Vir's Archive

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Moving Armies Across the World Pt. 1

Troop Movement!

Suitably lofty title, yes?

Its been said, and I am paraphrasing here, that amateurs study tactics, experts study strategy, and veterans study logistics. So, too, is it for wargamers.

Just like we obsess over minute gradations in shading and the technical specifications of little symbols we paint on our minis, we (usually) freak out about moving our little armies. The key, for many of us, like real generals, is simply getting the army to the fight. Get the army to where its supposed to be, and you have won more than 50% of the battle. For wargamers, getting our armies to whereever we are playing, with a minimum amount of damage and chipping, is a big deal. (why "minimum amount of damage?" -- because something always breaks in transit. Always).

I've seen army transport handled a lot of different ways - but all of them are loving. I've seen people use blankets, foam-filled shoe boxes, Styrofoam, tackle boxes (guilty!), gun cases, and, of course, specially-made carriers. I think you can tell a lot about the type of gamer you are playing with by how they carry their army.

We who are about to die, Salute You!

Simple shoebox? Probably just got into the game or are in the hobby exclusively for the competition and see the modeling aspect as superfluous.

Tackle box? Somebody who has been in the hobby for a little while, loves their army, but doesnt have the cash on hand to get a really snazzy bag.

Gun case? Someone wants to protect their army but is uninterested in a custom bag.

Professional Bag/Carry case? Been in the hobby for a while and has a sizable collection. Probably someone who has been in a tourney or two.

As you can imagine, army transport for someone like me is a very big deal. I travel a lot and as I build my Warmachine army, I need a way to be confident my travels arent going to overly stress the army. Being gainfully employed, money is certainly a concern, but not an impediment.

The Story of a Stalwart

For the last 15 years I used an old Sabol designs bag. At the time, this was cutting edge for moving armies. It has all this nice foam to carefully place your individual figures, a nice sturdy bag holds the foam, and it is carried by a solid nylon strap. After 15+ years of gaming with this bag, I call it "old grey." Old Grey has been a stalwart -- I count three moves to DC, one move to South Asia, one move to East Asia, one move to Africa. At various points doing those last 15 years, Old Grey ably protected my Dark Angels army and my Eldar Ulthwe army. Breakage did occur, but nothing serious. Old Grey is a good bag.

Old Grey is so old, I cant find a stock photo for his model. But his great-grandson is this guy.

Old Grey has been part of this blog. He/it was the bag I used to carry my Khador army to GenCon in 2010. I ended up buying some foam trays from Battlefoam to replace the (now seriously aged) SD foam of my bag. 15 years later, the Battlefoam foam was a bit of an upgrade - sturdier and softer. I was happy.

Old Grey was getting old and 2010 GenCon finally broke him. On the travel back home (to Dallas, not Africa) I noticed a bunch of rips in the bag around where the straps are secured. Apparently, the plastic covering of Old Grey, able to endure Asian monsoons, DC crappy weather, and trips around the world, finally started to become structurally unsound. Shoot.

My solution to a ripped bag? What any god-fearin' Texan would do.

Duct Tape!

If you cant Duct it F- it!

Old Grey was on his last leg. I decided, upon return from GenCon, that Old Grey was not going to serve as a carry-on any longer. The rips were too deep and I had these horrible images in my mind of the strap breaking and the army tumbling out. So, Old Grey went to Mailboxes Etc., got wrapped in bubble tape, put into a box, and mailed back to Africa.

Old Grey and my Army was waiting for me in Libreville when I returned home (re: the title of this blog). I made it back in early November after Elliot was born... but before Tracie or my daughter joined me. So, I had some quiet time with my army to see what made it through the mail. Props to Mailboxes Etc in Grapevine, Tx for doing an amazing job. The guy there took his time, listened to my story about why I was being totally anal, and simply smiled and added more bubble wrap.

Dear MBE - thanks for not sucking.

Only Fenris was broke when I unpacked the army in Libreville, and for those of you familiar with the Fenris model, its just this side of impossible not to break that guy.

Dont look now, but I think this .img of Fenris just broke.

To be Continued...