Gaming on a Budget: Cheap Foam Trays

Continuing along with last week’s cheap miniature cases post, I thought I’d share the secrets of my homemade custom foam trays.  Full Disclosure – I actually have to give a lot of credit to a tutorial I found way back when I first started looking for something more customizable than the Sabol Design trays I had been using yet cheaper than Battlefoam.  Mike over at War Builder (formerly Warmahordes) had a great tutorial that fit the bill.  Mike, if you’re reading this: thank! What follows is my take on things.

Like any good project, this one starts with a goal and some planning.  I’ve always been frustrated by the Sabol design trays in relation to my Eldar (and the cost of the Battlefoam stuff).  Basically, the size of the sabol trays means that each of my 10 grav tanks gets it’s own 2″ tray.  Expensive in terms of cash and in terms of storage space.  So what to do?  Abandon the idea that my Motor Pool case will be used for the Eldar and go DIY. 

I’m gonna try and be fancy with this tutorial, so here’s a slide show (which you can click on to get full size picturs):

Not a lot to the whole process other than spending the time.  As far as cheapness goes – I got all the foam I needed for like $12 and had the tools on hand.  Not too bad.

Just a few last things:

  • I can’t stress this enough: Test fit while you’re cutting so that you know the models fit BEFORE you glue on the backing. It may also come up that your template was wrong in some way.  Better to correct it before you carve it into a tray 3 more times.
  • The green foam came from the upholstery section and the black foam came from the kids crafts section of the fabric store I went to.
  • Don’t cut yourself.  At any given point I was likely to be waving a 3 inch razor around.  And poking through to the side of the object that I couldn’t see.
  • You can special order larger pieces of the black foam. It’ll make a better backing and will be cheaper over time, but for one-offs like mine, its a bit pricey.
  • If you check out this post, you can see what I was doing with the tape as well as a much nicer looking tray.  Again, be sure you’ree gluing things to the side you intended.

Well, that’s all for now.  If anyone has any questions, I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments.

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