Saturday, October 15, 2011

Magnetificent Bases of Mantic Proportions

As some may remember, I've a reasonably sized Mantic Undead army that I've assembled and will be using as a Vampire Counts army for Warhammer.  I'm also hoping to try out Kings of War in the near future. My only problem will be finding an opponent in such a GW-centric town such as Memphis.  With the bulk of the plastic models assembled I figured it was high time to get to the unglamorous job of magnetizing the units.  Fortunately, it turns out that the Mantic bases make easy work of it if you look past the sheer amount of bases in the army.  

For this project I will be using 1/8" (diameter) x 1/16" (thickness) round rare earth magnets mounted to the bases.  I secured 500 of these little buggers for $23 shipped on Ebay, which is a loads cheaper that you can find anywhere else, especially if you buy them from a source marketing them to our hobby.  For the trays I'm trying to keep it quick and go with flanged steel unit trays from Shogun Miniatures.  Most know I'm a big, big fan of their products and you really owe it to yourself to check them out!

Magnetize the Bases

Turns out that magnetizing the Mantic bases is SUPER EASY.  With the traditional GW bases I was forced to either use a ton of glue or heaven forbid green stuff to get the magnets to stay in place on the underside of the base.  With solid nature of the Mantic bases a simple hold drilled into the bottom makes the perfect recess for the magnets.  It turns out that they even work with out glue, but for a more permanent solution I'm gluing my magnets in CA glue.

First step is to make a template out of an empty base.  On the underside simply draw a pair of lines connecting the corners and mark the spot where the lines intersect.  Then drill a 1/8" diameter hole all the way through the base.  This makes the perfect template for drilling the rest of your bases.

Second step is to mount a 1/8" drill stop onto the end of the bit to a depth of 2 magnets.  The first magnet gives it the depth to get through the template and the other gives it the depth to put a 1/16" hold in the bottom of the base. 

Third step place the template flush on the base of your assembled model (you could also drill the bases before you attach the model).  Make sure the top of the base template is on the drill side.  If you are careful you can simply hold it together with your hand or you can simply use a clamp.

Fourth step is to drill out the base.  Stop when the depth gauge bottoms out.

Fifth step put a little CA glue into the recess you just drilled out.  Using a glue bottle with a precision applicator makes it much easier.  Make sure to get it all over the surfaces, including the sides.  Also be careful not to put to much glue in or it will make getting the magnet in more difficult.

Sixth step push a magnet into the recess.  Flip the model over and run the bottom of the base against a scrap piece of paper or wood to ensure that magnet is pushed into the hole and is flush with the bottom.  In the event that the magnet is sticking out a bit try pushing it in with a small tool like a screw driver.  If you can get it flush remove it with an hobby knife an either remove some excess glue or drill the hole a little deeper.


Once you have enough bases magnetized here is how a completed unit looks.


With the bases all magnetized you may well be wondering how secure the miniatures will be.  Here is a video demonstrating that they won't come off unless you want them to.  Please keep in mind that that these are plastic and not medal models.    

Finally, I've decided to use the same sized magnets in all the bases in the army.  For the metal models I ended up going with four magnets, one in each corner, to make it more secure.  For the cavalry I went with two magnets near the center.


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