Shipping completed kits.

Discussion in 'Questions on Kits, Decals, Tools and Pilots' started by [SC] Arachnicus, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. [SC] Arachnicus

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    Forgive me if this is not the right section to post this but I couldn't find a better section to post this. Is there even a remote possible way that a completed kit can be shipped without it getting damaged? Years ago I used to sell vintage items and developed a talent on packaging items in the safest way humanly possible. A friend of mine that creates computer software game me a free version of his program so as a way of saying thanks I sent him one of my completed kits.

    This was a 1:72 hobby boss kit that as you know are pretty solid kits to begin with. I replaced any thin plastic antennas, masts, etc with metal and bored them in. Compared to most kits, this plane was very sturdy.

    I wanted to get the kit shipped out, (it was only getting shipped about 400 miles away.) I did take it to the UPS store, however, I watched the very nice and experienced employee package it (yes I was a bit lazy that day), and she did a perfect job packaging it, checking with me constantly to make sure I thought it was being done right. Great customer service. I was impressed that she cared as much as I did. Saying that, I know it's not her fault.
    Even with the the work and care the rear gear of the plane STILL managed to break off during shipping. The guy fixed it and was still very pleased.


    1) Is there any possible way to ship a completed kit where the chances are very slim that something will break?

    2) If you have a tested and successful packaging method can you please share it?
     
  2. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    I was a professional mover for 20+ years, and I can assure you that there is no way to pack something so well that some fool can't break it.
    Having said that, for extremely fragile items, I used to use a "double box" system. Simply put, lightly tissue wrap the item, bubble wrap after that, then place in a close fiting box. In a larger box, crumple newsprint paper fairly tightly to fit around the smaller box, bottom, sides and top. Enough packaging in both boxes to cancel any movement is the only way to go.
    Good luck!
     
  3. [SC] Arachnicus

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    Actually meatloaf, your advice is more positive then what I was expecting, thanks! I will NEVER use USPS to ship anything ever again. That obsolete government run burden on our country can't ship a block of steel without shattering it.
     
  4. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    Over the years I averaged a less than 1% claims rate on my packing.
    I do hold the family (Dad, Mom, and two brothers) record for running stuff over, though. My favorite was a corvette that was double parked on a corner in New York city. Took the nose off with the trailer and continued on my way. Never heard anything about it. Any idea of how many big orange trucks are in the city on any given day?
     
  5. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    As Paul said, basically, if something can be broken, then it's very possible it will get broken.
    However, the main 'danger' in shipping completed models ( a kit is no problem, as it's still a kit, in component parts, and not a model) is from vertical or horizontal shock movement, where landing gear, for example, can be dislodged or snapped due to relatively minor sudden movement.
    Secondary is crushing, where, if the force is heavy enough, the best packaging in the world can't prevent damage, and the third problem is damage from the internal packaging itself, where, for example, tissue paper or other 'padding' can move and damage delicate items such as antenna wires, pitot tubes etc.
    I'm always nervous packing a model for shipping, unless I'm delivering it myself, when even then something unforseen can cause damage.
    Whenever possible, try to 'sit' the completed model in pre-cut slots or notches in a block or thick sheet of expanded polystyrene, and 'wedge' the wings with 'jigs' cut from the same, or from stiff card. Once the model is safely secured, then secure the 'wedges' to the block, and then pack this assembly as Paul described, making it a self contained package in it's own right, which is then packed in a larger, strong outer box, with padding all around each side, and top and bottom.
    Ensure this outer container is securely taped at every joint and corner, and marked 'Fragile', with 'This Way Up' arrows and wording clearly visible, and also the international 'wine glass' symbol denoting fragile contents.
    The markings probably won't make much difference, but may reduce the amount of time the package is literally thrown around, kicked across the sorting-office floor, or used as a chair ( yes, it does happen!), and securely taping the outer box will, or should, prevent the package from bursting open.
    I have to send a very delicate model from the UK to the USA in the not too distant future, and will be using this method, but still keeping my fingers crossed!
    Oh, and inform the recipient, in advance, on how the item has been packed, and how to un-pack it without damaging the contents - it has been known for the recipient to undo all the careful work, and damage or ruin an otherwise safely arrived, undamaged model, by unintentionally clumsy opening, including the use of a knife!
     
  6. herman1rg

    herman1rg Well-Known Member

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    Just over a year ago I moved house and agonised for a long time over how to transport my own model aircraft.

    Eventually I decided to use polystyrene, which I cut to size approximately 3 mm larger then the kit. I used a hot knife heated on the cooker, handle was insulated!

    Each was closely encased, and luckily all survived transit.
     
  7. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    I too have agonized over this. I have concluded that the only way you could feasibly do this is to ship the airplane in large assembled pieces. Fuselage, wings, engines, armament, and perhaps landing gear completed and then have the recipient glue them at their end.

    As a young man, I used to work for UPS and unloaded trucks, trailers, sorted packages and loaded same. Nobody cares about boxes marked fragile or this way up. Everybody that works at this level in UPS is young and dumb and paid commensurately. If you ever saw a large sorting center and how fast the employees are expected to move boxes you would understand. Boxes routinely take a 36in drop to enter into different feeder lines (conveyor belts), are tossed into piles during peak movement, and loaded at the bottom of a 7' stack (inside trailer height) of other boxes that each can weigh up to a maximum of 70lbs.

    The delicate antenna part had driven me nuts. For my RC-135. I've been thinking about gluing one end into a hole drilled in the vertical stabilizer and then drilling another hole in the fuselage. Feed the linen thread through the hole leaving a 6 to 8 inch tail and clamp a fishing weight to the end. This would allow the antenna to remain slack while shipping, but via a simple tip of the model tail down would tighten the slack upon arrival. Fools fancy probably. :dontknow:
     
  8. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    ! gotta move one to a friend soon too...thinking about the survivability factor myself!
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    perhaps a loose wrapping of bubble wrap (with the little bubbles) then laid into a nest of loosely packed shredded paper that's in a small box. This is then nested into a larger box that is filled with those styrofoam peanuts?

    I have to ship delicate components from work on occasion and I'll pack the itmes similiar to this...
     
  10. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    All of thr above are good suggestions, but remember, it's the packaging which actually comes into contact with the model itself which is the most important. Due to 'projections' on the model, from delicate items like antenna, to props and landing gear legs, some of the packaging will touch these areas, and as a result, could cause damage if sudden movement caused the packaging to exert pressure. Hence my suggestion for the rigid, yet 'soft', expanded polystyrene 'seat' and 'wedges', to prevent laterall movement, and to prevent the model moving vertically within the packaging.
     
  11. ian lanc

    ian lanc Member

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    I've sent many built models with success in the postal system, I buy those big value car jumbo sponges,
    then cut up the sponge and glue to the base of the box, then sit the model on the sponge, more sponge
    added to the top of the model then make a kind of spiders web from elastic bands and suspend the model
    in them and the bands sponge take the shock. Box's are always the strong ones which are full of fruit
    readily available for free from most supermarkets, another same box goes over the bottom box with force.

    Always ensure the model itself does NOT touch the box, but left suspended in mid air.

    My first trial runs where very good and used one of my own built models to see if they got smashed up
    by dropping the box from three feet to the floor, also dropping it on its edge and also trying to roll it too.

    Sent four built Lanc's through the postal system via' airmail,two went to the USA, One to Canada and two
    to the Netherlands. one arrived blatantly damaged by the customs, who thought the filler along the seams
    was Cocaine, so used a screwdriver on my precious model to inspect it :( Other three arrived un-damaged.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Great stuff Ian. Glad you chipped in, as I know you have a lot of experience shipping completed models. I like the method you've just posted, and I'll employ that for the model I have to send to the 'States. The models for the Museum in the Czech Republic though, are going to be delivered, personally, by road - they're just too darned big and complex to trust even 'zero gravity' packaging, if it existed !!
     
  13. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    I like that method Ian....
     
  14. [SC] Arachnicus

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    3 months to build the kit.

    6 months to build the packaging to send it. :)
     
  15. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    ...sent to a military firing range for testing! :lol:
     
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