Rare Earth Magnets and You

Magnets - XX105

Rare Earth Magnets, Battlefront and You!
by Chris Townley

Rare earth magnets are a great way to set your tank turrets. Updated with images and instructions for working with magnets and plastic kits, Chris' article on the subject is back to show you the ropes. 

Like all product innovations, magnets require advance planning to ensure that we not only have tanks mastered with the holes for the magnets, but that we also have a good stock of magnets.

Click here to view Rare Earth Magnets in the online store...

Magnets - XX105

Magnets - XX105

The former required significantly more planning because we usually have kits designed months in advance of release date. Luckily, all of our plastic tank kits are designed with the appropriate slots for magnets and turret pins alike, so you can use magnets with any of our plastic tank kits.

Most resin kits also have oles prepped for magnets. In the case of the IS-2s it easy because James was in the process of sculpting on the extra stowage and was able to just drill out the holes. All tank boxes in the future will include magnets.

However some older models will require a little extra work to install the new magnets into the hulls of the vehicles. Following the guide below, this process can be pretty straight forward!

We thought a number of you, who have not used these magnets in the past, might benefit from a few pointers that we picked up whilst playing with them. 
Magnetic fields

Chris’s Guide to Rare Earth Magnets!
(otherwise known as: Things Most of You Know… and I Just Found Out!)

Rare Earth Magnets are incredibly strong for their size and are made from alloys of rare earth elements. They retain their magnetic field for a very long time, which makes them perfect for many applications, especially when it comes to looking after the figures you have spent so long painting.

Those of you who are smarter than a 5th grader will be able to skip this bit. For the rest of us who cannot remember High School Science, this is the most important part!

Magnets have something called ‘poles’. The key here is that like poles repel and opposite poles attract. Let’s call the poles ‘north’ and ‘south’.

For more information check out Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_field

What this means is that when you are super gluing the magnets to your tanks and turrets it is important to always glue them so that one pole is always facing down.  Otherwise (as I almost found out when I was making up some AA halftracks) your turrets will not actually want to sit on the tank. If you are consistant with gluing your magnets in with all the same polarity, you will be able to easily interchange all of your turrets and hulls. 

Save Yourself the Trouble and Go Plastic

All of our plastic kits come with the required holes for magnets, so if you're going with plastic kits you don't actually need anything. You can skip right to the end of this article and enjoy the satisfying clickety-clack of magnetised turrets on magnetised hulls. If you are still using resin and metal kits, then you still have a few steps before you get that satsifying clickety-clack of your own. Read on...

Superglue, Sandpaper, and a Drill.

Okay, so the heading above makes it sound like this part is harder than it really is. Trust me, I was able to drill out a batch of hulls in about 10 minutes and I am fairly uncoordinated!

If your tanks don’t come with holes for the magnets you can do one of two things:

Drilling time!
Using a small drill you need to just slowly drill a mall hole in the chassis, in the centre of the turret ring. Once you have drilled down a millimeter (1/32") or so, it is just a case of doing slow circles with the drill to widen the circle. Once your hole is around 6mm (1/4") wide you can stop. Don’t worry if it is a little irregular, too deep, or if you have made a bit of a mess of the resin because no one will ever see it (as long as the tank is never destroyed, that is!).

Magnets - XX105

Evan's Tip:
Stick masking tape or some other kind of sticky tape over the top of the hull so when the drill inevitably slips, the tape will protect the resin from damage. (Leave a hole in the tape around the area you're putting the hole in.)

Magnets - XX105
Magnets - XX105

Or, sandpaper and elbow grease!
The other option if you don’t own a suitable drill is just to sand the turret plug down a little. The magnets are very strong and don’t actually need to be touching each other to be effective.

Warning: Remember that resin dust is not something that you want to breathe in to much of, so make sure you are in a well ventilated area.

Evan's Tip:
Wet sand the resin using water as well as sand paper - it stops the dust problem and makes the sandpaper work faster, more efficient and it's safer for humans!

Time for a little super glue...
I lined up my hulls and turrets so that I could glue them up in one batch. This helps to make sure I glued them with the poles in the same direction. 

Magnets - XX105
Magnets - XX105

I started by dropping a little bit of super glue on the bottom of each of the turrets and carefully taking one magnet at a time off the stack. Once these dried I used the rest of the stack to check that I had glued them the right way. Don't worry if you make a mistake at this point. It’s much easier to take a magnet off the bottom of a turret than the little hole in the chassis!

Again, when it comes to plastic kits, it's really as easy as just dropping a magnet in- the hole is right there.

Next up, carefully put a drop of super glue in the small holes in the chassis. Carefully double check the polarity of the magnets on a turret before placing them in the glue. Leave them to dry for a little while and test fit your turrets. Make sure the super glue has dried because these magnets are really strong and can be easily pulled out of the super glue (I learnt this from experience). For those of you who have trouble waiting for glue to dry, try a little GF9 Rapid Cure.

Another option to ensure that you do not get your magnets around the wrong way is to use a permanent marker to indicate which side you should be gluing down.

Magnets - XX105

Magnets - XX105

And there you have it...

Now to show just how strong these magnets are...

Magnets - XX105 Magnets - XX105


Last Updated On Thursday, August 22, 2019 by Luke at Battlefront