Friday, June 14, 2019

Spiral Arm Studios: Science Fiction Maelstrom's Edge Broken Faction Miniatures Reviewed!

Today we will check out the Spiral Arm Studios Maelstrom's Edge Broken Faction featuring the last remnants of humanity as they band together for survival in the violent universe of Maelstrom's Edge. Featured in this review are the plastic Broken Infantry, resin mighty Gnolti and resin Broken Sig Jammer Character.

Maelstrom's Edge is a tabletop war game using detailed plastic miniatures that fills the gap between small scale skirmish games with several individual models per side and large scale war games with scores of models per side. Maelstrom's Edge uses about 20 to 30 models a side, making it easy to model, easy to paint and easy to play. Forces consist of several small-sized units, which is why we call the game a 'squad-based skirmish game'. Because it is a miniatures game, you get to assemble and paint your own models to pit against an opponent on a table dressed up with terrain to form your battlefield. The conflicts on your table take the form of missions set in the desperate Maelstrom's Edge universe, populated by the Epirian Foundation and their robotic forces, the secretive Karist Enclave supported by the alien Angels, and various other factions.

Maelstrom's Edge Broken Infantry

The Broken Infantry miniatures form the core of each Maelstrom's Edge Broken force featuring enough options to be used as Broken Foresaken Chieftans, Broken Rabble, Rabble Fire Support and Rabble Assault squads. The Broken in Maelstrom's Edge represent the bulk of humanity that could not be rescued. Taking their situations into their own hands, they have managed to scrape their way to long term survival by banding together and sharing information and common goals. The Broken Infantry miniatures are supplied in packs of four different plastic sprues allowing you to assemble 6 unique miniatures with a wide variety of bodies, heads and weapon options. The sprues supplied are the weapons and heads sprue and three different body sprues offering a huge amount of unique and interesting possibilities. The detail and quality of the miniatures is good with very minimal excess plastic or flash to be found on the sprues. To further illustrate the huge amount of different parts that are supplied with this model kit I will take a closer look at the sprues below.

As mentionned before there are three different body sprues (3) each containing a huge amount of different bodies, legs and arms along with some human heads. Each of these sprues allows you to assemble two different miniatures without weapons as these are supplied on the weapons and heads sprue. As you can see on the sprue you receive plenty of spare components for further conversions or other projects. Spiral Arm Studios has designed the lay-out of the components and sprues with small codes allowing you to easily construct your miniatures in a certain way, this might however limit the amount of different miniatures you can assemble but feel free to assemble, convert or kitbash these miniatures as you see fit as most parts will also fit in other configurations with minimal conversion work. To be honest when I first saw the sprues I was really impressed by the sheer amount of components that are included on the sprues but a bit disappointed that you can only assemble two models from each sprue despite the huge amount of parts present. I would have personally prefered the inclusion of some more bodies so you could assemble four models from each sprue with still plenty of spare parts left. That said better plenty of choice than only a limited amount of parts such as common in sprue lay-outs of other plastic miniature companies.

The Broken Infantry Weapons and Heads sprue (1) contains plenty of cool weaponry and heads of both human and alien origin adding plenty of interesting choices for your force. As you can see the amount of supplied weapons and heads is huge featuring a through array of science fiction military hardware such as human weaponry and very interesting scavenger or alien weaponry. The design and detail of the weapons is superb and among the best science fiction weapons I have seen available on the plastic miniature market. As mentionned above plenty of heads are also supplied offering loads of cool options for your faction background and conversion materials for other miniatures in your collection. Once more the quality of the hard-plastic parts is very good with almost no visible flash visible on the supplied sprues. In the pictures below you can see the six constructed miniatures which were assembled from the shown sprues showcasing a nice mixture of the different bodies, heads and weaponry available. Note that different bases were used than the ones supplied in the kit.

Maelstrom's Edge Gnolti and Broken Sig Jammer

Next to the plastic Broken Infantry, Spiral Arm Studios supplemented the faction with cool resin characters in the form of the mighty Gnolti and powerful Broken Sig Jammer. The quality and detail of these miniatures is superb surpassing the already good quality of the plastic miniatures. As you can see in the pictures these resin miniatures are supplied on sprues in multiple pieces and are easy to assemble using regular model glue.

The Gnolti are large, slow moving creatures with strength many times that of a human. Gnolti evolved on the high gravity moon orbiting the gas giant Encelasa, and were amongst the first alien species met by humanity. Many Gnolti remain on their homeworld, but some take up a nomadic life across the Spiral Arm, earning money with their bulky frames to send back home. Originally hired and transported to systems requiring extreme manual labour or exposure to elements lethal to humans, their normally calm, thoughtful temperament made Gnolti easy to integrate into human society. Gnolti are extremely loyal to those who treat them well, gladly risking themselves to protect their friends. Gnoltis have few opportunities to escape the Maelstrom, and stranded Gnolti are a common recruit into the ragtag warbands of the Broken, where their physical power can be a huge asset.

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. 

Maelstrom's Edge Miniatures Scale Comparison

To showcase the scale of these miniatures, I have taken the following pictures showing the Broken Infantry and the resin characters including the rather impressive Gnolti alongside a Games Workshop Space Marine and as you can see these fit quite well. 

The Conclusion

To conclude this review, we can certainly recommend these Maelstrom's Edge miniatures to people looking for some science fiction miniatures in both resin and plastic. While the resin miniatures are more expensive than the plastic troopers, this increased price is certainly reasonable considering the higher production cost and especially higher quality of these particular models. The price of these miniatures in both plastic and resin is a bit on the high side considering the price of other plastic miniatures on the market but I can certainly see these being used for both skirmish and mass battle wargames as the look is quite unique but more on that later on.

The quality of the miniatures is very good with minimal flash on both the resin and plastic miniatures. As mentionned before the quality of the resin miniatures is really superb and among the best castings I have encountered. The design of the miniatures is very good with plenty of components allowing you to create really unique miniatures. One minor point of criticism is that there could have been more miniatures on the sprue as six figures on a total of four sprues is a bit low especially considering the huge surplus of spare weapons, heads and other parts. That said better some surplus parts than a select choice of different parts although some more miniatures might also have lowered the price per miniature considerably.

These miniatures are not like most plastic science fiction troopers as they have a more low-tech and scavenger feel than your regular Games Workshop Space Marine, Wargames Atlantic Raumjäger or Warlord Games Concord Strike Trooper really adding something new to the plastic science fiction miniature market in my opinion. I can also see these miniatures being used in other settings such as post-apocalyptic with great ease due to their rough look and conversion possibilities.

Looking forward in exploring the full Maelstrom's Edge universe and tabletop miniature wargame, make sure to check the Spiral Arm Studios website here filled with backgrounds and more information on this interesting science fiction universe. Also make sure to check the other available factions and miniatures as there is plenty of choice for every type of player.

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Disclaimer - We received these miniatures from Spiral Arm Studios for reviewing purposes. Please note that this doesn't influence our review as we always strive to supply you with our own independent and honest opinion about the wargame products reviewed.

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ernesto said...

I wanted to know more about Maelstrom's Edge for some time now, and your review is really informative about the quality and conversion possibilities of the miniatures, and that's one of the things that interested me the most. Thanks!

Wargame News and Terrain Blog said...

Hello Ernesto, glad you enjoyed this review and found it informative, that's exactly why we write these reviews for wargamers by wargamers!

Tony Hough said...

A lovely review thanks very much!! I have been illustrating and designing for wargames since Rogue Trader in 1987 and I designed the Broken troopers and their weapons. I was extremely pleased and excited to see what Spiral Arm's talented sculptors made of them. The level of detail and faithfullness to my drawings was astonishing to me Seeing my scribbles in the flesh and expertly painted up made me feel very proud of my contribution to this game, which I believe will prove to be very enduring and increasingly popular in the coming years.

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