Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why KR Multicase Instead of "X" Bag Company?

Hive Fleet Azureus gets its inauguarl game as a finished army in, 10/3/2012
A few people have asked me over the past days why I went with KR for the Nid list over various other bag companies. I took some pictures as I foam'ed everything up last night and thought I'd share in detail why.

I first heard about KR from my buddy Jon. He made a great case for why it makes sense as a hobbyist, and why it especially makes sense if you're likely to have more than just one specific army. I looked into it thereafter, and have absolutely loved the product ever since.

First thing's first about what separates KR from other companies out there.

When you talk to Daryl, the owner of KR, about his product, the first thing he'll tell you is this (I'm paraphrasing, but it's paraphrasing his actual quote):

I'm keenly aware of where my product and I stand on the hierarchy of what's important to hobbyists. The first thing miniature hobbyists consider spending their money on is miniatures. Then, they'll buy paints, and glues, and brushes, and painting supplies. Then, they'll buy rulebooks and codices. Then, they'll buy terrain to play on at home. Then, they'll buy more miniatures, and more paints, and more brushes. Then, they'll invest in supplement games. Then, they'll take care of their now-starving family. They'll go back to their hobby, and probably buy more miniatures. Finally, when they simply have no other choice, if they really feel like it, they'll buy a nice case to put their armies in ... when til now they've happily been using a bin of some sort.

I can tell you, there are bag companies out there whose owners don't have this opinion, and who think their product is not only the most important thing in the world, but you should pay for that status to boot. What makes KR great from the start is the MINDSET of the guy who runs the company. He's a fundamentally good person who understands his product's "place" in the world. Even the name, KR, highlights his nature - the two letters are initials, from the marriage-lost first names of his and his significant other's heritage. He thought it would be nice to honor the fantastic people his and his wife's grandparents were.

Enough gushing about a guy I like, but it funnels down into the product, and here's where we get into the meat of it. KR is safer for your miniatures, and it's cheaper if you have more than one fixed army.

The biggest problem with your typical army bag with loose hard foam trays inside is the inability to really flex armies in and out of it without having tons of loose trays full of miniatures lying around. Additionally, hard foam inside of cases that suffer impact will transfer that energy rather painfully to any exposed bits or tips of your minis, and can snap those pieces off inside the foam. Unlike the soft foam in GW cases, or in the KR system, hard foam is more painful for your miniatures. Regardless, you basically need something to put your hard foam in when you're not using it ... and bag companies who sell it hope you'll buy more and more of their more expensive bags for the more affordable foam to find a home in.

KR Backpack 2 NOVA VIP Loaded
Regardless, even if you want to stick your loose trays somewhere in a bin or a tub (kind of defeating the purpose yet?), you've got to go scouring through your collection finding the pieces you want and then swap them in and out of your existing nice cases. Or, again ... buy new cases.

KR uses a modular system built around affordable hard card cases (and they are hard ... one of my gaming buddies had one accidentally run over by a car ... and it survived, along with the minis inside), inside of which you can have either custom foam (yup, custom foam, more on that later) or more traditional standardized trays. All of the KR products basically fit these hard card cases inside of them - the Backpacks and Kaisers especially, which are soft backpack or shoulder-strap soft cases. The NOVA VIP bag this year was a KR Backpack 2 ... I like them, so I bought one of the VIP bags for myself! You can see it loaded with 2 of the hard cases here.
Kaiser 2 Loaded

Once you have a bag or two from KR, you are arguably DONE purchasing bags of any kind, ever. If you want more, you can buy more, but you don't NEED to in order to store future armies. From that point forward, the purpose of the system is to acquire the MUCH more affordable and and highly store-able / stack-able card cases with custom softer foam protected inside, and fill your various armies into these. Whenever you travel to a tournament or to a local game store or a friend's house, you simply slot in whichever card cases you want to use, and you're good to go.

Miscalculated the room you'd
need? No problemo!
Perhaps most importantly, suppose with the hard foam trays you try to do the same thing. You think, "SCREW THIS SYSTEM, I'm going to use the hard foam and just put it in bins to store when I'm not using it and swap in whatever I want!" Well, suppose the army you put together overflows your existing bags ... SUPPOSE you wind up with a couple of spare hardfoam trays and you don't know what to do with them, and you can't carry them around solo ... well, that's also the cool thing about KR's system. The card cases are fully functional on their own ... they even have handles. For BFS this weekend, I threw all my extra spawnable gaunts and rippers into a 5th card case.

20 Gargoyles and 54 Termagants

Swarmlord/Hive Tyrant, 2
Hoverbugs, Parasite, Tervigon
Customization. When I mention KR to some people, they attempt often to contrast it with the customization options available from other bag companies. I actually think this one isn't a big deal. KR has a smorgasborg of custom foam for all armies and types, and most game systems. Further, they're quite helpful in a way not all customer service givers are in today's world. In the case of my foam, I was able to send my army in, and get a confirmation of precisely the foam that would most fit it, all custom made for Gargoyles, Tervigons, etc. So, I didn't have to hamfistedly shove models into foam block areas that weren't made for them - everything IS custom and properly made, so while you don't go onto a site and design it yourself *quite,* you might as well - the effect and result is quite the same.

This effectively covers the reasons I like KR (besides the fact that they are INCREDIBLY generous when it comes to sponsoring tournaments). There's probably an additional note to be made on the sponsorship front. There are companies who will sucker in a TO with promises of thousands of dollars in sponsorship, and what they deliver is exclusively small-value coupons that take a few bucks off their product IF people go and buy it. This isn't sponsorship. It's marketing at an event for free, and using the misplaced faith of others to get yourself in the door. There are several companies out there who do that to TO's out in the market. Fortunately, at the NOVA, we haven't had to deal with this much ... our sponsors and vendors have been wonderful from the get go! That said, KR is the exact opposite. When they say they'll sponsor an event with $XYZ in value, they provide ACTUAL product. No little coupons meant only to encourage sales, no false promises ... they deliver, and they're awesome to work with. It isn't surprising - using their product and talking with Daryl, you already know you're going to get that before you start.

So long story short, with KR you have soft foam to protect your miniatures ... you have hard cases to protect your soft foam ... and those hard cases are modular to fit in ANY KR carrying case. The solution is the ability to invest most of your case money in more affordable card cases with custom foam for whatever armies you want to have ready to go ... you store your card cases (however many you need) in stacks or wherever, call it your "army library" if you will ... and you slot into only your one or two KR bags the card cases you need whenever you need them. This saves you, in the end, TONS more money for the ACTUAL things you want to spend your money on as a hobbyist (and Daryl himself has the good sense to see this), while also protecting your armies far better than hard foam arrangements tend to.

I took a few closer-up still-bad-due-to-droid shots of my Hive Tyrant, so I'll finish with that. His teeth and eyes and clawbits and other things are all done up better now, as are those parts for the rest of the army.

Shawarmalord


17 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more, they're excellent cases.

    Rathstar

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can someone with another companies bag use the cases from KR in said bag? Or are they specifically designed in shape to only function in a KR bags?

    I am already invested in a bag but if their cases could fit in said bag I would be open to looking into this company

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no idea, lol. I would probably guess that they don't fit as perfectly, but also guess that doesn't mean they don't fit at all. Also, the Backpack 2 is a good bag, affordable, and can fit a LOT of miniatures if you so wish.

      Delete
    2. I use KR cases in my Battlefoam Pack 720, perfect fit, although now that i have my VIP Backpack, i have not used my 720 much, not as easy to carry.

      Delete
  3. Quite frankly, KR never really interested me because of the cardboard box.... but from what i read on your post, they are actually a very good idea.

    I went and got myself Battlefoam's, but if i saw a review like yours before purchasing for 400$ of battlefoam, i'd went with KR.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't be fooled by the fact that it's card. Its not some nasty cereal box or corrugated card, it is thick heavy duty card. I have got mine wet with no more damage to them than a bit of warping on the sides. Still works fine, and my own fault. I now use one of there hard cases for carrying and the card for storing at home (I also have one of the soft case bags for when I need more than one case). It's an excelent system, no need to keep everything in heavy duty cases at $$$$, but they are more than strong enough, and if you damage them the chances are you'd damage your minis in a harder case. Better to damage the case than your minis.

      I honestly think KR make the best cases on the market. Not the strongest, or most expensive, but the right thing for the job and would now buy noting else.

      Delete
  4. as a TO of a major GT in the northeast i havent gotten the warm and fuzzies from either BF or KR when dealing with them in regards to sponsorship. I guess the only time they deal with you isnt until you plop down big chunks of cash.

    However i must say mike.. those nids fit in there very nice.

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  5. Pretty neat nids, mike. I'm getting more impressed...really like that big bug.

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    Replies
    1. I always think that emoticon has something obscene about it.

      Delete
  6. I've been buying kr foam as replacement foam for use in my old plastic gw cases and they do foam for them which is great got my first card case a few weeks ago after being a bit worried about the card-ness of it but honestly it is a really good case and great value for money, not got a bag yet as it only really goes in and out the car but may think of one down the line

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  7. Quick question Mike, am I seeing that the tervigon custom foam from KR requires removing the base from the model?
    I own two KR card cases with varying core trays and have never been disappointed.

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    Replies
    1. Works with base attached. I leave mine off to make gaming with them easier on uneven terrain, etc

      Delete
  8. Those card cases look fantastic for storing your foam trays. What size are those card containers? I already have some bags i like, i'd like to know if they'd fit.

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  9. I just saw this, and it is sooooo true. Being a TO and having KR donate prizes to our event, I can speak from first hand experience. Both Daryl and Kathy are awesome and Mike, you truly hit the nail on the head on all accounts. From the reason to buy KR that I still think a lot of players do not understand to KRs approach to their product and purpose.

    If you don't mind I'll be practically copying this as it truly exemplifies my feelings and experiences as well.

    +1 Mike!

    ReplyDelete
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