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Wamp - Tablewar Display Case Review
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  • Member Review: Tablewar Display Case Review

    In this review, I will be talking about the Tablewar Half-size Display Tower. This is my first review, so please excuse the wordiness. :)


    I ordered this case as a way of transporting my miniatures, and displaying them at the FLGS. I wanted a solution that did not require foam, and had already been thinking about magnetizing my minis.

    The Tablewar system uses a tray and shelf mechanic. You have your minis on a tray, and fit the tray into the shelf, which each can hold three "normal" trays, or one "display" tray.

    The Half-size case comes with a drawer, and two shelves that fit on slider rails on the internal sides of the case. The Full-size comes with four shelves. Since I only (so far) purchased the Half-size, I'll only be able to give measurements for it below, but you should be able to extrapolate from there.

    At a cost of $110.00 US (approx 70gbp), it does immediately give one a bit of sticker shock. The cost to equip one as shown in the pictures (adding 2 more shelves, 9 bottom base unit-trays, and a diorama tray) would be $179.00 (~113gbp), not including the diorama washers (or minis, magnets, and that kinda stuff in there as well... hehe). Once you start adding the cost of foam into the foam style carrying cases however, the price difference is not as extreme, and could even be potentially less expensive. (It is possible to fit 378 human sized fantasy 20x20mm (or 504, if a quarter of them are .really short. lol!) in the half-case... a standard bearer's height will throw that count off, however). Unfortunately, due to the size of the case, shipping can be on the pricey side, and nightmarishly so for non-North American buyers, as currently the case is only shipped from their California, USA location. With the ease of army swap-outs, this can be a bargain for those with large numbers of armies, but that only take an army or two (or several skirmish armies) with them at a time.

    The case itself is made out of a medium weight textured plastic (no fingerprint worries), is available in 4 different colours, and has metal fittings. The insides have been lined to give the case a nice appearance. The front is a sheet of acrylic, firm enough to resist bending, but certainly not bulletproof. :) Given the construction of the case, I feel confident it will last many years traveling in my care, but I would not trust it to shipping on an airplane without additional protection, with or without miniatures inside. Being made out of the plastic, this helps keep the case lightweight, which is handy when you start loading it up with metal miniatures. The handle is well balanced, and I've not noticed any real tipping issues while carrying it, even when my minis were not in optimal 'balanced' positions. The combination locks are a nice addition if you don't want people opening the case and handling your miniatures while you are away, but as one could just walk away with the entire case, is not a fool-proof theft prevention system.


    On my case, the two hinges on the front lid (the clear acrylic) do not match. I don't know if this is a design choice, or mine was just odd. It doesn't bother me, but I can see where some would be annoyed by that. It does cause the lid to require a little lift just as you close to line up with the clasp, as the hinges do allow for some wobble/tilt as it opens/closes.


    The drawer is a simple open top design. It does not have rails on the side to take advantage of the cases shelving system, so it either would have to rest at the bottom of the case, or could be place on a shelf if you wanted it in a different location. You could also leave it out of the case if you'd rather have more miniature storage space. It measures 446x218mm (17 9/16" x 8 9/16") internally, and is 45mm (1 3/4") deep, if you have a shelf in the next available slot above it. This is a handy item for storing decks of cards, dice, tokens, rulebooks, paper and other gaming material. The sides are slightly on the bendy side, but the bottom of the drawer has very little flex, so weight of contents should not be an issue.


    The shelves are fully removable, and with the contours of the edge, make for a suitable display "plinth" for your trays and models. There are 12 slots that they fit into in the Half-size case, though the bottom three are not available if you have the drawer in place. The picture below shows some possible configurations, and the height of the minis able to be placed there (rounded down to the nearest 5mm except the smallest ones). Do note that while displaying your models, with a heavy load of miniatures, if you have the shelf slid out part way for better visibility, the case could be likely to tip, so you'll want to test for that. An enterprising do-it-yourself owner could easiely come up with a set of foldable (or removable) "legs" to support the front edge of a shelf if that is the situation with a given load.


    The trays are the most intriguing part of the system. Trays are available in several configurations, and each, save the Diorama Tray, takes up one third of a shelf's available space. Several of these choices have precut holes to fit a variety of bases (head here to see the currently available configurations: http://www.tablewar.com/unit-trays/ ). If you are playing fantasy, the trays can serve as movement trays as well, making for very fast setup and breakdown of your fantasy armies. The precut trays come in three parts (plastic tray bottom, sheet of metal, and a platic insert) for you to glue together, and are designed with Games Workshop style bases. There is also the Solid Unit Tray and the Diorama Tray that are a one-piece plastic base perfect for setting up dioramas on for monstrous creatures or vehicles. The trays have a 3mm lip depth, so they will match most gaming bases nicely for texturing purposes.


    For my purposes, I went with the Bottom Base Unit-Tray, which comes with the plastic tray holder & a sheet of metal to glue into it (but no insert). This is the route to go if you are more interested in using them as movement trays; the tray will hold 42 20mm square-based minis, in a 6x7 pattern, or 30x 25mm squares, in a 5x6 pattern. (Total interior dimensons of the base tray = 126x151mm.)

    I also ordered several sizes of Diorama Washers (shown above), which are rings of hard plastic with an internal area to fit the mini into. These are intended to glue into the tray, and then fill the in-between areas with plaster or similar, to create custom layouts for your minis. You'd also go this route for WarmaHordes and the like basing, as that currently is the only option for those size bases. I believe this is a smart design, and allows for plenty of customization for displaying your armies in the best possible ways. Note that the trays can either be glued into the shelf, or (the route I'm currently going) just set in, so you can quickly swap out to whichever trays you need when you head down to your local shop, leaving the others on, say, a display shelf at home.

    When I order with the case arrived, I did see that one of the shelves was cracked along the backside, so it would not support the weight of the minis without breaking in half. I contacted tablewar.com about this, and they emailed back within 15 minutes with a response. They immediately shipped out a replacement shelf, as well as another shelf I ordered (bringing me to 4 total), and threw in a free diorama shelf as well and free shipping on all of it (even though I had offered to pay shipping, since I was ordering another shelf). Fast, responsive, issue solved, and went above and beyond. For customer service, I have to give Tablewar.com a straight 10/10. I did not mention the hinge bit, as it doesn't bother me at all, so they weren't made aware of that.

    I'm very pleased with this purchase, moreso with the customer service, and will be buying the larger full-size later this year. Given the modular ability of this type of setup, I can't see buying more cases after that, as I can quickly swap out armies carried in the two, and use a display tower as storage for the rest of my minis in the meantime.

    Here are some samples of the full-size cases in use, and the trays done up with flocking or full diorama style:

    (The above pictures were sampled from the Tablewar Facebook photo album, and used without permission.)

    Website: http://www.tablewar.com

    Quality: 8/10. The case is well built, but the mismatched hinges do upset the aesthetics. The internal lining does really sharpen this case up, though it might be off by a few millimeters for the perfectionists out there.

    Assembly: 9/10. There's not much assembly to speak of, other than the trays, and those line up and fit perfectly. I'm hesitant to give it a 10, as I did not get any of the insert style trays, however.

    Value: 7/10. This is a hard one, as this is an expensive case at first glance. However, setting up a foam bag system will also set you back close to the same amount, once all the foam is purchased. If you are only carrying a few minis, the value for transport is diminished compared to other cases. If you are after a system that allows for display level dioramas for carrying your army in, or fast setup of fantasy armies, the value goes up. Do note that the trays (and washers, if you go that route) will need to be purchased seperately.

    Overall: 8/10
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Ulfgrimr's Avatar
      Ulfgrimr -
      Good, thorough review KD, many thanks.
    1. Vern's Avatar
      Vern -
      Nice review, must admit hadn't heard of that case before
    1. shanerozzell's Avatar
      shanerozzell -
      Nice review Kelly.
    1. parvusmachina's Avatar
      parvusmachina -
      Great review! Never heard of this before, going to check out the site now.
    1. Bloodthorn's Avatar
      Bloodthorn -
      Great review KD! I will have to look into those.