Saturday, January 26, 2013

Miniatures Display Case

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:

Hordes, Warmachine and Misc figures
L-R: Circle Orboros; Protectorate of Menoth; miscellany
Necromunda figures on display
Necromunda, L-R: Redemption; Cawdor; Scavvies
Old school D&D miniatures collection on display
A portion of the D&D collection
Citadel orcs on display
Orcs & Goblins of the Old Skull Gang
All the Kublas in their home
The Kublas have a home to call their own

As always, these pics are on flickr.


  1. An amazing collection now tastefully housed! Personally, my painted stuff isn't of a level where open display is warranted, but I'd still be very interested to see how you constructed this.

  2. You sell yourself way too short Gareth, your painted stuff is rad. Don't let Spootalker's trophy shelf intimidate you, although I did note it just happens to be the biggest pic... what a showboat.

    1. Thanks. That is a lot of trophies (and, yeah, it is the biggest picture, too)!

    2. Thanks Gareth! Yes, What OpFor says--your figures are absolutely the business--by all means some of the worthiest around.

      Lol, about the pic size, I agree. I actually cringed a little when I ran clicked through the pics after publishing and worried I do look like I'm showing off. But was too lazy to upload a smaller pic. I set the width wide for the other ones so you could get a panorama view... there, fixed it.

      Anyway, working on that tut. :)

  3. Wow, a lazy showoff. You said it, not me.

    Seriously though, the Cabinet looks great.

  4. Ok, now you're just showing off! Seriously awesome collection.

    I just saw that Wizard just posted all the old edition D&D books on PDF download. Thought you'd be interested.

    1. Haha, thanks man! I saw those D&D pdfs and am excited about that. I might get the Basic D&D book. I tried to go on the site the first day they were up and it was so popular the server couldn't handle the load and was at a crawl and timing out occasionally!

  5. Any chance you could take some close up photos of your Scavvies? I remember seeing them a good while back on Flickr, but can't seem to find photos of them any more.