This tutorial shows you the process we use for magnetizing Space Marine Dreadnought Arms for our games of Warhammer 40k. Magnetizing the arms allows you to equip different weapons as you wish, swap arms between kits that are normally incompatible (we’re looking at your Black Reach Dreadnought…) and even give your dreadnoughts a little bit of poseablitiy. In this tutorial we will be using neodymium or ‘rare earth’ magnets which are known for their strength and small size.
Here you can see an assembled Space Marine Dreadnought minus his arms. This particular dreadnought is the standard Space Marine Dreadnought kit, although this tutorial works just as well for Ironclad, Venerable, Forge World, and Assault on Black Reach variants, and once done you can swap the arms between any of them.
Normally, the Dreadnoughts arms fit on to the peg shown in the middle of this picture. The problem here is that different dreadnoughts have different sized pegs, so an arm from an Assault on Black Reach Dreadnought would not fit onto a Standard Dreadnought and vice versa.
So, step one is to remove this peg, we simply chopped it off with a hobby knife.
This leaves us with this nice flat area to work with. If the surface is still a bit rough from where you cut off the peg, you can smooth this area with a file.
The next step is to make some holes for the magnets to fit into, we’re going to use some 3x2mm neodymium magnets, so the holes need to be 3mm wide. We find this is a very useful size of magnet for many wargaming projects. We used a pin vice with a few different sized drill bits working our way up to 3mm by hand, but you could just as easily use a dremel or similar rotary tool to make your holes.
Here you can see we have inserted the magnets into the holes. To make sure they stay in place we put a small drop of super glue in each hole before pressing the magnet in. We’ve experimented with this quite a bit and have found that 3 magnets in the formation shown below work the best, providing good stability in the arm in any position. The problem with using less magnets or a different formation means that you run the risk of having a dreadnought with droopy arms that will only point at the ground due to their weight.
That’s half the process done, now we just need to make sure the arms can attach to the magnets in the body. To do this we are going to use small metal plates, cut from something you probably have laying around the house, this could be a cake or biscuit tin, a pencil tin, or anything else a magnet will stick to. These little plates need to be about 10mm across, and can be cut out with metal snips, or a large hole punch if you have one, you can even use scissors if the metal is very thin, but be aware this will blunt the scissors very quickly.
Once you have several small metal plates, its a simple case of gluing the plate to the inside of the arm, over the hole where the peg used to go. On most of the kits this is a very simple job, but on the arms from the Assault on Black Reach Dreadnoughts, you will need to add a small spacer made of card or plasticard (see second picture) to keep the metal plate level.
Soon you will have a small collection of arms that will fit any of your dreadnought models…
As you can see we have quite a few dreadnought arms (and quite a few dreadnoughts!) at Graven Games…
Here you can see our Dreadnought is outfitted with a Twin-Linked Lascannon and Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon in the first picture, but if you change your list, its a simple case of pulling off the arms and dropping new ones on, as shown in the second picture.
There are a few different ways of making your Space Marine Dreadnought arms swappable, but this is by far what works best in our opinion. We’ve always been big fans of Warhammer 40k Dreadnoughts here at Graven Games, and with the recent announcement of the new Iron Hands supplement Clan Raukaan which promises to “have easer access to Dreadnoughts than most Space Marines” we’re hoping to get a to more use out of these awesome models. Let us know what you think of this tutorial, or if you have come up with a different way to achieve this in the comments below.