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"Please vet this magnetic basing idea" Topic

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1,343 hits since 11 Dec 2014
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R Strickland Fezian Inactive Member11 Dec 2014 5:45 p.m. PST

I have a great tray solution I use to store my figures. Details here:

I embed a rare earth magnet or several in each figure's base.

For large figures, it works really well to line the trays with metal shingles got for dirt cheap and cut to size with Malco shears.

For infantry, it works best to have lift out inner trays that you can slide the figures off of, rather than have to pull them off individually.

I have about 70 trays now, but in most the figures are just freestanding. I haven't got around to lining the trays.

What I'd like to do is get some metal unit trays from Shogun and line the trays with magnetic sheet (which can be had for between $1.12 USD and $2 USD depending on how big a roll you buy).

So far so good, the trays stick to the magnetic bottom. Put some ribbons under the trays as you put them in and it's easy to lift them out again (thanks whoever suggested that).

This way, the idea is you make each unit on it's metal movement tray, and can pop the units in and out of the storage trays via the ribbons, never having to detach the figures from the movement tray.

The trick is what will happen if I put magnets on the trays, and then put the trays against the magnetic bottom. For figures with 1 magnet, I align all the magnets the same way, so I figure there is a 50/50 chance the poles on the individual figures will be opposite to the pole on the magnetic sheet. Essentially you have a layer of steel sandwiched between two layers of magnets.

Now for larger figures that have two or more magnets embedded in their base, I flip one or more of the magnets around because otherwise the magnets repel each other along the horizontal access. You can imagine sliding a circular magnet toward another circular magnet while the poles are aligned, and you'll end up pushing the magnet way. So with the larger figures there's no way around it, at least one of the magnets in the base is going to be opposite to the pole of the sheet.

The question is will any such conflict matter in practical terms? Will it weaken the attraction such that the figures will not stick well, or is the attaction to the steel in the middle going to trump any weaker repelling force between the two magnets.

I guess I can set up a test, but I don't have any magnetic sheet. I would have to try to find a store that sells a magnetic sign or make an ebay purchase of one.

Anyone have informed opinions about it before I get started?


jwebster11 Dec 2014 9:59 p.m. PST

I have done the stacked thing but with mag sheet material on the bottom of the figures' bases – it works very well

The steel sheet in the middle seems to absorb the magnetic fields completely. In another case I was trying to put the rare earth magnet on the figure side of the base (if you see what I mean – it was a scenery base) and there was almost no field on the far side of the sheet. So I suspect your solution will work with no messing around – you may not even have to flip the magnets



BelgianRay Inactive Member12 Dec 2014 1:26 p.m. PST

Why not use magnetic sheets in your transport boxes and use steel basing for your figures/trays : link
faster to do and same result.

R Strickland Fezian Inactive Member12 Dec 2014 10:31 p.m. PST

Thanks for the insights, much appreciated! I think I'm going to go for it, sourcing a single sheet locally to do one tray, and then if all's well getting a big 24" wide roll of the stuff.

There are several reasons.
One, hundreds of figures already based and magnetized
Two, I use custom laser cut ellipse bases for a lot of my larger figures, and I've gone back to slottas for my oldhammer figures for a variety reasons I don't want to get in to (I used to dislike them quite a bit). Even if I was willing to cut the tabs of the bases (I'm not) metal bases won't work as you can't pin the figures to them.
Three, cost, those bases are prohibitively expensive. I have thousands of figures, so a difference between 12 cents and forty cents each is huge.
Four, someone will say washers are a bit cheaper, and yes, marginally, but paint doesn't stick to them, and I have an abiding fear of paint chipping off the bottoms of bases. I'm too OCD for it.

But most importantly that idea doesn't meet my principle requirement. As I said pulling the figures up out of the trays one by one won't cut it. I need the figures to stick to lift-out/movement trays, and these intermediary trays to stick to the bottoms of the storage trays. That way for most purposes (unless skirmish gaming) I never really have to pull the figures individually off the movement trays (but I do like having the option).

If all I needed was for the figures to stick to the bottoms of the storage trays that would be simple, and I already have that solved. As I mentioned, cheap metal shingles lining the bottom and the figures based as they are. Try it and you'll see why that's a deal killer. It works great for monsters but not armies of humans. My trays store between ~90 (25mm) and 160 (20mm) figures each. Try pulling them each out one by one and you'll see what I mean. :)

I should also mention the backup idea which I know works is shown in the blog post I linked to. I could glue five magnets in place in the bottom of the storage trays at the corners and center of each spot where one of the movement trays goes. The obstacles here is that the trays are of an oily plastic that doesn't take glue well and the higher cost in time and money.

jwebster14 Dec 2014 10:55 p.m. PST

I was talking to "Shogun" today and what you want is what he has done for a number of people

He will do custom stuff – I think I only want two lips on my storage trays


R Strickland Fezian Inactive Member05 Feb 2015 8:36 p.m. PST


Thanks, nice to hear another vote for Shogun. I haven't held them in hand but his wares seem really well made and just what I need. Will probably go for it.

Meanwhile, I've tested the method I was asking about and confirm it works perfectly. Magnetic sheet lining the bottom, metal movement trays affixed to this, and figures with rare earth magnets embedded in the bases affixed to the trays. The feel of it is solid, yet easy enough to pull apart.

Now to find the time to implement it on a large scale!

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2015 3:56 p.m. PST

glad it works. i couldn't really answer your question.

BUT I will vouch for Shogun Miniatures being an excellent product and company.

I have a similar system but more like Bel Ray.
each miniature has a washer base
the shogun tray has a magnet sheet (which they added)
carrying case has magnet bottom.

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2015 9:32 a.m. PST

Yes, great service from Shogun. They even threw in a few freebies with my order.

Kealios Inactive Member25 Mar 2015 5:33 p.m. PST

I've been using Shogun for years. I plan on continuing for many more :)

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2015 12:47 p.m. PST

Why not use magnetic sheets in your transport boxes and use steel basing for your figures/trays : link
faster to do and same result.

Tried this with my 18thC army. Didn't like the results as much. Found it harder to lay the sheets flat, tending to bubble.

Wasting magnetic strip a secondary consideration.

Went back to bases with magnetic stripped underneath.

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