My work area... compared to others

Back at Baltimore Games Day 2010, John from Santa Cruz Warhammer and I got to talking about our work areas and how much "stuff" we have. He just didn't understand how I couldn't have any.This is my work area. This is everything 40k that I own.
Yep, everything. And it's Command Central for FTW.

What's the point? Like I mentioned in the summary, John and I were talking about our armies at Games Day this year and when I told him that my entire collection (minus a couple other painted figures) was in my carrying case with me, he just about fell in the floor.

Now the next picture, this is John's area... or at least part of it.

He's got everything here and more.

I don't even have a chair, I stand while I sculpt and paint all day. I will say I do have a little stool to sit on while I'm working on the computer though.

You can see my tiny desktop area with only the paints I'm using at the time on top. The rest are stored right below. All of my stuff is in the tall plastic bookcase to the right of my desk. Everything is in there from bits, to magazines to my carrying case... everything. The only things not in there are my models that have been moved over to my fancy display case across the room. And every model I own fits in the top half of the thing.

Right above my desk (just out of the picture) is a huge fluorescent light that I paint under. I have a smaller one mounted on the wall in front of my desk as well.

At the bottom there is my whiteboard that keeps track of all my projects and stuff I need to do for the site. I keep track of commissions, post topics and progress on there. I'd forget things if I didn't write it all down.

I take pictures in the middle of all that stuff too. I just sort of push a few things aside, hold up my fill light card and snap away. No tripod, no nothing else. Photoshop helps clean things up, but I don't have the dedicated space for a photo area or lightbox.

I only own one army. It fits on two of the six shelves in my display case.

Any terrain I make I donate to my FLGS (Game Vault).
I have no room for it at home.

I do have a couple small boxes and some foam that I keep in the closet though. They are my shipping supplies. I buy foam to pack my commissions in and my Wife doesn't like to have the stuff lying around.

John calls it's a "minimalist" approach to the hobby.
I call it being realistic about the hobby.

I mean when am I going to have time for more than one army? Don't even get me started about Fantasy, I think the models look cool and I'd love to rank up line after line of troops, but when am I ever going to do that?

I don't keep every single bit for that one project I plan on getting to someday. I know it's not going to happen. Sure, I'd love to build this or convert that or scratchbuild one of these... but I just don't have enough hours in a day. I've got tons of amazing ideas in my head, but I decided a while ago that I would keep my 40k sprawl in check and focus on the few things I do have time for.

Before I went into the "minimalist" mode, I had four armies. All of them painted too. I figured I'd play them... one day.
I kept lots of stuff for terrain lying around that I "planned" to use... one day.
I had all kinds of spare pieces and bits for armies I was planning on building... one day.
I had tons of JUNK. That's what it amounted to.
So I kept the one army I enjoyed playing most of all and jettisoned the rest.

I'd like to start another army actually. I do have half of a display case to fill and I want to build a Custodes force with the upcoming Grey Knight rules. It would only be a handful of guys so I could focus on the converting and painting aspect of it.
And they wouldn't take up any more space really.

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. I love pictures of other peoples work areas.

    No idea why, just curiosity.

  2. I just reorganized my entire work space with the help of my mother-in-law who is a professional organizer. I was surprised how much junk I had laying around.

    I was considering hosting a contest where people submit their workspaces and the winner would be who has the ideal space in my opinion, and there would be another prize for who has the worst space and finally a random prize. I have some models I'm never going to build, maybe they should be the prize to help me clear out my inventory.

  3. Wow Ron, that is one tidy work area! I have three quarters of a garage dedicated to my many things gaming.

    I have a bad back and knees so could never paint and sculpt standing up.

    My workspace is a mess, well at least my painting desk is. Similar to John's table, but my bits and boxes are much more organized.

    I have WFB armies in boxes that realistically I will probably never play, but I keep them because I'd hate to have to repurchase them if I had the urge to finally get to them. I got them at a deep discount when I worked for GW, I definitely got my moneys worth outta that venture!

    I could never strap myself to one army, I'd get bored. In fact I cannot keep myself to one gaming system.

    Kudos to you for recognizing your limits. I may need to rethink some of my hobby a bit, cause at times I feel like a gaming pack rat.


  4. I’m jealous Ron; I’d love to be able to keep it all in check but it always keeps creeping back.
    Congrats on the nice work space.


  5. Karrde: It does provide some insight doesn't it?

    Faolain: I have a Wife who gives me clear boundaries with where "little men" stuf can and cannot be. Sometimes I like to push and see how far I can get.

    But it is interesting to clear out everything and see how much "junk" you do collect over time. Stuff you will never use.

    Big Jim: A garage, you have a garage? I am jealous. I suspect if I had one, that's where I would be with my stuff too.

    It's perfectly fine to have more than one army for more than one gaming system, I would just encourage people to take a look at all their stuff (junk) and see what can be let go of. That may even make some room for new stuff.

  6. For those interested, this is my work space fairly recently:

    It has gone quite a bit more messy after that. I have this odd way of putting tons of paint pots in my mat and I end up painting at the edge of the table. It's like I would forget what paint I used it I put them back with the other paints. We hoomies/mon-keigh are funny and odd creatures :)

    @BigJim/@Ron Garages, or using their proper American name, car holes, are for storing cars. That's what I keep in my car hole. The hobby room on the other hand should be stuff with hobby stuff:)

  7. You stand while painting? That sounds horrible, not so much the standing, but the trying to paint while standing. Seems so wobbly. I guess if you sit all day at work you might like to stand during hobby time. I don't sit at all during work, so I like to put my butt in a chair, when it's personal time. It's a tidy space you have though.

  8. Nice one Flekkzo ol' buddy! My garage is my hobby room, you silly dude.

    I live in California with relatively nice weather year round and have no need for a proper car hole!


  9. Ron, you seriously need a bar-like chair, to paint over there. something collapsable would fit you minimalistic space :D

    Karrde, go here
    and look tons of other people work areas! ;D

  10. Errr... whe3re are all your miniatures ? Surely that's not enough space to store everything !? Have you forgotten those boxes under your bed :)

    my WFB Gallery
    my WFB Reports
    my WFB blog

  11. Having moved from Freezing Cold Place A to Freezing Cold Place B the car hole is for cars. That said I'd love to have an extra garage just for the hobby. Could stuff in a gaming table as well:)

  12. For those interested this is my desk space - which is, of course, only a tiny fraction of the overall Secret Weapon workspace....

    Clicking through the image into Flickr will also give you notes on what is where.

    In addition to this I have a 4x6' table in the living room with sculpting or painting on it. Normally one or the other, seldom both, so I can work and watch movies with the missus or keep an eye on my baby son.

    Then there's the workshop with an airbrush station, 20 gallon air compressor, 4 pressure tanks, two casting tables, one shipping table, a rack full of pigments, a rack full of scenics and my bits boxes, a rack full of shipping supplies... and more!

  13. A very timely post Ron, I've just come to the same conclusion on space and some of those boxes that will never be opened. Though I’m not sure I'll be able to reach the level of Spartan discipline you display ;)

    Currently commencing a pre Crimbo clear out on Ebay.Problem is I keeping seeing new shinys to bid ...strong.

  14. Ron,

    That is not a desk, that is a shelf.

    no chair?

    you stand the whole time?

    I think that is a Guantanamo torture technique, right up there with water boarding.

    you need a window and a plant, also please get rid of that 100 year old CRT monitor that is cooking your eyes and replace it with an LCD flat screen, elevate the new flat screen so you can push it away from you and stash the keyboard under it, that will give you room to work on the computer desk, save your eyes and sit in a damn chair.

    Standing still for too long is bad, your knees will lock and your feet will swell.

    or you could put a picnic table in the back yard.

    don't make me send you a chair and an LCD monitor.

    I am cleaning up my desk area a bit, and then buying more stuff.

    Santa Cruz Warhammer

  15. Flekkzo: I too end up pushing myself off my workspace by setting paints down in front of me.

    Skeller: To be honest, I have trouble painting sitting down. I don't know how you all do it.

    Nesbet: I have a small stool I sit on when I'm working at the computer... I'm using it as I type right now.

    Bix: Be strong, I know you can do it. My Wife has a system. If you haven't used/gamed with it in the past 6 months, set it aside, if it's been over a year, get rid of it. Chances are you won't use it in the next year either.

    SC John: Don't be jealous. Sometimes my feet hurt, but I am getting one of those cool mats you can stand on that make your feet feel good.

    I have no plants, but I do have a couple of plastic monkeys.

    I do have two windows in the room. My Wife was kind enough to take the bars off once I promised not to try and escape.

    And I do need a new monitor, the one we have now is really old and the screen is starting to go bad. Maybe Christmas.

    And to those who sent in links to their workspaces, Thanks! I added them to the post.

  16. Good God man! I'm a neat freak who just died a little.

    Ron, you deserve a chair. They're not expensive, go buy one.

    Yoda says "Excess 40K 'anything' does not clutter make."

  17. Since we're sharing:

    Shelves shelves and more shelves... the cupboards are full, either scenery or power tools for the most part (some of that is my bro's to be fair).
    I could never throw out my old minis - my nearly 20 year old Dark Angels still have pride of place on one of my many sets of display shelves.
    I like going back to my old minis, reminds me how far I've come if I'm having a crappy painting day and I do sometimes pull them out for KillTeam or =I= games if I haven't in a while.

  18. oni: Very funny, now if my Wife believed in the force I'd be fine.

    Gotthammer: Holy cow man!

  19. Brilliant post.

    Unfortunately I fall into the latter category. I have been cataloguing my collection over the last few weeks. I had stuff I had actually forgotten including over a hundred unassembled imperial guardsmen and a couple of thousand points of Warriors of Chaos.

    What method did you use to jettison your excess?

    I'm thinking eBay but would love to hear more ideas.

  20. GDMNW: Good question.
    I ended up letting go of most all my stuff at swap meets. My FLGS would hold them and I would take it all in with the intention of not taking any of it back home with me.

    Other options could include:
    2. The Barter Bucket over at Santa Cruz Warhammer. There's always people looking for stuff.
    3. Donating to help others armies. If someone starting out needs a tank or something and you have one you're not using and you know it will go to a good home.
    4. Other online selling places like Rogue Market (I think that's the name of it).

    I'm sure there are more, but those are the first couple that come to mind.

  21. ... I can not believe you do all your work standing up. Insane.

  22. I'm all for minimalist workspaces but no chair? Ron you're a hero! Here's a recent pic of my workspace (I have a chair, it's just not in the pic...)

  23. Well Ron after reading you're post about you’re working space. You made me think.
    I now have small 1750 points army of black templars. I do think I will have more points when I add everything I want.
    But I also just got space hulk (was like a gift from heaven) so I was thinking 'hmm blood angels look nice'
    At the very first beginning of the hobby I had something like 'first paint everything I have & then buy new stuff!'
    But I kind of let that go. I work now and I don’t have much limit as before when I started playing 40K.
    And I also have a 3rd edition chaos marine battle force waiting to be converted to a nurgle/khorne 1750 pts.
    So I got like 1 army half painted and put together. 2 in my minds. I have something like ‘hmm why not a fantasy army?’
    I do think everyone had and has such a feeling before.
    Only little problem here is my girlfriend. See keeps me in line.
    Every time asking 'do you need it?' 'Ok that is the last thing!' 'Ok you can have space hulk I know you want it so badly!'
    I even left my chaos battle force at her place just so I couldn't start building them. But you made me think more clearly.
    I don't need lots of armies! I need armies I really want to play and paint!
    Plus I don’t have all the space (yet) to make that much armies.
    But some models really look just so cool! And It is tricky to build an army around them.
    But like I said you made look and think the right way!

    First I will build my Black Templars to a good and kick ass army. After that I will start all over with my chaos army and in between paint a model or 2 i like.

    Because I don't want my girlfriend to kick my ass ;)

  24. Ron,

    Talk to Chuck about a monitor. I'm pretty sure he has a flat-screen for you. Also - get him to post pictures of his workspace then let me talk to your wife to learn her secrets.

    And you stand up while painting? My back hurts just hearing that.


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