Saturday, 2 May 2015

Storage and transport of wargaming figures

A recent discussion on a local wargaming board made me think a little about how to store your wargaming figures. These days, a number of wargamers invest in cases such as those sold by KR. I can see these serve a specific need, especially if you have to transport your wargaming army to your local gaming venue.

However, I always felt that these cases do not offer enough density in terms of number of figures that can be stored per unit volume. Once you cross the threshold of several thousands of figures, storing figures in such cases is simply not an option.

I know there is a difference between storage and transport. In principle, your storage system can be different from your transport system. But several years ago I made the decision that storage should be the same as transport.  I was just fed up with moving figures from storage boxes to foam-lined transport boxes. Now, storage and transport are the same.

There are of course some factors that have made this decision easier for me. I am lucky to have my own wargaming room, so transport only happens for big con games, once or twice a year. Moreover, once you have the amount of figures I have, I really can't be bothered anymore by treating every figure as a precious gem. Accidents do and will happen, and if a figure gets damaged, so be it. Apply some superglue, and done. Life is too short to still get upset about a spear that breaks off, or a rider that gets unmounted. Rarely has damage been such that the figure in question became unusable.

So, what is my storage system? I have a number of wooden drawer units underneath my gaming surface. Actually, they form the base on top of which the gaming surface rests. I acquired these in a DIY store a long time ago, and I have enough of them to build a "big block" of drawers. Each drawer is roughly 5 cm high, and that is high enough for most 28mm cavalry. Figures that really do not fit are kept in some seperate storage boxes. Also, I do keep a lot of the smaller scenery items in these drawers.

Drawers on the long side of the gaming table. There is a small size discrepancy for the top 3 blocks,
since the combined height of two 5-drawer blocks would be too high for the gaming surface.
Hence the 5 + 3 solution, and the 3-drawer blocks were a different size.
Short side of the table.
Opposite long side of the gaming table.
Typical drawer filled with figures. If I need to transport those, I simple take the drawer out,
put some bubblewrap on top, and that's it.
A drawer filled with scenery items.
By having the figures readily accessible in the gaming room, I am also spared from numerous trips back to the garage where I keep the bigger scenery pieces. I try to keep generic items as much as possible in the gaming room, and the bigger or more rarely used items in the garage.

So what about transport? I simply pull the drawers out, but a sheet of bubblewrap over them, and place them in some bigger plastic containers that can hold 3 or 4 drawers. So yes, now and then something gets damaged, but so what?

This system has served me for over 10 years now. Although the esthetics could be improved somewhat, I am still happy with my storage and transport solution.

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