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So who is excited about ReaperCon 2015?


Bonwirn
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I know of at least two people that have had competition figures damaged by/during airline transportation. I've personally been stopped while traveling to/from Origins with metal miniatures, but have never had any issues with damage. I carried my figs in a carry-on bag, and was able to request that TSA be careful when handling them. As soon as they saw what they were, they cleared me pretty quickly.

 

~v

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I have never been challenged on competition miniatures in my carry on luggage. I generally use some form of miniature case to transport them, although a display case, like Heisler is describing, would probably be even better.

 

On the way home from conventions, I routinely find the little "We inspected your luggage" note from the TSA in my checked luggage, but given that those bags are usually chock full of books, funny-shaped metal bits, paint bottles, sharp tools, etc. I can hardly blame them, and I have never had anything damaged in that way. (No competition minis in the checked bags though!)

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I know of at least two people that have had competition figures damaged by/during airline transportation. I've personally been stopped while traveling to/from Origins with metal miniatures, but have never had any issues with damage. I carried my figs in a carry-on bag, and was able to request that TSA be careful when handling them. As soon as they saw what they were, they cleared me pretty quickly.

 

~v

I'd prefer to carry on my box of minis in my purse. I hope the TSA is as respectful here. @_@

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I recommend carry-on over packed in checked baggage for painted figures if at all possible. You are present when your carry-on luggage is scanned, and you are the one carrying and holding it at all other times. For years I would take the precaution of pointing out the piece of luggage with the figures and letting the scanner know there might be something that looks weird in it, and that the weird things are very fragile so please let me be present if you need to open it. I've been lax about that lately since I haven't really had too many problems.

I've carried on via a variety of methods.

 

For smaller figures with minimal basing, I bubble wrap and back in a plastic box that gets shoved into the bottom of my backpack that I carry on. There was one time they asked to remove some of the contents because the figures and a few other items had jammed together in such a way as to resemble something like an arrow head, but they didn't need to unwrap the figures once things in the x-ray didn't look odd anymore.

 

I also carried bubble wrap figures in a cheap aluminum briefcase that I have. It had been divided into sections by its previous owner, so it's pretty well suited to the purpose. That is the only time I was asked if they could open the case, and the agent didn't take it to the point of unwrapping any of the figures. 

 

Prior to the release of the Tablewar cases, many of us who traveled regularly had custom built wooden cases that were similar - a door that swings open at the front, with a slide-out removable shelf. The Tablewar case is a similar idea, but with a plexiglass front so it's easy to look in and see the harmless and fragile contents within. (It is also very nice for reassuring yourself that everyone's okay in there. :->) My old wood case had magnets in the shelf, so I can put washers in the base of the figures. The Tablewar case is designed the opposite way - it has a metal shelf, and you're intended to put small rare earth magnets in the bottom of the bases. I jury-rigged a reverse shelf for my Tablewar case to be able to carry the figures set up for the previous system, but I'm not 100% happy with it. The small size Tablewar case is specifically designed to fit under an airline seat or in the overhead compartment. I usually fly in smaller commuter planes, and it fits on those just fine. 

 

I then additionally (or if the figure doesn't have a washer/magnet in the base, entirely) secure the figures with sticky tack around the edges of the bases. This is the best option for pieces with fragile parts that poke outwards, or other parts that might get bent in a bubble wrap mummification. I have a few pieces I no longer bring to conventions in bubble wrap because they've been bent a little and then back multiple times and I worry that they're getting to the point of a staff or whatever might crack or break. It's also the best option if you've got delicate plants and the like on the bases. I've rarely had a figure get damaged in transit, but fragile base parts have taken a beating. In theory, you should be able to bump the case or even flip it on its side and the miniatures stay in place.

 

(One of the horror stories I've heard was the friend who had a TSA agent open that kind of case door side down, so the shelf slid out. Minis were damaged. :-< I've also had a friend or three who had one item get loose that knocked around and chipped or damaged other items. Those are unfortunate circumstances, but that's just a handful of stories over 10 years of attending conventions.)

 

I recommend the Tablewar case if you have large, complex dioramas or other pieces with fragile parts that might not travel well being wrapped up, and if you can afford it. If you have just one piece, you might be able to come up with a similar idea with a box. Attach your figure to a piece of cardboard or wood, and then attach that piece to the bottom of the box so it doesn't shake. I've traveled with a small piece tacked to the inside of a jar lid, and then screwed the jar around it so nothing is touching the figure but it's inside hard sided protection. That works best if you can figure out a way to keep the jar or box upright in whatever you're using for your carry-on luggage.

 

Regardless of packing method, I always recommend assembling multi-part miniatures with pins. Use larger wire or big paperclip wire for big joins like dragon legs. Use fresher glue (glues seem to become less effective after 2-3 years). Use two part epoxy glue for big joints or joints that get a lot of stress, like wings. I use it more often than superglue. Superglue can be more brittle in response to some forces. I have literally dropped miniatures assembled this way and the bond has held. (This provides no protection against damage to the metal, let alone the paint. Not to mention damage to my heart, which has still not recovered. ;->) Fill gaps with a hard putty like Milliput or ApoxieSculpt. 

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Haven't heard of tablewar cases. I'll have to check them out. Right now I'm either going the Rubbermaid and museum tack route, or I'm going to build a japanese toolbox. Either way, I'm driving in, so it'll be up to me to avoid Tail Spinner's little old lady.

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Here is the mini Tablewar case we are talking about. I elected to go with the solid front rather than the plexiglass front (and the shot below is from the back, not the front, the front shot is a little to fuzzy for my tastes) this will give me more space for stickers!

 

Tablewar.Small.2.jpg

Tablewar.Small.3.jpg

 

The drawer can be removed to give you more space inside.

 

Tablewar.Small.4.jpg

 

There are different types of metal trays that you can purchase including a single tray that fits across the entire surface of the shelves.

 

Tablewar.Small.6.jpg

Edited by Heisler
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I've got one of each of the Tablewar (plexi and opaque) cases. The plexi front is awesome but also draws a lot of attention while traveling, people are fascinated. But I definitely recommend their product, it's really nicely made (though I wish the tumblers were metal, not plastic).

 

Brother lost the transmission on his car

Well, I hope he finds it!
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One time when I was in the airport with my old wooden case, I stopped for a drink. I get worried about the minis, so I opened the case to make sure nothing was rattling around me. The guy next to me jumped, afraid I had some kind of critter in there I was letting out.

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