Sunday, March 24, 2013

Inexpensive Model Transport and Basing Alternative...

My $5 storage box(without the lid on)...

One of the things I struggle with as both a modeler who wargames at home and advisor to the Military History Club at the high school where I teach(Military History amongst other subjects), is how to transport my models and figures between home and school.  I have a fancy BattleFoam case for my Warmachine figures but I don't want to invest that kind of money again into army transports. 
Years ago I bought some K & J magnets(see link to the right on this blog) so I could convert a plastic warjack kit so it could have swappable arms, weapons and heads(see this post). I decided to put my extra magnets to use for two purposes...both for army transport and for basing of armor.  I shook my box up a bit and the tanks barely shifted...which meaning this should work well for carrying them back and forth to my club.
With some tanks removed.

I used a regular plastic scrapbooking container(I believe I bought this at Target for $5 a couple of years ago) and glued in some magnetic strips that I bought at Staples for about the same price(it comes in a roll).  The magnetic strip has paper on one side and an adhesive so you could, in theory, just tape these into your box.  However, I went ahead and white glued(Weldbond) the strips into the bottom of the container just to be sure(because the stripping comes in a roll, it could curl on you). I put some heavy books on top of the strips(into the box) while they dried. If you wanted to, you could glue some cardboard or foamcore beneath the magnetic strips to raise the magnetic material up closer to the hull of the tank(if your magnets on the bottom of the tank are shallow, this might be the way to can see in the pic above that I did this for a couple of the strips).  For you fantasy or 28mm historical gamers, just glue a small magnet inslip the lip of your base(such as the Privateer Press variety) and you could carry your minis the same way.  You could even do this for Warjacks from Warmachine(anything you can attach a magnet under).
The not so pretty angle of my tank models where I glued the magnets...
Then I took my tank models and attached a small magnet to the bottom of each one using a dab of superglue.  The magnets I used were 1/8" by 3/32"(kit D203 K&J magnetics) but any magnets with a strong power should do.  You could even glue more plastic strip to the bottom of the tanks from the roll you used from the box(but I don't trust this because it's magentic hold is not as strong as the K&J magnets(which are very much like Rare Earth magnets which many of you may be familiar with.  I found that all of the Plastic Soldier Company tanks had a bottom hull about the same distance off the ground so these magnets were the right depth to contact with the strip in the box.  However, the Armourfast T-34's I had were a little higher, so(as shown above) I used some green stuff to lower the depression of the magnet so it would contact the box strip.

A PSC Panzer III on a detachable(magnetized) base.
Now off the base..note the magnetic strip on the base.
Here is the fun part.  I personally prefer unbased tank models for gaming but I do like the "finished" look that a based tank has when I see them on the blogs and websites of others.  Now I can have the best of both worlds due to the magnets.  I put some magnetic strip on a base which I raised up a bit by gluing it to a small block of foamcore.  I then used some putty to even out the ground around this magnet and did applied my usual dirt texture/static grass for the base.  Now I have a nice little movement/display base for my tank.

The same base now hosting a T-34.
The best part is, I can mass produce these and even swap out different tanks on them(as shown above).  For those that don't like have a winter-based tank on Spring green board, consider this alternative way of tank could swap out a Spring base for a snow base(or urban/desert, etc.) for any of your armor models!

Well, that's it for now. Whether you are a historical or fantasy gamer, I hope you can use this method of transport and/or basing for your own collection.

Thanks for viewing...happy wargaming everybody!


  1. Well, I'm pinching that idea! :)

  2. Good to hear...that's why I posted it ;-)

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