Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Making the beast walk -- Magnetizing the Chaos Defiler


so I have this primed Defiler sitting in a paper box formerly used for Christmas decoration since eh about 8 years???!!! Finally time to paint it! But when I recently took it out of its box, a thought crossed my mind: How can I ever store this beast once I have painted it up and it will be much more sensitive? Indeed, the Defiler had to suffer a lot during the years of transportation and nasty games (where it got destroyed each single time).

The answer was clear: It would have to be possible to take the Defiler apart for storing. But during gaming it should also be sufficiently stable/robust to not be a constant annoyance. All you pro gamers of nowadays out there know the answer of course! Magnets, this freaking awesome little Neodym magnets! Finally, I could not ignore this new asset for nowadways tabletoper any longer.

So "Gesagt, Getan": I tore the Defiler apart. First the "torso", then the legs. Just to show you my ancient old school solution that I implemented many years ago for obtaining movable but stable legs:

I had drilled almost vertical holes through the ball joints of the legs and the half cirlce attached to the lower body. Then I had used tooth picks as axis and had glued them to the body part (but not the leg). This solution satified me for many years, apart from the storage problem of course...

SO, let's finally come to the part you might be interested in: magnetizing the Defiler!
You will need for the legs:
- six 5x2mm or 5x3mm cylinder neodym magnets (5mm diameter, 3mm depth)
- twelve 3x2mm cylinder neodym magnets
- six steel balls of 12 to 14 mm diameter

For the torso:
- two 10x1mm neodym magnets

For the Chaos icon ontop of the torso:
- two 2x1mm magnets

For the Havoc Launcher:
- two 5x1 mm magnets

I did not magnetize the weapon arms because the autocannon arm was glued pretty strongly to the torso, and the power scourge arm, I kept the tooth-pick solution. I am sure that if you plan accordingly before assembling the Defiler, it is easy to magnetize the weapon arms as well. In fact, if you google magnetized Defiler, there are even video tutorials showing how to do this...

OK, now you can buy magnets in every good hobby store but what about the crucial metal balls? These are a little more difficult to get, maybe in a tool store? In my case, I was lucky that my parents bought a new washing machine last year because the old one was broken, and my father is one of those who takes everything broken apart himself to figure out what was wrong. From this, he saved the ball bearing of the washing machine. It contains eight steel balls of 12mm size, perfect for my purpose! When I compared them to the ball joints of the Defiler, I noticed that they are a little bit smaller but still fine. I estimate that up to 14mm should easily still fit...
You might be able to use also ball magnets of the right size but I am not sure that it will work well because of the magnet field polarity. Because of that it might be that the legs will always turn into a preferred direction, namely such that the field of the ball magnet is aligned with those holding the leg in the torso...

1. Anyway, all you have to do then is to cut away the plastic ball joint and replace it by the steel ball fixed with super glue and matched to the rest of the leg with some green stuff (the pics were not taken in the order of this tutorial, sorry! Please ignore the torso in the pic below).

2.Then, the tricky part: putting the magnets into the lower torso. For this, I drilled holes with 3mm diameter in the top and bottom parts of the vertical half-rings holding the legs. And then a 5mm hole in the horizontal center for the large magnet (see pics below):

The magnets are simply fixed with super glue. I tried different directions for the groups of magnets, e.g., top one with + to the joint, middle one with also +, and bottom one with - towards the joint. Or the middle one with - towards the joint. I did not notice any difference in the strength of the leg holding. I guess the steel ball is large enough such that the magnetic field inside the ball always finds a good configuration easily.

BTW, I first tried 3x2mm magnets also for the centers instead of the 5mm ones but when I assembled the defiler I found that the strength was not enough. The balls would be pulled out of the joint by the leverage of the legs when standing on them.

IMPORTANT: For a stable stand of the assembled model it is important to maximize the friction between ball and joint! The friction of the steel ball itself on the magnets is very small and insufficient. Therefore, it is important to on the one hand bury the magnets in the joint such that they do not stiff out and second, use green stuff to make the joint touching the ball on an as large surface as possible. See pic below:

3. Magnetizing the torso and the other stuff. There is not much to say apart from that you have to make sure that the magnets have the right sides facing each other so that the attract each other! ;-)
I just glued the magnets flat onto the corresponding surfaces as you can spot in the pictures below.

And here pics of the finished pieces and the assembled Defiler:

If you did your job well, the Defiler will have a stable stand almost independet of how you position the legs. The strengt/friction is sufficent so that the Defiler can even stand only on four or even three legs with  the front legs/arms extending towards the enemy.

Good luck with your conversion and let me know if you have questions/doubts/comments!

And now that the Beast walks, it is time to finally paint it... Stay tuned!