Greetings all, welcome to our break down of one of the most anticipated Games Workshop accessory releases - The new Citadel Crusade Case. Boasting capacity of 400 figures and new 'innovative' foam design, the accompanying video with this release, created a surge of positive remarks concerning GW's progression in non-miniature products at a some what competitive price point. The question is, is it any good? We aim to find to out! Please note this is a long article as we have tried to be as thorough as possible from a hobbyist perspective, I hope you do manage to make it past the jump and to the end, as we feel the information is useful.
Ok to get things out of the way - credentials. I myself have been collecting Games Workshop products for 26 years and spent time working in their London retail branches as a staffer and eventual manager for 6 years - If you are sitting there thinking 'ha GW staffers know nothing!' you are wrong, we know complaints and the reasons that cause them. In terms of case 'technology' I have seen and owned it all, from Citadel, Figures In Comfort, Feldherr, Battle Foam and of course KR Multicase. While I can't give you scientific facts and statistical proof, I can give you my experience and a load of pictures. Hellstrom, who has also given feedback to this article has been at this little hobby of ours for much longer than I and has a collection of cases to match his miniatures, you could easily mistake his wargames room for the back room of a GW store!
The first thing that puzzled both Hellstrom and myself was the size, the idea of 400 miniatures being stored; and the stock photos used; gave an impression of a huge case, so we were both immediately surprised at how small the actual case if compared to say the older generation of army and tank cases. Just as a reminder, this is the Crusade Case, the largest of the new generation.
Handles and locks are probably one of the most important aspects of a carry case purchase outside of foam, so I had a really good look at the comfort and durability of both these items. Sadly this is where things started to go down hill. The handle despite have a metal pin, is made of a very thin and flexible plastic. If you ever owned the previous Citadel case and noticed how flexible/squishy the plastic is, you will have an idea of what I am talking about...except with this new case it's worse. The new Crusade Case has a definite flimsier and more frail feeling to the previous generation. It is almost a guarantee that any form of weight will cause hairline fractures in the handle hinges. Pin or no pin the issue is the plastic itself and it looks like this problem permeates into the locks. The original plastic cases had an issue of the locks being incredible frail under pressure, and overloading the foam case would cause the hinges to literally pop and drop customers armies over the floor - a thoroughly nasty experience. With the Crusade Case, the exact same lock design is back but is worse, again due to how thin the plastic is. The lock is also smaller than the previous Citadel Case, around half the size and half the thickness. If you decide to carry a large load in this case, I would suggest wrapping a cargo securing strap as quite simply - The locks are rubbish.
The shoulder strap is actually one of the better parts of this case, the hooks are made of a very strong looking metal, unlike other brands we have used. However the padded area is non existent and will not provide much comfort when carrying a full load. Even if the army is fully plastic, to carry a full load of 400 miniatures will probably leave red marks on your shoulders. Further more, if you look closely at the picture of the strap ring area, the plastic is noticeably thin around this point, and is probably an area where fractures will be most visible.
"The revolutionary foam"
The first thing that worried me, was that the consistency was very similar to figure In Comfort foam, a foam notorious for compression under weight, enough said on that...
We decided on two tests for the foam, one with resin/plastic miniatures and the other with a metal figure, affectionately dubbed the 'Bokur Test'. These two test should clearly tell you how useful this case will be depending on what your army is made of: Plastic, resin or pewter.
The new foam design consists of ridged lanes in a foam box, one acts as the frame for the other foam, meaning the models below should be adequately cushioned from falling out. I saw one very obvious flaw from the outset. When you store the foam in the case, the ridges are vertical...meaning the models will be stacked on top of each without any foam in between as gravity does it's work. Remember that as you move, foot fall impact will cause the models to sift downwards. I expect that unless all lanes of the foam are filled, you will probably need to be carrying rolls of tissue with you to shove in between the models if your case if not full capacity. As it stands the concept of us gamers walking around with rolls of toilet paper in our bags probably does very little to improve our image...
We started with the 'Bokur' test which is a medium sized metal miniature (ogre sized). As you can see above, there is immediate sag in the tray meaning anything underneath better not have pointy bits as they will get broken..
The above photos are attempts of storage with both the inner and frame foam pieces. The frame tray does an excellent job of holding the Bokur model when supported by two additional miniatures on either side. A good start as it does go someway to proving the theory that as the case gets filled, it should get better. However as soon as I moved the tray, the Ogrun did actually fall through the ridges and nearly fell out, if there were any other miniatures underneath our dear old Bokur, they would have been damaged. When put on his own, the Ogrun tumbled worse than a Connect 4 token before launching himself off the tray completely. And please remember the way the trays are positioned above is the way they are stored in the case, so imagine that as you walk, these figures are most probably bouncing.
Tanks obviously fit very snugly in the trays but they take a huge amount of space away from the infantry. If you attempt to store infantry around the tank, they actually get crushed, this is not ideal if you are packing a Forge World army, as the pressure is enough to break models that have been glued together and not pinned, due to the more brittle nature of resin miniatures and superglue. Plastic is not an issue as long as they are not spiky. Another consideration is anything with sponsons, we did actually do a predator test and forgot to take a picture, but the sponsons were compressed so tightly to the tank chassis that we feared breakage. Box shapes like the Rhino will do fine, but any vehicles with fragile sticking out bits will break.
The above photo of the lid from the inside. Not sure how well you can see it, but there is already a stress line going along the whole lid (the almost white line). This should give an indication of just how fragile the plastic is. Stacking anything of weight on top of this case is a bad idea, with barely any force I was able to compress the lid inwards.
Spotting fractures will be key when maintaining this carry case. As with previous versions of the Citadel carry cases, you will be looking for a distinct grey/white line going through the plastic. Typical areas are strap hook points and locking areas, basically anywhere where movement or friction occurs.
This is not a flight case, it will not survive any form of journey where the figure case will suffer abuse. This case will die at the hands of a disgruntled baggage handler as the plastic is simply cheap and weak. I have serious doubts as to whether it will even survive being kicked around by train or bus passengers, let along taking knocks in a convention crowd. I also would say NO to any form of weight being stacked on it, as the lid will compress and most likely crumble. The locks and strap handles are weak, and any major form of pressure will cause them to snap, I would recommend a cargo securing strap for additional support, and also to stop the lid flipping open during travelling.
The capacity is actually good depending on a few factors, in fact one of the things Hellstrom and I talked about, is that this case would be brilliant for storing WIP pieces. As a method to keep projects together, I think it is actually not bad. This case loves infantry, but be careful when storing things like spear men as they will stab the guys above them! You can store tanks in these nicely and they will not move about, however turrets need to be off and extra care should be taken when dealing with tanks with sponsons and sticking out bits.
Protection of your figures will depend simply on the material of your miniatures. The foam and storage systems is reliant on plastic figures, due to how light and durable plastic miniatures are. Of course this comes undone if anything spiky is involved as these types of parts will have free reign to stab models around it, or simply break. The miniatures do not have separate foam compartments and the way that the foam is stored in the case means your figures will be scraping up together. Protection does get better as it gets fuller, but be wary that it will become a free for all in the foam, I recommend putting larger and intricate figures in their own foam compartment as opposed to with other miniatures. If you don't care about your paint work, then this case will probably be fine for you. If you are a lover of painting - Don't even bother.
This case in my opinion is completely unsuitable for fragile resin figures and metal miniatures. Metal miniatures will simply domino down the foam ridges and crush each other, also the additional weight will put excessive strain on all the moving points of the case ie Locks and Strap points. With resin, the lack of foam compartments will simply be death to any form of resin miniature with sticking out bits - Sevatar would not enjoy a ride in the Crusade Case.
There are no additional compartments for peripherals and like with the previous generation Citadel Case, I advise against putting your books inside the lid. If you are already struggling to close your case, you are already in trouble, so do not even think of adding your books in there. Due to the soft foam, excess weight will also crush the figures below and the additional strain will cause the locks to break. This is what happened with the last generation of cases and was the number one complaint I faced with Citadel Storage products, this is doubly so with the latest generation of Citadel Cases.
You get what you pay for, the main draw is how cheap this product is compared to other companies, a shocker to most GW fans/haters. However consider what it is you are intending for the case as both the plastic and foam are cheap, weak and completely unsuitable for hard core travel. If you are shoving it in the boot of your car and just driving to the local GW, then it will be fine, but don't even think of checking it in at a airport, as you will probably end up in tears, if you don't care about painting and your army is all plastic, then this case will get you by. But if your collection is beautifully converted and painted, and mixed medium (plastic, metal etc) then this case is simply not worth the risk.
I was excited about this case, like a lot of people, but after getting my hands on two, both Hellstrom and myself were left underwhelmed as protection of our very expensive collections is fundamental. In my honest opinion this case offers non of the criteria needed for a gamer/collector who loves his/her miniatures and is simply not fit for purpose.
If after reading this, you still want to get one of the new Citadel Army Cases CLICK
Thanks for reading,
DiStudios & Hellstrom
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