Home Forums General General Storage- an ongoing problem. Had any good solutions?

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    Avatar photoBarks

    Hello all,


    I’m moving house again, which forces the horrific reality check of how many little men I have. And how inadequate my storage and transport solutions are- random boxes, trays, magnets, foam cases, steel paper, etc.


    So I’ve been looking into getting a better storage option. Here’s some thoughts on an ‘ideal’:





    space-efficient (both in terms of number of figures held, and ability to fit on shelving)

    readily available

    variable heights for 6mm troops to 28mm monsters

    able to take magnetic basing



    I’m  confident many of us are in the same situation. Has anyone found a definitive solution they’re really happy with?


    Avatar photoMike

    My instant thought is for Really Useful Boxes.
    When I kept a lot of stock on hand rather than use JIT as I do now.
    I kept my stock in them.

    Avatar photoRuarigh

    I use Really Useful Boxes and Figures in Comfort foam trays. The 50l and 64l boxes hold two stacks of trays each, and the boxes can be easily stacked on top of each other and put out of the way. They are also sturdy enough for most purposes. I tend to stack them under my gaming table or in the attic rather than on shelves though. I’m not sure whether switching to this solution really counts as affordable though. I’ve built up this collection of trays and boxes over the years as I have needed them.

    My other storage solution is foam and video cases. I use this for my 6mm WW1 and WW2 figures which are on smaller bases (Max. size 30mm x 15mm and 20mm x 20mm bases). I bought a couple of metres of foam from eBay and a ton of video cases all very cheaply. Then I cut the foam to size and glue it to the lids of the cases. Some magnetic sheet in the base and steel paper under the figures, and Bob’s me uncle. Being small, the video cases fit easily on shelves, and they have the added advantage that I can make pretty inserts for the sleeve of the case detailing the case’s contents. They are also quite sturdy.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.


    Avatar photocmnash

    I use IKEA Helmer steel cabinets and have had inserts cut from 6mm mdf at my local B&Q to create lift out shelves.  The drawers are deep enough to get 2 layers of 28mms and I’ve had 3 of 6mms.  This pic shows some of my 28mms in a drawer

    Bit of magnabase on the underside stops them sliding around – job done.


    Avatar photoDeleted User

    Easy solution? Give stuff away.

    No, seriously. Go through your collection with a hard eye & divest yourself of any things you don’t think you’ll use in the next 5 years.

    I gave away 2 armies the Christmas before last (sizeable Napoleonic Austrians: say 400 figures & a Soviet force including 25 tanks, artillery, trucks etc).

    This made me feel good on several levels.



    (I use plastic storage boxes too: not Really Useful Boxes which are a British brand but ones with drawers in them. I cut cheap felt to fit the bottoms which also inhibits figures sliding around).

    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    I made the decision long ago that storage equals transport. All mu figures are in wooden drawers beneath the gaming table, and when I need to transport them, I simply take out the drawer, put some bubblewrap on top, and that’s it.

    I wrote a blogpost about this some time ago: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.be/2015/05/storage-and-transport-of-wargaming.html

    From this blogpost, and an important mental and emotional threshold to overcome:
    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.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    Avatar photoMike Headden

    I use the 9L Really Useful Boxes with various hobby tray type inserts.

    Having bought in bulk from various online cheap deals and got enough storage for all of my unpainted minis and painted armies I have, inevitably, bought more “Ooh! Shiny!” and need more boxes.


    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

    Avatar photoOtto Schmidt

    I wrote this on another thread. It’s how I handle permanent storage and also temporary for movement. As both were mass produced by non-wargaming companies economy of scale coms in and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I’ve seen most war game storage made for the hobby and it’s very poor.  In the temporary storage  method below it’s cheap and while it requires a bit of work, it will keep minis protected for a long time, is not bulky and can be easily replaced.


    A decade or so ago I bought about a dozen American Standard Bookshelves with moveable shelves and cut myself extra shelves so I can make storage cases with shelves about 5 inches high. For these resulting 5″ by 32″ wide spaces I made “drawers” out of wood and lexan that allowed me to slide them in and out of these spaces. The Lexan was on the front so you could see into the shelf which was electrified and you could see all the minis therein. There were about 8 shelves per case and the lower 3 feet of the shelf was large open space to stack up board games and books. So the minis are sort of always on display. These are in my hobby room.
    I like to see my minis.
    The shelves are quite handy. You can pull them out of the bookcase and take them over to the table , pick out the figures you wish, and then return the self tray to the case.
    They can be made for any case. Simply take a piece of pine 5″ by 12″ and saw diagonally from two opposite corners to make two right triangles. On the 5″ side rabbet with a router a grove parallel to the short side and 1/2″ in. On the long bottom side cut a piece of white faced Masonite to the size of the shelf. Screw and drill and glue the supports to the white Masonite, and to each upright screw a small handle to move the shelf around with. Place a piece of 5″ by 31″ lexan in the rabbeted grove and you are done. I use a top reinforce of a dowel glued in to the sides because my figures are rather heavy. This is what I call the carry-shelves.
    I originally tried a heating element across a larger piece of lexan to make the base and front of the shelf in one piece, but it was too weak.

    I got fancy and used address labels printed out with the name of the unit affixed to the base so each unit had its own shelf and place. The lighting was provided by using those small “under lighting units for kitchen cabinets. I’ve not mentioned above a lot of fuss and fit fidgets I developed over time. For example, a 1/2″ back lip to prevent minis from sliding back off the shelves, and stops here and there, but it works well.
    By the way for transporting troops to and from convention I use the 15” white mailers you can get at any STAPLES or OFFICE DEPOT store. To the bottom of these I attach thin strips of cardboard scarphed from any old packing case. These are glued on top of ribs of basswood so that the stand can be “locked” under the lip to prevent the stand moving around in transit. The boxes nest exactly into a larger packing crate, also available from staples so whole armies can be “unitized” for transport. The lips and ribs in the bottom of the box lock the stands in and I have dropped them on all sides and the stands rarely come out of the guides. Best of all, the way I do it on the bottom it does not prevent the mailer from being knocked down flat for compact storage after the convention or distant game.


    Avatar photoSane Max

    I use A4 box-files. They are stackable, light, and come in different heights. I only play in 28mm or smaller, and the only figures a standard box file can’t handle are cavalry with Xystons. Most of my armies will fit in 3 or 4 of them. I stack them on Billy Bookcases from Ikea, I have 5 of them in my wargames room, and my wife gave me a filthy look when I admitted I was getting close to needing another.

    The issue I have with plastic boxes is that the floors are almost never flat, to add strength, so you lose a lot of the possible space they take up.

    I used to use cardboard Bankers Transfer boxes – deeper and cheaper. However they are not sufficiently sturdy. My magnetic based figures went on woolworths baking trays (which were about 1.99 each) which fitted them perfectly, but I stacked some 4 deep and the lower ones subsided under the weight. Luckily as i cycle to my club, my figures need to go in figure cases for transport to a game, and I have lots of the very first GW figure cases – I bought them cheap when GW dumped the line – so my tall figures can live in a dozen of those kept under my wargames table.

    In all honesty, storage is not THAT much of a problem for us compared to other hobbyists. Try Golf. My brother’s garage is a death trap of clubs, balls, bags……


    Avatar photoRhoderic

    I use A4 box-files. They are stackable, light, and come in different heights. I only play in 28mm or smaller, and the only figures a standard box file can’t handle are cavalry with Xystons. Most of my armies will fit in 3 or 4 of them.

    This is my new, still-unfinished solution as well. It helps that I work at an archive so I can take used ones home. I intend to make my own inelegant-but-functional tray inserts out of sturdy 2mm card, cut-up bits of sponge and PVA glue. It’s not the quickest solution as there’s some DIY required, and not the prettiest either, but it’s the cheapest and I expect it will be functional.

    One problem is that the box-files I’m using keep giving me the most grievous papercuts (or cardcuts, rather) I’ve ever experienced. Need to do something about those edges. At work I’m wearing archival gloves all day so it’s not a problem. Maybe I should start wearing them whenever I handle my miniatures as well 

    Avatar photoGrimheart

    I use eight of these from Ikea for all a lot of my stuff these days, gives me 48 drawers and a “shelf” display area on top:


    I leave the castors off and have them stacked two high. The drawers are each approx 9.5 cm high internally for plenty high enough for 28mm etc.

    For terrain I have a several large decorative card boxes but may swap these to staudier Really Useful ones at some point.


    Interest include 6mm WW2, 6mm SciFi, 30mm Old West, DropFleet, Warlords Exterminate and others!

    Avatar photowillz

    Really useful boxes are by far the best solution, inexpensive, sturdy and very useful.

    Avatar photoTony Hughes

    I bought a number of Bisley type metal drawer sets when a manufacturer had them on offer – still not cheap but they are ideal for storing my 3mm & 6mm stuff. Now that I’m finishing the painting service I can start to use the two I bought to keep jobs in progress as well.

    Ships I keep in box files with home-made inserts so some are two trays deep & others 3.

    I’m using RU Boxes for projects ongoing as well as storage of larger 20 & 28mm figures & vehicles.

    My best buy was a box of 40 A4 polythene boxes from Weston Boxes, all perfectly sound but just swirly colours as they were made as the machine was switching between colours. Even with shipping they cost only just over £1 each and I split them with a mate. These now hold all my 10mm stuff.

    All good solutions but not very consistent.



    Avatar photoRadar

    I bought some figure chests from Sally 4th. Then bought more figures, needed more matching boxes. I now have lots of Sally 4th boxes. Can’t think why?

    Really Useful Boxes are good, Sally 4th have made inserts for them that might be of interest

    Avatar photoMartinR

    I use A4 boxfiles line with steel paper. For 2mm and 6mm figs I build extra trays within them (you can easily get three layers of 2mm figs in a low profile A4 boxfile).

    One of my pals swears by Really Useful Boxes, but they seem very expensive compared to the humble boxfile and I hate all the waste space on my limited shelving space. I have some 54mm figs in some RUBs, but they’ve ended up on the floor under my daughters bed!

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoPatrice

    For miniatures storage at home I use IKEA Helmer steel cabinets, as cmnash mentioned above.

    For miniatures transport I mostly use traditional Breton biscuits metal boxes such as this; they come in different sizes; in Brittany you can find many old ones in second-hand sales for one or two euros.

    For terrain storage… one member of my gaming group just came with a new idea!

    I’ve to try it …Although, as I live in the countryside, I fear it will quickly become spiders farms… in which case I should scratch-build Shelob’s lair too. 



    Avatar photoAutodidact-O-Saurus

    I use plastic ‘Sterilite’ 3 drawer, stackable containers. Currently they are stored underneath my painting desk. Previously, they located on wire shelving units used to support my gaming table. When I bought these years ago at the local DYI store I got a good sale price of $6 per unit. The drawers are 2 1/2 inches tall so fit most everything. Exceptions include cavalry with highly raised weapons, 54mm cav, etc.

    They’re tagged and numbered and are referenced in a spreadsheet so I can find anything in a flash.

    I also have a number of larger, wheeled containers, mostly for the 54s, but I’m slowly disposing of those as I downsize my hobby stuff.


    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    Re: terrain storage. Bubble wrap is your friend. I tend to wrap hills, buildings in it & place many items in a few really large plastic storage containers with no damage.



    Avatar photoBarks

    Thanks, everyone, there are some thought-provoking ideas here. I think I’ll look into RUBs and Sally 4th, although Australian shipping will be a pain.


    For those who have built internal trays for, say, A4 box files, how did you go about it?

    Avatar photogreg954

    For those who have built internal trays for, say, A4 box files, how did you go about it?

    Interesting thread. I’ve just started a bespoke storage and work area. Mainly with my wargaming in mind. I will be getting to a point of customising the internal part of cabinets.

    As for building internal trays I am thinking of using, say 6mm MDF. Cutting to size (in this case to fit A4 box). I would maybe look to cut/router slots to fit together to form the dividers. Similar construction like these shelf’s as an example.

    Could possibly make two or more shallow trays with this technique. To fit inside a A4 box, however. I would have to try it first to see if it could be done with the dimensions.

    Avatar photoSane Max

    For those who have built internal trays for, say, A4 box files, how did you go about it?

    Plywood with feet at the corners. but all you really need is an ‘upside down’ open box, with a finger hole in the middle for lifting it out, if you are the careful type. If you are not careful, you (I) need the top surface to have a lip on it.

    My daughter’s BF suggested he could digitally print something pretty good. sadly, there is no real industry standard size for A4 boxes – you want the inner tray to be as flush as possible, and a small variation in box size spoils it all a bit.

    Avatar photojagannath

    I use:

    – 2mm bases for everything with either 2mm or 3mm magnets (depending on mini size/weight).

    For 15mm (the majority of my minis) I then use the smaller one of these:

    Large Silver Rectangular Tin with Either a Solid or Window Stepped Slip or Hinged Lid

    I’ve got about 50. Minis live in the lid, the tins are stored upside down (i.e. lid down) in really useful boxes, each tin holds 30 odd 15s.I can store loads, very securely.

    Same for 28s or Monsters, but the larger tin isn’t as space efficient… it’s ‘too’ deep.

    Avatar photoFredd Bloggs

    Really useful boxes, and then signmakers magnetic sheet across the bottom (this is the stuff removable car and van signs are made from, they often have a pile of offcuts which are perfect for your purposes. Metal washer or magnetic strip your bases and away you go.

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