The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

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Terrain Spotlight: Cardboard Gift Box Ruin


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


- by Iain Wilson

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



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



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



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



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



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



Once done, the cardboard structure went together like this:



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



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



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



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





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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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

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

Modeling Spotlight: Converted Gnolti Longhorn


Posted on Monday Jun 04, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Slow to anger, but difficult to put down once roused, Gnolti form an implacable, craggy backbone of the Broken forces. As awesome as a regular Gnotli is, I thought it might be interesting to explore the different ways that being forced into warfare might affect different Gnolti. I thought it might be likely that younger, more headstrong Gnolti would be more ready to turn to anger, while older, experienced veterans would be more prone to careful consideration and strategy. With the seeds planted, I grabbed some putty and a few extra bits and pieces, and the Gnolti Longhorn was born!



Obviously, the core of this model is the fantastic, resin Gnolti model.



To make him stand out a little, I wanted some suitably scavenged-looking armour, although this would be more for decoration than anything, given the Gnolti's craggy hide. So I grabbed the front half of an Epirian Hunter Mech torso and removed the lower section.



With some battle damage and careful trimming added with a hobby knife, the torso front fit nicely on over the right shoulder.

To create the eponymous 'longhorns', I drilled into the ends of the horns, and glued in some curled lengths of steel wire.



I reshaped the locator pin on the bottom of the torso a little so that I could twist the torso slightly to the side. Then I heated the right leg in hot water and bent back slightly, allowing the legs to be posed on a low piece of rubble.



The Longhorn was going to lack the shield generators worn by regular Gnolti, but removing the forearm shields completely would have required considerable resculpting of the arms, so instead I removed all of the tech details and added a bunch of battle damage, turning them into ordinary, garden variety bracers.



To allow the left arm to be angled closer in to the torso to rest it on the left knee, I hollowed out the elbow joint with a hobby knife, and slightly reshaped the elbow end of the upper arm.



At this point, it was time to break out the putty. The horns received an initial bulking-out layer.



Once this was set, I added additional putty and smoothed it into the horn shape, and then added striations to match the existing horn sections using a silicon clay shaper.



Rather than worrying too much about getting the horns identical lengths, I made one shorter and squared off the end, to make it look like it had been broken off.



The right hand needed repositioning to hold the gun properly, so I sliced through the wrist with a razor saw, and reattached it at a better angle. The gun itself was borrowed from a Mantic Veer-min Nightmare, with some grips added from plastic tube. I'm picturing this as a Chem Cannon, but haven't fully settled on rules yet.





After final assembly and some minor gap-filling here and there, the Longhorn looked something like this:





Painting was very similar to my previous Gnolti conversion, although I went for a slightly more stark highlight on the scales and a white/grey beard to help convey his veteran status.



The skin is Citadel Liche Purple, drybrushed with P3 Jack Bone and then washed with Army Painter Purple Tone. Scales were painted with Vallejo Neutral Grey, washed with Army Painter Dark Tone and then given a careful drybrush of white.



The harness, cloth and leather armour plates were painted with various shades of brown and washed with Army Painter Strong Tone, and the metal armour was painted with Vallejo Beasty Brown, drybrushed with P3 Pig Iron, washed with Strong Tone and then given a drybrush of Army Painter silver. The darker tone on the weapon was from a black basecoat, a heavy drybrush of Pig Iron and then two coats of Dark Tone.



With basing in my standard Urban theme, Grampa Gnolti was ready for the table.



The other end of the spectrum is, of course, the young, impetuous (relatively speaking) Gnolti. Stay tuned!

What have you done with your Gnolti? We would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

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

Broken infantry sprue: which arms fit which weapons?


Posted on Wednesday May 30, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


Originally posted on Dakkadakka by Sgt.Oddball.

Hi all,

The Broken Infantry sprues have a total of 13 different weapons (not counting grenades) and 36 different pairs of arms. I thought it would be convenient to know which arms fit which weapons. Scientific testing was set up:



Egg crates full of arms.



Weapons to be tested (from top to bottom, name/part: slug rifle/w0, beam blastgun/w1, longbeam rifle/w3, massive torch/w4, torch/w5, EMP Harpoon/w6, Glue Rifle/w7, Slug Pistol/w13, Chem Pistol/w14, Chem Launcher/w16, Glue Carbine/w17, Beam Pistol/w18, Auto Slugger/w29.

Before relaying the results, a disclaimer:

- I only used the one torso/leg combination (legs 3 and torso 3). I think the pairings will work for most torso/leg combinations, but see a little addendum at the end on torso number 6 which is definitely different. I also stuck to the arms as paired on the sprue (didn't mix and match left and right).

- I stuck the arms to the torso with tacky glue and dry-fitted the weapons. Hence, stuff will fit a little nicer when you actually glue it properly. Also, I couldn't take pictures of some combos for lacking three hands.

- It's a rough guide: not all the fits shown are ideal, I might have missed one that kinda fits as well, and of course if you're a little creative and/or do a tiny bit of converting, more fits are possible.

Then, finally, with the Broken sprues it's useful to know that all the '1' arms create a similar hold, all the '2' arms create a similar hold, etc. The numbers for the arms in no way match specifically with the torsos that are on the same sprue, that's totally unrelated. Generally the 1 arms are good for the Slug Rifle, Beam Blastgun, Longbeam Rifle (but 5 is better), Massive Torch and EMP Harpoon. The 2 arms are good for pistols. The 3 arms are good for having your gun resting on the ground. 3E will do a dual pistol. The 4 arms are good for the Torch and Glue Carbine. The 5 arms are good for the Auto Slugger and Longbeam Rifle. The 6 arms are good for the Glue Rifle, Slug Rifle, Beam Blastgun and EMP Harpoon.

So, results:

Slug Rifle works with: 1A, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 2D, 3C, 3D, 3F, 4D, 5A, 5E, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.


Beam Blastgun works with: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 3C, 3D, 3F, 5A, 5C, 5D, 5E, 5F, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.


Longbeam Rifle works with: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 3C, 3D, 3F, 5A, 5B, 5E, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.


Massive Torch works with: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 5E, 6A.


Torch works with: 2AS, 2D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 4F, 5D, 5F.


EMP Harpoon works with: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 3A, 3C, 3D, 3F, 5A, 5C, 5D, 5E, 5F, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.


Glue Rifle is a bit odd as there's several ways one might hold it. I have my preference but just showed them all. Note that the gun is upside down in one of the pics. I think this might be because I dropped it and then redid the photo without noticing I held the gun wrong, which would mean this combo should work the right way up, but I'm not sure ;). Works with: 1D, 1E, 3B, 3C, 3D, 3F, 5C, 5E, 5F, 6A, 6B, 6D, 6E, 6F.


Slug Pistol works with: 2A, 2B, 2C, 2E, 2F, 5C, 5D, 5E, 5F.


Chem Pistol works with: 2A, 2B, 2E, 2F, 3E.


Chem Launcher works with: 1D, 1E, 2F, 5A, 5D, 5E.


Glue Carbine works with: 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 4F, 5D, 5F.


Beam Pistol works with: 1A, 1E, 2A, 2C, 2D, 3E.


Auto Slugger works with: 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D, 5E, 5F, 6C, 6E.


Small addendum regarding torso number 6, which I think is the only one that makes a serious difference for the arms:

In general, torso 6 points the hands closer together. This makes arms 3 and 4 almost useless, but gives a lot of options for the torch and glue carbine as those shorter guns now take advantage of the many arms that usually accommodate longer guns. It's surprisingly hard to find any arm combination to actually fit the basic Slug Rifle, so beware of that. I did slightly less extensive research on this torso (no pics of every combo), but here's my results:

Slug Rifle: 6C, 6F.
Beam Blastgun: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1F, 5D, 5E, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.
Longbeam Rifle: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 6A, 6C, 6D, 6F.
Massive Torch: 1A, 1B, 1D, 1E, 6A.
Torch: 1A, 1B, 1D, 1E, 1B, 2D, 2E, 2F, 5B, 5D, 5E.
EMP Harpoon: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 6A, 6B, 6D, 6E, 6F.
Glue Rifle: 5E, 6A, 6C, 6D, 6F.
Slug Pistol: 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F.
Chem Pistol: 1A, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 3E.
Chem Launcher: 2B, 2D, 2E, 5E, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F.
Glue Carbine: 1C, 1D, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 5A, 5B, 5D, 5E, 5F.
Beam Pistol: 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 3E.
Auto Slugger: 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 6C, 6F.


General pose of the 1 arms:


General pose of the 2 arms:


3 arms are basically useless with this torso (unless you do a little bit of converting), but you can still do double pistols:


4 arms aren't much use for weapons, but might work if you want to model somebody gesturing whilst talking ;)


General pose of the 5 arms:


General pose of the 6 arms:


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


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


- by Iain Wilson

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



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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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





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











Some Karist troopers, taking up station:






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

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

Painting Tutorial - Konstantin Moor, Veteran Bot Handler


Posted on Monday May 21, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Last week, I ran through a conversion tutorial for a veteran Master Bot Handler who I'm calling Konstantin Moor, a nasty, multi-weaponed individual built, along with his faithful drone companions, from the new Epirian Master Bot Handler kit (If you missed last week's article, you can find it here).

Well, now it's time to get some paint on him!



Before I start, a quick note on paints: I tend to use paints from a few different ranges, as I collect whichever paints I like rather than sticking to a single brand. If you're looking to match any of the paints I use, you might find this Paint Compatibility Chart somewhat handy!

I'm painting Konstantin for gaming rather than display, so this is a fairly quick and easy paintjob, with nothing too complicated or fancy going on. I started out by basecoating all three models with Army Painter Army Green spray.





Next, I painted armour sections and the drone chassis with Vallejo Yellow Green, and metal sections with Vallejo Heavy Charcoal. I also gave Konstantin some Vallejo Neutral Grey pants, and a base layer of skin using Citadel Scorched Brown.





Once that was done, I went over the yellow green with a light wash of Army Painter Green Tone, and the metal, grey and skin with Army Painter Dark Tone.





When the washes had dried, I went back over the green sections with a fine brush and a little more green wash, applying very thin layers onto downward-facing surfaces to give them a little more shading. Then I applied a light highlight to raised edges using Coat D'Arms Putrid Green. The metal areas were given a similar highlight with P3 Pig Iron, and I used Vallejo Light Grey on Konstantin's pants. For his skin, I highlighted by lightly drybrushing with Citadel Tallarn Flesh.



Finally, the models were all transplanted to fresh bases, painted up in my urban scheme. I added some light grey onto Konstantin's eyebrows, and painted the lenses on his Neural Nodes with Army Painter Pure Red before giving them a spot of white in the centre. For the laser tips and the shield generator on the firefly drone (Cassio), I painted on a layer of Citadel Ultramarine Blue before drybrushing with Citadel Ice Blue and finishing with white. A few other details, like the red eye lenses on the drones (Pure Red, shaded with the red mixed with a little black and then a highlight spot of white), the Epirian badge on Konstantin's chest (Pig Iron, with a spot of P3 Cygnus Yellow), and picking out the missile tips on the spider drone (Iago), and the trio were ready for the table!







Group shot:



Stay tuned for an unofficial rules card to use Konstantin in your own games, coming later this week to the Force Listing section of the Maelstrom's Edge website!

What have you done with your Master Bot Handlers? We would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

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

Modeling Tutorial - Konstantin Moor, Veteran Bot Handler


Posted on Monday May 14, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

I've been having an awful lot of fun playing with the new Epirian Master Bot Handler kit (as evidenced in the Modeling Spotlight article from last week. Amongst all of the other conversion ideas that popped up when I started looking at the sprue, I had one that I thought warranted a conversion article all of its own. And so, let me present Konstantin Moor, Veteran Bot Handler, along with his companion drones: Iago and Cassio!



The main things that set Konstantin apart from his brethren are the additional pair of weapon arms, and the independent movement of the weapon arms, as opposed to the normal direct control rig that links to the forearm. To replicate this build, you will need two Epirian Master Bot Handler sprues and the Faction Expansion Sprue. You will also need a Drone sprue to build Iago and Cassio.

I built the body as normal, using the bent legs and the matching torso. In place of the normal helmeted head, I used the bare head from the Faction Expansion Sprue, although there would be nothing stopping you from just using the normal head if you prefer the armoured look. Note that the head from the expansion sprue is designed to go with the Karist Trooper torso, and so has a slightly thicker neck than the various Epirian and Broken heads. As a result, the neck needed a little shaving down with a hobby knife before being glued in place.



The arms were largely left alone, with the only modification required being to chop off the mounting peg for the weapons.



Now for the fun part. I took the backpack, and underneath the existing weapon arm socket, I smoothed down the corner of the pack and drilled a small guide hole with the tip of my hobby knife. Then I found a drill bit that matched the diameter of the arm socket (11/64", although a 4mm bit would do the job for the metric-inclined) and drilled out a new arm socket. I did this with the drill bit held in my fingers and twirling it - you could use a dremel or similar rotary tool, but plastic is soft so there's not really any need when the drill bit is large enough to grip it securely with your fingers, and this helps to reduce the risk of accidentally over-drilling the hole by drilling too fast.



Next up I assembled the two sets of weapon arms and glued them with a bit more than a 90 degree bend in the elbow.



These were glued in place on the backpack, and the backpack and arms glued onto the body. I also glued the Neural Nodes in place on the backpack weapon ports.



Time for some weapons!

Konstantin is armed with two linked sets of Drone Class Laser Systems. Without these being joined to the forearms, I wanted to change how they mounted onto the weapon arms a little, to give them a more open range of movement. Using a hobby knife, I cut through the rear half of the mounting ring off the back of the weapons. The cutoff piece was also cut in half.



The weapons were then glued onto the ends of the weapon arms, pointing directly forwards with the remaining half of the mounting ring socketing over the ball joint. I attached one half of the cutoff ring section on the outside, to reinforce the joint a little.



After one final tweak (repositioning the right arm to be extended forwards instead of down) Konstantin was assembled and ready for paint!







Moving on - Iago!

Iago was assembled as a concept for the Master Handler modeling spotlight article, and I liked the idea too much to not get him onto the table. To put him together, I used a Spider Drone and a Master Handler backpack with Cluster Missile pods.

The bottom protrusions were sliced off the backpack with a razor saw, and the back of the drone chassis was similarly cut down flat.



I then glued the backpack onto the back of the drone chassis. The chassis sidepods needs shortening a little - I cut them down so that they butted up flush against the backpack.



With the addition of a set of Spider Drone legs, Iago was all set.



And finally: Cassio!

Cassio is based on a Firefly Drone, with the normal laser system replaced with an energy field projector. To create the projector, I used a flakk gun from the drone sprue, cut as below, and the muzzle of a radwave emitter and a cybel mine from the Faction Expansion sprue.



I assembled the drone as normal (sans weapons) and then glued the projector in place underneath, using the cut-down flakk gun as the mount, gluing the cybel mine to the front of the gun, and then the reversed radwave emitter muzzle to the front of the mine.



With turbines glued on and a flight base added, Cassio was ready for action.



The unit all assembled:



Next week: painting and rules card!

What have you done with your Master Bot Handlers? We would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

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

Assembly Guide - Epirian Master Bot Handler


Posted on Monday Apr 30, 2018 at 11:00PM in Tutorials


Assembling the Epirian Master Bot Handler



General Notes


Polystyrene cement - only use superglue if you want to go insane! All of our models are designed to be assembled with polystyrene cement as it gives some time to re-pose while gluing, fuses the models together and prevents brittle joins like other glues do. Make sure you have polystyrene cement in your toolkit before you begin.

We want you to experiment! We've broken our models up into lots of parts and given a fair few spare parts so that you can push yourself out of your comfort zone, learn new skills and create some really unique models. We've tried to price things so that it won't break the bank if you make a mistake, so please cut stuff up and have some fun. Start simple with a slice here and a re-pose there, and watch your confidence and skills increase until you are a master modeler!

Basing - Always make sure you glue your model to its base with an eye on the arc markers on the sides of the base. The arc marker indents should be at the halfway point between the front and back of the model to show the front and back halves of the model when gaming. See the Maelstrom's Edge rulebook for more detailed notes on this.

Dry fit before gluing! - There are lots of pose options possible, but that means there is also the freedom to screw up and make some bad poses! Sticking the parts together and seeing how things look will usually lead to a model that is fairly static and repetitive. You should consider the parts available and ensure that you have a pose in mind before you start gluing things together. If in doubt or insecure about your talents in the posing area, we recommend you try to copy the poses from some of our studio models found here in the gallery.

Master Bot Handler Assembly Notes


The sprue comes with parts to assemble one model, with two different body options, two each of four different arm weapons and two each of the backpack equipment options:



You can find the rules and options for the Master Bot Handler's equipment in the Force Builder section of the Maelstrom's Edge website. It's worth noting that rules-wise, if you go all out on ranged weapons you'll wind up with one more weapon than the Master can actually fire in a turn, so while that can be handy for versatility if you have the points available, it's worth considering how you will use him on the table before you start gluing bits on!

The body options provide two different poses, with the torso paired with the legs to create a crouched, braced-for-firing pose, or a more upright stance. Torso parts 1 & 2 go with legs part 5, and torso parts 3 & 4 go with legs part 6, although the torsos do fit on either pair of legs if you want to play around with the posing.



The neural nodes (part 16) cluster missiles (part 17) fit into the rectangular recesses on the top of the backpack, and can be paired or taken as one of each.



Note: Due to a well-intentioned but mistaken last minute change by the sculptor before the sprue went for tooling, the neural nodes and cluster missiles have differently-sized locator bars on their backs that slot into matching recesses on the backpack. As the bar on the neural node is slightly longer than that on the cluster missile pod, this means that if you want to use a dual-node configuration (or just want to put a single neural node on the left instead of the right) you need to trim off the ends of the bar to allow it to fit into the missile pod's slot.



Backpack, head and arms can be glued in place to set up the basic posing.



Assembling the weapon arms all in one go is a little fiddly, so it's best to glue your chosen weapons onto the arms first. The sprue comes with the following weapons:
  • 2 x Repair Claw (part 10)
  • 2 x Cutter Machine Gun (parts 13 & 14)
  • 2 x Drone Class Laser System (parts 19 & 20)
  • 2 x Flakk Gun (parts 11 & 12)




The support arms for the weapons are made up of parts 21 and 22, and two of part 18.



The flat disc on part 18 slots into the middle of the two matching discs on parts 21/22. If the fit is a little too snug, you can file or shave down the sides of the disc a little. Don't get too carried away, or you'll make it fit too loosely.



The two parts joined at whatever angle fits the posing of the arms and weapons. The best bet is to glue the join with a touch of plastic glue and then dry fit the support arm against the model to get the right angle on the joint, ensuring that the larger ball fits neatly into the recess on the backpack, and the smaller ball sits into the outside of the ring on the weapon. Once you're happy with the angle of the joint, glue the ends in place.



From there, your model is ready for painting!




For modeling help, to discuss how best to use the Master Bot Handler in your games, or to share your models, head on over to the Comm Guild Facebook page.

You can pick up the Master Bot Handler, his accompanying Firefly Drones, and the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge miniature range, from the webstore here.

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

Epirian Sentinel Bot Conversion Tutorial & Unit Card


Posted on Monday Apr 09, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The Epirian faction in Maelstrom's Edge includes a number of fantastic robot options, and with some careful planning it's even possible to field an all-robot force. I went for an almost all-robot force with my starter force, including a lone Journeyman to lead them. I thought it might be fun to add some robot 'not-contractors' to the army for some extra firepower, and so turned to a conversion that I put together for a spotlight on the Scarecrow kit some time ago, which I dubbed a Sentinel bot.



The Sentinel uses parts from the Scarecrow, Drone and Contractor kits.



From the Scarecrow:

  • Head
  • Torso
  • Left Arm
  • Left Shoulder
  • Right Shoulder
  • Fuel Tanks
  • Chemtech Sprayer
  • Base

From the Drone kit:
  • Turbines
  • Turbine-mount side pieces
  • Flight Stem

From the Contractor kit:
  • Maglock Assault Rifle


Start by gluing the two Drone side pieces together and attaching the turbines, as below. There is a small ridge of plastic on the inside faces of the side pieces that needs to be shaved or filed down so that they sit flat against each other. A couple of pieces of spare sprue serve nicely to hold the turbines in place while the glue sets.



Take the Scarecrow torso and cut through it just below the top of the hips.



The torso then glues neatly into the middle cavity created by the two side pieces.



The left arm is assembled as normal. For the right, cut the pistol grip off the maglock rifle, and also cut the back of the rifle at an angle matching the ridge along the top, as shown below. The take the chemtech sprayer and cut the elbow joint off the back. This is glued onto the back of the maglock rifle, and then the weapon be glued to the upper arm.



To keep the unit with a similar silhouette to the contractors they are replacing, take the flight stem and cut it a little above halfway up.



This is then glued to the middle of the base. You will need to drill a corresponding hole in the bottom of the turbine assembly for the peg on the top of the flight stem.



With head, tanks and arms glued in place, the bot can be glued onto the flight stem (or left separate if you're planning on spraying a basecoat, or just if you're a messy painter!) ready for paint.



Scale shot with a Contractor:



Painted up, the Sentinels are ready to take to the field. I have added a command unit to one model to create a unit leader, and equipped the third with the auxilliary grenade launcher version of the Maglock Rifle.



You can find an (unofficial) rules card for fielding Sentinel units in the Force Builder section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here. Alternatively, you could just field them as Contractors.



To pick up kits you'll need to create your own Sentinel unit, visit the Maelstrom's Edge webstore here.

We love to see what people are doing with their models, so be sure to also visit the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Painting Tutorial: Sponge Weathering


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


- by Iain Wilson

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



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



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



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





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



Keep going until you have worked over the whole building.



Here's the same thing on a green building.



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



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



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

Broken Settlement building (Tutorial)


Park Bench (Tutorial)



Sleeper Caskets (Tutorial)


Hab Dome (Tutorial)



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

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

Terrain Tutorial: Scatter Terrain 2 - Urban Details


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


- by Iain Wilson

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

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



To start things rolling - Park Benches

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



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



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



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



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



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




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

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

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





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



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




Moving right along - let's add some greenery!

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



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





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



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




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

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



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



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



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



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



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

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

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

Modeling Spotlight: Epirian Light Carrier Drone


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


- by Iain Wilson

A few weeks ago, I published a spotlight article on the Epirian Drone, showing a few different ways the kit can be assembled or converted. One of the conversions shown was a Light Carrier Drone, made up from a drone chassis and the hull of a 15mm plastic tank from Flames of War, that I think came out of an Adepticon swag bag. This week, I'm going to run through how it was made, using the tank (I think it's some kind of Stug, but I'm no tank expert and so it didn't really matter beyond looking perfect for what I wanted to do) and the chassis piece from an Epirian Drone.



Like the bipedal 'Mule' cargo drone shown above (for which you can find an assembly article here) there are no rules for using this drone in the game - it will most likely just be used to add some flavour to the table. But I find that sometimes venturing off the beaten track and building something different just for the fun of it can really help to keep the creative juices churning over.

SO, I started by grabbing the main assembly parts of the tank - top and bottom of the hull, and the two track pieces.



I used a razor saw to cut most of the top of the hull away, leaving just the gun mount and the front armour.



The tracks had some armour plating that extended up over the sides of the tank. I wanted these to be a little more low-profile, so I sawed them off level with the track guards.



Then I assembled the hull and tracks as per normal, just with a newly-formed great, gaping hole in the rear.



With a slight bevel added to the underside, the drone chassis slotted nicely into the gun mount.



Finally, I filled in the back with some plasticard to create a cargo deck.





To paint it up, I turned once more to the technique shown in my weathered metal tutorial. I kept the palette fairly limited, to emphasise the bare-bones industrial nature of this machine, and made the yellow panels on the sides worn and battered to show a history of hard use.





What have you done with your Drones? We would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

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

Terrain Tutorial: Sleeper Caskets


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


- by Iain Wilson

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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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





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



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



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

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



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



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



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

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

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

Magnetizing Karist Heavy Weapon troopers


Posted on Wednesday Feb 28, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


Originally posted on Dakkadakka by Sgt.Oddball.

Hey all,

When you buy Karist Heavy Weapon troopers, you get two guys a pack, with a selection of 3 weapons. I want to be able to use all the weapon types, but I dón't want to paint three guys just so I can use any of the three weapon types (my chosen way of painting Karists is slow...). Magnets are the answer. Luckily, these guys are quite simple to magnetize. Here's how:



What you get in a pack. I love these sculpts and the model quality is fantastic. Very crisp.



Long thin resin bits can end up bent.



This is easy and quick to fix: dip in hot water, straighten, dip in cold water.



All the bits for one guy, without the ammo I forgot at this point.



I drilled a 3mm hole in the torso. The sculpt is such that you know exactly where to drill. If you go too deep you may end up making a hole on the other end where the head goes. You won't see this with the head in place.



In the hole goes a 3x2mm magnet. Try to match the amount which the magnet sticks out to the amount the original resin stuck out. If you want to use the left arm that holds the gun, it's critical that the magnet doesn't stick out too much, or you won't be able to line up the gun with the left arm.



Then put a magnet in the gun arm in the same way. The sculpt shows you where to drill. Don't drill too deep or you'll go out the shoulder guard. Also, if you lay the arm down like this and then press down hard with your drill, you could deform the shoulder guard a little.



As with the torso, you want the magnet to stick out as much as the resin did, or else your left arm won't line up. It's not just the amount by which the magnet sticks out, but also the angle. It's better to have the magnet in a little too deep: it'll still catch and your alignment will work. Of course, if you just use the left arm that holds the ammo, alignment isn't a problem. Easiest way to get it right is to have the left arm glued in place and then dry-fit.



The other guns get the same treatment. Beware of polarity ;)



Here's the missing ammo, which I glued to his belt. Also, you can see the torso and arm line up nicely on the rear.



Front alignment also works out with the left arm in place.



Ravager gun works too.



As does the grenade launcher.



Four guys with interchangeable weapons.

Once I paint these, they'll show up in my 'painted stuff' topic on Dakka :)

Modeling Spotlight: Assembling the Broken Sig Jammer


Posted on Monday Feb 26, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The Broken Sig Jammer adds some elite tech skill to the Broken faction, taking to the field with Tech Disruptor and Targeting Scrambler in hand to make life awkward for oppressors and invaders alike. This week, we're having a closer look at this fantastic resin model.



The ramshackle fleets of the Broken don't possess extensive R&D departments or mass production facilities, but what they lack in investment, they make up for in unregulated ingenuity and daring invention. The Broken is a haven for technological savants and rebellious hackers, rulebreakers ostracised and hunted by a society scared of their technological prowess. Whether driven to the Broken by the Maelstrom or the authorities, these maverick inventors are encouraged to experiment and tinker. These 'Jammers' soon thrive among the Broken ranks, using their skills to break into computer networks, disrupt signals, and generally set technology against their users. It is a rare mercurial talent to be able to invent the kind of disruptive equipment the Jammers carry, and sending a Jammer Savant deep into enemy territory is not a viable strategy. Instead, Broken leadership encourages anyone with a natural aptitude for technology to become an apprentice, or 'Sig Jammer'. In peacetime, these neophytes are a mixture of servant and apprentice, taking care of a Savant's every need, or searching for the particular parts needed to complete the Savant's latest technological masterpiece.



The Sig Jammer model comes in 5 parts - body, head, Targeting Scrambler and the shaft and emitter for the Tech Disruptor.



Assembly is nice and easy, although if you haven't built resin models before you might want to check out my handy guide to working with resin.

The emitter piece for the Tech Disruptor glues neatly on the end of the shaft with a locator socket to seat it firmly in place. The bottom end of the shaft then glues into the haft, and the left hand joins to the extended arm. It's worth dry-fitting the disruptor before you try to glue it in place, just in case the arm isn't sitting quite right - if the disruptor doesn't fit neatly in place, check out the "Nothing to get bent out of shape about..." section in the article linked above.



The Targeting Scrambler is designed to glue onto the model's left forearm, but goes quite neatly on either shoulder, on the model's leg, or even on the back.



Finally, the head sockets into the torso, with the ball joint allowing for a wide range of movement.



The head is compatible with the rest of the Broken range, so you can easily mix up your Jammers a little by using any of the plastic heads from the Broken Infantry Pack.



You can vary the posing a little with the addition of some other parts of the Broken infantry sprue as well. The model below has the Scrambler attached to the haft of the Distruptor, and an aerial-style Disruptor made using part of an EMP harpoon and a left hand from the infantry sprue.



In keeping with the scavenging nature of the Broken, you can also mix-and-match parts from the other factions. The below model has legs from a Karist Heavy Weapon trooper and the torso from an Epirian Contractor, with arms and head from the Broken Infantry Pack.



With a little creative trimming and chopping, the Jammer model also makes a great fire support team member. Here, I have used the front half of a Longbeam Rifle in place of the Disruptor.



Do you have a Sig Jammer model to show off? Need help with assembly, painting or gaming? Pop along to the Comm Guild Facebook page and share your work!

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

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

Terrain Tutorial: The Foam Ball Cactus!


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


- by Iain Wilson

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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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



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





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



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





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



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



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



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







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

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