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Magnets: How They Work (for X-Wing Miniatures)

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(Re-posted from the original (here) for the new re-paints/conversions subforum.)

 

Recently I went through all my X-wing minis and attached magnets to their bases. I've seen it done a few times, I just finally went ahead and did it myself based on a thread I found somewhere on the FFG boards.

 

There are a couple of reasons for doing this: 

1. It solves virtually all issues with loose/broken/misaligned pegs.

2. It allows me to mount pretty well ANYTHING on an X-wing flight stand, so long as I can fix a magnet to it.

3. Swanky banking action.

 

My Shopping List:

I used Gorilla Glue branded "crazy glue gel" to put these on all of my small ships: 


 

These on a bunch of small pegs: (I have a ton of ships, so I only did 25 or so pegs - I mostly play at home with my son so I need to be able to field two lists at once and they often clock in at well over 100 points per side, so I erred on the side of extra.)


 

These on all the big ships:


(Note: The Firespray required a bit of drilling to fit it in properly - detailed below)

 

And these on a few big pegs: (Again, ton of ships, so I only did six large bases)


 

EDIT 2015.02.05: For the small ship posts, all I had to do was clip off the original insert, file it down flat, and carefully glue the small bearings to that. BUT FOR THE BIG BASES, I totally forgot that after I clipped and sanded off the insert, I then took a small, triangular needle file to dig out a little bit of a groove that the ball could sit in. This gives the post a little extra contact with the bearing and should hold a little sturdier than using a flat top.

[/EDIT]

 

The work was quick and easy - I did it all assembly-line style over two sittings of maybe an hour or two each to do around 60 small and eight large-based ships. I did get a bunch of glue on my hands, though.  :)

 

I went all in and broke off the existing pegs on all of my ships to replace them with the ring magnets. (Except the 2400, the geometry on the bottom was such that it made more sense to just glue the magnet to the end of the peg.) I clipped off the connector at the end of the flight stand sticks and glued the appropriate sized steel ball to the ends.

 

I had to drill a hole in the Firespray to get the magnet to sit nicely in where the peg was. Once the magnet was crammed in, MOST of the damage is covered, but if you really look, you can tell. A little paint should fix it right up, and when it's mounted on the stand, the inner section where it got drilled isn't what I'm looking at, so it totally works out.

 

It might not be a solution for everyone, but I couldn't be happier with the results and now I don't have any issues with broken/warped/misaligned pegs. Plus, it helped re-invigorate my son's interest now that the ships are a little more dynamic, so we got to play a little more. Hooray! 

 

Incidentally, in the aforementioned FFG thread,someone else had confirmed with FFG that replacing the pegs with magnets would NOT affect their tournament legality. I suppose it's possible that might change, but it seems like it would take a very special kind of jackass to kick a person out of a tournament because they didn't know how magnets work.

 

Buncha Pics: They're not all as good as I wish they were, but I don't really have any more time to spend on them at the moment, so this is as good as it gets.

 

Rebels:

pic2331765.jpg

 

B-wing Detail:

pic2331766.jpg

As you can see, so long as there's just a little overhang on the steel ball, the B-wing will mount nicely. I was pretty lazy, so I just glued the ring magnets over the engines. Another option would be to glue the magnet to the end of the bent peg that used to stick out the back. I'm pretty happy with it as they are, though.

 

Small Rebel Mounts:

pic2331767.jpg

For the rest of the small Rebel craft, the magnets go pretty much right where you expect them to. The X-wing magnets are on a slope, but once it gets mounted on the steel ball, it works perfectly. I put the magnet for the HWK a little closer to it's natural center of gravity.

 

Large Base Rebels:

pic2331768.jpg

So yeah, I'll cover a B-wing's engines and not think twice about it. But do you know what's ALWAYS bugged me? The quads on the underside of the Falcon being mounted backwards. If they were just POINTED backwards, that would have been fine, but since the gunner is supposed to be sitting in the window, aiming more or less straight down the barrels, I always hated how they had to be mounted to accommodate the factory peg. So with a little careful prying and cutting and gluing, I reattached the lower quads the right way and I'm MUCH happier with it.  :)

 

Imperial Ships:

pic2331760.jpg

 

Small Imperial Mounts:

pic2331762.jpg

Like their Rebel counterparts, the magnets get mounted pretty much right where you'd expect. It's a little tricky to get them just exactly right on the TIE balls, that's where I got the most glue on my hands, but it all worked out pretty well.

 

Large Imperial Mounts:

pic2331761.jpg

The Firespray required a little extra work (described below) but the others were pretty straight-forward.

 

Magnetizing the Firespray:

pic2331763.jpg

I took a series of in-progress shots with my phone and put them together as a picturegraphical thinger to show my process. I can go into more detail if anyone needs, but it really is pretty straight-forward. Start slow with the drill, because MOST of what you end up drilling out is really the boarding ramp section and whatever it is that's "above" that. A firm grip, start slowly, and you'll be fine. I'm not sure how hollow the Firespray is - I stopped drilling pretty much where the magnet would sit flush where the peg used to be, but it occurs to me that you MIGHT be able to sink it in a little deeper and hide the magnet a little more, if you're into that sort of thing. (No promises, though, I didn't go in at all, really.)

 

Side Benefits:

pic2331764.jpg

So another neat thing about buying a bunch of magnets and making magnet-able stands is that you can now drop any old thing you want into a flight stand and use that for your game. So far I've only done this Senator's Shuttle sort of thinger, but I do plan to make 3D asteroids and use them on flight stands for missions where we want the asteroids to move around. Point the base in a semi-random direction and let them move 1 straight per turn, or somesuch.

 

Afterthoughts:

 

Am I pleased with the results? Yes, yes I am. The one thing that needs mentioning, though, is storage. I have all my ships lumped together by type in compartments of a Plano box. If you can separate everything into it's own bin, you will have no trouble at all. The magnets interact a little, but not enough to cause any problems. Mine get lumped together, though, and some of the Rebel ships, especially, get a little intimate. 

 

Y-wings and A-wings will join together nicely, if the polarity of the magnets will accommodate, but they're sturdy enough to be just fine. Everyone else is a little awkward, but I'm not worried about most of them.

 

I have to admit, that I am a LITTLE worried about the X-wings and their delicate cannons. So far it hasn't been an issue, but if you're planning on magnetizing your collection this way AND travelling with them, you might want to make sure that your X-wings are each in their own compartment.

 

Other than that, I have no reservations at all. 

 

If anyone has any questions or would like me to clarify something, please let me know.

Edited by NotBatman

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I just followed these instructions. The Small ships all worked wonderfully! Thank you for this article! I'm working on the large ships now. My one warning is to be careful with the amount of gorilla glue, It expands as it dries. Mostly I could use paper towels to absorb the excess, but I had to scrape out some of the wholes after everything dried. If I did it again I might try epoxy. On the large ships and the HWK balancing is a bit tough, DO NOT assume the peg is the best balance point. I had to redo the decimator after the first attempt because it kept tilting over, After I shifted back a bit it works great. The shuttle and the outrider work perfectly. 

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Thanks for the great write up and links!  I do have a question though:

 

Are the magnets suggested good for lifting model and base together, or will they separate easily?  I want to make sure what I use is strong enough so it doesn't become the issue I'm trying to resolve: namely wave 5 ships that shuck their bases like tamale husks.

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No problem!

 

For the small ships, I can say for sure that the magnets are strong enough to lift the base with the ship - with a caveat for the B-wing. Because of the way I mounted mine, I tend to grab them by the post.

 

The big ships, I'm pretty sure, lift the base as well, but honestly I don't recall for CERTAIN right now. (It's been a while and we don't generally use a lot of the big ships.)

 

I'll try and check tonight to make sure. I feel like it would have been annoying enough to have noticed if that DIDN'T work, but since this is the specific issue you're trying to fix, I want to be sure before I commit to an answer. :)

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Do you have a problem with the ships tilting when moving them?

I mounted the HWK as the first ship and glued the magnet right where the peg was. Now it tilts backwards when I place the base with a bit of force. Should have reread the thread before actually doing this. I'll have to move the magnet.

Anyway, thanks for the guide and links. Can't wait to do the rest of my force.

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And as to lifting by the ship, the magnets are strong enough to hold the base.

On the small ships the ship glides very easily on the ball so when lifting by the ship you might have to get used to positioning them correctly after moving.

I haven't mounted any large ships yet but the large magnets are much stronger so this may be less of an issue.

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I just pulled out the Falcon and the Outrider and stuck them on one of my magnetized bases. I picked it up and shook it around a bunch and I'm perfectly confident in saying that THIS magnet and bearing combination will handle any stress you would put on the pieces in an aggressively frantic game.

 

If y'all go completely bugshit insane, I don't want to be held responsible, but short of using the magnetized ships/bases as weapons, I'm sure you'll be just fine. :)

 

As to actual magnet positioning, yeah the HWK prefers to have the magnet set back a little ways - maybe I should have made that a little more clear. The Decimator works well with the magnet mounted just slightly back of the original peg.

 

If you look closely, I changed the position of the mount on the YT-1300 because the way FFG had to mount the ventral quads always bugged the **** out of me.

 

Everything else works pretty much right where the original peg was. In fact, I didn't even take off the peg for the Outrider, because of the geometry of the spot, I just glued the magnet to the bottom of the peg!

 

I'm happy to continue to double-check or confirm anything anyone else might like. I LOVE this system, on so many levels. I wish FFG could have done something like this in the first place!

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Got my magnets in today!! :) A couple observations through trial and error after following all instructions in post.

1: Cut a B-wing peg 3-4mm after southward bend cuz I like my thruster paintjob, but the awkward weight distribution sends it ajar after moving, especially on a bank position. Does it seem to hold better attached straight to the engines?

2: Filing the interior "intakes" on the X-wing can help sloping. Think I may apply that tactic to the E also.

3: Now maybe I was a little too excited and put a large ship on a peg too early, but the bearing tore off. Make sure it dries for awhile. I am going to try drill pressing a filed-flat top of a large peg just to create a little more surface for bonding. A bit of concavity... Will let you know success.

Otherwise, fantastic NotBatman. Thank you

Edited by Son0fGun

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Got my magnets in today!! :) A couple observations through trial and error after following all instructions in post.

1: Cut a B-wing peg 3-4mm after southward bend cuz I like my thruster paintjob, but the awkward weight distribution sends it ajar after moving, especially on a bank position. Does it seem to hold better attached straight to the engines?

2: Filing the interior "intakes" on the X-wing can help sloping. Think I may apply that tactic to the E also.

3: Now maybe I was a little too excited and put a large ship on a peg too early, but the bearing tore off. Make sure it dries for awhile. I am going to try drill pressing a filed-flat top of a large peg just to create a little more surface for bonding. A bit of concavity... Will let you know success.

Otherwise, fantastic NotBatman. Thank you

When I did my B wings, I took the angled piece off and drilled into the middle of the engines and inset my magnet there, I used a flat one there and on the stand with the angled part attached there.. works like a dream and it spins just fine. I didn't want a gimble mount so there is that. I think this was tye best way to do a B wing..

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1: Cut a B-wing peg 3-4mm after southward bend cuz I like my thruster paintjob, but the awkward weight distribution sends it ajar after moving, especially on a bank position. Does it seem to hold better attached straight to the engines?

 

 

The B-wing is easily the most awkward. I can't say my method works "better," of course, because it's the only way I did it, but it does hold well. Admittedly, it's pretty lazy.

 

Oneway's method sounds like a good compromise.

 

For the big ships I thought about trying to make the tops of the big pegs a little concave. It occurs to me now (sorry) that I used a small triangular needle file to create a notch for the big bearings to kind of sit in. I think that helped a little. I did learn, the hard way, that you DO have to let the glue dry, though. :)

 

(Edited original post with triangle needle file bit. Really sorry about that!)

 

Glad it's (generally) working out, though! The ones you posted look great!

Edited by NotBatman

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Thanks, I opted for no bearing because I just wanted it to spin, used small magnets for it, they are the same diameter as the pegs for the small based ships.

I have a couple TIEs I used a gimble mount (bearing and donut magnet pair) I also did that with one of my Decimators as well and a firespray. Gonna do the same with a YT-2400 to see how it works.

Thinking of removing the bearing from my firespray though. Its a loose connection, even after I filed the bearing to help with that. Ill possibly just glue the peg into the ship again and not worry about it anymore.. lol its a repaint that I use frequently as it is an imperial conceptual paint scheme.. its in the firespray repaint thread.. first page I think..

I'm sort of losing the thrill of magnetized ships... oft times they can be an irritant. I enjoy making the mods but find the practical use lackluster

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Generally working out yes. :)

Think I may magnetize just a portion of my fleet. The only troubles I've realized yet are the Phantom and B, but I've only done 8 ships cuz I've been busy. Everything does seem to work well otherwise though. The Lambda looks cool banking btw.

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The problem I keep having with magnetizing models is that the magnets won't STAY stuck. Generally, after a dozen or so uses the magnet breaks off of the model. By the time I get one that seems to stay put permanently I end up with a huge glob of crystallized superglue surrounding the magnet, which looks horrific.

 

I think its a matter of the constant "clicking" together of the magnets creates minute shock waves in the glue causing it to eventually break, a situation that gets worse if I use accelerant, which makes the glue more brittle to begin with.

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Does anyone have any recommendation for UK neodymium magnet stockists?

I've purchased some from eBay...the first being rated N5O strength which is really great in terms of keeping the ships and stands secure (no wiggle) but the dimensions are a bit too big for my liking, at 10mm diameter. Countersunk though, which is nice.

I also purchased some smaller ones at 5mm, but being rated N35, they have less strength. When you lift the ship the base is lifted too, but it is not held tightly and will spin around if you give the ship a shake.When placed on the playing surface I think there is a good chance the ships will move and slip.

Any ideas ?

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The problem I keep having with magnetizing models is that the magnets won't STAY stuck. Generally, after a dozen or so uses the magnet breaks off of the model. By the time I get one that seems to stay put permanently I end up with a huge glob of crystallized superglue surrounding the magnet, which looks horrific.

I think its a matter of the constant "clicking" together of the magnets creates minute shock waves in the glue causing it to eventually break, a situation that gets worse if I use accelerant, which makes the glue more brittle to begin with.

I'm partial to the magnets as oneway said. I did go with the Gorilla gel glue and am doing 1 model at a time. Becoming selective on worn female pegs, taking my time in the process. Am trying to be careful about separating models, but haven't had an issue yet with detachment of mags. Playing it by ear and have gotten a lot of "Looks cool".

I have found some ships rock (shift) more than others during movement. Given the pegs wear over time I believe the magnets are the best option available right now for loose connections. But again.... At your own risk.

Edited by Son0fGun

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The next best option I can think of is good, strong steel wire. But breakdown and transport would still cause issue with breaking of said wire. A confounding peg system. I am generally pleased with what I have done with magnets if that helps.

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Nice idea Osoroshii. :)

I got busy and didn't get arounder to it until today. Wanted to show my solution for bearing to peg attachment.

http://i1356.photobucket.com/albums/q723/Son0fGun/Mobile%20Uploads/20150304_164658_zpsjcei499y.jpg

http://i1356.photobucket.com/albums/q723/Son0fGun/Mobile%20Uploads/20150304_165124_zpsfqifh36w.jpg

Used my Dremel press. 1/8" bit for small. Routing bit for large. Both of those bearings are unglued as of yet and are stable. Edit: Wth? My links don't want to work and my phone uploads are too large. Grrrr

Edited by Son0fGun

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