The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

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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.

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.