The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

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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.

Modeling 101 - Working with resin models


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


- by Iain Wilson

The addition of resin models to the previously all-plastic Maelstrom's Edge collection has allowed for factions to receive some new and characterful unit options to their ranges. Working with resin is a little different to plastic, though, and so I thought it might be helpful to run through some basic pointers on how to build and assemble these fantastic new models.



So, er... what's this, then?

Resin looks a lot like plastic. With good reason: It is plastic!

In the miniature modeling world, though, we tend to use the term 'plastic' to apply specifically to High Impact Polystyrene, which is a particular type of plastic used in injection moulds. The raw plastic is melted and then injected at high pressure into a metal mould. This sort of casting is fast, but the moulds are expensive and require specialised machinery. 'Resin' instead refers to polyurethane, which is a two-part compound that is mixed together and then poured into rubber or silicone moulds. Resin produces crisper detail than polystyrene and the moulds are cheaper and easier to create, but is more labour-intensive to cast and the moulds wear out with use. As a result, resin tends to be used for smaller runs of miniatures, while polystyrene is used for models that are cast in high volume.

So, where to start?

Clean ALL the things

Resin models can sometimes have a bit of an oily residue on them from the casting process. This can affect how well the paint adheres to the model, so it's a good idea to remove it before you start painting. The easiest way to do this is to just wash the model in soapy water, lightly scrubbing with an old toothbrush to clean out the creases.



Flash! Ah Aaaaaahhh!

Flash may be the saviour of the universe (if just a man), but it's also a side effect of the casting process that can spoil an otherwise great paintjob. The moulds used for Maelstrom's Edge's resin models are replaced regularly, and so mould lines are minimal and are often minimised even further by running along edge detail rather than flat surfaces, but you should always go over the model before undercoating to catch any that might get in the way later. As with plastic or metal models, you can use a small file or emery board for this, but I find a sharp exacto-style knife blade does the best job, and works well for getting into creases and following detail. Just scrape gently along the mould line to flatten it out.



Nothing to get bent out of shape about...

During the casting process, resin will shrink slightly as it cures. This can cause thinner parts to develop a slight bend if one side cools faster then the other. With plastic or metal, you can often fix warped parts by just carefully bending them back into shape, but resin needs a little extra preparation to avoid having the part snap. Luckily, resin softens with heat, so the easiest approach is to dip the part in some hot water until it is warmed through, and then carefuly shape it to how you want it. Then dunk it into some cold water to 'set' the part again - resin has some 'memory', so will try to revert to its original shape while it's still soft. Cooling it quickly helps to avoid this.

Note that you can also use this method to reshape models to change their pose. It's particularly useful for organic shapes, like the tentacles on Karist Angels.





He's half the man he used to be...

Maelstrom's Edge resin is a little harder than plastic, but is still quite easy to cut with a hobby knife or clippers. For larger parts, or to get a nice, clean cut, I recommend a razor saw. This has a super-thin, flat blade that is just perfect for slicing through models while minimising the loss of detail from the cut.





It's worth pointing out that if you're doing a lot of sawing, sanding or filing, it's best to do it in a well-ventilated area. That's not really specific to resin models - it's always a good idea to not fill your lungs up with rubbish!

Stick with me, kid!

Plastic glue, also sometimes called poly (or polystyrene) cement, doesn't work on resin models, as it's specifically designed for polystyrene. You will need superglue or a quick-setting epoxy glue for the best bond. Epoxy, even the quick-setting kind, can be a bit of a pain to work with due to needing to mix it and having a longer 'grab' time, so I prefer to use a superglue with a plastic primer. The primer is used to prepare the surfaces to be glued, and helps the superglue to grab tightly to plastics that superglue on its own doesn't adhere to as successfully.



Use the same glue for sticking resin parts to plastic or metal. Wherever possible, make sure that the surfaces being glued are smooth and flat. There's a common misconception that scoring or roughing up the surfaces gives a better bond, but superglue actually works better the thinner it is. Having surfaces as close to flat as possible ensures that the glue spreads out super thin between them - thicker glue just creates a brittle bond.



You're not pinning that on me!

If you are concerned about larger parts going astray with use, you can use thin wire to pin them into place for some extra durability. Use a pin vice to drill matching holes into the parts to be glued, add a piece of wire that fits snugly into the drill holes and glue in place.





Some people like to use paperclips as a source of wire for pinning. I wouldn't recommend this, as superglue tends to stick rather poorly to stainless steel. Thin copper or galvanised wire, or brass rod are the best options for a secure bond.

Mind the gap!

With well-maintained moulds and some clever part break-ups, the resin models for Maelstrom's Edge go together with no real need for gap filling. If you're converting models, though, you can sometimes wind up with the odd gap or slip of the saw that needs some filling in. Kneadatite (usually referred to simply as 'Green Stuff') is your friend here. This is a two-part modeling putty than comes with a blue part and a yellow part. You mix together equal parts of each colour and then use the resultant green goo to fill in holes or sculpt extra detail. This is all a little more involved than will fit into this article, but I'll put together a 'Green Stuff Basics' article in the near future.



All the pretty colours...

There is no particularly special treatment required for painting resin models. Normal acrylic model paints will do just fine. A light spray coat of primer will help the paint adhere, and gives you a flat base colour to work with, which is particularly important when you have a mix of resin and plastic models (or converted models with mixed components or green stuff involved) and want to keep your army colours consistent. You may also want to finish with a coat of sealer to protect your paintjob, although resin tends to hold the paint about as well as plastics, and so isn't as prone to the edge wear from handling that tends to be a feature of well-used metal models.



OK... so now what?

Hopefully, all of that has been of some use in demystifying resin models. There are some great resin models in the Maelstrom's Edge range already, with plenty more still to come, so why not dive on in and have a play? You can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge range from the webstore here, and 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.

Modeling Spotlight: Converted Broken Gnolti


Posted on Tuesday Jan 30, 2018 at 07:06AM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

This week saw the arrival of the biggest model yet for Maelstrom's Edge: The Gnolti!

A gigantic chunk of brawn and armoured hide, the Gnolti is slow to anger, but unstoppable when roused. So as impressive as the model is, I decided I wanted to build one that showed a Gnolti really letting it all out. This was the end result:



The Gnolti is a multi-part resin kit, with a little posability in the forearms due to the circular connections. One of his hands is open, and this seemed like it was just asking to be holding something breakable. So, I sliced off the forefinger so that I could close in his grip a little, and reattached it with some green stuff, and gave him a little friend to play with, courtesy of the Epirian Scarecrow kit.







The left hand is in a closed fist, and is designed to sit knuckles-down on the base. I reshaped the flattened bottom surface of the fingers to make them more rounded, and then pinned the scarecrow's left forearm into the Gnolti's grip.



To create a more upright stance, I ran the legs under some hot water and carefully bent the lower right leg out and back. Apparently, I wasn't careful enough, as I managed to snap it off through the shin, but with a little drilling and pinning, I wound up with legs positioned how I wanted them.



Adding a Hunter mech's leg for the Gnolti to stand on, I glued the legs in place on the base, and added a piece of sprue to fill in the slot for the torso's locator peg.



Taking the torso piece, I used a razor saw to slice off the right arm at the shoulder, cutting out a wedge on the top so that it could be reattached in a more raised position. I also cut a thin wedge out from his chin at the top of his beard, and then added a cut between his lips so that I could bend his lower lip down into a mouth-open position.



The torso was then glued in place, with the sprue in the waist-hole allowing the torso to sit upright.



The lower lip was padded out with some green stuff to repair the minor damage from sawing it open. I also filled in the cavity in his waist, and started added detail back in under the right arm.



Another layer of green stuff gave him some abdominal muscles, a tongue, and a single flat tusk in his lower jaw.



Finally, the forearms were glued on, and a last run of green stuff added to replace the fur trim on his right shoulder strap.





With that, it was time to paint!

I went with a colour scheme that was reminiscent of that used on the studio model shown here, but with slightly more muted colours to fit in with my quick, wash-painted Broken colour scheme.

Ready for action!











To pick up your own wee beasty of broken doom, or any of the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, visit the webstore here. As always, be sure to show off your work 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.

Modeling Spotlight: Epirian Victory Point Tracker


Posted on Tuesday Jan 23, 2018 at 11:19AM in General


- by Iain Wilson

Victory. The elusive mistress that haunts our gaming hours. How do we capture her? Well, in Maelstrom's Edge, we do it by counting up Victory Points, and hopefully winding up with more of them than our opponents. The Battle for Zycanthus box includes Victory Point trackers along with the plethora of tokens and markers found within, but I decided that I wanted something with a little more spectacle, and so I built myself a VP tracker for my Epirian force.



This all started with a rough concept sketch, to get an idea of how things should fit together.



I then made a quick mockup in cardboard, as a sort of proof of concept, and to get a better feel for the size it needed to be.



The main body of the tracker is made from layers of 2mm thick plasticard. Each layer was marked out in pencil and then cut out and the edges smoothed down.









To show the current VP total, there are two dials with the numbers 0-9 marked around the edge. These are cut from thinner plasticard, with a spacer added on the top surface so that the face with the numbers on it doesn't rub against the inside of the tracker's front.



The windows for the VP display are made from a couple of trapezoid windows from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. I used a razor saw to slice through the windows just behind the interior bracing, to make them a little thinner and so that the bracing would sit flush against the front plate of the tracker.



From there, I cut a couple of trapezoid holes in the front plate to match up to the large openings in the windows, and then added a bunch of detail with various pieces of plasticard.



In the bottom corner, I added a rotary switch for tracking how many times the special faction objective has been tapped.



With detailing complete, it was time to paint!



I basecoated the tracker with Army Painter Army Green spray, and used some flat black spray on the VP dials and the rotary switch.



I wanted some metal detail on the tracker to break up the colour a little, so re-basecoated some appropriate spots with some black. I also added a little black inside the side openings for the dials, just to avoid having the white plastic showing through when it was assembled.



The metal parts then received a drybrush of P3 Pig Iron, and some weathering added with Vallejo Heavy Charcoal applied lightly with a sponge.





The numbers for the VP dials were drawn up on black circles in Gimp and then printed out, cut to shape and glued onto the plastic dials.





Finally, the front plate was glued in place, and the screen painted with some Ultramarine Blue and shaded with Army Painter Blue Tone.



My plan is to make up some smaller versions of the mission cards to sit in the screen cavity.

And then, of course, the next step will be to make some similarly themed trackers for my Karists and Broken!

Have you built anything unusual for your Maelstrom's Edge games? We would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

You can find the entire Maelstrom's Edge range in 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 Spotlight: Mini Hab Domes from plastic bowls!


Posted on Monday Jan 15, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Throughout the galaxy, few structures hold up as well in hostile environmental conditions as the humble dome. They're durable, efficient, and as a bonus look nice and distinctive in a universe filled largely with pre-fabricated, angular structures. So here's a simple way to make yourself some small dome structures for your gaming table, using components from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, a little foam core board, some plasticard, and a plastic bowl.



As with the larger plantation dome that I made a while back, the basis for this building is a plastic bowl, in this case picked up in a pack of 8 from a local discount store for a couple of dollars.



I cut two rectangles of 5mm foam core board, about 30mm wide and the same height as the inside frame of one of the small doors from the terrain sprue. These formed the sides of the building's entrance, and so would need to be curved on the back sides in order to sit flush with the side of the dome.

Sitting one of the rectangles against the bottom rim of the dome, I measured the distance between the top corner and the dome, and marked that distance along the short edge of the foam core.



I then folded a piece of aluminium foil to made a long L-beam shape. With a pair of clippers, I made a series of cuts along one edge.



The uncut surface of the beam was then pressed against the side of the dome, with the cuts allowing it to bend to match the shape while the L-beam shape gave it enough rigidity to keep the curve when removed from the dome.



I then used the resultant curve to transfer the shape of the dome to the foam core, matching the foil beam up to the measured mark and the corresponding bottom corner of the entrance wall.



An exacto knife was used to cut along the drawn curve, angling the cut to account for the horizontal ci



With the addition of a piece of 1.5mm plasticard, cut to shape for the roof, the entrance tunnel was glued together and test fitted against the dome, with a little fine-tuning of the curve with the exacto knife allowing it to sit flush.



I wanted a little texture on the flat top of the dome, so I decided to use some grid-patterned plasticard. Not having a compass handy, I found a small drinking glass that fit neatly into the circular base of the bowl, and used this as a template to draw a circle on the plasticard. Once cut out, this circle was glued neatly into the recess.



For the windows, I took the trapezoid windows from the terrain sprue and trimmed down one side to help them sit almost vertically on the side of the dome.



To glue the windows in place, I grabbed a small offcut of foam core to use as a spacer, to ensure that the windows on either side of the building sat at the same height.



With everything glued in place, the building looked like this:



So, on to painting!

Because the dome is transparent, I sprayed a coat of primer inside to begin with. That way, if the outside of the dome gets a little scratched up from gaming use, it would show grey instead of clear.



The outside was then also primed grey.



The primer was followed with a coat of Army Painter Dragon Red.



I added a white stripe to break up the red a little, and painted some metal detail with P3 Pig Iron.



Finally, some sponge weathering and the roof tiles painted with Vallejo Heavy Charcoal, a quick wash with Army Painter Dark Tone for the metal parts and the roof, and some colour on the lights above the door, and the minidome was finished!









To build your own mini hab domes, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here. As always, feel free to 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.

Modeling Spotlight: Karist Angel Keepers


Posted on Sunday Jan 07, 2018 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The Karist Angel Keeper has added his goad-wielding distinctiveness to the Karist Enclave model collection, and so this seemed a good opportunity to grab a few and have at them with the exacto knife and superglue.



An addition to the new resin range for Maelstrom's Edge, the Angel Keeper comes supplied with his angel goad and grenade launcher.



Assembly is really simple: Glue feet to base, glue head to neck, glue hands to arms. The goad also has a separate piece for the blade end, which sockets onto a convenient pointy end on the shaft.



The more eagle-eyed rules watchers may have noticed that both weapons are held in hand, but the Keeper actually comes with both by default. This allowed for players to choose which would be held in hand while still keeping the parts count down for practical purposes, and rules-wise isn't an issue since we can assume that all default gear exists whether it is specifically shown or not. If, like me, you do prefer to have all of your models' gear modeled, this isn't a difficult task.

If you have modeled your Keeper with goad in hand, just grab a spare grenade launcher from the Faction Expansion Sprue and glue it onto his back beside his pouch.



If you prefer to have the grenade launcher at the ready, you can use a piece of 1.6 mm diameter plastic rod to replace the shaft. Here, I've also removed the detail piece from the bottom, to be reattached onto the new shaft.





You can also use a shaft from the Cybel Glaive on the Faction Expansion Sprue.



OK, but what if you want both weapons in hand, you say?

Luckily, resin cuts really easily, so the easy option here is to carefully remove the left hand from the stock of the grenade launcher - just trim it down to a flat surface and file it smooth if necessary.

For the goad, cut through the shaft either side of the right hand, and then reattach the bottom of the shaft to the top.





For a slightly more complex (but more hardcore!) alternative, why not combine the two weapons into one?

Take a grenade launcher from the Faction Expansion sprue, cut off the pistol grip and trim down the stock so that it is level with the bottom of the ring around the muzzle.

Trim down the back side of the goad blade so that it is flat, and cut a small, flat inset into the end of the goad shaft where the blade normally attaches.



Then glue the back end of the grenade launcher to the goad shaft, and the goad blade to the stock of the grenade launcher.



The Keeper's head has the same ball joint neck as most of the rest of the Karist range, so you can easily swap in different heads to either customise your Keeper a little, or use the model as a specialist in a Karist Trooper or Praetorian unit. The below model has a head from a Karist Heavy Trooper.



You can also create unit champions by swapping out or modifying the weapons. Below, I've filed down the shoulder pads and added Karist Trooper pads over the top, and used a head and cybel blades from the Faction Expansion sprue to create a Praetorian Tetrarch.



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

To pick up the Angel Keeper, 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 - Scarecrow-arm Bionics


Posted on Monday Dec 18, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Amongst the veterans of the savage and bloody conflicts that rage along the Maelstrom's Edge, bionic limbs are commonplace. Many (at least those who can afford it) choose high-tech limb augmetics that are practically indistinguishable from the original. The less fortunate, or perhaps just the less vain, often wind up with more obvious mechanical assistance. You can find various examples of this amongst the plastic broken models, but here I'm going to share an easy bionic arm made from the left arm of an Epirian Scarecrow bot.



The arm comes in two pieces. Start by trimming or filing off any mould lines.



Take the upper arm piece and remove the round lug from the inside of the shoulder and the flange from the top of the shoulder with a sharp knife or razor saw, and cut off the arm just above the elbow pivot and just below the reinforcing struts.



On the lower arm piece, cut the hand off just above the wrist, and the forearm just below the reinforcing struts, and then also remove the struts - leaving them on makes the forearm a little too bulky.



Assemble the arm by gluing the hand back onto the truncated lower arm, the elbow pivot onto the upper arm, and then gluing the elbow joint together.



Glue onto your model of choice, and you're ready to paint and send them off to battle!



To rebuild your own warriors into an augmented force of renewed usefulness, you can pick up the Scarecrow bot along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here. As always, we would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!



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

Modeling Spotlight: Assembling Karist Heavy Troopers


Posted on Monday Dec 04, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

This week saw the release of the next Maelstrom's Edge resin set into the wild, with the addition of heavy weapon troopers to the Karist Enclave lineup. Here, we're having a quick look at how to assemble these great new models!



The Karist heavy troopers come in a pack of two troopers, with three heavy weapons between them. They also include 3 optional heads - two with helmets and one open-face, an extra left arm with a spare cybel cannister, and a bunch of extra cybel cannisters to attach to their belts.



As always with resin models, it's a good idea to give them a quick wash in warm, soapy water to clear off any residual mould release, as this can affect paint adhesion. If any of the parts are a little bent, this is also the time to drop them in some hot water and then reshape them - although the casts I received of these models were all beautiful and straight, with extremely minimal mould lines, so very little clean-up work involved.

The two bodies are all one piece, and so once the frame lugs are trimmed off the bottom of the feet, can be glued straight onto your base. Because these are resin rather than polystyrene like the regular plastic kits, use a good quality superglue or fast-setting epoxy glue, rather than plastic cement.



The arms have nice, sturdy locator pins that fit snugly into the sockets in the shoulders.



Dry-fit them first to get a feel for how they sit, and then I find the easiest way to ensure the arms fit together nicely is to put a drop of glue into each shoulder socket, a small drop on the left palm, and then sit everything into place and make any minor adjustment quickly before the glue grabs. You can glue one arm at a time if you prefer, but it can be trickier to get a perfect fit that way, depending on the angle of the arms.



Finally, glue the heads in place, and you're ready for paint!



You can add a Quintarch to the unit using a regular Karist trooper, or you can add parts from the Trooper sprue and/or Faction Expansion Sprue to another heavy trooper body to keep with the heavier armour look for the whole unit.



You could also use weapons and arms from the Trooper sprue on the heavy trooper bodies to make special weapon troopers for your regular Karist units.



And for a final bit of fun, I made some conversions a while back of some Tempest Elites with shoulder-mounted weapons (from the Spotlight article here). That conversion becomes even easier with the pulse cannon and cannister arm from the heavy trooper set!



To build your own army of Maelstrom-worshipping, explody Doom, you can pick up the Karist Heavy Trooper set, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range, from the webstore here. As always, we would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Tutorial: Blanket Door Coverings


Posted on Monday Nov 27, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Last week I put together the second part of my Broken settlement, with some buildings made from a cardboard gift box and an old fruit tin. The fruit tin still needed a door covering, and I wanted something that looked sufficiently rough and ready. I decided to go with an old blanket to serve as a makeshift door, which wound up looking like this:



To start with, I took a length of plastic rod and cut it to run across the doorway with a little overhang on either side. This would eventually sit in place at the top of the doorframe, poked through a couple of holes drilled into the tin on either side.



I then grabbed some crepe bandage and cut a piece a little longer than the rod, to allow it to bunch up. Bunched curtains look more interested than a flat sheet, unless you want to paint a design on, in which case a flatter surface is going to be easier to deal with.



Next I glued the bandage over the rod with some superglue, bunching it up so that the ends of the rod were sticking out, and folded over the rod far enough so that the bottom of the blanket would just touch the ground when hung in place.



Now comes the messy part - I mixed up some PVA glue with a little water. The exact amount of water is going to depend on how runny your PVA glue is, but you're aiming for around the consistency of pouring cream.



Then I dropped the bandage blanket in the glue and let it soak right in. When the glue dries, it will stiffen up the cloth, so you want it good and soaked through. If the glue is too thick, it doesn't soak in as well and you wind up with some parts of the blanket that are still soft and floppy, and others a goopy mess.



Once the bandage was nice and gluey, I hung it in place and arranged the folds to look as natural as possible, and then left it sit for two days to give it plenty of time to dry. Once dry, it will be stiff, but still slightly flexible. If it's too soft and doesn't hold its shape, you can stiffen it up a little more by painting on some additional glue, but try not to put it on too thick and fill up the weave of the fabric. If you have a brush-on superglue, you could also paint some of that onto the back of the blanket if it is accessible, but again, be sparing so you don't soak it into the weave and destroy the blanket look.



When the glue is properly dried, it's time to paint. I started out with a layer of Army Painter Strong Tone, but you could use whatever colour fits your terrain. If you use a wash or ink, make sure you give it plenty of time to dry, as the watery paint can cause the PVA glue to soften up again.



Once the wash was dry, I carefully drybrushed with some bone and white to highlight the raised parts of the blanket, and added a little more wash into the deeper creases for some extra shading.



And that's a job done!



You can also use a similar technique to hang blanket coverings over windows. On this one, the blanket is tacked onto the outside of the window frame. To attach the soaked bandage to the window, I added a drop of superglue to the top corners, let that set, and then carefully teased the wet blanket into the shape I wanted it:



The same was done here to hang a blanket inside this door frame. This is a door piece off the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue with the door cut out of the frame. The blanket is superglued in place at the top corners and down the sides of the door frame and then shaped and left to dry.



On my next terrain project, I'll also be using this to add some canvas roof coverings to a building that's seen better days... Stay tuned!

To build your own stellar refugee settlement, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge miniature range from the webstore here. As always, feel free 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.

Modeling Spotlight: The Angel Hellblaster (or 'Fun with Resin!')


Posted on Monday Nov 13, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The Karist Hellblaster is the first of a range of resin models for Maelstrom's Edge, to help flesh out the factions with some more fun and freaky options. This week, I'm having a look at some modeling options with this great little kit.



The Hellblaster comes in a pack of two variants, with slightly different posing and tail tentacles.



Assembly is really easy - It's always a good idea to wash resin models in warm, soapy water before assembly, to clean off any mould release residue (this may affect paint adhesion, otherwise), then cut off the sprue and trim off any mould lines, glue the head piece to the front of the torso, and the rear legs into their sockets. There's a little posability in the rear legs, as the sockets allow for some movement.



If you want to branch out a little from stock poses, one of the really fun aspects of resin models is that they can be easily reshaped. Drop the part you want to reshape into some hot water for a minute or so. When the part has had time to warm through, fish it out and quickly bend it into the shape you want. Then pop it into some cold water to set it in that shape.

Obligitary safety warning: It's always a good idea to avoid breathing in fumes from heated resin or plastic, so boil your miniatures somewhere with good ventilation. And use an appropriate tool (tweezers, long-nose pliers, etc) to fish the resin pieces out of the hot water and handle hot parts with care.

Using this method, you can add a bit of a bend to the Hellblaster's torso, to give it more of a sinuous, in-motion appearance.



You can also reposition legs and tentacles to suit. It helps that angels don't have a fixed skeletal structure - tentacles are fairly forgiving when it comes to finding appropriate poses!



Note that as an alternative to the hot water technique above, you can achieve a similar result using a hair dryer to heat smaller parts. As above, through, handle with care to avoid damage to both the parts and yourself.



With a little more work, you can carefuly cut through in between the cheek sacs and the tops of the forelimbs, to allow for more movement. In the below example, I have stretched the legs out to raise the head and shoulders up higher, and added a slight forwards arch to the angel's back.



Painted up in an appropriate colour scheme, the Hellblaster fits in nicely with the Mature Angels and Minnows to add a bit more variation to an angel force.



But where to from here?

There's no reason to stop with basic reposing! Angels love nothing more than experimenting with different forms, and while the Hellblaster is a form forced on them by Karist Keepers, it also makes a good base for some different angel types, like the (very work-in-progress) examples below:

Snake-angel, converted using the front of a Hellblaster, the wings from a Minnow and a wire armature covered in 'green stuff' putty.



The snake body will be smoothed out with another layer of putty, and some exterior tentacles added for some detail.

Shrike-angel, converted using a Hellblaster body with the forelimbs and energy sacs cut off, and the wings from a Minnow.



The body of the Hellblaster is considerably bigger than a Minnow's, so this guy has a much smaller wing to body ratio, but I think it's still close enough to work, particularly given angels fly using gravitic manipulation and the wings are largely just for show anyway. As with the snake, this model still needs some putty work to join the wings properly to the torso and fill in the flat spots where the legs and sacs were removed. I may also trim down the crest a little, to something more closely resembling the head of the Minnow.

Or, for something completely different, how about angel cavalry?



(Ok, this one's stretching the background a little - chances are that anyone trying to ride an angel wouldn't be riding it for very long... But it was too fun an idea to not have a play with it!)

To build your own shape-changing army of alien doom, you can pick up the Hellblaster along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge range from the webstore here. As always, feel free 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.

'The Broken' Rules - Part 4: Broken Weaponry


Posted on Friday Nov 10, 2017 at 11:00AM in Gaming


In a previous article, we talked a bit about the weaponry the Broken favor, namely that they like to customize and overcharge their weapons to make them deadlier, even when doing so means that they have a tendency to break down, overheat or even explode! Today we're going to take a closer look at the different classes of weapons that you'll find on the Broken Rabble sprue.

SLUG WEAPONS

The most commonly found type of ranged weapon throughout the spiral arm, slug weapons are cheap to produce and easy to maintain, making them the workhorse of the Broken armory. Broken tend to favor slug weapons with a high rate of fire, even though their ability to penetrate armor isn’t very good.

An Auto Slugger starts life as a 'liberated' Epirian Foundation Maglock Assault Rifle. However, as the Broken can't easily replicate the Foundation's caseless Maglock ammunition, their weaponsmiths instead convert its chassis to fire a smaller, jacketed round. This conversion creates a weapon that has a much higher rate of fire but unfortunately a lot more recoil.

BEAM WEAPONS

The Broken have a long history of weaponizing lasers, converting them from a wide-range of industrial applications. Invariably, Broken weaponsmiths set the damage output for these weapons at their absolute maximum, firing short, but incredibly powerful beams capable of melting through even the toughest enemy armor. However, this also makes the weapon highly unstable: prone to overheating, shorting out and on occasion, bursting into flames.

Beam Blastguns are sturdy and incorporate a blade at the tip of their barrel, making them double as perfect melee weapons for close-quarters fighting.

TORCH WEAPONS

Combustible liquids are quite easy to find and manufacture, providing the Broken with weaponry even when supplies of more traditional ammunition are running low. Torch weapons are also the perfect fit for short-ranged firefights, precisely how the Broken prefer to face their foes.

CHEM WEAPONS

Many cultures in the spiral arm refuse to utilize chemical weapons, deeming them morally repugnant or abiding by longstanding, often totally outdated, treaties that ban their use outright. The Broken have no such qualms, and the relative ease with which the components to concoct chemical weapons can be found amongst the black markets makes them a popular choice. Chem Launchers hurl a small pellet, smashing open upon impact and spraying the area with a lethal combination of liquid acid and a potent airborne poison. However, as most Broken aren't equipped with any kind breathing protection, these poisons are designed to disperse incredibly quickly, affecting only a small targeted area.

EXOTIC WEAPONS

Broken weaponsmiths are renowned for making weapons out of junk that other factions would never dream of using. One example is the EMP Harpoon, which utilises gas-powered harpoons, each with a ‘liberated’ Epirian Foundation EMP charge housed inside, perfect for penetrating fields and pulling the enemy out from cover.

Plastex is an incredibly sticky industrial adhesive used in construction by the Foundation. The Broken use this substance to make their glue weapons, which can completely incapacitate their targets in a messy goo. Unfortunately, Plastex is not designed to be deployed so rapidly, meaning glue weapons often jam or misfire, splattering their operator or those Broken unfortunate to be around them.

BROKEN GRENADES

The Broken favor simple weapons that are easy to procure, and their choice of grenades is no different. Cluster grenades are the most common anti-personnel grenade in the spiral arm and any military shipment or installation the Broken manage to raid invariably provides them with crates of cluster grenades.

Molotov bombs are handmade explosives created simply by filling a common container full of combustible liquid.

Overcharged powercells are standard-issue batteries used throughout the spiral arm for portable power, but which are set to dangerous levels, causing them to detonate with frightening power.

Quick-painting the Broken


Posted on Monday Nov 06, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

The arrival of the Broken into Maelstrom's Edge adds a new element to the game: Vast, raggedy hordes of cheap troops swarming all over the battlefield shooting stuff and stealing all the good boots. Which, of course, means lots of shiny new models to paint! You might be happy taking your time with this, but for those a little more time-poor, or who just want to get their new models on the table as quickly as possible, here's a guide to quick-painting your Broken recruits.



I'm painting up an Assault squad that I have assembled and ready to go, but obviously this could just as easily work for any of the Broken units.



I started out with a basecoat of Army Painter Army Green primer.





To get a suitably rag-tag look, I used a range of brown and grey tones, but the specific colours you choose aren't particularly important. The idea is to create a random distribution of different coloured clothing, while keeping to a limited colour palette to maintain some cohesiveness throughout the force. Weapons were painted with Vallejo Heavy Charcoal, and skin with Citadel Tallarn Flesh.





Everybody then got a wash coat of Army Painter Strong Tone. This settles nicely into the creases to add shading, and 'dirties' everything up a little.





Once the wash was set, I gave the weapons and other metal parts a light drybrush with P3 Pig Iron.





At this point, you could also give the clothing a light drybrush or a little edge highlighting with the original colours - This will lighten them up slightly if the wash was too heavy and has left them too muddy and homogenous, but otherwise isn't really necessary.

Bases were done to match my urban board set-up. This was done with a coat of Vallejo Neutral Grey, drybrushed with Light Grey.





To finish up the bases, I added some patches of drybrushed Vallejo Beasty Brown and some puddles of Strong Tone.





At this point, you could easily plonk these on the table and have at it, but I always like to add eyes wherever possible to finish off my models. This is done with a fine detail brush and some white paint for the whites of the eyes, with a dot of black added either with the same fine brush or with a fineliner pen.





The black should cover most of the white, and touch both the top and bottom of the eye to avoid a wide-eyed, crazy look. Unless, obviously, you want a wide-eyed, crazy look.

And with that, the squad is ready for action!





To paint up your own vast, screaming horde of rabble, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge Broken Infantry pack from the webstore here. As always, feel free 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.

'The Broken' Rules - Part 3: Sub-factions of The Broken


Posted on Thursday Oct 26, 2017 at 11:10AM in Gaming




Every group of survivors that manage to band together to escape the Maelstrom eventually forms a distinct Broken community with its own goals and moral codes. However, there are some broad classifications of the different Broken societies that they tend to fall within:

  • The Forsaken - The most common type of Broken, these are the general bunch of rag-tag survivors who turn to piracy throughout the Maelstrom's Edge simply as a means to survive. The Forsaken have a strong moral code, and see themselves as better than the rest of the spiral arm that has cast them out, therefore they attack only out of necessity. Of the different Broken sub-factions, the Forsaken tend to have a slightly higher level of technology, as their societies provide a good refuge for outcast Weaponsmiths looking to ply their trade.
  • Jackals - Bands of despots and marauders, who look only to further their own interests in a galaxy gone mad. Believing that might is always right, Jackals will attack anyone and take everything they can manage to steal. Jackals live for the glory of combat, and usually go to war hopped up on a potent cocktail of combat drugs that makes them all but impervious to minor flesh wounds. Sociopaths and criminals filter in from across the spiral arm towards the Maelstrom's Edge in order to join some of the more famous Jackal hordes.
  • Spiral Arm Revolutionary Army - The SARA are Broken who have banded together to overthrow those they see as corrupt regimes and corporations who have failed the common man by leaving billions behind to die by the Maelstrom. SARA is more regimented and militaristic than other Broken societies, usually founded by former military who rebelled and fled when they discovered that their government didn't actually have any plans to save them from the Maelstrom. Despite being labeled as terrorists, SARA cells receive funding and equipment from secret benefactors sympathetic to their cause. SARA regularly utilizes counterinsurgency and propaganda as weapons, and like the Jackals, they get a steady stream of recruits from throughout the spiral arm who believe that humanity should be doing more to save itself from the plight of the Maelstrom.

So how will these sub-factions actually work in the game? You'll essentially choose which sub-faction you're fielding based on which command unit(s) you decide to take in your force. So if you chose to take Forsaken command units, then you'd have a Forsaken force and you wouldn't be able to include any Jackal or SARA command units as part of the same force. Naturally, dependent on which sub-faction you use, you'll get different abilities and bonuses for your units. But beyond the command units that are dedicated to a particular sub-faction, all of the other Broken units we make will be playable in any type of Broken force.

As you may have already pieced together, so far we've only released rules for the Forsaken sub-faction, in the form of the Forsaken Chieftain. More than the other Broken sub-factions, the tactics of the Forsaken rely on cunning and misdirection to win the day, and the two unique abilities the Chieftain has, highlight this. First, let's take a look at 'Booby Traps':
During its main action, this model may expend one of its allocated command points to trigger a booby trap, up to a maximum of (X) times per turn. When a booby trap is triggered, select an enemy unit which is both taking cover and visible to the model triggering it. That unit gains D3+1 STs. A single enemy unit cannot be affected by more than one booby trap per turn.
This ability is great because it can be used exactly when and where it will be most helpful to you. Got an enemy unit that is teetering on the edge of being shell-shocked? Hit them with a booby trap. Got an enemy unit that's got absolutely no suppression on it? Nail them with a booby trap to at least force them to take a discipline check when activating. Sure, it costs a command point to trigger a booby trap, but its the kind of ability that can change the course of a battle when used smartly.

The other ability the Chieftain has is 'Shadow Master':
For each model with this ability, one additional friendly unit can utilize the Shadow StrIke ability in each end phase (instead of just 1 unit) and during deployment, an additional friendly unit in reserve can be declared as arriving via Shadow Strike (instead of just 1 unit). In addition, a friendly unit within 18” of a model with this ability automatically passes its shadow strike discipline check, unless the unit is shell-shocked.
This really is the defining ability of the Forsaken, as it allows them to utilize Shadow Strike on multiple units per turn. So if you have 2 Chieftains in your force, that means you could use Shadow Strike on 3 of your units per turn. That opens up all kinds of tactical options unavailable to other factions, such as being able to suddenly put several of your units right into the enemy's vulnerable rear arcs, or to redeploy several of your units onto objective markers that are on the far side of the table.

The last piece of the Forsaken puzzle is their faction objective 'Now You See Me':
Partial: (each end phase) This turn, if at least one of your units was put into reserve via shadow strike and the now you don’t ability was not utilized at all, gain 1 VP.
Full: (end of game) If at least one of your models on the table has the Forsaken designator, gain all of this objective’s remaining VPs.
Now You Don’t: Once per turn, when you remove one of your units from the table via shadow strike, you may either immediately remove 3D3 STs from it, or return 1 model back to the unit that had previously been removed as a casualty.
This objective at its base level just rewards a Forsaken force with Victory Points for using Shadow Strike on at least 1 of its units per turn. But if you don't really need to gain a Victory Point on a particular turn, you can instead cash that Victory Point in for two really amazing options: either removing 3D3 suppression from a unit, or returning a model killed previously in the battle back into the unit. So say your opponent has spent the entire turn pounding on one of your key units, building up a ton of suppression on it. In the end phase of that turn, if the unit is within 18" of a Chieftain, you can automatically remove it from the table (without having to take a discipline check thanks to the Chieftain's Shadow Master ability), get rid of 3D3 suppression and then next turn you'll be able to put that unit back anywhere on the table that is in cover and more than 12" from the enemy...not too shabby!

When the time comes for us to release Jackal and SARA command units, we'll talk more about how those forces from those sub-factions will fight. Until then, if the imagery/theme of the Jackals/SARA sub-faction appeals to you right off the bat, you should feel free to paint/convert your models into those themes, as all you'll need to do to change your force from one sub-faction to another is to take a different command unit.

Assembly Guide - Broken Forsaken Chieftains & Unit Bosses


Posted on Monday Oct 16, 2017 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


Assembling Broken Forsaken Chieftains & Unit Bosses




Note: The bulk of this article is the same as for the Broken Rabble Assembly Guide and the Broken Rabble Assault Unit Guide, as the only real difference between the different units model-wise is the choice of weapons. So if you have already worked through those, this guide will look rather familiar and you may want to just skip down to the part with the weapons.

This guide will cover assembling Forsaken Chieftain and Boss models with the various pistol options from the infantry sprue. The two-handed weapon options are all covered in the Rabble and Rabble Assault unit articles linked above. You can also use this guide for assembling standard Assault Unit models with pistols.

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 knee, hip, torso, and arm positions when gluing 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.

Broken Forsaken Chieftain & Unit Boss Assembly Notes


Six Broken models can be made from one set of the Broken Infantry sprues:








Assembly is fairly straightforward, with everything fitting together where you would expect. There are six different torsos, each with a unique front and back.



You can save yourself some aggravation if you keep the matching parts together when you cut them off the sprue. If they do get mixed up it will help that the fittings are different on each pair, so each front and back will only go together with its correct partner.



The twelve different sets of legs give you a whole slew of options for posing, as with one exception any of the torsos will work with any of the legs. The exception is torso 3 (parts 3B and 3F) which has pouches hanging from the belt. This torso fits with the legs labelled 3LEG and 6LEG, and slightly less flush with 3LEGB, although the pouches hide any slight gap you wind up with on that last set. You can also make this torso fit with some of the other legs if you trim up the bottom of some of the pouches a little.



With the torsos glued in place, you might notice that there is a reasonable amount of height variation between the models, which makes for a much more ragtag look to the unit than the usual identically-sized military units.

As with the torso/leg pairing, most of the huge range of heads on the sprues will work with any of the torsos. Torso 2 (2B and 2F) has a rolled cloak across the shoulders and torso 3 (3B and 3F) has a high collar, both of which may get in the way for heads 3H, 4H, 6H, 6HB and AH11.



With the massive range of arms available to choose from, a little experimenting may be required to get just the look you want. Because of the different grips and sizes of the various weapons, some weapon hands have a more open grip and others are more closed, so this needs to be kept in mind when fitting them onto your models. Models with two pistols can have the second pistol hanging from their belt or backpack, or in a resting pose using one of the various open hands. Open left hands can also be used to hold grenades.

The Slug Pistol needs a fairly open grip, as it has a fairly chunky handle on it. It works best with arms 1RC, 3RA, 4RC, 5RB, and 6RC.



You can also create a resting pose with it using one of the open left hands and balancing the pistol on the model's hip.



The Chem Pistol works with a more closed right hand, as the handgrip is a little thinner than on the slug pistol.





The Beam Pistol also works best with a more closed right hand, but work best with hands 3RA, 4RE, 5RB, 6RA or 6RE.






For some more ideas for building your Broken models or to share your own creations, head on over to the Comm Guild Facebook page.

You can pick up the Broken Infantry Pack, 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.

'The Broken' Rules - Part 2: Fighting with The Broken


Posted on Thursday Oct 12, 2017 at 02:00PM in Gaming




For those who love our new Broken Rabble models but are curious as to how the faction performs on the tabletop, have no fear, we've got some answers for you today. The first thing you have to know is that the Broken individually aren't very good at all. They're the 'common man' of the spiral arm, and therefore they have terrible skill, terrible armor and a terrible willpower characteristic. But have heart! The Broken's true power lies in their sheer strength of numbers. There's a whole lot more Broken with nothing left to lose stranded near the Maelstrom's Edge then the troops from all the other factions put together! The Broken draw tremendous strength from the fact that they greatly outnumber their foes, and as a Broken player, you will definitely outnumber your opponent. Not only do basic Broken units cost the fewest points in the game by a pretty wide margin, but they also tend to have a maximum size of 6 models (while most other factions are limited to squads of 5 or less models). You'll probably want to go with the maximum number of models in each of your units, because the Broken's poor Skill characteristic means they miss with a lot of their shooting, so the more models you have firing, the more chance you'll be able to score some quality hits on the enemy. The other reason you'll want to max out your squad size is because of a little force-wide ability the Broken have called 'Mob Mentality':

MOB MENTALITY: This model’s WP characteristic is equal to the total number of models in the unit that share this ability, unless that number is lower than the model’s actual WP characteristic value. Models with the Mob Mentality ability have an asterisk listed with their WP characteristic value as a reminder of this ability.
This ability makes full-sized Broken units into some of the most reliable units in the entire game, especially when you join a character to them, making a 7-man strong unit...it takes 21 suppression tokens on such a unit to shell shock it and guarantee that it will have to retreat! Of course as an opponent of the Broken, don't fret about this too much, because the Broken are some of the easiest models to kill in the game, meaning it doesn't take too much work to whittle down that 7-man unit to a much more manageable size.

The Broken know that their technology and weaponry can't normally match that of the other factions they fight against, so they are willing to modify their weapons to dangerous levels to put themselves on more of an even playing field. When looking across the characteristics of Broken weapons, at first glance it might seem like they are as good, if not better, than those fielded by other factions, and in many cases they are! But this potency comes with a price, and that's the 'Unstable' ability:

UNSTABLE: When a ‘1’ is rolled to hit with this attack, place a number of STs onto the firing unit equal to the current DAM value of the attack.
Pretty much all of the really good weapons the Broken have are Unstable. While this ability doesn't actually kill Broken models, it can quickly start tacking tons of suppression onto Broken firing units. All this extra suppression is all well and fine while your units are at their maximum size, but as soon as the enemy starts killing a few of your models, the suppression generated by your own weapons will start to haunt you. So deciding whether or not to equip your Broken units with Unstable weapons plays a huge part in how your force will behave on the table. If you're a gambler, then pack in the Unstable weapons and hope to obliterate your foes before you drown in your own suppression!

The Broken know they cannot win in a straight-up fight against the other factions in the spiral arm, and so they have developed a method of fighting that relies on darting into and out of the shadows, confounding and frustrating their foes. This is represented by a faction-wide ability known as 'Shadow Strike':

SHADOW STRIKE In the end phase of each turn, before calculating VPs, a Broken player may select a single friendly infantry unit that is at least 12” away from the enemy and has every single one of its models in cover (from every enemy unit). The selected unit takes a shadow strike discipline check. If the check is successful, the unit is removed from the table and is put into reserve, keeping any STs it has.

In any future turn, a unit that was put into reserve via the Shadow Strike ability can either elect to arrive normally, or may instead deploy via the Shadow Strike main action. The Shadow Strike action allows the unit to be placed anywhere on the table that is both entirely in cover and at least 12” away from the enemy, and then, after being placed this way, the unit may fire a single round of wild shooting. A unit that is placed on the table via the Shadow Strike action counts as having moved.

When putting a Broken infantry unit into reserve before the game, its owning player may declare that the unit will arrive during the game via the Shadow Strike main action described above. Only a single Broken unit per side (including a joined character) may start the game this way.
As you can see, this ability really gives the Broken a huge advantage of being able to put a unit pretty much anywhere on the table each turn (as long as the unit is put into cover). Of course, a unit that is placed onto the table via Shadow Strike is only able to fire wildly that turn (meaning they only hit on rolls of '6'), so you do sacrifice most of the unit's firepower to get this benefit, but its generally worth it to be able to control the table and capture objective markers when and where you need to. On top of that, the abilities of a Forsaken Chieftain make Shadow Strike even better, but we'll talk more about that in the next installment, where we'll be looking a bit closer at the different sub-factions of the Broken, including the Forsaken Chieftain.