The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Entries tagged [tutorial]

Terrain Spotlight: 'Illuminated' Viewscreen


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


- by Iain Wilson

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





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



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





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



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



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



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

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



Build your own viewscreen by picking up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Modeling Spotlight: Remnant Militus Battlesuit


Posted on Monday Apr 15, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

This month saw the release of a new faction, and a fantastic new multi-part, plastic kit for Maelstrom's Edge, in the form of the Artarian Remnant's Militus battlesuit. For this week's modeling article, I thought I would take a closer look at this kit and see what I could make with it.





The Militus kit comes with a single plastic frame, which includes one battlesuit, two each of the different ranged weapon options, fist and reflex shield options, two different shoulder pad options, two different backpack options, and more heads than you can poke a shock baton at, to allow for some very easy customisation between your different suits.



The Militus is fully articulated, with ball joints at ankles, knees, hips, elbows and shoulders, which allows for a wide range of posing options. The ranged weapons also have a multi-part gimble arrangement which allows both arm-mounted and shoulder-rig weapons to be positioned just how you want them.





As an alternative to the standard shoulder rig, you can leave the vertical arm off and flip the weapon over, attaching the gimbal directly to the shoulder pad.



As a handy extra, the connection point for the weapons onto the gimbal is a very snug fit, which actually allows you to leave the weapon unglued and just push them into place, so that you can switch between weapons as desired between games. Likewise, while the forearm-and-hand option uses a different upper arm to the ranged weapons, the shoulder joint is a tightly fitting ball and socket joint, so if you glue the shoulder pad on to the torso without gluing the arm, you can carefully wiggle the arms in and out of the shoulder socket to swap them.


The saw blades on the above suit are not from this kit, but came from a Warhammer 40000 ork vehicle, used here just because I thought it looked awesome!

The backpack options (a field generator and a jump pack) also slot on, fitting neatly over the suit's back. These aren't quite as snug as the shoulders, but you could easily leave them unglued and attach them when you want them with a little blue-tac or similar poster adhesive.



The fantastic thing about plastic, of course, is that it is simple to modify. So if the already wide range of posing available to the suit doesn't quite get it where you want it, it's an easy job to trim the joints a little to push them out even further. The below suit was posed by removing the top edges of the thigh armour plates, trimming the edges of the hip socket and leaving off the triangular piece that fits into the back of the shin.



Lorican Champions are highly individual souls, and love to customise their suits. For this reason, the frame includes a bunch of different heads, and we will be releasing a resin upgrade pack to add some extra options in the near future. You can also look at other 28mm resin add-ons for more distinctive customisation - the heads on the suits are more or less human-sized, although you may need to fill the neck socket with some putty. The below suit was customised with an assortment of resin parts I had laying around from an old grab bag. His weapon drone (representing a shoulder mounted weapo, rules-wise) was made from a chopped up jump pack.



Finally, you're likely to wind up with a bunch of extra heads after you have finished building your suits. As mentioned above, these are human-sized, so that opens up all sorts of potential for customising your troops from other factions!





What do you have planned for your Militus suits? Feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

You can pick up the Militus suit along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

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

Painting Tutorial: Aged Copper


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


- by Iain Wilson

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





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



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



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



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



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



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



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







You can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge boxed game and model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Spotlight: Alien Forest using Silicon Aquarium Plants!


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


- by Iain Wilson

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





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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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







Feeling like assembling your own tropical alien paradise? As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

You can find the Maelstrom's Edge boxed game and model range in the Maelstrom's Edge webstore here.



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

Painting Tutorial: Weathered Signs using Photo Paper Decals


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


- by Iain Wilson

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





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

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



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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



You can pick up the entire Maelstrom's Edge model range, including the terrain sprue used for the terrain in this article, from the webstore here.

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

Painting Spotlight: Broken Forsaken Chieftain


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


- by Iain Wilson

Time to get some paint on!

Despite building a bunch of Forsaken Chieftains for a conversion article a while back (This one!), I hadn't had a chance to get any of them painted up yet, so my Broken force has been languishing without a properly-attired leader for all this time. This week I decided to remedy this situation!





The model painted here was one of the resin conversions featured in the article linked above, with the normal Xeno Spotter and melee weapon replaced with bionic arms holding a Beam Blastgun and a grenade.



My broken troops were painted with a very quick 'base colours and a wash of brown ink' affair, which was shown in the article way back here. As a force's leader is a bit of a centrepiece, I wanted a paintjob that was going to look like it fitted in with the troops, but was a little more polished. I started out by spraying the model with Army Painter Army Green, as I had with the troops.



I then picked out the base colours, leaving the army green on the pants and shirt, and painting straps, pouches, boots and armour pads with Vallejo Heavy Brown and Beasty Brown, the coat with P3 Jack Bone, her face with Citadel Tallarn Flesh, and everything else with Vallejo Heavy Charcoal.



The next step was to add some highlights. I used Coat D'Arms Putrid Green to highlight the creases in the shirt and pants, and followed up with some touches of Jack Bone on the darker brown areas and face, and P3 Morrow White on the coat and lighter brown parts.



The green was then shaded with a wash of Army Painter Green Tone, and the brown areas and face with Army Painter Strong Tone. While that was drying, I added some white highlights to the hair, and painted the metal areas - the weapon was just given a light drybrush with P3 Pig Iron, and the other metal areas given a flat coat of the same.



Next up, the metal parts were given a highlight with Army Painter Shining Silver. I also painted the edge detail on the coat with some old Citadel Tentacle Pink, and shaded the coat with multiple light coats of Army Painter Soft Tone painted into the creases and concealed areas.



I then gave the metal parts a wash of Army Painter Dark Tone, and shaded the coat edge detail with some light coats of Army Painter Purple Tone.



That just left some final detail work - The eye was painted white and a black dot added in the middle. The bionic eye was painted with Vallejo Red and Army Painter Pure Red, with a highlight of white. For the yellow on the grenade, I started with a coat of Citadel Iyanden Yellow, a top layer of P3 Cygnus Yellow, some shading underneath with Soft Tone and a highlight of yellow with a little white mixed in. The straps on the gun were painted with Heavy Brown and given a wash of Strong Tone, as were the cross-straps on the back of the coat. Also on the back of the coat, I picked out the studs with Heavy Charcoal and added a highlight with Shining Silver.

And, finally, the base was painted with the same urban scheme that I've been using for several of my Maelstrom's Edge forces - you can find a how-to here.



The finished model, leading a Broken force into battle!







Keen to try putting together your own Broken force? You can find the resin Chieftain model and plastic Broken Infantry used here, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range in the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Tutorial: Corner Brace Shipping Crates


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


- by Iain Wilson

Time for another quick and easy build!

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





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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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







Keen to give it a go? You can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Sculpting Tutorial: Quick and Easy Hoods


Posted on Monday Jan 28, 2019 at 05:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

It's been a while since I sculpted anything, so this seems like as good a time as any to throw in a quick and easy sculpting tutorial!

Hoods are a nice way of adding that extra sinister touch to your sneaky cultists, and they're actually really easy to make. There are a few different potential ways to go about it, but here I'll run through the way I've found results in the least amount of swearing.





What you will need:

  • Some putty - I'm using 'Green Stuff (Kneadatite), but any fine-grain two-part epoxy (ProCreate, or the finer-grade Milliput, for example) will do the job.
  • Sculpting tools - I use silicon colour shapers for most of my sculpting, with the bulk of the heavy lifting being done by a flat, square ended tool and a rounded pointy one.
  • Baking Paper - not essential, but handy to use as a work surface to stop the putty sticking to the table.
  • And obviously, a miniature to put the hood on...




Start by mixing a ball of putty around about the size of the model's head.



Pop the putty ball on top of the model's head, and then use your fingers to flatten the ball down either side.





Use a tool to finish smoothing down the sides, rolling or pulling the putty right down to the model's neck.



Pull the putty from either side to the middle at the back of the head, to close up the gap, then use a round tool to roll up along the resultant seam to smooth it out. This should leave a pointy peak at the top rear of the hood.



Carrying on with the rounded tool, roll along the top of the hood and down the sides to smooth out any remaining fingerprints, lumps or creases that shouldn't be there.



Use the flat tool to shape the front of the hood. You can work the tool in under the putty around the face to pull it outwards, and then smooth along the outside to remove any creases and pull the edge forwards.



Use the point of the rounded tool to poke into the putty at either side of the neck, to make it look like the hood flares out a little and then folds back in under at the collar.



Finally, use the rounded tool, or the edge of the flat tool, to create some creases wherever they look natural - I like to add some shape around the back, where the weight of the pointy rear of the hood would cause the fabric to sag a little.



And that's pretty much it - you can continue to work the putty to fine-tune the shape as necessary, and then let it set before painting!



A couple more examples.





If all of that was a little hard to follow, here's a run through in video form!



If that's all got you inspired to get some hoody action happening in your own cult forces, You can pick up a coven of alien-worshipping Karists, along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!



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

Modeling Spotlight: Hakoyu Grand Masters


Posted on Monday Dec 17, 2018 at 06:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Hakoyu Grand Masters are masters of close quarters fighting, lending the experience of decades of training in combat skills and their exquisitely-crafted energy weapons to the Broken Federation's cause. This week, I'm taking a closer look at the model for this fearsome melee veteran.





The Hakoyu Grand Master is a multi-part resin model, with the body cast in one piece and all four arms joining at the elbows. Two of the forearms are equipped with the Hakoyu's shields, while the other two hold the Phase Weapons - a sword and an axe.





The elbow joint is a ball-and-socket affair, which allows for a decent range of posing, and also allows you to choose where to put each forearm.



Of course, that also means that you can mix and match arms between models - for the below model, I swapped out the shields in favour of doubling up the weapons. The second axe and sword were switched to the opposite side simply by slicking them off just above the hand and switching them, gluing each weapon onto the hand the other had been removed from.



Phase weapons take many forms, at the preference of the individual Grand Master. For this model, I replaced the sword and axe with a double-ended polearm - presumably this Grand Master would be skilled enough with this weapon for it to have the same effect as fighting with two separate blades! The hands were swapped out with plastic hands from the Broken Infantry sprue - as the Hakoyu only has three fingers, I resculpted the fingers on the left hand with a little 'green stuff' putty. The right hand is bionic, so I left it as is - ill-fitting bionics would be just one of the difficulties faced by alien races amongst the often poorly-equipped Broken.



Life on the Edge is hard, and emergency surgery and appropriate bionics are not always available when needed. It would be expected that this might take a toll on veteran Grand Masters, who spend so much of their time in the thick of the fighting. This Grand Master has at some point lost two of his hands, and rather than replacing them with bionics has had his Phase blades strapped directly to his wrists. I also put this model into a slightly more crouched pose, but cutting through the lower knee joint, bending the legs and then filling in the remaining gap with some putty.



Finally, while known primarily for their fearsome skills in melee, I would expect some Grand Masters to take pride in mastering all aspect of warfare. This Grand Master has eschewed the usual Phase weapons (aside from the one still strapped to his back - you can't turn away completely from tradition, after all!) in favour of a long rifle converted from two slug rifles from the Broken Infantry sprue. The forearm (another bionic) is also taken from the Infantry sprue. I also doubled up the larger of the two shields, but cutting the small shield off the right forearm, and the arm off the large shield, and then gluing them together.



What have you done with your Grand Master? Feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

You can pick up the Hakoyu Grand Master along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

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

Modeling Spotlight: Epirian Contractor Drones


Posted on Monday Dec 10, 2018 at 06:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

The addition of the Contractor Drone to Epirian Contractor units gave them some new tactical options, with heavy weapon options for the re-titled Contractor Defender units, and supply drone options for the new Contractor Scout unit. This week I'm looking at some modeling options for the multi-part, resin Contractor Drone model.





Building one of four different options, the Contractor Drone kit comes with three different weapon options - a maglock chaingun, twin cluster missile pods and twin flakk guns. It also includes the Resupply Package for the Contractor Scout unit.





While sharing a superficially similar configuration, the Contractor Drone is a distinctly different model from the Spider Drone, with a chassis that is bulkier and taller. It also has weapon mounts situated beside its off-centre sensor unit as opposed to the Spider's side-mounted set-up.



The drone's legs all fit into any of the four shoulder sockets, with a barrel pivot allowing them to be positioned through a wide range of movement.



The equipment options slot in with a large locator tab. If you want to keep your options open, you can use a small piece of blu tac or similar re-usable adhesive to temporarily fix them in place and swap them out as you want.



Since I have problems assembling things the way they're supposed to be, I couldn't resist taking a knife to the kit to see what I could do with it. For a taller profile, I repositioned the feet on the below drone by soaking the legs in hot water and then bending them. I also cut through the legs right beside the shoulder assembly and glued them back on at a shallower angle.



One of the weapon options - Strike Missile Pods - didn't make it into the kit for the initial release. There are a couple of fairly easy ways to get around this problem if you want Strike Missile-equipped drones. For this one, I took a pair of Strike Missile pods from the Hunter Warmech kit, trimmed them up a little to fit onto the Contractor Drone front and glued them together.



If you don't have a Hunter kit to hand, you can also take the Cluster Missile pods, trim the missiles flush with the front of the pods, glue a 1.5mm hole into the front of each pod and glue in two pieces of 1.5mm plastic rod trimmed to points.



For a closed version of the Resupply drone, I cut through the supply cache directly behind the front panel using a razor saw, and then glued the panel directly to the front of the drone.



Legs are all well and good, but sometimes a more stable platform is called for. On the below drone, I replaced the legs with a skirt made from sections cut from a lintel piece found on the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. Under that, I added some tracks purloined from an old Mechwarrior tank model.



The Contractor Drone chassis also makes a nice, solid foundation for a remote turret assembly, to be installed on fortification walls or vehicle hulls. In place of the legs, I added a mounting column cut from a length of plastic tube, and inserted that into the small pipe fitting from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue.





You can pick up the Contractor Drone along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Tutorial: Flight Base Shipping Crates


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


- by Iain Wilson

This week's modeling article came about more or less by accident! I have a bunch of flight bases left over from the Epirian Drone kit, as it comes with both 45mm bases for Spider Drones, and flight bases for Firefly Drones. I discovered when sorting out some bases in a mixed box of bits that the 25mm round bases fit quite neatly inside the bottom of the flight base, creating a pretty neat little detail effect, and I thought: I need to do something with that!

And so I did - multi-purpose shipping crates:



This is a really quick and easy build. You'll need two flight base bottom pieces, two 25mm bases, some thin cardboard (I'm using part of a manilla folder here, but cereal packet or similar thin card or even some thin plasticard would do just fine) and a computer terminal from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue. That last bit is optional, as the crates will still look perfectly functional without it, but it does help to finish it off and give it that definite sci-fi stamp!



First, cut the cardboard into a strip - the width of the cardboard is the length of the crate. I've gone with 50mm long crates, as that seemed like a good size, but you could make them longer or shorter (or even do a mix of sizes) if you choose. Mark out six 15mm increments along the strip and lightly score with a sharp hobby knife, and cut the cardboard off about 5 or 6mm past the last one. Cut the corners of that last, shorter increment off at 45 degrees, as below:



Fold along each score line to create a hexagonal tube.



Apply superglue to the inside of one end of the tube, and wrap it around one of the flight bases, with the base bottom facing out, so that the end of the tube lines up flush with the bottom of the base.



Repeat for the other end, and this time also glue the short tab on the end of the cardboard inside the corresponding edge of the tube.



Glue a 25mm base, bottom facing out, inside each of the flight bases. The arc markers on the 25mm base line up with two corners of the flight base. If you're not using Maelstrom's Edge bases for this, it still works, you just won't have the extra bit of detail from the arc markers. Some bases also have branding stamps on the bottom - you could use these the other way around, for a slightly different look.



Finally, glue the computer terminal in one end.



Add some paint, and your cargo crates are ready for the table!



Printing out some shipping company names and gluing them on the sides is a great way to add some extra detail and make them look authentic!



To build your own shipping crates, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue (and 25mm bases!) along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Conversion Spotlight & Rules: Gnolti Berserker!


Posted on Monday Nov 12, 2018 at 06:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

Big, burly, slow to anger but nigh on unstoppable when they get rolling, the Gnolti is an impressive sight on the table, and is one of my favourite models. A while back, I got to thinking about the different ways that the ongoing battles around the Maelstrom's Edge would affect these massive, generally peaceful aliens, and started exploring this with my 'Longhorn' conversion. At the other end of the scale from the implacable veteran, I thought it would be an interesting contrast to have a much younger Gnolti who handles the constant call to arms in a much more direct fashion - and so the Gnolti Berserker was born:



As with my previous Gnolti conversions, this was built from the standard Gnolti model.



I wanted to give him a charging pose, as this guy was definitely not the 'sit back and take a breather' type of fighter! So I started by cutting the left leg off with a razor saw, and then reattaching it with the leg pivoted to the rear.





In place of the Gnolti's normal field generating bucklers, I thought it would be fun to give the berserker an array of scavenged blades to fight with. Using a sharp exacto knife, I cut off the existing detail from the shields, added some cracks and dents, and glued on some blades cut from the resin casting tab that the parts came on. (Waste not, want not!) As the left hand's fingers are slightly flattened on the bottom where they normally sit on the base, I also reshaped these by carefully rounding them off with the knife and adding in some knuckle lines.



For my Longhorn, I had gone with the idea that the Gnolti's horns would grow as they age. Running that idea backwards, a younger Gnolti would therefore need shorter horns. I figured that reducing his beard would also be fitting, and so I cut away the back couple of sections of the horns, removed all of his beard, and also sliced open the mouth with a razor saw and, holding it under some hot water, carefully bent it open.



I used 'Green Stuff' putty to replace the missing detail around his neck where the horns and beard were originally, resculpted a smaller beard and added a layer over the lower lip to reshape it.



Similarly, I filled in the gap created by re-posing the leg, and also removed the blanket roll from the Gnolti's back just to create a little visual difference from the others, and sculpted in new draped cloth in its place.



Finally, I glued on the arms and did a little final gap-filling where the reposing of the arms caused them to not fit flush at the elbow joints.





Painting was largely the same as my original Gnolti conversion, although I used a very slightly darker grey on the scales and made his beard a brighter orange.









Conversions are only part of the fun, of course - What about getting the models on the table? You can find unofficial rules cards for the Gnolti Longhorn and Gnolti Berserker in the Force List section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here, or download a printable version in the 'Unofficial Cards' PDF compilation here.

If you want to give them a try but aren't as confident in your converting, you can very easily use the standard Gnolti model as a fill-in - for the Berserker, paint him without the light on the shields and maybe make him a bit dirtier, and for the Longhorn just glue on an appropriate gun in the right hand, and you're good to go!


Family Shot!





To put together your own mountain of xenos rage, you can pick up the Gnolti kit along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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

Terrain Spotlight: Generator Made From Bubblegum Tape Dispensers!


Posted on Monday Nov 05, 2018 at 06:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

One of the most enjoyable aspects of terrain building for me is to find everyday things that, with a little bit of tinkering, suddenly turn into something that looks at home on the battlefield. This has resulted in me spending more time than is healthy wandering through hardware stores and discount shops looking for new fodder for the workbench - it's often a little surprising where that perfect next project piece will show up.

This week's build is based on an idea that I have come across in several different incarnations online, and thought it looked too cool to not try it out. So after a quick trip to the local grocery store, I found myself building a generator out of bubblegum tape dispensers!



I picked up two packs of grape-flavoured Hubba Bubba. Obviously, the flavour doesn't make any difference to the build, but if you're buying bubblegum anyway, is there any logical reason to buy any flavour other than grape?



The first step was to remove the bubblegum from the packs, and remove the labels. The labels mostly peeled off easily, but needed a little cleanup with some Tea Tree Oil to remove the sticky residue - If you don't have access to Tea Tree Oil, use whatever local equivalent you have for cleaning sticky residue off things.

Then I may have got momentarily distracted...



One side of the pack has an internal ridge running down each long side of the opening, and a pair of tongues that close over into the other half. These needed to be removed, which I did with a sharp exacto knife. They're made from a fairly soft plastic, so cut easily.



This left four almost-identical, semi-circular pieces.



To join the segments together, I took four 25mm bases and cut them in half with a razor saw. The arc markers on the Maelstrom's Edge bases serve as a handy guide for this, but if you are using different bases then some measuring and marking would be involved here.



I cut a piece of masonite to an appropriate size for a base, and then a smaller piece of foamed PVC for the generator to sit on. I could have used another piece of masonite here, but figured the plastic gum dispenser would glue better to the PVC. On the PVC, I marked out where the dispenser pieces would sit, and added a 25mm-wide centre strip to serve as a guide for gluing the base pieces on.



Then, I sat each dispenser piece in turn onto the marks and glued the base sections in position on both sides using an all-plastics glue.





(The 'all-plastics' glue that I use is a 2-part system that has a tube of superglue and a 'primer' pen. You prime the contact points on both parts to be glued before applying the glue, and it creates a super-fast and extremely strong bond with just about any type of plastic).

It was around about this time that I noticed that there were small recycling symbols embossed on two of the dispenser pieces, so I carefully shaved these off with the exacto knife and lightly sanded down the surface. Then I moved on to the ends. Due to the dispenser having that tongue that I cut off back at the start, one side was left with a flat plate, while the other had a hole where the tongue originally slotted in. I took the cut piece of tongue and glued it into this gap.



Then I took eight support struts from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, and cut off the vent sections on their ends. These were glued in pairs into the dispenser opening.





The four sections of dispenser were then glued down onto the base, with the 25mm base sections on each touching the matching section on the next.



I felt that the generator needed a control panel, so quickly threw one together using a console and two trapezoid windows from the terrain sprue, with a square of foamed PVC as a base.



With that glued in place onto the masonite base, the generator was ready for some paint!



I painted it up using my normal weathered metal technique (which you can find in the tutorial here).





To build your own generator, you should be able to find the bubblegum tape just about anywhere that sells bubblegum, and can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!



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

Terrain Spotlight: Abandoned Outpost


Posted on Monday Oct 29, 2018 at 06:00PM in Tutorials


- by Iain Wilson

As anyone who has been following these modeling articles may have noticed, I have all sorts of trouble looking at store-bought kits and not immediately coming up with various ways to hack them up and glue them back together again, and this week's article is no exception. There are a plethora of outstanding MDF building kits out in the market these days, which can be great options for inexpensive, easy to build terrain. Thanks to how easy it is to cut and glue, they can also form a great base for modification. I recently put together a basic desert building from Knights of Dice's Tabula Rasa range, with some extra detailing courtesy of the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue (If you missed it, you can find the article here), and this week, I'm taking a stab at a second building from this range. Intact buildings are just so pre-galaxy-spanning-apocalypse, however, so I'm taking the knife to this one and creating a small abandoned outpost:



The first step was to plan out exactly how I was going to destroy the building, so I popped the parts off their sheets and fitted the basic structure together with no glue. Then I took a pencil and drew a rough line around the outside where I wanted the walls to be damaged.



I cut the walls using a sharp exacto knife, by scoring through on the outside following the pencil line relatively closely, then scoring a roughly corresponding line on the inside of the wall piece (this wasn't an exact match, just eye-balled to be close enough) and then snapping the piece in two. The edge was then cleaned up using the knife to remove any fluffy or protruding parts.



When all of the cuts were completed, it was time to add some detail. The Tabula Rasa kits are deliberately plain, both to keep the cost down and to provide a generic structure for detail pieces to be added, and so they're a perfect base for the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue!

I took a door piece and used a razor saw to cut the door out of the frame, and broke the frame into several pieces. Some scarring was also added with the knife.



I widened both the exterior and interior doorways to match the terrain sprue door pieces. The door frame pieces were glued in place on the exterior doorway, and I added a second doorframe with the door also removed but the frame left intact into the inner doorway. Support struts cut to length were glued over the corner joints on the walls to hide them, and add a little more visual interest to the otherwise fairly plain, boxy building. On the first Tabula Rasa building I added detail over the window holes as well, but for this ruin it didn't seem necessary.



The courtyard has a low MDF wall that runs around it, but I wanted something a little more flashy, so I took a couple of ladders from the terrain sprue and cut off one side with a razor saw.



These were then cut to length and glue in place around the edges of the courtyard, after gluing the scrap pieces back into the locator holes for the original wall to fill them in.



To help turn this into an old, long-abandoned ruin that the jungle had started to reclaim, I built up some patches on the floor with air-drying clay.



I pressed a few castoffs pieces of MDF into the clay, and glued the distressed door down on the courtyard floor. Over this, I painted a thick layer of PVA glue and sprinkled on a generous layer of a gravel, sand and railway ballast mix that I like to use for building rubble as it has a lot of different textures in there.



When the PVA glue had dried, I tipped off the excess gravel mix, and then it was time to paint. I didn't have a brown spray to hand, so I undercoated with some flat black and, while it was still wet, followed up with a light coat of Army Painter Dragon Red.



Over this went a coat of a light cream colour, and then a highlight spray of white from above.



I went back over anything that I wanted to look like exposed metal and re-undercoated with Vallejo Beasty Brown, before drybrushing with P3 Pig Iron. The few bits of the original floor still peeking through the rubble were painted with Vallejo Basalt Grey and drybrushed with Vallejo Light Grey.



With that out of the way, I went to town with washes!

I gave the whole building a generous coat of Army Painter Strong Tone. The walls were painted with a medium-sized flat brush, using vertical strokes to create a streaky effect and allowing the wash to pool and run where it felt like it. When that first wash had dried, I went back over it, picking out small areas with extra dollops of Strong Tone and also adding some patches of Green Tone and Military Shader to give them a greenish, mossy tint.



Time to add some shrubbery!

I took a bunch of assorted fake plants. Most of these are cheap aquarium plants, although I also used a bunch of plastic greenery taken from a mat I found at a local hardware store for creating fake vertical gardens. It looks rubbish as an actual plant feature, but is a perfect resource for my purposes here.



Fake plants, particularly the cheaper kind, tend to be rather brightly coloured and slightly glossy, which just wouldn't do. I got around this by giving the plants a light spray with Army Painter Army Green - not enough to completely cover over the original colour, but enough to dull down the colour and shine. To add some extra colour differentiation, I very lightly misted the tips of some of the plants with white. The painted plants were then glued in place wherever seemed appropriate, but poking a hole through the rubble and into the underlying clay, applying some superglue to the plant stem and pushing it into the hole. I also cut some leaves off a few plants and glued them around on the ground.



The final step was to paint the fallen leaves with varying amounts of brown, and then a quick wash of Strong Tone. At this point, the ruin looked something like this:











To get all apocalyptic on your own building creations, you can pick up the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.

As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!



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

Modeling Spotlight: Karist Kaddar Nova


Posted on Monday Oct 22, 2018 at 06:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

This week, I'm having a play around with another of the original models released with the Battle for Zycanthus boxed set: The Kaddar Nova!

The Kaddar Nova is a member of the Karist Enclave priesthood, but they are often granted operational control on the battlefield due to their experience and the reverence paid to them by members of the Enclave. Equipped with an incredibly powerful cybel reactor that serves as both a power source and a weapon, the Kaddar Nova is a distinctive figure. Their bodies are enlarged and twisted by their constant exposure to cybel energy, and their ravaged faces cut a stark contrast to their powerful frames.

As the leader and figurehead of the Karist forces, the Kaddar Nova needed a suitably impressive model kit, and so the sprue comes with a nice array of parts to build them. But as always, of course, the sprue is only the starting point, and below I'll go through some quick and easy ways to further customise this fearsome individual.



Building your Kaddar Nova straight off the sprue lets you choose from three different sets of legs, two different arms for each side, two different heads, and an optional crown piece for the more formal-dressing Kaddar.







The indents in the crown mimic the extra eyes of the alien Angels that often accompany Karist forces. You can use this to make a more mysterious Kaddar Nova by taking the head with the scull-cap, trimming his nose down flat and gluing the crown piece on upside down over his face, so that the upper rim sits just below his eyes.



Headswaps are another easy way to mix things up on your models. The necks on the original Karist sets weren't all interchangeable (something that we've corrected in later Maelstrom's Edge models) but thanks to them being plastic that's easily fixed with a little cutting or filing. On the below model, I have used a head from the Tempest Elite set, with the helmet crust removed as it would hit up against the cybel reactor.



A more inscrutable look can be achieved using a Karist Trooper helmet with the neck trimmed down to fit, and the eye lenses sanded down to produce a blank faceplate. The staff on this model is a modified Cybel Glaive from the Faction Expansion sprue.



An advancing pose can be created with some careful cutting - trim a wedge out of the groin area where the legs join, so that they can be attached in a less spread position, and glue them so that one leg is to the rear slightly. Once the glue has set, cut or file the waist down flat and assemble the rest of the model - his robes largely hide the joint, but you can use a little modeling putty to fill any resulting gaps.



Alternatively, you can look for legs from elsewhere in the range. Trooper legs are too small, as they're not cybel-enhanced like the more elite Karist warriors, but by cutting through the waist of a Tempest Elite model with a razor saw, you can replace the Kaddar Nova's robed legs with walking, armoured legs instead.



Shadow Walker legs also work, although they're a fraction shorter. This Kaddar Nova is obviously just not quite as cybel-swollen as his compatriots yet.



The Kaddar Nova is only one aspect of the Kaddar priesthood, and others will be fleshed out eventually. In the meantime, though, it's fun to see where mashing bits together can lead you... The below model is a combination of Kaddar Nova and Shadow Walker parts, with some small tentacles taken from a couple of Mature Angel kits. I call him a 'Kaddar Noctis'.



Hopefully, this has given you some inspiration for your own Kaddar Nova builds! To get started, you can pick up the Kaddar Nova along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.



As always, feel free to pop along and share your work, or ask any Maelstrom's Edge- or hobby-related questions on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

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