Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Battlefoam and storing your bits in a sneaky way

Cut with friggen Lasers! Pew pew!

Grr Battlefoam! Why are you so awesome?!?!?!

I've had a $100 credit at Battlefoam for over a year to finally get some foam transport for my awesomely painted Tiny Metal Men. I have the credit and kind of know what I want. The problem is getting the foam to hold all the bits and pieces for my vehicles.

Let me back up.

My Rhinos have crazy magnets in them. Each turret, the HK missile, smoke launchers and dozer blade are all magnetized. With the addition of a couple magnets in the corners of the rear hatch, I change it between a Rhino and a Pred/Razorback. That means that I not only have the Rhino model but all these bits floating around. Fitting all those bits into the foam is problematic.

The Rhino model is precisely 2" from treds to exhaust stack with not a millimeter to spare. Initially, I thought I wanted to put the Rhino in 3" of foam and leave all the bits attached to the model. That way, all the bits are stored and I can pull the model out and be ready to play. I can just pluck the bits that I don't want to use off of them and toss them back into the box while I play.

But I can't do that. I have to fit it in 2" of foam and I still need to design a 3" tray for my Land Raiders. You may be saying that 2" plus 3" is only 5". Then I would say to you, that there is a 0.25" base on each tray and a single 0.25" topper. That makes it 5.75". The pack that I am selecting only has 6" of space in it. It seems a shame to waste that 0.25" of foam, but it is what it is.

I used the awesome Battlefoam custom tray creator to block out 6 Rhinos. I didn't have a tape measure so I had to use a Warmachine spray template and almost went blind estimating what a half and a quarter inch looks like on it. I measured the size of the hatches, turrets and bits and almost forgot those Hunter-Killer Missiles. The program lets you select squares and rectangles of almost any size in 0.25" increments. If there is not the size or shape you want, you can join squares to make the ones you want.

 Each Rhino has a space for the hull, the Rhino or Razorback top hatch, a stormbolter hatch with or without a Marine sticking out of it, a Hunter-Killer Missile and the Razorback turret. In between each 2 Rhinos there is a space for a plain hatch as well as a 1" square section for any loose bits I am forgetting about.

Like a friggen Transformer.
There is only one Razorback turret for each Rhino which is not a problems right now. I only have 3 Rhinos finished and 3 turrets. Later when I have 6 Rhinos done and more than 6 Razorback turrets, I have a secret trick already worked out to store 6 more turrets without adding any more foam.

Since the Rhinos are mostly hollow, I can flip a Razorback turret upside down and store the turret inside of the model. The bit of sprue on the underside of the turret is where the magnet is glued in. This sprue bit is going poke into the base of the foam above this level but only by a tiny bit. The cushion of the foam should absorb this. 

Hidden surprise!
I use a similar trick to store bits inside of the Rhino for the ever-popular Las/Plas turret option. I made a twin-linked  plasma gun out of a couple of plasma guns by gluing them together and sticking a magnet on the end of it. I cut the Lascannon on the turret in between two of the ridges and put a magnet on the turret and the gun. I also put a pin in the turret to make sure the cannon always points straight. The plasma guns swap out seamlessly with the cannon. I think this conversion beats the pants off of other attempts.

The problem comes in when you have to store that tiny plasma gun bit. It is really tiny and prone to get lost in boxes. What I ended up doing is gluing a magnet inside the rear hatch on the Rhino just as I would to the turret. When I want the bit, all I have to do is open the hatch and swap guns.

Through the process of writing this I came to grips with  giving up on fitting in the dozer blades (which are not painted) and the Pred bits into this layer of foam. It can not be done practically. I am going to focus on getting the Rhino hull and bits in foam and leave the Pred bits for another day and layer. This was hard to do because I really wanted to have all the Rhino and Pred bits in a single layer.

"Is that your final answer?"

 That's one tray finished. The Land Raider level is for another day. I want to fit 2 or 3 LR and the Pred bits in there. I would also like to squeeze a Vindicator in there as well but that may be a pipe dream. That will finish the first Pack PLUS. I have plans for many more Pack PLUSs to hold the Storm Ravens and other vehicles. The best part is that they all zip together top to bottom.

EDIT: I placed the order today (3-14) for the single layer and the bag. I would have really liked to get both layers as it would have saved me shipping but I can not block out foam when the bits are not done. I could have guessed at it, but that is risky. I'll get the Land Raider and Pred layer when I get my next bag which will be for the Storm Raven and hopefully two drop pods.

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