Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Magnetising the Imperial Knight - Sire Gabriel walks!

Greetings all - I've finally finished building my first knight, so despite there being plenty of other tutorials out there that go into detail on how to magnetise it, I figured I'd write my own.

Before I set about building this model I had a look around various other tutorials out there, particularly those at from the fang and weemen. Being a cocky little sod sometimes I looked at their efforts and figured that there must be a simpler way to do some of the magnetisation work on them - I'm happy to say that in my opinion I was right, and some of my fixes for things do seem much simpler than those. Others not so much, but I'll get to them anyway.

Just a final note - this isn't a tutorial on how to build the knight kit - it's purely going to look at how I magnetised mine.

First things first - what magnets do I use? Well I have two different sizes, I use 2mm by 2mm circular magnets, and 5mm by 2mm circular magnets. I've had 1mm diameter magnets before that hold precisely bugger all, and the 1mm thick magnets just don't have enough pull for my liking.

Right, so the main thing is attaching the torso to the legs. As you'll see from the other two tutorials I mentioned, they used a nifty little method of achieving this by gluing a piece of sprue to the top of the waist joint and linking it through into the torso part (check their tutorials, the photos explain it much better than me writing about it).

That wasn't good enough for me though (cocky little sod - see above ;) ) and I wanted the torso and waist to be magnetised, mainly because I could easily believe that putting the wrong kind of pressure on a joint like that could result in the sprue connections breaking and not being able to attach the knight back together without more sprue and/or glue.

This is the joint I'm talking about, and I'm happy to say that when I got the pieces together I could see a simple way of making the connection work how I wanted it to.

The picture above shows two 5mm x 2mm magnets glued onto the top of the leg assembly (it's important this is centrally located, so be careful). I then almost completely filled the torso side of the waist joint with milliput (green stuff is probably better but I didn't have any to hand) and pressed it onto the leg assembly in the correct place. This gave me a piece that looks something like this:

Leave it go go hard, then, making sure you've got the polarity right, glue one of the two magnets into this top piece. You should then have a joint that is pretty solid when attached, but is completely removable and rotates freely (if you haven't centred the magnet properly, it will always tend to rotate itself so the two magnets are flush on top of one another).

Once this is all dry you can happily attach the torso to the top, and whilst the connection isn't going to let you swing the whole model round your head without coming apart (hint - don't actually try this) it's perfectly strong enough to handle the model on a tabletop. If you want a stronger connection (and I may look at going back to do this later) simply use a magnet with a larger diameter, just make sure the two combined aren't too deep for the torso piece first, anything up to about 10mm should be ok, though I haven't tested that depth.

Next up, a simple one - the chest plate. Now it's true that I probably didn't actually need to do this, but something about being able to take the chest plate off appealed to me, so I magnetised it anyway.

The chest plate attaches using five male/female connectors, so I simply cut off the central male connector (should this make me wince? Probably not but it does for some reason) and sank magnets into the chest plate and torso where they joined. The magnet takes the weight of the piece and the four remaining connectors hold it in the correct position.

Next up then were the shoulder mounts, for the ion shield projector and the meltgun/heavy stubber. This was a fairly simple fix, I just cut off the 'Y'-shaped mounting piece below where it projects from the shoulder (see second photo) and sank magnets into each part. Simples!

The next part I built was the thunderstrike gauntlet arm, which conveniently uses mostly the same mounting as the reaper chainsword in case I particularly wanted to use it (I probably won't much).

Another dead simple job though, one magnet into the recessed part of the gauntlet and another into the end of the forearm piece.

So, onto the main event then - the rapid fire battle cannon/melta cannon. I've read a few tutorials here and they sounded, erm, more complex than I'd like, involving gluing in bits of sprue to hold magnets etc. My challenge therefore was to achieve the swap without needing to add anything to the model.

First up, thankfully the battle cannon barrel itself is a nice snug fit so there was no need to magnetise that. The melta cannon however was a different story, but still achievable. I drilled out two points above and below the circular mount for the battle cannon (having checked of course that they wouldn't be visible once assembled, then cut out matching slots from the melta cannon shield assembly. These two points seem plenty able to hold the cannon together without any fear of collapse. Part 1 achieved!

Next up then was the ammo hoppers. I don't like building up the insides of stuff with spare plastic, so once again my solution was to insert magnets around the edge of the connection points.

Now yes, you do have to be very careful not to drill right through, but as you can see you don't have to add any plastic to the hoppers to get them to fit. and be exchangeable. 

My solution to the spare cable connection was simply to insert magnets into the body of the cannon, and some pieces of paperclip into the pipe itself (remember, you don't always have to use 2 magnets, and the pipe was too narrow for my magnets, but the metal paperclip holds it just fine.

Next up was the heavy stubber ammo hopper for the battle cannon. Again I've seen people magnetising this, but I didn't see the need, I simply glued it onto the gun section and it fits nicely in place when the barrel is attached.

Finally then, the irritation of the arm pieces, since you don't get enough for each weapon (damn you GW!).
Similar to the ion shield mounting, I just cut off the top part of the lower arm, sticking a magnet into the round connection, and drilled  the opposing magnet into the base of the should section. This now hols really nice and snug, allowing me full rotation of the cannon without concern about the joint being glued or snapping the part.

I should now explain that there was one section of the magnetisation that did cause me much grief and headaches, and the reason I've not shown it above is because it's a bit scruffy, so I wanted to work on it before showing you how I've done it. That section is the connection between the cannon body and the lower arm. Essentially what I did was sink a magnet into the centre of the lower arm, and two more into the lugs on the cannon that are supposed to be glued in. I then had to cut back a lot of the plastic from the lower arm to allow the cannon to be slotted over the arm without taking it apart. 

As it stands at the moment I works really well, because the fitting is so damn tight that it's never falling off short of a collision with the floor, but I don't think it's really the magnets that are holding it in place. I'll work on it with the second connection and keep you informed!

So that's that, the magnetisation of Sire Gabriel of House Seraphus. Next up, the rather more headstrong Sire Ramiel!

Till then, enjoy this pic of the fully assembled knight!