Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tutorial: Magnetizing the Screaming Bell/Plague Furnace

Being a man of poor means, I have to stretch every gaming dollar I possibly can.  Furthermore, when new editions change some units drastically change in power level.  Just ask anyone who played Tyranids from 4th to 5th.  Ask them where their Carnifex arms are.  Mine are magnetic so I survived just fine.

When I got the Screaming Bell I was determined to magnetize it, no matter how hard it seemed.  It's an expensive kit and both options seem attractive.  I'm not experienced enough in 8th yet to know which is better and there is rarely a better teacher than experience, so I'm going to have to run both to find out.  I tried finding a tutorial online for magnetizing this beast but there were very few, and I knew I could figure out a better way to do it than the ones I found.

This may seem like a lengthy preface for a tutorial, but this is a seriously difficult project.  This is the hardest thing I've ever magnetized, even harder than the Trygon I did earlier.  First off, the kit is among the most complex I've ever put together.  The Doomwheel is difficult as well, but this one takes the cake.  It has supurb detail but also a ridiculous amount of surfaces and delicate parts.  I almost snapped several of the flame/vapor tendrils on the model while cutting them off.  This is not a kit for beginners (and there's a lot of beginners getting into Skaven because of the IoB, but that's a topic for another day).

What makes this kit so difficult is that the kit shares several pieces in either the Bell or Furnace assembly.  Compounding this is that most of these are key weight-bearing joins.  The yoke and arches are the prime examples.  The back platform being reverseable depending on what you're running is a simple fix but the arches and yoke will be the hardest part.  Steel yourself, double check your polarizations and let's dive in.

Above you can see all the different components of this magnetization.

Let's get the hard stuff out of the way first.  Above you see the interior assembly of the arches.  The magnet is held in place with a greenstuff setting.  You want to use a small but powerful magnet.  This one is 1/8" wide, 1/16" thick and N52 grade.  In order to get the magnets in the right place, look below!

Glue a pair of magnets to either end of the struts.  Be sure that the glue has set, I usually reinforce it with a bit of epoxy.  When it sets, put some greenstuff in the arches and place another magnet on either end of the struts.  Widen the opening of the arches a tiny bit so that you can get the magnets in and out easily without breaking them.  Shove both ends in the arches so that the unglued magnet wedges into the greenstuff.  This way you know it's in the right place.  Double, triple check that your bell/censer is facing the correct direction because the arches must go in the correct side.  I messed up on this part twice and had to redo it.

Above you see the yoke.  Take two tiny magnets, the 1/16" ones are perfect.  Chop off a tiny, tiny bit of the ends and replace them with magnets.  They should still be the same distance apart as they were before.  This can be tricky, you should measure twice and cut once.

Before gluing the bell together, you'll need to get the Grey Seer in position.  Put him together except for the hand grabbing the bell.  Notice in the picture above he has the handle, do as I say not as I do.  I had fitted him, glued the hand and then taken the picture.  You'll need to properly fit him before you glue his hand.  Drill two holes in his feet next to the nubs that go into the corresponding parts on the bell.  Don't drill in the nubs themselves.  Put two small magnets in.

Place the Seer on top of the bell, put a drop of glue where you think his feet are, then drop a magnet in.  It will fall into the spot where the feet are.  The second one is trickier because the second magnet will want to go where the first one is.  Once you get both in and the seer stays up just fine, you can glue the bell together, and magnetize the Horned Rat symbol on top of both the bell and censer.

Now let's finish the Seer.  Very, very carefully drill into the handle on each side and place a magnet in each one.

You can't really see it in this picture, but I drilled a small hole and stuck a bit of paperclip in each side where the handle for the Seer meets the bell.  You don't need a full magnet, just enough force to help hold him in place as the feet provide most of the lift.  I then filed it flat and filled in the gaps so hopefully when it's painted you won't be able to see anything.

Now let's test it out.  Here's the censer assembly sans monks...

And here's the bell assembly sans Seer.  To attach this to the frame of the bell/furnace simply slide the pegs of the arches into the corresponding hole.  You can magnetize this part but it's firm enough that there's really no need.  I didn't bother.

Now the easy part.  Glue a powerful magnet on the underside of the front platform.

Put a magnet on the bottom of the brazier and the Plague Priest, be sure to check the fits and all that stuff.

The back platform is reversable.  It is not a weight-bearing part so I used a weird method to get it in.  Most of the weight is supported by the frame itself, I just wanted an extra bit of holding power without any visible point of contact.  I put two magnets in the sides and then added a magnet on the underside of the frame as seen below.

The magnets don't have contact but they still attract each other.

 To magnetize the Rat Ogre and Plague Monks to the platform simply widen the holes on the platform by a tiny bit so that you can fit a 1/16" magnet in.  To magnetize the Monks/Ogre, simply cut off the pegs on the feet about halfway so you have a flat surface.  Drill in a ways, then cut off the rest of the peg.  The hole will be in the right place and you can widen it for a 1/8" magnet.

Here it is as a Plague Furnace, missing the extra censer thing that goes on the arch.  I left if off because it's not necessary and I'd rather save it for other conversions.

Finally, here it is as the Screaming Bell.

Good luck!  I'll do it for you but I charge $100 for just the magnetization, and you have to clean the mould lines.  Yes, it is cheaper to just buy another kit.  That's the point.  I'm not doing this again.


  1. Awesome tutorial!

    Yes I'm one of those that've recently started a Skaven army having never played Warhammer before, and had fully planned on doing this when I get a Bell/Furnace for my force, now I don't have to figure out how to do it myself.

  2. Let me just say your article just saved me a heap of time re: magnetising the grey seer. The rest of my bell can be glued down however :P

    Anyway im so grateful im going to backlink this article on my own blog ( and give you full props, work of this nature should be rewarded!


    1. As I think of the Mayville Iron Works, and its two blast furnaces and coke plant which were demolished not
      long after that iron works closed in 1928, I'm grateful for this amazing site which still stands.
      Here are the Carrie Furnaces outside of Pittsburgh, with two 200 feet high blast furnaces, hot blast stoves
      and beautiful smokestack.

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