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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tighten Down Those Turrets!

By Tom Burgess

Nobody likes loose turrets!
I've recently embarked on a new project, a very large Soviet Tank Battalion for Team Yankee.  Fortunately for me, most of the over 50 vehicles I will be building are available from Battlefront Miniatures in plastic. Though I'm happy to work with plastics, my new T-72s and BMPs have a little problem that I have not had with other Battlefront Plastic Miniatures so far. That problem is loose turrets.

Unfortunately, the T-72 and BMP plastic boxed box sets do not come with magnets. They have the spaces  where you can insert magnets if you want to add them, but they only come with plastic "pegs" that you can glue in their place to attach the turret to the hull. This has not been a problem with previous plastic Battlefront tank models I have built. Normally the peg fits into the hull snugly and will hold the turret in place with enough friction while still allowing the turret to rotate when pushed.

My new plastic BMP and T-72s however have very lose turrets.  This is big problem with the T-72 whose'  very long barrel has enough weight to swing the turret on its own with normal game handling. We can't have that!

Magnetic Vent Covers
Of course the immediate solution, and the solution Battlefront would like you to take, is to use the BF turret magnets.  That's the best option if you are good at getting the polarities right and you'd not worried about spending more money.  But I've got 46 plastic models to do and I'm cheap!  So I started brainstorming something I could do with material I had on hand.

One material I usually have a lot of is magnetic floor vent/register covers. I usually use these for making magnetic bases (see my article  Making Inexpensive Magnetic Bases for Flames of War that I wrote two years ago). I buy these at Home Depot. They are cheap and give you three sheets of 8" x 15" vinyl coated magnetic covers. They are very easy to cut and trim. It's not the magnetic properties I'm using here. It's the friction. Any vinyl sheets or similar material should work.

Here's how to do it:

1) The first step is to cut some of the Magnetic Vent covers into small squares/rectangles. These need to be just big enough to overlap the turret peg whole on the hull.

Magnetic Vent Cover on right, with cut off piece just above hobby knife

2) Then add a bit of superglue on each side of the peg hole in the underside of the upper hull.

Drops of superglue

3) Then placed the small piece of magnetic vent cover over the peg hole on the upper hull's underside and press it down firmly.

Place piece of magnetic vent cover over the hole and on top of the superglue

4) After letting the superglue dry, flip the upper hull part over and poke out a hole in the vinyl. Spin the hobby knife to slight enlarge the whole, but not expanding all the way out to the peg hole's circumference on the upper hull.

Make a whole in the magnetic vent cover piece, but keep it smaller than the peg hole itself

Make sure not to enlarge the hole too much and don't worry if it looks rough like in the above. That's just more friction!
5) Finally poke the turret peg through the magnetic vent cover piece. Work it in slowly, twisting as you go.

Turret peg poking through the magnetic vent cover piece

And there you go! All done. Your turrets will now hold in place, even when upside down, while still allowing you to rotate the turret as you wish!

T-72 Turret snugly secured to the upper hull

Tom has been playing wargames since the late 70’s, and Flames of War since 2007. He maintains a gaming website for the BattleVault Gamers of Kentuckiana and posts and moderates WWPD as Iron-Tom.


Mark Holmstrup said...

Good idea but a lot of work. Save time and money--order 5mm x 1mm (BF size) magnets on eBay. I get that size and 3mm x 1mm (good for magnetizing tail rotors and the like) in bulk. For example, 100 of the larger size for $2.38, including shipping.

Mark G said...

This is the exact same size as BF ones (more than eBay, but offered all the time).

Mark G said...

Another option would be to place a small washer or piece of steel paper under the turret and glue a magnet on the turret. Then you don't have to worry about polarity.

Weland said...

Perhaps after primer and basecoat the hole will be a bit tighter for the peg.

I use for magnets

Neodymium Disc Magnet | Diameter: 3/16'' | Thickness: 1/32'' | Grade N45 | NickelPlated | Magnetized Axially

Tom Burgess said...

Thanks guys!

It was actually very quick...but most importantly it was with items I has on had at the moment. Just thought I'd offer it as alterative to the best solution, if you want to wait on an order, magnets.

Sofia Chambers said...

Hi all, I've found some 3rd party 5mm magnets are not exactly the same as BF ones, I carry 3rd part and well as BF magnets in my stock of ready modelling stuff and had to use BF magnets on about 40% of my T-72s so far, all in the hull repository which is more exactly cast. Mark, are the KJ ones exact size? Thanks and regards.

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