When I got my first apartment, way back at the start of Medical School in 1977, I knew I wanted to take the bulk of my armies with me. Once I settled in, I bought first one and then a second "assemble yourself " faux walnut particle board shelf units. Not bad at all for the price, really. They went with me to my next apartment in medical school, then my room in a 4 bedroom condo rented \with 3 other students, then my apartment as an intern, then the apartment my wife and I moved into when I was a resident, then the condo we lived in when I started my medical practice, and finally our present home, where they have been for 33 years. About 20 years ago we had some pretty significant basement flooding, and that damaged both of the units. Between that, progressive sagging from the weight of all that lead for more than 45 years, and a looming crisis in storage space for my collection, this winter I decided it was time to replace the tried and true shelf units.
Over time, I had added this steel shelf unit
to the second "walnut" unit (note the sagging of the lower shelf)
Then a lightweight, easily assembled plastic shelf unit
and then a second of the same (sharp eyes will note some sagging already occurring after just a few years). Lead is heavy!
With shipping, all steel units were too expensive, and local DIY stores didn't seem to have any steel units on site. So I ordered some on line.. "Muscle Rack".
Made in Vietnam! The units are solid steel, but the shelves are fiberboard, but supported on all 4 sides which should reduce sagging. They were assembled easily enough, until it became clear that 4 key parts were missing; considering that they weren't included on the parts list (!), perhaps unsurprising. Emails to their support line went unanswered, but an eventual phone call was answered pretty promptly, the missing parts sent out and received in a timely fashion. I completed the shelves prior to the Punic Faith game last month.
While I was at home on vacation last week (during most of which the weather was very unseasonably cold and rainy!), I unloaded one of the old shelves, which was really deteriorated, and broke it up and removed it. The old grey steel shelf unit was unloaded, moved into the vacated space, and re-loaded with troops.
The first new shelf was placed adjacent to the old one, after more box shuffling, the second old shelf removed,
The two plastic shelving units were similarly unloaded, moved, and reloaded. The 2nd old shelf unit was reassigned to hold a good part of the many old paperback books I can't make myself discard yet.
Having moved the well over 13,000 25/28 mm figures of my collection, for any who are interested, I'm going to do a broad overview of same, shelf by shelf.
The top shelf of unit #1 is all French Napoleonics, with the Imperial Guard to the left of the picture.
2nd shelf, 1st unit is more French Napoleonics to the right, then Kingdom of Italy, then Saxons, Wurttemburgers, and Badeners.
3rd shelf, 1st unit is Nassau/Rhine Confederation minor states, Kingdom of Westphalia, Duchy of Warsaw/Poles, Danes, then Spanish.
The bottom shelf of unit 1 holds terrain walls, fences, hedges, orchards, earthworks, etc
I don't waste space - on top and above the units are more boxes with various terrain items. Veterans of my Historicon games will recall helping me carry those big boxes in and out. One of my dear patients, Mrs. Garrity, now sadly a few years gone, would send me a huge box of wonderful grapefruit every Christmas. We enjoyed them a lot for many years, but I really coveted the large, sturdy boxes they came in, which were promptly recycled, as seen.
Unit 2, top shelf is the home of the rapidly growing White Menace - Napoleonic Austrians.
Unit 2, second shelf has more Austrians, including the Tyrolese Rebels, then my Russians.
Unit 2, third shelf has more Russians, followed by Swedes, Portuguese, and Brunswickers At far left are the generic wagons of the Commissariat. Each bow will hold up to about 90 infantry, 40 cavalry, or 10 guns with crew.
2ndunit, bottom shelf has custom made hills, Wizardkraft Rivers, and some of my Superior/Galactic Knights starships. By the way, the clear plastic shoe boxes (with color coded lids, which, inverted, serve as the troop trays) were all purchased back in the 1970's. They were carried at a regional retailer, Caldor stores. They would periodically go on sale there, and whenever they did I would buy as many as I could afford, in as many different colors as I could find. Many still have price tags on them (which were annoyingly difficult to remove!)
Unit 3, "over the top" storage for more terrain items!
Having exhausted my supply of 40+year old shoe boxes for my ever growing Napoleonic collection (the sharp eyed will have noted there are still a few gaps for further expansion) , the rest of my troops are now housed in Really Useful Boxes. Unit 3, top shelf are all Renaissance troops.
Unit 3, second shelf houses my Napoleonic Prussian army.
Unit 3, third shelf has my Napoleonic British army.
The bottom shelf of this unit holds the rest of my Starships.
Unit 4, top shelf, has primed figures awaiting their turn on the painting table, and some of my English Civil War troops.
Unit 4, third shelf holds my Hussite Army, Teutonic Knights, Sassanid Persians, and Palmyrans.
Unit 4, 4th shelf holds Renaissance Gendarmes, Renaissance Light cavalry, and Bill McHugh's Late Medieval figures, which await a refurb and rebasing project. Note some space for future growth - a scarce commodity!
Unit 4, bottom shelf has more terrain - Lodestone buildings and many trees.
Unit 5, top shelf has more English Civil War troops.
Unit 5, second shelf holds my Egyptians, Sea Peoples, Hittite, and Canaanite troops.
Unit 5, 3rd shelf has my Assyrian army, plus my Wizardkraft rivers.
Unit 5, 4th shelf has some Ancient specific terrain and my Macedonian and Mauryan Indian armies, the later slated for major expansion.
Unit 5, bottom shelf has 25 mm buildings and swamps.
Other locations in the basement have the unpainted lead pile, more terrain, my D&D single figures, my 1:1200 Napoleonic sailing ships, my 15 mm Renaissance Galleys, and my collection of rules, and assorted dice, cards, and other gaming paraphernalia. My history and uniform reference books are mostly upstairs. Phew!