Monday, 9 May 2016

Gaming Rooms, Hobby Dens, Home Studios, and Man-Caves : A Few Thoughts and Pics for Inspiration

I've been giving a lot of thought to game / hobby rooms and man-caves lately.  As a quick blog post, I've pulled a bunch of pics off the Net and pasted them below, along with some initial impressions and ideas (NOTE: I apologize in advance for any peculiarities of format of this article... I did some cutting and pasting of text and images, and for some reason Blogger got really really confused by this):

Link to original source page.

This is a FANTASTIC game room.  Stylishly adorned (although maybe not to my wife's tastes), plenty of hidden storage under the gaming tables, lots of light, places to put down a few drinks and ranks of casualties along the wall mounted shelves... this is gorgeous setup.  This is what every gamer's basement should aspire to.  Hopefully this gamer's hobby and painting area is just as nicely done.

Link to original source page.

Speaking of model train rooms, this hobby room obviously belongs to a train enthusiast.  I like the used of cabinets and wall mounted shelves for storage.  The pics and maps on the walls are also a great touch... it's nice to have visual inspiration on hand.  While not an elegant setup (by design magazine standards, which is what some spouses and in-laws base their "good taste" on), it's actually quite tidy and organized.

These are the types of hobby rooms that might meet with spouse approval.  Especially if her hobby is drinking wine and collecting antique long guns.

Those are some beautiful cabinets.  The way the lighting is set up, and the professional design and layout... this screams money.  It's like a wonderful private museum for when the rich Illuminati get together on weekends.  I would LOVE to see something like this, but geared towards the gamer / mini-painter / hobbyist.  I dunno... anyone got any pics of George R.R. Martin's private mini collection?

Link to original source page.

Speaking of classy... this is a pretty nice display of reproduction fantasy swords and staves.  Most of them look like the United Cutlery line of Lord of the Rings swords, but some of them I don't recognize (but they still probably have plenty of meaning to the owner).  Again, tastefully done, although I'd probably keep them behind glass myself... I can see my 7 year old taking a few down and hacking up my man-cave while playing with them.

Love it though.  A great example of how geekery can be done tastefully.

Link to original source page.

This, unfortunately, is more common amongst geeks.  This is Adam Savage's (of Mythbusters fame) collection of movie props and reproduction pieces.  To a diehard geek, this collection is absolutely gobsmacking awesome.  To anyone else though, it looks like the cluttered set of the TV show, "Hoarders".  To be fair, he's got enough stuff in this one room to fill a multi-level museum.  It would be hard to imagine how else this could be artfully displayed in such a space.  As it is, I'd be worried that if I tried playing pool here, I'd accidentally smack and set off the Rocketeer's jet backpack, a la "The Empire Strikes Back" ("Boba Fett?  Where?").

This wall of display cabinets are done pretty nicely as well.  Probably not TOO expensive to do, either.  I understand that there are inexpensive glass doors sold for the IKEA “BILLY” bookcase line that would do the trick.  Add a tiny bit of weatherstripping around the edges of the doors, and it’d be dustproof too.

Plenty of gamers would have something more like this setup.  Plenty of eye-candy on display for the gamer, but for non-gaming guests, it may look like a confusing mess (although from up close, you can tell that it’s actually pretty tidy and organized).  From a design standpoint, I would probably try and have a bookcase and display case that were pretty close in dimension and scale.  Similarly, I would prefer to have them in the same colour if possible.  This would make for a more seamless transition visually, and make it easier for your eye to read.
The colours of the shelving units are also something to consider.  The white is nice in a small room because it recedes into the light coloured walls nicely, and visually opens up the space.  However, I do like black too, because the colours of the models pop better against it, and black has a nice museum-quality to it that acts like a nice picture frame.  The only drawback to black is that it shows dust easily, and it visually occupies a lot of space.

Having both units with such dissimilar footprints and overall dimensions breaks the flow of the room quite a bit too.  What I would have liked to see instead of that puny (in comparison to the glass door cabinet) bookcase is another cabinet with the exact same dimensions, but perhaps with opaque doors instead of glass ones.  This would allow you to cram all sorts of modelling supplies and unsightly mess, and still have a clean streamlined appearance in the room.  That being said, I’ve also seen many books artfully displayed in glass door bookcases too… something about the doors frame the books nicely, so opaque isn’t the only way to go.

I guess the big thing is that the beautiful fully painted minis should be the focus of everyone’s attention, not the boxes of unassembled models and bottles of flock.  If the supplies were in covered cabinets, then they would not be competing for attention with the gorgeous paintjobs.

Now THIS is gaming and display done very well.  Museum style display cabinets in the back, with a clean, classy gaming table before it, with plenty of room to walk all the way around it.  If I was to nitpick, this room might benefit from some nicely framed art and decorative items on the walls as well (the space above the alcove is just screaming for a horizontally displayed sword, or a movie prop fantasy tavern sign), but I can’t really say much else about it.

Hmmm… could THIS pic be of the same room, only taken from the other end of the table? :
A very cool hobby area setup.  You’ve got nicely laid out and organized paint racks, little tiny drawers for bits and small tools, a photography setup at the far right, and a computer for picture processing and surfing for reference photos on the far left.  Larger tools and hobby supplies probably stored in the drawers underneath it all too.

The one thing is that I normally prefer to have my work space in a separate area.  To me, they are like garages and artist studios.  They are naturally very cluttered, messy areas.  You wouldn’t want a mechanic’s garage and the supercar sales showroom occupying the same space, as one is a messy workspace, and the other is a pristine display.  Similarly, you wouldn’t want to entertain high society guests in the same room where wine is being pressed… it’s hard to feel classy about drinking fine wine when there’s someone stomping barefoot on grapes right next to you.

However, in the context of everything being all part of one “man-cave”, it works regardless.

Not quite as classy as the previous example, but probably almost just as functional.  This is still a man-cave I could definitely live with.  Great work space with great lighting and tools easily at hand.  Although without any space underneath the work surface, there’s no room to tuck your knees in so that you can get right up and cozy with your minis and paints.  That can lead to serious back pain as you crouch far forward in your chair to work.

The gaming table looks interesting.  It’s almost as if the varnished brown wood top is set atop of a regular dining table.  It would have to be anchored down somehow to prevent tipping over, if that’s the case.

This is an interesting one.  My first instinct would be to replace all the bookcases with closed door cabinets so that your eye would be free to focus on the nice gaming table.  However, unlike hobby supplies, I think books are beautiful things.

However, books can also be visually chaotic and cluttered looking, unless organized and displayed properly.  There are plenty of pics of private libraries online that illustrate this idea… many libraries are sumptuous and inviting, whereas others look like rat nests.
The way to improve this room would be to replace all the bookcases with the same kind… not necessarily identical to one another, but at least thematically and dimensionally the same family.

This is better.  The cabinets against the far wall are visually related and sympathetic in dimension and appearance.  The table is a good size as well, and can be worked around easily.  I might have added some doors to the shelves of both the cabinets and the table though, just to clean up the look of the room and refocus the viewer’s attention to the game in play and at the armies in the cases.  A few art pieces on the walls above the glass cabinets would be a nice touch, and I would move the sword to the column between them.  Also, the room could use better lighting.

My wife hates valances above windows and doors, so those would have to go.  She does have a point… the era of the pleated valance has come and gone.
Love the big AT-AT.  Damn, that’s nice.

One question I would love answered is whether or not the short bookcases holding up the gaming table have wheels on them.  It would be interesting to have a table you could break down between games... put the terrain and models away, put the green table top against the wall or in a closet, and then wheel the supporting bookcases back against the walls to open the space up again.  Hmmm…

I have the same idea about this game table.  Take the table top off and store it somewhere, and then push the “legs” back against the wall to be regular old bookcases again.

My only concern would be whether or not the table is very stable when set up.  Perhaps you’d have to have to incorporate some way of clamping the tabletop down to the cases, so that it doesn’t tip off when you lean on one end, or bump into the table.

Another simple, attractive, and functional gaming table.  More artwork on the walls would be nice though  (you guys should see a theme in my personal tastes by now).  This room looks a little stark, and art would make it a bit more interesting and inviting.

If the last room was a bit bare and cold, this one is a bit too busy.  Not the same hobby as us, but I like this pic in terms of it being a good example of someone showing off their passion like we gamers / mini-painters like to do.  This guy definitely put some thought and consideration into planning out this room, but then crammed it to overflowing with sports memorabilia.  It’s really hard on the eyes, and can use a little bit of negative space just to open it up a tiny bit.

Now this is a seriously neat and tidy work space.  Yeesh… mine certainly doesn’t look like this.  I really like it, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t see myself keeping it so neat and tidy over time.  It’s inspiring though.  Lots of lighting, a combination of closed and open storage, lots of open table space to work, and even the colours and dimensions look harmonious.

They say that a cluttered work space can be stressful to work in.  If that’s the case, then this room would be like zen meditation.

Okay, I’ve rambled on long enough for one blog post.  I’m pretty sure I could keep going on and on for days by pulling up more and more pictures off of Google and Pinterest.  For now, I’ll just end this article with this pic of a really cool hidden door that would be the ultimate finishing touch for any man-cave. 

Really now… what would be cooler than a “Scooby-Doo” style hidden door to your hobby room?  There are a million reasons to have something like this.  Where would I even start?

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Final Pics : Warhammer 40K Space Marine Salamanders Fire Raptor

Fire Raptor is now finished, and already kicking butt in the hands of my friend.  Below are some quick pics I took with my iPhone shortly before shipping it out to him.

The overall shot.  I really like the lines on this model... something about it reminds me of the old Lamborghini Countach (I think I spelled that right...) that I lusted after as a kid.  All sorts of sharp edges... not at all like the modern day super sports cars that are all rounded and bulbous.

The pic below is the 3/4 front angle.  Again, sorry about the crappy pics... they were quickly taken at home, under less than ideal lighting, with my iPhone 5.  Since I didn't know when I'd see this model in person again (my buddy lives a few towns over from me), I thought it prudent to some pics in case I needed to use them as a reference later.

Top view below.  Note the use of some colour modulation, and minor superficial battle damage, primarily directed at the front leading edges.  A little bit of freehand work as well, but because of time constraints, I couldn't go as far as I would have liked.

These little ball turrets were neat.  Since they were assembled before painting, I was a little afraid that there would be complications when painting it, but it turned out fine.

After painting the cockpit canopy a few different colours, I went back and decided to do it up in black.  Simple, understated, and it gave it a little bit of the negative space it needed from all the green.

A look at the tail end of the gunship.  Notice that I concentrated the colour modulation highlights towards the front of the aircraft.  This is to give the viewer the impression of movement, and to draw their eye to the leading areas as a focal point.

I also hit the engine exhausts with some Tamiya Smoke and a tiny bit of Tamiya Flat Black, through the airbrush.  It gave it the impression of scorching.

Another view of the weathering on the leading edge of the wing (which would presumably be taking all sorts of minor impacts from flying through explosions and clouds of debris), scratches on the engine intake, and the ball turret.

This last pic is a size comparison between the massive Fire Raptor, and a much smaller Land Speeder.

Speaking of comparisons, check out this link to a post I wrote back in 2012.  There's a pic of a Salamanders dreadnaught I painted some time in the mid 90s, and some observations on how mini painting has really changed since then.  It's worth a read.

Anyway, off to bed now.  It's Mother's Day tomorrow, and I expect I'll be busy.  Funny how moms want everyone to spend the whole day with them on their day, but dads just want a full day to themselves and their own hobbies instead, eh?

Hope you enjoyed the pics, and my rambling musings on them.  As always, questions, comments, and light hearted insults always welcome.  ;)