May I present my first significant game-related accomplishment of 2013, an Ikea hack display case made from a Billy bookcase. For now I'll show it off and then I'll come back and give something resembling a tutorial (though fair warning I was strapped for time during the steps themselves and didn't take many pictures).
I'm extremely pleased. I've long thought it waste not to keep my collection hidden away. I had a huge, ugly case a long time ago and haven't had anything in the intervening years. Actually, for the past two or so years spent finishing this project I've had this case with the cardboard back it comes with and no light, but that barely counts.
I would have much rather bought something purpose-built, but I spent literally dozens of hours researching and shopping and found nothing that would suit my needs. Trophy cases are hideous and hideously overpriced, hard to locate in person and impossible to see what you're getting shopping online. I spent a long time at Ikea inspecting every option and they all have some flaw that's a deal-killer. Found very few other prospects at furniture stores.
And before anyone says anything, let me say I know what you're thinking. Oh, that looks like a quick, fun project. It wasn't! Honestly it was a trial and took me over two years to sort everything out. For one, everything took a lot more research than I expected it, from researching the right kind of light that would not wash out the figures too much or cause fading, to tutorials on wiring and soldering, to locating all the items needed. I live in a major metropolitan area and yet I had a hard time locating anything. It's one of the ironies of today's world, I think. From the rocker switch and heat shrink tubing, to the flat-head wall plug, the fixture itself (located online in the end), etc. The mirror is acrylic purchased at a local shop called Tap Plastics, but the staff there, while helpful in the end, were a chore to work with and I believe it entailed well over a dozen phone calls, none of which gave me much confidence it would work out in the end.
It did work out in the end though. It worked out very well. In the course of this I learned how to wire lights and how to solder properly (using a soldering iron I've had since I was eight but never really put to any use). Also, huge thanks to my friend the OpFor Overlord for the design advice re the acrylic mirror back and for bringing over his router and enlarging slightly the channels in the main side pieces in which the acrylic mirror is slotted. That was the crux of the struggle after which it was downhill.
Also, even though I don't think it will be the kind of hold-your-hand exhaustive tutorials you can sometimes find on the web, I think the tutorial article I'm planning should cut your own time on this down to a fraction of what it took me, should you want to have a go at this.
Here's the fun part—loading it up:
As always, these pics are on flickr.