Again, like many of the recommendations of the Cheap Gamer, this will involve investing a little more money up front … but it really pays off over time. I’m going to mainly cover how to use the strategy rather than the practicality of attaching magnets.
You can get very powerful small magnets, drill holes or attach them to your models, and bam, you can use the magnets to attach the parts to each other. Brilliant! Of course, you could attach parts with glue instead of gluing magnets and then using the magnets! So whats the advantage?
The most common use is to magnetise various weapon options, so you as an example, you can buy one dreadnaught, but can field it with any of the weapons in the kit, rather than having to buy a new dreadnaught every time you want to try a different load out!
Another common use, though, is to keep models in various part for easy and safe transport and storage. Rather than gluing massive wings on a model, attaching them with powerful magnets lets you break up the model for transport to and from games much more safely and securely, for example, and its a lot cheaper over time than having to replace broken models!
You can also use magnets in bases to attach models to metal trays or really solid metal carry boxes, or magnets in legs and bases to be able to use top end display models on both display plinths and gaming bases.
One idea that’s all mine, as far as I know, is taking the interchangeability concept of weapons, but going a step further and applying it to icons and markings. Have a silver rhino? If your icons can all be popped off and replaced with other magnetised ones, you could use it with multiple chapters of marines like Silver Skulls, Grey Knights, some orders of Sisters of Battle, Inquisition, heck, even cross lines and attach chaos icons for Iron Warriors. Have a black rhino? Deathwatch, Inquisition, Raven Guard, Black Legion, Sisters of Battle, and so on. Its a fantastic money saver if you want to be able to field multiple armies that have similar colours, as you’ll rarely want to play as both armies at once. And if you’re willing to compromise slightly, works well across chassis options too, like popping turrets and sponsons off magnetised predators to use them as rhinos in a different army, or using a whirlwind as a Sisters of Battle Exorcist.
Its really effective for decorating fortifications, like bastions, or making terrain really modular too. Use magnets on walkways and key points before painting, and whole chunks of terrain become reconfigurable. If you have a few standard size ruined buildings, having a few interchangeable floors can really change up the options for your battlefield. And having a few extra magnets at decorative points can let you have different board themes for minimal extra cost – imagine being able to swap out streetlights from the buildings for dead bodies, or imperial eagles for chaos icons.
Bam! Mind blown! Reusability instead of huge chunks of cash and storage space. Even if you spend a little more on the models and scenery to start with, its a massive saving over time, and actually can improve your gaming options and facilities. Thats thinking like a Cheap Gamer.
How do I actually add magnets? Well, there are countless youtube tutorials that are pretty easy to find, often covering specific minis. Essentially, you either need to drill a hole to fit a magnet, or be able to attach the magnet on the other side of thin plastic or in an indent where it won’t affect the rest of the joint. One of the really important things when working with magnets is to make sure you get the polarity right – if you put one in wrong, the two magnets will repel each other, not attract, and you’ll have two parts that will never go together! A useful trick can be to stack them up together, then take them off the stack one at a time and put a dab of paint at one consistent end, so you know it will aways go blank to paint.