A few years ago when searching for movement trays I came across a company I had not heard about, Shogun Miniatures. As I was magnetizing my older kids' fantasy figures' bases the steel movement trays Shogun offered fit the bill perfectly. When my order arrived, they contained a few samples of the "Mag Bases". I was intrigued as they were sturdy, well made, and thin. I had always used Litko for nearly all my basing needs, but these got me thinking. I knew I had a couple of situations where I needed trays and magnetic bases. Namely TFL ACW and AWI SP variants.
- Before I get too long winded, a few notes about their movement trays.
- They have ZERO sharp edges and corners, not even mildly pointy. This was a problem I had way back in the 90's when I experimented with metal bases.
- They can be made in custom sizes and they are really inexpensive.
- They can be primed, painted, protected and still hold magnets.
- They can be purchased with or without flanged edges.
For TFL ACW, I want to individually base these figures, on 20x20mm bases, as depending on the situation and troop experience they can or cannot assume a skirmish formation. The problem is I don't want to move up to 80 figures individually each turn should they all be activated. The obvious solution was movement trays and preferably magnetic. I had originally purchased enough Gale Force Nine bases to cover the job, but I found these less desirable than I had hoped. The main reasons were that they were not clean on the sides and it took a fair amount of time to trim all the excess material off as well as them being so thick. I had thought about going with Litko as usual and as I did for my AWI skirmishers. However, when my order of Shogun trays arrived and I saw the sameples, the answer was right in front of me. These bases didn't need any special treatment and their trays made everything easy. The inexpensive nature of the movement trays meant I could load up for many different situations. Most ACW groups being 8 at full strength, I could get 160mm wide movement trays in either single or double ranks and simply place them together for formations. Pretty much cake at that point.
For AWI skirmishers, I started basing these individually on 25x25mm using Litko bases and base bottoms for use in both skirmish games and placing them together on magnetized movement trays in 2's and 3's as is called for depending on troop grade in British Grenadier. After some warping on some larger wood bases, I decided to make the switch to Shogun for not only these, but as Shogun does custom sizes, I will be having some done for larger rank and file bases.
There are a number of situations for which I will continue to use Litko. Namely Saga round and oval bases as well as hexes for use in such things as gladiator games. Now, there is little reason for magnetized bases in games like Saga or gladiator games, but I noticed he convenience of moving and storing miniatures with magnetic bottoms immediately. I can take a group of a warband or set of gladiators, put them on the steel tray, place it in the display cabinet and not have to worry whether or not I'll drop them if one of my kids practices their latest tackling technique on my leg or if I flinch suddenly stepping on a LEGO (the enemy of fathers' feet everywhere).
The nice thing about both of these companies is that they represent the excellent choices we have. Both companies have great products and I've experienced great customer service from both. They've both rushed me items on short notice and I'll never forget Litko making sure I'd have a set of custom movement items for my oldest son's X-wing collection, on short notice and before Christmas. Hopefully the accompanying photos will give you an ideas as to thickness and other particulars.