Preparing the Soviet I-16s and SB-2s

Fat fingers drill little holes

It is and was a fairly straightforward job. Drill a few 3mm diameter holes into a soft metal and glue a 3mm diameter rare earth magnet into the hole.

The other side of the process is to add a rare earth magnet, with the polarity reversed, to the flight stand.

A very straightforward process indeed.

A stack of 3mm rare earth magnets

Of course, it would have been easier and quicker to use a small electric drill or electric screwdriver to make the holes. Unfortunately, I did not have one available so it was out with the trusty twist drill.

This is somewhat of a trial to use, especially for drilling larger diameter holes and plays havoc with the developing arthritis in my fingers and thumbs but, as they say, one should suffer for one’s art!

One magnet, one blade, ready for gluing

Now, as a guide, here are a number of 3mm rare earth magnets in the packet that they are supplied in. Fiddly little things, especially when one has fingers that are just a wee bit fulsome … OK, bordering on fat, thumbs and fingers.

So, the best assistance in this case is the Exacto knife. Use the thin edge of the blade to separate the magnets from the stack by carefully sliding the knife in.

And yes, the blurry I-16 in the background shows where I store the magnets I am about to use to determine their polarity.

Magnet in place

Those that are going in the recess created in the aircraft (see left) are removed from the stack. At this point, the end of the magnet that needs to be glued to the air-frame is the side of the magnet that is against the blade so the magnet will need to be reversed.

The simplest way to achieve this is to let the magnet grip one of the stands that have already had their magnets glued in. Now, sliding it off on the Exacto and the side that required gluing will be facing outwards.

And … it works

A  drop  of superglue then slide the magnet off the Exacto blade by dragging the blade off the magnet while the magnet is pressed either into the hole in the aircraft or onto the surface of the peg in the stand.

What we then have is an aircraft that will magnetically attach to the stand, making transport and storage a breeze.

The aircraft can easily be removed for painting and for storage as it will store flat, saving the need for magnetic sheet under the base. In fact, I am thinking that a thin strip of magnetic metal across the bottom of a storage box will allow for storage secure enough for moving figures from home to game.

Sometimes even I screw up

This is what the bottom of the aircraft looks like when you glue a magnet in the wrong way round. These magnets are quite tough and try as I might, I was not able to dislodge a glued one from the aircraft body, certainly not without some very high powered electric tools and a lot of modelling putty for later repair.

My solution, whack in a second magnet with the correct polarity.

“Why didn’t you just set some bases with the magnets the other way round” I hear you ask? Well, I thought about it but then it makes it a little difficult when setting up as I need to shuffle models and bases around until I get it right. This way all bases can be used for any aircraft.

The bio-metric door locks are screwed tomorrow … or … I am ready for my first bank job leaving no fingerprints

Lastly, this is what my finger looked like after all that super gluing. The bio-metric lock at work’s going to have trouble with me today!

Thank goodness there is some superglue remover available. A few squeezes of that and rub vigorously and voila, finger as good as new (except it didn’t work on the bio-metric locks!

Update 14 January 2020: Bob Flywheel suggested the following on my FaceBook:

“Why didn’t you just epoxy a magnet to the underside? Much easier!

Yes, thank you Bob … don’t you love people who come up with simple solutions right after you’ve gone the full Monty on a complicated, elegant one? Short answer Bob – it looks better 😛

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