Adding Magnets to X-Wing Mini’s

So, sometimes when you’re playing X-Wing Miniatures, accidents happen.  Defective models, accidental drop-age, drunk friends (#1 cause for me), it’s very easy to end up with an X-Wing with 3 cannons or a TIE Interceptor minus a wing.  Superglue is mildly adequate, but I’ve had much better results using a compound called “Build-It.”


Superglue? Pffft, noob.

The squeeze bottle carries the traditional glue, but the spray bottle is where the magic is.  It is an activator (according to the label) and rapidly speeds up the curing time for the glue.  With Superglue, you may have to wait several hours for it to dry; with Build-It, that time is reduced to mere moments.  Amazingly effective, not only have I used it to repair my own ships, I also repair ships for friends as well.  Additionally, to bolster my collection, I can purchase busted ships for cheap and easily repair them (muhahahahaha!)’

Sometimes, though, something reeeeeeal bad happens to your ships. Like, your female peg will shatter or get crushed.  Glue is pretty rad, but even then, it has it’s limits.

My friend John gave me an outstanding idea…magnets!  Rare earth magnets are amazingly strong for their size and weight and come in various tiny sizes.  Using the magnets and a Dremel tool, you can bypass the peg system altogether.  Here’s what I use:

-Dremel with 4 bits (they came with my set)

-Build-It Glue and Activator

-Magnets (1/4″ diameter for large ships, 1/8″ for small ships)

-Small Snips or Wire Strippers

-Plastic tweezers (maybe? I don’t use them, but we’ll get to that)

-Cotton Swabs

-Marker or Sharpie

-Paper Towels

-Safe Surface to work on


1/4″ Diameter Magnet

DISCLAIMER: While I think I did a decent job, I don’t know how to do this crap.  I’m kinda learning as I go, but just being really careful.  Anyway, feel free to build upon and improve my methods…in fact, I demand it!


If the female peg isn’t already detached, you can usually pry it off using the snips if you’re careful and rock it from side to side.  Failing that, use your Dremel tool to cut it off.

Then, start the hole!  Find a nice place to start drilling. I use the small drill/screw bit shown here since it helps to get the hole started, and is a good size if you’re working on a small-based ship with a 1/8″ diameter magnet. 


Ugh…soft focus…anyway, use this guy to start!


“Remember, short controlled bursts!” Hah! Get it? It’s a reference! Do you-do you get it?!? Get it? Guys? Do you get it?

IMPORTANT!  Make sure you only drill lightly and in short spurts.  Putting too much pressure can break it and drilling for too long can heat up the bit and cause it to start melting your mini.


Next, if I’m using the 1/4″ magnet, I’ll use this larger bit shaped like an inverted tear drop (sorry, I’m sure there’s a more technical name).  I could use a standard sized drill bit, but I prefer the fine teeth on this one; I’m concerned a standard sized bit may destroy the model.


Use this to make larger holes.

Now, either way, you should have a “V” shaped hole in your model (imagine your mini is transparent and you’re looking at it from the side).  This simply won’t do.  There’s not a whole lot of real-estate on these mini’s so you need to use this next bit (shaped like a SUPER tiny version of the tear-drop bit) to carve out the bottom of the “V”.


“The Finisher” use this guy to clean up the hole for the magnet.

Use it until you get more of a “U” shape.  Ideally, your hole should be shaped like “|__|” but getting it that precise is pretty impossible.  Keep doing it little bits at time and tossing the magnet in there.  Be careful of getting in completely flush with the fuselage…for example, if your put a magnet in an X-Wing and the magnet is completely flush, because of the angle, your X-Wing will be pointing toward the ground.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but keep that in mind when drilling out the hole.


Repaired K-Wing with a 1/8″ diameter magnet.


Not much to say on this one.  Take the intended destination peg and snip the top off.  Then, using the sander bit on the Dremel file it down until it is even.


Sanding bit I used.


It’s best to have two magnets for this, because if you screw up you’re going to have to get messy.  Take your two magnets and pair them together, then using a marker, mark the “back” of the magnets.  This will be useful for keeping track of which end of the magnet to glue into the mini.

Take one of the cotton swabs and snip an end off.  I use this end to dip into the glue and put into the ship.  I do this for two reasons: 1) better control than the glue nozzle and 2) I managed to glue the nozzle shut and it’s now useless.


Snips and the remains of a cotton swab.

Put some glue into the hole you made in the ship, then add the magnet.  Remember, put the side we drew on “inside” the ship (or however you did it, just be consistent) so we know which ends will attract each other. DO NOT SPRAY ACTIVATOR YET!  Once the magnet is in a good spot, use your cotton swab to paint on a little more glue on the edges, or your magnet might get ripped out of it’s spot.  It’s not good to dip a dirty swab into the bottle again, so do your best to keep in clean, or just get a new one.  Now, one spray of the activator should lock in your magnet.  Make sure your glue bottle is shut and you’re not spraying into anything (like a paint bottle or a drink you have) dangerous.

Then, repeat the process on the peg.  You can try using plastic tweezers to place the magnet (as metal will attract it and ruin your work) but I haven’t found a good way to avoid getting glue on your fingers.  It’s just gonna happen.  Anyway, make sure you’re brushing glue on the edges of your magnet; these magnets are super strong and putting glue on only the bottom isn’t sufficient.  That, and you probably aren’t getting any activator underneath the magnet, so it could take several hours to cure.


1/8″ manget on a small-based peg. Note the glue visible around the edges.


Did you screw up?  If you did…well, you can’t follow directions very well and I have no interest in continuing this conversation.  Please go somewhere else.

If it worked, Haha, awesome!  Yes!  There’s a secret club in the back of all game stores for people with magnetic models.  There’s also a secret menu at In-N-Out Burger (!?!?!?!).  Most people know about Animal Style, but there’s also a delicious Chicken Sandwich.  They’re gonna pretend they don’t have one (they hate making it!) but just insist.  Repeatedly.  It might get awkward, but dude, such a good sandwich and it’s totally worth it.

Here are some pics of magnetic ships (including the Rebel Transport from the Raider Video).  I should mention; that ship initially had the back peg fall off and I was able to squeeze a magnet in there.  In the front, I simply attached it to the bottom of the female peg.


Magnetized ship on the left. By removing the female peg, you’re dropping the height of your ship by a few millimeters.


Peg for the Rebel Transport. Make sure to match your magnets correctly!


Bottom of the magnetized Rebel Transport. Note the position of the two magnets.


K-Wings and a Transport fleeing a double Decimator attack!

As mentioned, I’m relatively inexperienced with these modifications, so if you have ways of improving my methodology, then absolutely speak up.  Do not tolerate my incompetence.  Though, honestly guys, just try it.  It can be pretty intimidating to mess with your mini’s like this, but it’s not that difficult.  It’s super nice to have the Dremel tool, but I’ve done this before with a pocket knife and a nail file (not recommended).  Just be careful and go slow and you should be good, even those of you who are inexperienced.

Thanks for checking it!

Tags:  , , , ,