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Monday, 19 July 2021

Portable Miniatures Painting Station

Am I alone in being bombarded with Facebook adverts for wonderful, hand-crafted portable hobby painting stations? 


The one I seem to receive the most is for The Paint Case 2.0 by Frontier Wargaming (https://frontierwargaming.com/product/paint-case/).

 This wonderful item is fully customisable and is 46 × 12 × 31 cm and weighs 3.7kg empty. As standard it comes with, 4x Paint Drawers holding up to 128 Vallejo or 72 Citadel paints, 2x Large Toolboxes for brushes and tools (with optional dividers), 2x Miniature Holders, hosting five miniatures each, Protective Cutting Mat and Adjustable Shoulder Strap.

 All this for €102.50, which I guess isn’t to bad for what you get!

Having just bought ourselves a campervan, my wife and I don’t have €102.50 to spare! However, I can see the use for such an item to allow me to keep up to date with my hobby while we are away from home. How, then, could I create something similar, but at a fraction of the cost?

 The answer to my prayers is the Ikea Moppe mini chest of drawers made from birch plywood (42x18x32 cm)! 


Taking this as my starting point (it comes ready assembled which is nice!), I realised that the outer casing was quite thin and fairly flexible. Once the drawers were filled up with paint pots, tools, miniatures etc. I feared that the top might come off if I attached a handle. 


I decided that the best thing to do was to “beef” things up by adding an overall covering of 6mm plywood. 


I managed to get all the pieces I needed from one 600x1200mm sheet and a friend cut them out accurately on a table saw. 


These were glued in place and tacked at the edges for strength and put to one side to dry. 


Once dry and sanded, the entire cabinet received two coats of water-based Oak coloured satin varnish. 


A suitcase style handle from eBay was added to the top face and some felt feet to the bottom to stop scratches.


 I don’t think I need a shoulder strap, but one could easily be added later on. 


Rather than fit a hinged painting area, I opted to make mine removeable. When fitted this holds the drawers in place so I rivetted two spring-loaded toggle latches (again from eBay), one each side to make it secure, but easily removed.


 Again, I added felt pads to the corners so when placed on a table it won’t scratch it. 


I added an A4 cutting mat, from The Works, to the inner face (using double sided tape) to protect it when using a knife etc. and really that was about it! 


I may configure the drawers with inserts but haven’t rushed into this just yet. For example, the bottom (largest) drawer easily holds two rattle cans with room to spare for a clip-on LED USB light I bought to add to the case.


So, how much did it cost me so far?

 ·       Ikea Moppe - £17
·       6mm Plywood - £10
·       Wood Glue & Tacks - £2.50
·       Varnish - £4
·       Handle - £2.50
·       Toggle catches - £2
·       Cutting Mat - £3
·       LED Light - £4.00

In total £45 so a little under half the original item. Not too bad….and I enjoyed building it!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely! Certainly better looking than the old cardboard box I use, and you have a lot more room for customization later if you wish.

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