The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Entries tagged [spotlight]

Conversion Spotlight: Automated Uplink Relay, MkII


Posted on Monday Mar 08, 2021 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

When pursuing conflicts outside of its zone of control, the Epirian Foundation makes use of portable uplink drones that link to orbital satelites and airborne recon to provide battlefield intelligence and allow Bot Handlers to remotely interface with Epirian assets on the ground. The Battle for Zycanthus box includes a cardboard marker for the Automated Uplink Relay, but for those wanting a more 'solid' version, I shared a kitbash idea some time ago using parts from various Epirian plastic kits and metal tracks from a Bombshell Miniatures model. The arrival of the PDC Gun Carriage gave me an idea for an alternative, all-plastic version!




I made a few changes to the drone design this time around, with the most obvious one being the tracks. I built the track unit from the gun carriage as normal, although I trimmed off the lugs on the front that hold the dozer blade.



As with the original version, I used the body of an Epirian Hunter war mech, cutting apart at the waist with a razor saw.



I gave the waist a rotating cuff by gluing on the round grill piece from the gun carriage, and added vanes on the head trimmed from a piece of thin plasticard.



For the arms, I used the shoulders from the Hunter, with the upper arms trimmed off. I needed to glue a new piece for the weapon assembly onto the outer surface of the shoulder, so I sanded this down flat.



To make rotating cylinders for the tri-barreled Flakk Defense Battery, I used a couple of turbines leftover from the Epirian Spider/Firefly Drone kit. Because the kit makes either drone variant, if you have built any spiders, you'll have some of these laying around. I trimmed off the attachment peg and the wing.



I used the Hunter's weapon casing forearms for the bulk of the flakk weapon casing, drilling out the attachment hole a little larger to accommodate the central hub on the drone turbine.



From there, I glued the weapon casings onto the outside of the shoulders, and the turbines onto the front of the casings. The barrells of the flakk weapon came from the drone kit, with the rear surface trimmed down flat and glued to the front of the turbine.



The last thing the Uplink Relay needed was the communications array. I used the 'spare' piece from the drone kit as a fixed arial, glued onto the top of the weapon casing on the left arm. I also assembled a signal dish using a trimmed Hunter foot and the back chassis piece from the drone kit. For the dish itself, I used the leg piece from the drone kit, with the legs themselves removed at the 'hip' pivot.



The assembled Automated Uplink Relay, ready for paint:



And the finished Relay, ready for the table:





Put together your own Automated Relay of Uplinky doom by picking up the plastic Hunter, Drone and Gun Carriage kits, 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 a host of building ideas, modeling tutorials, army spotlights and conversion walkthroughs, check out the Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Kitbash Spotlight: Greatcoat Contractors


Posted on Monday Dec 14, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

I'm continuing my stroll through the Wargames Atlantic model range. So far, I've made some short, alien scouts using Einherjar and heads from the Broken infantry sprue, and greatcoat-wearing Karist Troopers by combining Les Grognards and Karist parts. This week, I gave some Epirian Contractors the cold weather treatment, using the Raumjager Infantry box.




As with all of Wargames Atlantics' kits, the Raumjager are multipart, plastic models. To build my greatcoat Contractors, I used Raumjager bodies, and heads and weapons from the Epirian Contractor kit. The Contractors have rolled up sleeves, which didn't seem ideal with long coats, so I used the sleeved versions from the Faction Expansion Sprue instead.



As with the previous kitbashes, the one difficulty is with the Wargames Atlantic models having shorter neck attachments than the Maelstrom's Edge models. This is easily fixed by drilling out the neck slightly with a 2mm drill bit.



The Raumjager torsos are slightly wider than the Epirians but are close enough that everything still fits in place once arms and weapons are glued on.



I painted these using Army Painter paints, starting out with a base coat of Wolf Gray spray. I picked out the face and hands with Barbarian Flesh and metal parts with Plate Mail Metal. I added a layer of Dark Tone over the weapons, pants and armour, and Blue Tone over the coats and hats. I also went over the skin and leather parts with Mid Brown but, while this worked ok over the skin, didn't tint the leather parts as well as I wanted. So after this dried, I went back over it with Leather Brown. Finally, I highlighted the leather and skin with Skeleton Bone, and picked out the Epirian badge on the hats with white and yellow.



With basing done, the unit was ready for the table.





To lead them into battle, I also threw together a Bot Handler, using another Raumjager body and arms, head and uplink bar from the Epirian Handler kit.





Put together your own Epirian force of fashionably warm doom by picking up the plastic Contractor kit, 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.

Terrain Spotlight: Converted Renedra Desert Buildings


Posted on Monday Dec 07, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Browsing around online a few weeks back, my eye was caught by a neat looking new release from Renedra. They have a slowly-growing range of plastic historical building kits, and had just added to it with some two-story desert houses. While these are intended for historical settings, I thought it would be fun to see how they prettied up with the addition of some Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue parts for a rustic sci-fi look. After a short and impatient wait for the post, I came up with this:




The pack I ordered includes parts for three houses. They all utilise the same floor and roof sprue, so are all the same width, just having different configurations of windows and doors, and differing overall heights. There are three sprues per building - the floor/roof sprue, and two identical wall sprues. To these, I added a Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue.



The doorways on the buildings are quite small, and have timber doors that fit into them. That wasn't going to do here, though, so I took a doorway from the Maelstrom's Edge sprue and laid it over the existing doorway, using it as a guide to trace around with my hobby knife. Then, tracing gradually deeper cuts into that guideline, I carefully cut out the hole for the new doorway.



With the new door glued in place, I covered over the window cavities and the second doorway with various bits from the terrain sprue. As with the doorway, I used the curtained window as a guide to trace around in order to enlarge the original window hole.



I left the side walls largely as is, adding just a couple of corrugated patches so they weren't identical.



The floor/roof pieces were also left alone, although I replaced the wooden trapdoor in the roof with a metal one made from two strut panels trimmed to fit.



From there, I just had to glue everthing together. I also added a little filling putty along the corner seams and around the edge of the roof to neaten everything up a little.



With a quick coat of paint, it wound up looking like this:



Now to get the other two finished off!





Why not give it a go? You can find the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues for your own terrain re-imaginings, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge range from the webstore here.



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

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

Kitbash Spotlight: Greatcoat Karists!


Posted on Monday Nov 09, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a kitbash of some Trogyl Scouts - alien hunters based on the Wargames Atlantic 'Einherjar' (space dwarves) kit with alien heads from the Maelstrom's Edge Broken plastics. Well, this week I threw together another unholy fusion of Wargames Atlantic and MEdge kits, to create some Karist troopers in greatcoats!




When I bought the Einherjar kit, I couldn't resist also picking up a box of 'Les Grognards'. This is a plastic kit that comes with a slew of different heads to allow you to create a number of different, laser-gun-toting, sci-fi soldier regiments. It also includes the aforementioned laser guns, and a range of heavy weapons, but I wasn't really interested in those here.



As with the Trogyl, assembly was fairly straightforward, using bodies from Les Grognards, and heads and arms from the Maelstrom's Edge Karist Trooper kit. The heads for the Grognards only have short, stubby neck attachments, so I used a drill to enlarge the neck cavities to accommodate the Karist heads.



From there, it was just a matter of gluing everything in place. The torsos match Karist Trooper bodies in width, so the arms went on with no argument.



Regular readers of my articles will no doubt have noticed that I tend to use whatever paints I have on hand, but just for something different I thought I'd try sticking to a single brand, and painted these up using Army Painter paints exclusively. I started with a basecoat of Skeleton Bone spray, and then went over the armour plates and weapons with Plate Mail Metal, and the boots, belts and webbing with Leather Brown. Over that, I applied a wash of Light Tone to the bone areas, and Dark Tone everywhere else.



To finish up, I added some highlights to the coat and leather using some more Skeleton Bone, and picked out eye lenses and weapon energy blisters using Warlock Purple and white. The bases were painted with Ash Grey, and then given a generous wash of Dark Tone before I painted the edges with black.



Not content with basic troopers, I also had a tinker with the Faction Expansion sprue to make a greatcoat-clad Praetorian, and also plundered a Shadow Walker sprue to add in some teleporty, assassiny backup!





Now I'll have to see about expanding this little starter force into something table-ready!

Put together your own Karist force of zealoty doom by picking up the plastic Trooper kit, 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.

Terrain Spotlight: Hot Glue & Christmas Bauble Alien Trees!


Posted on Monday Nov 02, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

I've been having a lot of fun lately coming up with different ways to make trees that look like they belong on alien worlds. You might have seen my previous articles with silicon aquarium plant trees, or my boab-inspired expanding foam trees. This week, I drew some inspiration from the Titan AE animated movie, working up some forest bases made from Christmas baubles and coloured hot glue!




The basic idea with these is a plant that has a ball-shaped sac, filled with lighter-than-air gas of some kind (the cartoon plants they're based on are highly explosive!). To make these, I sourced a bunch of clear, plastic Christmas bauble shells in a range of sizes from Ali Express. These didn't go down as small as I wanted, so for the smallest size I wound up with some 8mm solid plastic balls.



To create the gaseous effect, I wanted the sacs to be mostly opaque, with swirling colour and just a hint of translucency. So, after trimming off the hanging tabs, I painted the insides of the baubles with Citadel Gryph-Hound Orange Contrast, and then dabbed in some blobs of Mig Blood Red, letting this run wherever it liked through the orange. For the solid balls, I just painted on a coat of the orange Contrast.



Once the baubles were dry, I fitted the halves together, and then used some superglue to stock different length stems onto them, making sure the joint lines on the baubles were running more or less horizontally. For the most part, the larger the bauble, the longer the stem it got, although I did mix this up a little here and there to keep things a little chaotic and organic.



For adding the trunks, I used some green hot glue, also from Ali Express, although as with the baubles you might be able to find this in local craft stores, depending on where you are in the world.

A note on safety: If you plan on having a go at this, I feel compelled to point out the obvious: Hot glue is hot! Be careful to keep fingers away from the melty end of the glue gun, and avoid getting drips of glue onto your skin, as it can burn. Also, use in a well-ventilated area!



After gluing the stem to a hardwood base, I ran a line of glue from about two-thirds of the way up the bauble, all the way down, and then outwards to form a root shape along the top of the base.



From there, I added successive strips down the length of the tree, keeping some space between each new strip and the immediately preceding one, to give them time to cool and set. The aim was to coat all of the outside of the stem, and most of the lower two-thirds of the bauble. Some parts of the lower half of the bauble show through the glue for effect, and to help light shine through the finished tree top, but the glue completely covers the joint line to hide it.



Here's a video of the gluing in process!



With the first tree done, I glued the next stem to the base, and repeated the process, continuing until I had a good number of trees on the base. There's a balance between having enough on there to be convincing as a 'forest' base, while still leaving enough room to position models. When in doubt, always err on the side of playability, as this is supposed to be gaming terrain, after all!



The small balls were used to create new growth without much height to it. For these, I glued the ball directly to the base, and then added blobs of glue around the circumference.



I decided on a boggy base to go with these trees, so started out by gluing some fine sand on with PVA glue, leaving the tree roots exposed. I also left some patches of the hardwood exposed, to make a few open puddles.



With the PVA dry, I painted over the sand with a mix of Army Painter Mid Brown and Green Tone Quickshades. You could paint the tree trunks to cover over the glue if you want, but I decided I liked the shiny green on them, so left them as is.



Finally, I added a light drybrush of Coat D'Arms Putrid Green over the sand, and painted some gloss varnish onto the 'puddle' areas. The end result looked something like this:







And a shot out in the sun, to show the light shining through the gas sacs!





Feel like giving some alien trees a go? Be sure to share what you come up with on the Comm Guild Facebook group!

Pop on over to the Maelstrom's Edge webstore here to find our plastic and resin model range, including the ever-popular Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues.

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

Kitbash Spotlight: Trogyl Scouts!


Posted on Monday Oct 26, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Wargames Atlantic have been releasing a steady stream of assorted plastic miniature kits over the last little while, and amongst their recent releases was a box of 'Einherjar' - space dwarves! I couldn't resist picking up a box to have a tinker with, and while most of them will probably be built as intended just because they're great models, I thought it would be fun to build something from them that fit in a little better on the Edge, and so came up with these: Trogyl Scouts!




As mentioned above, the base for this conversion was the Einherjar kit. The kit comes with several weapon options, and different (suitably Dwarfy) head designs, but I wanted something alien, instead. Turning to the Maelstrom's Edge Broken kit, I chose the fanged head, which has an open and closed mouth variant, so they don't all wind up identical.



I didn't bother documenting the assembly, as it was pretty straightforward: Everything except the head was assembled as normal. The necks on the Broken models have a longer ball joint and a deeper socket on the torso for it, so I had the choice of either trimming down the necks on the alien heads, or drilling out the necks on the Einherjar torsos. I went with the latter, using a 2mm drill bit to make a deep enough hole for the alien heads to slot in neatly.



For comparison, here's a scale shot with Drinky McStagger of the Broken, and Trooper Anonymicus of the Epirian SecDef:



I envisaged this unit as being fairly stealthy, so wanted their uniforms to be nondescript. I started out with a basecoat of Army Painter Wolf Grey, then went over the exposed skin with Citadel Iyanden Darksun, weapon casings and pouches with Army Painter Army Green and armour plates and other metal areas with Vallejo Basalt Grey. The green was then washed with Army Painter Military Shader, and the grey areas with Army Painter Dark Tone. Over the yellow, I added a coat of P3 Cygnus Yellow, and then added a light drybrush of the yellow mixed with some white over the face and knuckles, before adding a layer of Army Painter Flesh Wash. The armour plates then received a light highlight with Vallejo Light Grey on upper edges, and the green areas a similar treatment with Coat D'Arms Putrid Green.



The final steps were to add in eyes with black and a tiny dot of white, and teeth with some more white, and then detail the base. I glued on a layer of sand, painted with Army Painter Leather Brown, washed with Army Painter Strong Tone, and then gave it a final drybrush with some more Leather Brown.





Since they're intended to be a scout unit, I couldn't resist adding in a sniper option as well, either to replace the flamethrower or as a unit-wide upgrade (I haven't decided yet!). I used a rifle from the Epirian SecDef kit, trimming off the shoulder stock and gluing it onto one of the Einherjar rifle arms with the weapon trimmed off just in front of the stock.



The next step will be to work up some (unofficial, obviously!) rules for these chaps. I'm thinking of a Mercenary-type faction, that can be 'hired' by any of the other factions, possibly using up two non-Core slots for the privilege. More on this once I can get something written up and tested on the table a little!

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

If you're running short on plastic fodder, you can pick up the full Maelstrom's Edge range from the webstore here.

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

Terrain Spotlight: Junkyard!


Posted on Monday Oct 19, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

When you do a lot of conversion work on models or terrain, you tend to accumulate an ever-growing collection of discarded remnants - model or terrain components that have been cut up to use specific parts or them, leftover parts from different kits, random off-cuts of plasticard or cardboard, and other odd bits and pieces collected because they were interesting. Unless you have bottomless storage, it's handy to clean these out from time to time. Since I hate throwing anything away, however, I wanted a way to make use of these parts that I otherwise might not have an immediate project for. And so, I decided to make some junkyard terrain!




I wanted junk piles that would, at least in part, completely obscure human-sized models, so needed a bit of bulk to get started. For this purpose, I used some military vehicles from my daughters' toy soldier collection that had broken parts that couldn't be easily fixed. Cutting these more or less in half diagonally provided some interesting shapes to build on, and also doubled the number of terrain pieces I could potentially make from them!



The vehicle parts were glued down onto some irregular pieces of hardboard, using Power Grip (a 'glue anything to anything else' sort of glue). I used some small hardboard off-cuts to add a little more bulk as well.



From there, it was simply a matter of grabbing interesting bits of this and that and gluing them on wherever seemed appropriate. As mentioned above, this included model and terrain parts, in some case chopped up a bit, bent, or otherwise cut or dented up in places to make them look more junk-worthy, and also whatever other scraps of building materials I had to hand, including plasticard, foamed PVC, plastic tubing, corrugated cardboard, flyscreen, and a few other odds and ends.



I kept piling up bits until I was happy with the amount of detail and cover on the base.





To finish up, I glued on some light gravel and sand mix anywhere on the hardboard where there was empty space.





That just left painting. There were a few different potential ways to go here: painting everything up as heavily rusted and old, making it a newer junkyard with lots of shinier metal and painted parts, or something in between. To help disguise the mix of different building materials used, I decided on the first option.





For the most part, I used the same rusted metal technique as for my shanty buildings and elsewhere. Some panels have some weathered paintwork still showing, and I couldn't resist adding in some aged copper pipes for a little extra colour, using the same method as in my copper tutorial. The gravel around the junk was painted in the same style as I used for my crystal outcrops, to provide some contrast to the rusty metal.







To get in some terrain action of your own, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues along with the rest of the model range from the webstore here.

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



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

Terrain Spotlight: Light-up Grill


Posted on Monday Sep 28, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

I've had a bunch of battery-powered 'tealights' sitting in my 'cut this up for something interesting' pile for some time now. They're cheap and dodgy, and would be absolutely useless as an actual light source, but I thought they might be useful for making some illuminated explosion markers, or something similarly unnecessary but pretty. Being Australian, the thought of standing outside, cremating anything within reach on a hot barbeque is always present in my mind, and so it occurred to me that a lit up grill would be a fun modeling project.




The tealights in question are a plastic shell with an extremely convincing and lifelike 'flame' on top, containing an orange LED hooked up to a large button cell and a basic switch that just moves a wire on and off the side of the battery. The first step was to extract the useful parts from the outer shell.



Rather than pulling all of the parts out and rewiring everything, I decided to leave the interior of the candle mostly intact, just trimming away as much as possible of the protruding parts to slim it down. Then I build a platform using parts from the Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue #2 to make a platform, under which the battery compartment would be concealed.



For the grill, I used an assortment of parts taken from the terrain sprue. A generator piece with a hole cut in the middle for the LED to poke through formed the main section of the grill. This left the LED a fraction too tall, so I used a razor saw to trim the top off the clear outer casing, being careful to leave the working parts of the LED intact.



I cut a matching hole in the platform's floor, and painted the candle parts black, so that they would hide more-or-less invisibly underneath the platform.



The LED isn't particularly bright, so to give it a helping hand I lined the inside of the generator with some aluminium foil to serve as a reflector. My hope was that with another small piece of foil glued on top of the LED, this would bounce the light around enough to spread the glow down the length of the grill interior. To go over the top, I took a piece of clear plastic, painted it with transparent red paint, and glued some gravel sprinkled across one side.



With some more transparent red on the outside of the LED, it was time to get some colour on the parts before gluing everything together. I also added a little putty around the LED, to close up any gaps where the light could shine back down where it doesn't belong.



With the top glued on, and the final rust effect layer in place, the platform wound up looking like this:





The glow doesn't show up particularly well under the photographic lights, but less bright, ambient light, it looks something like this:





The next step will be to see what else I can add to the platform to bring it to life a little. Stay tuned!

To build your own cookplate of charcoaled doom, you can pick up the terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

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

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

Terrain Spotlight: Expanding Foam Trees!


Posted on Friday Aug 28, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Most of my terrain building focuses on buildings and other urban-styled features, because tinkering with plastic terrain sprues is just too much fun. Sometimes, though, I like to venture outside the urban sprawl and into the forest. Previously, I've dabbled with old-school, polystyrene ball cacti and alien forest bases made from silicon aquarium plants. This week, I'm working on some boab-inspired trees made from expanding foam!




There are various tutorials floating around for expanding foam trees, but all of those that I found were using twigs or plastic tree trunks with the foam used for filling in foliage. I wanted to turn that idea upside down, using plastic plants for foliage, and the foam used for the trunk. (For the uninitiated, expanding foam is sold in hardware stores for filling holes in walls and the like. It comes in an aerosol can, and when you spray it out it expands to around 300% of its original volume, setting into a lightweight, hard-shelled foam)

My first attempt used large bases with a piece of sprue stuck vertically on them as a support, with the foam sprayed around it, but this wasn't overly successful - they just settled into giant blobs of foam. So instead, I hit on the idea of using a mould for them. I took a screwdriver and used its handle to make a number of vaguely-conical holes in some damp playsand, and then sprayed the foam into these holes, leaving it to set.



Once the foam was set, I pulled the pieces out of the holes, brushing off any loose sand. Because the foam is quite sticky when it is setting, they wound up with a layer of sand quite firmly glued to the outside, which made a nice texture on the trunks.



I used a mitre saw to cut the blobby excess bits off the bottom of the trunks, and then glued them down to some hardboard. A knife probably would have done this job, as the foam is quite easy to cut, but the deep-bladed saw made it easy to get a nice, flat cut.



After texturing the bases with some light gravel and sand mix, I tried painting the trunks with a coat of the same charcoal wood stain that I used for last week's wood stain painting tutorial. While it worked great on the models, here it just tinted the sand but left the lighter, yellowy foam peeking through, so I painted over the top with a coat of Army Painter Ash Grey, and also basecoated the base with some Army Painter Leather Brown.



I then went over the whole lot with a generous coat of Army Painter Strong Tone.



To finish up the painting, I gave the bases a light drybrush with some more Leather Brown, also painting the edges with the same colour. Then I glued on some patches of static grass, and a few bushes made from plastic indoor decorating plants - these come from large sheets of plants that are sold for making artificial garden walls.



At this point, these terrain pieces could easily pass for rocky outcrops or some sort of giant insect mounds, but I decided to go the final step and foliage them up. Using some more decorative plastic sheet plants, I pierced around the top of the trunks with a spike, and then glued clumps of plants on to form a canopy.



The end result:







And the forest cluster, all together:





The texture on the trunks winds up a little unusual for bark, but given that they're intended for a sci-fi table it could easily be something other than wood as we know it - maybe some sort of calcium deposit, or a silicon-based extrusion on which the plants grow. It might also give an interesting bark effect to paint over the sand with some crackling, desert-earth texture paint.



If you feel like building your own alien forest of water-retaining doom, be sure to show your results in the Comm Guild Facebook group!

Meanwhile, don't forget that you can pick up the entire Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

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

Terrain Spotlight: Derelict Water Tank


Posted on Thursday Jul 30, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

I've bought a couple of different materials for making water terrain features over the years, but other than using a tiny bit of Woodland Scenics' 'Realistic Water' in the watering trough in my Sci Fi Stockyard some time ago, I've never really done anything with it. So this week, I decided it was time to get my toes wet.




The main part of this water tank was originally the lid of a cylindrical gift box.



I flipped the lid upside down and used it as a template to cut a circle out of a sheet of foamed PVC for the lid to fit neatly into. A plastic plate served as a template for a larger circle around the tank. (Note: if you're using plates for circle templates, plastic is best. China or ceramic plates are often not perfectly circular!)



After gluing the tank and surround down to a square of hardboard, I started detailing. A thread spool that I had tucked away in my 'to be turned into terrain' pile looked like a perfect base for an overflow pipe, with additional detailing added from some more foamed PVC and a porthole and exhaust fan from the 2nd Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue.



I also took a bunch of floor grates and pillars from Terrain Sprue #2, and half of a ladder from the Terrain Sprue #1 to make a platform. Onto this, I glued a control panel made from an antennae array from sprue #2 and a couple of trimmed down trapezoid windows from sprue #1, with a piece of plastic tube to finish it off. I made sure this would fit where I wanted it, but held off on gluing it in place until it was painted.



To add some detail around the outside of the tank, I took some loose strut panels from sprue #2 and curved them slightly over a marker pen before supergluing them in place at intervals around the tank.



Some small pipe fittings, a little plastic tubing and a piece of sprue cut from Terrain Sprue #1 served to make a smaller fill pipe. And finally, because it's against the law to make a water feature for a sci fi table and not have a barrel floating in it, I dug one out of the bits collection. After cutting through it at an angle with a razor saw, this gave me two barrels to glue in place inside the tank.





Painting consisted of spraying the whole thing with a brown 'Rust Basecoat', adding a coat of Army Painter Gun Metal around the outside, and then going to town with browns, oranges and Army Painter Dry Rust. On the inside of the tank I also added some swirls of green, before gluing the platform in place and filling the tank with several layers of Woodland EZ Water and Realistic Water, adding drops of Army Painter inks in between to provide some swirly patches of colour. This wasn't entirely successful, as the inks reacted with the Realistic Water and made it dry a bit lumpy - the key would seem to be to make sure that the inks are fully dry before adding the 'water'... or using Woodlands own pigments that are actually intended for this job!











To build your own water tank of icky, muddy doom, you can pick up the terrain sprues along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

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

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

Terrain Spotlight: Paint Bottle Fuel Pylon


Posted on Friday Jul 17, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Building as much terrain as I do, I go through a lot of paint. Going through a lot of paint obviously results in a lot of empty paint bottles, and it always seems a shame to just throw them out. It's handy to hang onto a few for mixing colours. I also use an Army Painter dropper bottle for adding water to my palette, and another for dishwashing liquid for wet blending colours. This week, though, I thought I'd see what I could come up with for using up a few more of the bottles piling up in my 'I really should throw this lot out' box. This fuel storage pylon is the end result.




I use a lot of Army Painter Strong Tone in my painting, so had accrued a pile of empty dropper bottles. These, I decided, would be the bulk of the structure, as I love the shape of the tops.



To jazz them up a little, I took a bunch of reinforcing struts from the 2nd Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. These, trimmed down to three sections each, fit perfectly up the sides of the bottles.



For the core of the pylon, I took an old P3 paint bottle, and a tub of glitter from a pack I bought a while back as I thought they were a useful shape. After emptying out the glitter and purging it with fire (the only sensible thing to do with glitter) I glued the two together with some 'Power Grip' glue, and also added an exhaust fan from terrain sprue #2 to the top. This created a tall pillar that I could glue the dropper bottles onto. I initially used the Power Grip to glue the dropper bottles onto the glitter tub, but found that the much softer plastic of the droppers didn't adhere well - they fell off if knocked at all. So I reglued them with superglue with an 'all-plastic' primer, which seemed to do the trick.



To finish up, I took a spare base and added a control panel using part of a reinforcing strut and a computer panel from terrain sprue #2, and a trapezoid window from terrain sprue #1. I also trimmed the tops off six posts from terrain sprue #2 to glue onto the tops of the dropper bottle lids.



With some paint on, the pylon looked like this:







With the paint on, the origin of the parts is still rather obvious. That's not always a problem, particularly for those of us who started off our terrain collections back in the day by just spraypainting whatever interestingly-shaped junk we came across... I would possibly consider adding a ring of plasticard around the top of the dropper bottles, or some piping running from the bottles to the core, if I build any more of these.

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

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

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

Terrain Spotlight: Hamster Igloo Environment Dome


Posted on Friday Jul 10, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Pet supplies can be a fantastic source of supplies for terrain projects. Previously, I've shown some alien forest terrain made from silicon aquarium plants, and more recently a spherical space ship constructed from a plastic rodent ball with detailing from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues. For this week's article, I came across a plastic hamster igloo on Amazon that looked just perfect for turning into a hazardous environment building.




The igloo is a single piece of moulded plastic. They come in a few different sizes, but this one seemed like a good starting point for a small habitat building or utility building.



This build really didn't need a lot of detailing, but at the very least it needed a door. I took a piece of 3mm foamed PVC, and sat it against the doorway of the igloo. This formed a handy guide for me to trace around with a pencil, about 5mm out from the doorway.



Using an exacto knife, I cut along the pencil line at an angle, so it would sit neatly inside the doorway section. Then I took a door from Terrain Sprue #1, used it as a guide to cut a rectangular hole for it in the middle of the PVC panel, and then glued the door in place. I also cut a small piece of plasticard to size and glued it into the window hole.



Using a heavy duty 'Power Grip' glue, I glued the door in place inside the igloo doorway. I left the rest of the structure as is, to keep things simple, aside from adding an exhaust fan on the roof to conceal the plastic injection point from the manufacturing process. This was made from the large pipe fitting from Terrain Sprue #1, and the fan from Terrain Sprue #2.



That just left painting. I sprayed the whole thing inside and out with AK Interactive Rust Basecoat. This gave a consistent colour base for the rest of the paint, and including the inside was intended to make sure the plastic igloo was fully opaque. I then sprayed with Army Painter Gun Metal, and then added a light coat of Army Painter Platemetal to highlight everything. While I wanted to keep things fairly shiny overall, I added a light drybrush of Vallejo Beasty Brown in to the creases to give things a little definition. With some blue and white for the window and door light, and a final red lens on the door sensor, the building was ready for the table.











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



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

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

Modeling Spotlight: Christmas Bauble Ball Tank


Posted on Thursday Jul 02, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Sometimes, it's fun to build something just for the sheer joy of building it. This week's modeling project is one of those. I have always loved the rather silly and impractical design of the ball tank, and it occurred to me while looking at some bits that it wouldn't be too difficult to make one. And so I did.




The core of a ball tank is, rather unsurprisingly, a ball. For this one, I used a DIY Christmas bauble that I picked up a while back.



For the tracks, I used a whole bunch of square segments cut from the support struts on Terrain Sprue #1.



To help the paint and glue stick, I gave the outside of the ball a light sand, and then I sprayed the inside of the ball with primer. This helps to make it more opaque, and stops things from looking weird if the outside gets scratched. Then I glued the track segments in pairs around the join line.



A tank needs guns. I took two weapon mounts from Terrain Sprue #2, and added a couple of pulse cannons taken from the Karist Tempest Elite sprue.



I wanted some obvious viewports on the front, so took a pair of portholes from Terrain Sprue #2 and pressed them down on the top of a paint pot to make the back concave.



With the portholes and weapon sponsons glued in place, the tank was ready for paint!



I painted the tank with Army Painter Army Green spray, adding weathering with a sponge of Vallejo Heavy Charcoal and highlights of Coat D'Arms Putrid Green. The tracks were basecoated with Vallejo Beasty Brown, drybrushed with Citadel Boltgun Metal and then washed with Army Painter Dark Tone.



The viewports were painted with a blend of Army Painter Ultramarine Blue and white.



The weapons were painted with Army Painter Heavy Charcoal, drybrushed with Boltgun Metal and washed with Dark Tone.



For the final details, I added the tank number on the side using a decal I printed and cut out, stippling over the stencil with Army Painter Ash Grey and white, and then added a light drybrush of Beasty Brown around the edges of the tracks and the sponsons.





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

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

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

Terrain Spotlight: Tissue Box Building


Posted on Friday Jun 19, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The big joy of the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, for me, is that wandering around the house turns up an endless wealth of items just waiting to be turned into wargaming scenery by slapping some bits on it and painting it up. This week, I turned my attention to the recycling bin, where a humble tissue box was just calling out to be saved from the weekly rubbish collection. With a little cutting and gluing, and a lick of paint, I had Atmospheric Modification Plant #14 ready for the table!




The base for this building, as mentioned above, was an empty tissue box. This isn't as robust a structure as some of my builds, but it does have the benefit of being inexpensive and with two small children in the house we have an endless supply of these to hand!



As I just intended this to be a quick and easy build, I didn't get too carried away with detailing. To be a functional building, however, it obviously needed a door. I used a door from Terrain Sprue #1 for this one, as the height of the doors on that sprue fit the box sides better than those on the newer sprue. I cut a hole for the door frame using an exacto knife, and also built a small landing using a couple of stair pieces and floor grates from Terrain Sprue #2, with a little trimming to make the solid floor piece fit neatly into the bottom of the doorway.



I added some reinforcing struts from Terrain Sprue #1 on the walls of the building, setting them in slightly from the corners. As well as adding some visual detail, this served to conceal the sides of the box flaps on the ends. The original sprue's struts were perfect for this as the vent pieces on the end could be easily trimmed down to make the strut the right height.

Spaced along the rear wall, I also added a pair of vent windows from Terrain Sprue #2. To avoid weakening the box structure any more than absolutely necessary, I just glued the windows directly onto the wall, rather than cutting holes and insetting the frames.



Plain box-shaped buildings are easy to build, but can be a little boring on the table, so I decided to add some raised detail on the roof to break it up a bit. Rummaging on my desk, I found a blister packet from some tubs of glitter that I picked up for a different project, that seemed like it would be an interesing shape with some paint on. So I glued it to the roof, added some industrial reinforcing struts from Terrain Sprue #1 around it to conceal the edges of the plastic, and also glued on some exhaust fans from Terrain Sprue #2.

Having cover on the roof is obviously not much use if models can't get up there, so I also added a ladder from sprue #1 on the end wall. I trimmed top couple of rungs off to make an extended handrail above the roof surface, to make that clamber onto the roof a little easier.



I could have also added some corrugated cardboard or textured plasticard to the remaining roof surface, but chose not to for this build. Instead, I painted the cardboard parts with some textured brown paint, drybrushing with a little bone. The metal parts were painted dark brown, drybrushed with Citadel Boltgun metal and then washed with Army Painter Strong Tone. With a little final detail work, the building looked like this:











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

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

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

Painting Spotlight: Colorshift Shadow Walker


Posted on Thursday Jun 04, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

A few articles back, I painted up a Mature Angel using Colorshift paints, as a bit of an experiment. That was actually the second model I attempted with these paints, but I hadn't been entirely happy with the first one. This week, I had a little inspiration though, and so I dug him out and, with a final tweak to his face, wound up with a shiny green/blue Shadow Walker!




The model I painted here is a stock-standard Karist Shadow Walker (No conversion - I know, I'm as surprised as you!). As with the Angel, the armour was painted with Colorshift paints from Green Stuff World. These work best over a gloss black base, so that's where I started, with a quick spray.



Over the armour, I started painting thin layers of 'Emerald Getaway' Colorshift, slowly building up the colour. For the undersuit, I wanted a lighter green, so started with a basecoat of Vallejo Heavy Brown to work down gradually from the black.



I went over the brown with Coat D'Arms Putrid Green, and the belt and weapons with Vallejo Basalt Grey, while continuing to add layers to the Colorshift - It takes a lot of thin layers!



Once I had built up sufficient colour with the Colorshift, I added just a touch of silver on the edges of the armour plates, and some black into the creases, to try to lift them a little, as the shiny Colorshift tends to wash out the detail a bit. I also used some Army Painter Green Tone in multiple, thin layers to shade the undersuit, added a wash of Dark Tone over the weapons and belt, and picked out the helmet lenses and weapon blades with white.



To finish up, I painted the base, added some Basalt Grey highlights to the belt and weapons, and used Army Painter Purple Tone to add an energy shimmer effect to the blades (you can find a tutorial for that here) and shade the lenses.



This was the point where I put the model aside to begin with. While the Colorshift paint was quite effective, if slightly subtle and almost impossible to photograph, on the Angel, on the smaller armour plates on the Shadow Walker it was far more subdued, looking more like really dark shading in weird places rather than a color shift, and making the whole model a bit featureless and dark. I had the idea, though, that picking out the faceplate in a different colour might help to give the model some character. It was fine for the rest of the armour to be a bit dark on the sneaky, teleporty assassin, but I thought this would give him a nice focal point. So I whipped out some more Heavy Brown to re-basecoat over the green, and then used Army Painter Skeleton Bone and white to give him a nice, bone-coloured faceplate!





To give it a go yourself, you can pick up the plastic Shadow Walker kit, 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.