When I decided to get back into miniature painting, I did some research into different storage methods for paint. I was keeping them divided between two Reaper Miniatures plastic boxes, but it just felt inefficient and awkward. My research pointed me to Battle Foam and their P.A.C.K. system of bags.
I was massively impressed with the bag. The kevlar exterior looks and feels nice and rugged, and the rigid fame on the inside is unquestionably sturdy. This bag was clearly designed to withstand some hard knocks and keep its contents intact, which is desirable not only for paints, but moreso for carrying models (which this bag can also do, using some of the different trays available). The shoulder strap is nice and wide with a moveable grip pad for your shoulder.
There are two carrying handles; one on the lid, below the embroidered logo, and one on top. The lid handle is made of the same sturdy webbing as the shoulder strap. The top handle has a hard core and thick plastic grip. Both handles are stitched on extremely well, and don’t feel like they’ll come detached without trying really hard, even when carrying a full load-out of paints.
However, while the 111-bottle capacity of the three paint trays was enough to hold my paint collection and then some, having three trays to swap around didn’t really solve the problem of an awkward paint arrangement. When I went back and browsed the Battle Foam site some more, I discovered the 108 dropper bottle tray. YES! That was more in line with what I had originally wanted.
I quickly discovered just how awesome Battle Foam’s customer service is when I shot them an email to ask if I could swap the three Vallejo trays for one 108 bottle tray. All it cost me was the return postage for the three trays and some patience. The 216 bag holds a 108 dropper bottle tray and 1/4″ topper perfectly. Hopefully Battle Foam will consider adding the 108 dropper bottle tray and topper combination as an easy-to-order paint loadout option in the future.
Although the single tray holds three fewer bottles, I much prefer having all of my paints on one level, and all pointing up so that I can see them all at once, and with the color samples I place on the lid of each bottle visible. Just not possible with the Vallejo paint trays.
Aside from housing a really swell paint storage solution (even if I bought more paints and exceeded the 108 capacity between getting the bag and writing this review, hence the bottles stored on top of the foam), the bag also has pockets for holding up to 25 brushes on the inside of the lid. The 1/4″ foam topper helps protect the brushes, in addition to their individual plastic caps, and keeps the color samples on the paint lids from getting scratched off.
There are two small external pockets–one on each side, just below the shoulder strap loop. They’re a bit too small to store the shoulder strap, but they’re just right for holding a 1/4oz puck of Master’s Brush Cleaner, a dropper bottle or two, or loose change. They close with a flap with sturdy hook-and-loop tape. Small pockets to be sure, but still handy.
The bag also has a section of zipper along the back/bottom, which allows it to be zipped onto some of the other bags in the P.A.C.K. line. Not something I think I’ll ever have use for, myself, but it’s pretty genius.
Lastly, some other nice details. The lid has a clear pocket for an ID tag (useful for travel, or just keeping your stuff clearly labeled at a con or paint-in). And the woven kevlar fabric actually takes adhesive patches REALLY well. The Cryx faction patch I bought some years ago has at least found a home next to the embroidered Battle Foam logo, without needing to be sewn on.
I am beyond impressed with the quality of Battle Foam’s products, and I plan on ordering more. Next on my list is their standard loadout eco box for storing my painted models. When I get my hands on one, I’ll definitely post a review.
Full disclosure: This review was not sponsored in any way. All of the items described and pictured in this review were purchased for my own use with my own funds. All of the commentary reflects my own opinion, and does not reflect any opinions of or endorsement by my day job employer.