Monday, December 13, 2010

From the Desk: Displaying Models

There's plenty of discussion out there about how to transport models, but displaying them at home is a whole different ballgame. Perhaps I'm slightly insane, but I like to have all my painted models in a display case. Whether it's pride or an obsessive compulsive streak, I actually enjoy unpacking my models from the toolbox and placing them back on glass display shelves. For those of you looking for such options, I'm going to review two such cases that I've had first hand experience with.

First is the Detolf case from Ikea. I really liked this display case a lot. It's remarkably study for being 4 sheets of glass. A while ago I posted about adding shelves to that case as well, which worked great. The upsides of the Detolf:
* It's relatively cheap
* It looks nice
* It doesn't require lights in order to get good views of models (especially with glass on all sides)
The downsides:
* It's glass all around (making it rather unsafe for toddlers)
* It has distinct gaps on either side of the door that let in a fair amount of dust

The second case, which is the one I have now, is the Bjursta (also from Ikea). There are two reasons that I "upgraded" to this display case. The first is that I simply ran out of space in the Detolf. The second reason is that I have a new son, and I needed something a little safer. I actually blocked out the glass on the lower doors with cardboard for the time being. The upsides of the Bjursta:
* It holds way more models, probably 5 times as much shelf space as an unmodified Detolf
* It's easier to make toddler-safe
* It has a convenient drawer in the middle to hold cards, dice, books, tokens, etc
* The shelf heights are adjustable
The downsides:
* It needs lighting added
* It's definitely more expensive, especially when adding in the cost of lighting
* It has a larger floor footprint, approximately twice that of the Detolf
* Reduced viewing angles of models inside

There are plenty of other options out there. When you look for a case, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
* Model height: Determine what your largest model is, then make sure the case has plenty of height for that model.
* Maneuvering space: Again, in regard to shelf heights, make sure you have plenty of space to get your hands in and move models around safely without knocking things over.
* Capacity: Make sure whatever you get has plenty of space for everything you want to display, with room to expand as well.

And now a quick picture. This is the top half of my own Bjursta case. It has all of my Protectorate, Legion, Cryx, and Malifaux models, with room to spare still. I added the led display lights to it with a switch on top of the case to activate them all. So far I've been extremely happy with this case.


bluecardinal said...

The display case looks great. I do have one question, do you worry about models falling over and chipping the glass? And do you worry about the shelf itself somehow falling over?

I ask because I just got a display case myself and these two things came to mind when putting my models in the case.

Scott said...

At first I was real careful about the glass, but I have to say I've never had a problem at all. The tempered glass is quite durable and I've never had a problem with it chipping or breaking in the 4+ years that I've had these cases. I do advise having something similar to little rubber washers to help keep the glass from sliding around (via some traction) for added safety.