Friday, August 2, 2013

So you want options? Magnetize!

GW often likes to produce plastic kits that come with lots of options.  A dragon with multiple rider options, a character with multiple weapon options.  As the prices of the kits become increasingly more expensive it behooves a gamer to buy one kit and find ways to make all the options work at any time rather than buying and painting a new kit for each and every occasion.  One day I may want to run a Dragon Mage, the next a Prince on a Dragon.  One day a power fist, the next a power sword.  In a game that strives to have everything WYSIWYG it is important to have the correctly armed model on the table.

I have found that magnets are the best way forward for the future of miniature gaming with options!

I am not the first person to use magnets, but as I couldn't find a tutorial on the Mag Blog yet (maybe there is one and I just haven't found it) I decided I would show a variety of the uses I have for my magnets.

In fantasy there are many uses for magnets, but it is nowhere near as important as it is in 40k I have found.

So where can you find magnets?  Luckily for you there are a lot of LGS stores that sell magnets now.  Army painter, GF9 and others all sell magnets that you can purchase from any of these stores. In fact the prices are usually pretty affordable as well.  However, to get the most bang for your buck and have the most options I use  This website has all the sizes and shapes that you could possibly need in rare earth magnets.

What size do you need?  This of course varies by the job that you're doing.  If you're using the magnet to hold something in place with the benefit of gravity like a rider on a mount then the magnet can be smaller.  However if you're using a magnet to hold something at an arm joint the magnet has to be bigger because it has to hold the arm/weapon up against the pull of gravity.

Enough talk let's look at an example.  This is a wraithlord that I have been working on for an up and coming Eldar army.  This bad boy comes with so many options it makes your head spin.
You may be able to see from the picture, but there are 5 different weapons that are shoulder mounted that can be taken on this guy.  Then he has 4 weapons options to use on his wrist mounts.  Finally he has 3 different hands that can fit in to each wrist, left and right.  All told that is 15 different options that need to be magnetized.  Alternatively I could just buy and paint 6 of these guys at $45 a thanks!

So the first trick was to prepare the joints for the magnets.  On all the weapons there was a 4 cm slot that would fit into the mount and provide a strong secure hold with plastic glue.  These were removed to make room for the magnet.

 The magnet used was a little bit smaller than the width of the mount.  I could have gotten away with smaller magnets for these as they are supported by gravity, but this was the size that I had on hand.  When drilling the hole for the magnet I always do it by hand.  In the past when I have tried to use my dremel the hole always ends up too deep and/or wide and ends up with me using green stuff to fill back in the gaps.  An added step that can be avoided with careful drilling.

Second point when drilling the hole is continue to check the fit with the magnet.  In most cases you want the magnet to be flush with the surrounding area so you don't want to drill too deep resulting in a sunk magnet.  This can be tricky if you have drilled it right and the magnet is snug, but have a metal tool nearby to help pull it out if it doesn't slide in all the way.  Flush is what we're looking for in most cases so the magnet sticking out the top or too far in is bad for the strength of the magnets.

THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP!  I can not stress this enough!  Test the fit twice glue once!

Test the polarity of the magnets from the weapon (or character or whatever) to the spot it will fit.  I usually do this with a dry run and use a magic marker to mark the side of the magnet that will disappear into the hole to ensure I get it right.  If you mess this part up and superglue the magnet into the hole (which you have made snug and flush) wrong it will be near impossible to get the magnet back out again without damage to the part.

On the Wraithlord I wanted to make sure all 5 weapon options and the sockets on his top shoulders could be interchangeable.  Therefore I had to ensure the polarity was the same for both shoulder magnets as well as opposite polarity for all the weapons.  The way I did this was to glue one of the magnets into the socket and one of the magnets into the weapon option first.  Then I used each of those to make sure the polarity was correct for the other socket and the remainder of the weapons.  If it was a magnet going into a weapon I tested it on a socket and marked the back with magic marker.  If it was going into the socket I allowed it to magnetize to the weapon and marked the back again.  In this way I was able to magnetize all 5 weapons to fit on either shoulder interchangeably.

 Example of the shoulder magnets - You will notice I filled in the gaps where the original slot was around the magnet with Apoxie Sculpt
Side arm magnets
The wrist magnets I used were larger as they had to fight gravity and had the potential to have a fairly heavy piece on them in the form of the Sword.  The wrist also had more room for a bigger magnet as well.  For this I wanted to do the opposite polarity for each hand so a right hand could never fit on the right wrist.  To do this I socketed both wrists first ensuring opposite polarity by allowing the magnets to touch on one wrist and instead of burying the marked side I put the marked side up in the other wrist.  This ensured opposite polarity.  After that I fit each hand with the magnet accordingly.

Wrist Sockets - Notice I also magnetized the head at the neck

Showing several options magnetized

Several More options magnetized - Note head looking opposite way

Space Marine Assault Squad Sergeant - Option1 (Power fist/Bolt Pistol)
Option 2 (Power Sword/Plasma Pistol)

Venerable Dreadnought - Power fist, missile launcher for left arm, Assault Cannon, TL Las Cannon and Plasma Cannon on right arm.  You will notice that the buds are left on.  I was able to drill the magnets into these and then into the sockets allowing for a much more secure fit using both the bud and the magnet to secure each arm.

Example of my Frostheart Phoenix - No plans yet to bring an Anointed or Caradryan but you never know!

High Elf Dragon with Dragon mage and prince on the side showing magnetized ass.
Thanks for reading - hope this helps you in your endeavors to save money and try out new weapons/mount options.  Especially if you play 40k - START MAGNETIZING!!


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