Friday, June 4, 2010

Battle Foam Review - part 1

I received my Battle Foam order today from Ancient Wonders and I have to say I was very excited.  Ever since I started playing Warhammer and Warhammer 40k I have been desiring a method of transporting my armies that did not involve a huge amount of worry or space.  I started out by buying a Games Workshop Army Case and after a while was rather dissatisfied with the amount of troops I could store with each foam tray as well as the inability to fit my tanks and larger models into a tray without having to cut up the already expensive GW trays to make them work.  I experimented with cutting my own foam to put my Wave Serpents and Fire Prisms into my GW cases (of which I now own 4 large and 1 small) and the results were marginally satisfactory at best.  So when I had the opportunity to obtain the "Mercedes" of army carriers I jumped at the chance.
I ordered the Battle Foam Pack 1520 as well as a couple pre-cut Eldar trays as well as a lot of extra 1",2" and 3" pluck foam trays.  On the Battle Foam website they show you images with dimensions listed of their pre-cut trays.  So after a lot of pre-measuring and guessing as well as a lot of hoping, I wrote down my order and had it sent off.

The pluck foam trays I am very, very pleased with.  They are sturdy with small foam squares allowing for a LOT of customization to make sure your miniatures fit perfectly.  These trays I give a 4.5 out of 5 stars on.  I will be using these trays primarily for my Warhammer armies - namely my Wood Elves.  The plan is to use the 3" pluck foam trays and pluck out an area that will fit a movement tray with the miniatures magnetized to it.  I want it to work out this way so that I can simply lift the movement tray and place a unit on the table without having to spend 10 minutes pulling each miniature out and making sure it fits correctly on the tray.  I feel this will also give me peace of mind since the Battle Foam Packs are very sturdy and the models will be kept upright at all times.
So Pluck Foam Rating:
Very Satisfied

The Battle Foam Pack 1520 is next on my list to rate.  The Battle Foam Pack 1520 is a nice large rectangular cube that comes in 2 pieces.  The upper half holds 8" of foam and has pockets on the side to store templates and dice.  The foam is removed from the top and the fact that the entire upper part is detachable is awesome because that means if I only want to bring a single army I don't have to lug around the entire pack.  The lower half is larger in that it holds 14" of foam and has a zipper compartment in the front that can store army books or codices.  This portion is the rockstar since the bottom half unzips from the front allowing you to remove your foam directly instead of lifting it out from the top.  The Pack 1520 is well made and very spacious.  I chose the largest pack they had, they also have smaller packs available but I wanted to be able to take 2-3 armies at a time with me.  In the future after I have put ALL my armies into pluck foam the goal is to make a choice what army I am playing and just grab the foam trays and insert them into the pack and go without lugging around 4-5 army cases.
Battle Foam Pack 1520 Rating:
Extremely Satisfied

The pre-cut trays are were the magic died for me.  I ordered 3 custom pre-cut trays; 2 Eldar Troop trays and 1 Eldar Grav Tank tray.  The Grav tank tray is not bad, I can not stack my Wave Serpents and Fire Prisms without the tops hanging out 1/2" inch above the foam line.  I was hoping that they would all fit but alas, I can only fit 3 Grav tanks in a single 3" tray.  The item that upset me however were the Eldar Troop trays.  My initial measurements and guesses were not correct at all.  The models do not lie down on their side, instead the foam tray is designed so that you can stand the models up and slide them in.  In theory this is a great idea.  I even ordered the taller 1.5" trays so that I wouldn't have to worry about my Aspect Warriors being too tall.  If your entire army is composed of Guardians, not Storm Guardians but Guardian Defenders, then the tray works out great.  If you have anything else the troops do not fit properly in their slots.  Which makes me think that the designers only used Guardians as their standard since you have a snowballs chance in hell of making a Howling Banshee, Harlequinn or Swooping Hawk fit into one of those slots.  I can make it work but I was sadly disappointed with the results.  I will include a few images below showing what I am describing.
Custom Pre-cut Tray Rating:
Dissatisfied, almost Very Dissatisfied

All in all I have to say I am pleased with my decision to go with Battle Foam and my challenge will be threefold moving forward.
1.  I will have to remeasure and plot out all my non-guardian Eldar into pluck foam trays and not go over 14" so that they will fit in the bottom compartment.
2.  I will have to decide if I want to be able to bring ALL my Eldar/Black Templars/Wood Elves/Beastmen  with me or just the units I have in my army list and if so then I will have to decide how I will be plucking out foam to match the lists I'm bringing without ruining a 19.00 foam tray.  If I decide to go with only the units I will be fielding rather than the entire army then I may need to continue to use my GW army transports to store those units without using pluck foam trays to store them since they will just be on a shelf.
3.  I will have to wait til 8th edition Warhammer Fantasy to figure out what I am going to do about plotting the pluck foam trays for my Wood Elves and soon Beastman armies.

Battle Foam Overall Rating:

I'm certain that after I have plucked out all my necessary cubes and have everything situated my opinion will change so I will post a Part 2 after 8th edition has come out and I have used all my foam.

Pictures of the Foamy Invasion:
As you can see here I managed to fill up both the pre-cut troop trays with some Aspect Warriors but if you look at the next images you will see that a lot of the heads stick up above the top of the tray.  You can also see how haphazardly some of the models are having to stick in those trays in order to ensure they do not have a sword or a gun or even a head sticking up into space.

Sigh.  And this is just one angle.

Last but not least I want to introduce the first model in my Beastman army!  It took me forever to finally win this bastard on auction since he hasn't been made in years.  I really wanted a Battle Standard Bearer for the Beastman army since rerolling break tests is super important in Fantasy.  I also really, really liked the model when I saw it in the Beastman army book but was unable to find it on the GW website.  I finally found out that it was a Gamesday 2000something Limited edition release.  Anyway, the model is incredible and I am very pleased with my purchase.

Behold!  The Limited Edition Beasts of Chaos Standard Bearer!