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Maelstrom's Edge: Mustering the Troops

Published on 22/04/2016

  • Maelstrom's Edge: Mustering the Troops

If the creators of Maelstrom's Edge, Spiral Arm Studios, do nothing else this year, they will have forever earned my gratitude for making their box set all plastic - not a metal miniature to be seen, and thank God for that.

Combined with a set of plastic sprues that have very few mould lines, and given the ease of assembling plastic minis with poly cement, I was able to assemble each unit in less than half an hour. With the assembly out of the way, it's best to decide the overall look of the army.

For somebody like myself, who's never been the world's greatest painter, the gaming side has always been the most important aspect, and I suspect that most people have a similar approach to the hobby. That doesn't mean to say that we should slap the paint on and hope for the best, oh no, but it does mean we should take time to think about our approach, or army building as I like to call it.

For me, the key to army building is a unified colour scheme that can be reduced to a painting regime of base, layer, wash, highlight, done. The overall look of the army on the tabletop is the most important aspect, but individual units can still look unique and stand out with a little bit of forward planning.

Key to this is the choice of a main colour.  With a main colour selected, different units can be made to look unique by using darker or lighter shades of the main colour.

As an example, I selected red to be the main colour for the Karist Enclave, the colour of blood being highly appropriate to my mind as a suitable colour for a sinister religious cult.  Basic troops would use Mephiston red, the stealth units (assassins) a darker red such as Khorne red, whilst the alien beasts (Angels) would incorporate pink and purple, to reflect their exotic, alien nature.  As you can see from the image, the unified look of the army is there, but individual units can still stand out from the crowd, especially if the secondary colour (in this instance Abaddon black) is used across all the units.


For my Epirian force, the basic troops and HQ units were painted Castellan green, the robots units were painted a darker Caliban green, with the lighter Elysian green used for the highlights, with the odd splash of blue and red here and there for minor details such as power units on guns or insignia on the HQ units.

Having one force predominantly red, and the other force predominantly green, makes for a great contrast on the table top, red and green complementing each other well with regards to colour theory. A word of warning about colour theory, though, do not rely too much on it - that road leads to madness!

As you can see from the image of the spider drone, the odd splash of another colour (in this case Vallejo magic blue) can add a touch of individualism to different units, without compromising the overall feel. As far as army composition goes, I'm obviously limited by the contents of the box, but I've always been a believer in painting up some basic units first, and learning the rules with them, as it's a long wait to paint every single model before you get a game!

Aside from the ease of learning the rules, your basic troops tend not to have a lot of special rules when it comes to game play, and most modern games tend to focus the bulk of their rules on your basic infantry model. For the Epirians, that meant the basic contractor troops (engineers that double up as soldiers when push comes to shove) and for the Karists, a sinister looking bunch wearing some sort of exotic armour. I added a few alien beasts to the Karists, and for the Epirians, various robots, and a bot handler to control them.

With the colour scheme agreed on, it was time to dig out the paints. I like Citadel and Vallejo paints, so I use both, as both ranges complement each other well, and fill in any colour gaps in the respective ranges.

With the models finished I hope you'll agree that the overall look, or gaming standard, fits the bill, and thanks to the simple colour scheme, both armies have a unified feel, but remain distinct enough on the table top. This approach can be used for other armies in other miniature wargames.

With painting done, it's time to study the rulebook, arrange a game, and see how this plays out in Part 3.


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