Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Don't stow it - show it!

My display cabinets, which reside not far from the painting table. Motivation whilst on the job!
 Most of us spend a lot of our time and effort on painting our models. Preparing an entire army for battle is a massive undertaking, especially for those unfortunate enough to be painting a "horde" army, such as Goblins or Skaven. Why is it then, that some players don't display their models when they're sitting at home? Some of us lavish attention on an army, spending dozens or even hundreds of hours getting it ready, and then store it in a case, ready for transport. I understand that it needs to be possible to transport an army to the club, tournament, or mate's house where you're going to play, but that doesn't mean it has to live in the case all the time.

I admit that for a very long time, I have been guilty of this. I have a large number of tool cases, loaded with painted (and unpainted) models, waiting to grab my attention and be pulled out for a game. I would paint up an army, spending a lot of time getting it to a standard I was satisfied with, then it would only ever come out of storage when it was time to play. Having several armies, this could mean that a particular force might not see daylight for months or even a year at a time.
Years of being stashed in one of my cases has left to a number of my models (even my Dwarfs) developing a pathological fear of the dark...
A while ago when we last moved house, I decided I should do something about this. My wife and I went to IKEA, found a couple of display cabinets that looked like they would suit, brought them home and put them on the wall. They were then duly loaded up the most impressive models I could find.

Over time the "most impressive models I could find" became more like "the models that don't fit well into cases" and "those least likely to be used", however the result is much the same - the cabinets are full (or full enough, anyway). Sitting proudly on their wall, my models have caught the attention of many people who might otherwise never have seen them. It's also nice to be able to survey your stuff occasionally, to give you a feeling of accomplishment. It's also handy on the odd occasion when a game happens at our place, and someone decides to use one of the armies that's already in the cabinets - saves me getting them out of a cupboard somewhere.

Obviously it's not always practical to display an army if you're using it frequently; it's not worth the hassle of pulling it out and putting it away over and over. However, many of us have more than one army, or more models in the army than we regularly use. These things are ideal candidates to be put on display. If the alternative is them being stashed in a box or a case, wouldn't it be better if they were somewhere people can appreciate them?

I've also found that having a display cabinet helps motivate me to paint models that I might not use very often. It can be hard to prioritise painting something when you know there are other models that would get far more use. If I know the model will be on display, I am far happier to spend the time painting it - even if it is little more than a "shelf piece".

Just something to bear in mind if you're like I used to be, and hiding all your handiwork away in a dark place. Bring it out into the light and you (and others) will appreciate it more.


  1. Wow it looks great, will probably also serve as an inspiration to a new hoodling in your house in the future ;);)

    1. Thanks. Of course, I've now managed to get my hands on another, much larger display cabinet. And it's still not enough. Sigh.