Friday, June 22, 2012

Battlefoam Custom Tray Review

I just received my custom Battlefoam order and I am blown away.  Simply stunned at how easy the process is, the price, the great customer service and the quality of the trays.  Bottomline up front:  18 out of 16 fully protected painted miniatures.  They get 2 bonus points on top of the 16/16 for customer service ;-)


Ok…what is Battlefoam you ask?  It is God’s divine gift to miniature players to protect your figures as you carry them to and fro and hither and yon.  I am specifically going to talk about the Flames of War bag and custom foam for that bag; but, the basics of the custom foam are the same for the other products they make.


First you go to Battlefoam’s website (website). They have custom trays for just about every game system out there and as well generic bags that cover everything else.  Each system has different length/width/heights so you need to know what these are when you make you order.  Most of the systems already have pre-designed trays and in the Flames of War section they have trays for specific units.  Check here first to see if there is a ready-made tray that fits your needs.  Ready-made FoW trays are $12.99 each and Custom trays are $18.99 each…so if you find a ready-made tray that works you can save some cash.  I wanted something a little different and wanted to make trays for each platoon/group of platoons so I had to make custom trays. 

Before we talk how to make the custom trays, we need to have a plan.  How do you want to organize each tray?  You don’t need specifics at this point…just general groupings.  For instance, I wanted trays for:  

All 3 of my Para Infantry Plts, their Platoon Leaders/PIATs/Light Mortars, and the Company Command Section with all the PIATs and snipers

8 gun Artillery battery (and all their vehicles) and a Typhoon
Two 6lber plts and  the 17lber platoon
Mortar platoon, MG platoon, Glider Pilot Platoon
All the Recce jeeps (I can run a 3 plt Recce Company  :-)  );
Engineers and 2 Para Infantry platoons that will be based on Urban stands
If you don’t have a rough plan you will be spinning your wheels and possible leave a unit out.

So how do you make custom trays?  The first thing is to watch the video with Romeo (Battlefoam’s Cool Dude In Charge) explaining the process.  In summary, there are 2 ways to do this.  The first is to use the Custom Tray Design Tool Battlefoam has on the site…this is a slick app that you can use where you can play around with the specific size and shape for each hole in the tray…more on this in a bit.  You can also just trace the model on size specific paper and send that in.  The tracing is good for “odd” sized or custom figures from Warmachine, Warhammer and 40k.  The tool actually has shapes for pretty much all of the “basic” stands/vehicles/ships for the games in the tool as well as generic shapes of different sizes.  The tool is by far the easiest method and gives you positive feedback if you screw something up.

So what is the “tool” of which I speak?  You can find it on Battlefoam’s website in the upper right corner.  The tool allows you to select a tray size and then gives you options for different shapes to place within that tray.  The tool even accounts for “buffer” space between cut-outs and alerts you if you have an overlap (the shape(s) in error turn red). 

How do you use the tool?  Romeo does a great job on his video and the tool is intuitive, so I will give you helpful hints on using the tool.  The first is to have a plan for each tray.  Second is to know the tray size and the ultimate “stack” height you will need for your carrier.  My Flames of War bag is officially 9 in tall.  So the maximum number of trays I can stack cannot exceed that height.  When you do your math in adding the tray heights make sure you add an extra 0.25 inch per tray to account for the tray bottom.  If you don’t you could your stack not fitting in your bag. 

The second thing you need to determine is the height of your tray.  A typical Infantry tray will only need a tray 1 inch deep.  Vehicles will need deeper trays…and don’t forget to account for any antennas on those vehicles and count them in the height…otherwise they will stick in the bottom of the tray above or bend….I speak from experience  L  The next thing to look at is the size/shape of the cut-out.  For most Flames of War cut outs, you can use the standard FoW shapes (small/medium/large base, Plane, etc…).  You need to look carefully at gun teams and vehicles.  Many gun teams have the gun’s barrel extend over the edge of the base.  You have to account for that in the size of the cut out.  This happened to me when I was building my AT Gun tray.  All the barrels extended base the based edge, so I used a rectangle of the appropriate size and not the stock medium/large FoW base size.  Once you have those basics down, it is just a giant puzzle to make everything fit.  When you are done the file saves as a .JPG that you will upload when you place your order.  Simple.


One other thing Battlefoam offers that is real slick are their custom foam toppers.  These are 0.25 in thick foam that will go on the top of the foam stack in your box.  They offer a plethora (I would say they have a plethora) of toppers with different unit logos cut into the top. 

Too cool.  Again 18 out of 16 fully protected painted miniatures. 


********* Disclaimer:  I have received no compensation for this review and the review is based on items purchased**********


  1. well done SonBae, that's super informative.

  2. I was looking at this years ago before they had specifics for flames of war. Looks like it has really expanded to cater for that market. Do the medium/smaller tanks fit snugly into their slots? I have been worried about the extra spacing around my generic medium tank slots. I have been wanting to make a German tank specific custom tray to avoid the issue of rattling around in the slots.

  3. The measurements from design to cutout are spot on and gize a very accurate fit. There are some generic trays that come with the bag that can hold the tanks with turrets on. But there is some extra space and they could move around. This is one reason why I base my vehilces. This lets them fit very nicely width wise so it minimizes movement and I havent had a problem, even with the barrels on. Then again I dont swing the bag around that much.

    Tanks come in all widths and lengths. If you make a custome tray the stand FoW shapes wont work. You will need to find a good shape (usually in the Rectangles dropdown) and find one that will fit.