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Friday, January 13, 2012

The problem of storage

Most modellers – at least those who have not gradually morphed into kit collectors over the years – have a problem with storage of completed models. If you have shelves, there is the every present menace of dust. If you have storage cabinets, you have probably paid upwards of a grand to get one. If you are one of the few that produces a significant number of finished models in any given year, there is the sheer matter of finding places on the shelves or cabinets.

While I was lucky enough to pick up three short retail display cases in the late 80s for $100 apiece from a retail salvage company in south Seattle, that barely contained the models that I had completed at that time. Eventually, inspired by a makeshift display that I had seen at the San Diego Air Museum of all places, I decided to search for some waist-high one level glass-topped cases. The search was a bit fruitless; even when I found some they were more than I was prepared to pay at the time. I eventually decided that I would build up a two-level display system: one of commercially built “real” display cabinets and a series of small flat boxes topped with a sheet of glass.

In fact, I was preparing to buy a full sized (6’H x 4’W x 2’D) glass-enclosed display case from Grand and Benedict when it became clear that the company I was working for didn’t have anything for me once my current software development project was completed. It didn’t seem like the right time to be spending $1500, so plans went on hold. It is still on my list for when the income returns to normal (not sure my wife would concur on that particular priority analysis), but in the meantime I would need some more “temporary” storage. That is in quotes because, as so often happens in the real world, temporary shortly turns into anything but. And in fact, the earliest of these glass-topped boxes was built in the early 90s and is still in my garage.

The concept is fairly simple. Two pieces of 6”H x 36”W x ½”D and two of 6”H x 30”W x ½”D formed into a rectangle, with a piece of 36” x 30” fibreboard (pegboard without the holes) nailed onto the bottom and a same-sized piece of glass laying on top. Most 1:72 aircraft fit well within that 6” of height.

In fact the biggest problem is that the boxes are in the garage, which is also where the airbrush resides. Hence the air is often filled with tiny particles of paint, which absolutely love to precipitate onto a flat surface and stay there. Unless I cover them with a sheet, I have to perform a twice-yearly ritual of cleaning the glass with paint thinner and Windex. I will put some more pictures of the layout in this blog, after I’ve finished the current cleaning ritual. But as you can see from the shot below, this one hasn't been cleaned yet...

In the meantime, I’ve built another big storage box. This one is 36”D x 90”W and requires three pieces of glass to sit on top. Since I don’t want to buy more glass right now, and no one really sees them but me unless someone from IPMS-Seattle drops by, this will actually rest on top of the other big box. So no access to the lower box until I get that formal display case and do a major space redesign. Once I do get the new display case I believe I’ll put it in the upstairs model room to keep it clean.

Below is a shot of the box in its unpainted state. Once it gets painted grey and I start moving things around I’ll get some other photos.

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