Modelling: Magnetise!!

I know this is common practice, but it’s my first time and quite a cool thing to do, so I’m excited about magnetising my Eldar Jetbike.

So I’ve got an old (2nd ed) Jetbike that I’ve stripped ready to re-paint. It previously had a shuriken cannon, but I now want to be able to swap the rider between a guardian/windrider and an Autarch, which means I need to be able to choose between the shuricannon and the twin-linked shuriken catapults (Autarch isn’t allowed the cannon).

I’ve also only got one pair of legs, but two bodies for the rider, so I’d like to be able to swap the body between windrider and Autarch.

Enter the magnets!

If I stick magnets in the top of the legs and the bottom of the bodies – where you’d glue them normally – I should be able to swap them over at will, and still have something that looks right and doesn’t fall apart mid-battle. I can also do the same with the top and bottom parts of the jetbike chassis, which between them hold the weapon of choice.


There’s not a lot of space, so I’ve got some 2mm x 1mm magnets. I got 50 for about £2 on eBay. This pic shows them next to a guardian to give some scale. They’re surprisingly strong magnets for the size!

Jetbike Chassis

The pic to the right is the top and bottom of the jetbike chassis. I need a small hole in both, so I can stick a magnet in them both to hold them together.

Jetbike magnets

It took some precise drilling, first with a slightly smaller bit (1.6mm I think), then a 2mm bit, to get the holes. Keep drilling a little and test fitting, because one of mine has gone a little bit too deep. Not too much of a problem, but better avoided if possible!

You can see I’ve drilled all the holes, and glued in the magnets.

Glue in one of the magnets, then ‘test fit’ the second magnet to the first. You don’t want to glue in both magnets only to find the polarities are the wrong way round! Whilst you’ve got the second magnet test fitted to the first, mark the visible side of the second magnet (spot of paint, marker pen etc). This is the side you’ll be gluing into the other hole (not as easy as it sounds – too small for chubby fingers, but my tweezers are metal, so the magnet doesn’t want to let go!). Then glue in the second magnet and you’re done – a magnetised model!

Magnetised Jetbike and Rider

Not much to see here, but I can now drop the bottom off the jetbike, swap the weapons over and magnet him back together.

Same with the rider, the top half just pulls off ready to be swapped with something else.

Magnetised Rider

I’m certainly going to be using this more. I should have done it with my Wraithguard, so they could be interchangeable between Wraithguards and Wraithblades. If it was anything bigger – guns on a tank or something – I’d also look at pinning the joint near the magnet. The magnet should keep the parts together, but not necessarily in place. No one wants a droopy lascannon (ahem!), so a few pins (bits of paper clip) would help hold the piece in place.

That’s it for the magnetising. The assembly and painting of the jetbike will have to wait, I’ve got too many other things on the go at the moment…

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