Designing the Nerd Cave–Modeling Workbench

    I’ve been buildling models since about the age of ten and I’ve had a model workbench everywhere I’ve lived since 1989.  I’m a huge military history buff and I used to build 1/35 scale armor models almost exclusively.  However, in the years since my kids were born, I’d gotten bored with them, had less time and all but lost interest.  They tended to be massive dust collectors and I had pretty much maxed out my skills on them.

     In the years before our house fire, I’d started dabbling in Warhammer, 40K, Lord of the Rings miniatures, spacecraft and large scale figures. I actually had a pretty nice Warhammer Vampire Counts army progressing. Key word: had.

     As things have gotten back to normal and I considered where I want to go with my hobbies, I decided to focus on two areas as far as modeling is concerned.  First up is science fiction.  Per my wife’s condition that no aircraft models hang from the ceiling of the Nerd Cave, I’m planning on a massive invasion of spacecraft.  In the near future, I hope to look up to see the U.S.S. Cygnus, Battlestar Galactica, Millenium Falcon, and a myriad of other cool kits hanging from the ceiling.  Maximum use of space is one of my tenets. So, around Christmas, I awoke my inner eBayer from a long slumber. I’ve since managed to build up a nice little collection of kits that should keep me and Little Man busy for quite awhile.

     My second focus is going to be on miniatures.  I’ve loved miniatures since the first Grenadier & Ral Partha blister packs I bought when I was eleven. I discovered the worlds of Games Workshop in 2004 and have been more-or-less addicted ever since. I’ve read almost every Black Library novel published in the last 10 or so years and actually managed to salvage a few (YES!) from the back of a bookcase in my old bedroom.  I’m not a fan of GW’s prices but their fluff, particularly the 40K universe is simply amazing.  I tend to be drawn to dystopian settings in fiction and if there was ever a poster-child for dystopian settings, it’s Warhammer 40K.  If Dante could read some 40K fiction he’d be like “Dudes, lighten up a little…you’re bumming me out.”

         My six year old son has begun to take a great interest in my various hobbies.  “Great interest” actually doesn’t do reality justice.  If I would carry him around with me like Yoda in Luke’s backpack, he’d sign up for it.  He’s what we refer to around here as “all up in my business.”  Therefore, I wanted a nice-sized workbench where we could work on projects side-by-side.  And yes folks, once again, CB2 stepped up with a rolling metal desk (work area is 48″ x 24″) from the go-cart line.  Two simple & comfortable chairs—from you know where—complete the set-up.

     I’ve since added a rolling file cabinet (CB2 yet again) for tool & accessory storage as well as a couple of small drawer organizers and a nice halogen desk lamp (Lite Source LS-306PS Halotech) from A recent trip to Hobby Lobby restocked many of the tools, cements, paintbrushes, etc. that I lost in the fire.

Modeling HQ awaiting a project

 The cherry on top of this area is CB2’s red wall bookshelf. And yup, it’s red, it’s a bookshelf, and it mounts on the wall.  It provides a great place to keep modelling references handy and the bright red color looks great against the dark blue walls.

     My only criticism of the piece is that, because of the spacing of the mounting holes (on each corner), I wasn’t able to screw directly into a stud (16″ apart) on both ends.  I ended up having to use a drywall anchor on one side and even with the shelf empty, I wasn’t confidant that side would bear much weight.

     I ended up screwing a third screw just under the upper frame into a stud near the left side. If you didn’t know it’s there, you probably wouldn’t notice it. Of course I know it’s there and it bothers me.  To keep from going crazy, I hide it with a large magnetic arrow I borrowed from a set of bookends.  It looks like I’m being all artsy but it’s really just there so I won’t see that screw and let it gnaw at me like Oprah on a 72-hour chicken wing bender.  Not a perfect solution but it works.

   So there it is–My modeling workstation awaits its first project.  I suspect that  me and Mini-Me will be spending many an hour come winter amid the familiar aroma of Testors liquid cement and Squadron Green Putty.

Next time–Game on!