Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Magnetizing 101

There's a lot of tutorials out there on how to magnetize different units in 40K from Predators to Veteran Sergeants to Jump Packs, but nothing that really gives you an overview of what you need. I'm going to do a bit of an overview here and let you know what to get and then I'll follow up with a tutorial on magnetizing a Dreadnaught to a Stormraven.

As with all of my tutorials, I'm not going to tell you that my method is the best or anything like that, but this is what works best for me. My advice is to do some research and find what works for you. A lot of people get hung up on the exact tools and materials that someone uses and that's fine, just don't be afraid to experiment.

So what tools do you need to get started on magnetizing your own models? I see a lot of people doing tutorials with Dremels, and I do have one, but I think they are too heavy duty for plastic and that is typically what you'll be magnetizing. A friend of mine has mentioned taking the Dremel apart and adjusting the switch so you can use it at lower than factory settings so it'll work better on plastic, but that sounds like too much of a pain.

I like using a pin vise which is basically just a small drill that you operate by hand. I like this because you have a lot of control over what you are doing and a slip isn't going to destroy your model. You won't be able to get one of these at Lowes or Home Depot. I buy the majority of my hobby tools from Micro-Mark and I'll post links to what I am currently using.

Image taken from Micro-Mark's website

There are a wide variety of pin vises you can buy. I use the heavy duty pin vise (the one on the top) which can take a bit up to 1/4" which is more than you should ever need unless you are trying to magnetize a Titan. The nice thing with this pin vise is that it has a keyless chuck, which basically means you can quickly change out the bits.

You'll also need drill bits. Dremel actually makes a really nice set that you can get at Lowes and they probably have them at Walmart, Sears, or wherever Dremels are sold. Here's a link to the drill bit set I have on Micro-Mark's site.

Image taken from Micro-Mark's website

These bits are the most common sizes and together with the pin vise will only set you back about $20 or so. The only other things you need are super glue, I use Zap-A-Gap, and a Sharpie maker to mark the side of the magnet you are going to glue so you don't mess up your models.

Lastly, we come to the magnets. A lot of people seriously go overboard in this area. Granted you don't want your pieces to fall off mid-game, but I've seen some crazy heavy duty magnets on some models. When I magnetize my models I don't want them in plain sight. Big honking magnets on the side of a vehicle are a pet peeve of mine. If I'm doing a Razorback, I'll either drill a hole and offset the magnet or I'll just glue them to the inside of the hull so you can't see them. The other thing is I don't want the magnet so strong that it's pulling my other models across the table.

I buy all of my magnets at K&J Magnetics, Inc. They are here in Pennsylvania so they ship fast, they have great Customer Service, and their prices are very reasonable. The size I use the most is 1/8" dia. x 1/32" thick. These work really well for Space Marine arms and Backpacks/Jump Packs. If you want to get them at K&J, go with D201-N52 as they are stronger and you can get 100 of them for $9.00.

Image taken from the K&J Magnetics' website

I also use 1/16" dia. x 1/32" thick for magnetizing plasmaguns, meltaguns, and flamers, to the hands of my Assault Squads. You can also use these to swap a hand with a bolt pistol to an infernus pistol or a plasma pistol. These are a little weak for this purpose, but you really can't go any bigger working at these sizes. If you get these from K&J, go with D101-N52.

Image taken from the K&J Magnetics' website

If you are working on something bigger than I typically do, K&J has a Magnet Calculator that'll help you figure out exactly what you need.

Next time I'll show the in progress pics of my Death Company Stormraven and we'll do a tutorial on how to magnetize the turret and attach a Death Company Dreadnaught.

Till then,
–The Harrower

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