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[WIP] Tutorial - Magnetisation


elmo
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Why have one variant of a vehicle when you can have two or more from the same kit? Why be limited to only one or two battlesuit options when you could swap between all of them as required?

The current Tau Empire kits, for the most part, lend themselves well to magnetising, so this thread is an attempt to cover the topic in the entirety for both novice and experienced magnet user alike.

Index
Why Magnetise
An Introduction to Magnets; Sizes and Suppliers
Surface Attachment
Countersunk Attachment
Tabs
Trusses

Magnetisation Tutorials
Battlesuits:
XV25 Stealth Suit
XV8 Crisis Battlesuit "Old Style"

XV8 Crisis Battlesuit "New Style"
XV88 Broadside Battlesuit
XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit
XV104 Riptide Battlesuit

Vehicles:
TX4 Piranha
TY7 Devilfish/Hammerhead/Skyray
Razor/Sun Shark

Fortifications:
Tidewall Rampart

Forge World:
XV88-2 Broadside Battlesuit
Tau Drone controlled Sentry Turret
KX139 Ta’unar Supremacy Armour
AX-5-2 Barracuda

See also:
Hobby Resource [using Magnets in Tau Models] - by Tael
[Tutorial] Creating a Magnetised Chin Turret - by Eiglepulper
[How to] XV8 with magnetized head and arms - by Eochaid
[How to] Magnetize a Riptide - by Zenta
Magnetizing Tau for maximum options [Drones] by Bloodknife92
Zaeley's Project Log x2 KX139


Individual tutorials will be added when completed.
If you have any comments or suggestions - for example a good magnet provider or links to alternate magnetisation methods then please notify El'mo or another member of the Forum Mod team for inclusion in this thread.

Edited by elmo
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Why Magnetise

Today's modern plastic kits come packed with many alternative weapons and vehicle types.
Take for example the Games Workshop Hammerhead/Skyray kit:

This multi-part plastic kit contains 88 components and a Tau transfer sheet with which to make a Hammerhead Gunship or a Sky Ray Gunship.

You are also able to choose either a Railhead or Ionhead along with up to 2 Seeker missiles on the Hammerhead or to build it as a Devilfish and to have either Gun Drones, Smart missile system or Burst cannons as secondary armament.

Many other kits are also multi-purpose such as the Razor/Sun Shark or are able to be mounted with a variety of different weapon/support systems such as the XV8/XV88 and XV104 Battlesuits.

With all these options it can be hard to decide which variant you want to make. After a few games you may find that you would have preferred to have a different weapons fit or vehicle but now it is all glued together you would have no option but to buy a new kit.

This is where magnets come in to play. With a little clever planning and following the guidelines and examples which follow, you will be able to make a multi-role model which maximises the investment you initially made in purchasing the kit.

The basic principles in magnetisation can be split into a few simple steps:
What do you want your model to do. Yes the model may have multiple options but you may only want to switch between a couple of them or you just want to be able to add or remove a dozer blade when it suits you.

Where to place the magnets. Once you have decided which options you want to swap between you need to think how best to achieve this using the techniques that follow in this tutorial. Do you want the magnets to be hidden or surface mounted, do you require tabs or trusses. All this requires careful planning before the model is glued together. Also try to keep the same polarity with your various kits to get maximum use out of interchangeable parts such as the dozer blade.

Which magnets to use. This is covered in this tutorial but generally the stronger the magnet the better and the magnet needs to be the correct size to achieve its purpose.

Have a supply of magnets to hand. If you are going to go down the magnetisation route it makes a lot of sense to bulk buy them. This usually means that you can get them at a lower cost and save on multiple postage charges. Also it should mean that you always have the right size magnet on hand when starting a new project.

Think, dry fit, think again then glue... It is very hard once the magnets are glued into place and the model assembled and painted to go back and reposition an incorrectly located or reverse polarity magnet. Take your time and it should all work out.
Here are a couple of examples of what can be achieved using magnets.

Project 1
Hammerhead/Skyray/Devilfish

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Project 2

XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit

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In later posts you will be shown the way that I have magnetised various Tau kits. These are meant as a guide only. It is quite possible that I have over-engineered (or just plain got carried away with my magnet addiction) the models. Do not feel that these are the be all and end all. You may see an easier way for what you want to achieve or you may not want to go quite as far as I have. Some models are simpler than others, the only thing that can limit you is your own imagination and skill.

Edited by elmo
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An Introduction to Magnets; Sizes and Suppliers

Neodymium Magnets (Rare Earth Magnets)
Neodymium magnets, invented in the 1980s, are the strongest and most affordable type of rare-earth magnet. They are made of an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron (Nd2Fe14B), sometimes abbreviated as NIB. They have the highest magnetic field strength and have a higher coercivity (which makes them magnetically stable). Beginning in the 1990s, NIB magnets have become steadily less expensive, and the low cost has inspired new uses such as in models.

Grades
Neodymium magnets are graded according to their maximum energy product, which relates to the magnetic flux output per unit volume. Higher values indicate stronger magnets and range from N35 up to N52. Letters following the grade indicate maximum operating temperatures (often the Curie temperature), which range from M (up to 100 degrees Celsius) to EH (200 degrees Celsius).

Grades of Neodymium Magnets
N35-N52
33M-48M
30H-45H
30SH-42SH
30UH-35UH
28EH-35EH

It is recommended that when you source your magnets, owing to the extremely small size required for most modelling uses, that you try to purchase N52 grade whenever available. N40 magnets are also commonly described as suitable for modelling but they can be weak for all but the lightest parts.

Hazards
Magnets allowed to get too near each other can strike each other with enough force to chip and shatter the brittle material, and the flying chips can cause injuries. There have even been cases where young children who have swallowed several magnets have had a fold of the digestive tract pinched between the magnets, causing injury and in one case intestinal perforations, sepsis and death.

Magnet Sources
A good source of magnet suppliers can usually be found on regional eBay sites, but I've compiled a list of additional providers that may be useful:

Asia:
Tokyu Hands department store

Africa:

Australasia:
Back 2 Base-ix®

Europe:
Spider Magnets
Element Games
Guy's Magnets
Dondo
Supermagnete
Tiny Worlds Wargaming
greenstuffworld

North America:
Magcraft
K&J Magnetics

South America:

Common Magnets and Size Conversions
Cylindrical magnets, these are the ones I have now settled on as being standard for my models. Sizes are diameter x height in millimetres:
2 x 1mm
3 x 1.5mm
6 x 2mm

Metric to Imperial
1mm = 3/64"
1.5mm = 1/16"
2mm = 5/64"
3mm = 1/8"
6mm = 15/64"

Tools (Links are used as examples only)
Pin Vise
Electric hobby drill such as a Dremmel (ensure that it has variable speed)
Drill bits as required (HSS type are recommended)
Greenstuff or similar
Side clippers
Files of various grades
Craft knife

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Surface Attachment
This involves simply gluing magnets to the surfaces of the two parts that are to be attached. Its an appropriate method to utilise when there is a gap between the two parts, in which the magnets will fit, or if the two parts do not need to be flush fitting.

Method:

1. Dry fit the parts without magnets or glue
In this example - a Lord of Skulls and the muzzle of its Cannon. There is a gap between the parts in which the magnets will fit.

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2. Measure and mark the position where each magnet should be affixed to each part; in order to line up with each other when the parts are attached
I prefer to use a simple protractor to measure and a gold permanent marker. In this example, the magnets should be placed dead centre so its fairly straight forward but in other cases, measuring will be important to ensure proper placement of the magnets.

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3. Pick out a set of magnets, then with the proper polarity alignment, mark the sides / facing that should be affixed to the parts that are to be attached (easiest to do when the magnets are 'stuck' together)
I prefer to use the same gold permanent marker to mark the sides that will be glued to their respective parts.

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4. Glue the magnets to their respective parts; with the proper polarity alignment
Sometimes I use the cap of the super glue tube to push or reposition the magnet while gluing it; because that cap doesn't stick to the glue.

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5. Wait until the glue is dry, recheck fit and polarity alignment, and done!
Wait until the glue is dry before rechecking fit to avoid accidentally gluing the parts permanently together.

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Here's another example of surface attachment - a Heavy Stubber to a Sentinel body.

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Countersunk Attachment
This involves drilling an indentation / 'hole' in which to place / countersink the magnets so that they are flush against the parts that are to be attached. Its an appropriate method to utilise when there is no gap between the two parts, in which the magnets will fit, or if the two parts need to be flush fitting.

Method:

1. Dry fit the parts without magnets or glue
In this example, a Dozer Blade is being attached to the underside of a Chimera.

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2. Measure and mark the position where each magnet should be affixed to each part; in order to line up with each other when the parts are attached
In this example, only 2 pairs of magnets will be used - though ideally, 4 should be used for stability.

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3. Drill the indentations / 'holes' in which to place / countersink the magnets
The indentations / 'holes' only need to be as deep as the magnets are thick but in many instances there isn't any harm in drlling a hole straight through (depending on what you're attaching). I like to use a small drill bit to first drill a pilot / 'guide' hole before using the larger bit to drill the appropriate size hole for the magnet. Make sure you match the right size drill bit to the size of the magnet (e.g. 1/8 drill bit for 1/8 x 1/16 magnets).

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4. Pick out a set of magnets, then with the proper polarity alignment, mark the sides / facing that should be affixed to the parts that are to be attached

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5. Glue the magnets to their respective parts; with the proper polarity alignment
Usually, its ok and easier to 'push' the magnets into their respective indentations / 'holes' before adding a layer of super glue (instead of the other way around).

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6. Wait until the glue is dry, recheck fit and polarity alignment, and done!

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Note: To be edited with Tau models

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Using a Tab
This involves adding a 'tab' in which to place / countersink a magnet when the two parts that are to be attached don't share a mutual surface.

Method:

1. Dry fit the parts without magnets or glue
In this example, Storm Raven ramp is to be attached to the Storm Raven frame. Apart from their edges, the two parts don't really share a mutual surface with which to attach magnets; so a tab will be used.

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2. Using a spare sprue, cut out a small section to be used as a 'tab'. Drill an indentation / 'hole' in the tab in which to place / countersink a magnet

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3. Glue the tab to the larger encompassing part so that it protrudes into the 'space' where the smaller part will go
In this case, the tab is glued to the Storm Raven frame so that it protrudes into the 'space' where the ramp will go.

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4. Measure and mark the position where the corresponding magnet should be affixed to the smaller part.; in order to line up with each other when the parts are attached

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5. Drill an indentation / 'hole' in which to place / countersink a magnet in the smaller part

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6. Pick out a set of magnets, then with the proper polarity alignment, mark the sides / facing that should be affixed to the parts that are to be attached

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7. Glue the magnets to their respective parts; with the proper polarity alignment

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8. Wait until the glue is dry, recheck fit and polarity alignment, and done!
Below are some examples of a Valkyrie ramp, and hull doors with tabs (not the cleanest work but you get the idea). Also example of a countersunk wing pylon.

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Note: To be edited with Tau models

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Using a Truss
While a 'tab' is affixed only at one end, a 'truss' would be affixed at both ends. Usually when the affixed magnet is larger or needs to be load bearing.

Method:

1. Dry fit the parts without magnets or glue
In this example, a 'truss' with magnet has already been affixed to the Knight's arm. Another 'truss' with magnet will then be affixed to the Thermal Cannon. The 'truss' will be glued across the middle gap of that Thermal Cannon.

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2. Measure the appropriate width that the 'truss' needs to be then using a spare sprue, cut a section to be used as the 'truss'

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Usually I cut the 'truss' slightly longer than it needs to be then bevel / angle the edges slightly. The longer end remains longer than it needs to be (i.e. longer than the gap) and the shorter end is exactly the size of the gap. This may take a couple of attempts to do but it gets easier with practice.

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3. Fit, then glue the 'truss' across the gap
Longer bevelled edge should be outward, shorter bevelled edge should be inward. This will allow you to push the 'truss' into the gap and have it held there by friction. Again, practice makes perfect. Remember, you can always apply glue after it is in place (instead of the other way around).

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4. Pick out a set of magnets, then with the proper polarity alignment, mark the sides / facing that should be affixed to the parts that are to be attached

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5. Glue the magnets to their respective parts; with the proper polarity alignment

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6. Wait until the glue is dry, recheck fit and polarity alignment, and done!

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Below are other examples of using 'trusses'.

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'Truss' for the main body of a Knight. The 'truss' is wedged then glued across the interior main body opening. Another magnet is countersunk into the lower body.

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Sometimes its easier to affix magnets before assembling the 'tab' or 'truss' but otherwise, here's a way to get a magnet into a tricky spot. Get a spare sprue (because it isn't magnetic and the magnet won't stick to it) apply a little green stuff to the tip of it. Stick the magnet to the little green stuff on the sprue, then apply lots more green stuff to the side of the magnet that needs to be affixed to the part. Remember to get the polarity / facing of the magnet right. Place a dab of super glue on the part that the magnet needs to be affixed to. Then using the 'magnet on a stick' simply 'jab' the part that it needs to be affixed to. Again, practice makes perfect.

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Ok - not the prettiest work above but one gets the idea.

After the magnet is in place you can add more green stuff or more glue to reinforce it. Remember if you're adding green stuff with a sculpting tool - make sure its plastic so that the magnet doesn't get stuck to it instead.

Note: To be edited with Tau models

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XV25 Stealth Suit

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This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the XV25 with interchangeable weapon systems.


You will need the following magnets:

  • 2 x 1mm – qty 2/model plus extras for weapons





Method

Assemble the XV25 but do not attach the weapons or support systems

Method to follow

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XV8 Crisis Battlesuit
Old Style



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This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the XV8 including interchangeable weapon and support systems.
Also how to prepare the legs and arms to allow for various poses.

You will need the following magnets:

  • 2 x 1mm – qty ??
    3 x 1.5mm – qty ??
    6 x 2mm – qty ??





Method

Before you assemble the XV8 complete the following steps

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Method to follow

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XV8 Crisis Battlesuit
New Style


 

 


 
This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the XV8 including interchangeable weapon and support systems.
Also how to prepare the legs and arms to allow for various poses.
 
You will need the following magnets:
2 x 1mm – qty ??
3 x 1.5mm – qty ??
6 x 2mm – qty ??
 
 
 
Method
 
Before you assemble the XV8 complete the following steps

Method to follow

Edited by elmo
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XV88 Broadside Battlesuit

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This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the XV88 including interchangeable weapon and support systems.

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You will need the following magnets:
2 x 1mm – qty ??
3 x 1.5mm – qty ??
6 x 2mm – qty ??



Method

Before you assemble the XV88 complete the following steps

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Method to follow

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XV104 Riptide Battlesuit

Image to be added
 
This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the XV104 including interchangeable weapon and support systems.

 
You will need the following magnets:

  • 2 x 1mm – qty ??
    3 x 1.5mm – qty ??
    6 x 2mm – qty ??


 
 
 
Method
 
Before you assemble the XV104 complete the following steps

Method to follow

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Piranha

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This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the Piranha including interchangeable weapon systems.


You will need the following magnets:

  • 2 x 1mm – qty 3

Method

Before you assemble the Piranha complete the following steps

Method to follow

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Devilfish/Hammerhead/Skyray

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This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the Devilfish/Hammerhead/Skyray kit including interchangeable weapon systems (main and secondary) and removable Seeker missiles.


You will need the following magnets:
2 x 1mm – qty 19
6 x 2mm – qty 3



Method

Before you assemble the kit, complete the following steps

Method to follow

Chin Turret
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Turret - Rail/Ion/Seeker
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Edited by elmo
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Razor/Sun Shark

Image to be added
 
This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the Razor/Sun Shark kit including interchangeable weapon systems (main and secondary) and removable Seeker missiles.

 
You will need the following magnets:

  • 2 x 1mm – qty ??
    3 x 1.5mm – qty ??
    6 x 2mm – qty ??


 
 
 
Method
 
Before you assemble the kit, complete the following steps

Method to follow

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XV88-2 Broadside Battlesuit

Image to be added
 
This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the XV88-2 secondary weapon systems.

 
You will need the following magnets:

  • 2 x 1mm – qty ??
    3 x 1.5mm – qty ??
    6 x 2mm – qty ??


 
 
 
Method
 
Before you assemble the kit, complete the following steps

Method to follow

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Tau Drone controlled Sentry Turret

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This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the Sentry Turret weapon systems including the supplied twin linked Missiles, Fusion Blasters, Burst Cannons and Plasma Rifles .

This tutorial assumes that you have purchased the Sentry Turret with Missiles as currently shown on the Forge World website.

Kits required:
Sentry Turret with missiles
The following weapons from the XV8 Crisis Battlesuit kit

  • Burst Cannons x 2
    Fusion Blasters x 2
    Plasma Rifles x 2




You will need the following magnets:

  • 2 x 1mm – qty 10
    3 x 1.5mm - qty 2






Method

Before you assemble the kit, complete the following steps


1. Take the missile pods and, using a sharp knife, carefully remove the round pegs.


2. Glue the pegs into the holes on the turret mount using superglue and leave to dry


3. Once dry use a 1mm HSS drill bit to drill a guide hole in the centre of the glued peg then use a 2mm HSS drill bit to drill the hole for the magnet to the required depth. Use superglue to fix two of the 2 x 1mm magnets into the holes, ensuring that the polarity on both magnets is the same and they are pushed into the hole until flush with the surface. These magnets will now set the polarity for the magnets fitted in the weapons so it is very important to get this correct.
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4. Use a 1mm HSS drill bit to drill a guide hole into the centre of the rectangular pin on the side of the optional weapons. For personal reasons I remove any unused pins from my weapons. You need to ensure that you use pins on opposite sides of each pair of weapons, for example, drill one Burst Cannon on the left hand pin and the other Burst Cannon on the right hand pin. Repeat for each pair of weapons. Once done, use a 2mm HSS drill bit to enlarge the hole to the correct size for the magnet. In each hole, use superglue to fix one 2 x 1mm magnet, ensuring that the magnet polarity is correct. An easy way to do this is to allow the magnet to lock on to the magnet embedded in the turret mount, then push the weapon onto this magnet.
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5. To magnetise the turret lid, which you will need to do to be able to swap over the weapons, drill a 1mm guide hole in the locator peg in the lid and in the corresponding recess in the turret mount then using a 3mm drill, increase the size of the holes to the required depth. Fit the 3 x 1.5mm magnets as shown below ensuring to check the polarity.
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You will now be able to equip the Sentry turret with any of the weapon options.

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KX139 Ta’unar Supremacy Armour

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This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the KX139 weapon systems.


You will need the following magnets:

  • 2 x 1mm - qty 4
    3 x 1.5mm – qty 18
    6 x 2mm – qty 8
    8 x 2mm - qty 8
    12 x 8mm - qty 4





Method


Torso - Hips
12 x 8mm Ring Magnet - qty 4

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Using progressively larger drill bits, drill holes to the correct depth in the 3 parts which make up the hip area, ensuring the polarity is correct, glue in the 4 magnets as shown.


Pulse Ordnance Multi-driver
3 x 1.5mm - qty 18
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Carefully mark out and drill 3 equally spaced holes in the guns as shown below ensuing that the positions are identical on all three.
Once you are happy with the positions of the holes then glue in the 3 x 1.5mm magnets ensuring that you keep the polarity in all the guns the same so they can be swapped between mounts as required.

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Use these holes to mark up the location of the opposing holes on the mounting rail.

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These can be positioned as you wish and I have raised the central gun rather than having them all at the same level and to leave space for the head.


Arm Weapons
6 x 2mm - qty 8
8 x 2mm - qty 8

as shown in the instruction booklet


Vigilance Defence System (photos courtesy of Zaeley)
2 x 1mm - qty 4

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Glue the SMS system and pin onto the torso.

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Glue the burst cannon assembly together but do not glue onto the SMS system as shown in the instructions then, once dry,

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drill a 2mm hole in each SMS pin and in the corresponding burst cannon and fit 2 x 1mm magnets as shown

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Tidewall Rampart

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This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the Tidewall Rampart including the Droneport, Gunrig and Shieldline sub-assemblies

Before you fully assemble the model complete the following steps

Note: Ensure you double check all magnet polarity before gluing into position

Droneport
You will need the following magnets:

  • 2 x 1mm
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XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit

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This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the XV95 including interchangeable weapon and support systems.


Main weapons
You will need the following magnets:
3 x 1.5mm – qty 6

Support weapons
You will need the following magnets:
2 x 1mm – qty 8

Support systems and Head
You will need the following magnets:
2 x 1mm – qty 11

Method

1. Glue the Support weapon brackets to the torso as described in the instructions and once fully dry drill a 2mm hole in each bracket as shown below.

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2. Holding the 2 halves of the torso together, drill 2 x 2mm holes along the centre line of the join roughly equally spaced from the front and rear of the recess

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3. Assemble the Support systems as shown in the instructions. On the 2 Support systems with the recess, glue in a small piece of sprue, allow to dry then use the holes in the torso to mark the position of the magnets, drill and then glue in 2 x 2mm magnets in each system ensuring the polarity is the same in all.

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4. Assemble the heads as shown in the instructions. Drill a 2mm hole in the neck roughly central in the neck dome. Use this hole to mark up the position of the magnet for the head. Fit 2mm magnets in each of these positions checking polarity as previous.

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5. Glue the torso together as shown in the instructions then glue in 2 x 2mm magnets keeping care to ensure the polarity is correct for the Support systems.

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6. Glue the right forearm together then drill 2 x 3mm holes as shown below and glue in 2 x 3mm magnets.

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7. Glue the remainder of the model together as shown in the instructions.

8. Using Stage 6 as a guide, drill 3mm holes and fit 3mm magnets to each of the Main weapons as shown below and, as usual, check the polarity.

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9. drill a 2mm hole in each of the Support weapons as shown below and glue in a 2mm magnet in each using the polarity of the magnet fitted in the bracket at Stage 1.

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This is as far as I took the magnetisation for this model, other options would include magnetising the waist (similar to the Ta'unar), arms and support systems on the left arm.

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Edited by elmo
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AX-5-2 Barracuda

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This tutorial will show you how to magnetise the AX-5-2 Barracuda including interchangeable main and secondary weapons.


You will need the following magnets:

  • 2 x 1mm – qty ??
    3 x 1.5mm – qty ??
    6 x 2mm – qty ??





Method

Before you assemble the AX-5-2 Barracuda complete the following steps

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Method to follow

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