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Updating the Eldar Vehicles- is it necessary, or indeed possible?


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The mainstays of Eldar vehicles- the Falcon chassis and the Vyper- are now very, very old. The Vyper is possibly the oldest plastic kit still in continuous production by GW, and whilst the Falcon is slightly more recent, it's still pretty bloody old, dating back to late 2nd edition if my memory serves me right.

 

I'm personally not one for demanding old kits be refreshed just because they're old. Case in point, the plastic Hive Tyrant and Tyranid Warriors are IMO perfectly acceptable kits despite being relatively old, and even the now 20 year old Carnifex kit is still good enough that I'd be a little sad if it got replaced. And in terms of Eldar, the Wraithlord is a great kit that does everything it needs to. However, the Falcon and Vyper (the latter especially) really take the cake. I haven't built either of them myself, but I am aware that the fit of the parts is not great and the molding is getting soft from overuse- not to mention the detail of the pilots in particular isn't up to snuff with modern kits, like, at all. I think it's safe to say that a refresh would be pretty nice.

 

The issue is, even with their pre-3rd edition vintage, the actual base design of the kits is honestly pretty good. REALLY good, actually. There's a reason they've lasted this long after all. The crew are definitely a bit...mushy, but the actual vehicles still look great (at least sculpt wise, I know the moldlines are pretty heinous nowadays). And furthermore, I'm not entirely sure what they'd actually be able to add to the kit with a refresh beyond "recut details to be sharper and redo the crew but otherwise leave the base sculpt the same".

 

But supposing, for example, the molds just gave out and GW were forced to make a new kit for the Vyper and Falcon (and obviously any chassis-mates). How could they go about this?

 

For my money, I'd suggest:

>For the Falcon, make it a twin-kit with the Wave Serpent. Keep the basic design of the vehicle much the same but maybe break up the chassis into more parts to allow for better detail and to fit more parts on the sprues. Perhaps throw in some new weapon options for the Falcon build as well? However, make sure the basic chassis is contained to its own sprue-set so that it can be shared with the Fire Prism kit by simply swapping the Falcon/Wave Serpent turret/transport compartment sprues out for the relevant parts.

>Speaking of the Fire Prism, I'd be tempted to make it into a triple-kit. The Fire Prism and Night Spinner dual-build remains (albeit remastered) but the Firestorm makes its triumphant return as the third build option.

>The Vyper is a bit more tricky, but I'd be tempted to be a bit more liberal with redesigns. Not too extreme mind you, it's a very nice design, but just a subtle facelift. Also I'd give it a second build option that eschews the turret for a limited transport capacity, ala the Venom.

>Finally, the Warp Hunter needs to get a plastic kit somehow. Maybe it could stand to be a single-build kit, as the casemate gun would necessitate a lot of dedicated parts.

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I wouldn't change anything for the Falcon and Wave Serpent derived vehicles in terms of design. Re-do the body in the same design with new sculpts for the vehicle crew. It would be nice to see a return of the Firestorm, but seeing how they discontinued the Space Marine anti-air vehicles I wouldn't hold my breath for it. The ideal Wave Serpent/Falcon refresh would probably include all the options with a separate Warp Hunter kit using some of the same frames as the Wave Serpent/Falcon.

 

Funny, I had the same idea for the Vyper when I was figuring out how to get rid of the Dark Eldar I got from the Blood of the Phoenix box. Ideally I would keep the Vyper the same but bring it more in line with the Eldar jetbikes we have right now. Maybe a dual build without the canopy to make a Nuadhu Fireheart style character or unit. The leather jackets for the gunners and the pilots for all Eldar vehicles have to remain an option. It would be really lame if all Eldar pilots looked just like Guardians.
venomvyperconversion.thumb.PNG.98170b78b8df443f3650a85e8f662167.PNG

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Can't add much more to the above comments than agreement. I'd probably see the heavy weapon sprue incorporated into the falcon chassis frames, one less thing that needs manufacturing time, and I think the only models that use that sprue are the falcon and vyper anyway. Going more outside the box, it would be cool to see alternative weapons, like being able to swap the pulse laser for a D cannon or vibro cannon, for example. 

 

I'm not 100% sure in this day and age if they would stick with the clear canopies. I'd hope so, but this becomes rarer as we go along, however one remains on the nightspinner kit, so they've locked themselves in, unless they do a whole remake of it. 

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The case of the Falcon chassis is hard to coment as the design not only was a brutal novelty wen issued but also has been the only one (in exception of the old old old Epic version).

Yet a resculpt may be an oportunity to defined better the lines, grooves... and make evolve some key details that may need a slight rework. But this is a matter of personal taste:

- the passenger compartment is way too small on the Falcon and decent on the WS

- the weapon turret on the WS is odd -  too human technolike for my taste.

- field projector of the WS is also curiously represented. 

- turret of the fire prism and webber tank looks too big on top of the Falcon chassis, although the current prism is a clear improvment vs. the older one.

 

One main issue I guess is that the antigrav tanks were something that used to be in a tactical niche at a time where flyers were not yet a thing. Now their room is harder to encounter and the design reflects this. The tanks from other races and factions have been upgraded to be powerfull weapon platforms and our tanks remain in a situacion of being outgunned. Redesigning will not change that, except if their are more options (and new ones) included to fill the gap with the rest of factions.  This is the challenging part 

 

The vyper is probably where more re-do options are possible. There is a clear pathway to go toward something more aligned with the Harlequin and Drukhari versions. A back platform* with a pintle mounted weapon could be a nice change vs the suspended craddle we have atm. But here again I do not foresee drastic and revolutionnary line and silhouette changes. But the issue is that the Vyper is for me undergunned too vs. the other spiky ears versions. And special rules do not compensate it so far.

 

* and a platform could allow a Nuadhu firehearth model.... 

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I wouldn’t change a thing about the basic design of these models as I still think they look great, even the vyper. What I would do is just refresh the kit like they did with the Leman Russ Battle Tank (not the new Solar Auxilia one but the newest version of the 40K Leman Russ).
 

Basically keep the same design but make a new, sharper mould with just a few more details and maybe some extra optional bits. 

Edited by TheArtilleryman
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I agree that the old Eldar vehicles have stood the test of time very well and are a testament to Jes Goodwin's skills. However both are starting to show their age and could definitely do with an update. As others have, the Vyper should be redone along the lines of more recent kits. Something like a cross between a Venom and a the new jetbikes would be a good starting point.

 

For the Falcon I would keep the general shape but update it in line with the plastic Fire Prism turret. The difference between the hull and the turret on the Fire Prism shows how technology and the aesthetic have advanced over the last 25+ years. I am also not a huge fan of the Wave Serpent. The turret looks too boxy, a lot of people complained it looked like Tau tech when it first came out. Also the shield vanes have never looked good to me, I prefer the old Epic design of actual shield plates.

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I'd agree with the posters above; particularly @TheArtilleryman. For the Falcon, I'd go for a very conservative update that takes advantage of modern manufacturing methods to sharpen things up and improve the fit. As @Evil Eye suggests, I'd like to see more variety in the crew; bringing them in line with the modern infantryin particular loosening up their stiffness. I'd also echo @MoriyaSchism in wanting the leather jackets to remain. The turret would benefit from some more attention; the heavy weapons properly integrated into the kit, and the mechanism to hold it made less likely to droop. 

 

Having said that, as long as Jes Goodwin is in charge of the redesign, I imagine he'd come up with something that enhances an already classic design. A slightly longer, narrower look might evoke the original Falcons and be a good revision – much on the lines of the new Leman Russ compared with the original.

 

For the Wave Serpent, however, I'd prefer to see a separate kit. It being an upgrade sprue is probably more to do with the design philosophy of the time. I'd look back at the various iterations of the Epic Wave Serpent for ideas.

 

The Specialist Games Wave Serpent is my favourite. It's shown on the left, with the Falcon on the right for comparison.

specialist-games-eldar-wave-serpent.jpg specialist-games-eldar-falcon.jpg

 

Note the shared hull shape, but the overall greater length. The transport compartment is notably larger – and I think that's a key change for the vehicle, as it's primarily a troop transport. The current 40k conversion kit enlarges it, but not particularly noticeably. The Epic version changes the silhouette in a more notable way.

 

The tacked-on shield vanes of the 40k version are replaced with an elegantly crenellated ridge that runs along the leading edge of the Serpent, and the gap present in the Falcon is bridged by a substantial wave-field generator, with a crystalline projector at the prow. 

 

The result is a different silhouette, but still clearly derived from a common aesthetic.

 

The ugly turret of the 40k version, noted by @Bouargh, is another point I'd change. The Epic version above isn't a huge improvement – and I think I'd look still further back for inspiration on this...

 

sm2-eldar-wave-serpent.jpg

 

Bear with me, because the original Wave Serpent design (above) was very definitely of its time.

I think, however, that the flanged, ribbed gun mount/projector on top might offer some nice design language to give the Wave Serpent a bit more flavour and help it read as something distinct from the Falcon gunship.

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12 minutes ago, apologist said:

Bear with me, because the original Wave Serpent design (above) was very definitely of its time.

I think, however, that the flanged, ribbed gun mount/projector on top might offer some nice design language to give the Wave Serpent a bit more flavour and help it read as something distinct from the Falcon gunship.


Although I think the existing designs are good, there is definitely something to be said for having distinctly different models for the two craft. The STC is meant to be an imperial thing, with tons of imperial vehicles sharing the same basic design but with add-ons. A beautiful bit of core 40K lore that was basically written to give a reason why all the kits look similar (which was obviously originally just done to save money and time casting different models). For the alien races I feel like it’s good to be more different, rather than their vehicles looking like a xenos STC, if that makes sense.

Edited by TheArtilleryman
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1 hour ago, apologist said:

The Specialist Games Wave Serpent is my favourite. It's shown on the left, with the Falcon on the right for comparison.

specialist-games-eldar-wave-serpent.jpg specialist-games-eldar-falcon.jpg

 

There was an article in White Dwarf a long time before the Wave Serpent kit came out about how to convert a Falcon to the SG design of Wave Serpent. It looked pretty good and I am disappointed that the official kit didn't stick closer to that design.

 

https://www.geocities.ws/farseer_elderon/waveserpent.pdf

 

WD238 Build a Wave serp (new)

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I honestly hadn't considered having the Wave Serpent be a completely separate design again, but honestly that would be cool. I'd very much like to see the OG Wave Serpent design make a return, I always liked that thing. I can also see the "turret crest" being recontextualized into a sail/vane, either as the shield generator or as a directional aid, with the whole thing being a bit of a parallel to the DE Raider (which has a similar shape and is a lovely looking kit).

 

It is sadly true that the lesser focus on dedicated AA platforms doesn't bode well for the Firestorm ever returning- however, as a slight overly optimistic counter to that, the triple scatter laser array would make a very good anti-infantry weapon if they wanted to bring it back with a minor redesign/recontextualization away from being purely anti-air.

 

I'll also say, if we got a new Night Spinner I'd love to see it look more like the old FW design. The vehicle is meant to be an artillery piece/barrage weapon, but the positioning of the plastic kit's weapons make it look more like a direct fire assault gun. A nitpick admittedly, but notable.

 

And yes, more weapon options for the Falcon would be great. Replacing the pulse laser with a vibro-cannon or even a D-cannon would be a really cool option.

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I have a few of those WD serpents based on falcon models.

 

I'd like to see the design language evolve and the assembly be updated. I'd like to see the viper move more towards a Voidweaver size and gunner placement. I'd like the pulse laser and other options more in-line with other vehicle or support weapons. The serpent and falcon models need assembly without multiple clamps and prayers.

 

Updating the crew is also welcome.

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On 5/14/2024 at 12:57 PM, apologist said:

The ugly turret of the 40k version, noted by @Bouargh, is another point I'd change. The Epic version above isn't a huge improvement – and I think I'd look still further back for inspiration on this...

 

sm2-eldar-wave-serpent.jpg

 

Bear with me, because the original Wave Serpent design (above) was very definitely of its time.

I think, however, that the flanged, ribbed gun mount/projector on top might offer some nice design language to give the Wave Serpent a bit more flavour and help it read as something distinct from the Falcon gunship.

As much as I liked this classic design I always felt that it looked like an exotic steam iron and a giant psychic hand would pick it up by the handle and flatten out all Imperial and Ork creases on the battlefield. 

 

I have to agree with comments above that the Vyper could get some love, probably as a hybrid between the Venom and the Windriders as already theorised. I also prefer the Forge World Night Spinner like Evil Eye. I managed to grab the old resin conversion kit before it went out of production but I still haven't built it yet! A Travesty, I now but it will get it's time one day.  I also don't love the Wave Serpent design currently but I've warmed to it over the years. Given the chance I'd rework the turret to be more streamlined and put more emphasis on the shield emitters. Just being sticks is a little underwhelming and I believe they could do better.

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Personally Im always more interested in new stuff than redone stuff, especially when the latter is already plastic... doesnt help that Im not the biggest fan of tanks (but appreciate others are). Though I think the Vyper definitely needs a reimaging.

 

With Venom/Vyper dual kit to mimic starweaver/voidweaver approach, I both agree its an interesting direction to go, but also think by myself.. its already there. We already have the starweaver/voidweaver and while harlequin fans definitely disagree, I dont really get why they are exclusive and not generic Aeldari vehicles. Kitwise the only problem would be the crew... wich is not the hardest thing to solve. Right now there is an arbitrary barrier between "Aeldari" and "Asuryani/Craftworlds" wich could be done better.

 

Ontopic selfplugging :

Voidserpent.jpg.ad5db812692156de7cc97a2e7c7bcc9e.jpg

 

I regularily make doodles around ideas that cross my mind, this one being born from the seperating Aeldari armory from Asuryani armory thought.. with craftworlds keeping the Falcon family exclusively, but seperating and transforming the wave serpent into the "eldar rhino" available to all aeldari, plus an alt offensive built... giving Corsairs, Harlequins, Ynnari and Drukhari more meat to work with in a single kit.

 

Visually the idea was to blend all the transport concepts : Venom, Raider, OG wave serpent and current wave serpent... representing an ancient core vehicle everything else evolved from.

 

Conceptually the idea is that it has multipart functionality, each catemaran half being either built as a deck ( wave serpent ) or one as a choice of "exotic" weapon ( void serpent ) and interchangable bits that can further add identity for the different factions.. crew for everyone being unlikely so probably focus on corsair crew.

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Definitely always been interested in Hornets, but never made the plunge - if we're 'updating' anything that'd be my first choice... I did convert one ages ago, but I'd love a pair of the proper ones

 

Other than that I don't really wanna give up my old tanks, so I wouldn't be too likely to buy new ones if the sculpts were replaced. I've been eyeing up a single serpent so I can have just one painted in my Corsair colours, but it's not super high priority tbh.

 

All that's to say that I think a completely new design of some kind would be more interesting and likely lucrative than a recut falcon/serpent.

 

Cheers,

 

The Good Doctor.

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