Saturday, October 22, 2011

Introduction to My Method of Making Movement Trays for Warhammer

Well here we have it, a long awaited and promised tutorial on how I make my movement trays. The materials that I use have not really changed that much over the years since I began playing Warhammer, but the way I build them has evolved over the years. This is just one way to make these. There are many other methods, and it is not the cheapest method. If you are looking for cheap, then you probably want to look elsewhere at say GW's modular tray kit or Rendra. This method is my favored method for building trays that can display a very high end detailed army.
 I like using making my own because it allows me to do a number of things in addition to personalizing my army. 

I like my movement trays to serve two purposes:

1.   Accentuate the basing scheme and/or theme of the army.  For example, my Chicago GT, Khorne Demon army was about blood and an over the top demonic like pits of hell thing.  The basing needed to emphasize that  for the bloodletters and other models.  So I even extended that further to the movement trays.  Painting internals of the tray to match the bloody pattern.

Another example, the VC Bashin' Orcs, the theme is beating up skeletons and zombies.  I try to add to the detail of the army by doing this.

2.   Have width to protect the miniatures (It seems there is always a game in a tourney, whether intentionally or unintentionally where your opponent slams his all metal unit into yours. When you spend lots of time on conversion and paint work, you do not want this to happen, especially to your crazy front rank conversions.)

In this particular tutorial, I'm building the movement trays for my Warriors of Chaos army. This is an army that I started several years ago. So now that I'm expanding this army, I am going to build the trays very similar to what I did in the past, ie. the one pictured below.

The main materials:

  • 1.5 mm or 2 mm plasti-card or sheet styrene (Evergreen and Plastruct are just two popular hobby suppliers of this material)

  • 3.2 x 4.8 mm plastic styrene strips.

  • your favorite glue for plastic

  • Aves Apoxiesculp

  • The tools:

  • Ruler/triangles, steel ruler / Straight-edge, carpenter's square

  • Marker

  • Cutting tools

  • Here you see a picture of one of my existing Warriors of Chaos movement trays. This was built for my Chaos Hounds or a 5-wide Cavalry unit.

    The next picture is the underside of the tray. Here you can see the randomness with the Apoxie sculp exposed in areas adjacent to the plastic. When I built this tray, I actually first built the tray and then drilled some wire into the plastic styrene strips on the edges of the tray. The wires are what hold the apoxie sculp in place, similar to the reinforcing steel in concrete. That's a very time consuming and somewhat tedious way to construct the tray.
    In the next post, I will begin walking through my new way of constructing the trays, but keeping a similar look as we build movement trays for my two Chaos Knights units.


    1. Very Nice Bases, look forward to the next installment.

    2. I wanted to build my own for my new fantasy army and had no idea where to start. I really am looking forward to this.

    3. Can't wait to see the next! :D

    4. Very effective, I like the way you disguised the geometric look with the putty, it seems much more natural this way.

    5. Thanks guys. Working assembly and pics for the next steps. As the Bugman Nav stated that is one of the other goals is to get rid of that ugly geometric shape, and blend in the tray to the battle-field and your display board. This tutorial will also be a lead in to "How I do Forest Litter Basing".

    6. I'm assuming that due to the size of the rim you do your measurements from the models' bases instead of from the movement tray. How well does this work out for you in game play? Do you find that when measuring people try to charge the distance to the tray instead of the unit?

      Likewise, do you every find that people get irritable over them when it comes to some of the more finicky aspects of the game such as accurate pursuits, multiple combats, or clipping? It seems like multiple combats could quickly become difficult if every movement tray is distorting a units actual location 1/2 - 3/4".

      Not trying to be pedantic or anything. I focus mainly on the painting and theme side of the game. I've often wanted to do trays like this but the realities of game play have always seemed like they'd be a hindrance. I'm interested in your opinion since you've actually used them.


    7. I've never had a problem with it in the tournaments that I've played. I do always explain to people where I measure from and where its legal, which is the base. I know of only one person that frequents the tournament scene here in the midwest that really dislikes them, but I we don't agree on much of anything.

      As to the clipping and combats, never really had any problems with that either. Now if you like to stack your units on top of another's flanks, you could have a slight issue. If you look at my tray for the Knights Hospitaller, the sides of the tray are sloped gently without any clutter and I did that purposely knowing that its likely the knights are going to get into a combat like that, or that I'm going to want to at some point expand my frontage. The slopes are gentle enough that models can stand on them.

      I do think there is a point where you can get too large on the flanks, the Knights are at that point. I'm playing with this concept with my orc army as I'm trying to incorporate more of my theme into the army's trays. Often the front of the unit is where you like to have the most eye candy, so making the flanks tighter should not be a problem.

    8. Fantastic, thanks for the insight!

      One of the things I really like about these for 8th edition is the new rule that you can never be closer than 1" to any other unit. With a roughly 1/2" border on all your movement trays they essentially self regulate that rule.

      Can't wait to see the next portion of your article.