Magnetizing Inceptors

I’m not actually sure whether I really like the new Space Marine Primaris Inceptor jump pack models or if they leave me kind of “Meh.” Some details I love, some I don’t. But I do know that I don’t like the flight stands at all. Unlike some of GW’s peg-and-socket designs in the past, these have to be affixed to the model. They don’t just slot in firmly or anything like that. Affixing them though means they take up a lot of transport space. The connection between stand and model also seems very very prone to breaking in transport or play. As a final insult, it’s also kind of finicky to glue.

I dealt with all this by magnetizing mine. Many people have of course suggested this but I don’t see any detailed notes around so this is a quick tutorial.

Assembled models.

Ball & Socket

You could magnetize these guys in a couple ways. I’ve done it the way most people do X-Wing ships: A ball bearing on the end of the stand and a ring magnet somewhat hidden in the the underside of the jump pack.

Side view in which you can see the ball & ring magnet connection.

There are several reasons for this approach.

Perhaps most important, in general you don’t want to use two magnets if you can avoid it. A pair of magnets makes a stronger connection but incurs a bunch of extra work. Obviously in that case you need to orient each pair of magnets properly, which can be difficult to get right for small magnets while affixing them in place. But then ideally they should be aligned the same way across all of the models so that you don’t have to worry about which stand goes with which model. That’s a hassle, especially when you add more models later. In contrast, the ball bearing is just a metal surface. There’s no polarity to get right and any model can use any stand without worrying at all about orientation for either any single pair or the squad/army.

Somewhat similarly in reducing fiddliness, using a ball bearing rather than a steel disk means the magnet doesn’t have to be set perfectly on the model. Even if it’s placed a bit crooked you’ll be able to rotate the ball bearing connection to orient the model however you want. Taking that further, if the connection is strong enough, you can rotate the model around into funky angles either for fun or to move it out of the way in tight spaces (a big help in X-Wing, less of an issue here).

A ball bearing and a plain disk magnet would probably also work if the latter was strong enough. However, by using an appropriately sized ring magnet, the ball bearing fits inside and it works like a socket. This lets more of the magnetic field pull on the bearing while at the same time making a bit of a pressure fit. It’s much much stronger than a bearing just sitting against a flat surface and only minimally reduces the angles at which you can position the model.

Finally, ball bearings and ring magnets are cheap and easy to come by, in contrast to cylinders or something like that. I order from K&J Magnetics in sufficient quantities to make shipping worthwhile, but they can be found other places as well.


The ring magnets I used are 1/16″ thick, with 1/4″ outer diameter and 1/8″ inner diameter, specifically the R421 from K&J. Inner diameter needs to match the ball bearing. Outer diameter needs to fit the model, and these just happen to fit nicely on the underside of the jump pack between the secondary thrusters. A nice bonus of the ring magnet is that from a distance it arguably looks vaguely like just another thruster.

Attaching the magnet is straightforward. You could use either CA (superglue) or green stuff, putting a small amount in the cavity on the model and dropping the magnet on. Since polarity doesn’t matter, you can actually literally just drop it on with the model facedown on the table and let it sit there to cure. I used gel CA so I could easily form a small blob to sink the magnet into and fill up the tiny gaps between it and the model. Whatever you use though, be sure to not fill up the hole on the magnet.

Note in these pictures how the glue vapors frosted up the surrounding area a bit, which is a good reminder to never use superglue on painted models if at all avoidable.

This size magnet fits perfectly in a slight cavity on the jump pack underside.

And it hardly stands out at all on the model amid the thrusters.

Attaching the ring magnet is a simple matter of putting the model face down and dropping it on.


Putting the ball bearing on the stand is just slightly more involved. The bearing I used is 1/8″, matching the inner diameter of the magnet, specifically the NSB2 from K&J but you can find similar tons of places.

The bearing fits well in the little hook on the flight stand. I attached it in three steps:

  1. Using gel CA so it doesn’t flow all over, put a dab in the hook and then drop in the ball bearing and let it cure.
  2. Pack a very small quantity of green stuff around the stand and bearing, being sure to leave most of the magnet exposed, essentially creating a tube around both to be a very strong connection.
  3. Once cured, file down any excess green stuff.

More talented greenstuffers could no doubt just pack it on in one step, but I found it helpful to glue on the bearing first to help keep it in place and wound up with just enough bulge to be worth filing down.

Some people have reported trouble gluing the stand to the base. I didn’t have any such problem using my usual plastic cement but it’s probably avoidable or fixable by roughing up the bottom surface of the stand and then rinsing both, creating more surface area and removing any release agent on the pieces.

However, the foundation of my bases is vaguely swampy greenstuffing. So with the stand glued on I also built up some greenstuff over the edges of it. This both obscures the bottom flare out of the stand and makes its connection to the base stronger.

Stand with ball bearing affixed to the top.


This process took literally a couple minutes, and now the transport and fragility hassles of these flight stands are almost entirely mitigated. With the bearing in the ring the connection is very strong, the models can be picked up and moved around with no fear at all of the base falling off. As a bonus, the Inceptors can fly around at kooky angles!

All that said, if I pick up another squad of these there’s a good chance I’ll simply mount them on the base. Done well I think they might actually look even better on the ground, it gives them extra visual bulk and intimidation.

But, if you want the flying look, a ball bearing & ring magnet is a good way to do it.

Inceptors flying around.

Magnetizing A Predator

Space Marines are among the best equipped and flexible armies in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Their vehicles are therefore loaded with many options. This short tutorial presents some notes on magnetizing the weapons for a Predator tank so that different configurations can be easily used in different battles.

All the weapons options available for the Predator model in the box.

The process begins by assembling all the weapons and the main hull. The turret can be glued together, but don’t insert a weapon, as in the picture above.

An important point is to leave the various hatches unglued, and to assemble appropriately to meet all loadouts. By leaving the main turret mount unglued, the standard Rhino top doors may be put on to use the vehicle as a Rhino. Similarly, it’s rare for a Predator to equip an additional Storm Bolter, but this is standard kit for a Rhino. By assembling a blank and a Storm Bolter hatch but leaving them unglued, these can be readily swapped.

Note that the hatch holes might have to be scraped and sanded to enlarge them in order to easily plug the hatches in and out after painting. For this model the hatches have been assembled closed and the Storm Bolter on the basic swivel mount as other models in the army use the variants with exposed Marines.

Side sponson panels could also be magnetized for swapping with standard Rhino doors. However, this may not be worth the effort and is not done here as simply not mounting sponson weapons and putting on the standard top hatch and Storm Bolter will render the model clearly usable as a Rhino. Dozer blades are also a good candidate for magnetization, but are also not done here.


Although probably the last part that should be done, the hunter-killer missile is a good example of a component worth magnetizing. It’s not typically equipped every game, and removing it during battle after firing is a great WYSIWYG reminder that it’s no longer available.

The first step is to determine an adequate space for the missile to be mounted on, and then use a pin vise to drill a pilot hole at that location.

Pin-drilling a pilot hole for the larger bit.

The pilot hole to guide the larger bit.

Standard 1/8″ rare earth magnets are used here, so a 1/8″ hole is made in the hull, into which one will fit snugly. A standard drill bit manipulated by hand will create such a hole quickly, cleanly, and easily. The pilot hole gives the larger bit a place to start and prevents it from shifting, creating an overly large hole or damaging the surrounding area. It’s fine to drill all the way through the thin top section of the hull. The magnet will fit snugly enough to not fall through, and this will enable it to be mounted flush with the top.

Drilling a larger hole for the magnet to sit into.

A 1/8″ hole in which the magnet will sit snugly.

Super-glue should then be dabbed into the hole and the magnet inserted. An easy way to do this is to put the magnet on a flat metal tool such as a hobby knife blade or the backside of a scraper. Insert the magnet into the hole, press it down flush with the top, and then slide the tool off horizontally. The magnet will stay in place as the tool slides. This is much easier to do than inserting it with fingers or tweezers.

Manipulating the magnet using a flat metal piece.

The magnet set in the Predator hull.

This process is then repeated for the hunter-killer missile, carefully drilling a pilot hole, then enlarging it, dabbing super-glue inside, and inserting a magnet. This hole should not be as deep as a magnet is tall, so that it sticks out slightly and provides a bit of a standoff.

Pin-drilling a pilot hole in the hunter-killer missile.

The pilot hole in the hunter-killer missile.

Drilling out the magnet hole in the hunter-killer missile.

The magnet hole in the hunter-killer missile.

Once set in place, the magnets can be very hard to extract. It is therefore critical to get the polarity correct the first time. A useful step is to put the second magnet on the target, ensuring it is aligned correctly, then sliding it off onto the tool to be manipulated so that the face to be inserted remains showing.

Checking the polarity orientation of the magnet to put in the hunter-killer.

The magnet set in the hunter-killer.

Another critical point is that it is well worth ensuring that all of the similar magnetized pieces in an army are oriented to the same polarity. For example, every hunter-killer missile should have their magnet set with the same magnetic facing, so that any one of them may be used on any tank. It is a true inconvenience to have magnetized parts but still have to match particular components up to particular models.

Finally, if super-glue does not adequately hold a magnet in place, deepen the hole slightly, insert a blob of greenstuff or greystuff, and re-insert the magnet. Once hardened, the clay will hold the magnet securely.


Using the same basic techniques, the sponsons are easily magnetized. The key aspect of this is to ensure at least the same side weapons use the same polarity orientation! The slots on top of the weapons could be filled with greenstuff or similar, but are completely obscured on the tabletop by the support arms so it’s unnecessary.

Magnets set in the sponson weapons.

Setting magnets in the sponson arms is a simple matter of slightly enlarging the existing holes, applying glue, inserting the magnet, and gluing the sensor piece on top.

These could be made more elaborate by building up a standoff or attaching the magnet to the original weapon strut. However, this is extra work that is not noticeable on the tabletop. Attaching the magnet to the strut is also significantly more flimsy, with the magnet liable to being popped off the arm in transit.

Magnet set in the sponson arms.


The final component to magnetize is then the main turret. There are several approaches to doing this, but all involve sheering off the pivot arms of the weapons so that the sides are flush.

One approach is then to mount a magnet in the side of the turret opening where the pivot arms would otherwise go, and then mount magnets in the sides of each weapon. However, this approach is slightly tricky to pull off such that the weapon does not tilt slightly when set. It is also prone to the weapon drooping.

Much easier and more reliably better looking is to mount a magnet in the top leading edge of the turret and in the top of the weapon backend, just behind the angle plate. These would be tricky to line up exactly, but it’s not necessary. The magnets are strong enough to hold the weapon in place even when not perfectly touching. As long as the magnets are roughly flush and centered, the weapon will align correctly and not droop when placed.

Again, make sure to double check the polarity orientation of the magnets before inserting into the weapons, and to use the same arrangement as on other tanks in the army if applicable.

Magnets set in the main turret weapons.


And that’s it, the Predator is now ready to roll with whatever weapons the day’s opponent entails!

The finished Predator, loaded out as DakkaPred.