View Full Version : Transporting models on airplanes

10-04-2008, 04:49
Hey I'm going to be traveling to San Francisco for a couple weeks and I'm thinking of bring my Dark Elves with me to paint cause I know I'm going to have a lot of down time. I was wondering about the logistics for taking them on the airplane with me. I'm only going to have a carry on bag and was just going to put my case in the bag. Has anyone had any kind of problems transporting their warhammer around or getting them through security? Maybe some of you have some tips for me for easy traveling?

10-04-2008, 05:01
Strangely enough just yesterday I was told about a guy who was traveling with his army and had glue in his case. They ended up opening his case up and dumping everything out because they detected a "chemical". Apparently they managed to damage many of his figures. Short version of the story, don't travel with any glue in your case.

10-04-2008, 05:07
okay so no glue, that's easy enough since i'll only be painting. and if anything I can just hide some glue in my pocket if i was that desperate. it's not metal, so they cant detect it unless I get a pat-down

10-04-2008, 05:09
Anyone traveling by air with liquids these days is silly. :p

Sturdy case, lots of padding, buy your paints and glues when you get there.

10-04-2008, 05:16
Anyone traveling by air with liquids these days is silly. :p

Sturdy case, lots of padding, buy your paints and glues when you get there.

So you really dont think taking a couple gw pots of paint wont go over well? The law, at least here in the US, is you allowed to have liquids in 3oz or lower containers. Gw pots are .4oz, so I really dont see the problems...

10-04-2008, 05:26
I wouldn't risk the issues of what they are composed of triggering security sensors (my camera case gets tested just about every trip), as well as mundane concerns such as spillage.

Buy what you need there and mail it home to yourself when you're done. :)

10-04-2008, 05:31
I just checked the TSA site, guess I should have done that first, and it cearly says non-combustable paints are accepted in 3oz or less containers. Which is exactly what gw pot paints are. I'm only bringing at most 10 colors, so I'm going to risk it and if they throw them away I can handle 30 dollars for paint when I get there.

I'm more interested in the models though, especially the metal ones. I did also read things like transformer toys are okay along with "miniature weapons" so I'm really hoping they will be as well. Anyone else on models?

10-04-2008, 06:15
well if things go well for you the security guy will think your a bit odd...ask some questions, mabye even get interested in the hobby and a new gamer will be born.

if things go poorly they may grab the case throw it against a wall, yell bomb, shoot it a few times, light it on fire, arrest you, and send you to prison for attempted plane bombing, and whail there you will be cell mates with a large man named tiny who will become a very very close friend.

but thats worset case.

well worst except for the one where the plane crashes.

10-04-2008, 06:20
Hah, well I'm really hoping for the first option! Though the beginning of the second option would be entertaining up till me getting arrested

10-04-2008, 06:53
If they are iron, pass in the cargo area, because you could have some troubles friend.

10-04-2008, 07:01
I ordered some models in from England a year or so ago, and they got sent back to a security lock up in Ireland (Where they STILL ARE!) because they were ruled a "suspicious cargo". Growl.

10-04-2008, 07:30
Last time I was on a plane they were throwing away everything remotely defineable as a liquid, including my wife's chapstick.

Were you intending to sit and paint on the plane?

10-04-2008, 07:44
No, I'm not going to paint on the plane. But I'm not checking any bags so I'm carrying everything with me in my 2 allows carry-ons.

I sent an email to TSA so hopefully they'll respond with an answer tomorrow? I may call as well to get an answer. I wish I had thought of this sooner...

10-04-2008, 07:55
Hi Tizz

Be very careful if you have to put your figures in the hold compartment - I recently had my entire collection of figures lost/stolen somewhere from me checking the figures in and getting them back at the other end

10-04-2008, 09:40
Sounds like a lot of trouble. May I suggest you to buy a book or two instead? :)

10-04-2008, 09:54
I'm sure some people out there on the site have gone to tournament and had to take their models on airplanes. What do you do?

10-04-2008, 10:05
Went to England 2 weeks ago from Holland.

Pack bag, put in bag: clothing, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush (all three vital for the gaming experience) armylists, books, hobbyknives etc.
Pack small suitcase with army, pad securely., put nothing else in there.

Go to airport, check in bag
Go to security check, get frisked (weeeheee ;) ), and walk on.

Watch my mate who went aswell open his suitcase because they saw a big lump of metal in his case, show the nice people the converted doomwheel, pack, say bye to the nice people and drink coffee till boarding time.

On arrival retrieve bag and enjoy weekend.

Rinse and repeat on the way back.

10-04-2008, 10:10
@ samael. Okay so you checked your bag and all went well. Your friend carried his on, or just the doomwheel? Cause I'm just going to put my while army case at the top of my suitcase so its easy access if they want to take a look. Like I said, I'm definitely not going to check my bags.

10-04-2008, 10:21
In our case the bags (with clothing and such) went in the cargohold of the plane and we took the armies in the suitcases with us as hand bagage. Easy.

My mate just got checked because of the big "lump" of metal the couldn't identify on their screen. I didn't have a huge piece of metal in my case so they didn't need to check my case.

You can do it your way just avoid taking any liquids (paints, glue) , or hobby materials (as hobby knives,brushes) with you on board or you'll be there forever at the security check while they inspect you stuff.

10-04-2008, 10:26
That sounds awesome, finally one positive report, thank you samael. That gives me more confidence. As for paints here in the states they require you to have all liquids in separate bags and to pull them out before they get scanned so I think if my few paints are all together and separate from my bag I might be okay.

10-04-2008, 11:02
The only problem I've ever had was flying to Glasgow when easyjet said my army case was too big for carry on and had to be checked (I now use 2 small army cases to avoid that problem). I've actually had more issues bringing leather bound books through security (to avoid excess baggage charges), as they show up as a large opaque mass on the scanner. Oh, and bringing the shisha pipe back from egypt was a nightmare...

to the OP, as long as you stick to paints, and buy any modelling tools while you're there rather than trying to take a scalpel onto the plane, I can't see it being a problem. Just keep everything accessible...

10-04-2008, 11:06
Thank you rodmillard, that was very simple and helpful. I'll take things to paint in a small gw case at the top of my carry-on for easy accessibility if security wants to check and only take a few paints a brushes.

10-04-2008, 11:11
I've put my GW figure case in the hold (inside my rucksack) before with no problems.

10-04-2008, 11:11
OK, I'm not 100% up on the US rules, however due to the field of work that I'm in, I do keep up to date with the UK/EU rules.

1. If you are going to take your minis as hand baggage then be careful about the size of the case that you use. The nasty plastic briefcase type by GW should be fine but the large suitcase size will be rejected by most airlines forcing you to check it in. If in doubt, check ahead with your airline giving them the dimensions of your case. Often airlines will be more accomodating if they are prewarned.

2. Don't under any circumstances attempt to carry any tools or glues. Especially do not "just hide some glue in my pocket if i was that desperate. it's not metal, so they cant detect it unless I get a pat-down ". Metal detectors are not the only sensors being used and I personally would not risk the integrity of my anus for the sake of 3 worth of glue. Finding you trying to hide something is only going to rouse suspicion and could get you into a world of trouble or at the very least seriously delay you.

3. Pack your paint pots into clear plastic bags no larger than 20x20cm. This will fulfill EU security standards and will also protect against any spills.

4. Finally don't attempt to pack any aerosols, e.g. spray cans, into hand baggage. They will be removed straight away.

Personnally, for the sake of an extra 20-30mins I would put the properly packed carry case into hold baggage. Personally, I don't go anywhere without proper insurance and as long as you're not going near T5 at Heathrow you should meet up with your baggage without problems.

10-04-2008, 11:22
Brought an entire Bretonnia and Tyranids army with me on a plane from Heathtrow to Oslo. The security had a bit of a problem figuring out what was in my backback so they asked me to show 'em.... short of that there were no problems.... then again, that was back in '98...

10-04-2008, 11:25
4. Finally don't attempt to pack any aerosols, e.g. spray cans, into hand baggage. They will be removed straight away.

And don't put aerosol driven deodorants in the cargohold eather, they'll empty themselves during the flight.

That was quite hillarious last year when my friend had done that, everything in his bag REEKED of his deodorant :D

10-04-2008, 11:51
Samael, not sure what happened to your friend. I can only guess that something pressed on the trigger. I'm sure that somebody will pipe up citing the lack of pressurisation in the hold (not true for most airliners anymore - this is why animals in the hold don't die) but even in an unpressurised hold the actual pressure gradient between inside and outside the container doesn't vary that much, certainly not enough to cause spontaneous discharge. If it was, then we wouldn't be allowed to pack aerosols in our hand baggage. Obviously some cargo aircraft don't have pressurised holds still and this is why companies won't post aerosols overseas.

Does anyone remember the swedish pharmacist routine?

"Hello, I would like to buy some deoderant."
"Certainly, ball or airsol?"
"Neither, it is for my armpits".

10-04-2008, 12:02
I even had it with lensfluid that emptied out in my bag (non aerosol btw, the fluid had just worked it's way out of the bottle something it doesn't do even when I hold the bottle without the cap on it upside down while on Terra Firma)

Also, it is forbidden to take aerosol cans in your luggage, I get this warning every time in my travel papers and it even is stated on signs in the airport figured it was fot that exact reason.

Anyway back on topic, carry on nothing to see here. :)

10-04-2008, 12:51

I'm working in germany in an airport security. So i know something about your problems. And many of these are the same in germany.

If carried as carry-on luggage you shouldn't take glues and paints with you, as these are restricted by liquid limitations. It's the better way to take this as check-in, at least the paints. Glue would better be purchased in Frisco. And aerosol paints like foundation sprays and of course varnishes are not allowed at all.

Models at all in a suitcase would usually go as check-in; taking them with you on a plane when there are many metals , they will open the transport box if there are problems to see and identify on the screen, especially with greater and older models with many lead; screening against x-rays.

If it is for any few weeks only i wouldn't take the models with me. If you want them with you, then go to your airport before the flight and ask at the security controls, when there aren't to much passengers. Usually they will be able to inform you better about local restrictions, too.

Greetz Refardeon

10-04-2008, 13:25
Strangely enough just yesterday I was told about a guy who was traveling with his army and had glue in his case. They ended up opening his case up and dumping everything out because they detected a "chemical". Apparently they managed to damage many of his figures. Short version of the story, don't travel with any glue in your case.

That's harsh. It does make me wonder why they can't treat peoples property with a little respect. Then again, perhaps I am forgetting the old airport adage:

"All passengers are suspected terrorists until proven innocent."

10-04-2008, 15:16
Quik story... A friend of mine and I were flying back from L.A. gamesday, with multiple golden demon winning entries, including a FW greater demon of nurgle.The flight attendant said were going to have to check the bag :eek::wtf:, because it would'nt fit under the seat or in the over head compartment. We had already carried on the bag on the way there, but this was an older plane with smaller compartments. Naturally we refused to check the bag, and were allowed to take it, but whew that was a close one.

Moral of the story, you can't be to careful these days.

10-04-2008, 18:23
it is forbidden to take aerosol cans in your luggage

I'm afraid this isn't true for hold baggage. The US FAA set the limit for aerosols in hold baggage at 75 oz per passenger (which is a little over 2 litres for all metric types) of aerosols for personal use. This however is officially limited to medical or cosmetic products. Spray paints unfortunately get caught up under the rules for DAC (Dangerous Air Cargo). As such, many airlines won't allow you to book them into the hold as part of your baggage. However, this is down to individual operators and any wanting to carry a 500ml can of chaos black should check with their operator. In all likelihood this would look to security like a can of hairspray or similar and so you'd get away with it.

There has been research into the increased combustability of hydrocarbon powered aerosols (as opposed to the old CFC type) which have shown that there is an increased combustion risk from the new types, however, their carriage has not been banned in either the UK or US for hold baggage.

10-04-2008, 18:31
I carried a model to the paris golden demon a couple years ago. put it in a box with lots of padding/support, etc. Ticket for the painting contest and photos of my work to prove what it is....and they scanned it and let it through. On the plane, they found a nice comparment that fit perfectly near the food area and stuck it there for me safely.

Also, for mass armies, you can get the nice cases from charon productions in vancouverm, that are airplane safe. You can take them as carry on and maybe even checked baggage.



10-04-2008, 19:07
Okay, first off the whole "paint in my pockets" this was purely a joke of course.

I'm only taking single, on foot models, taking out bolt throwers and chariots and everything will be in my small gw case which fits inside my allowed carry on luggage. Again, I wont check my bag because I fly standby and wont let my bag end up somewhere without me.

From what everyone is saying, I should be fine. I always get to the airport early so if I have trouble at security there will be time to take care of it.

10-04-2008, 19:55
When I went to Nottigham in 2005 I put my whole army into a magnetized tool case and used this as my only hand luggage. The case got scanned, they asked me to open it and I explained what they were seeing there. Quite simple. :)

10-04-2008, 21:45
As for US Rules;

if you take paints or glue (not a hazmat as some people have said) as carry-on, put them in a 1 Quart plastic bag

No hobby knives, cutting tools etc (clippers are ok) drill bits are not (pin vice.)

10-04-2008, 21:57
It's generally not the paint that is hazardous, it's the propellant. :p

10-04-2008, 23:04
Snakesh1t, I'm not 100% on the US policy regarding clippers in the US (I'll have to check next time I'm in work), however, there is no way that you could take them on an aircraft in your hand baggage on any flight to/from the EU. You can't even get a pair of nail clippers into hand baggage here! Also, as previously stated, the problem with spray paints is the hydrocarbon propellants used in place of the old CFCs. Your standard citadel pots should be fine, I guess that the "quart" bag is the same as the clear 20x20cm bag that is required in the EU. Of note the bag must be of the resealable type so a plain old sandwich bag won't suffice. Oh and don't rely on the airport to give them to you. You either need to buy ahead of travel or get firmly ripped off at the terminal.

Four years ago on my way back from Iraq I even got my hold baggage turned over as it contained a pair of scissors for cutting my hair. Fair enough? Not when I had only just checked my rifle and pistol in! :wtf: Military police are not always the sharpest pencils in the tin though! As a case in point I had a framed print in my hand baggage (I knew the movers would break it otherwise). This meant that I had an A4 piece of easily broken glass in my bag. How ridiculous??? However, I am sure that there is a risk of AQ infiltrating a flight loaded entirely with military personnel who've spent the last 6 months fighting AQ types . . . . . . . .

Traditionally the arguement from the airlines has been that hand baggage should only consist of what you need for the flight. However, for me it is normally what I don't want the baggage handlers to break!

10-04-2008, 23:09
Well Mudcow I am 100% certain on the travel restrictions in the US....I work for TSA.....

10-04-2008, 23:19
Just checked the CAA regs for UK (which reflect EU) and spray paints would be classed as DAC (dangerous air cargo) as they are both class 2 (gas) and class 3 (flammable liquids). Again due to the propellants and not the paint itself. Interestingly some operators class paint and thinners separatly to other liquids which is odd as the CAA don't. Even more odd is that you can't take a couple of cans of spray paint on with many operators but can take up to 5kgs of sports ammo!

Snake, I didn't doubt you on US regs if you work for TSA, however I am very surprised that clippers would be permitted; obviously things have relaxed significantly since last time I went Stateside! I moved into Air Defence a few years ago from a different branch of the military so you should see why I am up to speed on regional regs. Generally you are the only country to be as stringent as us in the UK. Regarding glue, it's potential to be used as a weapon/incapacitent would mean that it would definitly be removed from you if found by security.

11-04-2008, 01:20
I shipped all of my models into the US last year, along with another 20 boxes of personal stuff. The only boxes that they opened were the miniatures, and they opened every single one.

Some security guys are just gits and will deliberately **** you off just because they can. When I had long hair I got stopped every time. Some were okay, some just didn't like the look of me and made it as difficult as possible. I guess I was nice enough though because there was no strip search or anything.

11-04-2008, 04:58
I had to fly from Edmonton to Winnipeg(I live in Canada) and had no problems with my model case. I took it as carry on and they asked my what it was and I told them. They then opened it and that was it.

I guess it also helps when the security guy play Black Templar.

11-04-2008, 19:29

certain things have relaxed but some haven't (kinves...)


well if you have a lot of metal minis, they don't show up that well on X-Ray machines and have to be looked at....

11-04-2008, 23:09
Well I made it to San Fran with no problems, security was mroe interested in my paint pots than the mass of metal minis in my bag. they didnt search it or anything

12-04-2008, 11:31
Hmm, when at the airport in Melbourne, you can get you're cases rapped in plastic stuff to protect it from a variety of things.
Remember to declare you're valuables and most of all make a real fuss about it being handled safely with all the sticker buisness.


14-04-2008, 07:04
Well Mudcow I am 100% certain on the travel restrictions in the US....I work for TSA.....

Regarding glue, it's potential to be used as a weapon/incapacitent would mean that it would definitly be removed from you if found by security.

Maybe someone could explain to me how glue, nail clippers, files and pin vices are somehow more dangerous than sharpened pencils, pens, or a good hefty laptop (and its power cable which could be used to restrain someone after you've clubbed them over the head with the laptop).


14-04-2008, 08:25
Spaint, I know it doesn't always make sense. Like how I couldn't take a roll on deoderant on a flight but could take a framed print (with glass in the frame).

The main arguement is whether or not you could ever need modelling gear during your flight, if you don't need it during the flight then it should be in the hold. (Bear in mind that even laptops had to go in the hold when things were at their worst).

14-04-2008, 09:29
The main arguement is whether or not you could ever need modelling gear during your flight, if you don't need it during the flight then it should be in the hold. (Bear in mind that even laptops had to go in the hold when things were at their worst).

I wonder how many of them "disappeared" en route.

Thank god I missed that entire fiasco - and by less than a day too. I got back home after visiting the family in the UK for a month, and found out that all hell had broken loose while I'd been in transit.


14-04-2008, 10:44
As a very frequent flyer (although not with my minis) I would give the following advice.

Dont check anything that you cant afford to lose or at least be without for a couple of days (I would never check my models especially not painted ones)

Do check larger amounts of paint (if you are bringing spray paint etc), modelling tools etc or you will get stuck in security (at least if they are doing what they are supposed to be doing). They will force you to throw away your tools or go back to check them in. If it makes sense or not is not important (like warhammer RAW) you have to follow the rules. If you start arguing it will get worse. I have seen a celebrity trying to carry on an axe (for woodcutting) with the argument that since he was well known it would be stupid to think that he was going to hit anyone with it......

Try to pack so that things that security might be interested in are easy to access ie if you are checking paints, a model knife etc put it in a plastic container where it is easy to see the content at an easy to access place in your bag.

Same goes for you carry on, you will have to display paints and any other liquids so put them in a plastic bag for viewing at the security check point. Have your models packed were you can easily show them for security staff (especially when bringing metal models)

Same goes for carry on, obviously no sharps in here but otherwise just pack it so that you can easily display it at the security check point.

If it goes fast and wmooth through security both the staff and your fellow passengers will be happy.

14-04-2008, 10:58
Maybe I'm cynical, but in the language of baggage handlers, "fragile" translates as "kick here". Personnally I protect stuff properly, insure it sufficiently and never put a fragil sticker anywhere near it.

How many times has your postman folded an envelope marked do not fold, just to get it through the letter box?