works just fine. If they have a waxy feel to the plastic, or if you try the superglue and it doesn't hold particularly well, there are specific glues out there for dealing with recalcitrant plastics that look something like this:

This is a two-part system that uses a primer to help the glue stick. Just apply the primer, then apply the glue, push the parts together, and they'll never come apart again. I don't use it all the time simply because it's more bother than a single tube of glue, but for those trickier jobs it works a treat.

SO, onto the building!

There are a few parts on the terrain sprue that are designed to be inset into a wall. If you're using any of these, I recommend cutting the holes for them as the first job, to avoid accidentally popping glued parts off when the plastic flexes while you're trying to cut it.

I'm starting here with the trapezoid windows, which will go into the front sides of the tray. This adds a nice little detail at what will be the front of the building, and also serves in this case to get rid of some imprinted text on the sides of the tray. I vary the orientation of these depending on the exact shape of the tray that I use, as different trays will have different angles at the front. Go with whatever looks best with the trays you use - for this one, I'm putting the long edges vertical.

To cut out the hole for them, hold the window against the side of the tray and trace lightly around it with a sharp knife.

You can then drop the window and carefully cut along the traced lines. If you have a Dremel-style rotary tool with a saw or small router bit, that might save some effort here, but otherwise just going slowly and carefully with the knife and not trying to cut right through in one go does the job.

Once you have all for sides cut through, check the window for fit and neaten up as necessary. The mould line on the window serves as a handy guide to get the windows on both sides of the building pushed through their respective walls an even amount.

There is generally a small lip of plastic at the back of these trays that is used for clipping them onto racking. If you're feeling lazy you can just leave it there and work around it, but I find it looks better to remove it. A decent pair of clippers will get rid of the bulk of it and then you can just clean up with the knife.

The reinforcing strips off the terrain sprue are the real heroes of this build, as they do such a great job of making otherwise bare plastic look like a manufactured structure. They can be used intact where there is room, like this:

Alternatively, you can chop them up along the edges of the panels to fit them around the moulded shapes on the tray.

There will sometimes be writing imprinted onto the sides of the tray.

This can be removed by cutting it out and replacing with detail parts, as with the trapezoid windows back at the start, or the shutter windows on this building:

Alternatively, you can cover it over with a little cardboard, plasticard or foamcore cut to an appropriate shape. Here, I've used a small piece of thin cardboard to cover the bulk of the text, with a rectangle cut in the middle for a shutter window. These are designed so that they can be inset into the wall, but they look fine just stuck directly onto the surface as well, and that saves cutting more holes in the plastic.

There is also usually a small nub on the bottom of the tray (which is forming the building's roof) from the moulding process used to manufacture the tray. I like the cover these over with the large pipe fitting from the terrain sprue:

This can then have some plastic rod added to create a chimney, or a fan blade cut from a circle of cardboard to make an exhaust fan.

The exact layout of parts on the sides of the building is driven by the shape of the moulding, and by how detailed you want your building to be.

With the outside all detailed up, it's time to seal in the front. I generally use foamcore for this for ease of cutting and strength, but plasticard or cardboard would also do the job, as does corrugated plastic sign board. There can be a little trial and error getting a piece cut to fit just right with the shape of the tray - I start by fitting to the bottom of the tray (the widest part), pushing the cut piece into the tray up to the narrower point which is usually about halfway in, marking the foamcore with a pencil using the interior of the tray as a guide, and then cutting to match.

If you're making up a bunch of these buildings using identical trays, it's a big time-saver to make a template out of a piece of cardboard or plasticard and use that to mark out your wall pieces.

You can then trace around whichever door you are using.

Cut out the door hole and glue the door in (remember not to apply superglue directly to the foam interior of the foamcore, as it will melt). Once the door, control panel, and anything else you're putting on the wall is attached, just slide the wall into the tray and glue it in place.

On this building, I added a service counter using a trimmed down lintel piece.

As an alternative to the small doors, some trays fit the garage door quite well, although sometimes with a little trimming to shape required.

Alternatively, some trays are sized just right to glue the garage door directly to the outside front of the tray, which creates an interesting angled front, although loses you the nice little awning for models to hide in.

Once you have the building all detailed up, all that's left is to paint it.

These are a perfect canvas for weathering effects - I'll be looking to cover some different techniques for that in coming tutorials.

As with the glue, painting can be a slightly variable experience, depending on the specific plastic used. You can use an etching primer if you want to make sure it will stick, but I've been getting by with regular spray paint and sealer.

Unsealed, the paint can scratch off, although just how easily will depend on the plastic and the quality of your paint. If you're planning on using a rigorous weathering technique like salt weathering, I recommend applying a light coat of sealer over the base coat to make it a little more durable.

When you're done, a good spray of matte sealer over the top should keep everything where it belongs.

For a break from solid buildings, you can create ruins by chopping out the bottoms of the trays and applying suitably damaged terrain parts.

Or for something a little more ambitious, the modular nature of these trays makes it relatively easy to stack them up and make multi-story units. This one below will eventually have a little balcony off the front of the upper level, perfect for hiding sneaky sniper units.

You can quickly and easily assemble a table-full of modular terrain units using a bunch of identical trays, or mix-and-match different size or brand trays for more of a ramshackle, cobbled-together settlement, just perfect for a stellar refugee camp or a temporary staging base, and buildings can be easily customised to fit different roles in the settlement.

If this has inspired you to create your own modular settlement, grab yourself some terrain sprues from the Maelstrom Edge online store here, and as always be sure to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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 (!

Terrain Thursday - Sgt. Oddball's Terrain

Posted on Thursday Nov 03, 2016 at 05:00PM in The Epirian Foundation

Today we share this nice compound by Sgt Oddball over on Dakka. The metals are weathered very nicely and the simple flocking at the base of the building and stencilling on the face of the building really pull the whole model together nicely.

Terrain Thursday - Ruined Hab Block

Posted on Thursday Oct 27, 2016 at 05:00PM in General

From our studio collection is this nice piece which shows a building that has been destroyed and is being reclaimed by the ground. Similar to our other hab block buildings, this building serves as a nice reminder that ruins work very nicely in wargames, and not every building needs to have four walls and a roof!

Giftbox Terrain Video

Posted on Thursday Oct 20, 2016 at 05:00PM in General

We thought today we'd highlight the timelapse video above which shows the construction of a building from scratch using the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, previously covered in step by step photos in a previous blog post here at The Comm Guild.

Terrain Thursday: Electric Box Buildings

Posted on Thursday Oct 13, 2016 at 05:00PM in General

Dakka user and friend of Maelstrom's Edge, Panic, has been an amazing early adopter of the terrain kits. He came up with the great idea of taking an electrical box from a hardware store, slicing some holes into it, and adding Maelstrom's Edge terrain components. The above image shows the finished piece all nicely painted up.

Any basic box that has texture on it already serves as an excellent base for terrain sprue components. One word of warning with electrical boxes though - they are a total pain to cut, so patience is definitely needed!

Gift Box Building with the Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue

Posted on Thursday Oct 06, 2016 at 05:00PM in Models

- by Iain Wilson

The Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue is a fantastic resource for enhancing your games. Packed as it is with different bits and pieces for crafting buildings and scifi accessories, it serves as a handy base to combine with foamcore, cardboard, plastic containers, the cat*, foam packaging inserts, plumbing supplies, or anything else you can think of to create distinctive and personalised battlefield terrain.

*Don't glue things to the cat. Seriously.

For now, I'd like to focus on one particular way to use the sprue, by crafting a basic building using a cardboard gift box.

Buildings, Maelstrom

These are fairly readily available all over the place, are generally made of a fairly sturdy cardboard, and are (best of all) cheap. You can also get them with all sorts of pretty patterns on them, but you'll probably want to paint them, so that’s less important, really.

Here’s a quick video showing the build process:

You will need: a giftbox, the terrain sprue, some glue (superglue for gluing the plastic parts on, PVA/wood glue for gluing the box lid on) clippers, a pencil, a sharp knife, and a ruler can be useful for marking out parts.

Buildings, Maelstrom

I want a building with a walled roof, as that gives some nice line of sight-blocking terrain while giving troops somewhere elevated to stand. So the box will be turned upside down, and the lid will eventually be glued on top, also upside down.

Buildings, Maelstrom

First step is to cut the parts you want to use off the sprue and clean up any mould lines.

I'm using the long support pieces vertically on the walls of the building, so they need to be trimmed down to the height of the box. That's simply a case of taking the lid off, holding one of the supports against the box to mark where to cut it, and then cutting them all off at that point.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Put the leftover pieces aside - they'll come in handy for other projects.

Next, measure out where the supports will go on the building. I tend to use them slightly in from the corners of my buildings, rather than as corner bracing - this looks neater, as they don't meet in a flush corner if you butt them up against each other right on the edge.

You can put them wherever you like, so long as it's consistently spaced around the building. Here, I've used a corner brace to mark out the spacing, by placing it up against the corner and marking against the side of it. Repeat top and bottom on both sides of each wall.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Next, work out where you want to put your door. Hold it in place against the building wall and draw around the back of the door frame with a pencil.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Buildings, Maelstrom

Do the same for the windows - I've gone for one on each end of the building.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Then take your knife and carefully cut out the door and window holes. Note that the windows don't actually have to be inset into the walls - the box frame design means that they actually look pretty good just glued on the outside. So you can save yourself some cutting if you're in a hurry. I do prefer to inset them, though, as it looks a little more polished.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Buildings, Maelstrom

Once the holes are cut out, check that the parts fit in securely - trim up if necessary.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Then it's time to glue everything in place. Apply a small amount of glue around the door and window frames and push them into place. You can 'hide' the glue behind the protruding frame on the sides and bottom of the windows, so that you get less overflow onto the cardboard.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Run a line of glue down the back of the supports, and press them into place against your pencil marks on each wall.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Buildings, Maelstrom

Next, grab your box lid, and on the inside mark out where you want the roof hatch to go. Once again I've used the corner brace to mark out an even distance from the sides of the box lid. Then glue the hatch in place.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Now we can glue the roof on. Spread some PVA glue liberally over the top side of the building, press the lid on upside down, and sit something heavy on top to hold it snugly in place while the glue sets.

Buildings, Maelstrom

You could use superglue for this if you don't have any PVA or if you're in a hurry, but the PVA glue gives a better bond if there are irregularities in the cardboard that stop the two pieces from meeting perfectly flush.

Buildings, Maelstrom

While the roof is setting, we can hack the sprue a little to add some extra detail to the back of the building. Cut a corner piece off the narrower side of the sprue, as below. This will become the pipe for a small chimney or air vent.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Clean off the extra tabs and the mould line, and grab the small pipe fitting off the sprue.

A handy feature of this part of the sprue is that it fits perfectly into a 1/4"(7mm) plasticard tube, which in turn fits snugly into the small pipe fitting. So cut yourself two short segments of tubing - one for each end of the 'pipe'. If you don't have any plasticard, you can also use a strip of thin cardboard (cereal packet or the like) wrapped around the sprue instead.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Glue the tubing (or cardboard strips) onto the 'pipe', glue the curved end into the pipe fitting, and check the fit against the back wall of the building. You can trim up the protruding sprue support as necessary to make sure the chimney sits vertically and the pipe fitting is flush against the wall. Then glue in place.

Buildings, Maelstrom

I have also added one of the small vent pieces that was trimmed off the wall supports right at the start, just for a little extra detail, and glued a comm panel onto the front wall beside the door.

So the finished building looks something like this:

Buildings, Maelstrom

This can then be decorated however you like. I would recommend a good spray paint for the basecoat, particularly if the boxes you are using have a glossy finish. The building below was basecoated with black spray, and then given a spray coat of a medium grey, and a final highlight with a light grey spray from above, to leave the darker colour in the recesses and undercuts.

Buildings, Maelstrom

The 'chimney' pipe was painted in copper with a light drybrush of green to dirty it up, and some details like the comm panel screen and the light above the door picked out for a little extra colour. You could also add on building numbers, posters, warning signs, or anything else that you might find on a real building - we'll be covering some different ways to pretty up your battlefield terrain in a later article.

Buildings, Maelstrom

Pick up the terrain sprue from the Maelstrom's Edge online store here and give it a go! You can share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page here: