More adventures in 185mm - Display cabinets and counter tops.

Some more additions to the The Den have been in the works since summer.  I am working on completing the cabinetry and a new painting table to open up some space.  I received a Dado blade from the family for my Birthday this year, so I decided to run some self-tutorials and make some decent display cabinets for my miniatures.  I have focused on using some of the scraps from the shop to reduce the cost and dismay when I make the inevitable errors.

First up is the Mark I 

This was done using some left-over MDF and 1/4" chip board.  I wanted to get the grooves right, and also figure out how to add sufficient strength to keep the boards from sagging as occurred with this cabinet's older brethren.  The solution was to run the groove along the back board as well, providing support on three sides of the shelf.   It is a sturdy box, but does not fit well with the Oak veneer of the den, and I need to modify the shelves to prevent slippage.  The gaps are only two inches between shelves as I intended this for 6mm only.

Next came the Mark II

I managed to purchase a large modular glass display shelf from a department store that went under about 12 years ago in Moscow.  (You can see a portion on the edges of the pictures)  The units is made of a series of 14" by 6" tempered glass shelves held together by T and + shaped brackets.  I received far more shelves than I had brackets for, so I opted to try a cabinet using these as individual shelves.  The advantages are in the greater strength in the shelf and in the ability to see through them, which opens the option for cabinet lighting.  An unforeseen benefit I discovered was that the glass provides a little more stick, that prevents stands from shifting.   This unit was done from the same sheet of MDF and intended to hold either 6mm stands or 15mm Infantry.  I like the overall look, but I definitely need to paint it.  Further I need to space the shelves out more to allow for pikemen and lance armed cavalry.

This summer's Reconquista project demanded a change to my approach.  The larger, single unit Impetus stands, as well as the switch to 28mm figures meant I needed larger shelves with generous spacing to allow for the size of the stands, and the ability to reach in and manipulate figures without tipping stuff over.  The result is the MARK III

This one was done using the same glass shelves as well as White Oak panel plywood and red oak trim.  There is a 4" open space below the bottom shelf, as well as a 4" recess on the top to allow for the installation of lighting.  The 4" gap between was perfect for my needs, as least until I painted up my Knights of Calatrava.... (4.5" at the tip of the lance....)  The overall unit is very heavy, and I opted to lock the shelves in place for aesthetic reasons. I will probably end chipping out the ends to make the shelves removable as it will be easier to remove playing pieces.  

The unit is fairly tall, and does way heavily upon the shelf.  I decided, therefore to make some improvements and proceed with the Mark V

 Here I opted for a wider, shorter unit to reduce ground pressure.  (It works for tanks, right?)  I eliminated the under-light option, but maintained the space for lighting in the recess above.  The glass shelves can pull out, and I can therefore replace them with wood in the future if the fancy takes me.  I also left plenty of space with the top three shelves to allow for 28mm lance armed cavalry and the inevitable pikeman to sit comfortably.  

I have some plans for the Mark VI, but those will need to wait until the spring.  The first snows have fallen here in the Palouse, and the shop is without a viable heating option.  Even getting this unit stained and painted will be a challenge.  Also, I still have to completed the counter-top it will live on.


  1. Great work when I get some figures to display I will have the think about some thing like this.
    Peace James

  2. Great additions to the game room! Perhaps we should schedule a cabinetry work day in the spring. I have run out of book space and books are piling up everywhere. Oh, I could use display cabinets too.

    1. Not a problem. You are from the great lands of the Home Depot, bring a plywood offering and cabinets shall spring forth from the firmament.

  3. The Mark III is really lovely; it would be well worth adding the lighting to the top! Glass shelves are great (as seen here) if you can do them - some place a mirror at the back of the cabinet as well.

    Makes me think I should invest in decent display cabinets for my myriad troops some day.... except it would probably rival the cost of at least the raw lead!


    1. I can't afford to buy cabinets, but making them is proving to be far cheaper.

  4. Very clever Dart! Every Mark is a winner! I'm quite jealous. My woodworking tools are very poor, matching my woodworking skills. My armies will have to remain in cake boxes stacked on the floor.


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