I am going to take a quick break from the batreps here to cover my newest acquisition – a brand spanking new official licensed
NFL er, Privateer Press Hordes bag from Battlefoam. I ordered this waaaaay back in June when I sold my daemons – I made the conscious decision to downsize my hobby stuff and to make it more compact and convenient. That is how I justified the cost to myself, anyway.
I knew that it was on backorder when I placed the order and it had an estimated fill date of August 31 so I figured it would also make a decent birthday present for myself and that I would have mine by the first part of September. It ended up shipping about a week later than I expected, but still not too bad. I had to laugh at the huge “FRAGILE” sticker on it.
The first thing I noticed when I unpacked it was that it seemed a bit smaller than my other Battlefoam bag. This suspicion was quickly confirmed when I grabbed and extra foam sheet I had in my closet. It is still larger than the Sabol bags but not hugely so. The top layer is Sabol, the middle is the Privateer Press size, and the bottom is the standard Battlefoam size. I know that the sizes are listed on the order page and I just made the erroneous assumption that they were the same size. It’s not their fault, it is mine, but it would be nice if they had something on the page noting that it was a different size from the standard P.A.C.K. bags.
That being said, with a bit of foam from any sewing or box store I think one could quite easily convert it to accept those sabol trays I have lying around saving me a bit of money. This is a nice thing if you are already heavily invested in that type of army solution but are looking for an excuse to just sip the Battlefoam kool-aid without having a whole glass. If you are wondering why I didn’t just get the trays for my other bag, I have one of the P.A.C.K. 1520 bags which is roughly the size of a walk-in closet. It is necessary for a Raider heavy Dark Eldar list, not so much for pretty much everything else.
When I laid the foam out to take the above picture I noticed, as I am sure you have, that they are the same width as the standard P.A.C.K. trays. This made me wonder if there was another option to get use out of the standard sized foam I already have. Well, here is the answer.
Sure, this puts your models on their side, which is actually usually their bases. Many of us have used, and continue to use, the Games Workshop “briefcase” style army transport system for a long time and it works fine. In fact, I ordered thicker pluck foam to fill out my case when I ordered just so that I could have them all standing. Most PP models are metal and I absolutely hate having to lay them on their backs since paint tends to wear worse on metal than plastic. If you do this option it will require you to remember and place the bag on its side before you open it but that shouldn’t be a problem more than once.
Getting back to the pluck foam, it is certainly much better to work with than the older Sabol trays and about on par with the current ones. It plucks out quite cleanly one just has to be a bit careful to not pop the connecting fibers on other squares as you are pulling out the ones you want. As always, the best way to pull out right foam bits is to draw an outline on top with a Sharpie and then take it slow with a sharp knife.
The main reason I took the pluck foam is that I wanted to have a bit of flexibility in punching out more generic sizes so that I wouldn’t be stuck only fitting the exact model in, in case I wanted to use it to transport Khador or something else without having to order extra trays. In retrospect, I think if I had it to do again I would spend a bit of time ahead or placing the order to draw up some generic spaces and had Battlefoam laser cut them for me. I doubt I would fit any extra models in either way but it would certainly be easier on me and then just suck up the lost of an extra space if I needed to combine two compartments for a single odd shaped or large model.
As long as we are talking of space, Hordes Armies (and Warmachine for that matter) are much smaller than most GW equivalents. When I ordered this, I was hoping to be able to easily carry a 50 point army and I seriously overestimated the amount of space it would take. Here is my entire Minions collection – 2 heavy beasts, 2 light beasts, ~20 warrior models, 2 warlock models easily fitting in three trays with plenty of room to grow in every one of the trays so bring on Domination! Even if I fill up these trays, there is still plenty of room for more trays of bacon. I think I might even be able to fit my entire Khador collection in here, ridiculously large though it is.
A couple of other things of note with this bag are the numerous pockets along the outside. There are two large pockets in front for dice tins, rulers, etc. I took a quick picture with my my khador dice tin in front to give a bit of perspective on just how large these pockets are.
If you have never seen one of the dice tins, they are about the size of a largish scientific calculator. The pockets are much larger than I expected them to be and I am quite happy with them. Also included is a large internal pocket but it is basically flat. You could keep your templates in here, but I would be afraid of them losing them when I opened the bag since it doesn’t latch in any way. The better use for that one is most likely paper army lists or perhaps any reference sheets you may use though there is a better place for those. There is also a mesh pocket obviously intended for a water bottle which is awesome. I bring water to every tourney I go to and love this feature. There is a long deep pocket on the side opposite which is for whatever else. There is really a lot of pocket storage in this baby. Which brings me to the next pocket and what was one of the two big selling points for me for this bag.
I am referring, of course, to the binder clips and card pockets folder. The card pockets are a little difficult to see in the above picture, but there are eight of them. The sizing on them is a bit interesting. They are a bit large for holding the cards for a specific army but a bit small for holding a full deck of all of the cards – at least if they are in sleeves.
The binder clips are a very cool idea but I do have a couple of minor quibbles on this feature. The actual clips are pretty small. If you are the sort that copies the rules section of the book so you don’t have to carry the whole thing around you might be a bit disappointed. It is just a bit too small for that. It does hold card sheets quite well. The other minor quibble is that, unless you have the whole pocket full packed there sheet protectors will sag just a bit. An easy fix for this would be to flip the binder clips to the top so gravity works to keep the pages straight. Of course, that has its own problems. There is no perfect solution here, and this one is probably the best one. A couple of other notable things are the loops for your dry erase markers (awesome) and the fact that the pocket is kind of thin – I didn’t feel good about how the rulebook fit with the army book so the army book stays on the shelf. Once it loses that new bag smell I might change my mind on this and pack it a bit tighter.
The last thing I want to cover here and and the main drawing point for me is how the bag itself opens. It basically zips out and lets you pull things out to the side rather than being top loaded. This is absolutely fabulous, especially when you consider that fact that most PP models are metal. It is always aggravating to pull a tray out and have the weight tip the tray and dump the models all over the place.
My wife who really just barely tolerates my mad hobby even looked over and said something along the lines of “hmm that is actually pretty cool” when I opened it up for the first time.
I know I seemed a bit nit-picky with some of the above but that is mostly because there isn’t much wrong with this bag. It’s size actually seems a bit more convenient to me than the P.A.C.K. bags – at least for me on my motorcycle. It is a bit pricy – especially in the Warmachine/Hordes market where you could basically buy into a new faction for the same price as this bag. Battlefoam makes a quality product and aren’t ashamed to charge for it.
Congratulations on getting through this long and rambling post if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.
UPDATE: Just a quick update here – I have switched to trollbloods lately and here is what is fitting inside my Battlefoam bag – one thing to consider is that pretty much everything is medium base or larger.
All 11 Warlocks
Mulg (I ended up cutting a little hole for the top of the peak in the bottom of another tray because it is so tall)
10 Fenn Blades
2 Fenn Blade UA
2 Scattergunner UA
10 Pyg Burrowers
6 Krielstone Bearer and Scribes
Stone Scribe Elder
Stone Scribe Chronicler
5 Long Riders
1 Horthol Long Rider Champion
Uhhh I think that is all and I still have space for another infantry tray as well as empty spaces throughout the trays. Also, I should mention again that this isn’t the custom tray – it is mostly pluck foam which costs you a couple of models worth of space on each tray.
Almost 6 months in and I am still extremely happy with the Battlefoam bag.