Monday, January 31, 2011

Wargaming on a Budget: Expanding your army via magnets

Hey, if you guys are anything like me, you know your 40k budget isn't bottomless and if you're out of control on it, the wife will turn the lights out...on everything.......everything....So how do I not get the lights turned out and still have more than a barebones 1850 list? Magnets!

These magnets are small and super strong. To use them I just predrill a tiny hole with my pin vice and a bit I use for pinning(0.032in) and then a 1/8 drill bit and just set the magnet in there with a drop of glue.

The budget comes from buying "up'd" kits.

Essentially, GW has a base model and sells it in the other models of the line. So, for the rare non-marine player out there, your rhino comes complete in a predator, razorback, vindicator, ect. Same for the Chimera. When you properly magnetize you can transformers your army around.

This flexibility really helps cut down long run costs. For example, as a marine player, you should never buy a rhino. A rhino is 33$ on the GW site, and a razorback is 35$. Even if you hate razorbacks, buy it and sell the bits. Its 2$ more and you could easily get someone to pay 10$ for it if you really wanted to. But more then that, what if for some reason, in some future edition, razorbacks become That 2$ extra you could have dropped is now 15$ on ebay for the razorback upgrade sprue.

Same goes for the other tanks. If you can swing it you should pick up a predator or vindicator if you're getting into a bunch of rhinos. If you're making an army purchase, budget in a little extra to get a predator you can magnetize into a rhino. It's an extra 12$ but in the future you might take less rhinos and would like the predator and now you have the option.

Have magnetized tanks can give you huge flexibility between army types. I recently bought 3 predators and three razorbacks. This will let me play 3 preds & three razorbacks or 6 rhinos, or 3 rhinos & 3 razorbacks..ect. Instead of just having three glued together predators and 3 glued together razorbacks I've been myself a lot of flexibility.

Having your tanks magnetized is also great for keeping track of weapon destroyed. I'm usually kind of selfish and don't like to do things that help my opponent keep track of things too, but I look at this by giving me fuel for my fire to say "Well, I know it wasn't destroyed because had it been destroyed I would have popped it off, like this." This saves me from self doubt and just rolling over to the "Hey...didn't I destroy that demolisher cannon??" argument.

The idea of upping your buy even crosses army barriers. If you're planing on buying a space marine pred, buy a chaos pred. the only thing that isn't in the chaos pred kit is the generic space marine spru that has the gunner, smoke launcher, hunter killer, ect. However, the chaos one comes with a chaos version of it (that is totally usable if you have a decent bits box) , plus a MASSIVE amount of bits that are great for bits trade days! And its the same cost!

Magnets can even extend to your infantry. The tac squad sergeant can have the power weapon and fist and ccw on the same side so why not throw a magnet in there? Now your one model can be WYSIWYG in 3 different modes.

Magnets come in tons of different sizes and shapes now. I personally use only the 1/8x1/16 but have seen the larger ones used on tanks and larger areas. I'm of the opinion that these are strong enough to do anything I need them to do so why diversify? It'd just piss me off when I run out of the 1/8 and only have the 1/4 left.

The investment of a 6$ tube of magnets is well worth it for any hobbyist who cares that what you see is what you get. The magnets ring in at 0.06 each so in the above example it cost you the tac marine, 3.30$ plus 0.24 to have your sergeant options instead of having to glue out 3 sergeants for the off chance that you might a power weapon instead of a power fist. You can even save more by just putting one magnet in the torso side and then a piece of your pinning material (as long its attracted to the magnet) in the weapon option arm. Though I don't recommend this over just using 2 magnets, it works and saves you 3 magnets.

The options for your magnets should be endless and are a great tool to take the strain off the wallet for wargaming. I know that you can't field your one predator as a predator AND a rhino at the same time, but it lets your really put some depth to your bench so to speak and allows you the option of playing many different styles. It takes a little research and gamble to find out what you can do with what sets but just keep in mind that what you're buying might be in some other box set and might be a smarter investment in the future workings of your army.


  1. excellent article i just recently ordered 2 magnet sizes because of your points sadly i purchased a rhino not knowing that the other sets I got had all the basic parts.

    next time i order i will get 2 predators instead of the rhino.

  2. Great article, magnets really give endless possibilities. I get my magnets from K&J, though. Flat shipping and discounts if you're on their mailing list. Their link is here:

    I have a slew of different sizes I use, just click on "Conversions" at my site:

    But I'll typically use the following for vehicles:
    1/8" x 1/32"
    3/16" x 1/32"
    1/4" x 1/16"

    And the following for infantry:
    1/16" x 1/32" (Eldar Warrior size)
    1/8" x 1/32" (Termy sized)

    You can get all of these in different magnetized strengths. Of course the stronger are slightly more expensive, but shipping doesn't change with K&J. Last time I ordered, anyway, it was a flat rate.

  3. I do this with my Tyranids. Other sites for magnets -