Only a short time ago, I invested in a laser cutter to start working on designs for gaming items like tokens and terrain for various tabletop miniatures games. While starting up this enterprise, I put out feelers and questions to local groups about what they'd like to see made that isn't already out there in the Australian market.
As part of this research, I approached several local professional miniature painters. The need for a case in the Australian market to allow hobbyists to transport their lovingly painted miniatures and tools to events, which would also be suitable for travel on planes as carry on luggage, came up. So with their input, the result is the "Hobby Transporter".
The case is designed to allow for at least two shelves to be placed inside the case. There are guides varying levels to help account for the varying height of the wide range of miniatures available on the market. You can of course use a single shelf in the lower guides for particularly large models.
The case also includes a tray which sits on top of the shelving guides for you to store you hobby gear (paints, brushes, dice etc).
The case itself measures approximately 35 cm wide, 23 cm deep and 21.5 cm tall (excluding the handle and latches, so a little bit longer in each dimension). The case interior is approximately 19 cm tall, with around 13.5 cm usable height from the lowest shelf guide to the bottom of the tray if you use it. It is roughly 33 cm wide and 21cm deep on the interior.
These measurements were used to take into account carry on allowances for plane travel. This is because Australia is a big place and hobbyists here travel on plane frequently, but it also caters to international travel and the vast majority of domestic airlines across the globe. As such, I've asked the manufacturer to ensure the combination locks on the case are TSA approved for travel within the United States.
Each shelf is a clear acrylic sheet with the Laser Shark Designs logo etched onto it. There will be options for custom etched trays in the future as well as another option planned as a stretch goal to add that extra flair to you case. To secure your miniatures, simply use blue tack / poster tack. The professionals I have spoken to use and recommend Loctite brand poster tack.
Check out this video of blue / poster tack in action!
There will be an option to add some magnetic rubber sheeting, or possibly some steel shelving, which will have an adhesive backing which you then stick to the shelf. You can then glue magnets to the bases of your miniatures and secure them to the shelves that way.
The case is designed to allow you to easily slide the shelves into guides on the sides, which keeps the shelves secure during travel. Each guide is roughly 4mm wide with 16mm between each guide. This allows the 3mm thick shelves to slide into and out of the guide more easily, while limiting their vertical movement while in motion.
I will be offering an affiliate scheme to commission painters who have been in business for at least a year to get discounted cases to offer as a value add to their services. You will receive a tiered discount based on how many cases you wish to order. Please contact me if you are interested in this and have any questions.
I've designed three leaf punches which have now had the molds completed and are ready for mass production. I've put a deposit down so that production can start on these, so they have an earlier estimated delivery date than the cases as production should finish around the same time as the Kickstarter ends. There are three leaf styles. Maple, Oak and Birch. Each style has four different sized leaves that it makes to allow you to add some variety and a bit more realism to your bases or dioramas and displays. The material in the photos is cloth, but I recommend using dried leaves you pick up from your nearest tree.
Shipping for the Leaf Punches is $10 worldwide.
As the Kickstarter is more successful and if we start hitting stretch goals, add ons will become more and more available. The first set of add ons are the Leaf Punches. If you've already pledged for a case and want some of the leaf punches, simply add the appropriate amount to your pledge.
For example, you got an early bird single case pledge and have pledged $120 including shipping. Total up the value of any add ons you want and add that to the overall cost. So if you wanted just one design of the Leaf Punches, all you would need to do is increase your total pledge to $135. If you want all three, you would increase it to $155.
No extra shipping will be charged, but all items you pledge for will be sent at the same time, even if some are ready earlier than others. So in this case, the Leaf Punches are likely to be ready before the cases as I could afford to pay a deposit to commence manufacturing, but if you get a case and one or more Leaf Punches, you would receive them all at the same time.
- Extra acrylic shelves - $8 each
- Leaf punches - $15 each or 3 for $35
- Paint rack shelf - $15 each
- Steel shelf toppers - $15 for 2
The modular paint rack shelf. $15 for Kickstarter backers! You can use the supplied H bar units to secure the trays to the shelf or you can use 4mm diameter round magnets that you will need to supply for yourself.
If you're a gaming store and would like to stock these cases or leaf punches, please let me know. If you want your local gaming store to stock them, feel free to point them in my direction.
All backers receiving a Hobby Transporter case will also receive a £5 voucher for Wayland Games online store! This has been generously donated by the crew at Wayland Games.
Case lighting unit + one free $15 add on per case!
The case lighting unit will consist of two LED bars mounted in an aluminium channel with a light diffusing cover that rest on top of the guides for the shelves and the tray then rests on top of that, or you can remove the tray completely. You will be able to position them wherever you want. These will be a $15 add on when we reach $22000.
Edge lit shelf unit + 2 free $15 add ons per case!
The first edge lit shelf is a hex pattern shelf. Other patterns will be added depending on how successful the Kickstarter is and backer requests. The LEDs in the unit are able to change colour using a remote control. The photo below shows just one of a selection of the colour options you can use. The edge lit unit will be available for $35 if we reach this stretch goal, which will include the LED lighting unit, a single acrylic shelf with your choice of pattern engraved on it (from the ones available when the surveys go out).
Risks and challenges
- Manufacturing delays. While I have a prototype ready and finished (as you can see in the video / pictures), I can't place the actual order with the manufacturer until the Kickstarter has completed. However, the design has been finalised and is ready to go once the manufacturer receives the funds needed to commence. When the Kickstarter is successful, I will pay the deposit to get the manufacturing process started.
- Estimates from the manufacturer suggest the manufacturing time would be 1-2 months. This is based on roughly two hundred units. If the Kickstarter is more successful than I anticipate, requiring a larger order to be placed, this could mean more time. If that does happen, I will have a first wave with an initial order of two hundred cases. These cases will go out to early bird backers first and any remaining cases will then go out to backers based on when you pledged.
- Shipping will take time. Roughly one month or so, but there could be delays due to customs, bad weather etc., I've factored this in the expected shipping date with an extra month for unforeseen circumstances.
- The final risk is that the manufacturers simply don't deliver anything. To mitigate this, I am using manufacturers with many years experience and established products to help ensure a reliable partnership. I have maintained regular contact with all the manufacturers involved for this Kickstarter project to help build a strong relationship with them.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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