|Hive Fleet Azureus gets its inauguarl game as a finished army in, 10/3/2012|
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|
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!
|20 Gargoyles and 54 Termagants|
|Swarmlord/Hive Tyrant, 2|
Hoverbugs, Parasite, Tervigon
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.