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I recently posted several items for sale and have received several email inquiries about shipping costs from my address.  I thought I would post a short explanation how shipping from/to an active duty military member, or a civilian who works for the military, that is stationed overseas works to shed a little light on the subject. 

I am a soldier stationed in Germany, we use what is known as the Army Post Office (APO) for our mail.  The bad thing about that is we can only use the USPS as a shipping agent.  The good news is that we pay the same shipping rates for mail that folks pay in the lower 48 states.  The mailing hub where mail changes from control between the USPS and the Military Postal Service (MPS) is in Chicago for units based in Europe and the Middle East.  Postage rates are calculated using Chicago as the nexus that to/from shipping costs are calculated by. 

APO’s provide two types of shipping for things like models Priority and Ground.   Shipping via Priority lets one choose between two types of shipping:  Flat Rate and non-Flat Rate.  A large Flat Rate box costs $18.85 to/from any address in the lower 48 states.  In my experience, most kit boxes will fit into a large Flat Rate box.  Often it is cheaper to go with a non-Flat Rate box; the closer you are to Chicago the greater the chance a non-Flat Rate box will be cheaper.  For example, let’s take a 3.5 pound box with the dimensions of 24”x6”x12”.  Shipping that box to say Dallas, TX in a non-Flat Rate box will cost $16.45, and you can probably get two kits in the box.  Obviously, a non-Rate box is the way to go here.  Normally, 4-8 business days after the package is mailed, it arrives at its destination.

The second way to ship a package is via USPS Ground, which means the package will travel by ship and not plane.  It costs $13.97 to ship a package the same size and weight as the one above.  However, it can take up to 8 weeks for delivery.

There is a “Media” shipping option, but the APO representative told me that was only for things like books and CDs.

I hope my fellow modelers find the above information helpful.


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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been using the APO system to receive my model kits and supplies here in the Middle East for 10 years, I always pay for the Priority Mail option, not for the faster shipping, but for the better treatment, stuff that goes ground usually gets beat to s*@t, not worth the little cost savings. For my Flammables and items that shippers struggle with shipping to APO addresses, I set up an account with APO-Box to provide an actual stateside address for them to ship to.

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