Wednesday 6 April 2016

Heavy Resin: Epicast 'Eldar' Vehicles

Many of you will be aware that in the early to mid-1990s, a number of companies produced licensed upscaled versions of the 6mm Epic vehicles and war machines in 28mm. I've already blogged about some of the Eldar vehicles, including Knight Titans and Tempest Super Heavy grav tanks.

A few weeks ago I posted a scenic picture of my Eldar Void Pirates. In the background was a sleek black Eldar vehicle:

The vehicle in question is one of three vehicles designed and produced by Epicast, for use alongside Eldar armies. These vehicles, unlike others in Epicast's range, were not upscaled Epic designs produced under licence, but were created to their own design. Here's a brief overview of the three Eldar vehicles produced.

Eldar "Skimmer Hawk"

The Eldar Skimmer Hawk (variously referred to in recent weeks as an "attack soapdish", "craftworld canoe" or "skateboard without wheels") is a sleek open-topped skimmer. It is an exceptionally simple two-piece resin model, with a little rear cockpit and just enough space to squeeze in 5 or 6 models on the open deck.

My painted Skimmer Hawk.

My second unpainted and unassembled Skimmer Hawk.

Original Packaging.
The Skimmer Hawk was produced as "usable in Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 game" and supplied with a vehicle datafax to use in Warhammer 40k 2nd edition. Note that the vehicle is " a lightly armoured Eldar skimmer used for battlefield troop transportation". It "carries no weapons".

In so far as Eldar vehicle designs go, the Skimmer Hawk definitely has the sleek Eldar lines, albeit combined with a rather odd conga-line method of transporting embarked troops!

"Skimmer Sirocco"

Whereas the Skimmer Hawk is a light transport, the Sirocco is something altogether meaner.

To quote the box art (which unfortunately I don't have), the Sirocco is a "medium Space Elf anti-grav tank...this is a tank which is meant to be placed in the front lines." The box also states that the Sirocco was "compatible with Warhammer 40k", and was supplied with a Warhammer 40k datafax.

To my mind, the Sirocco doesn't quite hit the Eldar aesthetic in the same way that the Skimmer Hawk does. The hull has all sorts of bulges and changes of angle that don't really work with the Epic vehicles from the same era.

"Skimmer Scorpion"

Finally, the last in-house Eldar vehicle from Epicast is the Scorpion. Sadly my copy is somewhat incomplete. This is what the model should look like:

Image from Collecting Citadel Miniatures Wiki.

And this is mine:

You'll notice I'm missing the gun and scenic flying base. Unfortunately I don't have access to the box, so I can't illuminate you on what the purpose of the vehicle is, but it looks like a fast 1-2 crew attack vehicle, perhaps in the vein of an Eldar Vyper. Like the Sirocco, the Scorpion doesn't scream "Eldar" to me - it looks like a generic sci-fi grav vehicle. But I'm fond of it nonetheless!

By the mid-1990s, GW started to bring vehicle design back in-house, with the release of the plastic Eldar Falcon and Vyper kits, and the emergence of Forgeworld. Licences were withdrawn, and these kits were pulled from production. I still think they're an interesting footnote in the history of vehicles in 40k. There's loads more information on the various different companies producing licensed vehicles during this period over at the Collecting Citadel Miniatures Wiki.


  1. I'm surprised these haven't been reissued with different names, as they are clearly NOT based on GW designs and acutal IP but merely influanced.

    OK they may not be great models, but they would fit with any old retro sci-fi figures quite nicely....

    1. That's a really good point...why aren't they on sale? I suspect there would be sufficient interest. Perhaps the association is too strong? Or perhaps the moulds are dead? I don't know!

  2. I really quite like the Scorpion, even without the "gun" or intake or whatever it is.

    As you mentioned, it looks more like an Eldar civilian vehicle anyway, putting me more in mind of this image than of the battlefield.

    The Scorpion and the "Craftworld Canoe" would go a long way to making a gaming table look like somewhere that Eldar might actually hang out, rather than just fight in.

    It goes without saying that my envy of your resin hoard is something that I can almost taste.

    Thanks for sharing though

    1. I agree Paul, even minus bits, the Scorpion still has an interesting shape. I love that Jes Goodwin illustration. I'd love to make a diorama of that image one day.

      The offer still stands, come to Nottingham and I'll let you feel up my resin horde ;)

  3. Love the skimmer Hawk, although now that you have posted a picture that shows the inside, I can see how rough that sculpt is! And "Eldar Canoe" seems apt indeed.

    The other two are more marginally eldar, although it seems like with some judicious bitz buys you could move them further along in the right direction.

    E.g. for the Scorpion add a Falcon engine intake (or the DE raider engine plate), and some wraith lord fins to the Sirocco. If you do go that route, it would be interesting to see if DE Raider or Venom bitz could be made to fit the Hawk, particularly the Venom rails, and the bow gun from the raider.

    1. It's an interesting suggestion. I'm in two minds about adapting the kits, not least because of their rarity, although it would certainly go a long way to integrating them aesthetically. I should at least mock-up with some bits to see how it looks.

    2. Oh, and the old resin so crude. The undersides are full of bubbles and have the meniscus shape from being poured into a flat mould too!

    3. Given their rarity, I understand your hesitation!

      On the other hand, if you are not satisfied with their look enough to use them, then modify or sell seems to be the next choice to make.

  4. I agree with some of the points made in the comments. These would indeed look great as retro sci-fi vehicles.