Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Organizing - Paints

 One of the things that's often forgotten in layout design is storage. Yes, most have storage under the layout, but good storage requires some thought and design. I'm used to this since we live in a fairly small house, but once you start filling the basement with a layout you also eliminate a lot of potential storage.

In addition to below the layout, there is also useable space on the walls above staging. It's also conveniently well lit, and is perfect for small items like paint.

Since I had previously determined that storing Vallejo paints upside down was not a good approach, I picked up some shelves designed for nail polish:

They were inexpensive, and since they are relatively deep they fit a number of different types of paint bottles. They are also deep enough to fit two Vallejo/AK Interactive/MIG 17 ml bottles, so when I'm running low and order a fresh bottle of a color there is room for that without taking more horizontal space.

The next question was what order should I store them. If you're not familiar with Vallejo, AK Interactive, or similar paints, each is assigned a number. For example, 70.819 is Iraqi Sand, and 70.822 is German C(amouflage) Black Brown. The colors aren't numbered in a color order. In other words, there isn't a block that is all greens. I could organize them by colors, but I decided numerically will work best because I note the number in my lists for mixing formulas, or which color I used for a particular project. So it will be easier to find that way. In addition, it's easier for quickly checking if I have a particular color.

I didn't want all of the paint stored at the desk itself, primarily for appearances since it's the Agent's desk too.

I'll need more shelves. I could easily fit a middle row, but for now wanted the space for taller bottles. Now that I've tested them, I'll get enough for the entire wall. I'm estimating that with two rows I'll be able to fit about 344 bottles of paint. A third row would add another 172, but I don't think I'll need that...yet.


  1. How long do Vallejo paints last in their bottles before they harden up and become worthless? I store my paints (mostly in glass bottles) upside down to prevent this, but it still happens. If Vallejo paint containers are more air-tight, I might just switch to them.

    1. I've only recently started picking up paints again, so mine are fairly new. However, I used Vallejo, Citadel, and Reaper paints for decades when painting fantasy minis. Vallejo and Reaper were always in the dropper bottles and I never had any dry out.

      As water-based acrylics I think that's much less of a problem, and I think the dropper bottles really help. However, I did find that storing them upside down does not work well for the dropper bottles. not because they dry up, but because all of the solids settle into the neck and it's quite difficult to get back out.

      The paints that I had the most issue with drying up is Tru-Color - those I decanted into dropper bottles, as well as in the original bottle.

      My Badger Modelflex paints did too. Since I've almost never had acrylics dry up in the bottle this surprised me. They are a wide-mouth jar with a screw top and foam insert on top (which often deteriorated over time). So perhaps it's more the design of the bottle than the paint itself. The next time I pick some up (there are a couple of colors that are very close matches to some existing models), I'll put them in dropper bottles and see how they do.

    2. Thanks. That is good to know. Sadly, no local hobby store carries them so each bottle would need to be purchased online.

    3. Look for gaming hobby stores too, they often carry the line.

  2. I have a few Badger paints in plastic bottles with the foam insert in the top. For a while I tried covering a small square of plastic food wrap over the top of the bottle before screwing on the top. That sort of worked, but the plastic wrap usually tore the next time the bottle was opened. I switched to using the more durable plastic used for the bags inside boxes of breakfast cereal and found that lasts a long time, also seems to prevent any stray paint from "gluing" the bottle closed.

    1. I think I did try that at some point. Obviously I didn't keep up with it...