A place to document my experiences in assembling (and scratch building) ships.

Magnetizing UCM Frigates (5/15/17)

Magnetization of the UCM frigates was relatively straightforward. Because there are two different bridge configurations, you cannot glue the bridges to the hull. The solution was to use magnets to hold them together. Here, I used a 1/16 x 1/32 cylinder magnet on the hull while I used a 1mm x 1mm cylinder magnet on the bridge. The result was solid attachment of the bridge to the hull that will not readily fall off, yet allow for easy interchange.

UCM bridge section with 1mm x 1mm magnet inserted.
UCM frigate hull with magnet to hold bridge section in place.
The side modules were also relatively straightforward. Again, I used 1/16 x 1/32 cylinder magnets as they provided a good compromise between size and magnetic strength. Like the Scourge, the magnets placed on the opposite sides of the hull had a different polarity facing outwards. This was to prevent any magnetic repulsion in the main hull. As a further visual distinction between the left and right sides, the magnets were not placed symmetrically on the hull. good contact between the magnets could only be achieved by placing the correct module on the correct side.

Magnets installed in UCM frigate. Note asymmetrical placement of magnets.
I decided I would try to magnetize the turrets of the UCM frigates. The currents themselves was magnetized by carefully drilling into the stem and insertion of a 1/16 x 1/32 cylinder magnet in the hole. You have to be careful not to drill to far, otherwise, you will drill right through the turret (not a good idea). 

Magnetization of the turret
Turret location in hull magnetized.
Magnetizing the turret on the main hull was straightforward. The difficulty was the turrets in the wing modules. The wings are too thin to allow insertion of a 1mm thick magnet. My solution was to use magnetic tape. I used a 5/64 bit in a pin vice to countersink the recess in the wing to make room. A small strip of magnetic tape was cut to size and then superglued in the recess. The result was the turrets stayed attached to the wings and allowed for movement. The attraction between the magnets and the tape is still a little weak, I'll have to experiment with some other materials.

Magnetic tape added to the wing recesses.
Finished magnetized frigate.

Magnetizing Scourge Frigates (5/1/17)

After the experience of magnetizing the PHR, the Scourge were relatively easy. I cut the ball joints off the main hull and replaced them with spherical magnets. I placed 1x1mm cylindrical magnets in the recesses in the "wings".

Magnetized Scourge frigates
Because there are definite left/right sided parts and I did not want to worry about magnetic repulsion, I installed the magnets in such a way that the polarity on the left and right sides were different: the right sided wing elements is only attracted to the right side and is repulsed by the left side. This had the benefit of intensifying the magnetic field so they hold on better. This also means you better have the polarity correct on the 1x1 magnets, otherwise, they will fly away if they get close to and are not attached to anything (I lost several magnets this way. They can travel quite a distance). The wings still slide around a little bit (especially the Gargolye wings), so I added some modeling putty and squeezed them agains the ball magnets to add some roughness so they can better hold their position. Overall, very straightforward. Now to paint them.

Magnetizing PHR Frigates (3/14/17)

In researching how to magnetize the PHR, there are several blogs and videos on how to magnetize the cruisers (like here). However, I could not find any resource on how to magnetize the frigates. Looking at the assembly instructions, it looks like very little modifications are required to allow for assembly of all the frigate variants. The sole exception is the Medea strike carrier. That ship does not use the ventral wing. In fact, the component covers the inset for the flight stand. My options were to 1) permanently build several Medeas and allow the rest to be configurable, or 2) figure out a way to allow configuration of all the variants.

My solution was to magnetize the flight stand, ventral wing and hole for the flight stand. As you can see from the following picture, magnets (2mm x 1mm) are inserted in the recesses for the flight stand and ventral wing. In drilling the holes for the magnets, I used a sharp awl to poke a small recess where the drilling is to start. Magnets were then inserted using a friction fit or with a small drop of superglue gel. The trickiest part was the area for the ventral fin. That area is very thin and you have to be careful when installing the magnet or it will fall through the hull and into the model, where it is impossible to remove.
PHR frigate with magnets installed
A wire was inserted in the joint of the ventral wing to allow a firm connection. To attach the wire, I used an Xacto blade to score where the wire should lie. I then used a combination of a scribing tool and my Xacto knife to widen and deepen a groove large enough to hold a small piece of 22g floral wire bent to follow the curve of the ventral wing. The wire was then superglued into place. Any protruding wire was then filed down (if needed) to the level of the joint. The completed ventral wing attaches securely to the magnet in the main hull. This had the side effect of allowing free positioning of the ventral wing.

Ventral wing with wire inserted
Here is a close up of the flight stand widget with a magnet installed. To drill the hole in the flight stand. I started with an awl to indent the area to drill the hole for the magnet. I then used 1/32" drill bit with a pin vice to drill a hole to the appropriate depth for the magnet. I drilled gradually larger holes in the same place (using larger and larger drill bits) until it was large enough to hold a magnet. The magnet was secured in place with superglue.
Flight stand widget with magnet installed.
Magnets were then inserted in the modules to allow for easy attachment and removal. The magnets fit tightly enough that glue was not needed to keep them in place.
Completely assembled and magnetized PHR frigate sprue.
The upper wings of the PHR frigates are fixed. I couldn't think of a good way to attach the upper wings of the PHR frigates to allow them to be positionable.

Frigates configured as (L. to R.) Pandora, Calypso, Europa, and Medea/
As you can see from the above photo, the modules fit well on the hulls. The ships are secure on their stands with the magnets and don't rotate freely as there is enough friction between the flight stand widget and the hole in the frigate hull to prevent rotation. You can lift the miniature up by the hull and the stand won't wobble (much) or fall out. I hope that those individuals who are interested in magnetizing their PHR frigates will find this guide useful. Next step is to paint these ships.

1 comment:

  1. I glues all (5) Medeas. The others I'm thinking of magnetizing, but considering the size of my fleet with current 22 ships, I may not. If you have a very few (~8) Frigates, I can understand. With 16 or so, you can fix the Medeas. Cheers