Monday, June 24, 2013

Magnetizing a Battletech Hawk Moth Gunship

I finally finished some work I started ages ago on two models.

The models are VTOLs for Battletech and more specifically Hawk Moth Gunships. VTOLs are great support vehicles in Battletech and the Hawk Moth Gunships with their Light Gauss Rifle can easy provide a variety of battlefield uses. The Hawk Moth Gunship has a larger cousin called the Yellow Jacket Gunship with a full Gauss Rifle at its disposal, but the Hawk Moth has a better speed profile for the time being.

Both of my Hawk Moth Gunship models had the bases, the VTOLs, and the rotor blades modified. Most of the modifications were for a better flight stand for better stability and to magnetize the rotor blades for better storage.

The bases had the center drilled out to fit the plastic tubing which would act as the flight stand. The stock metal flight stand which came in the blister was useless to hold the weight of these models so I had to find a better alternative.

The alternative idea came in two parts.The first part was wire costing maybe $0.50 fro three feet at best from a local hardware store. I had to strip and straighten the wire. but the wire still did not look stable enough. The second part was the white plastic tube which came from a pack of various sized plastic tubes from a hobby store. The wire from part one fit snug in the plastic tube from part two. In sense the model's flight stand has external and internal armor.

The VTOL had two modifications. The first modification was the bottom had to be drilled out to fit the new flight stand.Trying to drill a hole to fit the flight stand perfectly was not worth risking a bore through the top of the model so I ended up with a slightly snug fit. The second modification was to remove the previous rotor blade stand and replace it with a cylinder magnet. Removing the rotor stand was simple along with adding the magnet. Getting the drill to stay in the center is always a pain. One VTOL's rotor magnet is centered while the other VTOL's rotor magnet is slightly towards on side.

Despite having the cylinder magnets in my possession for sometime, the second modification was made last in the actual occurrence of events.

The rotor blades were modified by adding a magnet in the center of all the blades. If you look closely there is not much metal between the rotor blades and the center of the rotor to work with so my margin of failure was very slim. I had to drill enough to get a dremel bit in to smooth out the hole in order to except the magnet. I never had any breaks to the rotor blades during this phase which I am glad.

This rotor blade arrived broken in the blister, but with a little ingenuity and some spare flash I was able to repair the rotor blade. Looking at the first picture you can't tell one of the rotor blades were ever broken unless you are up close or take the rotor blades off.

On the funny side my two kittens apparently think these models are toys for them. Numerous times they kept jumping to my paint stand and batting around the rotor blades, the VTOLs, and the pin vises. I was sure the rotor blades would break despite pushing them into small alcoves, but the kittens would pull them out. One of the VTOLs was paw batted to the floor and disappeared under the couch for bit till I noticed it went missing. I move my models of the paint stand at night and sometimes I find one of the kittens sleeping on it.

I would like to get to use these models in the future soon.


  1. Now, If you could just train those kittens to paint for you might be able to speed up your painting output.
    I tried but I haven't had much luck...sigh...

    1. They did find my brushes and paints I had sitting on a stand elsewhere. Not much was done besides a brush or two being batted off and a blister full of various bitz going overboard to the floor.

  2. I love including vtols in Battletech. In a campaign I ran years ago the players acquired a vtol with a gauss rifle and it probably put the Coup De Gras on a dozen mechs before is was destroyed.
    It makes me want to go add a couple to the collection.


    1. VTOLs are excellent. I like the models armed with long range weapons so far. The combination of range and speed usually keeps them well out of an enemy's sights. Though now I kind of want to get some Yellow Jackets just to cause some fear on a battlefield.