11 August 2009

Prototype Miniatures Carrier

PhotonCutter Studios Miniatures RackI had mentioned before that I was working with my friend Tom of PhotonCutter Studios to produce my design for a custom miniatures carrier. The prototype is ready, and Tom will have it at GENCON, along with some of my minis to help show it off.

I like to modify miniatures; at one point I had a goal to modify or reposed ALL of my Battletech minis in some way, but have since backed off of that for practical reasons. The Perseus and Thug minis shown here are all reposes, and (IMO) some of my best work.

PhotonCutter Studios Miniatures RacOne of the early difficulties I had was how to carry my minis around without damaging them. I tried foam of course, but that still tended to leave a lot of rattle room, and tended to break some of my more delicate modifications. Packing the foam more tighly around them was problematic, because that also put more pressure on delicate parts.

PhotonCutter Studios Miniatures RacFoam also tended to rub the paint, and over time lead to a lot of touch up work on minis that had hardly been used. My solution was to construct my own way to store and carry minis - a home build rack with padded dowels and springs that clamps down on the base of the mini, leaving the miniature itself untouched.
The first versions were made entirely out of hobby wood and plywood, with EPDM weather stripping providing the crucial "grip".

PhotonCutter Studios Miniatures RacYou can see a nice picture of the early versions here, taken at ORIGINS 2005. And yes, it holds the minis in securely at any angle, not just upright, and even with vigorous shaking and moderate shocks. **These are not gravity proof** If dropped sufficiently hard, a lot of shock goes to the mini and it can pop them out of the rack. Given an equal amount of abuse, I think miniatures packed in foam are likely to shift around a lot too.

PhotonCutter Studios Miniatures Rac Tom created this acrylic version from my plans and my "revised" wooden prototype. Tom also came up with a neat way to "close the box" with an acrylic cover. It looks really good, and makes a very attractive display as well as functional protection for storing and transporting miniature figures. Each rack is about 12 inches long, ~4 wide and ~3 high; I routinely carry 6 racks around in a carry-on luggage bag, along with other supplies for the weekly Battletech session.

I realize this isn't for everyone; foam cells in a tacklebox work perfectly well for most people. I've already had a number of people show interest at ORIGINS this year though, so I think there in some market for this. We'll see what sort of reaction Tom gets at GENCON.
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