- by Iain Wilson
The Epirian Master Bot Handler is the latest plastic kit to be added to the Maelstrom's Edge range. Striding about the battlefield in his powered exoskeleton, he has the ability to lay down impressive amounts of firepower from a wide array of weapons, or finely co-ordinate his forces through networked neural nodes. Here, we'll have a look at some of the modeling options available with this fantastic model.
Built straight off the sprue, the Master Handler has multiple weapon options available - Repair Claws, Cutter Light Machine Guns, Drone Class Laser Systems and Flakk Guns can all be chosen for the arm mounted weapons in any combination, and the rectangular sockets on his backpack allow you to place Cluster Missile pods for even more punch, or Neural Nodes for throwing command points around with wild abandon.
You can find the Assembly Guide for the Master Handler here.
The Master Handler also brings some other impressive 'guns' to the table, with sleeveless and rather buff arms. If you prefer a more covered look on your models, the arms can be fairly easily replaced with the armoured arms from the regular Bot Handler kit. For the below model, on the sides of the torso I removed the protruding arc of plastic that sits just above the Master Handler's shoulders, and added a small locator pin made from a piece of plastic rod to the backs of the regular Handler's forearms. The arms were glued on to the torso with the tops of the shoulder pads sitting about where the original locator arc was, and the weapons slotted onto the locator pins on the arms as they do with the normal Master Handler arms.
The sprue comes with two sets of legs, one in an upright stance and the other in a knees-bent, braced stance. To mix up the posing a little, you can cut through the groin with a razor saw or sharp hobby knife and switch legs between the two sets to create a stance with one straight leg and one slightly bent. You might need a little gap filling with putty if the cut leaves the waist with a gap. On the below model, I have also extended the right arm out by cutting the top of the shoulder off square, gluing it to the torso and filling in the armpit with some 'green stuff' putty. The left arm has also been slightly repositioned below the elbow, and I have used a head from the Epirian Contractor sprue in place of the Master Handler's helmet.
The leftover legs from the above model were used below, with a similar reposing of the right arm as well.
I thought it might be handy to have a repair claw that was independent of the Handler's arms, so cut down one side of a backpack and drilled out a socket to attach one of the weapon support arms. I used two repair claws clamped over the ball joint on the end of the support arm to create a beefier, four-fingered repair claw. I also took the two Neural Nodes and cut them in half so that they would both fit on the other side of the backpack, and used a helmet from the regular Bot Handler sprue.
The neck joint on the Master Handler torso is compatible with any of the different plastic Epirian heads, and also works with most of the heads from the Broken Infantry pack, which is handy if you want to create an alien Handler for your force. For the below model, I aso left the weapon support arms off entirely, and built the Drone Class Laser System directly into the backpack by trimming off the backs of the weapons at an angle to match the backpack panels.
Because the Master Handler comes with two sets of legs and torsos, you're going to wind up with some spare parts. It seemed a shame to waste these, so I used a leftover helmet from the regular Handler sprue, and some Clingfire Sprayers and a command module from the Epirian Scarecrow kit to create a twin-flamethrower-equipped model that I'm calling an 'Eradicator'. The fuel hoses on the backs of the weapons are made from guitar string.
I thought it might also be fun to add some of that shiny, missile-pod goodness to a drone unit, and so I took a Master Handler backpack, trimmed off the bottom and stuck it onto the back end of a Spider Drone. I don't have a name for this friendly little fellow yet... I think I'll have to revisit that in a later article!
What have you done with your Master Bot Handlers? We would love to see your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!
To pick up this 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.