Make an X-Wing Carry Case – Part 2

FFGSWXwinglogoA week or so ago Mat told you all about how he turned a Boba Fett lunch box into an X-Wing Miniatures Game figure case. Seeing as we’re both completely mad for the game set in a Galaxy far, far away (Battle Report 4 coming soon), I decided I’d make one as well. Being the good guys I opted for an equally good and virtuous character in contrast to the dastardly Boba Fett. Of course I refer to none other than that true hero of the Rebellion…R2D2.

tinbox-r2-1I aside from being the brains behind the Rebellion, I opted for Artoo because of its simple shape. The object of the exercise was to create a two layer figure case that would – eventually – hold a squadron of X-Wings or a mix of a dozen snubfighter sized models. I admit to going into the build a little blind because, well, how hard can it be? It was debatable whether or not I could comfortably fit the fighters and their bases in the case but I was gonna…ahem…wing it.

So, what do you need? Well a lunchbox or some description. Go for metal, it’ll keep your models nice and safe and won’t crack if you drop it. You’ll also need some egg crate foam, a glue gun, some decent scissors – I used kitchen scissors.

It isn’t rocket science so let’s get down to business. Assuming you’ve bought a piece of foam big enough, you should be able to get at least 5 sections of foam that’ll fit a case the size of the one I’m used – 19cm x 13.5cm x 8cm – I know I could get 5 because I managed to bodge one of the layers and had to cut a fresh piece. I opted for placing the tin on the foam and scoring the foam lightly around the edge of the tin then cutting the shape out before trimming it down by a few mil’ to fit inside the case.

Keep the first insert handy as you can use it as a guide for the other three but it really is as simple as that. Once you’ve got all 4 pieces of sponge out use your glue gun to glue the first piece into the bottom of the case, making sure it fits comfortably, you don’t want it too tight or it’ll eventually break free of the glue.

As you can see from the picture above the case holds 3 X-Wings and their stands quite comfortably. If you were willing to carry your stands separately you could fit 6 fighters per layer in the case. And as 12 is the magic number, that’s pretty good going.

Now, the dividing layers you can glue together if you like but I opted not to as I wanted to option of taking equipment and pilot cards with me for games between the layers, so I knew they were with the models. This is specifically games I’ve planned ahead for so I don’t need to take the entire equipment deck.

If you wanted to use one of the layers to transport something a little larger than an X-Wing, I’d recommend having a thinner piece of foam pre-cut and handy that you can swap out as the foam Mat and I opted for was pretty rigid and that went double with two pieces together. Using a thinner piece will allow your Millennium Falcon or whatever a little more room to breathe.

Finally – and this is the fiddly bit – place the last piece in the lid of your lunchbox figure case, but don’t glue it in place yet. Partially close the lid so you can see where the sponge insert will meet the lip of the tin which will prevent it closing fully. This will all need cutting away so the case will close but it’ll still afford you sufficient protection for your models. Cut it away in stages. Removing too much – particularly from the bottom – will mean the case will close but any models near that end of the case won’t be afforded full protection. That said, don’t be paranoid about it. Providing you’ve got some fairly rigid sponge you’ll get good grip. Once you’ve got your final piece of sponge cut to size, glue it into the lid.

And that’s the case done. It works well but only for snubfighters – and really only Rebel ones at that. I currently have the Falcon on bottom layer and 3 X-Wings on the top but it’s an iffy fit and I won’t be leaving it that way for long. The Falcon on its own with the stand and all the associated cards would fit fine. Equally a squadron of snubfighters will go in the case no problem. And with some careful positioning, their stands will too.

It’s robust and the foam really holds the models in place. However, the lasers on the X-Wings do tend to get caught on the foam which is bit frustrating and I’d advise caution when removing them as there’s little give and if they break it’s an expensive model to replace. And value for money of the case is a little shaky as well when you take into  account the lunchbox, the foam and other supplies.

I’ll be honest – if you’re going for X-Wing hardcore, the laser cut trays is probably the way to go. The models are just too expensive to risk anything happening to them. However, the case is tough enough that you can put a fair few models in there and they’ll arrive in one piece. Plus the size of the case makes for very convenient transportation. Which is kinda nice.

If, however, the last cut stuff is your bag  or you’d prefer a standard figure case then the KR Multicase range is available from Firestorm Games priced from £9.99.

Make an X-Wing Carry Case – Part 1

FFGSWXwinglogoRegular readers will know that Phil & I are a touch into the X-Wing Miniatures Game. Just a touch, mind. It’s not like we’ve started reading the fiction, watching the movies or humming the theme…not a one. Promise.

After our first game I got thinking about figure cases, and it was mainly down to the fact Phil turned up to that game with a tiny card board box within which he had everything he needed for the game, plus a some scenery. And that was it. I realised that I didn’t need a bloody great figure case to lug all my X-Wing stuff about in. As Phil and I text one another back and forth (provoking the usual boyfriend banter from our wives), we hit on the same idea. We both had Empire Strikes Back lunch boxes as children which would have been roughly big enough to fit some foam and fighters in.

So to eBay I took myself and looked up Star Wars lunch boxes, and low and behold I was rewarded with a plethora of options, including an old Empire Strikes Back lunch box… which sold for £32.56. As tempted as I was the exercise was as much about budget as it was convenience.

Once again texts flew back and forth and within minutes we’d found metal character lunch boxes. Being Rebel scum Phil opted for R2D2 and being the Imperials with a penchant for a certain Mandalorian I snapped up Boba Fett for a trifling £8.99. That may seem expensive for a smallish child’s lunch box but don’t forget licensed products are always more expensive than they should be.

Between us we then purchased a sheet of egg box foam for £7.00 which was more than enough to do the job. So total spend on materials thus far: £12.49.

What you need:

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x1 Boba Fett Lunch Box, x1 Sheet of Foam, x1 Craft Knife,
x1 Pair of Kitchen Scissors, x1 Glue Gun, x1 Cutting Mat, x1 Thick Card, x1 Pencil

So first up, using the thick card make yourself a template, I did this by drawing around the outside of the lunch box and then cutting out the shape. Bare in mind though the inside is going to be smaller so you will need to trim it down until it fits nicely inside your chosen case.

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Now you have your template you need to use this to measure out your bits of foam and cut out the basic size and shape, you can use a sharp knife or your scissors for this bit I found it easier to use the knife at this point.

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Now holding your template to your cut out section of foam you need to trim it to size. I originally started off using the knife to do this bit but quickly found the scissors were a lot easier to use for the kind of shapes you need for some of the odd-shaped tins.

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Once you have done one section of foam check how it fits in your case as you don’t want to do all pieces and find none of it fits.

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If it all fits okay repeat this method for the piece that will fit inside your lid, but again bear in mind you will need to make this bit ever so slightly smaller to ensure it all closes nicely, and make sure you take a decent size strip off the bottom so it won’t get in the way of the hinge.

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I have created a multi-layer case thinking I could get 2 layers of models in, but more on this later.
The best way to do this is to glue 2 sections of the basic cut foam together back to back using your hot glue gun. I would say here make sure you’re quick as once the glue goes cold your kind of screwed and have to peel it off and start again, which makes a real mess of the foam. So make sure the glue is nice and hot, it’ll give you a few seconds of sliding about before it sets.

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Now repeat what you did earlier with your template, at this point I would recommend discarding the knife in favour of the scissors if you haven’t up to this point, as trying to cut through 2 pieces of the foam can be a pain in the arse with a knife. Not to mention the blade will be pretty severely blunted.

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Finally, get your glue gun out again and glue the base section and lid section into place if you so wish, I have to admit I didn’t do this bit as I am using the lid to store certain card templates much like I do with my GW figure cases. But otherwise you’re done and ready to load up you brand spanking new Star Wars themed X-Wing carry case.

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Now to conclude, as I mentioned I didn’t actually glue my foam in. This is due to a bit of an issue with the size of the case and TIE Fighter models. Due to the stabilizers on the TIE Fighters being rather sticky-outy, I wasn’t able to utilise the middle layer as it would have frankly crushed my models, so I am left with but a single layer of miniatures. All that said it’s not a huge issue as I think I should be able to get at least 10 or 12 models in. and it still looks damn cool. But it does mean, in the short-term, I’ll be replacing the double layer of foam with a single layer, which will allow me to fit bases and flight stands in the case tidily. I’ll also be making a larger case in the not too distant future and be taking my sandwiches to work in the most secure lunch box ever…

As an alternative to egg box foam a range of KR Multicase & Battlefoam foam are available from Firestorm Games.