Feldherr Miniatures Cases
By Gwindi GmbH
From Berlin with Love
When Gamer Bling was a kid, one year for Christmas he found in his stocking a plastic bag filled with army men. “Cool!” he thought, because he was even then a gamerrific guy, even though The Original White Box D&D was many years from rearing its head onto the University of Wisconsin campus, let alone the American public consciousness.
Unfortunately, there were two problems with the army men.
The first was that, since they were all US Army, Gamer Bling was restricted to modern re-creations of the American Civil War. Or maybe blowing away the Cherokee and Iroquois from his Cowboys and Indians set with vastly improved settler weaponry. Let’s face it: the tomahawk used by the 19th Century Sioux just doesn’t hold a candle to the one used by the 21st Century US Military.
The second problem was that fully one third of the army men in the bag were sitting down like they were in a troop transport, or maybe they were a regiment of bureaucratic US Army processing clerks. A very static force Gamer Bling had. It may have been a cheesy way to get Santa Claus to buy Gamer Bling a truck or halftrack, but it didn’t work. So Gamer Bling found other ways to put those sessile soldiers to good use.
For example, if you lit one on fire and held it over the others, it would drip flaming gobs of plastic on its fellow soldiers like some sort of strange extraterrestrial organic jalapeno weapon emanating from the sizzling remains of the soldier’s head, permanently scarring the victims who were too apparently too terrified to leave their sitting position, until, at last, like extras in Aliens, they were encased in some sort of secreted resin, but this one was charred and smelled really bad so we had to do these things on the back porch or in the open garage and not inside the house.
We also did other things like trace patterns with hairspray or rubbing alcohol or gunpowder and light them on fire. In the garage. But only when the parents weren’t likely to see.
Over the years Gamer Bling’s tastes evolved from flatly sculpted cheap army men to nice army men (both 54mm and 00 scale) to detailed plastic Tamiya models that one assembled and painted and were, on occasion, quite fragile.
Assembling countless soldiers from the Wehrmacht and the Allied armies (for some strange reason, much like in the field, Italian soldiers were very hard to find), Gamer Bling and his compatriot in modeling came to the same conclusion: The Germans had the coolest looking gear. And, in what has turned out to be another amazing transitional paragraph, which Gamer Bling honestly thought wouldn’t exist thee paragraphs ago, it is still true.
But in this case, Gamer Bling does not speak of haversacks or jackboots or coalscuttle helmets or MG42s or the like. Instead, he speaks of the wonderful Feldherr products with which grown, sophisticated adult males can port about their grown, sophisticated versions of the afore-mentioned flat-sculpted army men (which for Gamer Bling are now largely 28mm samurai miniatures).
Because if playing with army men is cool when you’re a kid, why should you ever bother to outgrow it?
In any event, a few days ago, Gamer Bling received in the mail a very beat-up cardboard box. And, as you should know if you’re a real gamer, the cardboard box has been inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. Because let’s face it: kids and cats agree that cardboard boxes are a lot of fun.
Anyway, this particular beat-up cardboard box (which did, incidentally, end up as the Gamer Bling Self-Mobile Accessory #1’s playroom for a while) had in it the following:
There may well have been some imported German air molecules, but they undoubtedly leaked out as the box had a fairly sizeable hole in one side.
- A magazine printed entirely in German (Games Orbit #18),
- No less than three miniatures containers, and
- Brochures of a color and quantity reminiscent of ketchup packets in a McDonald’s bag.
The brochures are black and white and red all over, not unlike the Chicago Bulls, the Ghostbusters, Dodge Motorsports, the battle flag of the Imperial German Navy, and the flag of Trinidad and Tobago, where Gamer Bling would like to go sometime. Of course, the phrase “black and white and red all over” also reminds Gamer Bling of a variety of very tasteless jokes that he learned in high school and that he shall not repeat here unless pressured coaxed asked.
Such bold 2-color printing (red and black on white) is a way to save money while not looking cheap. That being one of the advantages of “branding,” which in this case is salesmanship, not poking a cow on the butt with a hot iron.
The brochures feature a logo design of a Greek helmet, which probably no actual German warrior has ever worn, some product photos, and best of all, massive multi-compound German words like Schaumstoffeinlagen, Schutzeigenschaften, Griffmuldenstiele, and Modellbau-Zubehör. Plus a sprinkling of umlauts and eszetts just for fun.
The magazine was in advanced enough German that Gamer Bling wouldn’t try to read it through, but it did advertise RPC 2010, a role-playing convention in Köln in April (April is the month, Köln is the city), to which Gamer Bling wishes he could go. But unless Gwindi GmbH is feeling very generous indeed, such a trip is not likely to happen.
But best of all, it contained the subject(s) of this review, which are the Feldherr Miniatures Carrying Cases from Gwindi GmbH. These were sent by Geschäftsführer Andreas Nickl, who is, apparently, the European version of the coolest man in gaming Michael Webb for sheer blingy review-stuff-sent-to-Yours-Truly goodness. Thus Michael Webb shall henceforth be known as the coolest man in North American gaming. No offense.
No, never mind. No sense in risking alienating Mr. Webb.
Now as to the review.
Strange as it may sound, the first thing that struck Gamer Bling about the Feldherr cases was the zipper pull.
Gamer Bling’s first thought was, “Wow. If these people pay that much attention to their zipper pulls, what is the rest of the craftsmanship like?”
The zipper pulls are freakin’ awesome. They are large, wide, thick, metal, and cut with a beautifully detailed Feldherr Teutonic F. These are the Mercedez-Benz of the zipper pull world. Srsly.
Each zipper has not one, but two zipper pulls, so that you can lock the zippers together. Of course, whenever you mention “locking zippers together” many young people’s thoughts turn to freak dancing, whereas with senile aging seasoned veterans of life like Gamer Bling, we think of… well… dirty dancing. Which isn’t all that much different, but at least has alliteration. But of course, in this case, being the miniatures case, by locking zippers we mean securing one’s valuables, kind of like a chastity belt but for small metal army men, although it is curious that one should take the time to lock a miniatures case that can be easily picked up and run off with. Especially the smaller ones. Which explains why the smaller ones (like the one pictured) don’t have the locks.
The zippers themselves are heavy, durable plastic and make a nice noise as you play with the Panzer F zipper pulls.
The exterior of the Feldherr bags is made of heavy duty black canvas. The interior of the bags is lined with a satiny red fabric emblazoned with the Feldherr helmet logo in contrasting shades of red (based on the varying nap of the fabric). Everything seems very securely sewn together; Gamer Bling could not find a loose thread as he inspected the troops bags.
You can fill your Feldherr bags with a custom selection of foam inserts, ranging from thin trays that hold sixteen 25mm figures to big phat go-pluck-yourself trays that hold big beastly models and are almost, but not exactly quite, large enough to hold D&D Icons. Unless you mate two of them together, one for the bottom and one for the top. In which case you can fit the Everything-but-Red Dragons. Which seems overkill for plastic models, even if they are dragons.
There’s more, but the rest will be detailed in the individual product reviews. Because these bags deserve individual attention. So give it to them and keep reading.
The first and greatest weakness is that Gwindi has no US distribution at this time. That is tragic.
Second, they price all their items with an €, which Gamer Bling thinks may stand for electrum pieces, which haven’t been used since 2nd Edition D&D. Sheesh. Those wacky Germans. (Of course, their US website uses good ol’ American dollars, which are being produced faster than toilet paper and will soon be worth as much.)
Oh, it must also be pointed out that one of the minis cases was packed in a plastic bag clearly labeled “THIS IS NOT A TOY,” and the utility of a German gaming products company selling German gaming products to German gamers with English disclaimers that German toddlers can’t likely read is, well, questionable.
And finally, you must be a miniatures wargamer to truly appreciate how awesome these things are.
Yeah, that’s it. The German industrial machine doesn’t produce weak products. At least, not since Nena and her 99 Luftballons.
The Bottom Line
Honestly, and speaking as someone who owns a Warhammer miniatures case (more or less against his will, but it was the only option available at the time when he wanted a really good minis case) and a couple of mediocre deck carrying cases, these are the best miniatures portability products that Gamer Bling has seen, hands down.
Gamer Bling sincerely hopes a North American distributor reads this review and picks up this product line because, as near as Gamer Bling can tell, the domestic offerings are pretty same-y. These are well manufactured, and nicely styled to look… well, stylish, not geekerrific.
If you can at all afford one, get it. Especially the backpack.
Bling Factor: 8
Price: Roughly $29.99-$119.99
You need: Probably one, unless you are compensating with a huge army.
Well, at this point, all Gamer Bling can do is point you to the Feldherr website. Be sure to tell them who sent you. Not that it will save you any money (as far as Gamer Bling knows), but it may help your favorite reviewer ingratiate himself with the Germans.
More way-cool limited-edition bags, for starters. After that, to get any cooler than the Hobbypack, you’d have to make a self-mobile carrier or something. Or maybe they can find a way to make a cool carrier for pre-painted plastic…
Feldherr makes bags of various sizes, as well as hard carriers that look more or less like toolboxes. Below are the ones Gamer Bling was privileged to review.
Feldherr Hobbypack (89.99 € / $119.99)
This is the be-all end-all of miniatures portability. Fully assembled with shoulder straps collapsed, this beast measures an easy 18” high by 12” wide x 8” thick, or the size of a medium large book pack. The back of the pack has two textured sections flanking a smooth center that features an elegant black-on-black Feldherr logo in vinyl.
The bottom of the bag features four technoid cleated feet made out of something durable and black like maybe vinyl or hard rubber or sculpted bits of gum salvaged from under the seats at the Bahnhof Zoo.
A solid, comfortable, and flexible handle allows for easy toting. If you have to carry it on your back, you’ll be well pleased, as this pack has a wonderful design.
The adjustable shoulder straps are not straight, but have a curve in the middle reminiscent of a boomerang. One strap has a cell phone pocket. But the inside of the straps… ah, they are not only padded, but are covered in a comfortable, breathable mesh to keep you from developing those bands of sweat.
Better yet, the part of the pack that presses up against your back also has that same breathing mesh. And best of all—and this really did impress Gamer Bling—the pack has two padded ridges that start basically where the shoulder straps start and run down the pack. This keeps the pack off your spine (which, for people with creaky and dysfunctional spines like Gamer Bling, is A Good Thing™), plus keeps the air flowing so that the pack doesn’t turn the back of your shirt into a sweaty rectangle that instantly chills when exposed to fresh air. As a Scandinavian hybrid whose genetics cause him to sweat at the drop of a hat, Gamer Bling thoroughly approves.
All this, and we’re not even past the outside.
The pack has two compartments. Opening these reveals the bright red fabric of which Gamer Bling previously spoke, and contrasts nicely with the all-black exterior.
The outer compartment it a place for your books and manuals and such. It does not, unlike many of the Muppets, open completely. It opens about 30 degrees or so, thanks to webbing of the sort that keeps your thumb from being able to scratching your wrist without a major kung-fu injury. The outer panel has a mesh pocket suitable for dice, while the inner panel has a pocket for a booklet or rules reference, two pencil pockets, and a small pocket suitable for maybe a calculator or some German accessory that Feldherr isn’t sharing with Gamer Bling, causing Yours Truly to weep and gnash his teeth with frustrated curiosity and the knowledge that across the Atlantic and safely out of Gamer Bling’s reach, the Germans are laughing at Gamer Bling over huge steins of foamy German beer.
Heck, just that they can have huge steins of foamy German beer every day is reason enough for Gamer Bling to gnash his teeth with envy.
The main compartment (which opens as wide as you like) holds your miniatures in a variety of foam trays (see below). And there is a satin-covered piece of cardboard that temporarily bewildered Gamer Bling until he discovered that it folds out to reinforce and support the bottom of the pack.
In all, this is a classy and stylish and comfortable and durable and desirable means of porting up to 192 of your treasured miniatures.
Feldherr Maxi (49.99 € / $69.99)
After reviewing the above product, Gamer Bling is exhausted. All that typing while jumping up and down is hard on the joints, to say nothing of overtaxing the spellcheck function.
The Maxi measures 15 x 12 x 8. It has five small round feet that are not nearly as techno as the feet of the Hobbypack, but are every bit as utilitarian. It has the same comfortable handle as the pack, and it has been securely bolted to the case. It also comes with a shoulder strap some five feet long, which has been securely fastened to the case. Finally, cardboard reinforcement add extra stability to the top and bottom of the case.
There is an outer pocket (one zipper) that is large enough to handle one or two hardback books. It also features a dash of actual color on the exterior of the case: a Feldherr logo in (you guessed it) red and black and white.
To Gamer Bling’s mild surprise, this does not use the same foam inserts as the backpack does. But he supposes that this does make the Maxi easier to unpack.
Feldherr “Tobruk” Limited Edition Mini-Plus (24.99 € / $39.99)
It appears that Feldherr does some sort of Limited Edition bag every year. Their website has photos of their 2008 edition, for example, and Gamer Bling assumes that the “Tobruk” LE is their 2009 version. He eagerly anticipates the coolness their 2010 LE will bring. Assuming he can schmooze one.
This is basically the Feldherr Mini-Plus, except that it LOOKS WAY COOLER! And it’s a LIMITED EDITION, which means that GAMER BLING HAS ONE AND YOU DON’T!
The exterior of this case is made of a desert brown canvas (probably much akin to the color worn by the Afrika Corps and the 8th Army) instead of the usual black material. The Feldherr logo is exquisitely embossed into the material, down to the ahistorical dentation in the Greek helmet. Way cool.
The zipper is likewise brown, and the zipper pulls are bronze. It has a canvas strap handle sewn securely onto the top of the case, and the bottom features a slot for you to insert a name tag or business card, just in case there’s ever a question about who is blinged up enough to own such a nice case.
This is a single-compartment case measuring roughly 11 x 7 x 6. The interior is not red, rather a desert tan that goes nicely with the exterior and maintains the Tobruk theme.
If you can’t get this any more (and supplies are running out even as you read this), you could pick up the regular Mini-Plus, or just wait for next year’s LE.
Foam Trays (Varies)
Okay, here Gamer Bling’s creativity is running dry. How much can one say about industry-standard trays that look like a bunch of foamy graves?
There are several sizes you can get.
The 25 mm thick trays have prepunched gravesites measuring 25mm x 25mm x 50mm. You can also get trays that are 30mm, 60mm, and 100mm thick for your larger models; with these you can pluck chunks of foam measuring 14mm square to create a tray that custom fits your large or awkward models, whether they are samurai cavalry or steampunk warjacks or mammoth Russian tanks or futuristic vehicles that look like an accessorized brick with treads.
So unless Feldherr starts doing foam trays with satin lining, Gamer Bling believes he has said enough here.
Except that when you purchase your miniatures case, you can customize it with whatever mix of foam trays you want. Have it your way. And hope that Burger King doesn’t send their lawyers after Gamer Bling for saying that in public.