Putting it all out there

There comes a time when you are finally proud enough of your painted models to want to show them off.  Or in my case, my wife mentions them to someone and wants me to show them.  Getting them out of their storage cases (or even worse, pluck foam trays (yes, some are still in these - I haven't gotten rid of my old ones, I'm just not buying any new ones)) and setting them out tends to kill the enthusiasm for them.

So what is the solution - well a display cabinet.  And like so much inexpensive furniture in our modern world, IKEA has a solution.  The Ikea DETOLF glass cabinet is a fairly inexpensive cabinet and works great for holding and displaying miniatures.

It goes together as easily as any of their other furniture, and looks fairly decent.  I find it kind of amusing how many of these you end up seeing at conventions displaying product).    I received one for Christmas, and a few weeks later put it together on a Sunday afternoon down in the basement.  (My wife suggested upstairs, but I'm not THAT geeky - I don't force it on people.  Some people may even think I'm normal (shudder the thought) when they enter my house).

I then loaded it up.  And filled it.  Overflowing.  And still have more to put in.  I had thought an army per shelf - and it is more like one per two shelves.  With an awful lot of empty space.

My first thought was to get more cabinets.  I could fit four of them in this corner after all.  Then I saw a (now cancelled) kickstarter for acrylic shelves to go in the cabinet.  Then I saw a mention on Facebook of a person in the UK who makes his own.

So it wasn't long until I checked out Display & Play UK and placed an order.  Even better - they are currently running a kickstarter campaign until Friday June 8th at 7:00 AM EDT.  They have now named it DASIK (Detolf Acrylic Shelf Insert Kit).

The shelves were pretty reasonable, but of course shipping to the US from the UK is always expensive.  So with the added shipping from the UK the cost of the extra shelves is almost what it is for a new cabinet (though the kickstarter is a little cheaper, especially as the shipping is less per set if you buy more than one).  I actually backed the kickstarter even before my order came in - because I know I need at least one more cabinet.

I try to be positive, but the shipping company used was not good.  About a month after I ordered these I asked about them, and they sent me the tracking link.  Apparently there was some issue delivering them (but they never contacted anyone) and the status shows them as sitting at some post office hub in New Jersey waiting for customer pickup.  They did send out a second shipment, and this did finally arrive, but unfortunately the box was damaged, and a full set of the connectors was missing (I told them about it, and they are sending out another set of connectors).

The end of the box was torn open
four shelves, and the hardware.  You can see the end of the bag was was torn open and the hardware was missing.  Because of course the torn end of the box was the end with the hardware in it.
So four shelves, and only three sets of connectors (and when I was installing them, I found an additional nut missing)
On the weekend, I took some time to install the three shelves I could.  There were no instructions included, but the kickstarter video showed how (and it is fairly simple anyway.

I wanted to compare the DASIK shelf to the standard Detolf shelf.  As you can see, the DASIK shelf is just slightly bigger than the glass Detolf shelf, but it still fits in very well.

The original glass shelf overlaying the acrylic shelf.
The acrylic shelf in place of a glass shelf.
As the kickstarter video shows, simply mark the wire shelf corners on the Detolf shelf and install the corner brackets.  The height between the standard shelves is 15"- and it turns out that my small carpenters square was exactly 8" on the short side - close enough for miniatures (so yes, they are a little off for everyone with gamer ADD, but good enough for me at least). 

I marked each corner with a sharpie (of course managing to drop the square through the tiny gap between the shelf and the cabinet side (later I would drop a couple of nuts down - which meant I had to pull out all the models on the very crowded bottom shelf to find the durn things!)

The connectors consist of a U-shaped piece threaded on both ends, two nuts, and a cast clamp.  One thing to watch for on these clamps is some of the casts are a little rough - make sure you install it with the smoother side UP.

Rough side of the cast clamp - could also be fixed with a metal file
A 5/16" socket easily put the nuts on (which surprised me, as I expected to need a metric socket since these came from the UK).

These were actually a little fiddly to get on, as there is very little clearance between the wire frame and the sides of the cabinet - and my fat clumsy fingers don't fit well.  Reaching the pieces in the back was even more challenging.

When you tighten these, you want the clamp to point to the center of the cabinet - to provide as much surface area in contact with the shelf as possible.

Once all four connectors are on, simply lay the shelf in place.  One thing I would like to have would be some small 'rubber' pieces to put over the connectors - as you are placing the acrylic shelf on bare metal.  The Detolf cabinet has rings to place over the wires to cushion the shelves.  Not absolutely critical as the acrylic is NOT glass, but I would not switch out the standard shelves for one of these because of that.

I would recommend using a level to make sure the shelf is, well level. 

This is the one that my wife got me and I keep in my office.  She has almost the same sick and twisted sense of humor that I do.

The shelves come with two layers of plastic on them to protect them.  One side is clear, the other side it green (so you can see it).  Simply peel this off before inserting the shelf.  (You didn't think these were actually green did you?)

And they fit nicely.  If you look closely, you can tell the difference on the edges, but if you are looking at the edges of the shelves instead of what is on them - well then whatever you are displaying is pretty boring!

I actually used my stopwatch on the second shelf - and it took less than 10 minutes to install it.  It actually took longer to clear out the shelf below the one I was installing and then re-arrange the miniatures back on the two shelves than it did to put them together.

My miniatures look significantly better now that they aren't so crowded together.  You can actually tell the difference between units :-)

Having the extra room without all the wasted space really helps.  Right now there is only one miniature that barely fits - the Mantic Supreme Ironcaster on Great Winged Halfbreed is about 6 1/2" tall at the wing - so just barely fits :-)

Da Beech Boyz before (with the giant, turn counter and squig hoppers missing)
Da Beech Boyz after - much nicer (and the whole army)
Everything so far.
I still have one shelf yet to install (waiting for the replacement hardware), and I'm honestly NOT looking forward to it - as I'll basically have to lay my fat ass on the floor to do it above the bottom of the cabinet (it was difficult enough installing the ones where I could sit or stand to do them).

I definitely need another cabinet - the seven shelves are full (and I still have a bunch of the UGPS in foam trays to dig out).  Plus the Grateful Undead are awaiting their chance to be seen again.  My wife suggested we run down to IKEA to pick up another one this weekend, but I said no, because I'm going to wait until the kickstarter (and I even got the Super Early Bird shipping (so it should get the super worm?)) gets in, and put on the clamps while I'm putting the cabinet together, which should be significantly easier.

So overall a great product, very easy to install and the company (ok, the company may be nothing more than Jon Page at this point) was very responsive to problems.  I would like to see some type of cushions on the connectors, and they need better packaging and shipping moving forward.  But I liked them enough to order two more!

Next up maybe some lights for them.

Because it is all fun and games . . . 


  1. The blog is really helpful and very informative, thank you for sharing


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