Sunday, March 23, 2014

That paint's (a) gross

I've been working on a bunch of different things lately.  I haven't been too enthusiastic about starting another round of painting miniatures so I have been working on a number of organizational things.  I am trying to get better stocked with things I need and be more efficient when I do paint.

One of things that is not particularly organized are my paints.  In fact, I've had box of perfectly good Reaper paints that have been sitting in a box since I moved over a year ago.  I keep adding to my Vallejo paint and the rudimentary system I have for it all has reached maximum capacity.  I have been using a very simple stepped setup that is made from scrap blocks and plywood.

It all sits on the desktop and invariably gets bumped sending things tumbling.  It also takes up surface area which I don't like and gets in the way of dusting and cleaning.

There are all kinds of nice paint racks out in the market but I just could not find one that suited me perfectly.  I really like the racks from Back 2 Base-ix but I could never bring myself to buy any.

They seemed a might expensive and the shipping cost was large.  Ironically I see they just had a 50% sale on their MDF racks which may have changed things for me.  I think paying less than 50 cents per unit of capacity is necessary to justify buying something.  I also like the spinning lazy susan type racks as well.

This one can be had from TheWarStore.

There are also the clear nail polish racks that look they would work well.

None of these felt right for my space for differing reasons.  The Back 2 Base-ix stuff was too pricey, the spinning rack is ugly white plastic, and the nail polish racks were too tall to fit at my desk.

I even went to two of the laser MDF companies and requested a custom rack.  They both expressed interest; one even sent me a picture of a prototype but in the end neither of them bothered to follow through with anything after I had given them feedback on their designs.  That was rather irritating.  It's very unprofessional to give no response and ignore requests.  Saying "We can't do it." is perfectly acceptable and I don't understand why people lack the courage to say it.

After all that pondering, I decided I'd take care of this myself and build my own.  My paints are pushing 100 so I wanted to build something with that much capacity at a minimum.  I also wanted something to compliment the woodwork in my hobby room.  That was an important feature in keeping things harmonious with the family (read: wife).  I'm afforded a great space to do as I see fit but, I still have to share it.

After picking up supplies from The Home Despot I began.  1/4" sanded plywood for the backs, 1/4" x 1-1/2" oak hobby boards for the racks.

I measured out the holes for the paints and drilled them out carefully.

A 1" Forstner bit was used to drill the holes.  They are superior to a paddle bit or hole saw.  A regular 1" bit would be insanely expensive and would probably not even produce as clean a hole as the forstner does.

Having cut all of them out and giving them a quick sanding it was now time for some basic woodworking to assembly the pieces together.

Glued and pin nailed to the 1/4" plywood backing it all went together easy enough.

Three racks each holding 48 bottles for a grand total of a gross of paint.  I go on to apply a light wood stain to them making them blend with the woodwork in the game room.  I went from this hokey setup,

to this,

Which takes this mess of paints,

 and turns it into this.

Happy painting hobbyists!  Cheers!  If you like what you are seeing be sure to keep following my meanderings on MoveShootAssault.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

On Display

I recently got to play in a Late War tournament.  I ended up taking 3rd place overall and 3rd place in painting.  I was pleased with that as I'm not a super frequent player and I have always considered my painting to be more careful than anything artistic or inspiring.  You can read about my list design and post tournament report here.  As surprised as I was about the painting score I'm giving all the credit to my display board(s).

The display was the last piece to finish this phase of my US Engineer Combat Company army.

I have an older display board that I made for my first ever tournament.  It is rather large coming in at 19" x 25" (18" x 24" display area).  I wanted something different for this recent tournament.

Grass mat by Woodland Scenics

It's not very practical to take to a tournament but it is neat because it was designed to go with my US 3rd Armor Division Tank Company. It incorporates scratch built bocage sections from my terrain collection to depict the force in the bocage country of Normandy.  It was fun and the tournament was local so I used it.

Bocage by yours truly

During that tournament there was no table space other that the game table.  Each table was separated from the other with no additional horizontal surface for anything.  Terribly, inconvenient for managing your army and displaying.  I had a similar thing happen at GenghisCon one year where all the tables were set up one after another in lines of tables banquet style.  Absolutely no space between tables, argh!

After those learning lessons I determined that I was not going to be handicapped by that arrangement again.  It was especially important for me to come up with something that would make running a mess of infantry efficient, being it my first time running them in a tournament.

I'd be driving down to Denver for GenghisCon so the big display board was out of the question.  I decided that my requirement was I had to be able to carry everything from the car in one trip and that I needed to be prepared to have my army display/storage sit on the game table as we play.

You can find all kinds of awesome displays people have made over on the WWPD forums including some really nice ones that USChris made for the community that are very handy looking.   As cool as those were I decided it would be nice if I could fit the display in my Army Kit Bag.  I figured I would have to give up having the display be thematic for portability and capacity.

So I designed and built these 2 trays.

Some basic woodworking here

I scratch built them out of 1/4" plywood and 1/4" x 1-1/2" x 4' hobby boards (poplar) from Home Despot.  I painted them with a can of US Armor Spray paint that I have had unused for ages.  The US Army painted everything Olive Drab so I figured that was fitting.  I cut a piece of Woodland Scenic's grass mat for the bottoms and called it good.  In this case they are not so much intended to showcase my army as to make moving the army from table to table easy.  It ended up being a tight fit for my  9 platoon army but with a little squeezing in they were still able to handle it all including my scratch built barbed wire.

1650 points of slide rule wielding mayhem!
They are also sized perfectly to fit a foam tray inside them.

Finally got to use the artillery tray after all these years
Which fits inside the Army Kit Bag.

Ta Da!  Single handed tournament transport!

I set up my army in them with roughly my expected reserve platoons in one and my non-reserve platoons in another.  Once deployed the empty case sits on top of the reserve tray and is perfect for rolling dice or storing game aids (dice, tape measure, tokens, etc.). They are deep enough that I can stack them and the models stay safely below the top edge.  If you have tall antennas on your teams it may not be tall enough but its not an issue for me since most of my stuff does not have them.

When not in service for tournament display and storage they come in handy for any number of different things in the game room including holding some of my paints as I clear the way for a new project; the topic of my next update!

Why am I moving my paints?

I hope you like them and please follow the blog if you are curious to see what I have coming next.