Friday, February 10, 2012

New Carrying Case for Competitions!!

Back at Adepticon 2010, I took a class by Chris Borer on advanced painting techniques. One of the many things I got from that time, was that many painters who begin competing at a competition level, don't seal their figures with any kind of dull cote spray, because it can alter the meticulous paint job they spent so long achieving.  

So how do painters transport their competition figures without damaging them?


I'm sure there are multiple ways to do so, but I will being transporting mine in THIS:

Chris had one similar in the class.  Two shelves that slid out so that you never had to reach in and grab at things, but you could carefully pick them up straight.  You hold the figures in place with blu-tac so they don't shift.  By they stand free of any foam that could possibly rub off that last thin layer of paint!  

The concept was great, but it's not like you can just buy these things off the shelf at your local store, so I had one made.  I'm lucky enough to have a very good client who employs cabinet makers and carpenters.  As a gift to me, the made me my new case.  This went above and beyond anything I asked for.  

The screw-lock latch, the full-length hinge in back that splits the case in half, the four sliding shelves...this case was a wonderful gift from them and yes, I've thanked them repeatedly!  They even went so far as to put black laminate on the outside and white on the shelves.  I can't wait to use it for the first time come this Adepticon!

I have seen similar ones floating around the blogosphere, and I thank whomever came up with this stellar idea that I then poached and my client made for me.  I had to slap a Miniature Tim decal on it :)

What do you transport your competition figs in?

- Tim



  1. I use a similar design made for me by Zach Lanier. It's a bit smaller (only one level) but I don't carry that many competition figs so it works great for me. One feature mine has that you might want to consider is magnets imbedded in the trays. This allows me to glue a steel disc under the base of my mini (or magnetize it) and they lock into place on the tray. No blu-tac nightmares! Also, each tray has a lazy susan rotator on the bottom so you can sit the tray on a table and spin it to show off minis without having to touch them. It's an amazing system and I love it.

  2. The Tablewar cases are commercially available and are similar in design. They are able to be magnetized.

    My only concern with your set up and also Tablewar would be a shock to the case like a bump or fall, is the blue tac enough?

  3. Wow! That's amazing. Are those metal shelves? If they are you could potentially magnetise the bases of your models so they don't fall over I guess? I haven't entered any comps yet, but when I do, I hope I can get something like this. Very cool.

  4. Chaplain: The Magnets are a great idea! Cool thing is I can easily drill down and sink the magnets into the trays myself :) I may use a little blu-tac in addition to the magnets just for a small amount of shock-stability, but still. Thank you :)

    Psybilliah: I'd seen the Tablewar cases before, and honestly hadn't considered them for this application. Not sure why, but still... With reference to the Tablewar cases and their shock resistance, I couldn't say. However, with mine, they made it out of 3/4" cabinet-grade plywood and it is SOLID. Quite a bit of shock is absorbed from bumps, though I haven't willingly dropped it yet, and that was tested with figures placed inside, and not even blu-tacced.

    TUA: Nope, still wooden shelves, just with a white laminate on them. The biggest reason I didn't ask for metal shelves when they built it was because I plan on taking this on a plane in the future, and I don't think the TSA would let me take large chunks of metal on as a carry-on :(

  5. i so need one of these in my life!
    i'm fed up of foam rubbing!
    I am now following your blog, you can follow me too at

    and join the network at

  6. Hi Tim,

    I think your concept is great and I do see a lot of cases like yours. The problem I have with your design is the weight. All that plywood really adds up and going to competitions usually involves a lot of walking... I have a simular case but made from thin MDF with thin shelfs with a layer of tin on them. all my mini's are magnetised.

    I hope you really enjoy going to a lot of competitions with this case because you will be build like Mr. Universe by the end of the year....Winning!


  7. Marsekay: They are indeed handy :) And I'll definitely be checking out your blog!

    Warpaintguy: Love the magnetizing tutorial! I'm definitely leaning towards sinking either magnets, or metal posts in for magnetizing to, into the shelves. I will agree, it's a beefy case, and weighs abotu 10 pounds (cause that's what UPS said when they shipped it to me), but hey, I know I could use the exercise ;)

  8. very cool case, Tim. they are heavy though, eh? I'm thinking of adding rings to attach a shoulder strap.

    my case was made by Jeff Wilhelm of Dragon Forge Designs after he saw the cases of some of the euro painters. Jeff doesn't make them very often anymore, but as chaplainaerion pointed out, Zach Lanier has them on his site.

    I use the nut-bolt method of securing minis to the removable shelves (because I'm extra paranoid after a magnet malfunction blasted a competition duel into four pieces).

    Zach talks about the nut-bolt config on his site, as does Jakob Neilsen here:

    for impact concerns (extra delicate minis), I put a large rubber washer (50 cents at the hardware store) between the shelf and the mini for that little extra shock absorption.

    the main drawback to this approach is the hassle of embedding the nut in the base (or display base) of the mini.
    not something I'd do for an army, certainly.


    1. You aren't kidding about it being heavy! And a shoulder strap may be in my future for this one as well. We'll see how I get through Adepticon with it first :P

      Some awesome suggestions and tips from you for the nut-and-bolt method of securing the figures, especially along with the links, as well as the rubber washers. I really appreciate that advice, thank you! Always awesome to be able to throw things like this out there and folks with alot more experience than I chime in with advice :)

      I've got to go check those links out and do a little modification on my shelves ;) I wish I would have known about Jeff's previous endeavors, and Zach's current ones. I just didn't do any research once my client told me they'd build this as a gift to me. I really like buying withing the hobby community, you know?

      You haven't had any issues taking yours on a plane at any time, have you?