The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Entries tagged [diorama]

Painting Spotlight: Escape Pod Diorama

Posted on Thursday May 21, 2020 at 05:00pm in Tutorials

- by Iain Wilson

There are a lot of examples out there in internet land of huge, sprawling, super-detailed dioramas that you can pore over for hours and dream of one day having the time (or the storage space!) to make something like that yourself... This is not one of those. Dioramas can also be just a quick, simple exercise in putting together something different to whatever else you're currently working on. I love putting together armies, but sometimes I just want to do something unrelated, or I'll have a little flash of inspiration for a mini scene, and letting that out and building whatever it leads to is a great way of flexing those creative 'muscles'.

That's sort of what happened here. When I put together my kitbashed escape pod a couple of weeks ago, I had the idea to throw together part of a launching bay for it, just to give it something to hang from for the photos. I hadn't originally even intended to paint this, but looking at it sitting on the table afterwards, I decided that it would make for a cute little mini-diorama. So, I broke out a few extra parts, slapped on some paint, and this was the end result:

To get started, I had to snap the escape pod off the hanging struts, as it had been glued in place to photograph it for the previous article. Luckily, I had used superglue here, and it snapped away cleanly without breaking anything. I then finished detailing around the door by adding a thin strip of foamed PVC into the gap between the door and the floor grating, and fleshing out the sides of the doorway with some more PVC and a couple of strut pieces from the terrain sprue to widen it out to match the floor.

A lot of my terrain tends to be rather worn and dirty-looking. I wanted this piece to be old and worn, but not as dirty, simulating a ship or station interior rather than a planet-based facility. To that end, I began painting with a base coat of Army Painter Wolf Grey spray, following by a downwards spray of white. This is sometimes called 'zenithal painting', and is used to allow the spray to natural add highlights and shading as the second spray catches raised areas while leaving the darker basecoat in the crevasses and undersides of detail pieces.

I used Citadel Boltgun Metal to pick out some exposed metal pieces, which I then washed with a layer of Army Painter Strong Tone. On the middle strip on the door, I applied a a coat of Vallejo Heavy Brown and then a couple of layers of Army Painter Pure Red. This was a little messy around the edges, due to the difficulty of painting around the protruding floor piece, so I had to clean up around the edges of the red with a little more grey and white.

At this point, it was time for detailing. I printed up a small sign for the middle of the door and stuck it in place with some PVA glue. On the upper edges of the red door strip, I added a highlight with some old Citadel Titillating Pink, and then applied some sponge weathering over the white and red areas with Army Painter Heavy Charcoal. I went back over the red on the door with some more pink to highlight the edges of the weathering, and blacklined around the white parts with a finepoint black pen to help pick out the details.

My initial intention was to have the floor painted the same as the walls, to accentuate that cleaner spaceship look, but in practice it just killed the detail on the floor grating and made the whole think look a bit bland. So I went back over the floor with some Army Painter Dark Tone, and then gave it a light drybrush with white.

While I wasn't intending to cram a whole heap of docking bay detail into this little diorama, I did want something other than the escape pod in there. I decided to throw in a service robot, assembled from most of an Epirian Scarecrow, with clamp-hands taken from the Master Handler kit and a head made from a trimmed down Firefly Drone turbine, with an eye lens cut from one of the Scarecrow heads.

The robot was painted with a spray of Army Painter Plate Metal, then a wash of Strong Tone. Over that, I gave it a light drybrush with some more Plate Metal, and then picked out some red bits using the same steps as the red on the door. Finally, I painted in the blue eye lens using some Vallejo Electric Blue, black and white. (You can find a handy tutorial on painting lenses here!)

The final detail before assembling everything was to print out a picture of the Maelstrom, to glue in behind the door to provide a nice view out the windows. I played around with various orientations of this for a bit to find what looked best, and then trimmed it to fit behind the door and glued it into place with some superglue. With the robot and pod glued in position, the diorama was done!

To build your own escape pod, you can pick up the terrain sprues, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

What are you working on? We would love to see what your models and terrain in the Comm Guild Facebook group!

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Conversion Spotlight - Kaddar Nova Mini-Diorama

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

- by Iain Wilson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The end result is a simple little scene that I think is nicely evocative of the Maelstrom's Edge setting. If you want to try something similar, you can pick up the components used here from the Maelstrom's Edge webstore. As always, feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.