DIY Model Storage Solution

My storage solution..

My storage solution..

When signing up to the war gaming hobby you are going to have to face up to a few facts:

a) You WILL go overboard and spend way too much money on nicely shaped plastic/resin/metal.

b) Your new hobby WILL have an impact on your living space and those who share it with you!

 

Due to this at some point in your hobby existence you will want to consider storage options for your nefarious goods.  But with a large number of expensive model cases on the market is their a simpler and more cost efficient solution for the modern day wargamer?

Most hobbyists begin their wargaming journey with the acquisition of a carrying case for their first army, usually from one of the main outlets such as Games Workshop or KR Multi Case.  This is the initial step to obtaining a safe and secure means to transport that army you have been slaving over and is often used as the main storage unit around the house. This is something that I would actively encourage if you have the money as my current KR case is very useful for carting my armies around.

However, as your collection grows, continuing to purchase these kinds of cases starts to become a hugely expensive commitment. This is where hobbyists often look for alternative storage that can efficiently contain their models safely and de-clutter much needed space around the house. It is at this juncture that people begin to try all sorts of cheap boxes, tool cases, tins and crates.  All of these will need some major modifications to be as effective as the expensive foam laden cases that are available to purchase. Upon reaching this stage I wanted to find a cheap solution to this problem which involved a bit of hobby DIY. After a fair amount of research online I decided to be ambitious and attempt to make enough storage, complete with makeshift foam trays, to last me a hobby lifetime.

After finding somewhere online to buy the foam (I went with http://www.easyfoam.co.uk ) I measured up the plastic cases that I had bought from a local shop on the cheap. Initially I worked out that I could make 12 really large trays of 15 x 4 figure slots that would fit neatly into the large plastic cases and display all my toys like a pro. But after some tinkering with my plans I instead decided to make all my trays the same sizes as the ones in the KR Case that I owned. This would mean that I could swap and change armies into my carry case quickly with minimal effort and would also give me some left over space in my plastic containers to create my own deep foam trays for larger models.

With my measurements finished I ordered 2 sheets of foam that would combine to make my trays, one 1” thick and one 0.25” thick.  I also purchased some spray glue from the foam provider as I wanted to be sure to purchase the correct stuff and didn’t mind spending the extra £4. The exact purchase order and measurements can be seen in the picture below:

Sheet Measurement.

Sheet Measurement.

What to expect..

What to expect..

The foam arrived within a week and I was pretty keen to get started in order to show my girlfriend that this idea could work and I wasn’t just wasting my cash as usual. During my wait for the foam I had created a printout template using the measurements of the foam trays in the KR case, which I glued onto a piece of cereal box/card.

printed pattern glued onto card.

printed pattern glued onto card.

Template cut out

 I had been fairly lazy here and only created a small template of 4×4 model slots but if you have the time and the capabilities I would try and create a full tray template that you can print out. This will help to make the trays more precise and ensure they are all the same size if you are looking to get them perfectly straight (Mine are not straight or identical and still fit in my case together fine). *Alternatively you can download a tray template straight from KR Multicase using this link: http://krmulticase.com/resources/trayprintouts.aspx.

I used a KR tray to get the correct size cut out.

I used a KR tray to get the correct size cut out.

I cut off the first section of thick foam and then split it up to create four 10×4 trays. After this I began to score out the figure slots on side A, the front facing side, using my cut out template and a brown marker. Using a dark marker helps to hide any markings left on the foam after you cut out the gaps (I originally marked out the gaps using white spray paint but it was messy end product).

Using the template I plotted out the figure slots.

Using the template I plotted out the figure slots.

Here is the finished tray ready for cutting.

Here is the finished tray ready for cutting.

When cutting into the foam try and make sure that side you are cutting into is relatively neat and clean, as it will be the displayed side. When removing the cut out cubes don’t worry if you tear the foam on the back (side B) or if looks uneven as the back of this piece will be hidden.  I also kept the foam cut offs in plastic bags to stick together later for custom trays etc.

Cutting deep down each line and plucking at the foam to create the figure slots.

Cutting deep down each line and plucking at the foam to create the figure slots.

The finished display side of the tray frame (side A).

The finished display side of the tray frame (side A).

After the trays had been cut out I turned them all over and cleaned up the cuts on the back-side (side B). For this I just plucked at the bits of foam that remained untidy after the foam had been removed.

Plucking the messy leftover on the Back-Side (Side B) of the tray will create a better overall finish.

Plucking the messy leftover on the Back-Side (Side B) of the tray will create a better overall finish.

I used some old newspaper and a tray to create a safe place to spray the foam with the glue. This stuff is extremely sticky so make sure you don’t get it on anything.  Spray the rough back side of the trays (side B) and hold the spray nozzle extremely close to the foam (as the can has a wide nozzle) and spray the horizontal and vertical lines with glue.

Holding the nozzle close I applied the glue in vertical & horizontal lines.

Holding the nozzle close I applied the glue in vertical & horizontal lines to the back-side of the tray frame (side B).

After gluing I laid all the tray frames onto the thin foam sheet to create the back of the trays. Once they where all laid flush I cut around the bottom of the trays with a scalpel to create the final trays.

putting the glued tray frame onto the 0.25" foam roll.

putting the glued tray frame onto the 0.25″ foam roll.

Four trays ready to be cut out.

Four trays ready to be cut out.

A finished tray.

A finished tray.

Here you can see the first trays I created in the KR case. I made sure that I tested each foam tray inside the case and made any cuts/alterations needed to fit them in.

Some of my finished trays fitting inside a KR case.

Some of my finished trays fitting inside a KR case.

After this I rinsed and repeated until I had 12 full trays. Then came the fun part… organising my ridiculous mass of models!

Case 3: High Elfs & Skaven filth

Case 1: High Elf’s & Skaven filth

Case 2: Ogres, Chaos & DoC Bits

Case 2: Ogres, Chaos & DoC Bits

Case 1: Dwarfs and miscellaneous.

Case 3: Dwarfs and miscellaneous.

In total the foam and glue cost me £38 with P&P and the plastic containers cost around £17 for three (still need to buy my fourth).  This was enough foam to create 16 10″x4″ trays to fit a standard model case with enough foam left over to create some custom deep foam mini trays. To buy this amount of storage from GW it would cost you around £144, £36 each for a case including four trays. Even buying the individual trays from KR would cost around £103.84 at £6.49 each. So that’s a rough saving of around £90 pounds for case and foam from GW and £70 on the foam alone from KR.

Overall this is a massive saving in exchange for a few hours of your hobby time. It is also something you can do for any game system as you can adjust the measurements to fit different sized models. You do need some patience and ambition to get through the entire cutting process but I felt it went quickly enough while listening to a few decent podcasts. For some reason I found it a quite enjoyable task as it felt fairly rewarding. It has also spared up a lot of cash for models and is well worth the effort in my opinion!

 

5 thoughts on “DIY Model Storage Solution

  1. I’m a fan of gluing rare earth magnets to the bottom of my bases and then sticking everything on pieces of sheet metal and putting those into a long and shallow plastic storage container. If you use metal movement trays you can stick your models to those and put some magnetic paper on the bottom of the movement trays to put on the sheet metal. This would give you ready to go units for quick set up and take down.

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  3. Thank you so much for this extensive walk through. Pretty much followed your steps exactly and have all the storage I need for a very low cost. Awesome!

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