So I started looking into alternatives, going through battlefoam and sable - gawking at the price for the former and finding the layout for the latter such that I quickly resumed browsing blogs. Then I found KR Multicase, a UK-based company (Win), who do foam trays and cases for them (double Win) and, best of all, the prices they display on the website include shipping (Sold).
So I had a look around their website, got a feel for the different sized trays they do, as well as their carrying options. They have lots of options, and it can get a bit overwhelming at first, you just have to stay focused on what you want. I found a tray that holds 40 models in compartments just slightly smaller than the GW ones. Perfect for Guard.
In the end I ordered the original Card Case with 4 of those trays inside (Product code: KRMN4) - storage for 160 men at the nice price of £22. That's about a third off the price of a GW case for about a third extra storage capacity. Nice.
The case came within two working days (though, as usual, I had to pick it up from the sorting office), so nice and prompt.
It came in a simple package envelope, which I wasn't so pleased about - but then, it bore up well to the general manhandling that Royal Fail tend to give any of your items.
Here's what it looks like:
The contents (there's a top sheet which I managed to hide under one of the trays):
Compared to a standard GW case:
With models inside:
The compartments, as you can see, are perfect for Imperial Guard, but slightly cramped for Space Marines, especially with dynamic poses. That's ok though, they do another type of tray with larger compartments.
The foam is nice and soft, but still rigid enough to support the models, which is great. The card the case is made of is indeed (as claimed on the website) top quality stuff - thick, rigid and durable - to a point. The cases also stack beautifully. Once I get rid of all but one of my GW cases, my place will be much neater with a stack of cases in the corner/in the wardrobe, easily accessible, and not hidden in every cranny I can find that will fit a GW one.
So I would say these card cases are not so much for army transport as for army storage. Though the card is good quality, it is still card, so will wear a lot more than your plastic case, especially if you're in to the whole tournament scene, etc...
That's where the rest of KR's range comes in - they have a series of bags and aluminium cases that fir the card cases themselves inside, making them ideal for transport to and from your gaming location of choice.
One thing I do think I'll be doing, is taking some electrical tape to apply to the corners and edges of the card to hopefully reinforce and protect them. It should also make getting the handle out, which doubles as a locking mechanism, much easier.
So, in summary:
- the quality of the trays- the speed of service
- the price- the ease of storage
- they do GW case-sized trays as well
- that the card needs reinforcing- the handle can be a pain when you're trying to get it out (you feel like you're risking damage to the case itself)
Which gives it: