Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Special Effects in Warhammer 40K: The Land Raider

Hello, all!

Latest in a line of projects featuring 40K vehicles, I just completed a Landraider Mark III. The owner was willing to part with $150 for the entire thing ($50 for the model, $100 for the electronics). The only stipulation was that (a) the lights had to be concealed within the barrels so points would not be deducted at a GW Tournament, and (b) the batteries had to be easily removed and replaced - no soldering!

I think the hardest part of this project was installing the LEDs in the lascannons - I had to ensure the wiring harness leaving the gun could hold up to repeated turning, etc. Nothing is more frustrating than having a gun go out permanently due to metal fatigue! Some thick, flexible wiring and removal of quite a bit of plastic behind the gun (to ease the angle of bending) served for this trick.

I also managed to get some nice, bright LEDs in the heavy bolters, LEDs which were barrel shaped and perfectly suited for the HB.

Next, I installed some reasonably bright (about 300mcd) yellow LEDs for each of the 4 headlights, and last, I cut out the gaps in between and behind the grills and exhaust fins, and installed LEDs there for a high-pro powerplant "glow".

Wish I had more time to modify these lights, because I wanted them to pulsate softly while they were on - as though the powerplant were throbbing up and down with power. Well, maybe that analogy is a bit risque', but you know what I mean.

The inside of the model was very roomy, although obviously you weren't supposed to be looking there during normal play. The battery packs and sound boards fit well; I chose to make the entire top of the Landraider an access door, held on by four screws. Works pretty well. The owner was quite pleased!


Rear View. The rear view of the power plant lighting. Inside each exhaust stack were five bright LEDs, one for each gap between the fins.

Side view: Ventilation. Another side view, a closeup showing the backlighting of the ventilation grilles on the sides. These look very cool when lit from behind. Each vent is lit by a “block” style LED array, ensuring diffused lighting over a small area (vice point-source style lighting from standard LEDs or light bulbs).

Front view: headlights. A front view, showing the headlights to good effect. There are a total of four LEDs, cranking out about 1.2 candlepower of yellow light. Naturally, there are brighter LEDs out there – even white ones rated at over 5.6 candlepower EACH. But the owner wanted yellow “fog penetrator” style lights, so that’s what he got. The switch for the headlights is at the rear, under the power plant exhausts.

The heavy bolters and the twin-linked lascannons both use the same barrel shaped LEDs. 

The LEDs are rated about 30 mcd – not much, as such things go, but still surprisingly effective.  The firing button is located at the top of the hull, as you can see from the position of the finger, and the selector switch is in the back (switches between the gun lights and sounds

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