Hobby Essentials: Magnets

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I think most gamers understand the benefits of magnetizing select models throughout their army -- easily swap weapons configurations; easier to transport larger models; you can finally remove that tank sponson from a weapon destroyed result; you get the idea. Magnetizing is something I meant to get into a long time ago with my armies, but I didn't have all the right tools until recently. The most important thing you'll need, outside of the actual magnets, is appropriately sized drill bits to match the size of your magnets. I recommend this set from Dremel which I picked up from Lowes. Even if you don't own a dremel tool, you can use these bits in any standard hand drill, and you'll notice the sizes are perfect for all the various magnet sizes you'll need for working with miniatures.

I picked up this pack of 1/16" x 1/32" magnets from my LGS which carries a wide range of sizes for working on small stuff like guns / arms all the way up to large magnets for super heavy tanks / flyer base stands etc. The pack I have is intended for the smaller projects which I'm using to magnetize weapons options for my Dark Eldar and also my biker command squad. I used larger magnets for my Land Raider sponsons.

For this unit of Wracks I decided to magnetize 2 models, the Acothyst for weapons upgrades and a second for the Liquifier gun. I plan on trying out the Hexrifle on the Acothyst (because "removed from play" trumps Eternal warrior *sinister chuckle*) but if I end up not liking it, no worries. I made sure to track the polarity of the magnets so either model can use the weapon swaps.

Which brings me to my next recommendations for working with magnets:

A sharpie for marking which side of the magnet needs to be glued vs the connector side, and a larger piece of metal so you don't lose track these little guys before you super glue them. RobO asked about the size of magnets I'm currently using and these are pretty small:

Perfect size for this particular task, but I'd recommend slightly larger magnets for working with vehicles or drop pods. I'm not sure of the exact size I used on my Land Raider Crusader since I used the larger ones that I got in my swag bag from Nova last year, but they are definitely larger in diameter for a much stronger hold.

Next up, more Necrons and some ideas I have for basing them and my Dark Eldar!


  1. Thanks Joe...having moved (for now) to the Black Templar, I really need to do more of this. While I will certainly be doing this for vehicles...the main use will be for termie arms. Who knows what the future holds in terms of a new BT codex, but I will want to swap between tactical and assault termies, and even the mix of TH/SS & LC in the assault squads.

    Size is important here because 1/8" is great for mech, but a bit too wide/deep for arm swaps. Looking at your xenos scu...um, I mean DE dudes(hehe)...are the magnets shown in the blister the ones you used? Also, do you think that size would work with the somewhat heavier plastic termie arms?

    Thanks again. RobO

  2. No problem, Rob! Yes, the magnets in the picture (1/16" x 1/32") are what I'm using to magnetize arms. I'm pretty sure these would work fine for plastic terminator arms. I actually have several more terminators to add to my assault term squad and I'm thinking about doing the same for at least 2 of them. I'll let you know if I run into any issues but these are the same ones I'm planning on using; you get 50 to a pack at this size.