I am often asked how I transport all these armies of mine around, so here's a peek!
Long ago I tried to do the foam case thing, which was expensive, time consuming to pack and unpack, and kept everything inside completely invisible. This would sometimes lead to me taking the wrong army, or worse yet, an empty case!
The stuff inside was not very well protected either, because the act of taking them out and packing them back in again rubbed the figures against the foam, with the result you would expect.
It also took forever to pack things up, as I had to remember where each figure went, like Satan's jigsaw puzzle.
I think it was 2009 when I began magnetizing my armies, and putting pieces of metal or something for them to grab onto in cases. When I was introduced to these stacking cases from Sterlite, I thought that they could be pretty amazing.
These are pretty roomy (you will see when they have figures inside), and interlock very well. They come in a set of two, just like this.
When we had our furnace replaced last winter, I took minor solace in that I was able to "requisition" a large chunk of left over sheet metal. You can find smaller pieces at any kind of home improvement or hardware store. There are even pieces of metal at Hobby Lobby these days.
A pair of tin snips is all that I needed to cut them. I have a few "directional" tin snips left over from construction days many moons ago. These bend the metal in a certain direction as the snips cut through the metal... especially away from your hand holding the snips!
Since I wanted the option of using these for other tasks, I attached the sheet metal to the case with heavy double sided tape.
Success! Sheet metal solidly ensconced in the case, ready for magnetized miniatures.
And voila! Army guys! Specifically Norwegian and French Foreign Legion troops from Gorgon Studios. There are over forty figs in here, with room for many more.
I will do a separate article on magnetizing the minis, but for now I can say that refrigerator style magnet sheets work very well. They have a self stick backing, and they have the correct 'balance' of holding power.
That is, they stick just enough to keep the minis in place, but not so strong that you will rip the figure from the base! Believe me, that has happened to me with other much stronger magnets.
Now for some armies. You can easily fit 1000-1200 points of Bolt Action figures in just one case, or a few Warmachine armies, etc. Definitely enough to hold a few Blood Bowl teams as well.
Since I can see through the boxes, I can tell from a distance which army is inside, and I can take the one that I need, instead of guessing or having to write on the case.
It is very easy to deploy an army directly from these cases, and also put them back in. Since there is minimal handling, you probably give years of additional life to your hard earned paint jobs!
Did I mention stacking? Yes you can, and in any order. The tops will fit on any other Sterlite set. I have gotten these at Target, but also on Amazon.
One piece of advice I will offer is to be aware of weight. Stacking 5 cases filled with metal minis will be very heavy, and put a lot of strain on the handle. If I have a bunch of cases with me, I use a very small folding luggage trolley that holds them all together, and means that I don't have to carry them around by the handle.
Another advantage of that stacking ability is space savings. I have made a stack of containers 12 cases high, which takes up almost no room... but holds hundreds of minis, vehicles, paint, brushes, tools, rulebooks and much more.
Better yet, these cases usually cost around $10 per pair!!
Now where have I seen this idea before? :-) Nice post. I almost wish I had found the Sterilite stacking bins instead of the Snapware brand I use, as they are getting more and more difficult to find.ReplyDelete
Thanks! This idea was given to me by a gaming buddy who lives minutes away from a Target, and he used them to keep all the cat hair off of his minis. Plus, I saw him make a stack of a dozen of these... and saw how little space it took!Delete
Excellent tutorial James. I have sort of gone the reverse having found magnetic 'hockey' locker sheets at the dollar store, I use those double sided taped inside old white GW boxes, (from years working at a game store), then use metal washers glued to my miniature bases. Your system is certainly a better option should you use square bases. CheersReplyDelete
Thanks! I used this method because I magnetize my terrain and display boards with magnetic primer (basically paint infused with metal shavings), so, this means that my guys will be less inclined to tip over on inclines! ;-)Delete
This is a fantastic article and I am very grateful for your advice! I just wish I didn't buy a new carrying case a month ago :) But I am definitely going to use your idea so many thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
I hope that you will be able to find future uses for things such as these. I keep finding a new purpose for them every day :-)Delete
I use the same cases, but haven't magnetized it yet. Do you mind posting a like to where to find the blue handled cases? I can only find the green handled ones.ReplyDelete
I think the green handle ones are from Target, although all of the cases fit together. The blues might have come from Amazon...Delete
I used to do this with Staples/Office Depot plastic drawers. It worked well... up until the point I slipped, carrying them, while going down the stairs. I ended up with an army in pieces that sat in pieces for almost a year until I could motivate myself to repair them.ReplyDelete
Nowadays if I have one tray's worth or so of stuff, I'll cart it around in a plastic case or drawer. More than that, and it goes into foam.
This sort of storage & transport approach has a lot of benefits over foam (as you noted), but actual protection of your models is very much not on the list.
Sorry to hear about your fall!Delete
I have been transporting my armies for over ten years this way, with no issues at all, even when they have taken a pretty solid jolt (people crashing into me at tournaments, etc.) The magnets hold quite well, and jutting the bases against each other offers further mutual support.
The Sterilite 15 Quart Latching Box
Dimensions: 6.75 inches H x 11.25 inches W x 16.25 inches L
Number of Pieces: 12
Total Capacity: 15 ounces
Those are larger than these sterlite cases, and are not interlocking. If you search for sterlite interlocking cases, you will see two different kinds. The smaller version is very handy for carrying tools and paints as well!Delete
Awesome idea! I've seen people use magnetic trays before but to combine that with the stackable, lockable boxes is brilliant.ReplyDelete
Thanks! I keep finding even more uses and configurations for these. And the cost is sooooo friendly :-)Delete