Friday, February 3, 2017

Dropfleet Commander, Scourge Frigate Assembly and Magnetizing

Shortly before Christmas, my kickstarter of Dropfleet Commander arrived and has been a bit of a distraction.  From the kickstarter I picked up a starter fleet for Scourge, PHR and UCM.  Actually, I doubled down on the UCM starter fleet because I love their ships so much.  Scourge were perhaps my least favorite, but to try to stay interested and motivated I started with assembling them first.  This was also because I wanted to experiment with magnetizing the various options, first on a fleet that I wasn't as excited by.

Up front, I will apologize for the quality of the pictures.  My new smartphone apparently has camera that picks up the scan lines from my bench light.  And since a number of photos was taken before I realized this, I was not going to go back and re-shoot them.

Frigate Assembly and Magnetizing

The first batch of Scourge Frigates, with a pile of bits for all the options
The frigates are actually a breeze to assemble:  just the center body of the ship and a left and right attachments (btw, I am going to call them wings from here on).  Easy, unless you decide to magnetize all the wings so that you are not locked into a particular loadout in army construction (or have to resort to proxying).  Seemed like a great idea at the time, now I would say it is more of an obsession.

In any case, magnetizing the frigates really is not that bad with a couple of tricks and practice.  The left and right wings are just ball-n-socket joints.  Drilling and putting a magnet into the socket is pretty straight forward.  You just have to be careful of two things:
  1. Do not drill to far.  Drill a little, check to see if the magnet will sit flush.  Drill a little more, check again.  So on.  These pieces are not that thick and you will break through the other side fairly quickly.
  2. ALWAYS check the polarity of magnets even before you do a dry fit check!  They have a habit of getting stuck, even when just doing a dry fitting, so you want to make sure if that happens you haven't totally screwed yourself.  
For the ball side of the ball-n-socket (ie, the main fuselage), you are going to need a very expensive tool to get the drill started on a curved surface properly:
Yes, a thumbtack.  Just sand the half sphere down a little bit and then use
the thumbtack "scar" a hole to start your drill bit in.  Great
to use on any drilling project.
A few twists of the drill bit and then drop the magnets in with as little CA glue as I can (it's a tight fit hopefully, so any excess glue will get all over the place) and I am done!
You can hopefully spot the magnets here.
A wing option.

Different wing option.

Now, I will say that I wish the magnetic attachment was stronger.  The wings are not likely to fall off or anything, at least with reasonably gentle handling.  But due to the ball-n-socket situation, they will rotate a fair amount.  That being said, I am justifying living with this defect by believing they would be articulated in reality and you can't convince me otherwise.  LOL
The magnets used, herein referred to as the "small magnets."
Also, these are about as big and strong as I think you can get for the joints.
One last thing to note is about the models themselves.  I think these particular models are excellent.  No significant mold lines.  The ports and vents are sometimes located in inconvenient locations but a closer inspection leads me to believe there was really no way around this.  You do need to be careful though.
These almost look the same...
As you can see in the picture above there are 2 identical wing options.  Except, they are not exactly identical.  When clipping one of these out the sprue, I was not careful and apparently caused (or left) a little to much tension on the wing and snapped that second "tail" partial off.  Ultimately, I decide to just cut the remaining tail off and completely amputate it from the matching wing.  The morale of the story is, be careful and mindful of what you are doing.  Some of these bits are tiny, thin and delicate.

In the next post, I will cover my attempts to magnetize the cruiser options.  That was significantly more tricky.