Test of Magnetism – a magnetic basing tutorial

Test of Honour is really racking up the post count on the blog this month. This post is about magnetising the models’ bases for both using with the group multi-bases and for storage.

The game utilises a large 60mm base to mount up to three of the smaller 25mm bases on, effectively becoming a movement tray for small groups of models. This multi-base in game represents the small area that a group of models both control and support each other within. What I wanted to do was magnetise the models so that models were unlikely to fall over or get knocked off the multi-base easily and make it easier to move the multi-base around with the models mounted on it.

The was was for it to be a simple job, with minimal effort required. I also wanted there to be little or no impact on how the models look on the table top. What I really mean by that last sentence is that I didn’t want the height of the model’s base to be affected. I didn’t want the overall height of the 25mm base to be greater than the depth of the recess in the multi-base so that they would not stick up too much above the multi-base.

Basing

I used some magnetic sheet and steel paper I had left over from an old project (I think it was Dystopian Wars or possibly Saga). Fortunately it’s still in the original packing so I know where it came from: Magnetic Displays.
They have two thicknesses of magnetic sheet; Standard Range at 0.8mm and Ligtweight Range at 0.55mm. I am using the thin sheet as it looks like it’s all I had left and by coincidence it happens to be the right size. Both the magnetic sheet and steel paper are adhesive backed so there is no need for any glue.

First up, I stuck the steel paper circles in the bottom of the multi-base. I measured the diameter of the recess and decided on a size of circle that would fit comfortable in the recess but leave enough room to make it quick to stick down without worrying about getting it perfectly central in the recess or cutting it perfectly to size. I chose 24mm to be the diameter of my steel paper circles.
I drew out a number of 24mm x 24mm squares on the paper. I then drew on the diagonal lines from corner to corner, making on the radius of the circle. Finally I sketched out the circle – I wasn’t worried about it not being perfectly 24mm diameter in all directions.

The circles were roughly cut out with scissors and then stuck in the base of the recess. I suppose I could have used a circle cutter but I couldn’t be bother trying to find it.

TOP TIP
In the future I would actually do this before gluing sand/flock on to the base. This way you’ll avoid any FOD (Foreign Object Debris in case you’re wondering) getting between the steel paper and the base recess. So there will not be anything to make the final surface uneven. This is important because an even a small gap between the paper and the magnet (caused by a grain of sand for example) will reduce the hold of the model in the recess.

With the multi-bases complete I moved on to the underside of the base of the models. Here I stuck the magnetic sheet into the recess to attract to the steel paper and hold the model in place. Again I measured the diameter of the recess and decided and on suitable size for the magnetic disc I was about to cut out. I chose 21mm for the diameter of the circles cut from magnetic sheet. Again for ease of sticking them in the recess and to allow for a larger tolerance when cutting them out. I drew them in exactly the same way as I did the steel paper circles, except I started with 21x21mm squares.

I made two circles for each model’s base. However before sticking them in the recess I first cut out some shapes to try and fill the gaps around the Warlord Games logo and level the underside of the base as best I could. Then I stuck the first circle onto the levelled bottom of the recess, and the second circle on top of the first.

There are now three layers of magnetic sheet under the base. They seem to fill the bottom of the Warlord bases nicely – not too thick and not too thin – the magnetic sheet appears to be flush with the bottom edge of the sides of the plastic base. The thin sheets are 0.55mm thick according to the website so I suppose it might be possible to use 2 layers of the thicker 0.8mm magnetic sheet, but I don’t have any so I haven’t tried. I also believe that this happy coincidence will only work for the grey plastic Warlord bases, I think the generic black plastic bases are thicker and the recess underneath therefore deeper. So it’s possible the layering of sheets won’t end up flush with the bottom of the base – again I haven’t checked.

With the bases now complete a test fit shows what effect the sheets have on the height of the models’ bases in relation to the multi-base. There appears to be a slight difference in base height but the sand hides it very well. I guess they shouldn’t have as the steel paper sheet is only 0.25mm thick.

So I achieved what I set out to do. A simple process with no magnet polarity issues, and minimal effect on the look of the models on the table.

TOP TIP
You can make the process simpler by using templates – I drew out and made a few of each size circle to start with. I then picked the best fitting circle to use as a template and draw round for all the remaining circles. Saves drawing out and measuring each time.

The acid test – yes you can turn them upside down!

Storage

I’ll be honest I haven’t finalised my model storage solution yet. Normally I’d use KR Multicases (EG store link) to store my models. Although I’m sure they’ll be some appropriate KR foam available, perhaps the long slender spears may lend themselves to being stored magnetically inside a box.  As there shouldn’t be that many models (famous last words!) I am currently thinking of using the Test Of Honour box itself – and making use of the nice box artwork.

Hope this has been of some use, now pass your ‘Test Of Spending’ and go buy some models.

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