Saturday, 24 May 2014

Magnetic Basing – A How To

For some time now I’ve wanted to enhance the basing of my forces with magnetic basing. I’ve been to quite a few events where players turn up with boxes of figures already on movement trays and thus can be deployed ready to play in minutes. Whereas I’ll be half an hour or more moving figures from compartmentalised carry cases on to movement trays, trying to get them to rank up nicely, etc, when I should be fighting the battle! So here’s a few tips based (no pun intended!) on my experiences.

First step was to ask around and two companies were suggested. Magnetic Displays and Hasslefree Miniatures; I can heartily recommend both in terms of service, value and product quality. For pre-cut circular magnetic discs I’ll go for HM, but for rectangular or square bases I’ll use the magnetic ‘tape’ from MD – plus they also sell the magnetic steel ‘paper’.

Here’s one of my trays (please do not adjust your set!) with a mixture of metal and plastic figures.

The trays are from Warbases and I’ve used the steel ‘paper’ from MD (available in white, green and yellow) to line the tray. Ensure you allow a millimetre or so ‘clearance', i.e. make the insert slightly smaller than the trays internal dimensions, otherwise it never seems to fit properly.

Another tip is to prepare the edge of the tray (sand, paint, flock) before adding the insert otherwise the flock can get stuck to the edge of steel ‘paper’ where the adhesive can sometimes be seen.

The discs are simplicity itself – just find the right size for your bases – mission accomplished! You may also find that it’s cheaper to use several smaller discs on larger round bases rather than buying the larger discs.

For my 20x20mm square bases I ordered the 20mm width tape which is available in 2m or 5m rolls. I’d suggest trimming off 25-30cm lengths and flattening under a pile of books overnight before using as this removes the tendency for it to curl up.

I’ve found that trimming it in to 19mm lengths (good scissors work perfectly well) gives the best results in terms of getting a neat finish on the bases. I started with 20mm lengths but aligning it precisely on to the bottom of the base can be tricky – although it’s easy to trim off any overhang with a modelling knife.

The paper backing  of the tape has a rather waxy finish so I’d suggest marking the 19mm lengths using a sharp pencil – propelling pencils are ideal. Even a fine permanent ink marker wouldn’t write on the shiny surface.

OK, so now I have magnetic based figures and movement trays lined with steel paper. How to transport the trays of figures? I have a number of shallow Really Useful Boxes (very good product!) and to stop the trays sliding around I purchased an anti-slip rubber mesh from Lakeland.

For individual figures, personalities, counters, etc, I lined one of the boxes with steel paper so that they could be placed directly in the box.

So there you have it – how to use magnetic basing. I hope that’s been of some use.


Dalauppror said...

Exellent tutorial !

Mark Hargreaves said...

MATT! I have just nominated you for a Leibster Award!

Monty said...

Hi Matt,

that's a good tutorial.
Many thanks for showing me a source for round magnetic bases.