Tiri Rana's guide to magnetizing … everything!Part 0: Tools of the trade
Welcome to the first installment of my great guide to magnetizing, as the title says, everything. I'll try to talk about methods and problems of working with magnets and approaches to cope with those problems.
And I'll try to cover all our models in a simple step by step tutorial fitted for beginners and advanced persons alike.
But now back to my topic for today. If you want to magnetize anything there are some tools you'll need and some that might come in handy. First a small overview, a detailed explanation later.important:
drill (preferably a hand drill)
drills in the sizes of your magnets
a sharp hobby knife (the sharp part is not optional, but the knife is)
plasticard or cardboard
tin sheet or other ferromagnetic metal
ferromagnetic wire or paperclips
I use 'Ø2 x 1 mm' and 'Ø2 x 3 mm' N52 rare earth magnets.
I found a diameter of 2 mm to be perfect for DE models, because most of the existing holes on DE models are 2 mm in diameter, so you can forgo much drilling work.
I use the 1mm thick disks when I want to countersink the magnets and the 3mm long rods if I need the magnet to stick out of the surface. This is not necessary most of the time, but it will come in handy when doing ravagers and pain engines.Drill:
Not much to say here. I prefer a hand drill, for better control and less risk of damaging the model.Drills:
Less to say here. Of course you need drills in the size of your magnets, if you don't want to just glue them on.Super glue:
I use thick super glue on most of my models, but thin super glue works even better here, because the holes and magnets will be a very tight fit.A sharp hobby knife:
To magnetize some of the parts, like sails or turrets, you'll have to cut off the existing connectors. Additionally it is a good idea to make a small hole into the exact center of the surface, you want to drill in, using the tip of a hobby knife. This will prevent the drill from slipping and helps a lot in getting straight connections. Smaller drills:
A drill in the size of you magnets will suffice, but it might be useful to have one or more smaller sized ones to pre-drill a hole before widening it to the desired size, because this will generally lead to straighter and more centered holes.Magnet applicator:
Now it gets interesting. What the hell is a magnet applicator? It is the thing you use to put a magnet in place. Having one helps not only in actually placing a magnet, but will secure that all magnets in all your projects will have the same polarity to keep parts exchangeable, so if you use these applicators you won't need to mark your magnets' polarity. It can be almost everything you find useful, but I use five different ones. Two magnetic ones, two non-magnetic ones and a metal one, that's magnetic, but has no polarity of its own.
1. I use a spare weapon barrel for all my magnets, I put into the main bodies of models, like Raider hulls, Reaver Jetbikes or torsos. If you chain some parts together you'll obviously have different types of magnets in the same part. Raider turrets for example will have one type one magnet in their base, because they are a removable part of the Raider, but a type two magnet in their weapon, because the turret is the main body and the weapon's barrel the removable part.
2. I use a spare handle of a raider dark lance for all my magnets, I put into small removable parts like sails, dark lance or dissintegrator barrels, Taloi tails or infantry arms.
3. I use a non-magnetic applicator to push magnets into place and to get them straight. I use a part of an old dark elf spear attached to a spare hobby knife handle, but it could be everything, from a toothpick, to a non-magnetic wire. It is not necessary, but it helps if it is around the same diameter of the magnets and has a straight surface. Additionally it should be able to put some pressure on a magnet, without bending or breaking.
4. Sometimes I use a magnetic version of number 3, I made out of a spare hobby knife handle and a nail. It's especially useful to insert magnets sideways, which comes in handy sometimes.
5. The last applicator is something thin and bendable, to put between the magnet and one of the magnetic applicators, so that those can be slid of more easily, without pulling the placed magnet out of it's hole again. This could be a slip of paper, a foil sheet or even a fingernail. The only important part is, that it is small and bendable enough to fit everywhere you want to put a magnet, thin enough to let the magnets stick to each other and sturdy enough to hold the placed magnet in place, while pulling away the applicator.Green stuff:
Some of the place you might want to put a magnet into don't have a usable surface, because GW didn't make those parts to be magnetized, but to be glued together. A small blob of green stuff will provide a place to put a magnet into. Unless you are very careful it will be best to wait till the green stuff dried and then use a drill, instead of pushing the magnet directly into the wet greenstuff, because they will shift very easily.Plasticard or cardboard:
Like green stuff those can be used to make a surface, that can be magnetized, where the original model only has a hole.Tin sheet or other ferromagnetic metal:
For everything that uses more than one magnet on each side or shall be able slide around it is useful to use metal instead of magnets on one side, or to only use one magnet and to substitute the others by metal parts. Examples would be all ball joints, where using a steel ball bearing will prove more useful than a magnet, even a ball, because it will allow the joint to move in every direction or Razorwing missiles, where I used two magnets for the missiles, but only one magnet and a small metal piece on the fighter itself, so that the missiles can slide around on one side and will be able to be positioned straight, even if the magnets are a little bit off. Ferromagnetic wire or paperclips:
If trying to magnetize very small parts or parts that should be allowed to shift along a certain path it is better to use wire instead of magnets, because of the much smaller diameter and the possibility to have a magnet attached to various places along the wire. I used it to magnetize Taloi masks, because they are too thin to be drilled into and gluing a magnet to them would be to thick. Another place I used wire are the handrails of my raiders and venoms, so that my magnetized passengers can be hung on.Magnetic paint:
I found this in my local art store. It's not too cheap counting in at 15€, but it's still cheaper than an equivalent amount of GW paint. It has to be applied multiple times. The label says 3+ times, but I'd recommend more, like 5 or 6 to guarantee a strong bond.Files:
Pushing something into super glue is always a bit messy. Files are a good option to get the surface flat again. Additionally they can be used to straighten a magnet, that is a bit off, but be careful not to file through the magnet's casing, because the inside is made out of a powder that will not make for a stable and straight surface and is, at least a bit, poisonous.Rotary tool:
If you are too lazy to do everything by hand, you can use a rotary tool, but be warned it is much easier to slip and ruin your whole model, then if drilling or filing by hand.
If you have a solid stock of modeling and conversion tools you'll find most of the tools you need to be already in your collection and a small assortment of magnets should not cost more than a few bucks, so starting your magnetizing project shouldn't be too expensive.
So that's it for part 0.
Stay tuned for part 1: How to magnetize … a Raider.