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Discussion Starter #1
Just a heavy box with foam pieces? Some models have delicate parts.
Your help is much appreciated.

Randy
 

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This varies greatly according to the specs of the piece being shipped. I've shipped a lot of extremely delicate dollhouse miniature items that had parts that absolutely could not touch anything. The way I did it was to find/make a box from semi-flexible clear plastic sheet or card stock and find a way to bind the base to the bottom such that the upper parts didn't touch the sides. I usually work in some of that thin foam cloth stuff, too. This covers the base parts that do touch the box.

It takes a bit of design effort, but I come up with a box bottom with folds that hold the base down securely enough that the model doesn't shake in the clear box.
 

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I wrap the kit with synthetic pillow batting (available at wal mart) and then put it in a plastic grocery bag. The bag will trap any parts that may break off even though you pack the kit well. Then carefully pack the wrapped, bagged kit in a larger box with a generous buffer of peanuts around it. You want to make sure you have a few inches of space all around the kit. Dont sit the model in the bottom of the empty box and then pour peanuts on top so you have the kit touching the box on the bottom but with 8 inches of peanuts on top. In some cases I will remove delicate parts that stick out. Those can be reattached by the recipient. Sometimes too I have made cardboard sleeves or covers to protect parts or to support something. For example, I was mailing a very heavy tank model that was secured to a wooden base. To keep it from shearing off or being crushed or having the wheels break off, I made a sturdy cardboard box/sleeve that would slide under the model/on top of the base to help support the kit. I have also made sleeves to protect something like the sword blade on a figure.
 

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I just moved, and I came up with a solution I'm quite proud of. Works if, like me, you use strong bases (ie, wood plaques or the like) and secure your kits to them. My problem with the solutions I found on the forums was that something was always contacting the kit itself, creating damage potential.

Get a cardboard box big enough that the kit doesn't touch the sides. Cut a couple of slits in the bottom of the box using a razor knife. That's right, all the way through the bottom. Slits should be to either side of your kit's base, sitting in the box. Run wire ties through the box bottom, over your kit base in an non-detailed area, and back out the box bottom to connect. You've just made a loop that runs through the box and around your kit base. Tighten as needed, use a bit of padding if you like. Clip off the excess wire tie. Wire ties are flat against the exterior underside of the box. Use one or two loops, as your kit dictates. This locks the kit in place, in the center of the box, and you can leave empty air around the kit--no extra cushioning that will stick to the kit or apply force to small details. The kit itself is secured in the center, but not touched. Simply cut the ties when you want to remove the kit.

Wire ties are a kitbuilder's best friend. I haven't tried to ship via PO--I imagine you'd want to tape over the exposed wire ties on the bottom, but can't see a problem otherwise as long as you're using a strong box that won't get crushed (which you'd want to do anyway).
 

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Here's one other thing I didn't mention before that a shipping newbie might not know. For very fragile items like models, I like to double box: that is pack the item securely in a small box, then pack that box in the center of a larger box with loose-fill packing (plastic peanuts). I've received plenty of packages with crushed corners and gouge holes, so you can never overdo this.
 

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Buzz,

Speaking as a packaging professional - thirty five years at UPS - I can assure you that Paper Hollywood nailed it with his post about double boxing.

To elaborate: the first thing you'll want to do is to find a carton that will fit your model, leaving a space of an inch or so on all four sides. Then you'll want a second carton in which the first will fit with the same one inch margin on all sides. These boxes should be new or like new, per UPS' gudelines; believe me, this will make a difference.

Start packing your your model by covering it with something like a plastic shopping bag. This will prevent having any loose bit of crud sticking to your model and also minor paint abrasions. Place a bed of whatever packing you're using on the bottom of the inner carton and set the bagged model on top of that. Add more cushioning material to fill the box; you want to put in enough to keep the model from shifting, without filling the carton with so much stuff that it will crush the model when you tape up the flaps.

Now of course, you tape up the flaps. Use decent packing tape - I find the Scotch brand lousy; it's very stiff, which prevents it from sticking as well as it should. But don't get cheesy dollar-store tape, either. Apply it in an "H" pattern with two pieces at either end, running at a 90 angle across the seam where the outer flaps meet and one or two pieces taped longitudinally along the seam. The first two pieces hold the flaps closed against each other, using the strength of the tape - its length - to the best advantage. The tapes running over the seam will keep the ends of the flaps from being pried up during handling.

Now label the box clearly, just as you will the outer box. You're ensuring that if anything should happen to the outer carton, the inner carton will still contain all the information the Package Service Clerks (of which I was one) will need to get your package to the consignee. BTW, make sure both cartons have no old labels on them; that outdated information could confuse the PSCs and delay your shipment.

Finally, repeat these steps with the outer carton. If you follow these methods you can ship almost anything without fear of damage in transit. Also, if you ship UPS, your model will automatically be insured for $100.00. If the model is of a greater Declared Value, you can buy insurance at $0.80 cents per extra hundred dollars of additional insurance; package tracking comes free with UPS.

I know it sounds like I'm still on the payroll at UPS, but I'm just giving you all the information I can. Maybe a FedEx or DHL employee will something have more to offer. I know the Post Orifice doesn't!

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Buzz,

Speaking as a packaging professional - thirty five years at UPS - I can assure you that Paper Hollywood nailed it with his post about double boxing.

To elaborate: the first thing you'll want to do is to find a carton that will fit your model, leaving a space of an inch or so on all four sides. Then you'll want a second carton in which the first will fit with the same one inch margin on all sides. These boxes should be new or like new, per UPS' gudelines; believe me, this will make a difference.

Start packing your your model by covering it with something like a plastic shopping bag. This will prevent having any loose bit of crud sticking to your model and also minor paint abrasions. Place a bed of whatever packing you're using on the bottom of the inner carton and set the bagged model on top of that. Add more cushioning material to fill the box; you want to put in enough to keep the model from shifting, without filling the carton with so much stuff that it will crush the model when you tape up the flaps.

Now of course, you tape up the flaps. Use decent packing tape - I find the Scotch brand lousy; it's very stiff, which prevents it from sticking as well as it should. But don't get cheesy dollar-store tape, either. Apply it in an "H" pattern with two pieces at either end, running at a 90 angle across the seam where the outer flaps meet and one or two pieces taped longitudinally along the seam. The first two pieces hold the flaps closed against each other, using the strength of the tape - its length - to the best advantage. The tapes running over the seam will keep the ends of the flaps from being pried up during handling.

Now label the box clearly, just as you will the outer box. You're ensuring that if anything should happen to the outer carton, the inner carton will still contain all the information the Package Service Clerks (of which I was one) will need to get your package to the consignee. BTW, make sure both cartons have no old labels on them; that outdated information could confuse the PSCs and delay your shipment.

Finally, repeat these steps with the outer carton. If you follow these methods you can ship almost anything without fear of damage in transit. Also, if you ship UPS, your model will automatically be insured for $100.00. If the model is of a greater Declared Value, you can buy insurance at $0.80 cents per extra hundred dollars of additional insurance; package tracking comes free with UPS.

I know it sounds like I'm still on the payroll at UPS, but I'm just giving you all the information I can. Maybe a FedEx or DHL employee will something have more to offer. I know the Post Orifice doesn't!

Good luck!
Thanks mark , thats the route I will be taking.
Randy
 
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