Friday, June 1, 2012

How to magnetize a land speeder

Hello fellow hobbyists!

It was quite hard to find a detailed description of how to magnetize a land speeder. It is actually a tricky kit to assemble with magnets. So here is my contribution to the Internets. Hold on to your neckbeards, this will be a lot of steps and pictures.

Firstly, assemble the two main pieces. Don't glue on the sides yet, we will need those loose to start with.
 Then cut out the doors and clip off the little pins that would be hinges if we didn't magnetize this sucker.
Now look at the side profile of these two right doors. One is for the missile launcher, and one is flat. But the inside looks quite different in thickness. We will need to fix this if we want interchangeable doors with magnets.
Finish the missile launchers and fix them to the doors.
These are the magnets I'll be using. 3 mm for the doors and 2 mm for the guns. I would have preferred larger, flatter magnets for the doors, but hey, this is what I had at home. :)
Next, cut off a piece of sprue to use as a filler on the flat doors. We are aiming to replicate the one on the ML doors.
Use a scalpel to grate off plastic until you get the correct thickness. It is not as hard as it sounds, the plastic comes off in thin slivers.
Glue the filler piece to the flat doors like so! Notice that we now have two flat surfaces with identical thickness to mount our magnets on.
Put a drop of super glue on the flat door and put two magnets on that drop. Then fasten the side wall of the land speeder to the floor. Don't use any glue on the wall yet! This is just for measuring. Now put the door with the magnets in the opening and look inside. Try to remember how far in the magnets reach; this is where you will put a mounting beam for the inner magnet.
Cut out another piece of sprue and use the scalpel to get a near perfect fit between the inner walls. Dry fit until it feels good. Use plenty of thin plastic glue on the sides - this will even out the plastic and make the beam "float around" on the inner walls for a while, which gives us time to get a perfect fit.
Put the beam in a bit too tight for the magnets to fit and then push the door with the two magnets against it. This will ensure that the beam is placed at the correct depth, since the plastic glue is still sticky and the beam will move inwards.
Now put a drop of super glue on the inner magnet and put it in place in the door opening, firmly against the beam. Note that we still have not glued the land speeder side wall to the rest of the speeder. This is how we want it until the beam and magnets have set correctly. If we had to make corrections to this setup that would be very hard with the side wall glued in place.
I use rubber bands to keep the door in place until the glue have set. Hopefully I can pull the door apart and have one magnet inside the ship and one on the door after about 15-20 minutes.
Et voilĂ ! The magnet came off without a hitch. Good work, me.
Now put a new magnet on the inner magnet and put a drop of super glue on it. The missile launcher doors should fit just right, but if the thin beam protruding through the door is in the way, just clip it off. Mine slides right in because I am awesome.
Then fasten the ML door with a rubber band and go for a walk with the dog. That's what I will be doing. See you in a bit!
Rinse and repeat for the other side.
While you are waiting for the last door to set, go ahead and cut out and assemble the nose guns and bracket.
I drilled a 2 mm hole at an angle into the gun bracket, making sure that I preserve the little holes made for the pins on the guns. That way, we get both magnet and the little pins holding the gun in place. Drill as deep as you need or straight through, there is nothing you can mess up on the back side of the bracket.
Then drill corresponding holes in the guns. The holes are quite easy to line up because of the little pins. I chose a 90 degree angle between magnet and pins, and measured it out by eye. Putting a dot of paint on one magnet and then dry fitting is another way of lining up the holes.
Now go ahead and assemble everyting else on the speeder except the little dudes and their guns and arms. Looks really nice I think! Don't worry, there is not much left and the rest is a bit easier.
Now for the final part; the passenger gun. The only delicate step here is fixing a magnet to the arms holding the gun. What I did was use the drill to remove about half of the plastic strut between the hands, forming a semicircular gap, in which a 2 mm magnet can fit and get a good surface to glue it to. On the guns, there is a perfect spot to drill and put the other magnet as you see in the picture below.
Lastly, glue the arms to the torso and make sure the shoulders sit where you want them to. Then put a gun on the rail and use that magnet to keep the arms in the correct position while the glue sets. This will ensure that both guns get a good position.
And that is it! Now it is just a matter of finishing up all the details and get painting.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, or at least learnt something of value from it. Have fun out there, and remember, don't eat the magnets.