Magnetising DreadBall Models

I’ve bought some teeny tiny magnets in order to magnetise my DreadBall models. I ordered the magnets to collect from Firestorm Games (a very friendly store, good advice and they cook a nice burger) and got my email 12 minutes after I’d gotten on the train to Bristol – and wouldn’t be back in Cardiff for a week. Oh well, c’est la vie.

There are two things that I want to achieve by magnetising models – keeping them from crashing around in boxes during transport and keeping the balls attached to the ball carriers. To do this, there are a few options:

  • Magnetise the box and ball, put metal on the model bases
  • Magnetise the models, put metal in the box and ball.
  • Magnetise the ball and models, but metal in the box.

I have to experiment – if the magnets are too strong, they will affect each other when models are standing next to each other. Magnetising the ball will be tricky, there’s a very small margin of error. And if I’m magnetising both models and bases, I’ll have to make sure to line the magnetic poles up properly or it’ll be more like a game of Subbuteo than DreadBall!

As for the vague term ‘metal’, I’m thinking of paperclips or metal wire. A small metal rod inside the ball, and flush with the base, should keep the ball attached to anything with a magnet in it. A similar rod stuck to the bottom of the base (after gouging out a channel for it to keep it flush, of course) would do the same in the other direction. Metal wires can also be run inside the cardboard of the boxes that I use for transport and storage, if I choose to go in that direction.

An interesting side effect will be seeing how the magnetic bases react with the metal pitch I’m expecting!

I got a pack of 2mm x 1mm magnets (discs 2mm in diameter and 1mm thick). They weren’t quite as strong as I thought, so I doubt that they would stop anything moving around in the box. That’s alright, there are plenty of other options (probably foam) although may take up a little more space. They are very strong right next to each other, but not so much going through things like bases – this is strong enough to keep a ball on the base (even upside down) but not to make it a hassle to move it off.

Based on the experimentation, I’ve scrapped the transportation goal. I’d need bigger magnets specifically for the task, and I would probably need to glue the models into the bases to give them enough thickness to secure the magnets. I’m putting magnets in the balls, and gluing another on the underside of the hex base corners. I’m going to try magnetising a single Robot model into the base, to make their transformations easier to manage – but I don’t know if either the model base or the hex base will be thick enough to glue a magnet in.

…intermission music here…


I experimented with the single Robot for transformations. It is possible to fit a magnet into both the hex base and the model base flushly, although to do so the drill tip pokes out of the end (not enough for a magnet to fall out though). At the same time, I had been playing a couple of league games with the Robots, and found transforming while keeping track of player numbers to be a huge pain in the neck. I went on a blitz last weekend and magnetised the rest of the models and bases. It’s a lot of fun to keep plucking ‘bots from the bases and sticking a new one in. It worked extremely well and didn’t interrupt the game when I tried it in full against CJ in a league game.

Despite this, they still wouldn’t secure safely to a metal box. They’d do better being attached to a magnet in the base, but I don’t want to go to that expense. I don’t think it would do the job on it’s own anyway, and would rather get some foam to move them around safely.

While I was at it, I put a magnet in one of the corners of the hex bases for the ball to stick to. I’m going to put the remainder of the magnets in other hex bases to attach the ball, because I think that’ll really help the biggest annoyance of the game, which is dropping the ball all over the place. The last decision to make is whether or not to magnetise both of my balls, or to leave one plain so that it doesn’t interfere if an opponent has magnetised his bases with the opposite polarity. It’s unlikely to come up very often though.


Just for fun, here is a magnetised robot with a ball magnetised to the corner of the base, hanging nonchalantly from a screw on the underside of a shelf above the Greater Blurred Black (Grey) Dragon.

All in all, a successful magnet experiment and a modest increase to my modelling ability!

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