Saturday, January 22, 2011

Magnetizing your army for less than 10 dollars.

Ah, the convenience of having all your models stay on a troop tray without having to individually pack them up every game.  The stuff that gamers yearn for in order to not spend half their time at the game store unpacking their army.

There are various ways to magnetize your army.  Some are ridiculously expensive and some are ridiculously unnecessary - I have done them all and will share with you the pain and save you the money!

1. Gale Force 9 Magnetic Bases - ( You can get a set of 36 20mm or 25 25mm bases for about 10 bucks.  I will actually stand by these bases since my entire Wood Elf army uses them.
Pros:  Excellent bases, good texture on them, pretty decent magnetic pull.
Cons: 10 bucks for roughly a unit - my Wood Elf army cost me about $90.00 to magnetize with their bases.  Superglue also takes forever to cure on the bases.

2. Rare Earth Magnets - Depending on the size you can get anywhere from 50-250 for various prices.  The issue is that they are really, really strong.  Using these to magnetize arms on Dreadnaughts, or ensure your Valkyrie's wings will snap on - they are great.  Using them to glue to the bottom of a plastic base will result in
a. Model comes and base stays on metal tray.
b. Most of model comes and rest stays on metal tray
c. Model and base come, magnet stays on tray.
d. Model and tray come and it looks awkward for everyone involved.

3. Strip Magnets - This will be the method I used to base my Beastman army tonight which took absolutely no time and only cost me about 10 bucks.

Option number three brings us to the meat of my post.  How to Magnetize your army for 10 dollars.

Disclaimer: This works very well with PLASTIC models.  Metal models will work just fine but they will not have the adhesion strength that your plastic models will. (In other words don't turn a unit of metal models on it's side or upside down. It will not end well.) Some of the bigger metal models I had to place a square block rare earth magnet underneath in order to form a super bond.  With that said let us move on with the post!

Things you will need:
1. Pair of Metal Snips
2. Several sheets of metal roofing tiles - $.89 each.  4 may cost you just under 4 bucks - essentially it's one sheet per unit for 25mm models, sometimes you can get away with 1 sheet for 2 units of 20mm based models.
3. A roll of Strip Magnets - These are obtainable from Home Depot - they cost $5.36 for a 10' roll that is half an inch wide. I used up half a roll on the army.
4. Superglue
5. Movement Trays - You can make your own or use the modular GW trays - I'm not including the price since most folks just put strips of balsa wood around the edges of the metal roofing tiles.
6. Scissors
7. Models!

Magnetizing your army!

Step 1 - Gather your Materials:

As you can see I have grabbed everything I need in order to fully magnetize my entire Beastman army.

Step 2 - Prepare your movement trays.
Using your metal sheets, measure out the dimensions you need in order to cover the movement tray's surface with the metal sheet.  Cut with Metal Snips and super glue into place.

Step 3 - Cut the strip magnet to match the space under the base.  Really you can get away with about 3/4th's an inch or less under each model.  Just put a dab of superglue on the underside of the model and press the cut length of strip magnet under the model.  Bam - entire process should take you about 10-15 seconds.  I literally took an hour to do the entire army and their movement trays.

Step 4 - Put the newly magnetized models on a tray and admire your handiwork!

 2000 points of Beastmen magnetized in 1 hour!  

In case you were wondering what the package looked like for the Strip Magnets:

I have had a lot of success using various methods to customize and make transporting my armies easier.  I have to say that this method while not as good as using the Gale Force 9 magnetic bases, is pretty solid.  I encourage many of you to try this method out or if you have found an even easier and more effective way please feel free to comment - I'm always looking for something new to try out when it comes to making game set up faster.  Also, the models will stay on the tray well enough for moving them around the board, charging down a hill (we all know how much it sucks having your general that you spend hours painting have the entire front go from painted to silver in the course of a game because he kept falling face first the entire game).  Anyway, good luck!