The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Entries tagged [terrain]

Terrain Spotlight: New Terrain Sprue Sneak Peek!


Posted on Thursday Aug 22, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

In the time since the release of the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue a couple of years ago, this useful little frame of detail parts has consistently been one of our most popular plastic kits. As good as it is, though, it was always intended to be just the start of a range of different terrain component kits. So over the last 18 months or so, we've been hard at work designing and sculpting a new sprue to add a whole slew of new building options!

This new kit will be out very soon, but to whet everyone's appetites, I thought I would take the opportunity to throw together a quick building walkthrough to show off some of the great new details!





To keep things simple for this build, I turned once more to my humble favourite: the cardboard gift box!



As with the first terrain sprue, the doors and windows are designed to slot into holes cut into the walls of the structure - although this time around, the doorframes and doors are separate components, so that you can model them open or closed!

To fit them into place, I started by flipping the box upside down, and drawing a guide line 12mm up from the bottom of one of the long walls. Then I held a door frame in place a third of the way along the wall and traced around the inset back of the frame with a sharp pencil. As I wanted two doors on this wall, representing a pair of joined habitation units, I repeated this a third of the way in from the other end of the wall as well.



To cut out the doorway holes, I used a sharp exacto blade, following the pencil line and making several passes rather than trying to cut right through in one go.



I then glued the doors in place with superglue, and cut and glued a window in each end wall using a similar process.



To reinforce the walls of your structures, the sprue includes a number of bolted struts like the first terrain sprue. These struts have some missing panels on them, with optional, separate panel pieces that can be glued on to vary the look of the struts a little.



One of my favourite details, the sprue also comes with two stair pieces, designed to be used individually or stacked up for a taller set of stairs. For this build, I was just using them individually, and also wanted to butt them right up against the wall, so I cut off the triangular support pieces from the backs of them with my exacto knife.



I glued the struts upright on the ends of each of the long walls of the building, and the stairs nestled in under each of the doors. I also glued an exhaust fan onto each end of the building for some extra ventilation.



To finish up, I covered over the rather boring top of the building with some corrugated cardboard, and build an awning using another piece of cardboard, some plastic tubing, and a couple of posts from the terrain sprue. I also added a base of foamed PVC, and some underfloor ventilation using vent pieces cut from the reinforcing struts on the original terrain sprue.



On the rear of the building, I glued a generator in the middle to service both hab units, and built a small fence to protect it and provide some low cover on the table, using some grating pieces and a couple more posts. I also added a couple of corrugated patches on the walls for some low-tech, DIY repair.



With some paint on (which I'll cover in a future article very soon!) the hab block was ready for the table!









The exact release date for these sprues is still to be confirmed based on production scheduling, but should be in the next few months. I'll be showing off some more previews in coming weeks to reveal other components included on the sprue.

In the meantime, you can still pick up the original terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range in the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your creations, 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 Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Terrain Spotlight: Giftbox Building with Removable Roof!


Posted on Thursday Jul 25, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

There are two common ways to create buildings for use in wargames - making them solid and either treating them as impassable structures or using abstract rules to represent models being inside where appropriate, or using buildings with removable roofs so that models can actually be placed inside and positioned accurately when required. I generally prefer to go the former route, as it makes buildings a lot simpler to put together, and is less fiddly during a game than having to take a roof off - particularly if there are models on it!

Sometimes, though, it's handy to be able to go that extra distance, so I thought I would show a quick and easy way to create a building with a removable roof from a cardboard giftbox, with a little help from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue.





For the core of this building, I used a plain black cardboard giftbox, purchased from a local discount store.



Usually when I'm building terrain, I just go from the idea in my head and hope for the best. In this case, though, I sketched out a quick plan to make sure that the interior all fit into place as intended. The plan changed slightly along the way, but it provided a handy reference as I was putting everything together.



I started out by drawing around the base of the box on a piece of 2mm foamed PVC and cutting out a hole for the box to sit in. This serves to conceal the bottom edge of the box, which has a slightly rounded edge.



Next, I took a large door from the terrain sprue, sat it in place on one of the short edges of the box, traced around it with a pencil and then cut out the resultant rectangle to create a door cavity.



I did the same on one of the long edges of the box with a small door from the terrain sprue. This door is largely featureless on the back (as it wasn't really designed for use where you would see both sides of it), so I cut a piece of thin cardboard to duplicate the raised panelling from the front.



For the interior walls, I used more foamed PVC, with doorways cut in using the small door frame as a template. I checked that these walls fit where I wanted them, but didn't glue them in at this point so that I could get at the interior easier to add more detail.



The building needed some windows. I tend to default to the shutter windows on my builds and use the trapezoid windows for more interesting things, but for this building I had another plan for the shutters. So I spaced out some of the trapezoid windows on the long sides, cut holes by tracing around them with an exacto knife and then glued them in place. Using the knife instead of a pencil to trace gives a tighter fit, which is useful since the trapezoid windows don't have a flange to conceal a loose fit like the doors do.



I kitted out the interior with some bits and pieces made from an assortment of terrain sprue parts. All of this was glued in place, except for the ladder. I left that separate to make it easier to paint behind it.









And now, the important part! I took the lid of the box and glued four corner braces from the terrain sprue upside down around the corners of the lid top. These were spaced to fit neatly inside the box, so that the lid could be sat in place upside-down to create a walled roof.



Of course, this could also be done much more easily by just sitting the lid on the way it normally goes, but I like having a lot of buildings with walled roofs to allow for models to have some cover up there.

I finished up with a few extra detail pieces here and there, and another sheet of PVC on the bottom to form a base.







To paint, I gave the inside a spray with a Rustoleum dark brown primer, and then a light coat of Dulux chalky beige. The outside received a coat of Army Painter Army Green.



I gave the doorframes and windows a coat of Vallejo Heavy Brown, and then a layer of P3 Jack Bone. The base and roof are my usual urban mix of Vallejo Basalt Grey with a drybrush of Vallejo Light Grey.



As I wanted the weathering to be heavier on the outside then in, I gave the exterior metal parts a base coat of Citadel Scorched Brown, a very light drybrush of P3 Pig Iron, and then a generous dabbing of Army Painter Dry Rust. The interior metal parts got the same base coat, a heavier layer of Pig Iron, and then a wash with Army Painter Strong Tone.



Everything was dirtied up with a sponge of Vallejo Heavy Charcoal and a drybrush of Vallejo Beasty Brown into all the crevasses and corners, again going heavier on the outside of the building.



With some final detailing and a few printed posters, the building was ready for the table!





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



As always, feel free to pop along and share your creations, 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 Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Terrain Spotlight: Oily Joe's Bot Repair


Posted on Thursday Jul 11, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

I'm venturing back inside the box this week, with a new building variant based on a couple of cardboard gift boxes, with some detailing help from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue as usual.

Need your bot repaired, pronto? Want to pick up some spare power converters to get those units in the north quadrant back up and running? Well, don't bother heading down to Oily Joe's, because he's closed down and scarpered, to try to get a berth offworld before the Maelstrom hits.





The base structure of this building uses two differently sized cardboard gift boxes, sourced from one of the local discount stores. The smaller box forms the walls, while the lid of the larger box, which is just a fraction narrower than the small box is long, is used for the awning roof.



I started out by flipping the small box upside down, and using it as a template to mark out a surround of 2mm thick foamed PVC, which I cut out with an exacto knife and a steel ruler.



Then I grabbed a large door from the terrain sprue, and held that in place on one of the long walls (remembering to account for the 2mm surround at the bottom) to draw around it, and then cut out the door hole with the exacto knife.



I glued the door in place with some superglue.


I did the same with a small door on the other long wall, and shutter windows on either short wall. I also added a large pipe fitting one the side with the smaller door.



Next up, I slathered superglue generously over the top of the upside down box, and sat the roof in place.



To help disguise the the roof isn't quite as wide as the building itself, I added a strip of reinforcing struts from the terrain sprue around the lower edge, cutting them to fit neatly. I also added a square hatch on the roof to provide access.



Finally, I glued a comm panel on the wall beside the large door, and glued everything down onto an 8" x 8" piece of masonite. I also added a fan attachment to the end of the pipe fitting - this one is a plastic bit from an upcoming kit (Shhh, don't tell anyone - it's a secret!) but you can also create a fan blade using some cardboard or plasticard, as per the tutorial here.





With that, it was time to paint!



I gave the whole thing a light coat of flat black spray, and when that was dry added a layer of Army Painter Ultramarine Blue. On the doors, I added a white strip with Army Painter Ash Grey and white, and then weathered the whole thing with a sponge and some Vallejo Heavy Charcoal. (See the tutorial on sponge weathering here!) The base and roof were painted with Vallejo Basalt Grey and drybrushed with Light Grey.



For the rusted metal bits, I started with a base layer of old Citadel Scorched Brown, lightly drybrushed with P3 Pig Iron and Ember Orange, and then applied liberal dabs of Army Painter Dry Rust.



For a bit of extra colour, I printed off the sign for the front and a few smaller signs to scatter around the place after drawing them up in Gimp. These were stuck on with PVA glue, and then a dirtied everything up with a drybrush of Vallejo Beasty Brown in the corners and wherever else seemed appropriate. A few finishing details like the comm screen, lights, and some graffiti on the walls, and Oily Joe's was ready for the table!





To build your own retail champion of the future, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range in the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your creations, 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 Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Terrain Spotlight: Toothbrush Head Wind Turbine!


Posted on Monday Jun 03, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

While fusion reactors and other super-advanced energy generation is all well and good on worlds with bountiful resources, sometimes a more low tech solution is called for.

This week's article was spawned, as so many of them are, by my reluctance to throw stuff away. I found myself looking at an old electric toothbrush head and thinking, 'That would make an excellent base for a fan!' And so the wind farm of the future was begun.





I started out, as I said, with a perfectly ordinary electric toothbrush head.



The wider circle near the base of the stem turned out to be exactly the right size to fit into the large pipe fitting from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. So I started out by trimming a little length off the bottom of the stem with a razor saw, so that the raised circle would sit flush with the top of the fitting when it was seated in place.



The bristles needed to go, to make room for the fan blades, so I plucked them out using a pair of clippers.



For the fan blades, I cut three strips of thin plasticard, rounding off the ends.



I added a twist to the blades by holding one end with pliers and rotating the other end.



With the blades shaped appropriately, I glued them in place using an all-plastics glue (a two-part glue that uses a primer pen and a tube of superglue to securely bond all sorts of different plastics. Useful when you're using plastics that don't holding plain superglue well).



For the turbine's hub, I cut the end off a superglue tube cap with a razor saw.



Using the all-plastics glue again, I glued the cap piece into place in the middle of the brush head.



Finally, I glued the large pipe fitting into place on the bottom of the stem.



With a little paint on, the turbine is ready for the table, either as a standalone piece of scatter terrain, or to add to another terrain piece!





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

As always, feel free to pop along and share your creations, 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 Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Terrain Spotlight: MDF Sensor Dish


Posted on Monday May 27, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

I somehow managed to get through Salute this year without bankrupting myself on shiny, new models, but I did come home with a few fun-looking odds and ends. There were quite a few vendors selling laser-cut MDF kits, some of which I had seen before and some that were new, at least to me. One of the latter was Uncertain Scenery, who had an amazing industrial catwalk setup topped with a very cool sensor dish that I couldn't resist picking up.

This week, I decided the time had come to crack it open and see what I could do with it!





I have to start by saying that this was a fantastic kit to put together! It uses a mix of 3mm and 1.5mm MDF, and the design is really clever at making use of those two sheet thicknesses to create detail. Parts are cut with only a single attachment point to the surrounding sheet, so removal is easy and there's only that one point to trim up.



Because I can't resist the urge to tinker, I did make a few minor changes. As with a lot of MDF kits, the doors on the base of the structure were just a single panel with the door shapes etched into them. To give a little more detail, and to better fit in with the rest of my terrain collection, I decided to replace the existing doors with a door from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. It turned out the base structure was just a fraction shorter than the plastic door, so I added some spacers cut from 0.5mm plastic strip to the tops of the interior walls. This lifts the roof piece up just enough for the plastic door to slot in place. Rather than cutting into the walls to slot the door in, I cut a strip of leftover MDF from one of the parts sheets to run up either side of the rear of the door frame, and then just glued the door onto the outside face of the interior wall.





I also decided to replace the blocky, MDF ladder with a plastic ladder from the terrain sprue, cut to an appropriate length. The original ladder used a 3mm thick ladder piece, and guardrails up either side assembled from three pieces of 1.5mm sheet. As luck would have it, the ladder and the innermost guardrail sections together turned out to be exactly the same width as the plastic ladder, so leaving out these inner sections allowed my adjusted ladder to just slot into place as if it was meant to be there.





The base section originally had doors on two opposing walls, but I decided to just go with the one, and have a pipe running in where the other should have gone. I glued the door piece on backwards, with a new panel line etched in with a panel scriber so it wasn't just a featureless expanse, and added a pipe made from a couple of large pipe fittings from the terrain sprue, a piece of a 13mm drip irrigation elbow, and half of a press-stud for a valve.



Everything else was assembled as per the nicely comprehensive instructions, although I left the dish panels off for spraying to make life a little easier, gluing them on once everything was mostly painted.



To paint, I started by giving the whole kit a coat of matte sealer, to help prevent the basecoat from soaking into the MDF as much. The base structure and dish panels were sprayed with a beige primer, and then given a rough coat of flat white.



For the rest of the assembly, I sprayed a generous basecoat of AK Interactive Rust spray, and then a light spray of Army Painter Platemetal. The bare metal parts on the base structure were given a coat of some old Citadel Scorched Brown, and then a drybrush with P3 Pig Iron.



I added weathering to the white by sponging on Vallejo heavy charcoal, and then dirtied everything up wherever seemed appropriate with a drybrush of Vallejo Beasty Brown.



And that's it, ready (for now) for the table. I've left it unbased for now, as I have some plans in that direction which will likely wind up in a future article...





To spruce up your own MDF kits, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range in the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your creations, 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 Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Terrain Spotlight: Mirrored Glass Building


Posted on Monday May 20, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Metal and concrete buildings are all well and good, but I thought it might be fun to build something a little shinier for a change. Nothing says 'futuristic city' quite like mirrored-glass-wall buildings, after all!

I've had a play in the past with some clear plastic and mirror-effect sprays, without managing to achieve the effect I was after. Then I came across some lovely, shiny silver card in a discount store, and an idea was hatched.





The basic idea was to make a structure out of 5mm foamcore, using the support struts from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue to form a framework to hold the cardboard. I started by plotting out a rough design using a bunch of struts trimmed to appropriate lengths, so I could get the foamcore dimensions correct.



After marking out the wall dimensions on the formcore, I cut them out using an exacto knife and a steel ruler.



I made a base for the structure from two stacked squares of 2mm foamed PVC. The upper, smaller square created a framework for the foamcore to sit up against, to ensure the building was square and give it some extra strength.



With the outer wall constructed, I added some reinforcement on the inside corners using some offcuts of PVC.



To create the framework for the card to slide into, I glued 5mm plasticard strips onto the walls, tracing the pattern of the support struts.



The strips are narrower than the struts, so with the strut centered on the strip a 1mm overhang was created on each side.



To help avoid the building just being a boring, square box, I left a cutaway to allow for an angled doorway. To fill this in, I cut a square of foamcore to fit across the opening, and cut a rectangle out for a door from the terrain sprue.





With the wall structure complete, I started building up the roof layers with some more PVC, cut to overhang the walls just slightly to close off the tops of the card slots. These weren't glued in place yet - that had to wait until the card was in place.



I joined the three roof levels together using angled pieces of PVC. This served the dual purpose of giving the roof an interesting shape, and also making the whole roof structure into a single piece that could be lifted on and off, which would be easier for painting than separate pieces.



At this point, it was time to paint! I decided to keep it fairly simple, as the main focus on this building was going to be the mirrored walls. I gave the whole exterior a base coat of AK Interactive Rust spray, and then a layer of a satin black spraypaint, leaving the rust in the crevasses for some natural weathering.



When the spray had dried, I cut strips of the silver card to fit into each of the wall slots.



Once all the strips were in place, I glued the roof on top.



For the final detailing, I painted the base with Vallejo Neutral Grey, drybrushed with Vallejo Light Grey. I also gave the black a light drybrush with the light grey, and then added some dirt weathering with Vallejo Beasty Brown. I also added some signage, with Epirian logos made from strips of the silver card and some gold card from the same pack for the 'yellow' lower squares. All 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 in the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your creations, 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 Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Terrain Spotlight: 'Illuminated' Viewscreen


Posted on Tuesday Apr 23, 2019 at 05:31AM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

I'm home from Salute (which was a blast!) and a regrettably very short stay in London, and now getting caught up on everything. As a result, this week's modeling article is a short and sweet one, which also creates a little more progress on my landing pad display board. One of the features I wanted to add on was a viewscreen displaying a 'Welcome' message to new arrivals to the pad. I wanted this to give the illusion of being an illuminated screen without actually having to resort to playing around with LEDs and the like, and below is a quick rundown on how I set this up.





The frame for the viewscreen was made from a garage door from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. I cut the door out with a razor saw, and then sliced up the doorframe and rearranged it into a smaller rectangle. (You could also just use a rectangle of thick plasticard with the middle cut out!) This was then painted using my normal weathered metal technique.



I wanted the back of the screen to be slightly smaller than the frame, so that the viewscreen would look like it was sitting out slightly from the wall rather than having the sides sit flush against it. So I traced around the frame onto a piece of thin plasticard, and then it cut out about 1.5mm inside the line to make it smaller than the tracing. I then glued this piece to the back of the frame, and painted around the outside edge with some Vallejo Heavy Charcoal so there wouldn't be any white peeking out from behind once it was mounted on the wall.





For the image on the screen, I grabbed an appropriate picture and added some text in Gimp, before printing it out at an appropriate size on glossy photo paper.



I sprayed the picture with a light coat of gloss sealer to protect it, and then glued it in place inside the frame.



To give the illusion of a glow, I painted around the inside edge of the frame with silver, and then added a couple of coats of brush-on gloss varnish. The gloss creates a dull reflection around the edges of the frame - it's a subtle effect, but enough to convey the idea of a low-powered screen that doesn't throw out a lot of excess light.



An alternative to this effect would have been to paint around the inner edges of the frame with colours matching the adjoining parts of the picture. This can create a much brighter 'glow' than the method I've used above, but can also look off if you look at it from the wrong angle.

With that done, it's time to get cracking on the rest of the display board, since I'm getting rather impatient to see it finished!



Build your own viewscreen by picking 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 Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Painting Tutorial: Aged Copper


Posted on Monday Apr 01, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

For a very long time, I tried to avoid painting anything copper, as none of the copper paints I had tried ever looked quite right. Since I started getting a little more adventurous with my terrain building, though, it became harder to avoid having to figure something out that I could be happy with, and so eventually I started experimenting again to see what I could work out. This week, I'm sharing a quick tutorial showing the method I settled on.





For my example piece, I'm using a piece of a 13mm drip irrigation fitting, with the large pipe fitting from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue as a handy stand for it.



The first step is to undercoat with a medium green colour - I'm using Army Painter Army Green spray, but pretty much any green will do. This just gives a bit of a green tint anywhere that the copper paint winds up a little thinner, so the actual colour isn't too important.



Next, paint on two coats of copper. Here, I've used some old (very old) Citadel Beaten Copper, but again you should be able to use whatever copper you have. Copper fittings tend to vary considerably in colour, so there's no 'right' shade to look for, other than what looks right to you.



The reason that copper paint tends to not look right is that unless it's polished (which brush-on copper paint doesn't convey) copper generally isn't actually metallic copper coloured. It's more of a dull, coppery brown. So, over the copper, paint a generous slathering of Army Painter Mid Brown wash and leave it to dry.



You could leave it there, with perhaps a light drybrush of copper over the top to pick up some highlights, or carry on and add some verdigris by drybrushing with a suitable blue-green colour. As with the copper itself, verdigris can range from a pale green through to more of a turquoise colour, so use whatever colour suits the look you want. I've used Vallejo Model Colour Emerald here, mixed with just a touch of white and drybrushed wherever it looks appropriate. You can leave as much or as little of the copper brown showing through as you want to get the desired look.



Finally, you can add some scratches with thin lines of black, highlighting the bottom edge of the line with copper. Light highlights and lines of copper without the black can also be used to show shallower scrapes and scuffs.



And that's about it. Go forth and copper up your terrain to your heart's content!







You can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge boxed game and 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 Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Terrain Spotlight: Alien Forest using Silicon Aquarium Plants!


Posted on Monday Mar 25, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

While there is a steadily growing range of awesome terrain on the market these days for sci fi wargames, one curious gap is the general lack of alien plantlife, which results in a vast majority of 'forest' type terrain being represented on the table by variations of the same, standard green trees. This week, I'm venturing outside the shady, green box, and creating an alien forest setup using silicon aquarium plants!





Aquarium plants come in a pretty vast range of different styles, sizes and colours, so can be an invaluable source of alien flora. The plants I'm using here are some sort of anemone-looking thing made from silicon and mounted in pairs or triplets on resin rocks. You could just as easily use whatever other plants you feel like (or can find in your local aquarium supply store!), but I really liked the look of these.



Forest bases need a base (obviously!), so I cut half a dozen out of 5mm masonite. I used a scroll saw with the blade set to a 30 degree angle for this, to get nice wobbly edges, and then sanded them down smooth. You could do the same with a jigsaw, or a coping saw if you prefer to avoid power tools.



Onto each base, I glued two or three clumps of 'trees' with superglue, leaving them in the resin rocks so that I didn't have to make up some sort of alternative base for them. This also helps to give them a little more height, and adds a bit of extra texture to the forest bases.



To stretch out my collection of plants a bit, and also to help break up the identical clumps, I cut through some of the resin rocks with a razor saw to split up the tree clumps.



The cut edges of the rocks were then concealed behind stacks of foamed PVC, cut from scraps leftover from a previous project. You could also use foamcore or cardboard for this (although the PVC is a bit more durable and less likely to delaminate from use) or putty or filling plaster to sculpt up a replacement rockface.



From there, I slapped a generous coat of PVA glue on each base and sprinkled on a sand/gravel mix, leaving the glue to dry before tipping off any excess sand that hadn't stuck. I also applied a generous spray of matte sealer, both to help hold the sand down and to kill a little of the shine on the silicon plants.



To paint, I glopped on a generous coat of a medium brown as a base coat - I used a Mont Marte Burnt Umber artist's acrylic for this, with the intention of matching these bases to the air conditioner fitting bunker that I made last week.



Over the brown, I drybrushed a taupe colour ('Fawn', another artist's acrylic).



The largest of the bases had some extra space left on it, so I added some young growth using some clipped pieces of plastic rod, painted up with red and yellow to match the plants.



And that's pretty much it. If you want a more over-grown look to your forests, you could easily put the 'tree' clumps closer together, or add extra undergrowth using other, smaller plants. There's a bit of a balance to find with area terrain like this, though - You want it to look good, but you also need to be able to put models in it, so I prefer to keep things fairly simple to improve their function on the table. An alternative compromise is to mount the trees onto the base with magnets instead of gluing them in place. This lets you add some extra layers of detail, while being able to selectively pluck parts of the forest out of the way as necessary to place models in there. For now, though, this is my forest all together on the table:







Feeling like assembling your own tropical alien paradise? 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!

You can find the Maelstrom's Edge boxed game and model range in the Maelstrom's Edge 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 Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Terrain Spotlight: Bunker from an Air Conditioner Fitting


Posted on Monday Mar 18, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Apparently even when I'm looking for something else completely, the terrain bug is difficult to avoid. On a completely unrelated trip through the hardware store for a change, I came across a rack of plastic air conditioner ducting that included a bunch of pieces that immediately jumped out as potential building fodder. Before you could say 'Get to the bunker!' I was on my way home with fingers just itching to break out the tools. The end result was a brand new ground-level access for a bunker complex!





The piece that I chose started out life as a 100mm ceiling cap, which is apparently something to do with air conditioners - I'm taking the word of the label for that! I love the idea of buildings that serve as an entryway to larger complexes below ground, and the shape of this fitting looked perfect for an atrium bunker leading to a staircase or angled lift shaft.



As the type of plastic used was shiny and of indeterminate pedigree, I started out by removing the label and giving the whole thing a light sand with fine grade sandpaper to remove the glossy outer layer. This helps the glue and paint to stick later.



The fitting is made of two separate pieces that clip together along the sides, which made cutting window holes a little easier - I popped the pieces apart, and used a shutter window from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue to trace around for the hole, with one vertical edge running along the seam. Then I cut along the top and bottom of the marked hole with a razor saw, and scored the other vertical side and snapped the resultant scrap piece out of the hole. This was repeated on the other side, and again on the front for a door hole, using the armoured door from the terrain sprue as a guide.



I glued the windows and door in place using an 'all plastic' glue combo (a two-part setup that includes a tube of superglue and a 'primer' pen that is used first to help the glue stick to unusual plastics). I also added a strip light above the door for a little extra visual detail, and to cover over the screw hole that was there.



To fill in the roof, I cut two pieces of 2mm foamed PVC to the right shape to fit in the cavity. In one of these I cut a square hole for the hatch from the terrain sprue. The two pieces of PVC were then superglued together, and the hatch glued into the hole.



The fitting has a couple of handy ridges running around in the top cavity at a perfect height to form a balcony once the PVC section was glued and dropped in to sit on them. At this point I also glued the structure down onto a piece of masonite cut to an appropriate size and shape, and filled in the seam on the fitting with a little putty.



To paint, I started out with a coat of Rustoleum brown primer.



I wanted some light texture over the non-metal parts of the bunker. For this, I used a terracotta paint found in the paint section at my hardware store. This is generally used on plastic plant pots to make them look like they're made of terracotta, and has a really fine grit mixed through it to give it a sandy feel. I used a large brush and dabbed this on rather than brushing, to avoid brushstrokes showing up when I drybrushed over it.



The terracotta coat was a little patchy when it dried, with the dark brown basecoat showing through a bit darker than I wanted, so I went over it with a coat of Burnt Sienna craft paint. While that was drying, I also went over the base with a generous layer of PVA glue and sprinkled on a coarse sand and gravel mix.



The bunker was then drybrushed with a mix of Burnt Sienna and a taupe colour (actually called 'Fawn' on the bottle). The metal parts were given a heavy drybrush with P3 Pig Iron and then a generous wash with Army Painter Dark Tone, and the base was painted with a dark brown (Burnt Umber) craft paint.



Finally, the base was drybrushed with some more Fawn, and the lights painted with Citadel Ultramarine Blue, drybrushed with Ice Blue and White.



I also added a building number on the back slope, using a stencil printed out on paper and cut out with a hobby knife. I dabbed on Vallejo Light Grey with a large brush, and then a layer of white, trying not to make it too neat so that it would look a little weather-worn.



A shot of the roof:



And that's it - ready for the table!



Build your own bunker by picking 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 Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Painting Tutorial: Weathered Signs using Photo Paper Decals


Posted on Monday Mar 11, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Marking your buildings and other urban features with signs, graffiti and other appropriate splashes of colour is a great way of adding some touches of realism to your wargaming terrain. This week, I thought I would share a simple technique for creating faded and worn signs and markings using decals made from photo paper!





This technique won't get you bright, new looking signs - for that, you can use regular decals, or print your sign out on paper and glue it in place. What we're aiming for here are signs that have been out in the elements for a while, and are battered, chipped and faded.

Start by drawing up the design you want to apply to the building in your drawing program of choice (I use Gimp). The final applied image will be duller than your original, so you may need to experiment a bit to find the right level at first - If you want a fairly bright and legible sign, use bright colours. Use more muted colours for a more faded effect.
You will also need to flip the image so it is a mirror-image. Then print onto gloss photo paper, and cut out the design using a sharp hobby knife or scissors. Leave a tab of extra paper on one side, and just score lightly along the edge of the image on the tab side.



Apply a thin layer of superglue to the surface of the image. You need to keep this thin enough that it won't squeeze outside the bounds of the image when you press it onto the terrain surface. Don't worry if you don't get the image covered perfectly, as this just creates some handy chipping on the final image.

Press the image face-first onto your painted surface and hold it in place until the glue has had a chance to set.



Grab the excess paper tab and gently peel the paper off. It should peel away leaving the ink and a very thin surface layer of the photo paper behind. Gently scrape the paper layer away with a finger nail to expose the coloured surface beneath.



For any remaining scraps of thin paper left behind, you can rub gently with a damp fingertip to clean then away. The moisture will make your image look brighter for a moment, and white parts may go transparent, but it will fade again as it dries.



If the end result is a little too faded, you can pick the colours up a little by painting on a thin layer of gloss varnish. It won't make a huge difference, but will brighten things up slightly.



From there, you can go ahead and add other detailing and weathering to your terrain as desired. See my guide to sponge weathering here, or the slightly more advanced salt weathering technique here.



As noted back at the start, while the end result is intended to be faded and weathered, you will get a brighter end result if you use stronger colours to begin with. Black shows through best of all, so you can add extra definition to the image by adding thin black borders around everything.



Give it a go! Feel free to share your efforts, or ask for help on the Comm Guild Facebook page!



You can pick up the entire Maelstrom's Edge model range, including the terrain sprue used for the terrain in this article, 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 Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.

Terrain Spotlight: Plant Pot Bunker


Posted on Monday Feb 25, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

One of the things that I enjoy most about this hobby is finding random things that can be turned into new terrain. This week's article is one of just those awesome little finds - a bunker made from a grocery-store plant pot!





The base for this build was one of a set of three plastic plant pots, found at my local supermarket.



As the plastic these are made of is really hard and shiny, I started out by lightly sanding the outside. This breaks up the shiny surface, and allows glue and paint to adhere better.



I decided to avoid cutting into the pot, as I expected the plastic to be quite brittle - brittle plastic breaks easily if you're not careful when cutting it, and it was easier to just not bother. As such, I took a door from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue and built a small boxwork for it using foamed PVC. I used the side of the bunker as a tracing guide to get the correct angle on the back of the box, so that it would sit nice and flush.



The door was then glued in place using an 'all plastics' superglue (a two-part glue that has a tube of superglue and a 'primer' pen that makes it stick better to plastics that don't do so well with superglue alone), along with a square of foamed PVC cut to fit neatly around the bottom of the bunker.



I used reinforcing struts from the terrain sprue for the bunker's vision slits, shortened up by cutting the last section off each end.



To get the slits positioned right on each side, I marked out the correct horizontal position on a cork sanding block, and used that pushed up against the wall as a height guide.



To cover over the holes in the base of the pot, I cut a square of 1mm plasticard and glued it into the recess.



To finish up, I glued the bunker to a roughly-shaped piece of masonite, and trimmed up the base square of PVC to make it a less regular shape, adding some protrusions with cast-offs of PVC to break it up even further. I also added some buttresses on the three non-door sides of the bunker, to break up line of sight around the perimeter.



I painted over the PVC on the base with some Vallejo Heavy Brown before gluing some gravel mix down over the top with PVA glue - the paint layer helps to stop stray bits of white showing through once the base is painted.



The finished bunker, ready for paint:



And with some paint on:









Build your own bunker by picking 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: Corner Brace Shipping Crates


Posted on Monday Feb 11, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Time for another quick and easy build!

The Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue includes a nifty corner bracing piece, which would normally be used on the roof corners of flat-roof buildings to pretty them up a little. Because a lot of my buildings have angled buttresses or ballustraded roofs, I collect a lot of spares of this part. Looking for something easy and effective to do with them, I hit on the idea of turning them into shipping crates!





To replicate these, for each crate you will need some 1mm thick plasticard or cardboard - two pieces 21mm square, two pieces 21mm x 12mm, and two pieces 19mm by 12mm, and you will also need eight corner braces.



Start by placing the corner braces flat side down, and gluing them together in sets of four along the flat edges, as below:



Glue your large squares into the two resultant boxwork shapes. If you're using plasticard, you can use polystyrene cement for this. Use superglue if you have gone with cardboard.



Next, take the 21mm long strips, and glue them along the inside of one of the boxes, along opposite sides. It doesn't matter which two sides you go with, so long as they are opposite each other.



The 19mm strips should then fit neatly in on the other two sides. It's a good idea to check them for fit, and trim up if necessary before gluing them in. If you wind up with the corners of the strips not all meeting up exactly, it's not a problem, as they'll be hidden by the boxwork when you put the other side on.



Speaking of the other side, you can now glue this on by sliding it on over the strips, until it butts up neatly against the first side.



And that's it. They're really easy to put together, so (assuming you have enough corner braces knocking around) you can quickly assemble a few of them to stack up and scatter around the table for a bit of low cover.



They're fairly light, so while they sit neatly on top of each other, you may find it beneficial to glue the stacks together so that they don't get knocked awry mid-game. This also gives you less surface to paint, since you won't need to paint the faces that are touching other crates!







Keen to 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: Landing Pad 16, part 2


Posted on Monday Feb 04, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Time to check back in on my landing pad display board build! (If you missed part one, you can find it here)

In the first instalment, I ran through the construction of the 'back' side of the display, so this time around I'm working on the landing pad area.



When I cut the foamed PVC for the floor, I left out a curved area that would form the main section of the actual landing pad itself. To fill this in, I cut a piece of 2mm thick cardboard.



On the top surface of the card, I painted a layer of superglue, and then laid a piece of fibreglass flyscreen flat over the card. Once the glue set, I trimmed the screen around the edges.



I wanted a section of the pad to have visible pipes under the mesh, and had cut a cavity into the cardboard for this purpose. Painting this with everything glued in place would be problematic, so I cut the screen neatly down one edge of the cavity so that it can be lifted up out of the way to paint the pipes. The pipes were made from sections of an assortment of plastic rods. Once the pipes and the rest of the pad are painted, I'll glue the screen back down and add a little trim over the top to disguise the joint.



As detailed last week, I built up the walls using foamed PVC. I left a recess around the top of the landing pad wall, along with the pad's retractable roof would slide.



I added support struts from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along the top and bottom of the walls, with an extra row of reinforcing



As I had pipes running into the wall from the back side of the board, I needed something on the pad side to match up to them. The first became a heat vent, using a trimmed down large pipe fitting from the terrain sprue and a pipe end from a 13mm drip irrigation setup. I shortened the pipe fitting by cutting across it with a razor saw.



For the second large pipe, I built a fuel storage tank using another drip irrigation piece, a piece of plastic packaging that I think came from a laser printer component, and a clear plastic cap - I don't recall exactly where this piece came from, but I think it was some piece of toddler-feeding paraphernalia. I added some connection ports to the front using the small pipe fitting from the terrain sprue and some plasticard.



For the smaller pipe, I ran a matching piece of pipe cut from the side of the terrain sprue, and fed this into an air conditioning unit built from foamed PVC and an assortment of gubbinz from the terrain sprue.



To the left of the pipe I had added a square hatch, just for a little detail, with the intention of this turning into a conveyor feeding into the pad area from elsewhere. For the conveyor belt, I glued in a bunch of plastic tubes to create rollers.



I broke up the vast expanse of flyscreen on the pad with a couple of strips of plasticard, and added a curved strip around the edges to conceal the join between the screen section and the solid floor.



The rectangle cut into the pad floor was intended to turn into a cargo lift. I built the lift platform using a piece of PVC, some support struts from the terrain sprue and a piece of chequer plate plasticard.





To allow for some variation in the display, I wanted to be able to reposition the lift. To this end, I built a hydraulic lift to go under the middle of the platform using some pieces of plastic tube and a couple of pipe fittings. Thanks to the magic of magnets, this all slots together when needed. Alternatively it can be left out, allowing the lift to sit on the floor.



Ships need to recharge as well as refuel. I built a charging port using a shutter window with most of the shutters cut out. Into the resultant opening, I glued a piece of plasticard and some assorted bits and pieces. The charging cable was made from a couple of pieces of plastic tube and the chain from a fob watch I had sitting in my bits box.



At the other end of the board, I wanted some stairs and decking platforms to create some vertical detail. I cut the shape of the platforms out of 1mm plasticard, and glued on some aluminium mesh cut to the same size.





On the bottom of the mesh, I glued matching pieces of plasticard, and then added some diagonal supports using I-beam plastic rod.



The supports for the platforms we made from foamed PVC, doubled-up to give it some extra thickness.



With the legs in place, I added some extra supports for staircases, cut from more PVC. I used strips of textured plasticard for the stair treads. For the moment, I left the platforms and the treads on the lower staircase unglued, to make it a little easier to paint underneath them.



I added some more support struts around the edges of the platforms and on the ends of the legs. I also glued on some posts for handrails, cut from the energy fence piece on the terrain sprue.



Some final small details:
- I added a spray gun (for vermin control) onto the wall using a chemtech sprayer from the Epirian Scarecrow kit with a pistol grip from a Guardian pistol added. For the mounting clips, I used a couple of leftover sections from the energy fence posts.
- I pillaged a clingfire sprayer and a leg from the Scarecrow kit, and a trimmed down Spider Drone head to create a security remote.
- And I made a billboard screen using sections cut from a garage door.



And with that, assembly is more or less complete!



The handrails are just a placeholder for the moment - I'm planning on using 1.6mm aluminium rods for these, so that they can be bent to shape to go down the stairs, but these won't be glued in until the platforms are painted.

















Stay tuned for part three, where we get some paint on this little construction!



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: Landing Pad 16, part 1


Posted on Monday Jan 21, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

This week, I'm kicking off something a little different for the new year. It's a bigger project than normal, so I'll be spacing it out over a couple of articles, with the aim being to build a detailed display board to use as a backdrop for photographing miniatures. I wanted something that would have plenty of open areas for placing miniatures, and a few different contrasting areas to allow some variety in backdrops with just the one piece. And so 'Landing Pad 16' was born:





Normally when I'm building terrain, I have a rough idea in my head of what I'm going to build, and I just wing it from that. Because this one was a little more complicated, I started by sketching out a rough design, and then translated that into a 1:1 plan on a sheet of cardboard.





For the bulk of the structure, I chose to use foamed PVC sheet. This is a lightweight, but strong plastic material that is easy to cut and shape, and takes extremely well to superglue, which allows it to be used to build solid, detailed structures.

I took my plan and drew up a neater version on the PVC, and then used an exacto knife and steel ruler to cut it out.



I had a slight measuring mishap when scribing some panel lines on the floor piece. Rather than starting over, I just flipped the floor over, making the build a mirror image of my original design. The floor was layered, to allow for some depth in the detailing. With the floor marking out the basic shape for the structure, I could start adding the walls, shaping the PVC to the outline of the building.



The foamed PVC is quite flexible, but I added a curve to the landing pad wall by heating the PVC in boiling water, curving it around a biscuit tin and letting it cool. This wasn't super-effective, but gave it enough of a lasting curve to let it bend more easily to the required shape. Having the natural bend in there means that the PVC isn't trying to spring back as hard against the glue line, giving a more solid joint.



As with all of my Maelstrom's Edge buildings so far, detailing on this one is added courtesy of the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. I created two hexagonal windows for the landing bay freight access corridor by gluing together pairs of trapezoid windows along their long edges.



As I built up the structure, the plan changed a little from the original sketch. I added extra access between the two sides of the board, and brought the detail on the 'reverse' side down from the roof to a first-level courtyard.



The courtyard needed some depth to allow for some staggered model positioning, so I added a couple of descending platforms on the rear, using layers of PVC to create the steps between levels.



I had planned for a groove to run around the top of the landing pad wall, which would theoretically serve as a runner for a retractable roof - I'm not building the roof, but wanted it to be implied for completeness. For the roof groove to have depth, this needed to protrude into the back facing of the wall, so I built up a box structure using layers of PVC.



The doors on the terrain sprue have detail on both sides, but as they're intended to be used on external structures they only have the framework on the one side. I created a double sided doorway by removing the frame from the rest of the door using a razor saw. On a second door, I cut the door itself out leaving the frame intact, so I could have an open doorway for the freight access.







However carefully you cut and glue, you wind up with some gaps and rough edges. I used some putty to fill in wherever necessary, and once set used some fine sandpaper to smooth it down.



To give the walls some structural detail, I built up a recurring pattern using the support struts from the terrain sprue, and glued this on along the top and bottom of each wall. For curved walls, I carefully bent the strut to shape before gluing it in place.





Rather than having bare cement floors everywhere, I added tiles to the courtyard area using textured plasticard. By cutting out squares of tiles in a regular pattern, I inserted some decorative areas of smaller tiles - these will be painted up with the Epirian Foundation logo.



Using ladders from the terrain sprue, and posts cut from sections of the sprue itself, I added a handrail around the courtyard.



I left the handrail open in a couple of places, to allow some avenues for displaying models and show where the terrain would theoretically continue past the confines of the display board. I did extend the rail part of the way down the stairs, by cutting a piece of 2mm plasticard in a pattern matching the rungs of the ladder.



Down the other end of the board, behind the landing pad, I built some nice, hefty pipes using the large pipe fitting from the terrain sprue and some 13mm garden drip irrigation fittings.



I scattered some smaller pipes around the place using the small pipe fitting, some plastic tubing, and some more scrap sprue from the terrain sprue.



With all of that done, this side of the board is more or less done. There is still a little more gap filling and sanding to be done, and probably some more small details to add here and there. I'll need to add some sort of trim around the bottom edge to neaten everything up, but that will wait until the other side is finished so I can make it consistent.

















Stay tuned for part two, detailing the landing pad side of the board!



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.