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b4z
04-07-2010, 08:18
As title.

The current IG codex front cover shows lasguns as providing a yellowy muzzle flash, but that doesn't seem logical, as the same colour is used for the leman russ battle cannon and basilisk earthshaker cannon muzzle flashes [if you look carefully around the front cover image]

So what is most probable? For some reason im inclined to either Red or Green [maybe because this is what Laser colours are most common in the 21st century or maybe too much James Bond death lasers etc.] or possibly a light Blue?

[Could i get a firm answer on this as it will affect my paintscheme]

Thanks :)

cornonthecob
04-07-2010, 08:22
I always thought red ? They never really describe the beam though....

Green-is-best
04-07-2010, 08:32
Well, it SHOULD be invisible. Beyond that, I don't think there is actually answer since lasguns are one of the myriad weapons in 40k that fire bad science. (love that term by the way, tommygun.) I'm certainly no laser expert, but my understanding is that lasers grow in power as they shift towards violet.

Aedes
04-07-2010, 08:32
Maybe it depends on the wave length/frequency/energy level they are fired?
Isnt laser of a certain colour more powerful than others?

Vaulkhar
04-07-2010, 12:18
For a given lascannon shot and most people, the answer should be 'virtually invisible'. The only way to see a laser beam is for it (or at least part of it) to hit your retina. Lascannons shots being what they are, if one hits your retina then you will probably have other things on your mind besides what colour you saw as your brain boiled out of your rapidly disintegrating skull.

If there's enough refractive material in the beam's path, however, the beam will scatter slightly and it might be possible to observe its frequency (and therefore colour) without the aforementioned boiling of brains.

Aedes: A laser's energy is proportional to its frequency ( photon energy in eV = frequency in Hz times the Planck number).


However, 40k weapons invariably shoot an unholy alloy of the Rule of Cool and Bad Science....so the actual answer is, whatever colour you like.

Philip S
04-07-2010, 13:41
It all depends on what (in our real world terms) a Lasgun is actually shooting. The is a number of problems trying to figure this out: for a start the terms used are 'place-holders'. The term Lasgun is not it's real name, it is a stand in for a gothic (low or high) term, and is a nearest possible translation. The problem is that it is very hard to translate a future word if there is no modern day equivalent. Then there are all the different versions of their portal in the background.

I would guess that is means a weapon that is similar to our concept of a laser-gun, but that does not mean it is a laser gun. It could be a beam weapon of some type, but reading the descriptions it seem obvious it is not a laser weapon as we know them. It could be some type of a sub-atomic particle gun, or light messed about with by Ad-Mec magics. Probably invented after we crack the secrets of the universe and fully understand energy and matter and even the distortions of psionics in all its glory (which leads to warp drives etc).

The Lasgun may be very far from a 'laser' weapon, and instead uses dark science of the far future that would make out minds boggle. It may also be a category of weapon, like 'firearm' that simply means 'beam type weapons, similar in layman's terms to modern lasers, but aren't'. They could easily be called a blaster beam gun (BB Gun! Same firepower :p)

Trying to figure it out without future knowledge is a bit pointless, so may guess is that they shoot magic (but not powerful magic!)

Philip

Morty
04-07-2010, 14:09
Well if you stck to the idea that it is some sort of laser weapon then the realworld anser will be that any visable part of the shot will be Very dark red (Infra red laser) Violet (X'ray Laser) or Yellowy White (occuler laser, uses a light bulb to 'create' the beam') there would also be no muzzle flash at all inless you had a mafuntioning defraction lense (clearly a common problem in gaurd forces by the pic's). ho and any gaurds man firing such a weapon as they are posed in the pics would instanly fall over as there is no recoil for them to be braced again'st.

Heru26
04-07-2010, 14:30
ho and any gaurds man firing such a weapon as they are posed in the pics would instanly fall over as there is no recoil for them to be braced again'st.

I like the idea that guardsmen saw loads of old films and started bracing for shots then just falling over, so the Admech added a recoil function to stop idiots falling down.

spetswalshe
04-07-2010, 14:41
Rule of Cool says that any gun that doesn't kick like a mule is rubbish. It also suggests that an immensely loud noise should be produced, even though any character who so much as flinches at the sound must be some kind of wimp, and anyone who wears ear protection while on the range must be some kind of lady. Much of the time, IG background is simply WWII/Vietnam/Modern Warfare writing with fancy futuristic names (Hi there ladies, my name's Ursarkar and this is my buddy Jarran) swapped in.

The Dawn of War games had Guard lasers shoot a bright, solid beam of light. They're as much canon as anything else, but it somehow made the Guardsmen actually look even less of a threat, if that's possible. The only way to make them less scary would be to add 'pew pew' noises.

barrangas
04-07-2010, 15:05
Rule of Cool says that any gun that doesn't kick like a mule is rubbish. It also suggests that an immensely loud noise should be produced, even though any character who so much as flinches at the sound must be some kind of wimp, and anyone who wears ear protection while on the range must be some kind of lady.

"Heavy is good. Heavy is reliable. If it does not work, you can hit him with it." -Boris the Bullet Dodger, Snatch.

Chances are, if a laser did have a color it would probably a secondary laser used for targetting. Of course I'd imagine that the Imperium would engineer their Lasweapons to have all sorts of light and noise, which only Techpriest no how to disable. Imagine IG platoons equipped with weapons that wouldn't betray a shooters position with flash and noise. Good bye mister Commisar.

The Inevitable One
04-07-2010, 15:21
I could be wrong but it depends on the element that they are using in the cell charge pack.

If that is not right, then red.

LexxBomb
04-07-2010, 15:36
Red... the Laser weapons used in the Blood Quest animation test footage had Red Beams that fired Packets.. a la not continuous beams.

Nazerth
04-07-2010, 15:45
Every instance I have read in fiction has lasguns as red beams (including Path of the Warrior which I was literally just reading), multilasers I cannot remember seeing colour described, and Lascannon as brilliantly some colour, from green to red, but most often just what we can assume would equate to retina scorching white.

MagosHereticus
04-07-2010, 15:48
in DOW they are yellowy white

also im going to throw in the general "the imperium is vast and tech is not standardised" line, some lasgun patterns may fire one colour and others might fire a different colour, and i dont think this needs to go into a physics discussion about physical mediums used in lasers

Hrw-Amen
04-07-2010, 19:10
On a personal note I always imagined them being a kind of 'Ice Blue' to use a citadel paint colour description. I have no evidence or fluff to back it up, it is just what i imagined. However I guess as has been said, depending on what at they are using to power the weapon, the intensity of the beam, the world it is manufactured on and so on, it could be any colour you like.

Askil the Undecided
04-07-2010, 19:47
Just to be akward, it depends, mainly upon the the light emitted from the original source within the lasgun (visible/nonvisible spectrum,) what the lenses it passes through are made of (how much the light is shifted through the spectrum by them,) and finally, whether lasguns actually fire LASERs at all.*

*2nd ed wargear book states that lasguns fire "an explosive energy blast" stating it's not unlike a bullet or shell in terms of effect. Making lasguns not unlike the blasters of star wars (which are in fact plasma weapons IIRC.)

Green-is-best
04-07-2010, 20:26
and i dont think this needs to go into a physics discussion about physical mediums used in lasers

Wishful thinking, sir. Wishful thinking.

MarcoSkoll
04-07-2010, 21:01
... finally, whether lasguns actually fire LASERs at all. 2nd ed wargear book states that lasguns fire "an explosive energy blast" stating it's not unlike a bullet or shell in terms of effect.
Although the thread got removed because some people couldn't avoid turning it into an argument, this was discussed recently.

The short version (and this is real world physics, not pseudoscience) is that any laser of sufficient power will explosively vaporise the target where it hits. Indeed, this explosive vaporisation would be the primary wounding effect of any high powered laser.

~~~~~

Anyway, my answer is... the beam wouldn't be visible under most circumstances (when it's shown in art, that's artistic licence). And there's nothing that says all lasguns have to use the same frequency (and common sense probably dictates that they don't, because such standardisation would potentially leave weaknesses to be exploited).

Basically... there's no answer.

TheLaughingGod
04-07-2010, 23:07
...I'm disappointed with previous posters grasp of science. LASERs are very MUCH visible. The blooming effect, as it's called, when LASERs reach a certain energy density (1 megajoule per cubic centimeter) it causes the atmosphere superheat into plasma. So while the BEAM itself wouldn't be visible, the searing white-hot line of air that's being ionized would be.

808thMyrmidons
05-07-2010, 01:19
the color doesn't matter at all. GWs pretty inconsistent with the little things like oh how the hell a lasgun or even a meltagun work so i say pick a color that makes sense to you.

Hellebore
05-07-2010, 01:38
Lasguns are the colour of SCIENCE!

(stolen from Tommygun)...


It all depends on what (in our real world terms) a Lasgun is actually shooting. The is a number of problems trying to figure this out: for a start the terms used are 'place-holders'. The term Lasgun is not it's real name, it is a stand in for a gothic (low or high) term, and is a nearest possible translation. The problem is that it is very hard to translate a future word if there is no modern day equivalent. Then there are all the different versions of their portal in the background.


Considering that the descriptions of lasguns in the wargear book and other books that describe equipment are as guns that fire 'lasers' one would assume they are in fact laser guns. Unless when the description says 'laser' it's just a stand in for gothic 'string cheese' or something... :angel:

Hellebore

808thMyrmidons
05-07-2010, 01:43
dude this is warhammer 40k. actual science has nothing to do with it. unless GW clears up this stuff i say you might as well have a free reign.

DarkMatter2
05-07-2010, 09:07
What is the coolest possible answer to this question in your mind?

(There, I have just answered ever possible background question relating to WH40k. We can shut down the forums now.)

MarcoSkoll
05-07-2010, 20:36
The blooming effect, as it's called, when LASERs reach a certain energy density (1 megajoule per cubic centimeter) it causes the atmosphere superheat into plasma.
Very imprecise. The energy needed will entirely depend on the frequency of the light and the absorption of that frequency by the air.

Also, lasguns are not going to be in that kind of energy range. A more likely estimate is 2-4 kilojoules. Unless we're talking about cubic millimetres (which we're not), there just isn't the energy density.

Green-is-best
05-07-2010, 20:54
...I'm disappointed with previous posters grasp of science. LASERs are very MUCH visible. The blooming effect, as it's called, when LASERs reach a certain energy density (1 megajoule per cubic centimeter) it causes the atmosphere superheat into plasma. So while the BEAM itself wouldn't be visible, the searing white-hot line of air that's being ionized would be.

Man, so that's what that white-hot line I see when I use a laser pointer is. Thanks bro!

Argastes
06-07-2010, 00:56
Lasguns are explicitly stated to be laser weapons, check pg. 61 of the 3rd Edition master rulebook. This source also describes them as emitting a beam of light that inflicts damage by rapidly heating the target surface at the point of incidence, resulting in a small explosion of vaporized target material (a "phase explosion" is the correct real-world term for this effect). So I think it's clear that they really are laser weapons, and that "las" isn't just a generic in-setting term for any beam/energy weapon.

What color would the beam be? That depends on the frequency of light emitted by the laser, the degree to which light is scattered out of the beam path, and the degree of ambient lighting. Firstly, if lasguns are non-visible-light lasers, the beam won't be visible no matter what. You cannot see an ultraviolet or infrared laser beam no matter how hazy the air is. However, assuming lasguns are visible light lasers, the beam will range from invisible to faintly visible to brightly visible, depending on how much refractive and reflective crap is in the air (dust, smoke, steam mist, fog, etc.) and on how bright the surrounding environment is (the less ambient light, the more visible the beam will be). So on a bright, clear, dry day, the beam will probably be invisible or nearly so. On a humid foggy night or in a dark smoky room, it will probably be brightly visible. In humid or dusty air in the daytime, it would probably be visible but faint. And so forth. When the beam is visible, it will of course be the color of light the laser emits--red for a red-light laser, green for a green-light laser, and so forth.

Of course, depending on how long a lasgun "shot" lasts, the beam might still be undetectable by the naked eye even in the darkest and smokiest/foggiest conditions; if each "shot" is an extremely brief pulse, a human viewer will not be able to observe a visible beam path no matter what.

Also bear in mind that even if the beam path is invisible due to a lack of airborne particulates, etc., you will still get a visible flash of scattered laser light where the beam is incident upon the target (again assuming, of course, that it's a visible light laser). E.g., if you fire a green light laser at a target, there will be a bright, intensely green flash at the point where the beam hit the targets surface, even if the beam itself was invisible as it passed through the air on it's way to the target. Of course this flash of scattered laser light may be accompanied by a flash of incandescence from vaporized target material, which would be white-hot rather than the same color as the laser light.


...I'm disappointed with previous posters grasp of science. LASERs are very MUCH visible. The blooming effect, as it's called, when LASERs reach a certain energy density (1 megajoule per cubic centimeter) it causes the atmosphere superheat into plasma. So while the BEAM itself wouldn't be visible, the searing white-hot line of air that's being ionized would be.

No, there is no single particular level of beam energy density that produces thermal blooming, because different propagation media are variously transparent to different wavelengths of light. In other words, the beam energy density needed to produce thermal blooming will vary widely depending on the wavelength of light emitted by the laser, and on the composition of the atmosphere it's passing through. A 300 nm UV laser, a 500 nm green laser, and a 900 nm IR laser will all produce thermal blooming at different levels of beam energy density, even in the same propagation medium, let alone in different propagation media.

Also, laser beam energy density is measured in joules per SQUARE centimeter, not per cubic centimeter. It's energy per unit of beam cross-sectional area.

And any laser weapon that is producing thermal blooming as severe as that which you describe ("superheating the atmosphere into plasma") would not be a very well-designed weapon and in fact would have it's effectiveness severely degraded; thermal blooming is an effect that laser weapon designers deliberately try to avoid, since it means beam energy is being wasted heating air molecules instead of the target, and since the resultant heated air in the beam path screws with beam propagation quite badly. Lasguns (and any other effective laser weapons) certainly do not produce thermal blooming severe enough to create a visible beam path due to superheated air.

IcedAnimals
06-07-2010, 02:22
there is a reason las guns are called flash lights. Because they are horrible weapons. Its very possible to believe they are not "optimal" laser weapons and waste that energy heating the air.

Sikkukkut
06-07-2010, 02:53
In "In Memoriam", a short that's part of the Gaunt's Ghosts sequence set just after Necropolis, the civilian narrator describes getting caught in a firefight. He gets one glimpse of a little spear of dim red light against the smoke, gone almost before it's there.

(He also expresses surprise that the guns are so quiet, just a dry snapping like a branch being broken - apparently all the war propaganda he'd seen dubbed in great resounding bangs over the las-shots to add drama. He obviously hadn't read his second-edition material, which pointed out that while orks often looted Imperial gear they scorned lasweapons as being nowhere near noisy enough.)

MarcoSkoll
06-07-2010, 03:19
there is a reason las guns are called flash lights.
...as a joke, because they're the weakest military weapon in the setting.

However, that is in comparison to weapons which fire rocket propelled grenades full auto. By modern standards, they are at least a match for assault rifles, and in my own opinion, probably the better of most.


Its very possible to believe they are not "optimal" laser weapons and waste that energy heating the air.
Sorry, but no, it isn't. They wouldn't be usable as weapons at all (beyond being used as a club) if the blooming effect actually happened as people are claiming.

It's a little like asking me to believe that the Imperium build all their boats with a hole in the bottom. i.e. A serious flaw that would make it a pointless waste of resources making them in the first place.

Malice313
06-07-2010, 06:00
I think that red is the strongest part of the light spectrum (blue being the weakest) so I'm going to go with that based on hand-wavian-pseudo-science-gobble-de-gook.:D


Considering that the descriptions of lasguns in the wargear book and other books that describe equipment are as guns that fire 'lasers' one would assume they are in fact laser guns.

I remember the old Battle Manual and 2nd ed War Gear books had Lasguns as firing "energy"... what ever that means.

Green-is-best
06-07-2010, 06:41
I think that red is the strongest part of the light spectrum (blue being the weakest) so I'm going to go with that based on hand-wavian-pseudo-science-gobble-de-gook.:D



I remember the old Battle Manual and 2nd ed War Gear books had Lasguns as firing "energy"... what ever that means.

To the contrary, red is the longest wavelength color of the visible light spectrum and packs the least amount of energy. Violet is has shortest wavelength, hence ultraviolet.

Malice313
06-07-2010, 08:25
To the contrary, red is the longest wavelength color of the visible light spectrum and packs the least amount of energy. Violet is has shortest wavelength, hence ultraviolet.

Are you doubting my flimsy knowledge of pseudo-science?!?:mad:

Standard Warseer protocol now dictates that I must now bitterly argue the point for 5 pages in the hope of saving face.:D

RCgothic
06-07-2010, 08:48
Technically, you can transmit the same quantity of energy to a target using a red laser as a blue one, so long as the red laser has a greater intensity of photons. If you find it much easier to generate red photons than blue ones, it probably doesn't matter how much more energy the individual blue photons carry.

I for one am not convinced that all lasguns are laser weapons. They're frequently depicted as similar to star wars blasters. Considering that a blaster would not require a substantially different weapon casing or power pack, suspension of disbelief is easily restored with a 'Meh, the Imperium is a big place.'

The alternative explanation, and the one far more likely to be correct IRL, is that GW are inconsistent and know nothing about science. But as personal preference, I tend to go with the explanation that doesn't decrease my satisfaction with the setting, and it really is just as plausible that the Tanith 1st and the Valhallan 587th use blasters, whilst the Vendoland 85th use lasers.

Polaria
06-07-2010, 10:49
In "In Memoriam", a short that's part of the Gaunt's Ghosts sequence set just after Necropolis, the civilian narrator describes getting caught in a firefight. He gets one glimpse of a little spear of dim red light against the smoke, gone almost before it's there.

(He also expresses surprise that the guns are so quiet, just a dry snapping like a branch being broken - apparently all the war propaganda he'd seen dubbed in great resounding bangs over the las-shots to add drama. He obviously hadn't read his second-edition material, which pointed out that while orks often looted Imperial gear they scorned lasweapons as being nowhere near noisy enough.)

This is a good bit of fluff. When I run Dark Heresy RPG I always describe lasguns similar to using silenced small-caliber rifle with subsonic rounds. You press trigger. You see an impact on the target. Thats it. No bang, no flash, no visible beam.

Lascannons are something different, because they could conceivably have enough energy to cause blooming effect. Orbital lascannon (stuff used in few kilometer-long strike cruisers and such) will definitely have enough energy... and then some. So I describe it like a blinding white "finger-of-God" instantly obliterating everything it hits and causing a huge phase-explosion at the point of the hit.

Mortarion74
06-07-2010, 11:12
I have totally enjoyed this thread, and have to pitch in to just back up all you guys who have put so much thought into it.

A laser in the 40k universe or in the modern military cannot be seen by eye in normal conditions, in the smoke of battle it can show up, just as lasers used today on security sensors etc. Lasers tested by the army are used to paint an enemy target or even to blind the enemy troops in theory but to my knowledge have not been put into use for that reason. Besides sun glasses the same colour as the laser will null any effects, which answers the origional question, From my imited memories from university I seem to remember that a laser can be any colour in the light spectrum.

There is a laser gun for sale on line, which is probabley about to be banned by the kill joys, and that one simply causes the target to burn almost instantly, [hence the ban] There is no noise, and no flash of light. So the colour is acedemic.

I would mention however that a machine gun fires invisible bullets, a bullet moves so fast you cannot see it, so they fire tracer rounds, so the gunner can see where his shots are going, so one would assume that in the imperium of man las guns could fire not just a las bolt, but also a tracer round, and this could be the 'crack' sound mentioned so much in GW books, alternativley the crack could be the sound of a coolant mehanisum chilling the barrel of the weapon.

Hay this could go on all day.

Malice313
06-07-2010, 14:30
...the imperium of man las guns could fire not just a las bolt, but also a tracer round, and this could be the 'crack' sound mentioned so much in GW books, alternativley the crack could be the sound of a coolant mehanisum chilling the barrel of the weapon.

That's a great/plausible idea.

Green-is-best
06-07-2010, 22:19
Are you doubting my flimsy knowledge of pseudo-science?!?:mad:

Standard Warseer protocol now dictates that I must now bitterly argue the point for 5 pages in the hope of saving face.:D

Have at you, sir!