Military modellers accumulate thousands of soldiers over time, nicely painted and based, which can be difficult to store. Dedicated troop transport cases with foam compartments are expensive and do not offer sufficient storage space for a collection of wargame units. The miniatures end up in cardboard boxes, illegibly labeled and stacked somewhere in the attic. Many of these troops remain unnoticed for years, to be rediscovered during some future inspection. Transporting them to the battlefield becomes a nightmare. The miniatures slide around in their boxes, bayonets are bent and lances broken. However, there is a simple solution to the transport problem: cheap wooden storage boxes available at hardware stores may be converted to troop transports.
- Wooden storage box, 60 × 40 × 15 cm
Interior Dimensions: 57.3 × 37.6 × 12.5 cm
- 3 basswood or pine strips 5 × 10 mm (200 cm long)
- 2 MDF boards (4 mm) 19.5 × 37.4 cm
- 1 MDF board (4 mm) 24 × 37.4 cm
The completed storage box stows approximately 1500 infantry figures in 15 mm, or 1000 figures of all arms, if infantry, cavalry, and artillery are transported in the same box. The box and the small parts required to customize it will cost around 25.00 Euro or USD, approximately 2 to 3 cents per figure tranported in the box. Collectors of 25 to 30 mm figures will need a storage box 25 cm high, if figures are to be stored on two levels.
The first step of the customization process involves dividing the floor of the storage box into compartments which prevent the figures from sliding around. The example shown here has compartments large enough to hold Volley & Bayonet brigade stands which are 76 × 76 mm square. The two large compartments hold six brigades, and the four smaller compartments four brigades each. Dice, status markers, and 50 × 50 mm or 38 × 38 mm command stands fit into the long compartment in the centre of the box. The compartment dividers are made from 5 × 10 mm basswood or pine strips glued to the floor of the box. These wood strips are high enough to prevent the brigade stands from sliding around, and low enough to keep the compartments accessible so that the brigades can be picked up by the stand. It is important to match the compartments to the actual figure stand sizes, so that the available space is used efficiently. The compartments should be smaller, if the figures are mounted on small stands.
The storage box shown here has an internal height of 12.5 cm, and it is tall enough to store 15 mm or 20 mm figures on two levels. Removable trays are used for this purpose. The trays rest on strips of 5 × 10 mm basswood which have been glued to the long interior walls of the box. The basswood strips are 57.3 cm long and they are mounted 60 mm above the floor of the box. We used wooden supports of 50 mm length to ensure that the basswood strips were level inside the box. These supports were removed once the glue had dried. If one of the three trays is removed from the box, the other two trays slide sideways to reveal the figures stored below.
The trays are made from 4 mm MDF board, purchased at the hardware store and pre-cut to the required sized. The trays are edged with strips of 5 × 10 mm basswood or pine, to prevent the figures from sliding off the tray when it is lifted out of the box. The basswood strips ensure that the tray will not warp and fall into the box when fully loaded with metal figures. The required width of each tray depends on the base sizes of the figures. The box shown here has two narrow and one wide tray holding two and three brigade stands adjacent to each other, respectively. The trays are not divided lengthwise, because the large Volley & Bayonet brigade stands tend not to slide around much.