The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Entries tagged [terrain]

Terrain Spotlight: Hot Glue & Christmas Bauble Alien Trees!


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


- by Iain Wilson

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




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



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



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



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

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



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



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



Here's a video of the gluing in process!



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



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



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



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



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







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





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

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

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

Terrain Spotlight: Junkyard!


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


- by Iain Wilson

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




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



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



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



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





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





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





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







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

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



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

Terrain Spotlight: Light-up Grill


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


- by Iain Wilson

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




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



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



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



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



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



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



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





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





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

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

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

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

Terrain Spotlight: Expanding Foam Trees!


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


- by Iain Wilson

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




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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



The end result:







And the forest cluster, all together:





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



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

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

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

Terrain Spotlight: Derelict Water Tank


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


- by Iain Wilson

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




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



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



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



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



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



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





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











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

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

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

Terrain Spotlight: Paint Bottle Fuel Pylon


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


- by Iain Wilson

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




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



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



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



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



With some paint on, the pylon looked like this:







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

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

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

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

Terrain Spotlight: Hamster Igloo Environment Dome


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


- by Iain Wilson

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




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



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



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



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



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











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



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

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

Terrain Spotlight: Tissue Box Building


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


- by Iain Wilson

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




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



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



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

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



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

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



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











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

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

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

Painting Spotlight: Escape Pod Diorama


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


- by Iain Wilson

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

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




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



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



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



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

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



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

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



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









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

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



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

Terrain Sprue Kitbash: Escape Pod


Posted on Friday May 08, 2020 at 02:11AM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

It probably won't surprise anyone who has been following my articles for any length of time that I spend a lot of time looking at sprues and figuring out different ways to fit parts together in new and interesting ways. This week, the power generators on Terrain Sprue #2 caught my eye, and I decided it was time to get away from it all, with a compact escape pod!




The main hull of the pod was built from two generators, and two reinforcing struts split into two and three segment pieces.



I glued the longer strut pieces, detail-side in, along the long edges of the back of the generator, and then trimmed the short pieces to fit neatly along the short edges, before fitting the second generator onto the other side.



For the jet nozzle on the rear of the pod, I used two large pipe fittings from Terrain Sprue #1, glued back-to-back. The inside piece needed some slight trimming on the flat edges to fit neatly between the protruding ends of the struts.



The viewport on the front of the pod was built from more parts from Terrain Sprue #2: a light, a round window and the base of the weapon mount with the sliderail trimmed down.



As a final step, I added some extra detail over the flat strut backs, using the energy fence posts from Terrain Sprue #1 with the bases cut off. For the bottom of the pod, I clipped off the energy projectors and sanded the post face down flat, gluing it with the back of the of the post facing out. On the top, I wanted a couple of clamps to hang the pod with, so I cut the top and bottom energy projector segments off the post, and then just trimmed, sanded and flipped the middle section.



That just left painting. I used a basecoat of Army Painter Necrotic Flesh, and then a wash of Citadel Iyanden Yellow Contrast, followed with a sponge of Vallejo Heavy Charcoal to weather it. For the metal sections, I used Citadel Boltgun Metal with a wash of Army Painter Strong Tone, followed by a light drybrush of Army Painter Shining Silver, and AK Interactive Pure Black over the jet exhaust. The viewport was painted with a mix of Army Painter Matt White, Ice Storm and Ultramarine Blue, and the lights on the rear panels with white, Army Painter Pure Red and AK Pure Black.













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

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



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

Terrain Spotlight: Crystal Outcrops!


Posted on Friday Mar 13, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

I recently picked up the fantastic Xenos Jungle terrain mat from Deep Cut Studio, as I really loved the unusual colouring. It shows an alien world covered in rocks, sinister looking ground mist or liquid, some yellowy-green plants, and large, shiny outcrops of purple crystals, and I was instantly in love when I saw it. The only problem with it was that I didn't have any suitable terrain to go with it, so I set out this week to rectify that problem, creating some crystal-encrusted rocky outcrops!




There are a large range of different ways to make crystals, or facsimiles thereof, for the table, but I decided to go the easiest route and just use something that already looked the part. After scouring the internet for a while, I found some acrylic 'ice crystals' on Amazon that looked like they would fit the bill. I wound up buying three packets from three different sellers, due to some unexpected one-per-customer rules on them, which netted me three packets of purple crystals that, while identical in shape, were all slightly different shades of purple. As this just winds up with a more natural overall effect, I couldn't have planned it better if I had tried!

As the crystals were all the same size, I glued some together using an all-plastics glue, and took some others and belted them with a hammer to break them down into smaller pieces (Wear eye protection if you want to try this!)



For the bulk of the outcrops, I decided to use expanded polystyrene, as it's quick and easy to cut to shape. I used an old kitchen knife to roughly cut the polystyrene to the shape I wanted, and then used small spots of PVA glue to glue it down to a piece of 3mm foamed PVC to give it a solid base. Using small amounts of PVA rather than covering the whole piece helps to avoid the base warping when the glue druies.



To cover the polystyrene, the common choice would be filling plaster. I'm not a fan of this, hoever, as it chips easily, so I decided to try something experimental. I ran a bunch of old cardboard boxes through a cross-cut paper shredder, to make a nice pile of tiny cardboard pieces.



I soaked the cardboard in water overnight in the hope of softening it up a bit, and then drained and squeezed out as much water as I could, before mixing it into a slurry with PVA glue, some cheap, black, acrylic paint and a little plaster to bind it all together. Then, I slopped the resultant mess over the polystyrene, smoothing it down as much as possible.



While the cardboard mess was wet, I took crystals and applied clear craft glue to the bottoms. These were then pushed them into the wet surface, so that they would be partially submerged. I then left it overnight for everything to set.



The cardboard slurry dried with a fairly obvious, rectangular texture, which was going to look a bit odd for a natural outcrop, so I painted over the whole thing with a generous layer of PVA glue and sprinkled a coarse sand mixture over it, leaving this to set.



After shaking off the excess sand the next day, I gave the rock surface a coat of black paint.



My intention was to drybrush it grey, to try to match the rock on the mat, but my test piece wound up far too dark and grey looking, so I wound up going back over it with a rough coat of a sandy brown craft paint.



Over this, I applied a generous layer of Army Painter Strong Tone.



When the wash had dried, I set to work with some Coat D'Arms Bone and Bilious Green, and some Vallejo Light Grey, drybrushing all over the rock. The colours don't show up well in the pic here, but the aim was to replicate somewhat the different tones found on the different areas of the mat, so that the terrain wouldn't look out of place wherever it was positioned. I finished up with a final highlight of white to tie everything together, and then added a purple blush around the crystals. This was again matching the style of the mat, and also hopefully adding some more colour under the small crystal pieces I was intending to add at the end.



Finally, I dabbed some more PVA glue around the crystal outcrops and sprinkled on some of the small crystal gravel that resulted from my earlier hammering efforts. I also added some statuic grass and some plants cut from plastic home-decorating sheets to break up some of the boring rock bits.



With a few bits together on the mat, it wound up looking like this:



It's not a perfect match for the terrain on the mat, but it's close enough to work! The next step will be to finish off the rest of the outcrops and a building that I have in progress (as soon as I finish panic-buying some more Strong Tone!), and then work up some sort of 'forest' bases to flesh out a full table.



Stay tuned for more!



In the meantime, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge range, from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to share your models and terrain, 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: Painting the Underhive, part 5


Posted on Thursday Feb 27, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

This week sees the conclusion (for now!) of my ongoing Underhive terrain project! Previously, I have painted up the watch tower, generator tower, junction tower and the all-important lift tower. That just left the trash processing unit sitting follornly on the desk in nothing but its undercoat - a situation that set out to remedy, with the below results!




This one was slightly more complicated with the base coat layer than the other buildings, as I wanted the wall panels to be green, but everything else to be grey or rusted metal. I sprayed the tower with Army Painter Army Green, and the first level platform and base with Wolf Grey, and then went back over the metal parts brown rust base, a brushed-on mix of Vallejo Charred Brown and AK Red Brown Leather.



I won't go through the whole process here, because aside from being green it's identical to how the previous structures were painted. The one difference, though, was the graffiti for the lower level. I wanted it to be fairly extensive, but realised that painting it in there by hand was going to be awfully tricky. Instead, I pulled up a couple of handy, online graffiti generators and used them to create some overlay pieces that could be printed out on paper, weathered with grey, cut out, and then glued in place over the lower walls.





Other than that, everything went together the same as for the previous structures. Once I had everything but the final weathering and detailing done, I glued it all together and applied those final touches.















The one thing left to do at this point was to assemble a table and see how it all looked together! With the addition of a couple of other appropriate buildings to fill in the excess space, and some catwalks and barricades put together for different articles some time back, it all wound up looking like this:





The only thing missing now is a couple of blood-crazed gangs running riot over it. Time for some gaming!

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

As always, feel free to share your models and terrain, 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: Painting the Underhive, part 4


Posted on Thursday Feb 13, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The underhive continues to come to life! Previously, I have painted up the watch tower, generator tower, and junction tower. That left me with the trash processing unit and the lift tower to do, and while I'm excited to get some paint on both of these, the lift tower won out this week!




This structure was initially base coated with Army Painter Ultramarine Bluw spray. From there, the process is more or less the same as on the previous structures, and so I started by going back over the exposed metal areas with my brown rust base (a mix of Vallejo Charred Brown and AK Red Brown Leather).



Over the blue, vertical surfaces, I applied light streaking using very watered down light grey. There's a little bit of a trick to getting this the perfect consistency, as if it's not watered down quite enough it can either go on too heavy or bead up on the base layer.



I'm carrying my heavy graffiti theme across to all of the structures wherever possible, and this building was no exception. As before, I sketched in the designs with a fineliner pen, and then coloured them in with assorted paints and inks.



I haven't been getting too carried away with hazard striping so far, but thought this building warranted some on the lift doors. I printed out some appropriately sized strips and glued them into place on the bottoms of the door frames.



Time for weathering! I sponged Vallejo Basalt Grey over the wall panels, and dark brown over the blue-painted metal sections. The grey is much more subtle against the blue than on the previous structure, but it still does the job - if nothing else, it helps to fade the blue down a bit so it's not so eye-catchingly bright. I also drybrushed light grey over the floor sections, and light orange over the rusted metal parts.



From there, I pulled out the Beasty Brown to drybrush some dirt into the nooks and crannies and raised sections.



I stopped at this point to grab some pics of the graffiti, with weathering in place.



Then it was on to the final rust layer. I applied a generous layer of Army Painter Dry Rust to the rusted metal areas by dabbing it on roughly with an old brush.



From there, I just had to glue the floors in place and apply a few final details like the generator coils and the lift control panels, and the job was done.















Next week: The Trash Processing Unit!

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

As always, feel free to share your models and terrain, 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: Painting the Underhive, part 3


Posted on Thursday Feb 06, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

This week, I'm continuing right on with my underhive project. So far, I have painted up the watch tower and generator tower, and so I needed to paint something with a little more colour to it. So I decided to have a crack at my twin level junction tower.




When I base sprayed all of the structures, I hit this one with a coat of Army Painter Necrotic Flesh on the walls, and some medium grey on the floor/roof areas. I then went over with a brush and picked out all of the exposed metal areas with dark brown.



Most of the painting process here will be looking fairly familiar by now to anyone who has been following these articles. As with the sides of the watch tower, I added some streaking to the walls using very watered down pale grey with a flat brush.



I wanted this building to have some more extensive graffiti coverage, but as with the others I wanted it to be weathered and old, so this needed to go on before the weathering layer. I sketched out the designs with a fineliner pen and some pale grey paint, and then filled in the colour using Army Painter inks and Citadel Contrast in various colours.



To apply the weathering, I used a sponge to apply grey over the wall panels, and dark brown over the doors and doorframes. I also drybrushed the floors with pale grey, and the brown metal areas with pale orange.



I glued the ladders on at this point, and then went over the whole structure adding some dirt into creases and wherever else seemed appropriate with a drybrush of brown. I also glued the bottom layer down to the base board, although I left the top layer unglued so that they can be split and used as two single-level structures.



For the final touch, I dabbed Army Painter Dry Rust over the metal sections, working downwards onto the raised surfaces and stippling lightly all over to avoid hard edges on the rust sections. This gave a much smoother finish than on the previous structure, where the rust had wound up a bit stark in places.















So that's one more done. Stay tuned for part 4 - although I'm undecided as to whether to do the trash unit or the lift building first. I'm a bit excited about getting either of them done!

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

As always, feel free to share your models and terrain, 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: Painting the Underhive, part 2


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


- by Iain Wilson

Last week, I started painting the underhive terrain that I've been building over the last few months, based very loosely on the designs of the terrain from the original Necromunda starter set. For anyone who missed the previous article, I started out by basecoating everything, and then finishing off the watch tower. This week, I'm carrying right along with the painting, on the generator tower!




For the basecoat on this one, I had sprayed the base with grey, and the upright sections of the building with a brown rust base colour. So before going any further, I needed to base the floors with grey, and just touch up with brown anywhere the spray had missed.



As another bare cement and rusty metal structure, painting from here was fairly similar to the tower. I gave the metal sections a drybrush with a light orange, and the cement a heavy drybrush with light grey.



I wanted to include some hazard stripes on this one to give it a bit more colour. To save time, instead of painting them by hand I worked up some circles in Gimp, printed them out, and then hit them with some sponge weathering with grey paint. Then it was simply a matter of cutting them out, painting the backs with a coat of PVA glue and sitting them in place.



I made up some larger circles to go around the central pit, and some smaller semicircles for the ladder access holes. I also whipped up a couple of quick signs to go on the upright pillars. While putting these all in place, I also went over the panel lines in the floors with a black fine point pen,and added some graffit around the upright pillars, just for colour.



Once the glue had set, I went over the cement areas with a patchy drybrush of brown to dirty things up, and then added some dry rust effect paint to the metal sections. The rust just gets blobbed on wherever seems appropriate, and it can be tricky to tell if you have got it right until it dries. It's come out a little too heavy and patchy in places here, so I'll probably go back and touch it up later.



That just left some final details - painting the keyboard and screen on the computer panel on the roof, painting the pipes in the core with an aged copper finish (you can find the tutorial for that here!), and adding some drops of black and brown ink around the place for assorted liquid stains.













Stay tuned for part 3, which promises to be a little more colourful!

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

As always, feel free to share your models and terrain, 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.