The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Entries tagged [terrain]

Terrain Kitbash: Sector 16


Posted on Tuesday Nov 16, 2021 at 05:00pm in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Sometimes I like to take a break from building things for the tabletop, and put something together just for the fun of it. That's what I had in mind this week, when I started work on a display backdrop piece that I'm calling 'Sector 16'




Most of the time, I get a rough idea of what I'm building in my head, and I just wing it from there. Some builds though require a little more planning to make sure everything will fit together correctly. My plan for Sector 16 wasn't particularly complicated, but with pipes running in multiple directions and platforms on several levels, I decided that a rough sketch would be a good idea. This still just serves as a starting point, and things tend to change along the way, but it helps to avoid those inadvertant 'oops' moments when something doesn't fit where it is supposed to.



The bulk of the structure was made from foamed PVC sheet, cutting a base and back piece that would go together in an 'L' shape, with detail layered over the top.



I thought that adding some detail along the front of the base would help to add depth, and when using it as a photo backdrop would be useful for disguising its relatively shallow depth. To this end, I constructed a conveyor assembly using parts from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues, some 1mm foamed PVC and plastic tubing.





In the interests of mixing things up visually, I wanted the multiple level platforms to be constructed differently. The upper level was to be concrete, but for the lower level I used floor grating pieces from the second Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, with support poles cut from the sprue itself of the original terrain sprue.





To finish up the lower section, I put together some pipes made using pieces from a kid's toy pipe construction set (which looks a little technicolour right now, but should be a little less cartoony when they have some paint on!) and some 12mm aluminium tubing, and added some additional details like lights, edging and pipe support straps using more pieces from the terrain sprues.





Tune in next time, as I get to work on the upper level!



To build your own sector of unspecified doom, you can pick up the terrain sprues 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.

Terrain Kitbash: Sci-Fi Barn pt3


Posted on Monday Oct 25, 2021 at 06:00pm in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Sci Fi Barn, episode 3: Now in Epirocolor!

In this latest installment, I finally get some paint on this barn build. If you're wandering in here wondering what it's all about, this was a kitbash of a Plast Craft Games warehouse with parts from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues to build the a sci fi barn (you can find the first part here).




With assembly completed, I kicked off the painting by spraying the whole thing with a coat of a mediumish-dark brown satin spray paint that I had sitting on the shelf. Or, I would have, but it ran out on me. So I wound up spraying the top of the roof with some old Rustoleum flat red that I sometimes use as a base for rusty metal.



I went back over the red roof with some Vallejo Charred Brown before drybrushing over all of the metal parts with some Citadel Boltgun metal (Leadbelcher, for the newcomers). The non-metal parts of the interior walls were drybrushed with some Army Painter Skeleton Bone to pick up the texture on the foamed PVC, and the exterior bricks were given a heavy drybrush of Scalecolor Baal Crimson. Then before putting the drybrushes away, I gave the dirt on the base a layer of Vallejo Heavy Brown.



I was aiming for a weathered but not overly rusty metal look for this piece, as it's intended for a fairly arid 'western' themed table set. So over all of the metal parts and the base I added a generous coat of Army Painter Strong Tone and set it aside to dry.



At this point it was time to fit the window panes. The warehouse set came with painted clear plastic pieces that looked fine in the original warehouse, but turned out to not look right here. So instead, I used them as a template to cut some clear plastic sheet to size as a replacement.



I hadn't originally planned to add internal window frames, but with the panes in place the glue around the edges was very obvious , so I added some thin frames using some thin PVC.



After painting these new internal frames brown, all that was left was to add final detailing. I drybrushed the base dirt with some Army Painter Skeleton Bone and all of the metal parts with a light layer of Army Painter Shining Silver. Lights and sensors on the door frames were painted in with red and blue.





With the metal parts being quite dark, I didn't add a lot of dirt weathering, other than over the tops of the doorframes where it served to conceal a few messy over-brushes of red from the bricks. I did add some brown dirt smearing around the edges of the window panes, partly to give them a more weathered appearance, and partly to conceal any fogging from the glue.





With some crates and an old vehicle thrown in for colour, when the roof is lifted off the interior winds up looking like this:





To build your own outbuilding of rural doom, you can pick up the terrain sprues 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.

Terrain Kitbash: Sci-Fi Barn pt2


Posted on Monday Oct 11, 2021 at 06:00pm in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Back in the barn!

I recently shared the first part of this build, combining a Plast Craft Games warehouse with parts from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues to build the shell of a sci fi barn (part one is here). This week, I broke out some more terrain sprues and set to work on the interior!




When I built the outside, I left the floor unglued, to get easier access for fitting parts. So I started by taking the floor piece back out and spraying it matte black, so that it wouldn't show underneath the grating pieces I was planning to use for a new floor layer on top. After measuring out the width of the floor against the floor grate pieces from the terrain sprue, I found there was going to be a slight gap around the edges, so I added some skirting using the reinforcing struts from terrain sprue #2.



Then I tiled the floor with one of the floor grates from terrain sprue #2, spacing them out with struts from terrain sprue #1 to cover the full length of the barn.



I wanted a small balcony on the end with the smaller door, which would provide access to the platform and crane on the outside of the wall. I used another of the floor grate pieces with some more reinforcing struts and lintel pieces top build the balcony, and some plastic tube with two of the small pipe fittings from terrain sprue #1 to hold it up on the protruding corner. Finally, a ladder from terrain sprue #1 provides access up to the balcony.



To add some detail to the inside of the doors, I grabbed some extra doors and cut the frames off the outside using a razor saw and scalpel.



The rectangular inside frame of the existing doors protrudes through the wall about a millimetre, so I cut some 1mm plasticard to form a spacer behind the new interior frames, trimming it up to match the contours of the outside of the frames and then gluing it all into place. I also added the outside ring from a porthole from terrain sprue #2 to finish off the hole for the exhaust fan on the outside wall.



I considered adding some interior detail around the windows, but this would complicate painting as I needed to get the clear plastic panes in at the end. I also thought about building some animal enclosures, but decided to keep the floor space open so that, in the event the building is being used with the interior accessible, I can just drop in a vehicle or some crates and other obstacles to suit the situation.

So that just left putting the barn onto a base. I cut a piece of 5mm hardboard to size, sanding down the edges to bevel them off and then glued the floor piece of the barn into the middle of it. When I went to glue the rest of the barn over the top, it immediately became apparent that I hadn't accounted for the raised floor tiles when I added the interior door frames, so I had to cut out some inserts for them to slot into.



Finally, I mixed up a batch of filling plaster with some PVA glue and fine sand for texture, and slathered it around the outside of the building to cover up the hardboard. This mixture didn't immediately stick particularly well to the hardboard, although it would once the glue dries, so this process involved poking it into place with fingers and an old paintbrush, and a certain amount of cursing. In the end, though, I got the plaster laid down all around the exterior, with a smoother ramp of pure filling plaster leading up to the larger door. Then I finished up by adding some small patches of sand and gravel mix here and there, glued into place with some more PVA glue.





Next up: Getting some paint on. Stay tuned!







To build your own outbuilding of rural doom, you can pick up the terrain sprues 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.

Terrain Kitbash: Sci-Fi Barn


Posted on Monday Sep 20, 2021 at 06:00pm in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Time to get some terrain on!

Back in 2017, I put together a sci-fi 'western' gunshop, using the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue and a foamed PVC western shop kit from Plast Craft Games. Plast Craft sadly appear to have gone out of business, but I picked up a few building kits on clearance from a local retailer to start fleshing out a themed table. The first (and probably largest) off the rank is an appopriately upgraded barn!




Along with the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues, the kit I used for this build is an urban warehouse. If you want to build something similar yourself, while you may not be able to still track down this specific kit, there are other similar buildings available in MDF from other manufacturers, or you could use foamed PVC or foamcore to build your own from scratch.



I started out by adding some tech details to the windows, bulking out the frames using support struts and lintel pieces from terrain sprue #1, and floor panels from terrain sprue #2.



On the front of the building, I replaced the sliding wooden doors with a garage door from terrain sprue #1. To make up the extra height, I cut off the top of a second garage door with a razor saw and glued the two together.



The resultant door was the right height, but too wide, so I also widened the door cavity in the wall with an exacto knife before gluing the door in place. The round window at the top of the wall turned out to be exactly the right size for the exhaust fan from sprue #2..



The other end of the building has a smaller door and a rectangular window up high. I enlarged the cavities slightly and glued in a shutter window and door from sprue #1.



To avoid the building from just winding up looking like a plain box, I built a small platform and crane onto the wall, turning the small window into an access point for small freight. The platform was constructed from sprue #2 floor grates and some scrap pieces from the warehouse kit's roof trusses. The crane used a trapezoid window and a couple of energy fence pieces from sprue #1, the upright supports from the gun unit on sprue #2 and another scrap piece of PVC. I'll need to find some string or fine chain for it to finish up.



At that point, it was time to start slotting everything together.



The warehouse kit has a tiled roof, but I wanted to go with corrugated iron instead, for a better contrast from the brick walls. With the top ventilation struts trimmed off, the assembled roof provides a solid base for the iron roof. I've left the middle two roof trusses and the roof itself unglued, so that the roof can be removed and the building interior used during a game.



Over the original roof, I glued two sheets of corrugated cardboard, adding a strip of thin, folded card for the ridge capping. That didn't look quite right as-is, so I decided to also add some rain guttering, using some plasticard and a few more components from terrain sprue #1.



The windows are still missing their 'glass' - some thin, translucent plastic that comes with the warehouse kit. This will be glued in place after I've painted the barn. Otherwise, the finished exterior:



As a final touch, I decided the small platform needed a hand rail, so I whipped one up using a pair of posts from terrain sprue #2 and some thin plastic rod.



Coming up in part 2: I'll add some detail to the interior of the building before painting. Stay tuned!



To build your own outbuilding of rural doom, you can pick up the terrain sprues 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.

Terrain Kitbash: Communications Hub


Posted on Monday Aug 30, 2021 at 06:00pm in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Regular readers would know by now that I have a habit of grabbing odd things from around the place that have interesting shapes and turning them into terrain. In the past, I've built terrain from various bits of building hardware, storage containers, food packaging, and Christmas tree decorations, amongst other things. This week, I ransacked Amazon's toy department to put together a communications hub!




The base for this model was a small light up laser gun toy that I found while browsing Amazon. This particular toy came in a set of 4 - three of this same design in different colours, and another blockier design that I'll find a different use for later.



The first step was to take the gun apart so that I could remove the pistol grip and any other un-needed parts. The cowling from the front will likely wind up as a building entry at some point in the future, and I saved the light and speaker just on the off-chance that I want something to light up and make pew-pew noises.



The main part of the gun was almost perfect as is, although I trimmed down the protrusion that the pistol grip originally clipped onto with a razor saw.



I then cut a piece of plasticard to fit neatly over the opening, and grabbed a computer panel from the first Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue to add to this plate.



I reassembled the body of the gun, and added a couple of aerials made from plastic tubing, aluminium rod and a post piece from the second Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue.



Finally, I added a base to make it a bit more stable, glued an exhaust fan from the second terrain sprue over the muzzle piece, and puttied over the screw holes.



With some paint on, it wound up looking like this:



I considered leaving the blue central piece unpainted as a shiny, translucent feature, but decided against it as the three guns have different coloured pieces, so the translucent piece would be different on each comm hub... and that would offend me on a deeply spiritual level when I build the other two.







To build your own hub of communicative doom, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues 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.

Modeling Tip: UV Resin Windows!


Posted on Monday Aug 09, 2021 at 06:00pm in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

There are a few different options out there for filling in open windows on terrain. In the past, I've used clear plastic or aluminium mesh cut to shape and glued in. I recently picked up some Ultraviolet Resin intended for creating water effects, and it occurred to me that this might be a fun alternate way of adding panes to some windows.




The resin I'm working with is sold by Green Stuff World. It's a super-clear gel that you squeeze from the bottle and then set with a UV light, or by leaving it out in the sun. They also sell a UV torch, which I couldn't resist picking up.



To create a window pane, I took a painted door from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue and laid it down on some aluminium foil, with a small piece of thin plasticard in behind to push the foil snug against the back of the window frame.

(I used a painted door as it was going to be impossible to paint the inside of the window frame once the resin was in place.)



I then added a drop of resin into the middle of the window, leaving it a minute or so to settle out to the edges of the frame. There were very few airbubbles in the resin, but I used a pin to gently poke the few that were there to make them go away.



To set the resin, I sat the UV torch on top of the doorframe pointing directly at the window, and left it for a couple of minutes to let it do its thing. From further experimentation later, the resin starts to cure within a few seconds, but I wanted to leave it long enough to make sure.



From there, the door was ready to be glued into a piece of terrain and detailed.

For coloured window glass, transparent paint gives a nice tint. This porthole was filled with resin in the centre, and then once set I painted the back of the resin with two coats of Tamiya Clear Orange.





To make your own windows of transparent doom, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues 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.

Terrain Spotlight: Pop-up Lamp Reactor!


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


- by Iain Wilson

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




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



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



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



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



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



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



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





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

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

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

Karist Secret Cache Objective Marker Kitbash


Posted on Monday Jan 18, 2021 at 05:00pm in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

In games of Maelstrom's Edge, along with whatever objectives apply to the mission being played, each faction has an additional themed objective of their own. For the factions in the Battle for Zycanthus box, there are cardboard counters to use as faction objective markers, but it's always nice to have physical models to represent them instead. I shared a conversion some time ago for a kitbash of the Epirian's Automated Uplink Relay Drone (with a new, all-plastic version of this build coming up in a future article very soon!), and this seemed like a good time to balance things out with a Secret Cache marker for the Karist Enclave!




I was looking at the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue for a completely different project when it occurred to me that the iris hatch was a nearly perfect size for the Karist objective. The Secret Cache is a small objective, which means a model to represent it goes on a 25mm base, and as it happens, the iris is 25mm in diameter. So as an incredibly quick and easy option, you could just use the iris portal as-is. To keep things accurate, you can measure to the iris, ignoring the surround, or if your opponent agrees you could just measure to the outer edge of the portal, making it a 30mm objective marker instead of 25.



For a slightly more elaborate version, I took a portal and used a 16mm spade bit to drill out the middle of the iris.



Wrapping a small piece of sandpaper around my index finger, I flipped the portal over and sanded around the underside to make it concave.



To make the base of the cache piece, I cut a small square of 6mm foamed PVC, and then drilled most of the way through the middle of it with a 25mm spade bit, before giving it a light sand.



To fill the cache, I took a bunch of assorted Karist weapons from the Faction Expansion Sprue. I trimmed the bottom of the rifles down flat, sanding the bottom so that they fit neatly inside the cache cavity. If you don't have the expansion sprue handy, you could also just use spare weapons from the Karist Trooper sprue, cutting the hands off the bottom - either way, the bottoms of the weapons won't be visible once the cache is sealed up, so either way works just fine.



I glued the rifles in place, and then filled the space around them with grenades and a couple of ammo drums cut from grenade launchers. I also glued a small circle of plasticard into the drill bit guide hole in the bottom of the cache.



The final step before painted was to check that the portal fit neatly on top. At this point, I also used a hobby knife to cut some vertical lines into the inside of the hole in the iris, to delineate the tips of each petal. I left the portal separate for painting, gluing it in place at the end.



And speaking of painting, with some colour on the portal wound up looking like this:





Put together your own secret cache of pre-prepared doom by picking up the plastic terrain sprue, 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: Aircon Ducting Barracks


Posted on Monday Jan 11, 2021 at 05:00pm in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Over the Christmas break, I found myself in a local hardware store picking up some supplies for a few jobs around the house, and as so often happens I got a little distracted by random pieces of plastic. As a result, this week's modeling article is a sci fi barracks building made from components from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues and a piece of plastic air conditioner ducting!




I have plundered the aircon ducting display before, resulting in a battlement-roofed bunker (which you can see here). This time around, I had picked up a longer piece that is usually used to cover over the spot where cables or drain hoses turn to go through a wall.



Because the shape was so perfect as is, there was very little that needed doing here, but it did need a front wall. For this, I used a piece of 3mm foamed PVC. Sitting the ducting end-on on top of the PVC, I traced around the inside with a pencil to get an accurate cutting pattern for the wall.



In the middle of the wall piece, I cut a rectangle to fit the garage door from Terrain Sprue #1.



Before gluing everything in place, I gave the ducting a light sand all over. This breaks up the shiny outer surface of the plastic, allowing glue and paint to stick better. With that done, I glued the front wall in place inside the ducting, and added some iris windows and exhaust fans from Terrain Sprue #2 for some extra detail.



I decided against adding a base, as it didn't really seem necessary. The flange around the ducting makes it nice and stable on the tabletop, and this way it will fit in with whatever style of battlefield I choose to plonk it onto.

So, with some paint on, the barracks looks like this:











Put together your own sci fi barracks (of doom?) by picking up the plastic terrain sprues, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge range from the webstore here.

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

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

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.

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!

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!