Start off by assembling chest, head and legs together. Once I have the bodies ready I gather up the initial arms I want for them. Double check to make sure you have all of the supplies needed. I keep a good amount of 1/8″ sized magnets handy, some super glue, an exacto knife, and some extra plastic piece. I keep my polarity straight by either keeping an extra larger magnet or already finished arm attached to one side. For my glue I prefer a gel kind, as it won’t run out of the “socket” as quickly and I find it easier to work with. The spare plastic piece can be a snap of sprue if need be, just something to push the magnet with that isn’t metal.
I use an electric dremel with varying speeds for almost all of my work. I have a drill bit that is the same diameter as the magnets. None of us are perfect drilling machines (myself being a close exception) and so as we drill the whole will be slightly larger than the magnet which is what we want. Now a lot of it will come with practice, and there are some mistakes that I’ll warn you about so you can ease your way into it.
I like to start with the arms each time so I can get a good feel for the speed of the drill. The arms are solid plastic and give good room for error. If you mess up the shoulder, so what, you put a shoulder pad over it, or if it is bad enough you get a new arm, there are generally plenty spares lying around.
Once you get a decent enough feel for the dremel and you are feeling confident (hopefully you are by now) you can begin on the body. Depending on how you assembled body, you might still need to file down the shoulder area to get it smooth. The body can be the toughest part because it is hollow.
The area I’m referring to as the armpit generally has just enough depth to it to accommodate the magnet. If you drill any deeper you’ll go into the chest cavity. Now all is not lost if this happens, it is just a bit harder to get the magnet to stay in place and will require more work. As long as you go slow and keep a firm grip, even if you go to deep, all should work out. Generally you’ll want to do two marines with magnetized arms for every five marines you assemble. This will give you a special weapon and a sarge for each five man squad and can easily be combined into 10 man squads.
Now I started magnetizing because I wanted my marines to be blood angels and I wasn’t sure how I wanted to run them. I magnetized the backpacks and jump packs for each marine. If you are just playing with foot marines, than you may be done, for jump packs keep reading.
In hind sight it might have been easier to drill the magnets above the little stub on the back of each marine, and then they back pack would fit snugly in its groove. For most of you this is the better option. For me it is too late, but you can learn from my mistakes. I clipped off the stub and dremeled where it used to be and placed the magnet there. In the receptive socket on the back/jump packs they are minutely smaller than needed, so a very quick touch with the dremel is all that is needed. Now if you didn’t keep the stub like myself, here is an idea I haven’t tried yet but I’m sure it should work. If you put a small pin above the magnet, and drill a hole for it to slide into on the other piece, and only secure the pin into one of them, then you can slide the backpacks on, with the pin keeping them from pivoting on the magnets.
I hope this little walk through has helped some of you out there. Once you get a good feel for what you’re doing, you can start working on bigger projects and become more efficient. I know once I get started I can do a 10 man squad in about an hour.