Packaging AFV models for Shipping

Packaging fun ….

So while shipping off several large commission vehicle groups recently I thought it might be interesting and/or useful to show how I go about packaging up my vehicles for shipping.

Anyone purchasing a made up or completed kit has two things they should consider, firstly they have a right to expect their purchase to arrive well packaged, safe and undamaged, secondly what they’ve purchased is a fragile item and incredibly difficult to package to achieve the first requirement.

For the sender the issues include how to physically pack the item safely but also the realisation that they have absolutely no control over the handling during the delivery process, and this is the major point for all to accept, both customer and sender have zero control over how the item is handled during shipping.

While most parts of the mailing/postal process is designed for reasonable care and most individuals involved are very helpful and as careful as time allows, we’ve all seen Utube vidoes of parcels being tossed about like footballs in the rain. Also while applying “this way up” and “fragile” labels might give some peace of mind there is no requirement in the industry to follow such labels, as stacking density is the primary goal of shipment.

So for myself I package my vehicles based on the assumptions that the package will be knocked, dropped and shipped upside down. Another side issue many purchasers might not realise is the time and process involved in packing up, with a large order regularly taking 3 or more hours to completely pack and this time and materials often aren’t charged for as part of the job. All of this is done to the best of my ability but even then the shipping part of a commission is usually the part with the most worry involved as the full combined time, effort and value of the project is now passed on and transits completely out of your control.

Basic process

Wrapping
The vehicle is protected with foam where small projections such as MGs require it and wrapped with layers of tissue. Sometimes items such as turrets are removed are packaged separately.

Sub package
The wrapped vehicles are secured to a foam-core base and fixed down with double sided tape. At this stage the wrapped vehicles can be tipped and shaken and still remain fixed in their wrapping and to the base.

Box fill
Although secured to the base the vehicles are covered with foam beads (bean bag fill). Vertical foam-core risers create compartments and provide protection against top crushing. The compartments and beads work to prevent the vehicles from coming loose if the package is shipped upside down.

Boxing
Most packages receive a top layer of foam-core and sometimes either interior side or external side cladding is also added to provide extra stiffness if the main box requires it. The box is completely taped to waterproof it and printed labels attached and sealed under tape.

Q

28mm Vehicle Packaging

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pkg-pln-012-sh-850

pkg-wrp-020-rl-850

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pkg-bx-032-sh-850

pkg-bx-030-2-rl-850

pkg-bx-031-rl-850

pkg-bx-036-rl-850-2

pkg-bx-034-sh-850-2

Land Raider Packaging

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pkg-wrp-027-da-850

pkg-wrp-028-da-850

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20mm Vehicle Packaging

pkg-wrp-024-lah-850

pkg-wrp-025-lah-850

pkg-wrp-023-lah-850

pkg-pln-014-lah-1020

pkg-bx-030-4-lah-850

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Cat Help ….. not !

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Updated …. Modern Transport Box.
Not permanent transport case as it was just for a one-off transport to a convention. The foam-core insert comes out and the vehicles sit into recesses that stop them sliding around. With better sides and top the base would work to transport vehicles around as long as they aren’t tipped up over about 30o.

modern-travel-box1

modern-travel-box2

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Airfix Warrior – Modern British MTP uniform 2

MTP test fig finished ………..

Well I finished the test trooper in MTP. Improved the detail on the Helmet by adding a replacement NVG mounting strap and clips. While painting I realised I should have replaced the platoon comms microphone. I’d previously replaced the ones on the turret TC and Gunner, figuring the crew headsets and mics were more prominent. I should have done the troopers too in hindsight, too late for this guy but I’ll track the others down and fix em …….

Anyway the paint went on ok. I decided to paint the body armour, knapsack and some of the pouches in plain DDPM to add some contrast to the camoflage. As Keith mentions in a comment on the first MTP installment, when painting modern camo especially, the packs and details can get lost in the camo. While that may be the idea (lol) it doesn’t make for a very visual figure. So the plain webbing helps and I also spent a bit of extra time working on the shading / shadows.

All in all and while it’s taken some effort, I think the plain and soft Airfix figures can scrub up pretty well. Which is just as well as there aren’t any other options available in 1/48th yet …….

Q

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Warrior crew w0400

Warrior crew w042

Warrior crew w046

Warrior crew w049

Warrior crew w044

I’m often asked about the colours I use. Well I usually mix my paint and current use mostly last generation (out of production) GW acrylics. This makes it really a moot point to try and detail the ratios of each colour used. Instead I’ve been producing colour swatches of paints as I mix them. That means when I come to re-mix a batch, even using a different paint system, I can faff about with my alchemaic blending until I have a pretty close match to my favourite colour.

Below are the primary colours I settled on for my MTP camo test.

Pea Green base – the whole uniform gets this as a base colour
Mid Green diruptor – this goes on next, covering roughly 25% of the uniform
Dark Earth disuptor – the third colour added to cover roughly 25% of the uniform
Desert DDPM base – my base colour for DDPM. Used as an light accent colour at roughly 5% or less
Dark Chocolate Brown (not shown) – the final dark accent colour, apply sparingly at around 5% or less

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MTP Pal-1

Airfix Warrior – Modern British MTP uniform 1

Mini update ………

Or to use it’s official designation;

Multi Terrain Pattern Personal Clothing System Combat Uniform (MTP PCS CU) which started entering service in 2011 replacing the old Combat Soldier ’95 system which had a vareity of uniforms for different situations. Personally after looking at many ref pics I think the MTP does a great job in both desert and temperate surroundings. It just looks tricky to paint lol

So, I started experimenting with painting the current uniform MTP (also sometimes called multicam) on one of the troopers. In theatre pics often show a mix of uniform types so I was thinking of painting the two troopers in MTP and the vehicle crew in the earlier desert pattern DPM figuring the groundpunders would be the first to get the newer issued uniforms. Interestingly the US also adopted multicam after first rejecting it and now having largely abandoned their “digital” pattern experiment …….

Anyway I had to mix all the colours to match the reference pics, in which the shades often appear quite pale and subdued.

I’ve attached some assorted MTP pics below showing how variations in lighting (and probably fading esp in the Afghanistan pic) effect the colour hues.

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Multicam 12

Multicam 16

Multicam 18

multicam_shirt_1

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And here’s my first attempt. I’m pretty happy with it so I’ll carry on and complete both of the troopers who will be standing in the fighting hatch.

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Warrior crew  w034