Thursday, October 28, 2010

On Movement Trays

Some gamers love em, personally I see them as a sometimes necessary evil; and for myself would much rather use multiple stands of models. However for Warhammer and it's derivatives they are pretty much standard. To the point that even if putting out a unit of five models without one, an opponent will often ask if you want (a typically far too large) movement tray for them, as if the 3 seconds more it may take to move the unit will somehow impinge on his gaming experience!

The next issue that amazes me is the price of the things. Well to be fair, the bog-standard ones above aren't that bad; £5 for 8 is OK I suppose, but the customisable trays are another matter, and I've hardly ever seen them assembled well; generally only with the proficiency of a hamfisted Chimp, tasked with carrying out the job in a hurry, at night, with an aggravated Mrs Chimp distracting him.

Why do that when you could spend £2 on a sheet of 60thou (2mm) Plasticard, and knock them up yourself? Obviously this allows you to make any shape you need, and work out much cheaper, compared to the £6.50 customisable set. The below were just over half a sheet of Plasticard, took 20 minutes to make, and will accommodate four units of 20 Warhammer models.

Anyway, that brings me on to my other gripes about movement trays. For many gamers the above would be considered finished, urghh!

Especially annoying when looking at a painted army, why spoil the effect by sticking them on unpainted movement trays. Sometimes they go to the trouble of at least painting the walls, but then leave the floor untouched or sprayed black - why are your men standing over some abyssal pit? Please! have the decency to paint them in the same manner as the bases of your army at least!

Then there's the insistence on using the things even when hopelessly impractical. Your unit moving up a hill but isn't fully on it? No problem, prop up the movement tray with dice, so rather than taking them off it and having them appear to be partly on the hill and partly at the base, the whole unit can float in the air some distance from it. Never mind the liability of the whole affair collapsing. Crossing a bridge? just continue to use the tray, even though it's much wider than the model it sits on, that looks fine. Only two models left in the unit? Still use a twenty man tray, because logically it must make it twice as fast to move the unit, and of course is in no way inconvenient or unsightly.

So I guess you can see I'm not a fan of them, alas they are here to stay, and sometimes I'm obliged to use them.

I'm obliged to pay tax too, don't make me a fan of it!


  1. Hear! Hear! I agree wholeheartedly about painting the trays . . . and the rest of your post as well.

    -- Jeff in Canada

  2. death,taxes,and movement trays, what is the world coming too...

  3. I use movement trays in a number of periods. I find them useful for my 15mm Napoleonic Austrians (12 btns of 8 bases each is quick), WoRs mainly because of the individual bases. But I don't use them where there is no need. And yes I make my own or buy the resin equivalent which are cheaper then GW and almost as cheap as making your own. All painted inside and out.