Thursday 10 December 2015

A place to work...

Last month there were a few of us that turned up at the Cambs, Herts and Essex Area Group (CHEAG) in Newport for a natter about what modelling we are currently doing.

My good friend Carlos Vasco was explaining that his modelling time is rather constrained by the need to get everything out to use the kitchen table and then put everything away afterwards, as he doesn't have the advantage of a dedicated space that he can leave projects on. I thought that I'd post about a couple of solutions to this, before I hope to see him next at January's CHEAG meeting.

As I've mentioned before, I'm fortunate to have the space to have a converted bureau/writing desk to do my modelling on. If I want to be tidy, I push everything to the back and close up the front.

Bureau 08.JPG

Bureau 04.JPG

However it's still quite difficult to fit the "modelling bureau" in the back of the car for my semi-annual trips to

Something that I'd spotted was that the fantasy wargaming chain of Games Workshop had produced a portable workbench that they intended for gamers to paint figures on. Now these have been discontinued, but they do come up from time to time on Ebay. Here is an example of one in an auction:

They can be found on both assembled or unassembled form. I was fortunate to find an unbuilt example, so it was possible for me to decide if and how I wanted to modify it.


I've equipped it with a tufnol soldering area on the right and a cutting mat at the left hand side. With that is the mount for a vice. This is for one of the little (but good quality) modeller's vices sold by Eileen's Emporium. These have the advantage that you can buy spare bases for the vice unit, so I can swap it from my proper bench to this portable one.

The paint station comes with a variety of holes drilled for paintbrushes, although I use them for all sorts of tools. To stop things rolling around and to keep some type of order, I used a hot glue gun to fasten a cheap stationery tray to the board, which is useful for popping small parts in whilst working. On the other side is a glued down soldering iron stand, to stop that wandering around.


Two things that I should also mention are recommendations from the Missenden course notes. One of them is a wooden strip across the front of the underneath, to hold it square on a table and stop it sliding around. The other is to cover the underneath with some green baize to protect any surfaces that it is put on top of.

Now the thing that I mentioned earlier was that these paint stations are no longer produced, so they can be hard to find. So I was very pleased to find a new development at this year's Warley show. Whilst speaking to Grainge & Hodder, who do some of my 5522 etchings for me, I noticed that they had a laser cut worktray. They had produced it just in time for Warley, and had already sold several of them.

It's now a stock item, and can be found on their website:

Having examined it, it looks better designed than mine, and is also lighter. Obviously, it's also possible for you to customise it as you wish. If I manage to break/lose my original one, I'm sure that I'll buy one of these as a replacement.

I hope that this has given you some thoughts on what to do when space is tight...


  1. I also have an old bureau for a workstation, although yours is considerably tidier than mine (I can't shut the front at the moment).
    The Unimat still has to be set up on the dining table though.

  2. Paul, trust me that at times it can look much worse! Sometimes I have to stop for ten minutes to tidy up before I can even continue a project...