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"Storage & transportation of armies" Topic

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4,170 hits since 6 May 2014
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Redcoat 5507 May 2014 4:13 p.m. PST

Hello all,

Presently I have armies in 6mm, 15mm, 10mm and 28mm. Most are based with 2-4 figures to a rectangular or square base but a large contingent of the 28s are mounted on single circular bases for skirmish war gaming.

I play a number of games at my house, but also take troops to the local club and the plastic and wood bins I have been using always result in troops toppled together when I arrive at the game and at home.

Fortunately a large contingent of my 28mm troops have magnets on their bases. Where is the best place to get a metal sheet to put them on? Where is the best place to get the metal cut? What is the best way to affix a metal sheet to a container?

I have literally thousands of soldiers without magnetic bases. Any suggestions for them?

In regard to the single mounted figures who sells the best containers (I am envisioning foam chambers) to transport them?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

Shanhoplite07 May 2014 4:19 p.m. PST

Egg crate foam is the cheap option. The more expensive items are commercial, and while not cheap, are invaluable when you are like me--lots of figures that get used hard, transported all over, and stored "as is".


I have a couple of different types, and it really all depends on the size and shape of your figures. A lot have laser-cut foam which is really quite fantastic if made for the figures that you happen to own.

Before I used these I used storage trays from the Container store and protected the figures with heaps of foam (taken mostly from figure blister packs!). This was moderately successful with 15mm figures, but could not protect the figures *quite* well enough, although it did store perfectly.

Eventually I bit the bullet, bought the commercial storage/transport bags, and am thoroughly happy that I did.


spontoon07 May 2014 4:32 p.m. PST

Get cookie tins. The square Belgian CHocolate cookie type. Cheap, and you get to eat the cookies!

IGWARG1 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian07 May 2014 4:55 p.m. PST

When transporting I put crumpled plastic shopping bags in my plastic containers. They cushion the solders and don't let them move. Magnets help, but don't work when there are bumps and such. This works when figures on multiple figure stands.

For single figures the best transportation is ordinary gun case that has several layers of foam in it. Works much better than foam cases with holes cut out for single figures. I can fit the whole 3000 point barbarian army in just one of those.

Syrinx007 May 2014 5:26 p.m. PST

For the 28mm RPG figures I spend the most time per figure painting I prefer the commercial cases with individual figure slots.

For storage of my plastic armies I have a gem case with plastic trays I added sheet metal too. The sheet metal is pretty cheap and easy enough to cut by hand. I followed what was posted in this thread:

TMP link

Son of William Pitt the Eldar07 May 2014 6:12 p.m. PST

Like the OFM I use Sterilite 3-drawer … Thingie.
Except for standard bearers or cavalry lancers, most. 28mm troops fit in the drawers.
Coincidentally 2 such … units will fit comfortably in the bulk cartons that 8-1/2 x 11 copy paper come in with enough room for rules and bag O 'dice.

Son of William Pitt the Eldar07 May 2014 6:25 p.m. PST

And you can also line the drawers/shelves with cheap webby liners. My multi-figure bases don't slide on them.

Mingans Marauders07 May 2014 6:43 p.m. PST

For my 28's I use the 1 lt Pretty Useful Boxes with the foam inserts from KR. The price comes out to a little more then the cardboard briefcases they sell, except I can fit four foam sheets(the ones for 30mm bases, which lets me carry 144 figures per box), and its in a plastic case that can be banged around a bit. Plus I can keep my tape measures, a little box with tokens and dice, plus my rules all in one box.

On a side note if you check eBay, you can get 300 1/8 x 1/16 magnets for $8 USD shipped. My friend who does TSATF in 15mm lives by putting a magent in each of his figures bases. Which is what I'm going to do when I do my 28's for it.

Martin Rapier07 May 2014 10:10 p.m. PST

I line my storage boxes with steel paper, which comes in both plain and self adhesive varieties. Available from Magnetic Displays in the UK, and presumably other places globally.

steamingdave4708 May 2014 1:29 a.m. PST

Fitted all bases with self adhesive magnetic tape, buy large rolls on EBay, comes in different widths, I use 20mm. Sticks to plastic, metal, card or wooden bases.

Bought "Helmer" filing cabinets from IKEA, drawers are deep,enough for 28 mm cavalry, even with standards or upright lances.


For smaller scales bought a Bisley 10 drawer unit:


They do larger and smaller units as well.
Just lift out a drawer or drawers and take them to a game. Back home, everything stored away neatly till next time.

If you are lucky, like one of my wargaming friends, you have a relative who is refitting an office and donates three multi-drawer cabinets!

Weland08 May 2014 1:09 p.m. PST

I recently bought the generic 40k KRmulticase trays for my single figures since I need to ship then over to Italy when I move there this summer. i wanted as much protection as possible.

They all have magnetic tape on the bottom. I just felt that tape alone was not strong enough for them to survive the journey.

I had to keep the KR trays in a plastic bin as they are flimsy. I might get the carboard boxes they sell in the near future.

My 15mm FOW infantry are all mounted on the standard base with magnetic tape where they sit on sheet metal I buy from homedepot or lowes and then cut to the size of the cardboard storage box. I just started putting a couple sheets of bubblewrap over the miniatures to reduce the risk of moving.

All my tanks and many other miniatures are in Sabot pluck foam. After I make the insert I keep a piece of foam to create a lid.

This is a link to my blog which shows some of what I do, but I have improved over the years and probably should update it.


For instance I no longer use the walmart photo magnetic tape as it is too weak. The magnetic tape rolls from the custom magnet site are far stronger.


spontoon08 May 2014 2:23 p.m. PST

@ Weland.

Sometimes stronger isn't better! I've had figs break off at the ankles when trying to remove them because the magnet was too strong!

DanWW208 May 2014 2:46 p.m. PST

Here's my solution- I've filled about seven boxes now, all secure, dust free, easily transportable, relatively cheap, and very space- efficient:


The first half of the article is specific to basing for War of The Ring, but there's no reason why it wouldn't work for other movement tray types- it might just involve drilling a couple of holes in the bottom of an MDF- type tray to glue the magnets into.

Weland08 May 2014 3:01 p.m. PST


Agree, I have had figures pop off the base using the prepackaged BF magnetic tap.

The walmart magnetic tape for photos just doesnt have a lot of hold power compared to the one I use now.

I use rare earth magnets on the bottom of my Saga armies. Way too strong. There is a cavity under the base I glue it. On more than one occasion the magnet has remained on the metal sheet. Recommend you all dont do that. I will find a new solution.

GROSSMAN09 May 2014 5:20 a.m. PST

Anyone use the plastic fishing lure trays, from WALMART of the sporting good shops?

nevinsrip09 May 2014 12:24 p.m. PST


I use these. The Staples brand has squared corners to allow perfect placement of magnetic sheeting. All of the drawers are removable for easy loading and unloading of figures.
You can use a Staples coupon for 40 % off when they are available. Sometimes it's 30% off. Either way, it's a great deal.

Another advantage is that they come with wheels, making it easy to roll the cabinets under your table for storage.
The wheels pop on and off, so you can safely transport them in a car or van without them rolling all over the place. For long distances you can fill the drawers with packing peanuts and then tape them shut. No harm will come to your troops!

I buy the sheeting from a company that sells sign making supplies. One roll will fill about 12 of these cabinets. That's about 72 drawers. This is commercial grade stuff that is far stronger than what you can get in a hobby store.

I base my figures on thin metal sheeting which allows me to place more than 100 figures in each drawer. The only disadvantage, is that certain flagbearers will not fit in the drawers. For this, I buy the same style cabinets that have deeper drawers and store all the command stands in them.

For me, these are the perfect way to store minis, without them getting dusty or knocked around. I would reveal how many of these I have filled up but I don't want to end up on the show "Hoarders".

CeruLucifus10 May 2014 6:58 a.m. PST

Personally I've found magnetic basing not strong enough for transport of 28mm figures. My car hits a bump and some figures will knock lose in the drawer. I used similar plastic organizer drawers as nevinsrip, lined with galvanized roofing shingles, with the older thicker magnetic tape on the bases. It's mostly the heavier (more expensive) metal figures that rattle loose.

Rare earth magnets are stronger and may partially solve this problem, but if they are too strong you have to worry about the figures clumping together when you knock them over. And there is always the polarity problem to manage.

What I started with was equipment cases -- I used handgun cases as they are inexpensive. And custom foam trays -- you can get foam from a fabric or upholstery store. This cuts with scissors and assembles with fabric or hot glue. To save time you can get trays from commercial storage systems and cut and customize them. The ability to make a custom protection for a model of any size and shape is a tremendous asset.

Eventually though I realized I wanted even more rigidity in my storage, and I've been converting over to Plano tackle boxes, sometimes with foam added. These come in various sizes if you order online and are transparent so you can see what's in them, and you can stick labels on them. For oversize models I've also got some Tupperware food storage containers. These all fit in the equipment cases.

John Treadaway16 May 2014 4:20 a.m. PST

The real defining question in all of this, I think, is:

Do you go home brew or do you buy ready made?

Once you've decided that, you can progress with a solution based on the advantages and disadvantages of both.

I used to do the former: I've got 28mm stuff in all periods and all sizes (ie trolls and dragons aren't 28mm* tall and vehicles are often quite big) in a variety of box systems: tool boxes, drawer units, ex fishing tackle boxes, ex sowing boxes, blown plastic boxes from Maplins… and they are packed with foam I've cut myself (harvested from whatever source I could find), or bubble wrap or… well, all sorts of things.

The only advantage I can think of is that, if you are gifted the boxes (as some of them were, in my case) then it's a cheap system. If you have to by them… not so much.

The main disadvantage to 'home brew' is that the protection system is usually lousy (the foam is the wrong type – too hard, to soft etc) and the figures got damaged.

A secondary disadvantage is that I would end up with dozens of boxes in many, many different sizes. So none stacked. They were hard to carry (and occasionally easy to drop…). And they only did a marginal job of 'protect and serve'.

A few years ago, I said "enough" (almost out loud, in fact!) and bought a 'ready made' system. I chose KR but, frankly, I could have gone with any of the others. Figures in Comfort do a good system with plastic boxes, but I wasn't a fan of the soft bags they sold, so I went with KR – initially with the 'Aquilla' cases. These are good for 15mm forces (2 Slammers detachments in one case, just about) or single figure 28mm stuff but – although they have hard faces front and back – they have not got any lateral support beyond the density of the foam itself: they are not crush proof. But they are very compact and for some of my forces they were good enough and I bought some.

Next I bought one of their hard cases which is the size of one of their card board boxes but very, very rigid and immensly crush proof. I did this because I wasn't sold on the cardboard box idea: too flimsy, not waterproof etc. So I went with the hard case andit's very nice and I still use it, but it's almost over engineered for a single ‘box' size.

What I wanted was something I could carry on a motorcycle with no sweat – now that really is a test of storage and transportation systems. Eventually I tried one of the KR cardboard cases put into one of their double rucksacks. I have not looked back.

The bag itself has space for rules, dice and all of that piffle in external pockets. It's as waterproof as it needs to be (I'm not going scuba diving with it and – if it's torrential rain – I'm probably going in a car rather than the bike…) and the boxes are strong enough to drop – and even throw – when full of resin and lead and to leave the contents almost invariably completely safe and undamaged. I've lost the corners on plastic boxes (including even Really Useful boxes – especially ones that have been exposed to sunlight for any length of time and gone a little brittle) with damage that a KR card box (especially in one of their carrying bags) just shrugs off.

Lastly, the foam they use in all of their cases is second to none. Sure, I still find their website hard work and generally nowadays buy from a show or on the phone (they are very helpful people on the phone). But the box system is a great boon to me.

I have to use big plastic boxes for scenery with popwrap and so forth (often the shallow ones that are designed to go under a bed) but – for figures, vehicles and such – I now use nothing else other than the KR stuff: it all stacks on the shelves in my garage, I have written on the card side and top what the boxes contain in felt tip and I just shunt the boxes I need into my rucksack(s) for an evening's gaming at the club. So that does me for storage and transportation.

John ‘Not a Shill for anyone' Treadaway

* not even 25mm tall as the 'scale' was when I bought most of them!

Capt Flash17 May 2014 5:45 a.m. PST

Nice post, JT. I've gone the mixed route too. I still do but I've bought a number of GW and Army Transport cases, and am continually expanding my Army Transport trays.
I'm going to look further into KR trays too based on your review.

John Treadaway17 May 2014 7:38 a.m. PST

Thank you Captain.

John T

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