Hey everyone, long time no post! Ron here, and officially back from a board licensing exam study hiatus to bring you guys another magnets article. I'm positively attracted to the idea of sticking magnets in your models to increase their attractiveness and repel readers of my articles with magnet puns. Today we have a real money saver - fully magnetizing the Plastic Hive Tyrant / Swarmlord kit.
The Hive Tyrant sculpt is a thing of beauty, and really the single model that sold me on tyranids back in fourth edition. When the plastic kit came out - I ran out and grabbed two immediately. Now I run a 2 flyrant list (like most other Nid players who like cheese with their vintage codex wine) and built/painted the first one as a flyer (see pic above). Now that a new codex is only a few months out, I didn't want to commit to another flyrant with the second, in the event that I no longer wish to run dual flyrants (aka nerf bat gets launched and permanently grounding tests them in the face).
So first up we have the prep. I cleaned and partially assembled everything you see above. It's important to note that I did not glue the tail, nor the two halves of the upper tail/groin area. As with all magnet work - I tend to drill plastic with bits by hand, and I always mark polarity of magnets with a permanent marker to ensure I line everything up. A small blob of putty to flatten out the hole (as drill bits are pointy), and a dab of super glue will hold magnets in place while they dry. That said, often times I will wait for some magnets to completely dry before inserting others nearby - as a strong magnet can pull out even magnets sitting in putty - this is especially troublesome when they are covered in superglue and near impossible to separate. An example of a worrisome area is the arm slots in the torso. Another general rule of thumb is that you want to maximize the surface area that two magnets have in contact with each other. This will increase the hold strength.
Ok enough words to the wise, let's go about gluing some magnets to our fingers:
I drilled out the four arm socket holes with a 1/4" drill bit. I also cut off the shoulder nub on the wings and drilled out a 1/4" hole for magnets in it's place. Lining up the magnets here so that the membrane portion of the wing lines up with the torso can be a bit tricky. The best method I've come up with is to get your 1/4" magnet set in the wing section (glued and dried), stack a 1/4" magnet on top of it (without glue), put a blob of putty in the torso - cover the putty with vaseline (or any oily substance really), and then push the wing in to the putty. Let the putty cure over night, then pull out the wing and magnets. Ideally this should leave the perfect magnet shaped hole in the torso. Be sure to clean off any vaseline/oil on the putty before using super glue to attach the magnet. This will provide you with full surface contact between the two 1/4" magnets, and will hold the heavy wings snug to the torso and avoid wobbly wing syndrome.
Next comes magnetizing the upper tail section - it doesn't matter if you start with the flying tail or the walking tail first. I line up both halves of the tail and the ball joint, then drill from the outside in using a small pin vice to create a pilot hole. I do this at a slight upwards angle - so that the magnets in the ball joint section will be SLIGHTLY higher than the magnets in the upper tail section (this will help the ball joint section to be drawn downwards and avoid a gap).
With the pilot hole in place, I use a 1/8" magnet at both sides of the ball joint and the interior sides of the upper tail section to secure the upper torso to the tail. These magnets have the added benefit of gravity and snugness of parts, so you really don't need big ones here.
With the magnets in place on the first tail section, I go about putting them on the second one. This time you have to measure as best you can, remembering to keep the magnets on the upper tail slightly lower than the magnets that are already in place on your ball joint/waist. Again - this draws the ball joint down and avoids a weird floating mid section scenario.
With the lower torso finished you can now glue the ball joint section in to the upper torso. If you want your tyrant to be able to turn at the waist, you can magnetize this joint as well.
I then magnetized both heads with a 1/8" magnet, and placed a 1/8" magnet in the recessed neck area of the torso. You want to line this one up fairly well - if you pick a point dead center on the bottom of the neck nub, and dead center in the hole on the torso you'll end up with good results.
The final step is to magnetize any weapon arms you want for your magnet-o-rant. I like to place these at the angle I want, clip the shoulder at that angle with clippers - then drill out a magnet hole using a 3/16" drill bit. I'll round out the shoulder joint again using a little blob of putty. If you do use putty, just make sure your magnets sit flush against the magnets in the torso. I use 3/16" magnets for all of my non-wing arms and they hold without any movement if i shake the mini.
So here we have the swarmlord - note, I have left off the legs for ease in painting, these do not need to be magnetized.
And here is a shot of the flyrant. The mini can be used in all configurations with only one kit purchased. If you spend a little bit on magnets, and put a little time in, you really can have it all from a single kit.
I hope this article is useful to you guys - please feel free to post any comments, or further questions you may have, down below.
Until next time, keep up the good fight against the grey tide!