Saturday, July 16, 2011

PLOG: SOTR Soviet Armored Guard, Magnetized

I've gotten really interested in Secrets of the Third Reich, 1949 lately. It's a Weird War II game with a simple, highly tactical ruleset that's a nice change of pace. It also has some awesome mecha. I'm collecting the Soviets and decided to get a unit of armored guard. When I unpacked the box, I realized it had come with all the bits for almost every possible loadout. I also realized that with only two games under my belt, I had no idea what loadout I wanted to use.

Did I wanted them loaded for mech hunting, with PTRD anti-mech rifles and an RPG?


Did I want them carry packed Dushkas, so they could lay down huge amounts of suppressing fire while my other units got into position?


Or do I want them focusing on their unique weapon, the portable multi-shot grenade launcher they call Dushka's Big Brother?


I decided to punt on the question by magnetizing almost every single piece in the kit, except the heads and left arms, which didn't have any spares. The result was this:


I started by drilling out the right shoulder socket, already a fairly big hole, a little further with a power drill, enough to fit in a medium size rare earth magnet. The existing hole helped guide the drill so that I didn't have to worry about it walking. I messed up slightly in this step -- I forgot to make a jig to make sure that the polarity of all the magnets was the same. As a result, my set isn't fully interchangeable. However, I was able to compensate when building the arms, as I'll detail below.


The first piece I tried was an anti-mech rifle, since it had the most lever arm to test the magnet. I drilled it out with the power drill as well, using a hobby knife to score a small pilot hole so my drill would hold firmly. That turned out to be overkill, so I switched to small magnets drilled out with a pin vise. I made two rifles in one polarity and one in another, so I could distribute them among the bodies.


The arms that go with the hand weapons I magnetized both at the shoulder and wrist ends. I matched the polarity of the shoulder to each figure, so that I can outfit the whole squad with hand weapons. I was careful to make sure that all the wrist ends were the same polarity, using one weapon as the master to 'set' all the other magnets in their pin-vise drilled holes.


I was able to drill out all the hand weapons, even this pistol.


There was only one RPG, and because of my polarity mistake, I decided to see if I could just put a steel rod in it and have it hold. I would not recommend this. I tried to cut it flush, so it would have the maximum point of contact, but cutters don't really cut straight. I really should have done a thorough dry fitting, you can see my attempts to pry the pin back out. Finally, a trusty framing hammer saved the day through brute force flattening, and now the RPG can attach to any shoulder.


I expended a fair amount of effort here, but I think it was worth it. The power drill saved time for the medium magnets, and the small magnets are so small that it only takes a few minutes with the pin vise to set a deep enough hole. Getting the magnets set in with a weapon worked fairly well, though in retrospect I might have made a tool with something like a dowel with a small magnet on its end -- something I wasn't worried about damaging. It was also key to have piece of spare sprue handy to hold the magnet as I finished pulling the setting piece away.

I lost some of my ability to pose the model by doing this -- the magnets hold well against separation, but they will rotate, so the arms need to be supported by something else. However, this kit doesn't have a huge amount of flexibility that way to begin with.

I'm looking forward to getting these guys on the table and trying out the different loadouts. I expect that I'll be wanting to switch things around fairly often, and while I probably won't take advantage of all the flexibility I built in, the project was fun in and of itself.

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1 comment:

  1. WOW... damn skippy, old son! I look forward to you killing me in person with these soon!