It is not an urban myth that packages marked as delicate are abused MORE than those left unmarked. Because people are scum. This has been confirmed multiple times with tests shipping boxes with accelerometers. For example...
All good suggestions, David. In addition:
1. If the boxes are big, add strapping material to create handles to make them easier to carry
2. Put "This Side Up" and "Fragile" stickers all over it. I wrote "Please handle as if YOU paid for it" on a couple containers.
3. Insure it with tracking
4. Take pictures of the model before you pack it and after it's sealed. That may help establish any claim, if needed.
5, Packing peanuts can be a nuisance. Bag them loosely in gallon zip-lock bags, or plastic trashcan liners. The effect is the same, but they're easier to clean up.
I once saw a video of a delivery driver dropping a large box on it's end, then kick it up a driveway. I have read that the Post Office is allowed to throw small packages up to 35 feet (may be more. I don't recall the actual number)
Out of 70+ 1/350 to 1/96 scale models I shipped, I only lost one. That looked like it was punched by a forklift.
Years ago, I worked with a Company called Fine Arts Express out of Boston. The Standard method for packing delicate things like ship models was:
1 Secure it to a solid base so it can't move
2 Secure solid base inside a protective cover (Usually a cardboard box).
3 Pack this box in a larger box with a layer of packing peanuts around all 6 sides at least 2" thick.
The peanuts protect against shock but also against vibration from the transport truck running down the road.
Vibration will destroy a model, shake it to pieces.
I have managed to send 4 heller avisos to Portugal from England. The ships were complete, fully painted. I separated the removal parts and packaged them securely from the models. They were placed on their sides and wrapped in bubble wrap, this having been done, I covered the ships over with layers of packing material until they were unable to move within their box. the box, a standard heller cardboard box, was then placed in a home made cardboard box which had packing material around the ship container. Once done it was secured using packing tape. All the time in ensured that nothing could shift.
The parcel was sent courtesy of Royal Mail parcel post, and, despite a minor problem concerning receipt/collection in Portugal, the package was received secure and undamaged.
I have only tried to ship models a few times, all within the US and have had very little luck. These weren't as fine as ship models but were still damaged. Good luck, waiting to see if others have found a solution.
I have too deliver a 1/700 scale HMS Coventry WWII from England to Australia. The last model l sent Ireland by parcel force world wide was completely wrecked when it reached its destination and even though it was insured the company refused to pay any compensation. What method do people who do commission builds use ? Are there any safe methods and what sort of prices do they charge ? Any advice would be appreciated.