As an ebay seller, it is a thrill when someone wants the the item you have up for sale or auction. When the item gets sold, your responsibilities to the buyer do not change until the item gets delivered safely. For many novice sellers this is a serious issue that must be thoughtfully addressed. My areas of expertise involves the restorations of vintage model and toy airplanes and it's always a challenge to send a beautiful article through the USPS-safely! So to assist the rookies, I am going to demonstrate the lows and highs of packing for travel.
First, I have received perfectly nice items that are damaged for one main reason. That is, "IF THE SOLD ITEM IS NOT IMMOBILIZED INSIDE THE CONTAINER IT WILL BE DAMAGED WHEN IT ARRIVES!!" The following is a good example of a rare bronze metal recognition model completely ruined by the seller's neglect in packing correctly..
As you can see the cast metal airplane and stand "floated" around the box and snapped off the tail first and then, later, a major chunk of the stand's casting. It was totally ruined. The reason is that the item was not packed to be immobile inside the box. Clearly the large chunks of styrofoam did not give any protection as the item was still loose inside!
OK, So what is a good, common sense approach to transporting the item safely? Here's an example using a Allyn P-80 Ashtray model. It was made in a similar fashion as the previous vintage Bronzart P-47 Thunderbolt.
The top left photo shows the item intact while on the right, its is being disassembled for shipping.
Left: metal stand/ loose components. On the Right : the metal stand wrapped. Then the black glass ashtray insert is wrapped and both have blue tape to secure the tissue in place.
NEXT- In the samples just above, The bottom metal stand and black glass insert are wrapped in 3 layers of white tissue (or small bubble wrap) and then BLUE tape binds the pieces as well as the tissue. BLUE masking tape should always be used. DO NOT use clear tape especially on plastic bubble wrap. The blue tape is much easier to identify by the new owner. Fold over the last inch so that the recipient can quickly find a point to begin to UNTAPE their new treasure without incurring any damage. Besides, it is easier to salvage that bubble wrap as it stays intact. That way it can be REUSED again! The scrunched balls of newspaper (surrounding the stand) are an effective means of immobilizing the item. Next comes my favorite packing media.. PINK FOAM-
Left: "trap door" of pink foam Right The same pink foam sheet pressed into place above the stand
Now the Pink Foam trap door is pressed into place, is labled and has two finger holes so that it may be lifted out again. Then comes the chrome jet itself. It is wrapped with multiple layers of bubble wrapped so that no points may pierce through and into the box itself. It is laid on top of that pink foam "trap door" seperator. Note the blue tape- again for easier unwrapping....
Above Left : Airplane is triple wrapped in bubble wrap. Note also the small bag of parts at the bottom of the box with a blue tape identification strip. Each of those parts are individually wrapped as well. On the right, the balls of newspaper take up the left over space. But this box is not quite ready for closing..... I usually include an instruction sheet for the new buyer to understand the reassembly of their new model for display. Now this packed box is ready for its invoice, to be taped closed, and a clear address label applied. AS an update, I just got feedback concerning this very F-80 Shooting Star ashtray.
He states, Best item, best transaction ever on ebay! Wow was this thing packed beautifully!
The final picture below shows an alternate packing method designed specifically for the Allyn P-51 chrome ashtray. The base and glass ashtray insert are seperated and packed as described above. The issue here is that the P-51 has a new, fragile set of prop blades. They cannot be tightly wrapped or they will break. The solution is called a cavity pack shipper. A secure pink foam cavity keeps the whole airplane immobile inside the box yet nothing contacts the blades themselves. Note how the wings are secured by being inserted through slots in the foam walls and the wingtips are secured as well...
Once again scrunched newspaper and/or bubble wrapped WEDGED into a spot is an effected way to help immobilize the item.
As a review, wrap the treasure in bubble wrap and tape together with blue tape. Then with either more bubble wrap or tight balls of newspaper, stuff the remaining voids left in the box so that the important cargo REMAINS ABSOLUTELY IMMOBILE UNTIL IT REACHES ITS FINAL DESTINATION!!
Bottom Line---- "IF IT MOVES WHEN YOU SHAKE IT- PACK IT SO IT DOESN"T!!" Contact me with any further suggestions through my ebay handle "ohmyflyguy". If you have an ashtray or metal model for me to assess, send me a note! Thanks, and GOOD LUCK!