Friday, October 12, 2012

So you wanna be a mini painter: part two... the BOX

While prepping miniatures is not exactly a task I that makes me jump up and down with glee, this task is by far my least favorite.  It is stressful, tedious, and a tad emotional...

Shipping minis.  More art than science.  The more complex the figures, the more intense this process becomes.  When you have to ship to an exotic locale, say Minsk, that tension goes up, as you know the box has a 3-5 week journey ahead of it!

This task has undone many a mini painter that we know.  I had been shipping 2D art for many years, so I was used to shipping fragile things.  When it came to miniatures, the "fortified box" proved to be invaluable.  I try to make my boxes strong enough for me to stand on.

One way to do that is to line the outer edges with cardboard that is glued to the main box with wood glue.  Then I build sections inside the box.  Not only does this stabilize the figures inside, but it helps prevent vertical and lateral crushing, since you are providing resistance.

In this case, I had to ship a bunch of salamanders, handlers and terradons, along with the skirmishing movement trays.  I use any sort of soft tissues (Kleenex, toilet paper, etc.) to "fill in" the ope gaps, such as those under the wings and around the rider.  That is wrapped in bubble wrap.

Once they are in their section, I use bits of tissue in the corner gaps to keep thing from bouncing around.  Building and packing these two boxes was a 4+ hour process from start to finish.  Obviously, wee keep stacks of folded up boxes in the house (some just for the interior cardboard), while my mat cutter is a hugely helpful tool.  It would take much longer without it!

There is just no way to take shortcuts here.  Shipping services have gotten worse and worse with each year that goes by.  It does not matter which one of the Big Three you use.  Lots of bad things can happen.

Somehow these pictures did not get in last night's post.  So, more WIP images of the Galadhrim cavalry!

Here's a peek at the shields...


  1. Thanks for lifting the lid on your packing techniques. As a 'casual' commission painter I find posting the minis to be the most traumatic part of the operation. Best bit is at the post office and the person behind the counter takes your carefully packed box with 'fragile' written on it and mindlessly chucks it in the sack behind him/her.I try not to think what happens to it on the way, just cross my fingers and hope for a happy email a few days later!

    1. Well, sometimes the very best packing job cannot survive what the shipping services dole out :-( Definitely not fun!