Monday, 9 March 2015

Mantis Creations Foam Cases review

This is a review of Mantis Creations foam trays and boxes.
Mantis has started a very successfull Kickstarter campaign in 2014, starting up a new line of foam storage trays for miniature models. The owner, Tyron, has designed several different tray layouts, measuring 380x280mm in different depths, with a kiss-cut down the center, so you can easily cut them in two.
His goal was to create carrying cases for a very good price, that provide good quality as well. So let's have a look at some cases.

The foam itself is the same kind of foam you might know from other manufacturers, even better than some on the market. It's soft, flexible, but strong enough to hold lots of minis and be stackable as well. (for comparison: Feldherr and Battlefoam use the same foam, but KR uses a cheaper, softer foam).
The standard boxes are about 390x290x150mm, and you can stack up to 140mm worth of trays inside, plus a 5mm topper. Each tray has a 5mm bottom, made of the same foam.

This means you could stack 5 trays of 23mm depth (28mm plus bottom) inside a box, or 4 trays of 30mm depth (35mm plus bottom), or 2x45mm + 1x30mm (plus an extra topper), or 2x 65mm, or even combine different depths as you wish, as long as it doesn't exceed 140/141mm excluding the topper. Combined with the different tray designs, this gives you great freedom in customization.

One of the reasons that the price is lower than other foam cases, is that the bottom is made of the same foam as the trays themselves. Some other manufacturers often use a thicker, hard sort of material called ethafoam, that isn’t flexible (Feldherr, Reaper and Battlefoam). While this does give your trays more stability, it also presses down on your models beneath it, so you want your models to be flush with the trays (or lower). Very often, a model will have little bits sticking out of the tray, because you want to fit in as many as you can. Getting oversized slots for small models, just because they have a small weapon sticking out isn't very practical or economic. The softer bottoms will simply be pressed in by your models, without bending them or damaging the paint. They are still sturdy enough to stay stable when you lift a full tray.
The only downside might be if you only have metal models. The weight might be too much and a tray would have to be handled carefully to avoid it from folding and dropping your models. Smaller models such as troops might not be an immediate problem, but larger models are heavier. Larger models would need deeper trays though, which will add to the stability of the tray, but the bottom will still be a 5mm sheet. Mantis has accomodated for this by using 10mm bottoms on the deeper trays, from 100mm and up I believe.
But again, for plastic or resin models, these trays are solid enough to carry a lot of them, and soft enough not to damage small pieces sticking out. I've also tested bigger plastic models, such as Krosmaster Arena figures in a 30mm tray, and that's no problem at all.

I'd recommend placing your heaviest models in the bottom tray, and stack the lighter/smaller ones on top.

The box itself is made out of thick cardboard. It's light, sturdy, and they're coated in black with a white Mantis logo. They have a black plastic handle so you can easily carry them.
They close very well, so no fear of them opening easily should you drop your case.
The box also makes these cases very affordable, just don't get them wet. Price-wise, these boxes give you the most storage for the best price per model from what I’ve seen. The company that’s closest in price is KR, but they have a softer lower quality foam and store less models per box (200). Others have the same quality foam, but are either more expensive or hold much less models per box (Feldherr holds 180 for example).

During the first KS, Mantis has also designed a handy dandy X-wing miniature game box, that'll hold all components from a base set, plus a Millennium Falcon and 3 shuttles or slave 1's. There's lots of space for small fighters (X-wings and TIE-fighters, even B-wings).

His new Kickstarter features a specially designed box for Zombicide. It has room for all the base game components plus an expansion, and you can get multiple boxes for additional Zombicide game boxes and models.

 The base box has the following trays:
-40mm full tray for tiles, dice, cars (and tents) and large rooms (100x100mm such as the watchtower from P.O.). This holds up to 17 tiles (9 from a base game + 2x4 from an expansion)
-40mm half tray for all needed tokens and 3 slots for cards, that you can take out and place on the table, ready to use!
-40mm half tray for player dashboards, 2 slots for more cards and 6 big slots for models (abominations fit here!)
-23mm full tray for zombies and survivors, holds 56 models
-23mm full tray for zombies and survivors, holds 60 models


The bigger pledge levels also have special trays for abominations and fatties:
-23mm half tray for fatties, holds 4x6 models
-23mm half tray for abominations and barricades, holds 3x5 models (or you can put 2 survivors in 1 slot for example)

There's a bigger double box, that holds two base games and either 2 expansions or 1 expansion plus lots of extra survivors and/or boxes of zombies.

It doesn't stop there, as there will also be an additional single box for extra models, when combined with the double box will hold all retail boxes, up to Season 4 (assuming S4 will roughly be the same as S3). And for the collectors, there's also the option to get 2 double boxes that will hold just about everything there is. Guess what I'm going for?

And good news for those who just want some generic model storage: the 3 most successfull cases from the first kickstarter will also be available:
- single box with 4x 30mm trays that hold 36 heavy infantry
- single box with 5x 23mm trays that hold 56 infantry
- single box with 5x 23mm trays that hold 60 infantry
- single box with either 4x30mm or 5x23mm Pick and Pluck trays
Also available in a double box, and even a combined 2 double boxes with a discount!

Here's my gallery of cases, should you want a better look at these boxes. With all those new Zombicide and other miniatures games coming out this year, you're gonna need some of these!

Go check the latest Kickstarter out here!!
Mantis Creations - Storage For Zombies -- Kicktraq Mini

1 comment:

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