Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Army Transportation Primer

A little background. I'm a packaging engineer, so my day job is to design packaging that ensures orthopedic implants get there in one piece. So when I look at the various options deigned or created for transporting armies I obviously look at them from a different perspective. Over the years I've tried basically all the store bought options along with tons of things I created in the lab at work.

Collectively our hobby has two different trains of thought on how to transport an army. The first is what I dub - Isolation. Essentially you are securing the model with nothing touching the model except the bottom of the base. Your trying to isolate the model from damage that would occur during a normal impact (smashing into the side of a container, another model, etc). As it makes setup easy this is the best solution for transport by car. But I wouldn't trust the magnets to be secure enough for a plane trip.  Both the Rog and the Bear had excellent examples of this type of transport at Blood in the Sun recently. 

The second train of thought is what I dub cushioning. It's just what it sounds like - basically putting the miniature into a cushioned tray that absorbs the impact thereby protection the miniature. There are lots of store bought options for this (and I have a ton the Sabol stuff) that work pretty good but have room for improvement. You need a tighter fit so that the miniature doesn't move. Movement inside tray = more damage on impact, especially for pinned models. Movement also allows the foam to rub off the paint, so you need to stuff the dead space with extra foam. All that being said - any of the store bought options will work for most travel purposes.  But who has that kind of cash?

You want a cheap way to take miniatures on an airplane? Or be able to ship it to your destination? This is how I would do it. Purchase some small pre-formed bubble bags. Get ones with dimensions close to your miniature size. Then put each miniature into a bag, tightly roll it up and secure either with tape of a rubber band. Then just stack all your rolled bags into a appropriate size container and secure it closed.

For those of you that hate that answer stay tuned as I will be taking an in depth look at some of the "sexier" options available from your LGS.  I'm hoping to take a few of these bad boys for a spin in the test lab.  Now if only Domus could loan me some of his test dummies, er models.

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