Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wargaming Rooms Virtual Tour

This is something I've been promising to post for a few months, and I've finally had time to take all the necessary photos and write up the post. A couple of years ago a bunch of us on the World War I Modeling Mailing List that I've run for the past 15 years posted photos of our workshops. We all enjoyed it very much, and I drew from that some excellent ideas on how to better organize my space. This post is going to be a virtual Tour of my wargaming and modeling spaces. Please pardon the mess! I was very fortunate when we purchased our home that although the basement was finished, my lovely wife allowed me to commandeer the basement as my 'man cave'. This was a huge upgrade from the small unfinished basement in our previous home.

I'm going to start in my modeling and painting room, at where else, the painting table. As you can see, I have a lot of stuff fighting for space here, but when I'm winning the battle, there's still sufficient space to paint. On the wall is a clip board I use to hold reference pictures. It's currently holding printouts from Scott MacFee's blog of some mid-Republican Roman cavalry he posted. It can also hold an Osprey or a copy from a plate from one of my larger references. I use a large organizer to hold works in progress, supplies and detritus that might find its way onto bases as scenery. On the primary workspace is a sheet of tempered glass to work on, my thinners and cleaners and an empty box to catch flocking when basing. Currently I'm using a 100-watt incandescent light, although I also use a 300-watt torch light in the room for additional light. I'm saving my money for a full-spectrum light to replace this soon.

Next up going counter-clockwise around the room I have a small bookshelf. This shelf holds my wargaming rules, Osprey and other dedicated painting reference books and some 15mm and 25mm terrain I haven't found a proper home for. On top are organizers that hold magazines for my various hobbies that I haven't felt able to part with yet (there's gold in them there books!) Also on top is my footy sailboat. It's sitting it the class regulation sized measuring box. Although this isn't normally supposed to be used for storage, it seems to do nicely for that for me. On the floor is the tackle box that holds all of my footy sailboat tools, supplies and paraphernalia. Beside the bookcase is a set of plastic organizing shelves that quite disorganizingly holds a myriad of items I use for building RC airplanes. Eventually I hope to find proper homes for these items so that I can remove this eye sore. Up to now I haven't been able to bring myself to tackle the job.

Continuing around the room, the next item is my computer workstation. The primary purpose of this laptop is to drive my CNC laser engraver, which will be the next stop on the tour. This laptop also allows me to design new items to cut on the laser such as wargaming terrain, new R/C models and new WWI modeling details for R/C. I can also use it to draw new bases to cut for my wargaming units. Scrap wood for test cuts on the laser sit beside the PC as well as micrometers and other tools for the laser. Beneath the table is a large computer-safe fire extinguisher - a necessity for anyone operating a CNC laser engraver. Please excuse the trash can, which usually sits by my painting table.

This is my CNC Laser Engraver. It's an Epilog Legend 24TT which houses a 30-watt CO2 laser that is computer controlled using CNC software.What does that mean? Well simply put, you 'print' to it like a normal printer, but instead of putting ink onto paper, whatever you print draws with the laser in varying power. This allows you to cut, or engrave anything that can be burned. This isn't something I bought for wargaming, but it's very handy to have to cut bases and terrain items like fences and buildings. The primary use for the laser is to manufacture the kits I sell through my company, Wright Brothers R/C. The laser sits on a cabinet which holds all the items I cut on the laser: balsa wood, plywood, plastics, acrylics, etc. Additional supplies of these items also live in large bins hiding underneath my wargaming table. The switches on the wall operate the exhaust fan and air compressor that are necessary to operate the laser. Both of these items are housed in the mechanical room and service the laser through ducting run through the wall. As one side note, if you need bases or other wargaming items laser cut or engraved, I can provide these services to wargamers through my R/C business. No job is too small, and unlike most laser engraving companies, I know and understand the unique needs our hobby presents.

Next up is my R/C airplane building table. The large flat surface, covered with a cork board allows me to build straight, true structures. Hanging from the windows are some of my smaller, indoor R/C airplanes. Under the table, more balsa wood storage for personal (non-company) use. The drawers in this table house my R/C airplane building supplies, and will eventually house most of the items in the ugly white organizer beside the laptop. On top of the table is my R/C 'field box' containing all the tools and supplies I bring to the field with me when I fly.

The final stop in my modeling room is a small desk I use for all my electronics-related work. My R/C models are all electric-powered, so this is where I charge my batteries after flying, solder the electronic components and do other electric-related work. In the desk are all of my unused electronics parts for RC airplanes: motors, speed controls, servos, unused batteries, wire, etc. This desk also holds anything I can fit in any of the other storage areas in the room. On top of the desk is my power supply for powering my chargers and my soldering iron station.

Outside of my painting room is the main portion of our finished basement. Half of this is space is dedicated to my wargaming table. When I originally built this table it lived in an unfinished basement. Although it didn't look out of place there in it's rough, unpainted 2"x4" state, it now does seem somewhat out of place. I've promised myself when we moved into this new house, that I would sand and paint the table an appropriate color, and ask my lovely wife to sew a skirt for it that can be attached with Velcro, to hide the storage underneath. That was seven years ago. I still intend on doing it, really I do!  I store my table cover folded over to keep dust and other unsavory particulate from messing it up. For this photo it also allows you to nicely see that the table is actually two tables, each 6'x6' in size. This allows me to separate them if I want to host two games at the same time. Above the table I've opted for track lighting which allows me to re-configure the lighting should I separate the tables.

The last room on the tour is the basement mechanical room. This is where I do all of the dirty or dusty work. This photo is where I installed some very inexpensive cabinets from the home center. They store my spray paint, all the supplies for my business including my ready to ship inventory, my terrain making supplies and my larger tools such as my Dremel mini table saw, drill press, scroll saw and bench top sander. It took me a couple of weekends and a few hundred dollars to install these cabinets, but I can honestly say that it has paid off tenfold in the additional storage space and organization it's provided. I would highly recommend this project to others in need of additional hobby storage space.

Here's our final stop, a small workbench where I do my spray painting during the cold winter months when I cannot do it outside. This is also the workbench I use any time I have to do any heavy pounding, grinding, sanding, etc.  This bench was actually purchased from one of those companies that supplies boxes, tape and shipping supplies to businesses. It's called a 'packing table' and was much less expensive and more sturdily built than the workbenches sold at the home center. It has adjustable height legs, and can be wired for electricity if installed permanently.

Well that's the tour, I hope you've enjoyed it. I'd love to see some of my other favorite bloggers' workspaces sometime!


Stig of the Dump said...


You are very lucky indeed to have such a large space dedicated to your hobby. The actual gaming room itself is great. To have something even half the size For gaming would be great.

Cheers for the pics.


Alfrik said...

All that and no Wet Bar??? ;)

jmilesr said...

Thanks for the tour. You have a very well organized space and I'm impressed with all of your assorted hobby/business tools. As I'm in the process of planning my game room I may :borrow" some of your organizational tips.