A guide to swappable weapons on Eldar vehicles
Since I’ve had a couple of people asking me how I magnetised the weapons on my Falcons and Wave Serpent and what I do for Wraithlords and War Walkers, I thought I’d put together this guide.
There are two methods for creating swappable weapon options for Eldar (and any other race, really) vehicles. Firstly – magnets. I’ve used magnets for my Falcons and Wave Serpent. Secondly, pinning. Pinning does not support the weapon as effectively but works fairly well on my Wraithlords, War Walkers and Guardian Heavy Weapon Platforms. For the Guardian Support Weapon platforms I plan to use a combination of the two.
Magnetising weapon options for Eldar grav tanks
Ok, so the first thing you’ll need is an unassembled Falcon/Wave Serpent/Fire Prism. The Falcon these days ships with an extra sprue that has all of the five heavy weapon options – Starcannon, Shuriken Cannon, Bright Lance, Scatter Laser and Eldar Missile Launcher. These weapons use a rod/hole mounting system (the weapons that are used with the War Walker, Wraithlord and Heavy Weapons platform use a tab/slot mounting mechanism, which I’ll cover later). The Wave Serpent has two of these sprues and the Vyper comes with one as well. Basically, I use magnets for rod/hole weapons and pinning for tab/slot weapons.
The second thing that you’ll need are some magnets! I use N45 (this is a grade of their strength) gold-plated (the plating is irrelevant really) Neodymium rare-earth magnets. I would recommend getting 3mm-diameter, 0.5mm-thick round magnets. The thickness/height makes them pretty inconspicuous and has some useful side-effects that become apparent later on. The diameter is perfect for mounting seamlessly on the Falcon and Wave Serpent turrets. It’s easy enough to buy these magnets off eBay (now you know what you’re looking for!) and I can get them for ~9 pence each, making buying 50 or so a viable option.
They should look something like this:
Let’s start with the Falcon’s turret. Assemble this as normal – I tend to glue the Pulse Laser in place rather than allowing it to rotate, but that’s down to personal preference. The Pulse Laser comes on the end of a rod that passes through the turret – where this emerges on the left-hand side is where the heavy weapon is attached. Remove the thinnest part of the rod using a pair of wire clippers or a craft knife. Now, use superglue to attach one of the magnets to the mount. These magnets are fiddly but here’s a great tip for glueing – take one magnet and use the butt-end of a needle file to pick it up. Put a small blob of superglue on the other side of the magnet and then use the file to put it in place. Wait for the glue to dry a little and then just pull the file away, leaving the magnet behind, glued in place with precision! It also helps to mark one side of each pair of magnets with a permanent pen to remind you which side to stick down!
You should now have something that looks like this (I’m using the Forgeworld Type II conversion kit, but the principle is the same for the regular GW kit):
This looks pretty subtle to me! Now the weapons. There’s a bit of a difficulty here unfortunately, because in its wisdom, GW elected to only put one left- and one right-hand side weapon guard/casing on the heavy weapon sprue. Since you only need the left-hand guard for the Falcon, this means that you can only choose one weapon from the five on the sprue to assemble! Unless of course you use magnets to attach the weapon guard – I chose not to do this and instead ended up buying some spare weapon guards off eBay in a fluke auction… Whatever you choose, attach a magnet to your chosen weapon(s) over the hole where the rod would normally pass through. The results should look a little bit like the bottom weapon in this picture (the Bright Lance above it shows what I mean by the weapon guard/casing, which makes it look a bit prettier):
Interestingly, the weapon guard does not exactly match the guard that is moulded on to the Pulse Laser, nor the guard that was supplied with the original Falcon’s Scatter Laser (which itself is slightly different to the new one on the extra sprue). It doesn’t really matter though, because you can barely tell the difference and you can swap weapons between the Falcon and Wave Serpent.
Now for the under-hull weapon options. The Falcon only comes with the standard twin shuriken catapults, however the Wave Serpent comes with the Shuriken Cannon so it pays to be able to swap these around. Take your half-assembled Falcon/Wave Serpent/Fire Prism and glue a piece of plasticard (a.k.a. “sheet styrene”) inside the hull across the round hole where the weapon mount usually goes (this sits underneath the pilot’s cockpit. It should look like this:
Turn the hull over and use the butt-end of a file to glue a magnet in the centre, like this:
Now, take the shuriken catapults/cannon and glue them (again, personal preference – you could leave them to rotate up and down on the mount if you like) to the mount with the “X” shaped piece at the top. Remove the “X” using wire clippers or a craft knife and glue a magnet in the centre instead, like this:
This is where the magnet’s thickness turns out to be spot-on – the two magnets will touch and provide a decent level of attraction, but the mount sits perfectly on the hull and even allows you to rotate the weapons around with ease. Perfect!
Now, the Wave Serpent turret (again, I’m using the Type II Forgeworld kit but the steps are the same). I was never that satisfied with the peg/hole method used to balance the turret on the hull, so I decided to use magnets instead. Funnily enough, the 3mm diamater is exactly the right size to fit into the hole at the base of the turret, so what I did was basically a repeat of the method for the shuriken catapults, only with a smaller hole. Cut a strip of plasticard and glue it inside the turret. Then, glue a magnet into the hole. Remove the peg from the round piece that sits on the top of the hull and glue a magnet in place. BE CAREFUL – make sure that this magnet is properly attached to the hull as it is next to impossible to retrieve a magnet from inside that hole if it leaps in there! This solution is elegant, holds the turret in place firmly but still allows you to rotate it with ease. This is what you’re aiming for:
For the turret weapon mounts, the procedure is pretty much exactly the same as for the Falcon. Make sure to glue the rod in place this time; the magnets allow for fairly easy (independent) rotation of the weapons so there is no need for the rod itself to rotate in the turret. Cut off the ends of the rod, attach magnets and you ought to get something that looks like this:
And here is the (sort of) finished product:
And now with some upgrades:
Pinning weapon options for Eldar walkers and weapon platforms
Magnets are, sadly not a particularly viable option for the tab/slot weapon options. This is mainly because it is impossible to find magnets that have the right dimensions to sit in the slot and since I prefer subtle solutions, I decided against trying to affix the round magnets somehow to achieve the desired result. That leaves pinning – now this will probably never be as good an option as magnets in terms of securing the weapons in place (unless you get a very snug fit) but it looks a lot better. The method is identical for War Walkers, Wraithlords and the Guardian Heavy Weapon Platform. I will use the War Walker as an example.
The tab/slot weapons have no guard/casings to worry about so you can happily use every single one on the sprue. Each weapon has a small tab protruding from the base, which fits snugly into a receptacle slot. Using a pair of wire clippers or a hobby saw, remove this tab. Now, drill a pair of holes into the base of the weapon (make sure that the holes are not spaced too far apart or else the pins won’t go into the receptacle slot!) using a 1mm drill bit. I use standard, common-or-garden-variety paperclips for pinning material, so cut up one of these into small (straight) lengths using your wire clippers and insert one into each of the holes and glue in place with superglue. Trim them down so that ~3mm is protruding. This should be the result:
You can either put a dab of paint on the end of the pins or judge it by eye, but you’ll need to drill corresponding holes in the slot on the War Walker. Make sure not to drill these too deeply, as you’ll drill straight through the detailing on the underside of the Walker’s weapon mounts. You should just about be able to see the holes in this picture:
And that’s pretty much it! If you’ve got a snug fit and the pins and holes are the right length, the results should look a little bit like this:
Far more elegant than trying to use magnets, I reckon.
Now, you can start buying up all the spare weapon sprues and guards you can lay your hands on, and end up with something like this:
I have a few more lying around too and all together I have enough weapons to kit out 4 War Walkers, 2 Wraithlords, 3 Falcons, a Wave Serpent and a Heavy Weapon Platform with *any* weapon combination. I could give every single one of them Bright Lances, for instance. The eagle-eyed may also notice in the bottom-right-hand corner that there are some Wraithlord shuriken catapults and flamers – this method easily extends to those options and since the slots are the same on the Wraithlord’s arms it means that you can mount the weapons wherever you want.
I hope that this guide proves useful – please let me know if it could be improved in any way or if you have any questions about the methods that I’ve used. I pretty much made this up as I was going so I’m sure there’s better methods out there!