Model Miniatures - Home
-- MAKING SCENERY --
-- WORLD WAR TWO VEHICLES --
Painting plastic figures
Converting polystyrene figures
Painting darkskinned figures
German WW2 infantry
Painting swords and axes
Dark age shield patterns
Painting 25mm faces
Basing 25mm figures
2mm scale figures
Useful modelling tools
How to waste money
The trouble with all this modelling business, is that it creates the problem of how to store the finished articles. For me the problem is particularly great, because all my wargaming materials have to be packed into a rucksack and cycled to the wargaming club, so they need sturdy anyway-up storage methods. Here are some methods I use.
To store models of 1/72nd scale vehicles, I have created trays that fit neatly into boxes. This photograph shows a box originally designed to take paper sticky labels, into the bottom of which I have glued and stapled strips of card taken from a cereal packet, which divide the box up into compartments made to fit specific vehicles. Some of the vehicles are shorter than the compartments, and have been padded with little bits of foam rubber, but many of the models are so snugly fitting, coming right up to the tops of their compartments, that they need no padding, since they have no room in which to rattle around. The compartment walls have been very roughly padded by gluing on strips of soft cotton cloth taken from an old pair of pyjamas.
The top tray was created by taking a thick bit of card, slightly smaller than the box's floor, and then building external and internal walls with more cereal packet card and a stapler. Building this way is quite satisfying and quick. The staples show clearly enough in the picture.
This smaller shot shows a box-file used in much the same way, to store my Churchill funnies. Padding the insides of the compartments here is some self-adhesive foam rubber, which seems good stuff, if a little keen on sticking to the models. The bottom layer here is a removable tray too, so that different combinations of trays could be put in the box, depending on what the game needed. To make clearing away at the end of a game a fair bit quicker, the proper contents of each compartment is written on its floor.
This shows a cheap tupperware (not actual Tupperware because that is very expensive for some reason) box in which I have put a big piece of foam rubber, into which I have cut deep recesses for the various vehicles. If the recesses are only just big enough for the models, then getting the models in and out tends to be a bit tricky, so it is better to cut them a bit too big. The bits cut out of the recesses are kept, to be used to pad the gap between the vehicles and the lid.
On the right of the shot, is the thing I use to store the figures that go with the vehicles in the box. It is a soft duster cloth, which I have folded a few times, and then sewn lines of stitching through, thus creating many pockets. I write what's in the pocket on the outside, with a permanent felt tip. This cloth and its contents go on top of the vehicles, and help to pack everything firmly together, so that nothing should rattle around. There is always a mysterious rattle from somewhere, but no system is perfect.
Around the box, through its transparent sides, you can see some figures wedged between the foam and the sides of the box. They don't move around much, and that which doesn't move comes to no harm.
This is how I store my based figures for Crossfire. I usually use old vehicle kit boxes, although sometimes I lay my hands on something better, such as the stiffer boxes that some computer games come in. Using a stapler and cereal packet card, I make compartments of the various standard base sizes, and bung in the figures. This is quite adequate for light plastic figures, but for extra safety with lead figures I shove a bit of loo roll or foam rubber on top of them. Foam rubber is better, because it is softer, quicker to pick up, and a strip of it doesn't stop you from seeing the troops underneath it, but this photo' shows loo roll. Perhaps I should use acid-free paper, but that might be taking this a bit far. You may think that this sort of box would suffer when stuffed into a rucksack, but the many small compartments act to stiffen the box a lot. The inside of the lid I have padded with some of that stuff you find in chocolate boxes which does the same task. In other boxes I have used rectangles of bubble wrap, and more pyjama cloth. The rubber band is good for holding the lid on the box, lest it should fall off during unpacking the rucksack, while the box is upside down.
This is how I have been storing 25mm skirmishing (individually based) figures. The figures are white metal, and heavy, so need a fair amount of protection. I have got hold of a few children's school lunch boxes, and created three layers of foam recesses in each. At the bottom of each box is a thin sheet of something soft. Glued on top of this is a sheet of foam one inch thick, through which I have cut holes to make spaces for the figures. I use universal adhesive (Bostik, UHU etc.) to glue the foam in place. I cut the holes with a pair of nail scissors. Cutting holes straight through a sheet of foam is easy. I mark out the places for the holes with a permanent felt-tipped marker pen. Don't use a water-soluble pen, as one day you might get some water in there, and the dye might run. The moisture from your fingers can be enough to smear some colour over the face of your favourite figure.
The middle layer consists of a sheet of stout cardboard, with thin layers of some soft material (thin foam, towelling, whatever) glued to each side of it, and two strips of thick glossy paper for use as lifting handles glued to the underside of the card. On top of this is another inch-thick layer of foam, which is deep enough for most 25mm figures on their sides. The third layer is a thicker sheet of foam (an inch and half) into which recesses have been cut. Figures that aren't wearing tall hats or waving banners about will fit head-down into these recesses, and you can see here the bottoms of their bases. Cutting recesses that don't go all the way through the foam, as I do in this thicker layer, is a bit more tricky.
As much as possible, I try to cut standard sized spaces for the figures. That way, it isn't so much of a challenge working out which figures to put where, when it comes to packing away. You can see an extra-large space cut in the middle layer for a figure with a banner, near the bottom left. Some small casualty figures nestle in smaller pockets.
These lunchbox carriers hold about 75 figures and are pretty bomb-proof.
For plastic 25mm figures, I find that self-adhesive magnetic sheeting stuck on the bottom of the bases works a treat. I glue a sheet of thin metal into a box and stick them to that, or use a biscuit tin. Plastic figures are light enough to get away with this. I tried it with 25mm metal figures, but found that the figures were just too heavy.
To store 6mm lead figures (here Huns by Irregular Miniatures), I use plastic video boxes. Two flat sheets of foam line the interior, and recesses are cut into one sheet with nail scissors. Where certain figures carry tall delicate things like flags, their recesses are labelled, and recesses are cut to take them in the foam lining of the lid. I have been using these containers for many years, and no figure has ever come to any harm in one.
Here we see a close up of the stored figures, which clearly shows that the figures stand proud of the recesses by a fair bit. You can also see the little dots I marked around the stands as I placed them on the virgin foam, to show me where to cut. There is no danger of figures clashing in this box, and plenty of room around each base for fingers to pick them out.
This is how I store the plaster cast walls I made. I cut a long strip of old pyjama bottom, and stapled it at one end inside a box which was just wider than the wall sections are long. I shoved in a wall section, put the cloth down over it, and put in another wall, then lifted the cloth and put down another, and kept going in this fashion until the box was full, and you can see that there is enough cloth left to cover the tops of all the walls by folding it back. Each wall is separated from its neighbours by a layer of soft cotton. Thank Crikey for pyjamas, I say.