I’m not quite done with my Genestealer Cult yet. Here’s something a little different from my normal LED miniatures – a miniature with a functioning laser!
This is a concept I’ve been meaning to revisit for some time. I made a Space Marine with a lascannon built around small laser diode about five years ago. I won’t share it here there, as the laser was quite bulky and it didn’t look great. I’ve always felt I could do better – and now I have!
So how was this done? Well I’m a little cautious about doing a full tutorial for this one, if I’m honest. In my day job I’m a Laser Safety Officer, so it doesn’t seem right to be encouraging people to go out and play with lasers! The laser diode that it’s built around (the brass cylinder in the WIP picture below) is Class 3R and has an output of 5 milliwatts (mW). This is basically as powerful as it can be while still being appropriate for everyday use. So if you do decide to try and replicate this, please exercise a bit of caution, and don’t expose your eyes to the direct beam!
The basic principle of the design is the same as for my LED plasma weapons – a battery in the base, and an optoelectronic device hidden in the weapon, only in this case it’s a laser diode module, not an LED.
You can source 3V 5mW laser diodes similar to this from many electronics suppliers, or simply from eBay. A word of caution though, when sourcing laser diodes I recommend purchasing from a supplier in the UK or Europe. It’s not uncommon for laser diodes imported from elsewhere in the world to be mislabeled in terms of their power output, whether that’s more power or less power. Neither is a good thing for this project!
Once you have the laser diode, it’s simply a case of drilling out the plastic barrel of the laser weapon, carefully gluing it to the front of the diode (don’t get any glue on the diode lens!), and then using green stuff to bulk out the shape of the laser. You’ll the power cord that runs from the mining laser to the backpack are the actual power connections of the laser diode. Sometimes things are best hidden in plain sight! The wires then run down through the backpack, through one of the legs and to the battery in the base, as per the LED plasma weapon tutorial.
So there we have it. I hope you found that insight into miniature laser weapons interesting. Whether or not your Hybrids with mining lasers have line-of-sight to their target will never be in question again!