How to: make a $25 carrying case for your models

Carry case

It’s game night.  You’re ready to make moves, slang dem bones, cast some spells.  You have a bonafide badass 35 point list at the ready to lay the beatdown on any one unlucky enough to stand across the tabletop from you.  You’ve slaved, hunched over, on each model until they have gained +2 to playability. Oh yes.  It is time to game.

…Now how do I get my models from my table to theirs?

If you are like me (gaming on a budget and/or new to the hobby), you probably didn’t take into account how you were going to transport your models from your home to your friendly local gaming shop.   When I’m not playing, I like to have my models displayed. I only really need a case to get me from my house to the gaming shop.  There are plenty of companies that make these for you, so you don’t have to worry about it.    But (and this is going back to what I said earlier) we are gaming on a budget.  Those cases can cost around $100-150.  See the disconnect?  That’s approaching what I paid for my first 35 points of Khador. There’s gotta be another way.  So I decided to get a little (arts and) crafty.

Read on to learn how to make a carrying case, that admittedly won’t win any beauty pageants, but serves it’s purpose in shuttling your force to and fro, for around $25.

The materials you will need are:

  • Some kind of bin. I found mine are Target for $6.  It’s a 2 gallon size and easy enough to carry.
  • Foam. You will need two kinds. One is your main thicker foam piece and another is a thinner piece for the tray bottom. I found both at Jo Ann’s Fabric for around $15.
  • Spray adhesive. Again at Jo Ann’s.
  • Box cutter or some kind of cutting tool.
  • Something to measure with.
  • Marker.
Case and foam.
It's going to look a little something like this...

Now let’s get busy…

1.) First thing you need to do is take inventory of your models.  I did this with a simple spreadsheet, categorizing the models by small, medium and large bases.  This will determine how many of each of the sizes you will need and some of your future measurements.
2.) Next step is to take some measurements of your models.  Get the Height, Width and Depth. First I did the small bases since they were by far the most numerous.  I took the measurements of an average trooper and some of my more “irregular” models.  I did the same for the other base sizes.

3.) I then got to work in Photoshop and made these templates. You don’t really need Photoshop however. It would have been faster for me to just measure out the template :/

So very scientific...

4.) Measure your bin.  This will determine how you cut up your foam.  The piece I got was 22″ x 22″ x 2″.  My inside bin measurements were 14″ x 10.25″ x 6.5″.  That would give me 2 pieces big enough to fill the whole bin and one extra piece almost enough to fill the bin.

5.)  Now make your measure ments on your foam.  I also tried out my cutting utensil on a piece I wouldn’t need to see how it would do.

Like so.

6.)  Go ahead and cut those out and then I tested them in my bin. It coming out not too shabby right now…

Almost like a glove...

7.)  Now comes part 1 of the tedious parts.  Mark your spots on your sheets of foam.  I left .25″ space in between each spot.  I marked each spot I would cut out with an “X” just to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes when cutting.  I was able to get 19 on mine, but that includes 3 spots for really tall or oddly posed models.  You can get 20+ on there depending on your bin size and the size of your models.  Since I also just went with an average, there is plenty of “wiggle” room in each slot.

X marks the spot. So you don't screw up now.

8.)  Now it’s time for the really tedious part. Cut out all your slots. I cut right though, so it looks like a bunch of holes in the end.  Keep the parts you cut out however.  You can use them again by cutting them in half or however suits your models, to make a “bed” in each slot.

You put the square peg in the square hole...
You put the square peg in the square hole...

 9.) Next take your spray adhesive and give one side a good spray and some time to get “aggressively tacky” as the can states. I then press it down on my thinner piece of foam and let it dry.  The foams aren’t the same size so we’ll have to trim up the edges a bit.

Don't ask me if this one is the best to use. I have no idea.
Don't ask me if this one is the best to use. I have no idea.
Almost done...
Almost done...

10.) Trim up the bottom foam if necessary and then give it a test fit.  Make any adjustments if you need to. But rinse and repeat until you have all the trays you need.

A little snug, but that'll do pig. That'll do...
A little snug, but that'll do pig. That'll do...
Boom! A carrying case for the cost of a unit rather than an army.  Sure it looks like crap, but you don’t play with your carrying case now do you? (Oh you do?  That’s just weird.  Oh well, who am I to judge?)

Sound off in the comments!

Give me a piece of your mind (mmm your delicious, delicious mind...).

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