Constructing a Troop Carry Box


box1sFlying or driving and model armies don’t mix. If you’ve ever tried to travel with tool boxes full of lead like I have, you’ll know that getting a hard time by airport security and flight crews is routine. While visiting the Napoleonic Wargames Society in Perth, I observed a number of custom made boxes used for storing DBM armies.

They were apparently made by one of the members (who’s name I don’t have) and sold within club. Memorising the design, I took it back to Melbourne and had a go of it myself.

box 1

The Perth model was entirely wood, including the trays which I thought made it complicated. My DBM armies are all based on magnetic strips (these strips are cheap, $6/A4 sheet, and obtainable from most printing shops) so I replaced the wooden trays with simpler galvanised sheet trays and slid into slots cut into the sides of the box.

The finished product had a number of advantages. Tool boxes require individual handling of figures to get them out. The metal trays are folded on two sides which allows you to slide figures off in complete units.

The box was more compact and held more elements than standard tool box (not to mention being lighter.) For tournaments, use can pre-organise your army into a command per tray saving alot of time in setting up.

box 2

Materials required per box are;

  • 600 x 900 x 12mm 5 ply laminated wooden sheet
  • 300 x 600 x 4mm 3 ply laminated wooden sheet
  • 286 x 225 x 0.4mm Galvanised sheet (4 required)
  • 1 handle & bolt/nuts to suit
  • 4 rubber feet (for base of box; optional?)
  • A dozen small nail and some wood glue.

Total material cost is around A$25. Price for wood will vary depending on how much you purchase. If you not to worried about the finish look, you can probably reduce the cost by purchasing cheaper materials!


Tools used include a router for grooving the sides, a power saw on a horizontal track (not sure of the proper name) for cutting the wood to size and slotting. Total time per box took around two hours, less if you do more than one at the same time. The trays I folded myself at work and aren’t included in the costing but would be cheap to acquire from any local sheet metal fabricator.

An alternative source if you don’t wish to build these yourself is to talk to a local pine? furniture manufacturer and get a quote. The more you want, the cheaper the per unit price will be.

Hope someone will find this information helpful!

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