The other day I was going to buy some of those fancy magnetic movement trays and bases for my new empire army. Unfortunately the store was sold out so, not wanting to wait for more to come in, I embarked on a journey to find a viable DIY alternative. While my journey was founded in impatience, I ended up being very surprised by the affordability of this method I discovered. So, for anyone who doesn't want to shell out the money for proper magnetic bases here is what I discovered.
Normal bases that you probably already have your guys glued to
old movement trays whether they are gw ones, plasticard, or whatever else you have on hand as long as they can take spray paint
Magnetic spray paint (normal spray paint laden with iron particles)
These last two items can be obtained at hobby lobby for around 10 dollars and will make, by my loose estimate, around 100 20mm bases worth of trays/bases. the magnetic spray paint is $11 but Hobby Lobby has 40% off coupons online that will drop the cost to around 7 (link below). The magnetic tape stuff is $3 for 10 ft.
To make magnetized bases:
1: Cut from the magnet tape pieces that are about the size of your base but still fit comfortably in the bottom part.
2: glue these into the bottoms of the bases and make sure they sit flush with the bottom of the base.
Things to be aware of:
1: The beveled edge of the bases make it so that simple cutting the magnetic tape into 20mm lengths is too long, so they need to be slightly smaller than the length of a base.
2: Cavalry, or other slotted bases need to be ground down (I used a dremel tool) so that the tape can sit inside.
To make old movement trays magnetic:
Simply spray the magnetic spray paint onto old movement trays
Things to be aware of:
1: the strength of the attraction between the magnets and magnetized spray paint depends on thickness. I put about 8 fairly thick coats on my trays to obtain a decent level of attraction.
2: this spray paint can be primed and painted over while maintaining the magnetic quality so you are not stuck with the color of it.
3: you could just as easily use any magnetic material for your trays and skip the magnetic spray paint entirely. I just used the spray because I already had plastic movement trays.
Anyway this is a relatively quick easy and cheap way to upgrade existing bases and trays to be magnetized. These are not quite as strong as the ones sold in the shop, but they are still strong enough to allow me to hold my handgunner unit sideways (picture included). I actually prefer this lesser strength because it means the models still stay put, but removing and shifting models is still quite easy. I hope this helps some people
Link to Hobby Lobby coupon: http://www.hobbylobby.com/weekly/weekly.cfm