Saturday, July 23, 2016

Magnetizing Jewelry Trays for transport.

Hi All,

Well I'm back in the land of Wi-Fi, albeit super slow, so I thought I'd share my experiences with making a new set up for travelling with miniatures.

So I think I talked about this in a previous post after getting back from Oldhammer Weekend USA 2015. Some of the guys had these hard sided jewelry cases and trays, some had plastic containers with sheet metal epoxied in. I decided to marry the two ideas and have sheet metal glued into jewelry trays. Perhaps not original, but an idea none the less.

Kober recommended Nile, and Blue recommended Gems on Display. I went with the latter as it was the same stuff, only sightly cheaper. I had wanted to do a hard sided case, but I also wanted to do carry on and the dimensions on the hard sided cases were about 1" too large in at least one dimension.

Melania'd from the American Airlines website:

Shouldn’t exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches / 23 x 36 x 56 centimeters (including handles and wheels)
Must fit in the sizer at the airport

So I went with this soft sided case here. Now you'll notice that it says you can fit 12, 1" trays in there. I got excited about fitting 12 trays in and stupidly ordered them. Anyone paying attention will immediately realize that a 28mm figure is never going to fit in a 1" tray and be able to stack stuff on top of it. So much for enthusiasm. Gems on display would have taken them back and given me money back, but the shipping would have been more than they were worth. So I now have 12, 1" trays. I'll use them for dice rolling and organizing the paint queue, etc.

What I ended up with for travel was 2, 3" trays and 3, 2" trays. They don't appear to make larger than 2" in the stackable plastic. A shame, but it worked out ok. I may in the future figure out how to fix something on the bottom of the three inchers to keep them from shifting.

Next I ordered some custom sheet metal plates from Robert over at Shogun Miniatures. We played a minimal amount of email tag and he got the metal out to me quickly, ie well before I was going on my trip to Baltimore.

Let's see how I put them in the trays, shall we?

Test fit and double check of magnetic properties. (Also a shot of my feet)

Setting up an area outside to epoxy.

I used 120 grit to rough up the sheet metal, I probably should have used a coarser grit but I had 120 handy.

I realized a little late that I didn't need to put a full stripe of glue across.

I used Gorilla brand two part epoxy. They recommend mixing it in the plastic blister but I just applied it directly and mixed it on the sheet metal itself.

The pictures don't show it, but I did 3 strips of epoxy on each plate. I was  able to glue 5 plates in with one tube of epoxy, but just barely.

Fortunately I have a bunch of old bricks and pavers lying around my back yard so I used those to hold down the plates while the epoxy cured.

So now I can fit almost my entire O & G army in one plus tray. I had a little difficulty fitting my clothes and Oldhammer t-shirts in the remaining space, but I made it to Baltimore and back with only one figure broken.

The figures did shift a little in transit, tipping the bag over to fit in the overhead compartment, so I may need to figure out some more ways to restrain the figures once inside. The idea is to have them as tightly packed as possible.

I'd also like to welcome two new followers, Warcolours Paints and Idrissa-Flo Woodstone. I don't know if they have blogs, send me links if you do. I believe I know Idrissa under a slightly different name on facebook. A damn fine painter.

I hope this post is helpful and that I'll get some more reports written soon. I don't know why the followers widget is so small right now. I'll have to check the settings.

Have a good one.


  1. Interesting stuff Sean. I will personally stick with my plastic containers. I'm sure though this will be helpful to the magnetizing camp. ;)

    1. Hi Airborne, plastic containers are still a great way to organize and transport figures. Since I have to fly to everything I wanted to find a more compact way to transport things. There are still challenges, but I'll share any refinements.

  2. Now that certainly looks impressive Sean, great solution Sir.

    1. Thank you Michael, necessity and all that.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you Simon, it does look fancier than a plastic tub.

  4. Very helpful Sean...thanks. Have you considered putting your unit on its movement tray and some how affixing that to the tray? Perhaps with sheet magnets? I would love to be able to pull out a unit and put it on the table intact! Also for the taller Plastic trays I bought two 2" stackable ones...cut the bottom out of one...put a ton of glue on the lip of that and stacked it on the intact tray...thereby making a 4" tray which is great for mounted troops and standards etc.

    1. Hi Blue. My original idea was that the magnets would be able to hold through the trays to the sheet metal in the jewelry tray. The magnets I used were not quite strong enough to do that. I may examine this idea more because yes, that would be great. You can also buy 4" trays, but the 3" and larger don't come in plastic. I remembered that you did that, just not what sizes. I only had a couple that were too tall for even the 3", but I don't have any cavalry, yet.



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