One of the most common questions anyone asks when getting into miniature war gaming is “How do I store my stuff?” Having researched and tested a vast array of storage types over the years, I feel I’m qualified to give a comprehensive answer. So I will. Below you’ll find just about everything you need to know about miniatures storage.
The most basic of basics. Cardboard and foam. – Tabletop Tyrant “Companion” case
To help us narrow down which storage system we’re going to settle on there are a couple of things we need to consider. First is budget. Second is the type of miniatures you’re wanting to store. Both will determine what the most suitable option is.
For the most part, my suggestions will cover your standard 28mm scale system, be it 40k, Malifaux, Frostgrave, Infinity, Beyond the Gates of Antares etc, but I’ll also throw in a couple of solutions to the massed rank games like Kings of War and Rune Wars.
A great starting point for any miniature gamer is your basic foam in a box. While not my personal preference, they can be relatively affordable and require little to no setup. As a bonus, the boxes themselves are easy to tuck away in a cupboard when not needed.
After the most basic foam-box combo, companies like tabletop Tyrant and KR Multicase offer a range of pre-cut foam trays which fit snuggly into their own branded tough cardboard boxes. Obviously the prices vary depending on how big a box and the amount of foam needed. Not a bad option and an excellent choice for new gamers.
The next step up. KR Multicase “Aquilla1” case.
If you’re after a box that’s a little more sturdy or has a couple of extra functions (book and accessory storage built in), companies like Battlefoam, Lasertouch, and Feldherr produce just about everything you’ll need.
Battlefoam seems to be the priciest of the bunch but those who use them swear by the quality. For me, they’re a bit out of my price range for what I need. http://us.battlefoam.com/
Lasertouch is an Australian company that not only offers a solid case but can cut the foam cells to fit the more unusually shaped miniatures. http://lasertouch.com.au/new-case-design/
Feldherr has a huge range of cases of varying sizes. Just need a case to hold one or two Blood Bowl teams? They’ve a case to suit. Got a 2000 point 40k army? They’ve a case to suit. Not only that, they have a range of foam products designed to hold all the miniatures and accessories for some of the more popular board games like Mansions of Madness, Dark Souls and Blood Rage; the foam fits snugly in the games original boxes! Brilliant stuff and not too expensive. https://www.feldherr.net/
Next up is the type that I’ve used the most; the DIY (kind of) system.
Grab a Craftright Aluminium tool box from Bunnings and gut the innards. Specifically this case: https://www.bunnings.com.au/craftright-aluminium-tool-case_p5810577
Then head over to Aussie company Mini-soft (http://www.mini-soft.com.au/trays.html) and order a selection of foam to suit your needs. Insert foam. Done.
The case is super solid and once assembled can hold 240 standard infantry sized miniatures.
Craftright toolbox filled with Minisoft foam.
Foam isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be though. If the cell spaces are too cramped you can lose delicate parts of a miniature trying to get it either in or out. Spikey bits are not friends with foam. If the cells are too spacious, the miniature can jostle about when being transported and paint can rub off. If either of these are a concern, then magnetising your miniatures might be the way to go.
To do that you’ll first need some magnets. Rare earth neodymium magnets are small and strong (look for these on eBay). I use 4mm x 2mm sized magnets with a pull rating of either N40 or N45.
Grab some superglue and maybe a little Green Stuff and pop a magnet on the bottom of each of your figures. From there all you need to do is grab a metal tool box and you’re done. The magnetised miniatures will stick to the floor, walls and roof of the toolbox.
If your miniatures don’t have a suitable base that allows the rare earth magnets to sit flush (no indentation or the base is solid), Magnetic rubber sheeting is your answer.
There are a couple of reasonably priced magnet dealers in Australia such as https://www.fastmag.com.au/product/fastmag_magnetic_flat_sheets.htm. I recommend going for the self-adhesive type at a thickness of 0.9mm.
Trace the base of what you want magnetised onto the rubber magnet sheet and then use a sharp knife to cut it out. Peel off the backing and stick the rubber to the bottom of the base. Viola.
Players of Kings of War (or any game that uses movement trays I guess) should find magnetic rubber sheets a godsend for transporting your gear.
Sometimes a toolbox won’t do it when you need a lot of storage space. It’s here where I’d recommend you line the bottom of a storage tub with magnetic rubber sheets. Storage tubs are stackable and can be often small enough to slide under a bed for safekeeping.
Here’s a little life hack for those who’re willing to put in a bit of effort and regularly attend tournaments: make your own tray which doubles as a display / movement tray.
Grab a piece of 12mm thick MDF from Bunnings and cut out a rectangle that’s slightly smaller than the storage tub you’ll be using. Cover one side of the MDF with magnetic rubber sheets.
Grab a couple of drawer handles (whatever you think looks pretty and is comfortable to hold), also from Bunnings, and screw them into the board. One handle on the left, one on the right of the board. This allows you to lift the tray out of the storage tub simply and carry it more securely at a tournament.
Here’s an example of a finished tray with my Boromite collection:
Rubber magnet sheet on MDF. Excellent for tournaments.
I’ll wrap up this piece by suggesting one case, which is also my favourite…
Laser Shark Designs have recently created a case that allows skirmish gamers and competition painters to transport their precious cargo safely. https://www.lasersharkdesigns.com.au/shop/hobby-tools/the-hobby-transporter/
The cases’ dimensions are as such to allow it to be carried as hand luggage on flights. It has a clear panel for display purposes. Its shelf height is adjustable and there’s even room to hold accessories. My unit even has a couple of LED light bars in the roof to show off the figures inside.
I find using adhesive tack (Officeworks Tuff tack is great) to be much more reliable than magnets. If you accidentally drop a case housing magnetized minis, the shock of the impact can dislodge the figures. As a result, miniatures often break, especially those made of metal. This doesn’t happen with tack.
Laser Shark Designs case with LED light bars (they also change colour!)
While this case isn’t the most affordable (especially considering the space available) I find there’s enough room to hold my current Malifaux collection. If I could afford another case of this type, I’d definitely purchase a second.
I think that’ll do us for now though. There should be plenty of info to point you in the right direct. If you’ve got an ingenious storage method that I haven’t mentioned, share your idea in the comments.
Until next time,