Gaming Spaces: Thanqol’s Hobby Space

I’ve been in the hobby for five years now and I’m currently going through some growing pains with my gaming space. A lot of ideas and concepts that made sense in the initial stages are starting to fall apart, and I’m on the brink of having to completely rethink the way I organize everything. This particular hobby space is less about what an incredible experience a late stage Warhammer collection can look like, and more a discussion about some practical problems and solutions I’ve experienced as I’m moving out of the early stage of collection.

This is the current painting setup. The location, in the living room and directly facing a window, has been ideal – lots of natural light, an excellent view of the garden when I raise my head from painting and plenty of space to move around. A lot of people have dedicated rooms to paint in but I actually find that painting in a common area has a lot of positives too. My spouse crochets and this arrangement lets us have conversations while we both work on our respective hobbies. 

A painting desk also just plain looks good. It’s a place of colour and energy and an instant conversation starter with anyone who comes in through the door without needing to lure them through into a dedicated gaming room. Also a shoutout to the floor: lacking carpet makes it incredibly easy to find small, fiddly plastic bits that fall on the floor due to butterfingers.

These plastic ziplock bags were my original idea for storing bits, and they worked well in the early stages of the hobby, but now the system has become unviable and I’ll need to switch it up. Transparency is excellent for any sort of bits container, as is dividing items by type – heads, imperial guns, xenos guns, chaos guns, and so on. The trouble comes when the bags are too full to prevent easy digging because tipping them out and refilling them is a pain. Right now I’m transitioning to plastic takeaway containers which seem to be a massive improvement, while also filling each container no more than 50% so they’re easy to dig through.

The drawers are from Ikea. Do not recommend, they’re garbage. Don’t trust Ikea with anything with moving parts.

For paint storage I went for those GW hex grid paint holders. I don’t recommend them. To be sure, they look amazing – they’re brightly coloured and look like candy. The catch with them is that they’re actually pretty shallow angles so don’t really save much space compared to the technique of ‘just have all of your paint on the desk’ and they pinch the paint pots pretty tight so I need to pick up the whole rack to brace it enough to pull a paint out. The GW tool racks are absurdly useless and I wouldn’t get them under any circumstances. I think I’d be happier with something more like a stepped spice rack.

You’ll see there a pack of little metal ball bearings, like what’s in a spray can. Those are indispensable, especially for the thicker metallics like Auric Armour Gold. Drop one of them into a paint pot and shaking it is a whole different thing.

I decided not to put down any painting mat when working and I recommend you do the same because this looks awesome. I love how this desk is turning out, it’s a little painting project all of its own. Most of the red is because of painting terrain on that desk, but every spill adds to the character. I’m trying to practice restraint by only having the paints on desk that I’m actually going to use. Whenever starting a new project I clear the desk and only draw the paints I plan to use for the new project. While I’m on the topic, the new citadel STC brushes are the best I’ve ever used – they hold their shapes shockingly well and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

The light on the magnifying lamp has been essential, the magnification itself useless.

The hobby room itself is currently experiencing storage issues. My spouse has been using it as a home office during lockdown and finished projects are starting to occupy the gaming table. More permanent storage solutions are in the works but getting home renovations is not easy at the moment.

The table is the big part of it – I found it very difficult to just go out and buy a 6×4 table from any major furniture store, so I was very lucky to find one on Gumtree (Australian Craigslist). I’ve got a full set of 40K terrain for playing sci-fi games on but I’m currently more into fantasy games so will need to do a set of fantasy terrain to balance it out. Also a shoutout to the floor: the hard tiles mean that whenever my butterfingered friends drop their miniatures they instantly shatter in spectacular fashion.

Lots of people speak highly of these Ikea glass cabinets, and they’re broadly good, but they’re also sharply limited in space and they don’t scale well – these are for showcases of your best stuff, they’re not an answer for a rapidly growing collection. They’re also a pain in the butt to build and putting together another four of these to store all my stuff and future proof me against further growth isn’t practical and wouldn’t look great, so I’ll need to look into some more normal horizontal bookshelves to get a real solution. They are great at stopping dust from getting on your miniatures though, which I’m increasingly realizing is a serious problem. 

The bookshelf is currently serving as overflow storage, but I think how it’s going to wind up is that the books will move before the miniatures do. I originally had this wardrobe converted into shelving with books on my mind, but its actually much deeper than books strictly need and that makes it well suited to storing masses of miniatures. There’s a tension between storing miniatures in locations that are safe, dust free and out of the way and storing them in places where they can be shown off and easily accessed for the gaming table and it’s going to take a lot of thought and furniture hunting to find something that squares that circle.

I’ve also reached the point where I’m thinking of cutting down my collection. There are a few projects in here that were tests that didn’t work out, or factions that didn’t inspire me in the end. It’s likely a bunch of this will end up on sale, as charity donations or community armies.

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