Thursday, February 23, 2012

WIP - Magnetised Tau Battlesuit + video

Hi guys, I've been exploring the modelling possibilities of  magnets a lot lately and I thought I'd share where I'm up to with one of my Tau XV8 Battlesuit miniatures. Video and more info after the jump...

To celebrate my first ever significant conversion I thought I'd make a short video demonstrating the versatility that magnetisation brings to this particular miniature. It's double speed as you don't need to see it in real time to appreciate it and the music isn't entirely appropriate but hey, I'm just throwing it out there.

Hard points

I know magnetisation of miniatures is nothing new but I'm excited about the possibilities.  As WH40K is a WYSIWYG* game, magnetisation is a great way of changing weapon load-outs depending on the opponent you're facing.

On the battle suit in the video each of the 'hard-points' is magnetised to accept any combination of weapon or support systems.  In addition I've articulated the arms and head so it's almost like a pose-able action-figure. Almost...

I want to point out that the inspiration for all of this comes from a Tau Battlesuit magnetising tutorial at themanufactorum.comThis was a great primer for me but I have changed the shape and size of some of the magnets described in the tutorial, as after a couple of initial tests I found I wanted more 'stickiness' from the magnets.


There are a couple of hurdles to overcome, the main one being where magnet meets magnet, paint doesn't survive very long. Varnish 'might' solve the problem but it's still a bit of a question mark. The parts that magnetise are mostly hidden but I think it's more professional to seal the miniature than having bare metal showing.  Appreciate your thoughts/experiences on that one.

Secondly, Tau modellers will know, some of the battle suit weapons have three mounting tabs depending on whether they're deployed on the left/right arm or shoulder.  I was toying with the idea of using one 'universal' tab as in the picture/video, but now that I see it I think I'll need to do all three.  As you'll see when I write the tutorial, it's a lot more work for a small aesthetic gain but it's all in the details...

Buying magnets

I was striving for something elegant that would use the natural features of the miniature somewhat and I think the guide on the manufactorum provides you with the information to do that. As a small caveat I would say however that the magnets I ordered from the manufactorum never arrived and my emails haven't been answered 2 months later.

Update 29/2/12: I received a response from the site owner, apologising for the non-delivery and the lack of contact.  He has provided a full refund and sent another magnet kit to me.  I thought this was a great gesture and I consider the matter resolved.  However, in light of the issues I experienced my advice would be to make contact by email before you order anything from the website.

I ended up buying magnets from two different sources, both on eBay:

  • Zillions of - Based in the states, they ship for free to the UK and internationally and I've received every shipment well within 6 to 10 days.
  • Guy's Magnets - Based here in the UK, super speedy and free delivery. They have a regular website too.
Why do I use two different companies? Well it seems that for the most part, only metric sized magnets can be purchased here in the UK and Europe.  For some of the magnets on the battle suit I wanted magnets in fractions of an inch instead of millimetres , so I had to source from US suppliers.

The plan

The plan is to make 3 full squads of Battlesuits  as part of my Tau army and as this test was successful it's full steam ahead. Let me know what you think.  I'll rustle up the tutorial on how I go about it very soon so stay tuned.

*"What You See Is What You Get".  (Well... you might not have known...)

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