Hobby Factory: Magnets + Models = Magnetisation for the WIN!

 It’s been a while since I posted a hobby factory article. Lately I’ve been getting my stuff into order, alot of which has been all over the place, random sprues in boxes etc. I’ll leave a post about getting “organised” for another time, but it should suffice for me to say that I love those cheap plastic tackle boxes, you know the ones with the compartments? Anyway, on to the article.

Magnets, Models and Mix’n’Match

I’ve read and seen with mine own eyes magnets used on various models from foot troops to tanks and monstrous creatures. I’ve also had the opportunity to play around with some of Kirby’s models (3plusplus.net) and understand the advantages to using magnets. The disadvantages are mostly the amount of time spent in trying out different configurations. There are a however a few basic methods that don’t change between one model and another, one of which is where the standard join between the models hand/arm/wrist mount and the weapon is drilled out and magnets put in to facilitate the join instead of glue. First, the models I’m using are XV8 Crisis suit arms and weapons. The standard weapon mount is the wrist on the suit, the weapon has a small tab of plastic that fits neatly into the wrist slot. I had to remove the tabs before drilling the hole for the magnets. For the magnetisation process the steps involved were:

1. Choose and purchase the appropriate size magnets for the join, you want to be able to drill a 2mm depth hole with a standard wood/metal drill bit and for these models I chose 3mm diameter x 1mm height round magnets

2. Select the appropriate diameter drill bit to make the hole for the magnet. For this purpose I chose a 3mm (or 1/8″) drill bit

3. Mark out the spot to drill by using a sharp point eg compass needle or in my case the sharp end of a small nail

4. Using a pin vice (see below) or handheld drill (warning! this can be dangerous, so mount the model in a vice for safety), drill out roughly 2mm of plastic taking care not to go too deep. Note: if you go too deep, you can use some of the plastic that comes off the drill bit to “pack/fill” the hole a bit before gluing the magnet in place. It’s important to glue the magnet into place either flush with the weapon/arm piece or slightly raised. I will repeat this again below

5. Here is the tricky bit: Magnets only attach to one another on one side (read up on polarity), so you need to mark which flat surface will go on the inside of the hole and which goes on the outside before you glue the magnets in place. I suggest using a permanent marker to mark one side. Once you glue one weapon/arm and it dries, you can use that to check each subsequent magnet is facing the right direction.

6. Use super glue to glue the magnet into the hole . Note again: it’s important to glue the magnet into place either flush with the weapon/arm piece or slightly raised. This is to prevent the magnet coming away from the hole in future due to stress

7. Test the newly magnetised arm with a previously magnetised weapon or newly magnetised weapon with a previously magnetised arm

8. If its not in the right direction: Pop it out, flip it over and re-glue

9. Test again using the same arm/weapon as a guide

10. Test with another arm/weapon. Remember that weapons should only connect properly with arms and vice versa

Once the above is complete, you should end up being able to stack all of your weapons and arms up against one another like this (which proves all of the arms are going in the same direction (left and right different) and all weapons in the same direction):

magnetised tau 2012 - full weapon set

Magnetised Tau weapons and arms

Here is a what my work mat looks like:

magnetised tau 2012 - overall noed

Overview of magnetising work mat

No 1: The magnetised arms up top and weapons further down. They should all stack together with left and right arms being opposing. If you find a few weapons are the wrong way around, you will need to pop out the magnet (use the knife to loosen it) and re-glue on the other side.

No 2: Example of a magnetised weapon. More detail later.

No 3: Tools used (right to left) are Pin Vice, File and Retractable Knife (has a thinner blade). Remember that most tools are made of some sort of steel, and the magnets will constantly be drawn toward them if they aren’t kept away from the work area.

No 4: Stack of magnets

No 5: Paper clip, used later for pinning/stabilising the weapons.

No 6: Super glue

magnetised tau 2012 - example 1 noed

Weapon with magnets example

Finally, this is my example weapon being a crisis suit plasma gun. Part A: is the magnet itself, glue into the hole I made. Part B: is a small piece of paper clip which I drilled a very small hole into the weapon and the arm at matching locations. This is so that when the magnets on the arm and weapon connect, there is a pin (paper clip) stopping the weapon from rotating (because magnets spin against one another).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, please fee free to leave comments and ask for any further photos or examples of magnetising models.

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