Being rather clueless which Shaltari Battlecruiser to build I decided to magnetize first it and then the rest of my Frigates. It’s surprisingly easy, take a look!
Before playing comes assembling, and at that point you should have a clue what to go for. Of course the other option is to suck it up, which is a valid option for any case of rule of cool. In my opinion though, the Shaltari weaponry change the appearance of the model so little that no rule of cool can be invoked.
If you’ll have none of that, or maybe you just want to keep your options open without drowning in models, you can magnetize. Surely, many people think magnets are by themselves following the rule of cool so there’s that working for you too. (If you are really into body piercing, be careful though. I don’t know how many tomes I’ve dropped different sized magnets and for you this might lead to very painful or awkward moments.)
With Dropfleet minis you are facing magnetizing small contact areas. At this point I’ll add a disclaimer: I can’t say for sure how this works for other models than Shaltari, it should be pretty similar in terms of magnet sizes, but in some cases you might need to do the magnetizing before building – plan ahead! I think it’s safe to say that the Shaltari fleet actually is the easiest to magnetize.
Why #1? The Frigates follow all the same principle – the gun is attached on a single rather flat surface, each and every one in the same way. So its just a matter of drilling a hole for a 2x1mm magnet in the middle of the hull’s attachment area, and then on the opposite contact area on the fore/gun. Simple. Take a look at the images below for a simple detail showing how its done?
Why #2? All sorts of Cruisers sized ships, including Battlecruisers, follow a common method as well. After building the hull, that is glue together all but the weapons bits, using the same 2mm drill you used for the Frigates – the gun attachments are so thin that 2x1mm magnets are the way to go again- drill holes in the gun arms. Now, be careful not to drill to deep. The arms have a slightly triangular cross-section, so the you have some leeway for the conical drill head. However, drilling too deep will weaken the structure. I went here for three magnets per arm; while two are enough to hold the gun firmly in place, a third helps you adjust the position of the gun to the very middle of the arm in case you misaligned slightly one of the magnet holes.
(Also, as they are all on a single line along the arm, if you drill one of the magnets too much to either side, try to adjust the position by compensating to the other side to have the attractive forces average out. But, you did of course do a rough measuring of the positions before you drilled right? 😉 )
Again, my Adamant is shown below as an example.
Its a very straight-forward job magnetising your ships. Magnet size might be the big question for you who come looking for tips – as stated before 2x1mm magnets worked perfectly for me.
With the loss of paintability – especially using speed painting techniques, especially dryburshing – you could fully magnetize cruisers to leave a full variety of options available for you. Light cruisers, carriers, mother ships etc. all use the same pieces and attachment points so it should not be too hard. The back rim would need a smaller magnet though, I’d expect a 1mm thin (1x1mm ?) magnet to be best for this. (Warning: this is fully speculative at this point.) I have to consider this as I am looking to adding the very characterful Light Cruisers to my fleet rather soon. You must be impressed how much mileage Hawk have been able to get out of a single sprue!