Monday, 11 December 2017

DESIGNING SPIRAL ARM'S BROKEN FACTION



"From the factories and the slums, the mining complexes and the farms of the galaxy come the Broken, a growing movement of citizenry angered by the lack of opportunity to escape the Maelstrom. They are a diverse mix of workers, aliens, and rogues left on doomed worlds by the ruling parties. These survivors take matters into their own hands after being left behind. They pool their resources and knowledge in a communal effort to escape the Edge. Derelict ships are repaired. Affluent people’s ships are stolen. Government ships are commandeered. Any ship available is pressed into service for the Broken. They are a group unlike any ever seen in the galaxy. Fear, hate, anger, need fused them, these abandoned people, into an unstoppable force with one goal - escape the Edge. The Broken is a term used to unify all such desperate people across the Edge. Their motivation, methods, and sanity vary wildly from fervent revolutionaries to callous pirates to the few who have stared into the maw of the Maelstrom only to come away unhinged."


This year I had the opportunity to design troops and weapons for Spiral Arm's excellent tabletop SF skirmish game Maelstrom's Edge.

For those unfamiliar, Maelstrom's Edge has a fantastically rich and vivid setting:

"The Maelstrom, a gigantic apocalyptic explosion of dark energy, is rapidly expanding out from the heart of the galaxy, destroying everything it touches. As worlds and stars are obliterated from existence, those who have the means flee towards deep space, while those left behind fight for the chance to escape."
Many talented authors, designers and artists have been marshalled by Spiral Arm to flesh out and depict this huge backdrop in the form of novels, even a series of exciting audio dramas, as well as the tabletop game itself. I met the team responsible at Salute 2016 and was instantly impressed by their enthusiasm for the Maelstrom's Edge universe  and the quality of the game itself, so I was chuffed to be invited to play a part myself!


The Broken are a ragtag army dressed, equpped  and armed with the tattered remnants of their former everyday lives plus whatever they can steal, scavenge or requisition. I took my inspiration for the look of the faction from photos of freedom fighters and revolutionaries of history, especially French resistance fighters of WW2 and Anarchist fighters of the Spanish Civil War
Design-wise, the models were to be created with interchangeable heads, torsos and arms so that mixing and matching could allow for many variations in each squad. They also have interchangeable weapons and optional items like bomb belts etc.

From these drawings the modelmakers from Spiral Arm recreated my designs on the basic sprues with  a fidelity and attention to detail that astonished me. Seeing the finished models assembled, painted up and ready for the gametable made me very proud!!







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