Packing up and moving Zoids (or any other toy collection, for that matter) is not an event looked forward to, and often despised by collectors. Packing up my collection and moving across state a couple times has given me some insight on the whole moving process, and hopefully I can share a few tricks and tips to make this whole experience a little bit easier should you ever be unfortunate enough have to suffer through it.
You will need a "PBOR" (discussed below), plastic storage containers, masking tape and sharpie marker.
During the first move, I used standard cardboard boxes. I partially disassembled each Zoid (mainly appendages and heavy weaponry) and stored it in a gallon ziplock bag(s). I packed up each box according to category i.e.: Gojulas, Kong, Death Saurer, etc. I then further broke it down in order of rarity and value i.e.: Gojulas/King/OJR. This category and subcategory were then both written on the outside of the box. Pieces were packed into cardboard boxes and stuffed with newspaper and bubble wrap to absorb any impact that would surely take place. This process took about two weeks of spending a couple hours a day, and the end result filled an entire trailer which was then "tarped" and hauled to the new location. The amount of space used seemed amazing as well as unpractical The un-boxing process also took an ample amount of time, and left a good amount of waste, which took even more time to properly dispose of.
Pictured below: Liger Blue Souga waits for his moving partners.
Recently I am moving (yet again) and spent some time pondering how to make moving the Zoids less painful and more efficient. Let's go over some points that I think are key when moving Zoids:
1. Pieces must be self-contained in a plastic, sealable bag to catch any parts that are shed during transport.
2. Each piece must have it's own "bag" to make it easier to discern which parts belong to which unit.
3. Pieces should be grouped according to type and rarity to make both protection and putting them back on display easier.
The first move was effective as far as minimal breakage and parts lose, yet the amount of time it took to both pack and unpack was ridiculous. In order to save time and money the second time around, I decided to focus more on initial protection and space saving.
Pictured below: Liger Storage
Pictured below: Ligers with layers (discussed further down)
Instead of using the standard gallon (Zip Lock) sealable bags, I purchased a set of "plastic bags on a roll" similar to these. Why? Well for a couple of reasons. Standard gallon bags will not fit over pieces like an Ultrasaurus, King Gojulas, or Death Saurer. Initially this required me either trying to (half assed) tape two, three, sometimes four of these bags together, or further separate the unit into more than one individual bag which resulted in:
A. Using way more than one sealable bag per large piece.
B. an even more daunting "sub-sub" category labeling system i.e.: Ultasaurus / BattleSaurus / TZ / 1 of 5.
This multi-bag nightmare also had its repercussion with cardboard boxes. Some boxes would hold a whole unit just perfectly while, inevitably, other boxes would not fit all of the bags, forcing me to separate a single unit into two boxes or more. In order to avoid the whole multi bag process, the plastic bags on a roll or "PBOR" (which they will be referred to for the duration of this article) seem to be the perfect solution to accommodate sizeable Zoids.
Pictured below: PBOR
Although we lose the "sealable" option, the PBOR leave enough room to tie each bag into a knot, or to double back on itself and be taped shut. The PBOR do lack the integrity of standard sealable bags but can usually double back on themselves more than making up for this compromise. The PBOR also seem to be more "willing" conform to the shape of Zoids a lot easier than standard sealable bags, making them ideal for taping around the tail of a Zoid creating an effective anchoring point.
Pictured below: Anchoring a Gordo
With the bag issue addressed, lets move onto the actual containment vessels. Usually it's customary to think of cardboard boxes when moving, yet who really wants to trust thousands of dollars and thousands of hours vested in our beloved little creations (Zoids) to a cardboard box? I did at first, and that was a mistake for a couple of reasons. A small percent of the boxes were damaged during transport. Nothing major, just normal wear and tear which resulted in some crushed in corners and a couple tears and rips. Although I cannot directly relate the damage inflicted on a couple of my Zoids, I have a pretty damn good guess that it was the result of the compromised cardboard box integrity.
The first problem with standard cardboard boxes the integrity. Unless you are buying expensive, fresh, clean moving boxes you really have no idea what misfortune the poor box had suffered in it's life previous to you recruiting it to be used as a moving vessel. Although not first apparent, what I had thought to be a suitable box was literally reduced to a crushed mess at the end of the move, never fit to be used as a suitable transport vessel again.
The second cardboard box problem lies within the construction of almost all cardboard boxes. The bottom of each box features two flap (usually glued down) that can (and will) rise up just enough for the smallest of parts to wedge themselves inside. My Murasame Liger Tail (end piece) suffered this fate. Once you are keen to this type of box behavior, it takes twice the time to" re-go through" each box making sure a small piece isn't trapped inside the dreaded "box void".
Fear not, Zoid.US has the solution! Call them "Rubbermaids", "Sterileites", or perhaps just "Sealable Containers". These types of plastic containers tend not to compromise any integrity even under immense duress. What I ended up doing this time was use the PBOR to put the Zoid into and tied a knot at the end of the bag, or mounted it to a good anchoring point i.e. Ultra Tails, Death Saurer Necks, Etc. I stacked the Zoids side by side until I had the vessel completely full, and then cut cardboard out to make a separate layer which allowed me to stack yet another row of Zoids on top. The cardboard rests upon the heads of the Zoids that remain in the lower position and help to even out the weight distribution of the Zoids that will be traveling on the top.
Pictured below: (My precious) DeadBorder's on bottom of plastic container
Pictured below: Second layer of Dark Zoids resting on the tops of Dead Boarders.
Pictured below: Masking tape applied to denote what's in the box
While on the Subject of plastic containers, here are a few tips.
1. I used sterileite brand plastic storage containers located here. Why? Well usually they are cheaper than the more name brand storage containers known as "Rubbermaids".
2. They make a specific size that houses a 3 Ultrasaurus set with damn near perfection. The 35 Gallon ones work wickedly well for this, and is also tall enough to store Gojulas making it the perfect choice for larger pieces.
3. Parts lose become an extremely low (if any) risk, as all the parts remain in the container.
Pictured below: Sterilite 35 Gal. 132 L Model approx. Pick up a set of four for $47.88.
Pictured below: 3 Ultra's fit comfortably and tails anchored.
3. Masking tape both stays on and comes off with ease on plastic containers. I use a sharpie marker to denote what is in each container, as well if it has the potential to be "stacked".
Pictured below: Marked masking tape.
Another great vessel, although rare to come by, for you consideration are the styrofoam containers usually used to ship live tropical fish out. You may also find these used as "coolers" during summer months. I have one that fits the King plus some other OJR's perfectly. I use a couple of these to house my OJR's.
Pictured below: The King in his Styro box.
In conclusion, I hope this has helped someone who is facing the dreaded move. I used far less sterlite containers than I did cardboard boxes. The Sterlite containers provide what seems to be about 200% more protection that a cardboard box, and should you be traveling and the chance the rains hits, sterlites will be your saving grace. So in the end, beg, borrow, or steal as many plastic containers as you possibly can. It's just not worth ruining your entire collection over a cardboard box. So save some disassembly time, get a PBOR and some plastic containers next time you face "the big move". A full travel trailer was reduced dramatically.
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