Previously I showed how I added steel balls to the pegs on the X-Wing Miniatures models to get everything magnetized. Now it’s time to add some of the ring magnets to the ships. These are the Scum and Villainy ships that I’ve done.
The first step is to remove the peg from the bottom of the ship using a pair of pliers. Some pegs are loose and can be pulled straight out, but most of them seem to be glued in. I mostly ended up just wiggling the pliers back and forth while gripping the peg, and the peg will snap. There will be a small piece of the peg left in the ship, but that is fine.
Now depending on the ship, I either used a rotary tool with a flat topped grinding bit to make the area flush where the magnet will go, or I used a drill to make a hole to countersink the magnet. The former is a lot faster since you’re just making the area flat for the magnet to sit on. The magnets I used were ring magnets – 1/4″ x 1/8″ x 1/16″ N42 for the small ships, and 3/8″ x #4 x 1/8″ N42 countersunk for the large ships.
Rotary Tool Method
If using a rotary tool make sure you wear eye protection, and gloves if you don’t have the steadiest hands. I used a cylindrical grinding bit with a flat top. The top was about the same size as the magnet, so I didn’t have to grind off very much. Just get a good grip on the ship and carefully grind the spot where the magnet will go on the top of the grinding bit.
I just wanted a flat area for the magnet to sit flush. Some of these ships don’t have a lot of area to countersink the magnet, so for those ones I just have the magnet sitting out. After checking to make sure the magnet will be flush, clean the area of dust and debris, add a couple of small dabs of glue (I used Gorilla glue gel as it doesn’t run like a lot of super glue does) then put on the magnet. I usually let the glue cure for at least a couple of hours before putting the ship on a peg.
Most of the ships are pretty straightforward where the magnet will be placed – usually the same spot where the plastic peg goes, especially for the small ships.
For ships that had more room for the magnet, I tried to countersink the magnets so they would be less visible when on the pegs. On some ships, the magnet even looks like it should be there when it’s countersunk.
When drilling, I started with a 1/16″ drill bit to get the pilot hole which helps prevent the larger bits from slipping and wandering off-center. On the small ships the hole was pretty much where the peg hole was, and if the peg was not stuck in that hole, I went to a larger bit size, 9/64″. Then I went the last drill bit size, 1/4″ (which is the size of the magnet).
A note on drilling – make sure you have a good hold on the ship and don’t go fast with the drill, but if you feel like the drill bit catches, go ahead and let go of the ship so that you don’t break off parts. If the drill bit is caught, the ship is just going to spin on the drill when you let go, so you don’t have to worry about it falling. The one time I didn’t let go when I felt the bit catch, the wing snapped off from a TIE Interceptor. Luckily it’s pretty easy to glue the parts back on, so don’t freak out if something does break off.
It’s also a good idea to measure how much thickness the ship is before you start drilling so you don’t drill through the top of the model. That would be bad. You can use painter’s tape on the drill bit to mark where to stop, or there are drill bit stop collars you can use (tape works just as well and is much cheaper). You want the hole to be deep enough to fit the magnet but not too deep where the magnet will be too far inside the ship.
An example of depth – the starfighter on the right in the picture below was probably a little too deep.
The G-1A Starfighter is a bit too heavy for the small steel ball – in my last post I used a larger steel ball on one of the small ship pegs which holds the ship much better – no slipping and falling on the larger ball.
The larger ships required one additional drill bit to get the hole wider – the 3/8″ drill bit. On most of the large ships I didn’t use the original hole that the peg was in. The Lancer-class Pursuit Craft was one of the exceptions because that hole was pretty much in the middle and the ship doesn’t really weigh more on one side over the other. Before I drilled a hole, I would try to balance the ship on one finger trying to find the spot where it would balance nicely, and that was where I would drill the hole. Doing this also allows you to use the original hole with a normal peg if you ever need to.
Another thing about the large ships – when you drill the hole, you’ll find that the ships are hollow. This means that the magnet will be glued on its sides rather than the bottom. The hole will be snug to begin with – just make sure you don’t use too much pressure and accidentally push the magnet inside the ship.
Lancer-class Pursuit Craft
The Firespray was different altogether – I did not want to drill out where the peg was located, so I just left it there and drilled a hole in the back. It looks like the magnet is part of the design on the back! It also lets me rotate the ship onto its back, which you wouldn’t be able to do if the magnet was in the original peg’s spot.
The magnet isn’t as flush as I wanted it on the YV-666 because I didn’t want to push too hard and end up with a lost magnet. I could have used the drill to try widening the hole a little, but then you run the risk of not having enough area for the magnet to glue to.
The next post will likely show the locations of the magnets on the Imperial ships.