Hello, TechRaptor readers. Today we’ll be looking at a great solution for an issue that plagues many wargamers. I’ve spent a lot of time building, painting, and customizing my models. How do I move them from point A to point B without having them spontaneously disassemble after glancing at a pothole fifty yards ahead of you in the opposite lane while driving to your FLGS? Thanks to the generosity of Romeo Filip of Battlefoam, we’ll be taking a look at the Battlefoam bag system. Specifically, the P.A.C.K. 432 bag and a few of the accessories.
Taking a look at the Battlefoam P.A.C.K 432 Miniature Carrying Solution
Looking at the outside, you can already see just how customizable these bags are. The bags use a MOLLE-style system for adding additional storage capacity based on your specific gaming needs. The horizontal straps you see on the sides are designed as a way for you to interlock these pouches. It provides a much more rugged option than zippers and a more secure option than something like Velcro. With this, you can easily carry rule books, templates, and as many dice as you could need. Unless you play Tyranids, Orks, or Imperial Guard, of course. If this is the case, I’d recommend checking out your local hardware store for five-gallon buckets.
The outside is made of ballistic nylon protecting a hard plastic shell that provides a great deal of structural support and will meet FAA regulations for carry-on luggage according to the Battlefoam website. A great option for skirmish players flying out for tournaments, assuming a curious and clumsy TSA agent doesn’t start rummaging through the trays and end up snapping off limbs and various bits. The tough exterior also helps to protect against the usual hazards of the gaming store: spilled drinks, clumsy gamers, and the like. The case comes with both a strong carrying handle and a shoulder strap, allowing you to choose how to transport everything you’re carrying based on what you have with you at the time.
Does it Keep Your Precious Minis Safe?
The most integral part of the system is the foam trays that rest inside the case and do the real work of keeping your army safe. The P.A.C.K. 432 bag I’ll be taking a look at has a standard load out, which contains five trays of various shapes and sizes. Four of the trays contain spaces for models of slightly varying sizes, allowing you to carry a decent number of 28mm figures, as you can see from the pics above. This particular case is designed primarily with skirmish games in mind, as the model count will be much lower than an army-sized game. Players of games like Infinity, Wild West Exodus, and Warmachine will find this bag perfect for them. Warhammer 40K players, on the other hand, will most likely need to take a look at larger bags like the P.A.C.K. 720 or the P.A.C.K. 1520XL.
Some of the larger or more oddly shaped models will require a different solution, which is where the pluck foam tray comes in. The pluck foam tray I’m looking at is 3 inches high and gives you the ability to take out small 1 square inch sections of foam to fit your larger or more oddly-shaped minis. Whether it’s a Space Marine Rhino, a USAriadna Maverick recon bike, or Enlightenment monocot models, odds are you can fit it in the pluck foam with a little bit of work. An added benefit is having plenty of leftover pluck foam for quick and easy model weathering.
Highly Customizable Miniature Storage
Should you have more uniquely shaped models that won’t quite work with either the standard load out or the pluck foam trays, Battlefoam offers the option for creating custom foam trays with premade shapes for common models with more oddly shaped silhouettes. And if you have a highly customized model that doesn’t quite fit in the pre-determined shapes, you have the option to get a custom cut tray designed to fit your model in particular specifically. Draw an outline of the model in question, scan it, and send it to Battlefoam, and a short time later, you’ll get a spiffy new tray that will fit your special snowflake model perfectly.
The only issue with this system has more to do with the models themselves than the foam. Some models are just plain … fiddly, for lack of a better word. Anyone who has ever tried to transport Dark Eldar vehicles will understand what I mean. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, the models have lots of spindly and pointy bits all over them that can get snagged on the foam at inopportune times. These particular models will require additional care to move into and out of the trays to avoid breaking parts off. This isn’t any fault of Battlefoam by any means; the problem is with the models and not the trays themselves. You’ll need to either be more careful or keep some glue handy.
A Few Caveats for the P.A.C.K 432
While it seems that the Battlefoam option is a panacea for your model transportation needs, it does come with some downsides. The first and most noticeable is the price. A P.A.C.K. 432 bag with the standard load out will run you $139.99 if you purchase directly from Battlefoam, not including shipping. That can cause some serious sticker shock and will flat-out be out of the price range for some people. I can’t really argue with this point aside from saying that while the price is high, the quality of the product you’re getting and the peace of mind of knowing that my models will still be in one piece is worth it to me. If you take into account the fact that armies can easily run into the hundreds of dollars, not to mention the costs in both time and money for assembly and painting said army, then paying a bit more for a high-quality storage and transport system makes sense. If the price is simply out of your budget, however, then it’s out of your budget. Can’t help you much there.
Another issue that I’ve noticed is more of a personal issue, though it will be faced by many other gamers: the foam itself is a huge magnet for pet hair. I have two German Shepherds, so I long ago resigned myself to the fact that dog hair is a simple fact of life. I tend to buy lint rollers in bulk to deal with the issue, especially when I need to dress up. Pet owners will either have to take extra precautions to keep their foam from looking like a cat exploded nearby or just accept the fact that your models will have a free additional layer of furry protection provided by your pets. You may lose some gaming friends with pet dander allergies, however. Like many things in life, it’s a trade-off. Is the convenience and peace of mind worth sending another player into an allergic fit? If said player is a jerk, it very well may be.
Should I Spend My Money On The Battlefoam P.A.C.K 432
Overall, the P.A.C.K. 432 is a well-made, high-quality case for keeping your models safe until they get onto the battlefield and promptly get blown off said battlefield due to the simple fact that Lady Luck gave you the finger on your first few dice rolls of the game. It has a durable construction, is highly customizable, and should work for pretty much any game you could wish for. Of course, it's also pretty damn expensive, and anyone living with a lot of pets might want to reconsider, for fear of their army being covered in more hair than paint.
All review materials were generously provided by Romeo Filip of Battlefoam. Disclosure time: I was a member of The Freebootaz, a paid forum for the 40K Radio podcast hosted by Romeo Filip, for about a year and a half. I hung out with Rik Massei, a Battlefoam employee, a few times and made his Blood Angels cry many sparkly emo vampire tears with my Dark Eldar.