BattleFoam trays, and a case to utilize them on the cheap!
BattleFoam pre-cut trays, and a case to utilize them on the cheap!
I have to admit, I like the pre-cut foam trays that BattleFoam has to offer . They come in a wide variety of pre-cut configurations, many of which are perfect for the various specific Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k faction pieces. One of which I really like is a 4-inch tray that comes pre-cut to hold a single drop pod, 2 Land Raiders and 4 Rhinos for Space Marines. Other nice trays include, and aren't limited to.. single 5x Drop Pod 4-inch trays, another tray to hold Imperial Guard Valkyries, trays to hold 3X Leman Russ and 3X Chimeras, 72 troop capacity 1-inch trays, and a ton of other nicely designed pre-cut trays for most anything Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k. More recently they've debuted trays designed to fit Warmachine and Hordes. If you're into WWII historical battles, Flames of War is another game they make nice pre-cut trays for too.
The nice thing about their Standard BattleFoam trays is that they're larger than what the competition makes at 15.5x12 inches, where as Army Transport trays are 13x7.75. The only problem with BattleFoam for the most part is their cases are very expensive, and if you want to buy one of their cases with foam, the only way they offer them to retailers is the case, plus a pre set pluck foam configuration, not the nicer pre-cut trays.
They do offer a service to allow you to select the pre-cut trays you want with any of their cases, IF you order direct from them, and you can even use a tool they offer to design your own custom trays. However, dealing direct with BattleFoam at present, is like trying to deal with GamesWorkshop direct. You end up paying full retail cost, with no breaks, and while they claim shipping is exact cost, on average it's $19 for S&H alone for most any of their cases via their website shipped to a US address.
This is hard to swallow when most of us are used to dealing with online retailers that offer 20%-30% off retail, plus usually free shipping with a $75--$100 purchase, or flat rate $6 no matter how much you order, and/or a local shop which incurs no shipping, and a small discount/incentive as well.
Selecting the Custom Load Out option with any of their cases is very expensive too. For instance it's $65 for a P.A.C.K 432 empty direct, $95 with their standard pluck-foam tray setup with a 432, and $135 if you opt for the Custom Load option, and the 432 holds only 7.5 inches worth of their trays.
In most configurations you're only going to fit about 3 varied size trays in that case with 7.5-inches to work with, and on average their trays cost $19-$29 each. Do the math, it doesn't look like you even get much of a break on the trays when buying a case too. If you opted for 2x $24 trays (1X 4-inch and 1X 3inch) and 1x $19 tray (1-inch tray) it ends up $67 for the trays, so you saved $2 off the cost of buying the trays separate. Certainly not a big incentive.
However, I have a solution!
Now, if you know a local shop, or online retailer that caries a wider selection of the trays that they offer direct, you could buy the trays you want, and I've found that Sabol Designs Army Transport Motor Pool case will hold the standard 15.5x12 inch BattleFoam trays perfectly!
On average Motor Pool cases empty run $30-$35. Granted BattleFoam cases have a few nice features that the Sabol cases don't, like the hard plastic inner shell, and canvas versus the soft plastic of the Army Transports, however, not everyone wants, or needs a case that's approved by the FAA/TSA for airline travel, and that can withstand a 200lb human being standing on it either. You also pay quite a lot for those features, a substantial amount that could be better served in purchasing more trays, another miniature, or box full of miniatures for your army, depending what game(s) you play.
I've seen others using BattleFoam trays with plastic storage tubs too. Finding one that's the right size to make it work right is tricky, but if you look around, you might also find something to do the trick, as some others I know have. I prefer the Motor Pool route myself, it's a nice case, and buying them empty isn't expensive, and they fit the standard BattleFoam trays like a glove.
I found this out totally by accident, as I went to purchase a Motor Pool the other day at a local shop. They had the BattleFoam trays sitting there, so I emptied out the Motor Pool, and tossed in a 4 inch tray for the LandRaiders/Rhinos and Drop pod, a random 3-inch tray, and a 72 troop 1-inch tray, and it looked as if it was made for those trays once inside the Motor Pool. Technically the Motor Pool holds 1/2-inch more worth of foam over BattleFoams' own P.A.C.K. 432 as well, since it holds 8-inches of Sabol trays side by side, and 432 is made for 7.5-inches of trays. As a bonus, the Motor Pool allows the trays to lay flat, and not sideways, as the 432 is designed to carry their trays vertically sideways. The only way to get a case from BattleFoam that allows for the trays to lay flat is the smaller 216 case, or the much larger, and much more expensive P.A.C.K. 1520.
So now I have all the pluck foam from the Motor Pool to use for what ever I desire, and I also have the option to purchase BattleFoam trays as well, and don't need to buy their expensive cases to utilize them.