Packing models for Shipping
Wether you need to send a model in the post, or are about to move house, there are times when you need to pack your precious, and fragile, models in a box, and entrust them to the care of a third party. I use the term 'entrust' with some reservation, as we all know how much care the parcel companies give the parcels we pay them to transport. As a driver I have seen how some of those dock hands 'load' the trailers, so I have a pretty good idea what I need to protect my models from. I use a method to pack my models which is secure, cheap, and does not require anything other than what can be scrounched at your local shops. I can throw the box from the stairs, without damaging the box.
1. I will use this Panther which I just sold, to show how I pack my models. So far, they have all arrived safely, apart from one, which was savaged by the Brazilian Customs...
2. Find a heavy gauge cardboard box, which should be quite a bit larger than your model. Ask around at your local shops. Especially the smaller ones are happy for you to take some of their hands, as it saves them in their waste. Paper shops, card shops or indeed your local hobby shop, are examples of the kind of shop that are likely to receive goods in boxes of the quality and size you will need.
3. For the packing you need newspaper. Quite a lot of it, but it need not be all from the same paper... Again, if cost is a consideration, save those free local (advertising) papers you get in your letter box.
4, 5 & 6. To begin, take a single page, and loosly scrunch it up, keeping it roughly flat, rather than in a ball. Don't scrunch the paper to tight, it needs to be springy. These pieces go in the bottom of the box, covering the bottom. This layer should be thick enough to cushion the model.
7. Place your model on this bottom layer. If you model is not evenly flat shaped underneath, you may need to add some smaller crunched up paper underneath for support.
8 & 9. Next, loosly scrunch a page into a longer roll shape. Fold it in half, and you will find that it is quite springy, and this is what will secure the model.
10 & 11. Place this piece of paper between the model and the wall of the box, using the springy action to secure it. Add paper like this all around the model. You may need to adjust the size of the paper to fit between the model and the box. This step is important, as this will stop the model from moving about. The paper needs to be tight enough to stop the model from moving, but not so tight as to rub hard against the model, as that can damage the finish. This damage is what often can happen when you use the styrofoam balls, peanuts, or bubblewrap.
12 & 13. Once the model is secured against (sideways) movement, you need to add smaller, more all shaped piece of paper. These will secure the model, and provide security against outside forces which could crush the box.
14 & 15. Fill the box with these smaller pieces, taking care to avoid the more fragile parts of the model. in the case of tanks etc, the most fragile parts tend to be on the top, and by packing the paper around the edges, and over the engine deck and glacis, you can leave the turret area free from paper. If neccessary, pack some extra small pieces underneath the the barrel if it needs the extra support.
16, 17 & 18. Fill the box, until the paper spills over the top. This part needs some 'test fitting', as the paper is compressed when you close the box. Add enough paper to push the paper down without needing to exert great pressure. This step will secure all the paper, and your model, without so much pressure as to damage the model.
19. Tape the box with heavy duty tape, and there you are. Short from something very heavy or sharp, this will keep your model save.
When you send your parcel, do not write 'Fragile or any such warnings on it. This only serves to attract attention, and will almost certainly invite the handler to treat your parcel with added contempt. Trust me on that one.
Add your own address as the 'return' address, parcels without one will atract the attention of customs. It may also bring the model back to you, if for whatever reason it can not be delivered to the receipient.
Don't skimp on postage cost. Adding a small amount for a 'Signed on Delivery' service, gives peace of mind, as it is unlikely that a parcel that is thus tracked, will go missing.
Mark your parcel as a 'Toy' and a value below approx £ 50, this means that both the Customs, and the Taxman tend to leave it alone.