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"Packing figures to survive the postal service" Topic

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vtsaogames28 Sep 2016 3:03 p.m. PST

I have been working on selling the late Tom Loback's wargames figures for his widow. I sold off a bunch to gamers in NYC and Westchester. Most of what is left is Seven Years War stuff, a lot of painted figures. I've avoided selling to anyone I have to mail stuff to but seem to have exhausted the NYC area market. Can anyone point me to online instructions on how to pack 15mm metal armies so they can be mailed? Thanks in advance.

Prices are $1 USD per foot figure, $2 USD per mounted, etc.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Sep 2016 3:24 p.m. PST

I assume they are based 3 or 4 per stand?

Gently wrap each stand in toilet paper, several layers thick, then tape shut. Place in a box snugly. The enemy in the mail is sliding around.

If you do multiple layers in one order, put a layer of bubble wrap or foam between each layer.

Once everything is in the box top off with crumpled newspaper or styrofoam peanuts. Close th e box and shake. If you can hear stuff rattling around add more filler. Once it is taped up you should be able to shake the box vigorously with nothing moving.

All that said, I expect every buyer knows some minor damage is bound to happen – especially with pikes and so on. I get a lot of painted stuff mailed to me and this always seems to work just fine.

Warlord28 Sep 2016 3:34 p.m. PST

The rule is box in a box (or packaging in a box)

I would bubble wrap them snugly, wrap them or place them in a smaller box and make sure they cannot move around (using tissue as suggested or bubble wrap and so on). then place the smaller packaging in the middle of a larger box with packing corn all around them. you should have at least 2-4 inches from the smaller packaging to box larger box wall inside.

I would get fragile stickers for the boxes and insure them (shippers are different with liability parcels).

I will also add no amount of good/great packaging is going to stop a careless shipper (hence the insurance). I would also check with your shipper for requirements because poor packaging can/will void insurance. Good luck!

Hope that helps


Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2016 3:42 p.m. PST

An easy, fast, and extremely effective way to package them is to put them in a box and then fill the box to the top with puffed rice. Tap the box to settle the contents, then fill it up to the top again. Figures don't move at all.

The only downside is some dust on the figures when they arrive. A quick swish with a soft brush takes a few seconds and gets rid of that.

Ive shipped entire armies overseas using this method and the recipients were thrilled that there was minimal and even no damage when they arrived.

As others have said, bubble wrap that box and put that box in another box.

Good Luck!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2016 3:55 p.m. PST

I'll second the good doctor. George Johnson told me that one years--decades--ago. Works every time.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2016 4:40 p.m. PST

Yep, a third vote for puffed rice. It was good enough for George, its worked fine for me.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2016 5:48 p.m. PST

I've had a lot of success with getting a flare-rate box (which is collapsed), then rubber cementing the stands to the inside of the bottom portion. Let it sit overnight, then fold the box, slap the address on, and you're off to the post office. I've even shipped international several times and haven't had any problems.


vtsaogames28 Sep 2016 7:39 p.m. PST

Thank you gents. In a couple weeks I hope to start selling off Tom's wargame figures.

Giles the Zog29 Sep 2016 4:14 a.m. PST

If the collection is large, which I'm guessing it is, use a commercial office supplier to buy a suitable volume of boxes, jiffy bags and bubblewrap. The price of all these items in ordinary shops is high, and bulk buy saves money in the long run.

I have for instance bought a 25m roll of bubblewrap for about £15.00 GBP GBP, whilst in the shops a tiny roll is £3.00 GBP GBP+ and probably isn't more than 1m.


razuse Supporting Member of TMP29 Sep 2016 5:34 a.m. PST

Doctor is dead on…shipped 1000's of figures in my day…puff rice or wheat…but…do not buy any cereal that has sugar…must be plain…sugar wrecks armies. Usually you can find generic puff rice or wheat in larger bags…sugarless…works great!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP29 Sep 2016 7:44 a.m. PST

Wrap with bubble wrap and ship in a well padded box.

I hate puffed rice; now I have to get all of that crap off my figures.

VCarter29 Sep 2016 7:58 a.m. PST

Russian doll method – box within box.

I once shipped several 100 plastic 1/72 ACW figures with under 10 damaged.

1) lightly glued the figures bases in the first box and packed empty spaces with popcorn.

2) Stack the boxes and wrap with bubble wrap.

3) Foam packing all around inside of larger box.

4) Everything into larger box.

5) Pray.

wrgmr129 Sep 2016 8:54 a.m. PST

NO puffed rice. I received a shipment where the rice had crumbled into powder, figures bent and dust on everything.
I wrap in paper towel or TP paper then bubble wrap.

Temporary like Achilles29 Sep 2016 11:43 p.m. PST

A no to puffed rice from me, too. A guy sent me an army packaged that way and it made a horrible mess. Had to wash everything with a soft toothbrush, wrecking the bases in the process.

Another guy sent an army from the UK with nothing but a few bits of random scrap newsprint in the box. Dealing with the carnage from that was less annoying than trying to get rid of rice crispy dust!

Package within a package method as detailed above seems to work best for 15mm from what I've seen.


Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2016 11:21 a.m. PST

Don't know what sort of Puffed Rice you folks have tried,
but I've used it a lot and NO problems.

Puffed Rice should not 'crumble,' unless it is a lustrum
or two old and if you handle it carefully, you should
not see any dust at all.

Real rice will scratch paint, so that's out. Sawdust,
in which Jack Scruby used to ship figures, was fine for
unpainted mini's (just pour the box contents into a pail
of water, the sawdust floated to the top) Sawdust not
good for painted mini's.

GenWinter30 Sep 2016 2:10 p.m. PST

I have had good luck with puffed rice. The key is to stick the figures to the bottom of the box with scotch tape (either two sided or folded over). Then the figures largely stay in place but can still bounce around slightly – sort of like being mounted on shock absorbers. I fill the box with puffed rice to restrict the amount of bounce. I originally used Puffed wheat – a far superior packing material – but cannot find it anywhere in the Denver metro area anymore. Do not use sugar coated puffed wheat (sugar smacks?) because the sugar will stick to the figures with temperature changes during shipment. Greg C.

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