The Laws of Attraction…

I’ve read a lot of posts in which people ask for advice about using magnets to attach various bits and pieces to their Dystopian Wars models, this post is aimed squarely at providing a glimpse at how I do this.  I have to add a caveat here: this is only how I go about using magnets, it is far from definitive, and may well be inefficient, but it works for me!

Before we go any further it is worth noting a few things, the magnets I’ll be writing about are rare earth magnets (Neodymium magnets), these come in a variety of sizes, shapes and strengths.  I buy mine off eBay, but they are readily available at a lot of hobby shops – although in some places they may be illegal (due to the dangers that may arise from children swallowing them).


I use 3mm x 1mm round rare earth magnets – these fit the Dystopian Wars models really nicely, and sometimes without even needing much use of a drill bit to accommodate them.  Rare earth magnets come in varying strengths, these are listed as n35, n38, n42, and n52, some may also have designations after this like n38sh.  Basically the higher the number after the ‘n’, the stronger the magnet.  Obviously you need something that is strong enough to hold, but not so strong that you may as well have used some form of glue.  The letters after the number are, for our purposes, irrelevant, and relate to the thermal characteristics of the magnet.

I have used n35 magnets for everything, and I have found them strong enough to hold well, but weak enough to easily remove.  The only model I have where I think I should have used a stronger magnet is the Covenant of Antarctica Aronax – as the weight of the maw is much higher than any of the turrets I have magnetised.  It holds as I move it around the table no problems, but it’s not as firm as I would have liked.  A stronger (or larger) magnet (say a n38, or an n35, but say 6mmx1mm) would have provided a firmer hold.

The Aronax

So, all of that said, this is a bit of  a walkthrough on how I actually put these magnets on the models…

These are the tools I use:


There are: the magnets (a rod of a bunch of them is easier to hold and makes finding and keeping the correct polarities much simpler – I’m down to my last few in this shot), a tooth pick, super glue, a 3mm drill bit, blue-tack (or similar sticky substance – I’ve seen others using green-stuff), and a black permanent marker.

 For the Turrets (or other bits):


Picking up the column of magnets I colour one end of the column black, using the permanent marker, this magnet may never be used.  Blackening one end magnet in this fashion helps me keep the correct polarity across all my models.


Using the wooden tooth pick I pin down the bottom magnet of the column, I make sure the black marked magnet is at the top at all times, and the pinned magnet doesn’t flip after I move the toothpick away (so no metal nearby).


I apply glue to the magnet.


I then press the turret down on the magnet, hold for a second, then pick it up.  If I need to I can jig the magnet around a little until it is centered while the glue is hardening.  Rinse, repeat…



For the Models:


Using the 3mm drill bit I widen and deepen the hole where the magnet will go.  I want the hole to be deep enough to accommodate a little more than two magnets.  Since the magnet on the turret (or bit) will be external, I want that magnet to fit snugly into the hole I am making in the model.  Some people recess both magnets (that is, they recess the magnet on the turret and on the model)… I’m a little lazy perhaps, but it has worked so far!

I drop a tiny ball of blue-tack or green-stuff into the hole, then holding the column of magnets (black at the top as always), I press down into the hole deep enough so a little over two magnets are recessed.

Using the toothpick, I tease a single magnet from the bottom of the column and pin it in place (the blue-tack or green-stuff makes this much easier, and you may not need to use the toothpick).

Once the magnet is in position, I squeeze a drop or two of glue onto it, and make sure the glue connects the magnet to the hole (stirring slightly with a tooth-pick can help spread the glue if it’s a drop sitting on the magnet).

IMG_0037_2IMG_0039_2IMG_0038_2 Really, it’s as simple as that.  There aren’t that many steps involved, and it’s much easier than I anticipated.  You may find a different way of doing this that is much easier or more efficient, but this is a simple solution I have had success with.

If you do happen to have any other ways of doing things, a better idea or more efficient approach – please post them as a comment!  The more the merrier!