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"Minis at Airports" Topic

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23 Mar 2015 6:45 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian02 Feb 2012 6:50 p.m. PST

How much of a problem has it been for you, to take your minis onto a flight? Does security give you any hassle over them?


It wasn't a problem in 89 and 90, the last times I flew with them. No one that flew in to our FoG Tournament had any complaints.

ming3102 Feb 2012 7:03 p.m. PST

Not on my carry on , but my luggage has been searched every time ( they leave a card )

galvinm02 Feb 2012 7:08 p.m. PST

Don't fly anymore. Can't stand to be fondled by strangers. After wearing a uniform for 24 years, I'm offended that I have to get undressed to fly. Ergo, not a problem. My truck has plenty of room, and I pack well.

Lee Brilleaux Fezian02 Feb 2012 7:18 p.m. PST

No problems, although I don't take an Xacto with me.

Sometimes lead figures make the scanner operator interested – not because of the models but because – so I've been told – that they might be concealing something dubious. I always say "I have a box of lead soldiers in here".

McKinstry Fezian02 Feb 2012 8:40 p.m. PST

My checked luggage has been clearly searched and repacked (badly) with a TSA sticker notifying me of the intrusion.

Ashurman02 Feb 2012 8:47 p.m. PST

Always, always they are checked, with the little slip, but only in the US! I rarely carry them in a carry-on anymore, both to save my arms and because they really get upset…and thus want to detail search everything!

In the Middle East (like Dubai, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan), Eastern Europe, and the "Former Soviet Union" they not only check them, but insist on opening the bags at the scanner – the density of the metal is quite close to other heavy metals for the scanners, and they make you scan your bags when you get off the plane.

Really, they seem to always think that they are silver or gold coated with something. I even carried a sign in Arabic for a while that said these are toys made from a lead-tin alloy. That said, I had a number of miniatures, 25's, stolen in the Middle East's airports (even though I would put signs in the bags with the figures). Very annoying when you are painting units and end up a figure-or-two short!

A worse problem has been the paints – no sprays, of course, and I lost all my Foundry paints plus the tools – Dremel and X-actos, etc. – when I left Afghanistan…the shippers (I had become separated from my bags) refused to send them – so they now must belong to someone there! However, in checked baggage they had always made it up to then.

I haven't been flying domestically to cons, so no experience carrying anything but the lead or packed painted-but-not-based figures. Those come thru basically in one piece, although breakable bits (wings, lances, standards, etc.) are often in need of some glue!

Take Care,

Brent2751102 Feb 2012 9:05 p.m. PST

I don't see why there would be a problem traveling with minis, when I flew back from Historicon a couple years ago I got a lot of oohs and awes.

14th Brooklyn03 Feb 2012 2:54 a.m. PST

I have always put them in my checked-in luggage and have never had any problems, be that transatlantic or inside Europe.



Altius03 Feb 2012 3:06 a.m. PST

I try not to take them with me on a plane anymore. Every time I have, my bags have been searched.

AncientWarfare03 Feb 2012 3:08 a.m. PST

Always had them checked whether carry-on or in checked. I prefer carry-on nowadays, as I can explain what it is. They've always been polite and interested. I probably look non threatening…

Gunbird03 Feb 2012 4:05 a.m. PST

I always take them as carry on and get searched every time, the resin and metals really stand out on the scanner, such is life. A short explanation of what they are and I'm waved on again. This in various European countries. I've never put them in my checked bags, I've seen how they handle my regular kit, no thx.

Dynaman878903 Feb 2012 4:06 a.m. PST

I don't fly with them. If I am going somewhere that I need minis I will drive, not just for the hassle reasons – who wants to risk the airline losing the minis?

Jemima Fawr03 Feb 2012 4:25 a.m. PST

Why on earth would you want to take Minis on a plane?! Leave them in the car park like normal people.

If you want to take your Mini flying, you could get one of these:


Jemima Fawr03 Feb 2012 4:31 a.m. PST

Is this the Editor?


Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian03 Feb 2012 4:56 a.m. PST

I'm the one in the middle.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2012 5:12 a.m. PST

Took an inert 20mm cannon round through security once. That was an interesting conversation :)

jgibbons03 Feb 2012 6:07 a.m. PST

I brought 75 pounds of lead in a checking bag when I went to gw Baltimore…..

But that was per 9/11 and still caused some raised eyebrows :-)


jdpintex03 Feb 2012 7:08 a.m. PST

I've always carried unpainted lead in my carry-on when flying. And of course, I get pulled aside for "special" screening.

Something to do with what ships look like on X-ray.

Generally ends up with a long discussion with the customs/TSA dude who almost always ends up being a gamer or interested in history.

flicking wargamer03 Feb 2012 7:16 a.m. PST

I have been delayed at security while the ENTIRE TSA staff came over to look at the bags of minis I had because they thought they were cool. Finally a supervisor came over and told them to let me go catch my plane. I told him I really didn't mind as I was very early (work trip with a side trip to a local hobby store). I just make sure they are on top or are easy to get to because they are an unusual shape on the x-ray and they are going to draw attention because they are not seen every day. One of the people I game with is a higher up at TSA and I am pretty sure he had made it known that people do travel with this stuff.

I'm not sure how I feel about checking them. They should be fine, but you never know. A few I might check. I'm not sure I would want to fly with a bunch anyway.

22ndFoot03 Feb 2012 7:31 a.m. PST

Have flown six times between New York and Heathrow in the last three months and have brought figures back from the UK each time. Figures have been both metal and plastic and I have carried them in carry on every time without any hassle at all. In fact, I have never had any hassle on that route and the only incident was some years ago, again at Heathrow, after a weekend trip to the Derby show when the security chap at Heathrow asked to see the figures because he was interested.

Charlie 1203 Feb 2012 12:20 p.m. PST

Have taken multiple cross country (US) and transatlantic trips with my ships in my carry-on (nowadays I only use carry-on, no checked baggage for me). Have never had a problem. I always pack them on top for easy access and am always ready to explain what they are. Big surprise was when one inspector asked what rules I used (he was gamer)!

Thorfin1103 Feb 2012 2:38 p.m. PST

I got pulled aside a couple of times when heading on the family holiday. That was with metal figures and plastic figures with metal bases.

Since then I have based up a bunch of plastic figures on wooden bases for our travelling games and I've never had any hassle.

nickinsomerset04 Feb 2012 2:09 a.m. PST

Leaving Sarajevo in 1996 I had a couple of tool boxes with the stuff I had painted, caused a few raised eyebrows amongst the French, and a plastic container with paints was given special attention leaving Bastion in Afg a couple of years ago. Otherwise no problems,

Tally Ho!

J Womack 9423 Feb 2013 10:19 p.m. PST

Bare lead can ride in the belly of the plane, securely packaged in the bag. Little real damage ever to them, and being bare, not prone to chipped paint, etc, anyway.

Painted figs come with me in carry-on. I always inform the screeners that I have a number of metal, resin and palstic toy soldiers in my carry-on luggage. I always get a special screening. This has caused nervous TSA agents to ask me to very slowly and carefully open the bag and show them.

Once, in Houston, the stupid chemscanner had not been reset from the previous night and a resin vehicle came up as RDX. Luckily, I remained calm and sensible (usually best with armed but perhaps not so well trained security forces), and the fact that my two sons were with me led them to believe the items were probably not, in fact, explosives. So, no guns were drawn or anything. I did have to wait almost an hour for the resident expert to arrive at work (it was a very early flight), and they wouldn't even let me hand my sons some cash to buy breakfast while we waited. Once the expert realized the machine had not been reset, it took about two minutes to clear me through. Nearly missed my flight to Historicon (this was 2011).

Personal logo Dasher Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2013 3:56 p.m. PST

I was once upgraded on the strength of my (Grenadier, metal, personally-painted) Star Wars army from coach to Business Class, but I havent tried to take figures on in years, not since a TSA employee opened the small carrying case I was using and held it up vertically to display the handful of award-winning figures I was taking. When I hastily tried to get her to NOT tip them out onto the tile floor, the bovine look of disinterest and implacable indifference on her face and that of her supervisor and co-workers was sufficient warning to NEVER bring figures on a plane with me, ever again.
Doghouse me if you wish for saying this, but my country is seriously messed up.

Grand Duke Natokina01 Mar 2013 11:46 a.m. PST

In 75, flying from Glasgow to Dublin, I had to open my box of Staddens and Traditions to show the people. They also didn't like the dewat machine gun bullet on my dog tags.

J Womack 9429 May 2013 11:23 a.m. PST

the bovine look of disinterest and implacable indifference on her face

Wow, that describes them so well.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2013 11:32 a.m. PST

Never considered taking any minis on a plane. I guess because I don't do tournaments. If I take minis to a convention, I am probably putting on a game so I have to take a car because besides the minis I need all the terrain, mats etc.
Never thought about it before but I would hate to think how much trouble it would be. Flying use to be fun, now I hate it.

Personal logo Dasher Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2014 3:27 p.m. PST

Recently, while travelling as TSA Pre (or as it was once known, "travelling"), I carried metal toolbox with my Bolt Action Afrika Korps army onto a transcontinntal flight form Washington, DC to Los Angeles.

The scanner passed it and a TSA employee asked me as I picked it up, "Sir; do you actually have real tools in that toolbox?"

I laughed and said "Only tools of FUN!" and opened it to show him, and he was properly awed and delighted and wished me a safe flight.

So, sometimes you win one… :-)

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