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Terrain Tutorial: Hack the Terrain Sprue!


Posted on Monday Oct 15, 2018 at 06:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue contains a slew of assorted plastic bits and pieces that can be used to pretty up your home-made scifi terrain, including a bunch of essential elements like doors, windows and pipe fittings. This week, I'd like to share a few tips and tricks for squeezing a little extra versatility out of the terrain sprue and adding some extra touches of detail to your buildings.



The terrain sprue in all its glory! While it's loaded with all sorts of interesting bits that can be clipped off and glued on to your buildings as-is, a little careful cutting and some extra materials will go a long way towards adding that extra detailing that helps to finish things off just right.


Handrails

An easy one to start with! The ladder from the sprue can be used for making railings for balconies or walkways, by cutting off one side along the red line shown below, with a razor saw or exacto knife. The lintel piece, cut down to length, is perfect for filling in the corners:



Alternatively, you can just glue the intact ladder sideways onto the outer edge of your walkway or platform, like this:



Ventilation Ducts

The large pipe fitting can be used for creating ventilation ducts with the addition of a fan blade made from plasticard or thin cardboard. Use the fitting itself as a template for the fan, by holding it upside-down against your plasticard or cardboard and drawing around the inside with a sharp pencil:



(In case you're wondering, you use the fitting upside-down for this because it flares out at the bottom. So if you draw around with the fitting right-way-up, your fan is going to wind up too wide to fit in)

Next, you can flip the fitting up the right way, and use the buttresses as a guide to make six marks around the circle:



The join the marks across the circle, and along each of the resultant radial lines make another mark 2mm out from the centre.



Then cut out the circle, and cut inwards along each radial line up to the inner marks. Dry-fit it inside the pipe fitting to make sure it goes in, and sand around the edge if necessary so that it goes in easily - you don't want a tight fit, as it will deform slightly in the next step.



Now gently twist each of the segments around the circle to create a fan shape. If you're using plasticard, go gently here to avoid snapping it - cardboard is a little more forgiving at this step. Obviously, you also need to make sure that you twist each segment the same way, otherwise your fan is going to run into some operational issues.





Your fan blade can now be glued in place inside the pipe fitting by applying a small amount of superglue around the edge and pushing it into place.



Once it's been glued into place on your building and painted, you ventilation duct can look something like this:



You can also create a more compact version using the smaller pipe fitting and a rotor assembly from an Epirian Firefly Drone. Simply trim off the mounting strut and fin from the rotor piece to make it circular, and glue it to the back of the pipe fitting, as below:



You'll need to cut a small hole in whatever surface you're mounting this on for the rotor assembly to sit in, so that the pipe fitting can sit flush.

Chimney Pipes

I always try to look out for ways to make use of all of the leftover sprue that builds up from all of those plastic projects. The round sprue used on this terrain set is particularly useful with just a little help from some plastic tubing. Take the small pipe fitting, an 'L'-shaped piece of the thinner side of the terrain sprue, a square cut from the bottom of one of the support struts, and a couple of short pieces of 7mm (1/4") plastic tubing (Plastruct, Woodland Scenics or the like).



The 7mm tubing fits nice and snugly into the small pipe fitting. In a happy coincidence, the thinner section of the terrain sprue fits just as neatly into the 7mm tubing. If you remove any extraneous casting gates and mouldlines from the sprue piece and fit it all together, you can do this:



This can be then glued in place wherever seems appropriate, and can be easily reconfigured to match your terrain using different combinations of sprue sections and/or extra bits of tubing or support strut sections.





Trouble-free Doors

Some people have been using various plastic containers, storage trays or home guttering sections in conjunction with the terrain sprue to create some interesting buildings for their MEdge tables. One of the big problems with some of these options, though, is that the doors need to be inset into the walls, and cutting some plastics easily and cleanly in order to do so can be problematic. So I came up with this solution:

Take a door, and three support struts.



Trim off the support struts along the red lines in the below diagram, keeping just the middle pieces. Note that the top piece in the below picture is slightly different to the other two, which have a rivet strip left on one end:



The glue them in place around the back of the door frame. The strut piece from the top of the diagram goes along the top, and the other two (which, unless something's gone horribly wrong, will be identical) go down either side with the rivet strip at the top.



This can then be glued in place on the wall of whatever you're using to make your building, with no cutting of the wall required.



These are just a few ideas that I've found useful when constructing terrain. One of the great things about a product like this is the more-or-less limitless possibilities opened up through the ease of working with plastic components and the open-ended nature of the construction allowed by it. It's always great to see people take the sprue and find new and unexpected ways to use the components on it. So why not give it a go? You can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Tutorial: Salt Weathering


Posted on Monday Oct 01, 2018 at 06:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue lets you quickly and easily build some awesome-looking terrain to play your games around and over. Finishing that terrain off with a stand-out paintjob is sure to make your games look even better!

A while back, I shared a tutorial on sponge weathering, which is a great way to quickly and easily add chipping effects to your paintjob. This time around, I'm looking at salt weathering, which is a little more involved than doing it with a sponge, but gives a much more detailed and realistic effect.



While it may look daunting at first, the most complicated part of the salt weathering process is actually just planning out what colours to use. The paint goes on in 2 or more layers, depending on how involved you want your weathering to be. For this tutorial, I'm going to just use a base layer which will become the 'weathered' part, and a top layer which provides the core colour for the building.

What you'll need.

- A building to paint

- Salt. You can use ordinary tablesalt, or rocksalt, or anything in between. The coarseness of the salt changes how your weathering will appear, so some experimenting can be required to find the effect that you like most. I use a coarse rocksalt that I grind up finely with a mortar and pestle. This gives the grains a less consistent size than just using table salt, which I think enhances the overall effect.

- Hairspray. The cheaper, the better. It doesn't need to hold your fabulous 'do for the whole party, just keep some salt in place while you spray it.

- A small, stiff brush. An old toothbrush is ideal.

- Spray paint. You can use an airbrush for this technique if you have one, but if you don't then spraycans will do just fine - that's all I use.




First step - Apply the basecoat. This is the layer that will show through as your weathering. If you're after a chipped cement wall look, then a dark grey is appropriate. You can use a metallic colour if you want a painted metal feature, or a rusty brown for more weathered metal. If you want multiple effects over the building, then you can mix-and-match as required. If you're worried about the basecoat scratching off, which can be a problem with some plastic or metal materials, then also apply a generous coat of gloss sealer at this point.

For my building, I'm going for cement walls with rusty metal details, so I've sprayed the whole building grey, and then gone over the parts that will be metal with brown for the rust.



The next step is to apply the salt. Working one facing at a time, spray on a generous (but not dripping!) coat of hairspray, and then sprinkle on the salt where you want your weathering to appear. For the most realistic effect, concentrate on areas that would be most likely to see wear and tear - exposed corners, raised edges and the like.

Note - You can use water for this step instead of hairspray, using a spray bottle or a paintbrush to apply the water where you want the salt to go. This can be a little more precise, but requires much more careful handling as the water doesn't bond quite as strongly to larger grains of salt and takes longer to dry than the hairspray.

When you're done, your building will look something like this:



Once the hairspray has dried, you can apply your next coat of colour - I'm using a flat white. Keep this coat light, as too much paint will make it harder to remove the salt. Set aside for the paint to dry.



Now comes the fun part!

Using your brush, gently scrub off the salt. If your building is made from water-proof materials, you can hold it under some running water while you scrub. If you have used something cardboard, foamcore or similar, dip your brush in some water and keep it wet while trying not to soak the building too much as you scrub instead.

As the salt comes away, your base layer is exposed in a lovely chipped pattern.



Let it dry before applying any final detailing. Any leftover salt residue will dry as a white powder on your paint, so can need a little bit of cleanup with a damp cloth. At this point, I like to apply a coat of matte sealer just to keep everything pretty while I do any detail work to the building, to avoid damaging the paint with the extra handling.



You can apply multiple layers of colour by repeating the above steps, either over the whole building to show different paint layers or more detail on corroded metal, or by masking off part of the building to apply specific detailing. Here, I'm adding a building ID to the top and front by taping a stencil in place.



Salt is applied over the stencil, followed by a spray of the new colour. Once you remove the stencil and scrub away the salt, you're left with detailing that looks as weathered as the rest of the building.



Once you have applied as many layers of weathering as you feel it needs, all that remains is to apply your final detailing





And that's essentially it. You can vary the amount of weathering by using more or less salt, and can create all sorts of nifty effects through layering and careful use of colours. A good idea if you're not sure of what will work is to google images of derelict buildings or machinery and use those for inspiration.

Why not give it a go? You can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Spotlight: Building made from foamed PVC and the Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue


Posted on Monday Sep 24, 2018 at 06:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

I've showcased a couple of customised Plast Craft Games buildings in the past - a scifi-d up pagoda, and a similarly modified western building. These kits are made out of a foamed PVC board which was really fantastic to work with, so I decided to track down some similar board to have a crack at putting together some of my own designs with it, with the below result:



Slightly unusually for my projects, I started this one by sketching out a plan to see how everything would fit together. This was partly due to my desire to take advantage of the flexibility of the PVC by adding a curved front wall to the building, so I wanted to make sure that I had my dimensions correct before I started cutting.



Once I was confident that I had it all worked out, I pencilled up the various panels that made up the building onto the sheet of PVC, and then used a steel ruler and hobby knife to cut it all out. The foamed PVC cuts really easily with a knife, and also sands well. It feels almost like something halfway between cardboard and foamcore*, without the inherent frailties, like the risk of damage from moisture or spraypaint.

*For the uninitiated, Foamcore, also sometimes called Foam Board, is a material made up of a thin sheet of expanded polystyrene sandwiched between layers of paper or thin card, and is a common building material for wargaming terrain and scale building construction.



Once everything was cut out, I did a quick dry-fit to check that everything slotted in where it should.



The curved panel on the front was made by cutting the piece to the right size and then laying it over an old baby formula tin while heating it with a hair dryer. This achieved the desired curve, but I suspect the hair dryer was a little too hot for the material as it caused it to swell on some of the cut edges. Next time around, I'll try just immersing it in hot water for a minute instead.



The door and windows are taken from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. I cut the holes in the wall panels for those by sitting them in place, drawing around them with a pencil, and then cutting the resultant rectangles out with a hobby knife.



I wanted a walled roof area for troops to take cover on, so marked down 20mm inside each wall and glued in some strips of leftover PVC to act as support.



The walls, door and windows were all glued into place, and the roof dropped into place with a little more glue. I used superglue for assembly - this grabs really well, and quite quickly, on the foamed PVC.



As the last step before painting, I took support struts from the terrain sprue and glued them over the exposed joints on the walls.



That left me with the building itself assembled, and a few details to add on once the walls were painted. For some added sturdiness, I glued the building down to a square of 5mm masonite.



To kick off the painting, I sprayed with red right around the top of the walls.



I then applied a line of masking tape over the red paint, just below the tops of the walls. I lined this up with one of the panels on the support struts, to make it look neater.



The whole building received a coat of a nice, sandy brown colour.



This was followed up with a spray of white from above, leaving the sandy brown in the crevasses and undersides of the detail.



(And yes, it does feel a little absurd to take a white building, and apply three different coats of paint just to wind up with a white building again!)


Once the spray was dry, I peeled off the masking tape, and painted the base and the roof with Vallejo Basalt Grey.



Everything was weathered with a sponge and some Vallejo Heavy Charcoal (for a how-to on sponge weathering, check out the article here!), and the base and roof were drybrushed with Vallejo Light Grey and a little white.



I dirtied everything up with a generous drybrush here and there with Vallejo Beasty Brown.



The lower edges of the weathering on the red strips was highlighted with a little Citadel Tentacle Pink and Army Painter Pure Red, and I blacklined some of the deeper detail lines on the terrain sprue components. The 'puddle' stains were added with Army Painter Strong Tone and Dark Tone, by dripping small drops onto the board and leaving it to dry.



For the finishing steps, I added a fan on one wall using the large pipe fitting from the terrain sprue some plasticard, built a small pipe coming out of the back wall using some more terrain sprue pipe fittings, a couple of short pieces of plastic tube and a piece of sprue cut from the terrain sprue, and hung a ladder on the back wall. To add handrails to the top of the ladder, I trimmed away the top rung, and cut a couple of pieces of sprue that looked about right, added a ninety-degree bend with by bending carefully with pliers, and then gluing it all in place. The ladder was painted using my normal weathered metal technique.

The end result looks like this:














You can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Spotlight: 'Honest' Pete's Trading Post


Posted on Monday Sep 10, 2018 at 06:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

A few weeks ago, I picked up a couple of packs of scifi shipping containers from a company called 'Laser Cut Card'. They produce a range of different vehicles and building kits that are laser cut out of stiff cardboard, which are much cheaper and easier to work with than the more common MDF kits, and are surprisingly sturdy when assembled. I built four of the six containers I received as normal shipping containers, but then couldn't resist doing something a little different for the fifth one. And so for this week's modeling spotlight, I'm running through the construction of 'Honest' Pete's Trading Post!



The shipping containers come flat-packed in a set of three, with some pictorial building instructions on the back of the package insert, but assembly is essentially to roll a sheet of pre-scored card into an octagonal tube and then glue other bits onto the outside of it. I assembled mine with superglue, although you could use wood glue if you wanted to allow a little more working time to make sure you have everything lined up.



Obviously this wasn't going to be a particularly large shop, so the idea was to have a servery-style counter and awning rather than have customers go inside. So I began by cutting one of the large sections off the main body piece of the container, and then gluing the ends on to the result sideless tube.



A shop needs somewhere to put their merchandise, so I threw together a set of shelves from thin plasticard, to run along the back wall of the container. An angled bottom on the uprights allowed the shelves to sit flush against the container side.





Next up I cut another couple of strips of plasticard to create a counter, about a third of the height of the space in the container wall, and glued this in place.





For the finishing touches, I cut some 'concrete' stands for the container out of 5mm foamcore. These serve to lift the container up very slightly to allow a little extra head-clearance for the awning, and make the structure look more stable. The exposed foam center was sealed with a generous coat of PVA glue so that it wouldn't dissolve when hit with spray paint.



I added some corner reinforcing to the bottom of the front edge of the awning piece using some scrap card pieces, and built some corner support posts using the small pipe fitting from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, some plastic tube and a couple of lengths of plastic cut from the sides of the terrain sprue itself.



Finally, I took a large pipe fitting from the terrain sprue and added a fan cut from a piece of thin plasticard. I trimmed the edges of the pipe fitting away so that it would fit neatly over the circular detail on the roof of the container.



At this point, the trading post was looking like this:



With an MDF base added, and some paint on:



The sign on the awning was a last-minute addition. I was originally going to have the trading post sign on the front of the counter, but realised that this wouldn't be hugely visible on the gaming table, so built a quick rooftop sign from some more scraps of card. I also added a mesh grill above the counter after painting inside the container, to make the interior of the store less accessible.



The container was sprayed with black and then Army Painter Army Green, before being sponge-weathered with Vallejo Heavy Charcoal and dirt weathering drybrushed into the creases with Vallejo Beasty Brown. The text for the signs was created in Gimp, printed, and glued on prior to weathering so that it would match the rest of the container.



I added grafitti on the back and sides of the container to give it a little character and to make sure that all the interesting bits weren't on the front.



The grafitti was sketched in with a black fineliner pen, and then painted in whatever colours seemed appropriate.



The roof was left plain, with just the weathering to break up the green.



As an extra little detail, I printed up a shipping carton and some bottle labels using Gimp, adapting the fronts I made for my Vending Machine templates a few weeks back (article here). The shipping carton was cut and folded, and then weathered with a little Army Painter Soft Tone, while the bottle labels were glued to some bottle bombs taken from the Broken Infantry weapons sprue with their rag wicks cut off.





And with that, 'Honest' Pete's is ready for the table!




You can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Spotlight: PVC Pipe and PC Fan Cooling Towers


Posted on Monday Aug 27, 2018 at 06:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

On one of my periodic rambles through the plumbing department at the local hardware store (because how else would I spend my weekends?) I came across some pipe fittings that I thought would be just perfect for some different line-of-sight-blocking terrain to break up the sea of square buildings on my urban table setup. With the addition of a couple of old computer fans and a few components from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, I had a trio of cooling towers ready for the table.



The part that I used for the main body of the tower is a 'round socket downpipe' intended for rain guttering on a house.



As the downpipe is made of PVC, and is quite shiny, I started out by giving it a light sand with some fine grade sandpaper. This provided a better surface for glue and paint to adhere to, and also allowed me to remove the embossed manufacturer logo on the side.



Cooling towers tend to be largely featureless constructions of plain concrete, but that's a bit boring for a gaming table. So I grabbed four reinforcing struts from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, and chopped off the two square sections from the end, so that the remaining length would fit neatly onto the wider portion of the downpipe. Then I glued the pieces on using an 'all plastics' superglue, which is a two-part superglue that has the normal glue plus a 'primer' that goes on first to help strengthen the bond. For a more flush fit, I could have sanded down the side of the downpipe where the strut pieces would sit to form a flat strip on the curved surface, but the struts are narrow enough that the gaps that result from gluing them straight to the curved side aren't really noticeable, so I didn't bother.





To add some detail to the inside of the tower, I dug out an old computer fan from my box of assorted 'probably use this for terrain one day' rubbish hobby material. Using a pair of heavy-duty clippers, I snipped through the struts that held the case on the outside of the fan.



On the inside of the downpipe, there is a ridge where the thinner and thicker sections meet. I cut a piece of 2mm thick plasticard to fit neatly onto that ridge, providing a platform for the fan to sit on. I glued the plastic strip in place, but left the fan unglued for now, to make painting easier.





Painting went through a process that is probably familiar to anyone who has been following these articles. I started by undercoating with flat black spray.



Next I sprayed with a medium grey, and to add some texture to the flat surface added a light spray of light grey while the first coat was still wet. This creates a nice, dappled, concrete-like effect. As I only had gloss grey sprays on hand, once the grey was dry I gave the tower a generous coat of Testors spray lacquer. This both kills the gloss and protects the paint from scratching off the PVC as easily.



Next, I gave the strut pieces a coat of Vallejo Beasty Brown...



...followed by a quick drybrush of P3 Pig Iron...



...and finally a wash of Army Painter Strong Tone. While all of this was going on, I also cut a square of Masonite for a base, sprayed it grey, drybrushed with light grey and white, and added some hazard stripes that I created in Gimp and printed out. These were glued in place with PVA glue, and then weathered with a sponge and some medium grey (you can find a tutorial on sponge weathering here).



The fan was sprayed with some Rustoleum Aged Brass, and then given a light drybrush with Pig Iron, before being glued in place inside the tower.





The tower was glued onto the base - I lightly sanded the bottom of the downpipe to remove any spray paint, and then used the 'all plastic' superglue again. Finally, some weathering was added with a large drybrush and some more Beasty Brown.



I had bought three downpipes, but found that I only had two computer fans that matched. Rather than use a mismatching fan in the third tower, I decided to make one battle-damaged by cutting away a chunk of one side. I left a part of the fan platform to provide a place for a model to stand, and glued the pieces of the tower side inside and underneath the platform to give it some support. Obviously the tower was hit with some sort of implosion device, or a cleanup crew sorting out the damaged tower just threw all of the rubble inside to get it out of the way until the tower could be replaced.



The three towers together, ready for gaming:





To build your own cooling tower, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Tutorial & Templates: Vending Machines


Posted on Monday Aug 13, 2018 at 06:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Someone on the Maelstrom's Edge Facebook Group page this week was looking for templates for making vending machines. While I have put together a bit of a range of assorted scatter terrain, this was something that I hadn't got around to yet, and so this seemed like a perfect excuse to have a look into it. As a result, I wound up spending a chunk of this week playing around with some cardboard and foamcore, and sketching up some panel designs in Gimp, with the end result below:



I have put together two different designs, which you can download from the Maelstrom's Edge website here. The first is a basic, square box design, while the second is a slightly more complicated build with a rounded front. The download also includes a sheet of assorted fronts for both types of machine. My original fronts were all somewhat tongue-in-cheek, because I like to amuse myself by inserting random bits of dubious humour into my gaming tables. As I realise that this isn't to everyone's taste though, I have also included a set of less silly, generic fronts. Of course, you could also just make your own, using mine as a template.



I recommend printing the templates directly onto thin card - I used some old manilla folders cut to A4 size, which is light enough to go through most inkjet printers but solid enough when assembled to survive on the gaming table. Alternatively, you could print on paper and then glue the templates to thin card and assemble from there.

The page with the fronts on can be printed on paper, although I recommend using a good quality printer paper as glue can bleed through and affect the colours on cheaper, thinner paper.




ASSEMBLY

The square machine is extremely easy to assembly. Just cut along all of the solid lines with a sharp hobby knife, and score lightly along the dotted lines without cutting all of the way through. Then fold along the dotted lines and glue the tabs inside the resultant box. Superglue is fine for this if you are confident of getting everything lined up right, or you can use PVA glue to give yourself a little more working time. The small rectangle piece is glued inside the front, over the rectangular dispenser hole.

Then glue the tabs on the bottom of the vending machine onto a piece of MDF or masonite, cut just a little larger than the bottom of the machine - I used some 3mm MDF left over from a building kit, cut to 35mm x 30mm. This helps to give the machine some weight, to help it stay put on the gaming table.

It's a good idea to paint the machine at this point, and then glue on the front after cutting out the white rectangle. Then grab a control panel from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, trim off the thin strips on the sides as below, and then glue in place above the dispensing slot - it's up to you whether you paint the panel before or after gluing it in place.



The end result will look something like this:





For the rounded front machine, you will need a little foamcore or MDF, to form the top and bottom of the machine. This avoids trying to form a curved cardboard surface using a series of little tabs to hold everything together on the curve - that's fiddly and never looks quite right.

As with the square machine, cut out the template by cutting along the solid lines, scoring lightly on the dotted lines, and then folding. There is one dotted line that folds the opposite way to the others - this line is grey instead of black. To get this line to fold in the right place, place a ruler along the line and push from the other side to crease the card up along the ruler's edge. As with the square version, there is a small rectangle that glues inside the dispensing slot.





The separate base template is used as a tracing guide to mark out your foamcore or MDF. You will need to mark out two of these for each machine, and then cut them out.



Once you have cut out the base pieces, fold the machine around them without any glue to check the fit, and trim up or recut them as necessary to get a snug fit. Then glue in the bottom piece as pictured below. Note: If you are using foamcore, you can't use superglue on the exposed foam edges. Use PVA glue instead. It's fine to use superglue to glue the bottom flaps to the paper bottom of the foamcore, though.



Then glue the top piece in flush with the top edge of the machine's sides, as below. As before, use PVA glue here as you're gluing to the foam.



You can then add a wood base and control panel as for the square machine above, paint, and then add a front panel onto the curved face of the machine. The end result will look something like this:





If you would like to have a go at building your own vending machines, the templates are here, and you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Spotlight: Cardboard Tube Storage Tank


Posted on Monday Jul 30, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

It's been a few weeks since I built any terrain and I'm starting to feel withdrawal symptoms, so this week I have busted out the foamcore and terrain sprues, raided the recycling bin, and built a quick little storage tank for my newly assembled elite Epirian SecDef units to hide behind.



The main body of the tank is made from a small Pringles can. This of course requires you to remove the Pringles from said can, which my wife was happy to take care of for me. If you don't know anyone willing to make this sacrifice for you, you could use any other appropriately-sized tube. For the tank on my plantation dome, I used a metal tin. You could also use soft drink cans, cardboard postal tubes, or even roll your own out of cardboard or plastic sheet.



I used foamcore for the end supports. For the uninitiated, foamcore (also sometimes called foamboard) is a craft board that is comprised of a thin sheet of expanded polystyrene foam sandwiched between two sheets of stiff paper or thin card. Because it's lightweight but fairly strong, it's a fantastic material for building terrain.

I marked out the shapes that I wanted on the foamcore with a pencil, and then cut them out using a sharp hobby knife and a steel ruler.





As I wanted a worn concrete look for the ends, I used the hobby knife to roughly shave away the edges along the top and sides, and then used fine sandpaper to smooth the cut edges of the paper down.



For the access port on the top of the tank, I took the square hatch and corner reinforcing from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue and cut a piece of plasticard sheet to an appropriate size to fit them all on it with a little room to spare for visual effect.



I then cut four strips to run around the outside of the top plate. To replicate the curve of the tank for the two strips that would run across it, I positioned the bottom of the Pringles can on the plasticard lined up with the bottom corners of the strip and traced around it with a pencil, and then cut along the resultant arc with my hobby knife. Because the bottom aluminium strip on the can is slightly larger in diameter than the actual can, this doesn't create a perfect fit, but it gets it close enough that you can sit it in place to see where it needs a little shaving with the knife to sit flush.





The strips were glued in place with plastic cement, and when that was set I flipped the construction over and glued the terrain sprue components in place as well.





To add a little detail to the outsides of the tank ends, I cut some sections off the long support struts on the terrain sprue, and also assembled a little computer terminal by trimming down the comm panel and cutting a piece off the end of the lintel piece.





One end got two of the support strut pieces, and the other end another two strut pieces, the computer terminal and a small pipe fitting, all glued in place with superglue.



I then glued the foamcore pieces onto the ends of the tube with superglue. One end of the tube is rolled cardboard, which glues just fine to the foamcore. For the tube's aliminium end, I gave the superglue a little extra help with a primer from an 'all plastics' two-part superglue.



A little more superglue was used to stick the access port in place on top.



The final step before painting was to paint the exposed foam on the foamcore sections with PVA glue. This protects the foam when the base coat is sprayed on, as most spraypaints will partially eat the foam. If you're painting with a brush, or with a specific foam-friendly spray, this step is unnecessary.

I basecoated the whole tank with a Rustoleum quick-drying grey primer to get a consistent base for painting over, and then hit the tank itself with a spray of Army Painter Dragon Red.



I could have saved some repainting here by masking off the ends to avoid overspray from the red, but it didn't really seem worth the bother. I just used a large, flat brush to add another coat of grey (in this case Vallejo Neutral Grey) over the end pieces, added some weathering to the red using a sponge and some Vallejo Heavy Charcoal (you can find my tutorial on sponge weathering here) and added a layer of Vallejo Beasty Brown over the terrain sprue components.



To create a nice concrete look, I drybrushed over the end pieces with Vallejo Light Grey, and then added a highlight with a lighter drybrush of P3 Morrow White. The brown components received a heavy drybrush of Citadel Boltgun Metal (now called 'Leadbelcher', but I'm still working through a lot of old paint!)



Next up, I gave all of the metal parts a generous wash of Army Painter Strong Tone, and put it aside to dry.



While the wash was doing its thing, I cut an 8"x8" square of masonite, sprayed it with a coat of grey primer, and drybrushed with the Light Grey and some white. I also marked out a square in front of where the pipe fitting would sit on the end of the tank, and painted in some hazard stripes. (If you are interesed, you can find a tutorial on painting hazard stripes here.) Then I glued the tank in place using some superglue on the bottoms of the end pieces (this was fine as I had included the underside edges when I painted the exposed foam with PVA glue. Don't put superglue directly onto expanded polystyene - it doesn't end well) and added some patches of drybrushed Beasty Brown to dirty everything up. Which left the tank looking like this:













To build your own storage tank, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Spotlight: Sci-Fi Temple


Posted on Monday Jun 18, 2018 at 03:05PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

This week, I'm showcasing another terrain build, but for a change of pace I thought it would be fun to build something in a more unusual style.

I've been eyeing off the Japanese building range from Plast Craft Games for some time, and in particular a three-level temple that was just screaming to be turned into a table centrepiece. So I grabbed the temple from one of my regular go-to online stores, broke out some Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues, and set to work!



The Plast Craft Games buildings are flat-packed, assemble-yourself-style constructs in a similar vein to the various MDF offerings out there, except that instead of MDF they're made from sheets of die-cut, foamed PVC. This material is somewhere in between styrofoam and plasticard in density, and is nice and easy to work with and surprisingly sturdy once assembled.



My plan was to not get too crazy with modifying the building, as I love the general design of it. It just needed some sci-fi-ing up to fit on my table. So with that in mind, I discarded the resin screen doors that come with the kit in favour of the single doors from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. The existing doorways on the temple were exactly the right height for the plastic doorframe, but a little wider, so I filled in the gaps on either side with strips of scrap sheet cut to size. Other than that, the bottom level was assembled as per the instructions.





Similar treatment was given to the second level, although this level only has doors in two walls instead of all four.



The top level has a smaller doorway in a single wall. Rather than cut out the door hole to fit another full-sized doorframe in there, I filled in the doorway with some leftover sheet bits and glued on the square hatch from the terrain sprue. I also replaced the spire on the roof peak with another square hatch.



The railings that came with the temple were a little low, and a little low-tech for my liking, so I replaced them with ladders from the terrain sprue. This required some fudging to make it work, as I discovered when I started gathering ladders that I had run out. Luckily, I was able to cobble together a few discarded cut sections to fill the last of the railing on the second level. It's a little rough if you look too closely, but I can always pass it off as a rushed repair job (those lowest-bid contractors at work!).







I wanted to do the bulk of the painting before adding the roof sections, as I figured that would be easier than trying to work around them. So the building was given a basecoat with black spray, and then a top-down spray with grey, leaving the black in the lower recesses for natural shading.



I then picked out all the metal parts with Citadel Leadbelcher, before giving them a wash with Army Painter Dark Tone.



The balcony levels were painted with Vallejo Neutral Grey and drybrushed with Vallejo Light Grey, and the wall panels were basecoated with Vallejo Heavy Brown and drybrushed with P3 Jack Bone. At which point, it was time to add the roof sections.



I'm not sure if it was my slightly rushed assembly, or a flaw in the temple kit, but I found that the roof sections for the two lower levels were actually too short to reach the corner beams. Luckily, I had some corrugated cardboard that matched the card used for the roof almost exactly. Cut to size and with tile-grooves added by 'scoring' across the corrugations lightly with a sculpting tool, they were a close enough match to hold up to all but the closest scrutiny.



My improvised roof sections were painted black before gluing in place, and then all of the roof pieces were drybrushed with Leadbelcher and washed with Dark Tone. Finally, I picked out the lights above the doors with a drybrush of Citadel Ultramarine Blue, Ice Blue and then white, and added a masonite base sprayed with grey and white for a quick concrete effect. If I have time later, I may go back and replace this with a tiled slab to pretty things up some more.

The finished building:







To pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, visit the webstore here.

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here, or for help or advice, or just to share your work, feel free to visit the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Terrain Spotlight: Cardboard Gift Box Ruin


Posted on Monday Jun 11, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

If you've been following my hobby articles for any length of time, you may have noticed that I'm rather fond of using cardboard gift boxes to make buildings (If you're new here, you can see examples here, here, or here). But while intact buildings are all well and good, a balanced battlefield should include a mix of line of sight blocking terrain and area terrain, and so this week I'm breaking out the old gift boxes and the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue for some good, old-fashioned ruins.



The structure for this build comes from two cardboard gift boxes, bought from a local discount store.



The lids were flipped over to create a walled roof, and I removed a corner of the smaller box with a sharp hobby knife so that it nestled in neatly against the larger box.



I used a door and a shutter window from the terrain sprue to mark out positions for doors and windows, by sitting them in place and tracing around them with a pencil.



Then I used the hobby knife to cut the door and window holes out, and marked out a rough plan for the building damage - the line around the building shows where the walls would be cut down, leaving more raised areas on corners, where the structure would be stronger.



The hobby knife was put to use again, as I cut along the ruin line all the way around the building.



Once done, the cardboard structure went together like this:



As a handy side-effect, the pieces removed from the tops of the walls can be saved and used to create other ruins later...



Because the ruin line wound up around the bottom of all of the window frames, I just left them bare. For the doorways, though, I chopped the door panel out from the surrounding doorframe, and cut the frame into shorter pieces to match the height of the ruined walls.



The doorframe pieces were then glued in place, and I also added some support struts on the corners of the walls, also suitably cut down to height and with the cut ends messed up a little with some clippers to simulate explosive damage. With these all in place, I glued the whole building structure to a base board of masonite.



If you're just after a quick and easy ruin, this is the point where you can call the job a good'un and go and slap some paint onto it. For some extra detailing, though, I chose to glue some chopped up card from the gift boxes and some leftovers from the cut terrain sprue bits around the building, and then using a generous amount of PVA glue added some gravel and sand.





After leaving the glue to dry, it was time for paint!



I started with a basecoat of grey spray, and then a light spray with white around the walls and the bigger rubble patches.



The exposed sections of the baseboard and the building floors was then re-based in Vallejo Neutral Grey, and then drybrushed with Vallejo Light Grey.



Everything was then dirtied up with some Neutral Grey sponge-weathering and spots of drybrushed Vallejo Beasty Brown.



I added a couple of extra details for colour - the number on the roof railing by dabbing through a number stencil with a large brush and some red paint, and a little graffiti on the back wall painted with yellow and some blue ink straight over the grey wall to give it a faded appearance.



The final step was a quick blast of black spray into the interior of the building to create some contrast.



And that's it - one ruin, ready for the table!

If you're keen to try this for yourself, you can pick up the giftboxes from gift stores all over the place, or online with a quick Google search, and the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here, or for help or advice, or just to share your work, feel free to visit the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Terrain Spotlight: Knights of Dice Desert Residence meets the Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue!


Posted on Monday May 28, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

A few weeks ago, I showcased a dice tower made from a Knights of Dice MDF blank and some bits from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. This week, I'm giving a similar treatment to a desert building from the KoD 'Tabula Rasa' range.



The Tabula Rasa terrain range is specifically designed to be fairly basic, both as a cost-effective way of filling your table and to serve as a base for people to add their own detail... which obviously makes these buildings a perfect match for the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue!

The building I've started with is the 'Desert Residence 1', which when assembled straight out of the pack looks something like this:



Before gluing the building together, there were a few modifications to make. To begins with, the doorways are a little small for the Maelstrom's Edge doors to fit in. So I sat the door over the doorway, traced around it with a pencil and then carefully cut the resultant enlarged doorway out with a sharp exacto knife. MDF cuts fairly easily, so this isn't too onerous, but if you would rather avoid it you could alternatively build a boxwork around the door, as I did on my watch tower) and just glue it over the existing doorway.



There are two differently-sized windows scattered around the building. The larger of them, like the doorways, is a little small for the shuttered windows from the terrain sprue, so I repeated the door process, using the top corner of the window hole to line up the plastic part, and then tracing and cutting a larger hole. Again, if you would prefer to avoid cutting MDF, the shutter windows work quite well just glued straight to the wall.



For the smaller window holes, I covered over two of them using the cast-off MDF pieces from the larger windows, and to this I attached part of the energy fence pylon from the terrain sprue to make some sort of mechanical gubbin (I have to admit, it looks a little like a high-tech toilet cystern to me).



For the third small window, I took the large pipe fitting from the terrain sprue, and glued a small circle of plastic mesh into the back of it. This was then glued over the window hole to make a covered vent.



As a nice little touch, all of the Knights of Dice kits come with a little crowbar-sort-of-thing in the top corner of the MDF sheet, which can be used for prying parts out for assembly, or pulling removable roofs off. With a little bit of trimming up, they also serve quite well as upright bars for attaching ladders. I trimmed the ladder from the terrain sprue off so that it was short enough to work on either of the two building sections - the hooks on the top allow it to be hung from any free stretch of roof railing without needing to glue it in place.



With the leftover piece of ladder and a couple of MDF cast-offs, I made a smaller access ladder to hang between the roof sections.



The final touch was to add some support strut sections from the terrain sprue to cover over the joint holes where the roof supports attach to the walls. I could also have removed the other joint gaps by filling with some filling plaster or putty and sanding it down smooth, but I actually like the wall joints for creating a pre-fabricated slab-assembly look.





With some paint and weathering, the final building winds up looking like this:











Some Karist troopers, taking up station:






To tech up some buildings of your own, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, from the webstore here. As always, be sure to share to see your creations, or pop in with any hobby questions to the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Spotlight: Epirian-themed Dice Tower


Posted on Monday Apr 16, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

There's nothing worse than throwing a bucketload of dice on the table and having a stray ricochet take out that carefully-painted model sitting perched on the edge of a piece of terrain, or having to launch an expedition under the table when the dice decide to go on an adventure. There are a few common solutions to this problem - dice trays, rolling on another table, never painting anything, ever - but this week, I decided to build a dice tower from a Knights of Dice blank and some bits from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue.



For the uninitiated, a dice tower is a box or tube that has some angled ledges inside. Instead of flinging your dice all over the table like some sort of uncultured barbarian, you drop them into the top of the tower where they roll down from ledge to ledge, eventually rolling out into the tray at the base of the tower where their predilection for wanton destruction is safely contained.

The KoD tower that I used as a base for the build is a plain, laser-cut MDF affair, that when assembled as standard looks like this:



I wanted something that would look like it belonged on the table, and so dug out some terrain sprues and tools, and went to work.

First step was to pretty up the opening at the bottom. I took a garage door from the terrain sprue, and found that it would fit into the existing arch with some cutting for the top corners, and something to fill in the top of the arch as it was higher than the door frame. So I marked out the door frame against the front wall of the tower, and also marked the scrap piece that was cut from the arch to leave an arc that would fit in above the door.





I then used a razor saw and exacto knife to cut the door out of the door frame, and glued the frame and the MDF arc in place in the archway.



With a dry fit of the tower, I discovered that the dice were sometimes getting stuck behind the sides of the door frame, as the plastic addition made the opening for the dice narrower than was originally intended. I fixed this by taking a lintel piece from the terrain sprue, cutting it in half, and gluing the two pieces on either side of the doorway, creating a bevel to funnel the dice out the door.



One of the less pleasant things about dice towers is that they can be rather loud and echoey when the dice are working their way through. I fixed this by taking some craft foam and cutting it to the size of the ledges, and then gluing it on top.



At this point, I also sprayed the interior of the tower black to match the foam. This would also make it relatively unobtrusive on the table.



I assembled the walls of the tower, and started adding detail to the outside. I took a piece of scrap MDF, and cut it to serve as a balcony. I used the top halves of a bunch of energy fence posts and some plastic rod to make handrails. (You can find other ideas for handrails in my catwalk article here!)



To support the balcony, I cut the sides off two trapezoid windows, and glued them in place on the back wall of the tower.





Finally, two ladders and some cut down corner reinforcing pieces made an extending ladder that could be hung from the balcony, fire-escape-style.



To add a little extra detail to the front of the building, I made a large Epirian Foundation symbol using pieces from a reinforcing strut from the terrain sprue.



With the addition of a few more bits on the sides to hide the ends of the interior ledges, and a sign board made from the cutaway garage door to disguise the filled-in archway, the tower was ready for painting. To avoid getting spray on the interior, I filled in the top and the doorway with some cardboard and a piece of foamcore.



Painting was a quick and easy spray with a grey primer, and then a quick downwards spray with some white to leave the grey in the recesses and shadowed areas.



The metal parts were painted with P3 Pig Iron and then washed with Army Painter Strong Tone, and the white parts given some weathering with a sponge. (You can find a handy sponge weathering tutorial here!)



Once the wash was dry, everything was dirtied up a little with a drybrush of Vallejo Beasty Brown.



A little detail work here and there, and the tower was ready for the table.




Feeling inspired? You can pick up the Maelstrom'd Edge terrain sprue, along with the rest of the model range, from the webstore here. As always, we would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Painting Tutorial: Sponge Weathering


Posted on Sunday Mar 25, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

We can wind up spending a lot of time painting miniatures for our games, so it can often be tempting when it comes time to paint terrain to just slap on a quick coat of spray and call the job a good'un. There are a number of quick and easy ways to add a little more detail (and subsequent awesomeness) to your terrain, though, and the difference it makes on the visual impact during your games is well worth making that little bit of extra effort. With that in mind, I would like to share a simple sponge method for adding chips and weathering to your building paintwork.



You will need a craft sponge - something fairly soft and fine-weave. I like to use a painting sponge like the one pictured below, as the pointed tip helps to get into difficult corners where necessary. You will also need something to put some paint in or on, some newspaper or paper towel, and (obviously) some paint. This method looks best when applied as dark chipping over a lighter shade of paint. I tend to use Vallejo Heavy Charcoal as a bit of a catch-all. It's darker than most of the colours I use on my buildings, and is indeterminate enough to cover for cement or aged metal. I avoid metallic paints for this sort of weathering, as they can look a little weird unless they catch the light just right. If you want some metalic touches, you can always use a dark grey and then highlight the bigger patches of chipping with a little metal colour.



The weathering is applied once you have the basic colour and any higlighting done on your building, and the process is really simple - Drop out some paint onto whatever palette you are using and dip the tip of your sponge in the paint.



Rub the sponge on the paper to remove any excess paint. You want the sponge to be wet, but not have any gloopy patches of paint. If in doubt, press the sponge against a clean section of the paper and check the result - you're aiming for small specks of colour, not big blobs.





Press the sponge onto your terrain, using a straight up and down motion. You want to dab the paint on, not brush it. Experiment with turning the sponge different ways and using different amounts of pressure to vary the way the chipping is applied, reapplying paint to the sponge as necessary. Apply heavier weathering to places on the terrain that would naturally get knocked or abraded more, like protruding corners of walls or the edges of doors and windows.



Keep going until you have worked over the whole building.



Here's the same thing on a green building.



If the sponge starts to get tacky with drying paint, you can wash it out, squeeze out as much water as you can, and then squeeze it between a couple of sheets of paper towel to get it as dry as possible before going back to the paint.



Once you're happy with your chipping, you can add other details or weathering as required. A strategic drybrush of brown in high-traffic areas, or just here and there for a bit of added grime, can go a long way to complete the weathered look.



Here's some finished examples of the technique in action:

Broken Settlement building (Tutorial)


Park Bench (Tutorial)



Sleeper Caskets (Tutorial)


Hab Dome (Tutorial)



You can find the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the game range in the webstore here. As always, we would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Tutorial: Scatter Terrain 2 - Urban Details


Posted on Monday Mar 19, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Cities are more than just a collection of buildings. There are a whole host of other little details, many of which we don't even notice because we're so used to them being there, that fill in that urban sprawl. Streetlights, hedges, park benches, statues, gardens, all go towards making a city look lived in and give it character. And yet these things are so often overlooked when we put together gaming terrain. So many urban tables are just a random collection of buildings in various levels of disrepair, which may look good, but are missing those crucial details that make them look right.

I've covered how to make some of the above mentioned details in previous articles, but this week I thought I would run through a few more, using components from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, and a few assorted odds and ends.



To start things rolling - Park Benches

The bulk of the bench is made up using the long segments from three support struts, and two of the short segments. Use a sharp hobby knife to cut through the struts on either end of the long, middle sections, and cut away the two short segments leaving the rivet strip on one side.



Two of the long strips and the two short segments make up the base of the bench. Glue these together as below using plastic cement.



For the seat, I have used a piece of embroidery mesh (which you should be able to find at a craft store or haberdashery), although you could choose to use plasticard or cardboard instead. I cut the mesh to fit over the top of the bench base, fitting inside the river strips on the tops of either end.



The mesh was glued in place using an 'all-plastics' glue, or a superglue with a plastic primer - just using plain superglue can work, but because the mesh is a rather rubbery plastic it sometimes doesn't hold the glue well without the extra help. On top of the mesh, I glued the third strut section, level with one long edge of the base.



While this comes out just about spot-on for size compared to a 28mm miniature, terrain features often look a little undersized due to the visual discrepancy created by the model's base making it look taller than it actually is. To help mitigate that, I glue a rectangle of 2mm plasticard under the bench to lift it off the ground a bit, which creates a similar illusion of extra height without actually having to make the bench over-sized.



Add a little paint, and the bench is ready to go on the table.




Next up - Let's inject a little art into the scene!

In my first scatter terrain article, I made an orb that I pictured as some sort of holgraphic map tank. I borrowed the same design to make a sculpture using an old rubber ball that I dug up out of the back yard.

The base for the bauble is simply the large pipe fitting from the terrain sprue, glued on top of the square hatch.





On top of that, you can stick a marble, as with my original orb, or any other round-ish thing that strikes your fancy -



In this case, though, as mentioned, I used a battered old rubber ball. The outside of the ball when I found it was cracked and dirty, and chipped away over much of the ball, leaving a semi-transparent, crystaline shape with a dark crust around it and a blue glow in the middle when the light hits it just right. It was too interesting a shape to not do something with it, and so I promptly glued it onto the pipe fitting base with some all-plastics glue.




Moving right along - let's add some greenery!

If you paint a lot, sooner or later you wind up with empty paint bottles. I found myself looking at my collection of empty dropper bottles and thinking that the lids were just asking to be turned into something. So I took a lid, washed it out, and cut a small pipe fitting from the terrain sprue.



The tip of the lid turned out to be exactly the same diameter as the outside of the hole in the pipe fitting (ie: just a bit bigger than I wanted it to be!) so I scored a line around the top about 1.5mm from the end, and used a hobby knife and a file to narrow down the end to that line.





I used an all-plastics glue to glue the reduced lid tip into the pipe fitting. As with the embroidery mesh used on the park bench, superglue alone isn't likely to bond as well with the lid, so the all plastic glue or a primered superglue is a better option.



I filled the inside of the lid with some 'green stuff' putty, and added a fern made from the leaves of a really dodgy-looking palm tree that came with a set of dinosaur toys bought for my daughter (It's ok, she said I could have it). A quick lick of paint, and the planter is ready for action.




Finally, what sort of city doesn't have statues scattered around to remind people to feel all embiggened?

For a quick and easy statue plinth, I took two shutter windows from the terrain sprue, trimmed off the two protruding parts of the frame on the ends and the rivets on the front surface.



The two windows were then glued together face-to-face, using plastic cement.



I added a statue assembled from some leftover parts scavenged from the Epirian Bot Handler and Broken Rabble sprues, and a base of 2mm plasticard for stability.



Some paint and weathering, and he was looking suitably statuesque, ready to inspire the city's defenders or enrage the rampaging invaders.



All of the above can be easily modified to suit your own table. You can use the individual pieces as scatter terrain, or glue them to building bases to add extra detail without having loose little terrain bits floating around. Be sure to also check out my first scatter terrain article, and also my tutorials on hedges and street lights



Want to share your terrain collection? We would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

To pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, visit the webstore here.

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

Terrain Tutorial: Sleeper Caskets


Posted on Monday Mar 05, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

As entire planetary populations attempt to flee the destructive advance of the Maelstrom, many ships pressed into service as evacuation vehicles that not equipped with the facilities to carry large numbers of living, breathing passengers any distance. The obvious answer, where such technology is available, is to put at least some of the passengers into hibernation in sleeper caskets. This solution is not without its risks, however, as poorly maintained and over-used caskets may fail in transit, causing the interned to either wake up early or not at all. And, of course, in systems where the demand is high, the casket can easily wind up being worth more than the poor soul inside, resulting in unscrupulous captains selling off full caskets to equally morally-questionable Edge-dwellers. These new owners will either use the caskets themselves or sell them on at an even higher mark-up, sometimes back to the former occupant.

I hit on the idea of making sleeper caskets from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue a while back, for use as scatter terrain or as part of a larger terrain project, and I was keen to give it a go. This relatively easy build uses a few components from the terrain sprue, some plasticard, and some clear plastic. Read on to find out how it's done.



To start, take the two trapezoid windows and two reinforcing struts from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue.



You only need the long middle section of the strut, so use clippers or a hobby knife to cut through the rivet sections on either side.



Using plastic cement, glue the ends of the strut section to the trapezoid window frames as below. The inside surface strut should be flush with the inside edge of frame, so that the 'glass' top will sit neatly inside.



While the glue is setting, cut a rectangle of 2mm plasticard to fit inside the bottom. Bevel off the long edges so that they sit neatly against the inside surface of the struts. You can also add a layer of textured plasticard on top to provide a little surface detail to the inside of the casket.



If you're intending to use sprays or an airbrush to paint the casket, now is a good time to stop and do that. If you're brush-painting and think your hands are steady enough to not get paint over the 'glass' then you can easily leave painting until the end, although it may still be easier to do it now, particularly if you want to paint the inside - I've just left mine grey to provide some contrast against the white exterior.



When you're ready to proceed, take some transparent plasticard or other thin, clear plastic (blister pack plastic would probably work fairly well) and cut a 30mm wide rectangle that is just a fraction longer than the strut pieces. You want just enough overlap to glue (half to 1mm on either end) - if you make it too long, you'll have trouble getting it into the casket.



Use a ruler or other straight edge to fold two 10mm strips lengthwise down the plasticard, leaving another 10mm in the middle.





You can also cut pieces of plasticard to fit inside the trapezoid windows, to close in the ends of the casket. If you're not too finicky about details, you can leave this step out - the missing glass won't be too noticeable on the ends.



From there, wiggle the top glass into the casket (it may take some squeezing and a curse or two to go in) and glue it into either end. Add any final painting detail, and glue in the bottom.



Note - as an alternative to the above, back during your initial assembly you can just glue the struts to one of the windows and glue that assembly down to the back plate, and then glue the other window in place once the 'glass' is in.

To add a little extra detail to your casket, plastic models can be easily repositioned to fit inside the casket. The 'glass' can also be given a very light frosting of white spray, for a frozen look.



You can use stacks of caskets as line-of-sight blocking scatter terrain...



...although individual caskets will also make handy objective markers.



Of course, now that I've made up a bunch of caskets, at some point I need to make whatever might have been carrying them... Stay tuned!

To make your own sleeper caskets, you can pick up the terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here. As always, be sure to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Tutorial: The Foam Ball Cactus!


Posted on Monday Feb 12, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

You may have noticed by now that I make a lot of buildings. Sometimes, though, it's nice to get away from the urban sprawl, and venture out into the untamed countryside where enemy troops may wind up being less scary than the native flora and fauna.

If you were gaming back in the '90s, you might be familiar with some of the scratch-built terrain that was featured in White Dwarf magazine back then. One of my favourites, and a staple on many a scifi gaming table back then, was the foam ball and toothpick-spine cactus. It was a little goofy, but also really easy to make and looked rather effective on the table in place of all those mass-produced train set trees. So I thought it might be fun to revisit the idea, and see what I could do to modernise it a little and maybe remove some of the danger of taking out an eyeball while checking line of sight. And so I came up with this:



Staying true to the original, I found a bunch of different sized expanded polystyrene balls at a local discount store. To replace the old-school toothpick spines, I dug out an old toothbrush.



The first step is to give the foam balls a little touch-up with some fine sandpaper. This removes the mould line around the middle of the ball, and roughs up the outer surface a little to help the paint stick.



To make the ball easier to stick down to a base board, use a fine-tooth breadknife or other sharp knife to cut a slice off, making a flat surface for the bottom of the cactus.



Next we need to pike some holes in the ball to add the spines. Serendipitously, I used a toothpick, but anything pointy will do the job. Make the holes at least 5mm deep, although it doesn't hurt if they go in further. They're spaced around the ball in rough layers, without being too neat about it - slightly haphazard spacing adds to the organic look.



Toothbrush time! Take your toothbrush and, using a pair of pointy pliers, rip out a bunch of bristles. Try to hold them together - they tend to scatter if you're not careful when you let go.



Depending on how many bristles are in a clump, you might want to split the clump into halves or thirds, or use the whole thing as a single clump of spines. It's entirely up to the look you want.

In most toothbrushes, there is a small piece of metal in the fold at the base of the bristles that anchors them into the brush. Tease this out and discard it, and then separate the bristles into the size clump you want, being careful to put the extras down so that they stay together for later.



Dip the base of the bristle clump in some PVA glue, and then insert it into one of the holes in the foam ball. Mine have about half of the bristle inside the ball, to give them a good anchor and to stop them from splaying out too much.





Repeat until you have all of the holes filled with bristles.



For an older cactus, you can add extra nodules by slicing off a section on the top of the first ball and gluing the flat bottom of another ball into place on top. Reinforce with a toothpick glued in the middle, if you want a little extra strength. When that's set, poke in the holes and add bristles as above.





Mixing in some different configurations and different sized balls will help create a nice, varied look on the terrain piece.



To paint, first work around the holes with a pointy brush and a dab of brown wash or thinned brown or green paint to mask the white interior of the holes. (If you're more forward-thinking than me, you could alternatively do this before you glue the bristles in, which might be a bit easier!)



Then paint the rest. I've gone for standard green cacti, with red spines for some contrasting colour, but for alien flora you could obviously use whatever colours you please.



From there, glue your painted cacti onto a base board, and your cactus grove is ready for the table!







Do you have ideas for your own alien area terrain? We'd love to see them! Come along and share on the Comm Guild Facebook page.

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here, and you can find the Maelstrom's Edge model range and boxed game in the webstore here.