I recently had the pleasure of going on holiday with my family. It doesn't happen all that often, and I have to say it was probably the best family holiday so far. No joke.
Now, I knew it was going to be rather relaxed and I decided that I would like to take my paints and a few models with me. I didn't know how much painting I'd get to do, but having the option was definitely a good thing.
Enter a world of hurt.
Why? Because I don't normally transport stuff. All through my years of gaming (and there have been a lot) I've always found myself hosting the games. This is probably due to all the scenery I like to make, and the stack of snacks we've always got to hand...
So how was I going to transport my paints? Should I take the ones I need for a set of figures in a tub? How will I keep my miniatures safe? "I know," I thought, "I'll have a look online and see what's available!"
I'm not saying there isn't some lovely stuff out there, particularly from Battlefoam and KR Multicase and Feldherr. But the price is ridiculous. I could buy an army for less. I know I don't earn a huge amount in my job, but here's why I grudge shelling out my hard earned cash on these products.
They all seem to hold little more than paints. Especially GW ones. Some do fit Vallejo which I use, but not so many. But what about the brushes? Or the mixing palette? Or the water bottle? Or the miniatures you're actually wanting to paint?
Looking through the various options, I can't help feel that as good as they are, they all seem to be geared towards a certain type of gamer. The one who zips together multiple bags, each fulfilling different purposes, into a juggernaut on wheels. Or the gamer with a different bag on each shoulder, another on his back and another in each hand. The kind of gamer who goes somewhere else to play or paint, somewhere that has paintbrushes and water and paintstations and so on, someone who doesn't worry about the money flying out of his wallet every five minutes...yeah, you guessed it. The GW teenage gamer.
And I'm certainly not him.
So after getting frustrated, I simply cleaned out my decades old trusty toolbox, cleared the tat out of the top sections to make space for my minis, which were stuck in there with blu tack, and took everything with me.
And it worked perfectly.
And to think I got that toolbox in Tesco for a fiver all those years ago just adds to the wry smile and satisfying warm glow it brings.
So to all of us who still use toolboxes and Really Useful Crates to store our models, who don't normally travel somewhere else to paint our models, making do with lap trays instead of desks, I salute you!
Keep saving your money for the models you need, and not the cases you may look at longingly from time to time and wonder if it's worth investing in a few. Because from my experience, it's not.