January 23, 2012

Conversion: Magnetizing An Ark


So it's been a while since I've actually posted some content anywhere aside from SCW. A lot of this has to do with my drinking habits, promiscuity and, in the last couple of weeks, a video game involving lightsabers and lightning shooting out of fingertips. If I was truly being honest with myself here, it's all about habit. The holidays stopped my constant writing habits whether I liked it or not, and after about 3 weeks of not writing much I continued the habit of...not writing that much. I'm a creature of habit constantly at war with myself to break habits such as laziness and cheese-product. So, here I sit, Silversun Pickups blaring, lights off, cigarette in hand and fully focused on the connecting fingers to keys in a coherent succession. Today I bring you something I completed over a month ago; my magnetized Ghost Ark (and how I gave up on the whole idea.) More after the break.

So I'll start with the long and strenuous journey of finding a way to magnetize a Ghost Ark so that:

A1) I wouldn't break bank using ridiculous amounts of magnets.
A2) I wouldn't have so many magnets that random metal pieces from across the room would fly at my model in the middle of a game.
B) The "rib cage" would facing down when it's a Doomsday Ark.
C) It would be quick and easy to switch from Ghost Ark to Doomsday Ark.

The following was my first attempt at it. First I used D41's for all of the following work, though I would recommend D41-N52's for a little extra oomph. For the "throne" portion of the Ark, I pretty much built the whole thing, then had to shave down the inside pegs of the two peg-hole-things to get the magnets to fit:

For the other end of the "rib cage" I had to do quite a bit of drilling/shaving to get another magnet to fit in there at exactly right right depth:

The Ghost Ark cap and Doomsday Cannon required no effort; just glue and magnet:

Now for the tricky part. I need to be able to flip the Gauss Flayer Array weapons on the sides willy-nilly, but I don't want to use forty magnets to do so (4 magnets times 10 Gauss Flayers.)
"Onward! To Idea Town!"

The previous month before the Necron dex came out I purchased a bag of random metal stuff which included a rod at the perfect size for my idea in mind. A little greenstuff to cap the ends with magnets and it looks like it'll work:

Simply put each section of the "rib cage," unglued, in between each Gauss Flayer:

Until you have either the Doomsday Ark or Ghost Ark:

This thing is annoyingly fragile. Not so fragile that you can't play with it in a game, but fragile enough that transportation of the model is a joke and the wrong bump on the tabletop will result in your opponent waiting several minutes while you repeat the phrase "Give me just a minute...sorry about this." over and over.

It's not that the magnets are too weak to hold the thing together, it's that it has way too many pieces.
I Pooped A Little...

Think of it like the lovable family fun known as Jenga:
If this game was made up of two or three giant wooden blocks it would be pretty stable, right? Well, it's not. It's made up of 54 tiny wooden blocks (that's right, I did my homework on this one) and because there's so many pieces it's far less stable; hence the point of the game. The more breaking-points on an object, the less structurally sound it is. With this in mind let's take a look back at my goals for this project.

A1) I wouldn't break bank using ridiculous amounts of magnets. (Check.)
A2) I wouldn't have so many magnets that random metal pieces from across the room would fly at my model in the middle of a game. (Check.)
B) The "rib cage" would facing down when it's a Doomsday Ark. (Check.)
C) It would be quick and easy to switch from Ghost Ark to Doomsday Ark.

Another problem sticks out like a sore thumb; the more pieces the more time it takes to set up. As I mentioned, transporting this thing in one piece isn't going to happen, so I'll need to spend the literal 5-10 minutes setting this thing up every time it moves from one place to another.

Lastly, with all of this taking apart and putting back together business, what will become of its eventual paint job?
Essentially What Your Ex Did To Your Car's Paint Job.

With all of these problems glaring at me, it was time to look back to my list and sacrifice something. Sure I could add more magnets making things snap together far more easily and quickly, but I planned on having multiple Ghost Arks and didn't want to fork over the cash to do this to each one.

So, with a heavy heart, I decided to give up on B) The "rib cage" would facing down when it's a Doomsday Ark. The process was pretty simple. I eliminated the metal rod and the magnet that connected it to the "throne" and put plasticard in place on the end "rib" to place a magnet on:

Glue the rest together and there you have it. A Doomsday Ark or Ghost Ark with only three parts to trade out. I'm saddened by giving up on the upside-down ribcage for the Doomsday Cannon, but in the long run this is for the best in my opinion:

So there you have it folks. Questions, comments or criticism goes in the box below.


  1. This thing's awesome, it's like evil robot Legos.

  2. Ye gads, Amen brother. As a relative magnet novice, putting that together was hell on earth. However, I have incredibly dainty hands and so will continue to use it in the 'canon' configuration,even if I can do nothing to improve the slighly shoddy angle.

  3. there is so much awesome in this... i have no way to tell you how happy I am about your numerous bad habits =))))

  4. Pretty much the same conclusion I came to, though I actually ended up going one step further and saying to heck with magnetizing it altogether.

    I was planning on doing it the same as what you had done originally, but with all the pieces, it just didn't seem worth it. My first one will be done up as just a Ghost Ark, since that is what I will probably run more of anyway, and I really want to paint a Ghost Ark. Any others that I buy will probably be magnetized with the rib cage up. I think it looks better that way anyways, and definitely easier on magnets.

    By the way, how are you attaching the Necrons in the Ghost ark? Are they magnetized as well, or are you just leaving them out?

  5. Glad everyone has enjoyed this tutorial, even with it being a failure in my opinion. It was a lot of fun to do.

    As you probably read, I gave up on the idea as well; leaving the ribcage in-place and just magnetizing the gun, which is very stable.

    I don't bother attaching the Warriors. It bugs me seeing them in there when there's not actually Warriors in there.

  6. Thank you for enlightening me with an idea! I was on the fence about the whole magnet process but seeing the doomsday ark with the ribs facing up, I am sold. Only having to swap the cannon and the warriors out far outweighs the fact that the ribs are not upside down. I actually think it looks pretty sweet with the ribs facing up and the huge cannon sitting up top. I feel much better about doing it that way anyway, good lookin!

  7. So glad to help NeoBiggs, good luck!

  8. Thank you for your inspiration, words, and beautiful work and pictures of this Necron model. I too was thinking of magnetizing one and see clearly from your pictures what the pitfalls are from your expierence. Thank you again, Sa2

  9. Happy to help out, good luck!