X-Wing Customizable Magnetic / Pivoting Flight Stand

So, like so many other people, I purchased Fantasy Flight’s new X-Wing miniatures game and purchased all of the expansions thus far.  I am of course, waiting on the new expansions coming out soon.

When playing the game, I wanted a little bit more dynamic “pose” to the ships, and being familiar with flight stands that allow you to rotate and change the pitch and yaw of the mini, I thought I could make my own.   I posted a short video at the end of this post of the finished product.

I made a trip to our local Wal-Mart and purchased some BBs in the air gun section as well as some pellets.  You have to find the right type that are attracted to magnets.  The BBs you see in the image are steel while the pellets I bought aren’t attracted to magnets, so they are useless.

So, what you need is:

  • 3/32 magnets
  • 1 x 3/32 drill bit
  • BBs for an air gun
  • Pin vice to hold the bit or other tool to drill
  • Clippers
  • X-Wing miniature game (of course)

Step one is to cut the tab off of the plastic post that inserts into the ship using your clippers.  You can see where to clip looking at the image below:

Step two is to drill down into the same post that the previous tab was connected to. I drilled just enough to make a nice hole for the BB to sit in.

The next step, I glued the BB in place on the post in which I just drilled a small hole I used Gale Force Nine’s hobby glue for this.

The fourth step is to take your 3/32″ drill bit and drill into the post attached to the ship.  This shouldn’t take much time or effort, but you have to go deep enough so the magnet goes into the post.  Drill deep enough so the magnet sits below the surface of the post.  I used a paper clip to push the magnet to the right depth.  I didn’t use glue here.

Lastly, connect your ship to the new base and post and enjoy the game!

I would be happy to customize any of your X-Wing or other  ships this way for $3 each.

As you can see, the modification is inconspicuous and doesn’t require a lot of time or effort.  However, for those of you who may be a little hesitant, I’d suggest letting someone else try it.

I will be doing this for all my ships and I’ll show a completed shot of them in action when done.  Finally, as promised, here’s a short 20 second video of what it looks like completed:

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25 thoughts on “X-Wing Customizable Magnetic / Pivoting Flight Stand

  1. Excellent ! Pourriez-vous m’indiquer la dimension des aimants : je suppose que 3/32” est le diametre, quelle est la hauteur ? Et quel est le diametre des BBs ? Merci !

  2. Excellent! Could you tell me the size of the magnets: I guess 3/32” is the diameter, what is the height? And what is the diameter of BBs? Thank you!

    • I’ll have to measure for sure, but they look like 1/8″ x 3/32″. I will measure later.

      The BBs are .177 caliber or 4.5mm, are steel and then zinc plated.

      One thing to be careful of, is that the post in the ships aren’t in the center of the balance. Sometimes the ship will “spin” or “lean” towards the heavy end- front or back.

      I’m going to try and find stronger magnets than the ones I have.

      Good luck.

      • That would be a much better idea- I went with what was immediately available. Any future modifications will use the better components.

      • Actually spherical magnets against disc magnets won’t allow for banking, the poles keep the ship in a fixed position and it just spins. BUT, I have a post down towards the bottom of this page with a pretty perfect solution… BBs on the stem plus ring magnets (1/4″ OD x 1/8″ ID x 1/16″) on the bottom of the ship (cut off the plastic female bit on the ship for a lower profile fit). The rings sit around the BBs and create more contact area. You can bank fully in any direction with no drooping on any of the current ships.

    • Thanks!

      Again, I’m still trying to find stronger magnets than what I have. Since the flight stand isn’t balanced with the weight distribution of the model the model may “slide” and tilt to the heavy side. If I can’t find stronger magnets I may find a way to make the contact points more “sticky” or create more friction.

      Maybe painting the bottom side of the magnet or something similar to add ‘grip.’

      As it stands, the models don’t move until you over balance them or move them to the extreme points. The X-Wing is more unbalanced than the Y-Wing. I haven’t tried any of the Tie Fighters yet.

      • I was thinking a washer could be used around the magnet, touching the ball and causing enough friction to stabilize the construction. Are you using Neodymium magnets? They’re very strong even at strength N35. I use these magnets for all kinds of stuff in the miniature hobby, but mostly for magnetizing bases so I can bring out my miniatures on metal trays without the risk of dropping them on the floor.

        I actually searched Ebay right now for Neodymium magnets and found out that there is Neodymium sphere and ring magnets available! How cool is this? It opens up some possibilities like skipping the aforementioned washer and using a ring magnet instead. It’s also possible to go the other way and use a sphere magnet and a regular washer. Whatever is cheapest I guess. =)

        I’m gonna put in an order right now!

      • I have tried different grip solutions. Rubber cement worked ok, but what I found worked really well was using the next size up of magnets. They can be glued directly to the bottom of the ship stand or the stand cut down and glued directly to the ship. The. Use a dremel tool and slightly dish out the magnet. Works great and doesn’t need any extra grip on the BB because the magnet is making better contact.

      • So you drilled into the magnet on the ship to make it concave so it sits on the B-B better, correct?

        I’ll look into getting a bigger size magnet myself.

  3. What kind of attachment did you use on the dremel to dish out the magnet? Does it need to be a very hard material to make a dent in the Neodymium?

    FYI, I’m trying a similar solution but with a slightly smaller sphere glued to the stand that is also a neodymium magnet. – http://www.kjmagnetics.com/products.asp?cat=12

    Hopefully doing a magnet to magnet connection will solve some of the grip issues but I’m prepared to do what you described with dishing out the disc magnet on the ship.

    • I’ve actually been reading up on this and see that neodymium magnets will likely demagnetize and/or catch fire when heated… I’m even more curious about how you dished one out…

      • I have not noticed any demagnetization. They do tend to spark on occasion when dishing out. Im not dishing them out very much. Just enough to make some more contact on the BB. Even a little bit dished out makes all the difference. The tool I used is an engraving cutter attachment (Just looked it up).

    • The attachment i used was a small metal ball diamond encrusted (supposedly). It was a standard attachment that came with my dremel. Those axial magents look like a much better solution. Let me know how they work.

  4. So, I’ve found a pretty perfect method for these. I’m using a 1/4″ OD x 1/8″ ID x 1/16″ thick magnetic ring and a standard BB. Gluing the BB on the stand just like you’ve done. I’m also clipping off the plastic bit on the miniature that used to fit into the stand and gluing the magnetic ring directly to the miniature. Makes for a really clean look that way. Plus, the ring is a perfect size to sit nicely around the BB. The 1/4″ od of the ring makes for a bigger footprint that the 1/8″ peg that was originally attached to the miniature but with a little shaving on the miniature to make a flat spot for it the final product looks very clean.

    Here’s the ring that did the trick — https://www.kjmagnetics.com/proddetail.asp?prod=R421

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