Shipping Your Consigned Models
Time To Ship!
Alright, your models are clean and ready to head out to new homes while hopefully making you some money along the way. There's only one thing remaining on your to-do list: Packing them to ship to Triple Mountain. We wish we could pick them up ourselves, wrap them in soft towels, and carry them back to Triple Mountain personally, but unless you live close enough to drop them off at our store, they're going to have to go with a carrier. While our drivers on this end are very good about deliveries (they know our business), you should expect your boxes to be handled by "the Samsonite Gorilla" on their way here. They will be tossed, probably dropped off from high conveyor belts into sorting bins multiple times, have heavy boxes dropped on top of them, and vibrate on a truck for hours and hours.
The box will carry your models, but it's what you put inside the box that will protect them. The BEST protection for your models will take a little effort and cost you a little in bubble wrap and peanuts. The WORST will mean just tossing them into a box with some crumpled up paper shopping bags. Remember: "If you want to get toy prices, treat them like toys. If you want to get collectible prices, treat them as collectibles".
Ideal Model Wrapping:
Each model needs to be wrapped separately to keep them from banging against each other in transit. First place the model inside either a clean, dry plastic shopping bag (keep ink and writing on the outside, away from the model) or a clear storage bag. Then, wrap the model in bubble wrap, at least two layers thick. Use packing or masking tape to tape bubble wrap shut on both ends and in the middle. Scotch and masking tape don't stay stuck well in transit. If you can feel any of the model's "pointy bits," (eartips, tail, mane, hooves, muzzle), you may want to put a strip of tape over the outside of the bubble wrap over them to keep them from working their way out... They'll try!
When we pick up a wrapped model and can't tell which mold is inside, we figure that's a good wrapping job! Below, the first photo is a box of well-wrapped models. Can you tell what they are? No? Then all of their pointy bits are probably safe! Contrast that with the pictures that follow. The models in the other photos all arrived with shipping damage, and you can see why:
|This horse's front feet worked their way out of the bubble wrap that wasn't taped shut in this area.||Wrapping models in paper is like rubbing them against a rough block of wood. This model had scratches all over when he arrived.|
|Poor Justin Morgan! No insulation between him and the box bottom meant the weight of all his friends above him crushed his hind leg when the carrier dropped the box. Peanuts at the bottom, and an extra layer or two of bubble wrap would have provided the cushion that could have saved him.||Another guy who has areas exposed because the wrap wasn't well secured. Black electrical tape will dis-adhere if heated, like in the back of a warm delivery truck, so we advise against it. I wonder where his other hind leg went...|
Packing the Box:
This sounds easy, but it's the part that many people overlook. Remember all that dropping, sitting-on, and vibrating that box has to endure? Air spaces are the enemy that allow boxes to get squashed. Every space between and around models needs to be filled to keep them from getting crushed or from shaking around and getting damaged. We recommend packing peanuts because they best fit into all the little spaces around models. (Yes, we'll re-use them so they don't go to a landfill.)
Layer By Layer: If your box will hold multiple layers of models, we recommend packing one layer, then filling around them with packing materials before adding the next layer. This is how we pack every order to ship, and have had zero shipping damage because of it, so it's worth the effort! Be sure to put the more rugged models on the bottom layer (Clydesdale Mare, Mesteno, Llanarth, Stud Spider, etc), and more fragile ones on top (those with thin legs, thin tails, manes or forelocks that stick out, like Cantering Welsh Ponies, Silver, Strapless, etc).
First, add a layer of packing peanuts to the box bottom to insulate your bottom models from the shock of the box being tossed around. Choose the hardiest models (heavy, thick legs, no fragile parts sticking out) for the bottom layer and either stand them up or lay them down. Add packing material around all four sides and press it down between each model to fill all air spaces between them. Add a layer of packing peanuts over that layer, then lay the next layer of models down on top of them. Again, fill around, between, and on top of them with peanuts. Additional layers can then be added lying down as space permits, packing each as above. Leave an inch or more above the top layer and fill completely with packing peanuts.
Once the box is full, gently use your fingers to press down on the packing peanuts all over the top to see how much they'll compress. They may compress enough that you'll need to add another inch or more of peanuts on top! This is important, because they will settle in transit like potato chips, and if not packed pretty tightly at the start, may create one of those deadly air spaces in the box.This consignor had filled this box with peanuts, but hadn't filled all the spaces between models. During shipment, the vibrations allowed all the peanuts to settle into lower air spaces and left this three-inch open space at the top of the box. Every time the box was tipped over, think of all the models inside being flung three inches in a new direction!
Once you're satisfied that the models won't move around, seal the box. Then, if you can, give it a good hearty shake! If you feel movement inside, there are air spaces allowing the models to shift around. You'll probably want to open the box, check them, and add more packing material. It's worth it to insure your models sell for collectible prices, not "body" prices.
Remember to include a full, filled-out copy of the Consignment Agreement inside the top of one box. Please label that box "Agreement Enclosed," as we need to open that one first and have the Agreement in hand before we begin unpacking.
For a collection of a dozen or so boxes, we recommend UPS -- over the Postal Service, Fedex, or DHL because of their track record for delivering to us safely, but you're welcome to use any carrier you like. Most of our consignors find that UPS gives them a better price for shipping than the US Postal Service, and often gets their models here more quickly.
For large collections, you may want to consider UHaul U-Box. As far as shipping condition, the best condition we've seen on receipt has been the collection sent to us in a UHaul U-Box. We like this method for a lot of reasons: UHaul will bring an enclosed box trailer of the size you need right to your place and drop it off. You can then fill the trailer at your leisure, so you can take time to make sure everything is stacked safely for a bumpy road trip. (Still, far less bumpy than being dropped off conveyor belts with boxes of auto parts dropped onto them!) They even provide you several heavy packing blankets that you can stuff into air spaces between boxes to keep the boxes from falling over.
When you're ready for the U-Box to head our way, you'll call them to pick it up and give them our name as the receiver and contact / delivery instructions. It will be brought to us and dropped off. We will need to leave it packed for a few days to insure that no potential hitchhikers (spiders, insects, etc) come into our facility, and then we'll unload it and call them to pick up the trailer.
Shipping Supplies Sources:
People often ask where they can get packing materials. U-Haul, Staples, Walmart, Sam's Club, Home Depot and Lowes all have most of what you'll need, but prices can vary wildly. It pays to check their prices online before purchasing.
Most consignors choose rugged boxes around 24" long, and either 16" or 18" wide. They need to be at least 14" deep for a single layer of models, lined up, standing upright. Deeper boxes can allow another layer to lie atop them, if you like... Just be sure they aren't laying on top of eartips or other fragile, pointy bits.
We get our bubble wrap from Amazon through their smile.amazon.com site. By using smile.amazon.com, you pay the same price, but they make a donation to the charity of your choice for each purchase you make. Here is a link to the bubble wrap that we use: http://a.co/9wOBH05 It's 12" wide with 3/8" bubbles, and perforated every 12".
They're also a good source for packing peanuts.
Clear 2" packing tape can also be purchased there or at Walmart or Staples. If you only have a few dozen to wrap, you may do fine with a hand-held dispenser. If you will be packing a lot of models, you may find buying a desktop one will save you a lot of time and frustration, since you can hold the wrapped model with one hand and pull off tape with the other. Here's the one we use, which holds both packing tape and scotch tape, and is heavy enough that it doesn't slide around when you pull on the tape:
This long article may make it sound like a lot of work and investment to ship to your consignments, but really it's not: Simply make sure they're clean and dry, wrap them well, and pack their box tightly, and your models should ride just fine. Once they're here, we'll take care of the rest! And the investment in proper packing material will more than pay off when your models all arrive with all four legs and a tail attached!
Please feel free to contact me with questions at any stage along the way. We want your models to continue to bring joy into the world, so we're happy to help you get them here safely.
Please note that all of the above tips and techniques have been used successfully by us or our consignors, but each model and situation is different, so always use care when handling and shipping models. Triple Mountain is not responsible for any damage that may occur by following any of the above recommendations.