Build a Magnetized Movement Tray

The unit in their magnetized movement tray
The unit in their magnetized movement tray

Good morning sports fans.  I was up until quite late last night cutting little squares of magnetized material so that I could show off a completely built but not completely painted magnetized movement tray for a Horde of 54 Night Goblin Archers.  One of my discoveries late last night was I only had 50 Night Goblins in the unit, well 49 and a hero so I cleaned and prepared five more archers which I’ll paint this afternoon.

I’m up obscenely early bringing you the freshest miniature painting news from my painting table.

Making a magnetized movement tray isn’t any harder than making a non-magnetized one, but it does take time.  The most time consuming part especially for a Horde of 54 Night Goblins is cutting the small squares of magnetized material and affixing it to the bottom of each miniatures base.  You could use regimental bases to speed up the process, but I did 55 individual bases.  The hero was of course magnetized too.

Piece of balsa wood is too narrow
Piece of balsa wood is too narrow

The first thing you need to do is determine how large of a movement tray you need to make.  In GW land the most common base sizes are 20mm square and 25mm square, so the interior size is likely some multiple of those two numbers.  I’ve found they are sometimes a bit bigger when they have a miniature on them so it is good to leave a few millimetres wiggle room.  The movement tray was to be 11 goblins wide and 5 goblins deep.  I grabbed the piece of balsa wood I used for the Plaguebearers base and it was just a little too small.

Depth is close enough
Depth is close enough

You need to allow 3-4 mm depending on the material used for the edges.  I make my bases with three edges just like the ones GW sells.  Maybe four edges is better, I don’t know I’ve only made a few movement trays in my time.  I play mostly round base games where you deploy in dispersed formation not ranked up.

Measure twice and mark before cutting
Measure twice and mark before cutting

After cutting out the bottom of the tray it is important to check your measurements two or three times.  I used a metal straight edge and an exacto knife to cut the balsa wood.  Go slow and apply moderate pressure, eventually you may need to apply more pressure but by scoring it once or twice at low pressure you have a good groove to follow.

With the bottom ready it was time for the front and the sides.  I measured and cut the front first.  Then I use the front in measuring the sides.  I measure and cut one side then I make a twin.  When all three edge pieces are ready it is time to glue them to the bottom of the movement tray.  I used balsa wood for the sides as well, a little deeper piece than before about 3-4mm wide and about 5-6 high.  I wanted a deeper tray to accommodate the magnetic material.

Clamp and glue movement tray sides
Clamp and glue movement tray sides

Now you have to measure the inside space of your tray.  You only really need to measure the width.  Once you have your measurement transfer that measurement to the magnetic sheet.  I used a silver sharpie to mark the black magnetic material.  I again used a metal straight edge to cut the material.  I used a depth of 10cm for the other measurement, it overhung the wooden bottom by a couple millimetres but I figured it was worth it.

I used simple wood glue (Weldbond brand if it matters) to glue the magnetic material to the bottom of the tray.  Make sure you get the poles correct.  The other magnetic sheet I used had adhesive already on one side so it can only be applied one way so make sure the bottom of your tray isn’t repelling.  I then put something that weighed a kilo or two on the tray bottom and let it dry.

3mm extra space
3mm extra space

I was working on a number of different little projects at the same time, including how I was actually going to finish the bases of the model.  I have Autumnal materials which look alright but some of them I’m unfamiliar with.  Peabody wrote a tutorial on how he does his bases and I’ll be doing something similar.  I actually have the Matte Medium and plenty of pigment and ink, but I think I’ll just use white glue, that is how the test model was done.  I don’t want to make a mess of the entire unit.

Magnetized Night Goblin
Magnetized Night Goblin

Now after some drying time, which you really don’t have to wait for if you’re a keener, it is time to affix the magnetic material to the bases of the miniatures.  This is made really easy by the fact that I bought two types of magnetic sheets.  I bought both types at Urban Source on Main Street in Vancouver, but you could order the stuff off the internet I’m sure.  I carefully measure 20mm and then using the metal edge and the exacto knife cut out a long thin strip.  I actually needed four of them.  I could fit 15 bases on one strip.

It is actually pretty tough making a long perfectly straight cut with an exacto knife so in hindsight I might have been better off marking it with a pen and using scissors.

Once I had the strips I just grabbed a mini, put it on the white side, traced the edge and cut it with the exacto.  Eventually I switched to cutting the strips with scissors.  Once you have your little square just peel off the backing and put it on the bottom of the miniature.  It is better to have a little bit too much magnetic material than too little.  It cuts easy so once you have it on the bottom of the base you can use your exacto knife to trim it off, just like cleaning flash from a miniature.

Mostly magnetized unit
Mostly magnetized unit

Now since I’d let my glue dry on the movement tray, I could rank up my models as I magnetized them.  I did do the upside down test, all three plastic Night Goblins stayed affixed to the tray, even using less powerful magnets.  I never tried this test with my metal models in the unit nor did I tip the whole unit upside down.  The models stay put quite well and make it so it is easy to move the tray and the unit around.  Tipping your whole unit upside down and shaking it is just dumb.

Once I discovered I was a few goblins short of my desired unit size I got out some more Night Goblin archers that I got off eBay.  I cleaned them and magnetized their bases too.  Then I ranked them up, took a picture and went to bed.

Night Goblins from eBay
Night Goblins from eBay

See that wasn’t so hard, you can base the models however you want and use a little bit of basing material along the edge of the movement tray to help it blend in some more.  The models, even the metal ones, stay in place when you tip, tilt, and jostle the tray.  None of them tip over or fall out.  Yet you can pluck them out without any trouble as well.

Yet more basing materials
Yet more basing materials

Today I’ll be painting five more archers as I’d rather have one unit completely finished than borrow an archer from my other unit for the game on Sunday.  I’ll also be test basing another archer and my fanatics until I’m satisfied it looks as good as I can get it in the time allowed.  I dug out yet more basing material, including some fancy leaves I got off of Antenociti’s Workshop, they almost seem too nice to use on 15 year old, not terribly well painted, plastic goblins.  I’ve been stockpiling stuff for years and it is time see it on the table, so some of these leaves will find their way onto goblin bases, maybe just the front row, I painted them nicer too.

Autumn Test Goblin

That is the first test goblin base.  It was suggested I wash the ballast, I tried too washes, the ballast like cat litter is absorbent so it came out looking messy.  I don’t mind it as is, it is the weird red stuff that I bought so much of that doesn’t look too good to me.  It will be used judiciously, perhaps mixed in with some ballast or even some green flock.  I believe I still have some of the original green flock I bought over 15 years ago…

First Game of Warhammer 8th Edition

And I lost…

My re-based Beasts of Nurgle
My re-based Beasts of Nurgle

I actually did well.  I got screwed over a little by the campaign getting nothing useful for an event and having no choice but to fight the guy everyone was afraid of, John and his Dark Elf army.  My Plaguebearer horde preformed well, but everything else except Harold, the Herald of Nurgle performed poorly and suffered because of all the points invested in the 40 Plaguebearers lead by the army Battle Standard Bearer.

Making room for magnet
Making room for magnet

I’m back home but still sweating from carrying miniatures twenty plus blocks.  My plan was to put together 1500 points of painted Nurgle Daemons, show up every week or so, play a game or two try to have a little fun.  So much for my plan, next week is mandatory mercenary week in the campaign.  Lucky for me I have a second army, luckily they can ally, unlucky for me that I will have to base them and make movement trays…

Late last night I was scheming up plans to re-base my troublesome Plaguebearer musician conversion and add some magnetic umph to my Battle Standard Bearer, I even had elaborate plans to make my big honkin’ banner even more over the top.  I was also thinking of painting another plaguebearer, not terribly ambitious plans.  Now it is in my best interest to finally base my goblin hordes and to bring some ranged fire power and increased offensive magic.

Magnet fits well
Magnet fits well

If I was doing a pure 1500 Daemon army, I’d definitely have a Herald of Tzeentch at 115 points for a level 2 wizard, the Nurgle Herald is 115 points too and he isn’t even a wizard yet, I spent 275 points on him for the game and although he helped me defeat three Dark Elf units I still lost the game.  Nurgle has such low initiative and relatively few attacks it may be the weakest of the four powers, especially after regeneration was neutered some.

Model Sits Level
Model Sits Level

I did take a lot of pictures and I do have some thoughts for next week, but I’m just beat.  I think I’ll save this as a draft and revise it later.  I think some down time, especially considering I’m operating on about 3-4 hours sleep is in order.

Well I’m back, I didn’t take a nap, but I got next week’s army list worked out and I got the funky drummer drumming so if I’m going to get this done this evening and impress my new blog network, I better get typing.

Here is the army I ended up running at Strategies today:

  • LORD: Slim, Daemon Prince with Wing 320pts
  • HERO: Harold of Nurgle, Herald of Nurgle, Battle Standard Bearer, Banner of Unholy Victory, Level One Wizard, Noxious Vapors, Slim Trail 275pts
  • CORE: Netherworldly Mathematicians, 39 Plaguebearers, Full Command, Icon of Virulence 523pts
  • SPECIAL: George Jr’s, 5 * Nurgling Stands 175pts
  • RARE: Slimey and Esmaralda, two Beasts of Nurgle 200pts
Table Setup
Table Setup

So yeah I didn’t win but I had to play the dreaded Dark Elf player he had a Hydra, a level 4 Wizard, Cold One Knights with a Hero, Dark Riders, Witch Elves, and two squads of crossbowmen.  I never saw his army list and although I did my best, it seems I remember rules that hurt me and perhaps a few turns of Fear checks or sixes from Poison never happened as they were supposed to.

Before I put all the pics up, I spent last night scheming how to re-base some models and now after a visit to the craft store on Main Street I’ve got enough magnets to make the two more movement trays I need, plus it appears I need to paint the bases of 54 Night Goblins by next Sunday, as it is mandatory ally day.

First of all Darren the store owner wanted us to play a random scenario with random terrain.  This resulted in the Watchtower  scenario with 7 pieces of terrain much of it magical and confusing.  It also took a long time to set up the table and figure out what did what.  I avoided maneuvering into the fancy terrain, but my opponent John who had the bigger army couldn’t and for a while the terrain had killed more Dark Elf models than my Nurgle Army.  Eventually the Netherworldly Mathematicians found their mojo and hewed through three Dark Elf units.  The rest of my army didn’t do much and I will be revising my list for next week and the week after accordingly.

My Army Deployment
My Army Deployment

Due to the mission I had to deploy first but go second.  John had the “Scouts” campaign event which trumped my scouts, the Nurglings and the fact I should have gone first as I started with control of the Watchtower technically.  The all CORE Horde Army which I ran and plan to run with my Orks and Goblins is disadvantaged here as only 20 models can fit in the watchtower according to the rules.  This along with my inability to make key saves or unwillingness or naivete in not somehow buying better saves cost me the game.

I deployed sensibly.  Slim my Demon Prince hid behind the Elven Way Stone and despite my caution with him all game, he eventually died to enemy shooting costing me the victory.  Next week he was going to have the Trappings of Nurgle but I just remembered I made him a non-Nurgle Demon and then of course he can’t afford it anyway in a 1500 point game…  DAMN now I need to revise next week’s army list and I was so proud of it too.  Too bad Demons can’t use common magic items.  I’m not painting another Demon Prince and Slim would really benefit from the armour save and regeneration that the Trappings of Nurgle provides.  If he didn’t have wings, I still couldn’t fit it in at 1500 points…  Back to the army books and redrafting next weeks list.  At least I don’t have to redo my 375 points of mercenaries.

Scout Moves
Scout Moves

There isn’t a lot I can do at 1500 points using the Daemons of Chaos List, the best I can come up with while still spending less than 375 points on LORDs is to make Slim a Level One Wizard with the Lore of Metal and hope to get the one defensive spell, if I don’t get it, I still like the Lore of Metal’s offensive capabilities and plan to use it instead of Nurgle’s Lore and instead of Fire unless I play Wood Elves.

So after the enemy deployed my Nurglings showed up I put them just over 12 inches away from the dreaded War Hydra and the almost as dreaded Cold One Knights.  They didn’t last long but they did allow the Plaguebearers to get the charge bonus and eventually wear down the Dark Elves.  I didn’t have a good answer in the magic or shooting phase and I didn’t take on the War Hydra when I had the chance, next time I might be tempted to charge it just to keep it from using its’ breath weapon which killed 11 plaguebearers in a single shot later in the game.

Turn One Taking Charges
Turn One Taking Charges

As you might have gathered, the Dark Elf player got first turn and took the bait.  He charged the Nurglings with both the Hydra and the Cold Ones.  The Hydra did not roll well enough but the Cold One Knights and their hero were way too much for the Nurglings dealing 15+ wounds counting instability rolls which accounted for the last six I think.

With the Nurglings gone there was nothing to be done but charge down the hill with the Plaguebearers.  I think I need to roll 8 or higher and I rolled ten.  The first round of combat didn’t go well, neither did the second.  Harold my Herald refused to fight the Dark Elf hero in a challenge the second round, sulking at the back.  He is much more valuable alive as he was my Battle Standard Bearer, my only wizard, and was worth D3+1 Combat Resolution.  Despite looking there was no rule that said his banner didn’t work in the back rank.  Harold had Pit of Slime and his unit was in H2H from the first turn until the last when I yielded pretty much.  So he was strictly a defensive magician.  Next time my Battle Standard Bearer won’t be my only wizard if at all possible.

Turn One Making Charges
Turn One Making Charges

I think a Herald of Tzeentch is the long term solution to this problem at 1500 points.  But short term I’ll be bringing an allied hero wizard and giving Slim a go in the magic phase as a Level One Wizard in his own right.

I took a picture of how the Dark Elves deployed.  His mysterious river, there were two, along with the Haunted Mansion gave him some grief, I think he would have been best just to ignore them and deploy wherever he wanted.  The central watchtower and the speed of the Dark Riders prevented the Beasts of Nurgle from doing much.  Their initiative of one ensured they ultimately died to the Purple Sun.  Nurgle really suffers with the increased emphasis on initiative and presumably Slaneesh benefits.

After two turns of all out charging there was a period of a turn or so of maneuvering waiting to see who won the one H2H fight.  The Plaguebearers prevailed and followed up catching the hero and killing it.  Then I took an absolute beating in the shooting phase but still charged the crossbowmen and saw them off too, though by then I was down to a single row of Plaguebearers.

Cold One Knights are Routed
Cold One Knights are Routed

About now the Purple Sun finally got cast, but the first time it did nothing.  The Witch Elves came out to play and the Crossbowmen who had taken control of the Watchtower got to meet Slim.  I learned I couldn’t multiple charge the Watchtower which is lame and prevented the Beasts from charging for another turn.  I should have marched then while maneuvering.  I maneuvered them, but always moved at slow speed when I flat out didn’t have to.  That’s inexperience for you.

Slim got to charge the Crossbowmen, despite them standing and shooting and bringing him ultimately down to one wound and me forgetting my Thunder Stomp! I won and chased those Dark Elves out of the tower.  Slim being a monster couldn’t hide in the tower.  The routing Dark Elves were ultimately charged by the Beasts, killed and the Beasts succeeded in escaping one Purple Sun only to be killed by another faster one, 30 inches of movement in one turn!

Dark Elves take the tower
Dark Elves take the tower

After getting burnt, losing their regeneration for the remainder of the phase there were a lot less Plaguebearers.  They were still more than enough for the unit of Dark Elf Crossbowmen in front of the Haunted Mansion.  It was much more surprising when just two surviving Plaguebears both carrying magic standards managed to win a round of combat against the relatively fresh Witch Elves, who broke, were caught and killed.

Alas I didn’t have enough staying power and the crossbow bolts and Purple Suns eventually removed all my models but the aforementioned two Plaguebearers.  I put their banners away during the game, but with my new supply of magnets and some more cinematic basing, they might stick around for more than a photo op.  My DIY musician with my home-made Gong of Despair will hopefully be no problem once I make my custom 2 Plagubearers taking up four models worth of space mini movement tray.

A lot less plaguebearers than I started with
A lot less plaguebearers than I started with

As I said next week is mandatory mercenary week, I’m probably not in last but with only one campaign point and being stuck in the jungle in the upper left corner, I’m close to the bottom.  But I know I’m not trying very hard to win, played the toughest opponent almost to a draw, and with a lot of effort can probably field a better list.  Luckily I’m unemployed so can devote say three days to making movement trays and basing goblins to produce this army list for next week:

  • LORDs: Daemon Prince, Wings, Level 1 Wizard 370pts
  • HEROs: Harold of Nurgle, Battle Standard Bearer, Banner of Unholy Victory, Slime Trail 200pts
  • CORE: 29 Plaguebearers, Full Command, Icon of Eternal Virulence 403pts
  • Mercenary HERO: Night Goblin Shaman, Level 2 Wizard, Mad Cap Mushrooms, Amulet of Protectyness 130pts
  • Mercenary CORE: 50 Night Goblins with short bows, Full Command, 3 Fanatics 245pts
  • SPECIAL: 4 Stands of Nurglings 140pts
  • Leftovers: one more Plaguebearer 12pts
Two Plaguebearers Remain
Two Plaguebearers Remain

There you go, that army hopefully has more offensive and defensive magic.  Slim is still vulnerable but hopefully 50+ Night Goblins will cause some worry.  I think the Plaguebearers will do better deployed in depth, it was the banners and the bonus points of combat resolution that won for me, not my extra attacks and the pitiful few kills I actually managed.  Slime Trail is a really smart use of 10 points and makes Harold exactly 200 points which is more reasonable.

Next week I have the mercenary Night Goblin Shaman with the Little Waaagh magic, but future 1500 point armies will have a cheap Tzeentch Herald I think.  I’ll just put him on foot and hide him behind some squad, say the Plaguebearers.  I’ll give the Beasts of Nurgle another go someday, the Purple Sun was a bit of bad luck, more defensive magic might help, but just getting stuck in would help too.  I also plan to assemble and paint a Fiend of Slaneesh for the speed.  I think the model currently retails for about 35 dollars Canadian so that might be something to buy, though I already own one from a trade many years ago.  Fleshhounds are the other option I own that will add speed and higher initiative troops quickly and easily to the army.

Victory against Witch Elves
Victory against Witch Elves
Magnetic Sheets For Sale
Magnetic Sheets For Sale

First up is more basing, more movement trays, and yet another Plaguebearer.  I also will get some non-Nurgle Heralds and my one Fiend of Slaneesh assembled and hopefully painted in the next two weeks.

While editing this post for the third time, to make it more better and add a link to Urban Source where I got my sheets of magnets, I also thought since flamer template attacks are all the rage, Nurgle usually has one, but it is too many points to give to Slim at 1500.  I’m going to have to paint more stuff or at least field more stuff and use a higher points value, maybe in week three if the campaign goes better…