Balrog builds HobbyZone miniature transport cases – review

HobbyZone‘s offer includes interesting miniature transport cases. I was lucky to receive them for testing and reviewing, but I realized that there are already such reviews on the internet, describing thoroughly these products. This put me in a difficult situation – should I write yet another review, posting nearly the same photos, similar comments and remarks? Everything must have been said already….

W swojej ofercie HobbyZone posiada ciekawe walizki do transportu figurek. Miałam szczęście otrzymać je do testowania i zrecenzowania, jednak zauważyłam, że w sieci znaleźć można już takie recenzje, które dokładnie i szczegółowo opisują te produkty. Postawiło mnie to w kłopotliwej sytuacji – pisać kolejną recenzję, zamieszczając niemal takie same zdjęcia, podobne komentarze i spostrzeżenia? Chyba wszystko zostało już powiedziane…

Fortunately I was not completely helpless! In such cases I can always count on my men – let us see how they manage to deal with this “difficult” task, that is assembling the cases. Obviously I have delicate fingernails. and I’ve just hurt my little finger 😛 so I hope they are going to help the lady in distress? I believe at least the older one should manage somehow. But let’s see if they stand up to the task. 😉

Let me allow Mahon to continue (unfortunately one cannot count on Balrog as far as writing longer texts goes) – he did the assembly, so may he describe it. 😛

Na szczęście nie byłam całkiem bez wyjścia! W takich sytuacjach zawsze mogę liczyć na moich mężczyzn – zobaczmy jak poradzą sobie z tym “trudnym” zadaniem, jakim jest poskładanie skrzynek. Oczywiste jest, że mam delikatne paznokcie, a do tego właśnie się skaleczyłam w paluszek 😛 więc chyba poratują damę w potrzebie? Teoretycznie przynajmniej ten starszy z nich powinien jakoś sobie dać radę. Ale zobaczmy czy staną na wysokości zadania. 😉

Przekażę głos Mahoniowi (niestety na Balroga nie ma co liczyć, jeśli chodzi o pisanie dłuższych tekstów) – składał, to niech to opisze. 😛

Now these are some packages! / Co za paczki!

The cases arrived well packed in cardboard boxes, which should assure safe delivery. But such a tape-wrapped box is nothing an averagely sharp knife couldn’t deal with! 😀

Skrzynki dotarły szczelnie zapakowane w kartony, co powinno zapewnić bezpieczny transport. Jednak taki oklejony karton to nic, z czym nie poradziłby sobie średnio ostry nóż! 😀

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Gimme a knife, we’re off to fight!
Dawać nóż, ruszamy do boju!

After unboxing we spotted the cases. But our task was not to be too easy, as everything was in pieces. No, nothing was broken, the cases simply need to be assembled. Wanting to avoid compromitation in my kid’s eyes, I decided to build the first case by myself, and if I succeed, we’d manage to deal with the other one together. 😉 And so I did, according to my plan.

Po rozpakowaniu naszym oczom ukazały się skrzynki. Ale żeby nasze zadanie nie było zbyt łatwe, wszystko było w kawałkach. Nie, nic nie było połamane – po prostu skrzynki wymagają samodzielnego montażu. Chcąc uniknąć kompromitacji w oczach dziecka, postanowiłem, że pierwszą skrzynkę poskładam sam, a jeśli mi się uda to jakoś przebrniemy przez wspólne składanie drugiej. 😉 Jak postanowiłem, tak zrobiłem.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
The sight that freezes even most valiant hearts…
Widok, który zmrozi najmężniejsze serce…

Biiiiiiig case / Duuuuża skrzynka

I started working on the larger case – officially called a Professional Transport Case. The number of elements in the box can look discouraging, but a quick look at the manual allowed me to overcome my reservations. Everything seems to be easy and comprehensible, and I am a smart guy and can deal with pictography. 😉
So all there is to do is take the unbeatable PVA glue and start working!

Na warsztat wziąłem większą ze skrzynek – oficjalnie nazywaną Profesjonalną Walizką Transportową. Liczba elementów w paczce może wyglądać trochę przytłaczająco, ale rzut oka na instrukcję rozwiał moje niepokoje. Wszystko wydaje się proste i czytelne, a ja jestem sprytny i poradzę sobie z pismem obrazkowym. 😉
Pozostaje przygotować niezastąpiony klej Wikol i brać się do pracy!

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Looks promising…
Zapowiada się obiecująco…
Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
9 pictures? I should be able to do it…
9 obrazków? Chyba dam radę…

I was happy to see that the elements are connected like jigsaw puzzles – the cut ins and outs fit perfectly and the joints hold well thanks to it. Of course I wouldn’t trust them enough to keep miniatures in a non-glued case, but for dry-fitting it was good enough.

It’s good to check in the manual which elements should be used in the particular moment,  because generally the connections are all of one kind, pretty much standardized, so with a little stubornness one could join wrong parts with each other ( no no no, I didn’t make such mistakes…). The manual clearly explains how and what to connect.

Ucieszył mnie fakt, że elementy łączy się jak puzzle – nacięcia i wypustki pasują doskonale i elementy dobrze się trzymają dzięki takim łączeniom. Oczywiście nie powierzyłbym bezpieczeństwa figurek nie sklejonej skrzynce, ale do celów spasowania elementów to wystarczyło.

Warto sprawdzić w instrukcji jakie elementy powinny być użyte w danym momencie, bo zasadniczo łączenia są jednego rodzaju, w jednym standardzie, więc przy odrobinie uporu można spasować ze sobą złe części (nie, nie, nie, mi taki błąd się nie zdarzył…). Instrukcja zrozumiale wyjaśnia co jak zmontować.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Who played with jigsaw puzzles, he will cope with it
Kto układał puzzle, ten da radę

I started with drawers, which are excellent for transporting small items, like glue, brushes or accessories which will be used by Ana to bring her transported minis to their final state or to remove the last faults (did I say “faults”? how risky of me…). I am sure the box can hold enough materials to suffice for a demo painting session (yes, they need to squeeze in, because we are not going to carry any more boxes with us! :-P).

Zacząłem od szuflad, które świetnie nadają się do transportu drobnych elementów, takich jak kleje, pędzelki czy akcesoria, które będą Ańi służyć doprowadzeniu transportowanych przez nią figurek do stanu finalnego lub usuwaniu ostatnich niedoróbek (napisałem “niedoróbek”? ale ze mnie ryzykant…). Jestem pewien, że w skrzynce uda jej się zmieścić dość materiałów, by spokojnie przeprowadzić pokaz malowania (tak, mają się zmieścić, nie będziemy targać ze sobą więcej pakunków! :-P).

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Shortly this will…
To wkrótce…
Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
… become a drawer.
… będzie szufladka.

While dry-fitting parts of these drawers I got some help from Balrog, which allowed me to see that even his little hands have no problem with such a “complex” method of building. 😉

W pasowaniu elementów szuflad pomagał mi Balrog, dzięki czemu mogłem zobaczyć, że nawet jego dziecięce łapki nie mają kłopotu z takim “skomplikowanym” sposobem montażu. 😉

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Beautiful drawer, perfect for brushes!
Piękna szufladka, w sam raz na pędzelki!

While gluing some parts (especially the corners) I noticed that it’s better to apply glue onto both glued surfaces or at least take care not to glue the parts only partially. Because the elements interlock  with each other, it’s a good idea to assemble them without gluing to see where the glue should be applied and only then move on to gluing.

Przy sklejaniu niektórych elementów (zwłaszcza narożników) zauważyłem, że lepiej nałożyć klej na obie klejone powierzchnie lub w inny sposób dopilnować, by nie skleić elementów jedynie częściowo. Ponieważ elementy zazębiają się ze sobą, warto najpierw sprawdzić “na sucho” które powierzchnie wymagają nałożenia kleju i dopiero wtedy brać się za klejenie.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Now we see where the glue should go
Teraz widać gdzie trzeba nałożyć klej

I liked the way the handle is made – there’s an additional little slat attached on the bottom, and it makes the handle stronger, thicker, and also more comfortable thanks to rounded edges.

Podobał mi się sposób wykonania uchwytu – od spodu przykleja się dodatkową listewkę, która nie tylko wzmacnia uchwyt i wygodnie go pogrubia, ale także dzięki wygładzonym krawędziom zwiększa komfort noszenia.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Oh, thiis handle is from the smaller case, but the larger one is made much like this 🙂
O, to akurat uchwyt mniejszej walizki, ale w dużej rozwiązany jest tak samo 🙂

The upper part is very stable thanks to the additional shelf on which the drawers rest.

Górna część jest bardzo stabilna dzięki dodatkowej półeczce, na której spoczywają szuflady.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
So many elements create the upper shelves…
Tyle elementów tworzy górne półki…
Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
… that the construction is strong and stable.
… że konstrukcja jest mocna i stabilna.

While building the case it’s good to fit the back wall pretty quickly. Otherwise the construction may bend to one side and won’t get glued straight. Dry-fitting the back for the time of gluing the rest will prevent such problems.

Jednak przy montażu warto dość szybko dopasować tylną ścianę. W przeciwnym razie może się okazać, że konstrukcja nam się nieco przechyliła i krzywo skleiła. Dołożenie tylnej ściany “na sucho” na czas klejenia zabezpieczy nas przed podobnymi problemami.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
The back makes gluing it all straight easier
Z tylną ścianą łatwiej prosto skleić całość

As you can see on the photos, connections are made clean and neatly (I would like to consider it my own achievement, but it’s more thanks to the good craftmanship from HobbyZone). For additional security and reinforcement I applied some glue over all the connections, so the glue could reach into any possible holes and crevices.

Gluing the inner wals in was pure joy, but it’s good to press them well or at least hold them with the removable shelves, which hold in their slots well and there’s no problem with inserting or removing them,

Jak widać na zdjęciach łączenia są wykonane bardzo starannie i czysto (chciałbym przypisać sobie tę zasługę, ale to akurat dzięki dobremu wykonaniu elementów przez HobbyZone). Dla dodatkowego zabezpieczenia i wzmocnienia przesmarowałem łączenia klejem, dzięki czemu klej mógł dotrzeć w ewentualne szczeliny łączeń.

Wklejanie bocznych wewnętrznych ścianek to już czysta przyjemność, choć warto je dobrze docisnąć lub chociaż przytrzymać półeczkami. Półki trzymają się stabilnie, ale nie ma problemu z ich zakładaniem i wysuwaniem.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Did I do it? I told you I would! 😀
Udało mi się? Mówiłem, że się uda! 😀

As you can see, the side walls are covered with soft felt fabric, while the shelves arfe made of wood, which allows to attach miniatures easily with likes of patafix or blutack (or at least this is how we attach our miniatures for transportation). The shelves can be inserted on several levels, which allows to transport even very large model – which is very important in our case, as Ana often paints large models (if not large, then at least on large bases, and if even the bases are not large at all, then they are surely very fragile :-P).

The case measures 45cm x 35cm x 25cm and is really capacious! We tested it with Ana’s renaissance knight in 54mm scale with a large banner and there were no problems with finding him a comfortable and secure place.

Jak widać, boczne ścianki są zabezpieczone miękkim filcowatym materiałem, a półki pozostają drewniane, co pozwala na łatwe mocowanie figurek za pomocą mas takich jak patafix lub blutack (przynajmniej my w ten sposób montujemy figurki na czas transportu). Półki można zakładać na kilku przewidzianych poziomach, co umożliwia transportowanie nawet dużych modeli – w naszym przypadku to bardzo ważne, bo Ańa często maluje duże figurki (jeśli nie duże – to na dużych podstawkach, a jeśli nawet podstawki nie są duże – to na pewno bardzo delikatne :-P).

Skrzynka ma wymiary 45cm x 35cm x 25cm i jest naprawdę pojemna! Sprawdzaliśmy ją na Ańi renesansowym rycerzu w skali 54mm z dużym sztandarem i nie było żadnych problemów ze znalezieniem mu komfortowego i bezpiecznego miejsca.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
You can insert or remove the shelves as you please
Półeczki można wsuwać i wysuwać wedle życzenia

The front door slides in guides carved in the sides – simple and safe. Just like the sides it is secured with fabric, so even if a model touches it during transport, it shouldn’t get damaged.

Frontowe drzwi wsuwa się w prowadnice w ściankach – prosto i bezpiecznie. Podobnie jak boczne ścianki są one zabezpieczone materiałem, więc nawet jeśli model w transporcie ich dotyka, nie powinien się uszkodzić.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
The work is officially finished, we’re closed!
Oficjalny koniec prac, zamknięte!

Since I knew the larger case is assembled, I summoned our Balrog to see if a four-years-old can cope with such a serious carpenter’s challenge as assembling the case by himself. 😛

Skoro wiedziałem, że większa ze skrzynek jest już złożona, zawołałem naszego Balroga, aby sprawdzić czy czterolatek jest w stanie uporać się z tak poważnym stolarskim wyzwaniem jak samodzielny montaż skrzynki. 😛

The smaller case / Mniejsza skrzynka

When Balrog heard that he would be allowed to carry his own minis in the case if he builds it by himself, he started immediately with great enthusiasm and seriously.

Balrog, usłyszawszy, że jeśli sam poskłada skrzynkę, będzie mógł w niej nosić także swoje figurki, zabrał się do pracy z wielkim entuzjazmem i powagą.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Customs …… at work?
Celnik przy pracy?
Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Well packed, nothing gets damaged
Dobrze zapakowane, nic się nie uszkodzi
Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
MacGyver needed immediately
MacGyver potrzebny od zaraz!

This case turned out to be less complex even during the unboxing – in addition to smaller size it was also simpler by two drawers, which it simply doesn’t include. The manual has only 6. instead of 9, pictures.
Great, so we’ll be assembling large parts only, although the case is called a Small Transport Case!

Ta skrzynka już w samym rozpakowywaniu okazała się mniej złożona – poza mniejszym rozmiarem była też prostsza o dwie szufladki, których nie posiadała. Instrukcja mieści się na 6, a nie 9 obrazkach.
Świetnie, będziemy montować same duże elementy, choć walizkę nazwano Małą Walizką Transportową!

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
In-depth analysis of technical blueprints
Dogłębna analiza schematów technicznych
Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Dad, we have to do this…
Tato, to musimy zrobić…
Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
… to get this.
… żeby wyszło to.

Balrog paid much attention to studying the manual

Balrog z uwagą wziął się do studiowania instrukcji

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
LEGO blocks teach you how to read manuals
Klocki LEGO uczą czytania instrukcji

… and attached the first parts – first only dry-fitting them, then he wanted to glue them, but he lacked confidence to glue them all by himself. The official version is that he didn’t want to get dirty. Well, his choice. 😛 I think a parent can help as much as this? 😉 Anyway he was very serious and involved in fitting the elements and pressing the bonds.

… i złożył pierwsze elementy – najpierw na sucho, potem chciał już je skleić, ale do klejenia zabrakło mu odwagi. Oficjalnie: nie chciał się pobrudzić. Cóż, jego wybór. 😛 Tyle to mu rodzic może chyba pomóc? 😉 W każdym razie dopasowywanie elementów i dociskanie łączeń traktował bardzo poważnie i z zaangażowaniem.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
I will hold it…
Będę trzymać…
Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
… and hold it to the bitter end!
… i trzymać do skutku!

Balrog had no problems with gluing the reinforcement to the handle and attaching the additional shelf. Daddy applies the glue, and son does the assembling and gluing. It’s fine! And will it last long – we’ll see…

Balrog nie miał problemu ze sklejeniem wzmocnienia uchwytu oraz doklejeniem dodatkowej półeczki. Tata smaruje klejem, synek montuje i klei. Jest dobrze! A czy trwale – to się okaże…

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Dad aplied the glue, now son can glue
Tata nałożył klej, syn przyklei
Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Brutal, manly force
Brutalna, męska siła

With attention he browsed the manual for the next things to assemble – walls. And again the drill was the same: Mahon – glue, Balrog – building.

Z wytężoną uwagą wyszukał na instrukcji kolejne elementy do zmontowania – ścianki. I znowu  przerabiamy to samo: Mahoń – klej, Balrog – montaż.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Walls, dad!
Ściany, tato!
Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
And I will surely be allowed to carry my minis in it?
I na pewno będę mógł w niej nosić moje figurki?

Even adding the floor was not much of a challenge for him. After all the hours spent with jigsaw puzzles he couldn’t go wrong!

Nawet dołożenie podłogi nie było dla niego większym wyzwaniem. Przecież te wszystkie godziny spędzone nad puzzlami nie mogły pójść na próżno!

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Just like jigsaw puzzles…
Zupełnie jak puzzle…

We still had to attach the back.

Do przyklejenia został nam jeszcze tył.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
These modern tools were used for building the case
Tak nowoczesnych narzędzi używaliśmy przy budowie skrzynki

I was surprised with the speed of his work – I expected a four-years-old to get bored and start fretting soon, but such a “serious and adult” task turned out to be perfectly suited for him! And what a reward he received after completing this stage! At last Balrog could sit on his case and see if it doesn’t break under his weight. Can you see the joy that testing effect of his work gave him? And the case passed the test perfectly – but you better see by yourselves! 😀

Byłem zaskoczony szybkością pracy – myślałem, że czteroletnie dziecko znudzi się i będzie kaprysić, ale tak “poważne i dorosłe” zadanie okazało się w sam raz dopasowane do jego możliwości! A jaka nagroda czekała na zakończenie tego etapu! Wreszcie Balrog mógł usiąść na swojej skrzyneczce i sprawdzić czy wytrzyma takie obciążenie. Widzicie tę radość, jaką sprawia dziecku sprawdzanie efektów własnej pracy? A skrzyneczka egzamin oczywiście zdała wzorowo – zresztą sprawdźcie sami! 😀

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Final test of durability
Ostateczny test wytrzymałości

Now we only needed to glue the internal side walls – just like with the larger case. No surprise that pressing with strong man’s hands was necessary 😉

Zostało nam tylko wkleić wewnętrzne boczne ścianki – podobnie jak w dużej skrzynce. Sprawa wymagała oczywiście dociśnięcia silnymi męskimi dłońmi 😉

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Side walls
Boczne ścianki
Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Strong man’s hands, aren’t they?
Silne męskie dłonie, prawda?

… and we can close it!

… i można już zamykać!

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Closing the vault
Zamykamy skarbiec
hobby-zone-miniature-transport-case-44
Minis are safe 🙂
Figurki są bezpieczne 🙂

To enjoy his achievement to the fullest, Balrog immediately packed some of his minis to the case and paraded triumphantly in our apartment, announcing the official end of work, and giving us opportunity to see the size of the small (in fact not that small at all, but compared to the previous one this case seemed pretty modest) case – the model on the bottom is a LotR troll, and the upper one is a Warhammer 40.000 ork. This photo depicts the size of the case (and Balrog’s pride). 😀

Aby w pełni nacieszyć się swoim dziełem, Balrog niezwłocznie zapakował część swoich figurek do skrzynki i tryumfalnie przespacerował się po mieszkaniu, obwieszczając tym samym koniec prac, a przy okazji pozwalając zobaczyć rozmiary małej  (tak naprawdę to wcale nie takiej małej, ale w porównaniu z poprzednią, ta wydawała się dość skromna) skrzyneczki – figurka na dole to LotRowy troll, a górna, to ork do Warhammera 40.000. To zdjęcie daje obraz rozmiaru skrzynki (oraz dumy Balroga). 😀

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Triumphant parade
Tryumfalna parada

The whole construction didn’t even take an hour – including unboxing, studying the manual, careful application of glue, pressing the elements together and victorious parade with presentation of the masterpiece he made with his hands. 😉 Bearing in mind that most hobbyists are more than 4 years old, this time can surely be reduced to half an hour, or for somebody accustomed to DIY works, maybe even 15 minutes.

Całe składanie nie zajęło nawet godziny – w tym rozpakowywanie, studiowanie instrukcji, pieczołowite smarowanie klejem, dociskanie klejonych elementów, oraz zwycięska parada połączona z prezentacją dzieła własnych rąk. 😉 Biorąc pod uwagę, że większość hobbystów ma więcej niż 4 lata, z pewnością da się ten czas obciąć do pół godziny, a jeśli ktoś jest wprawionym majstrem, to może i nawet do 15 minut.

A few final words / Parę słów na koniec

Now that the boys are no longer working and moved on to admiring the effects of their work, I can judge the outcome of their efforts. 🙂

Mahon already mentioned that the cases were well made, construction was easy (just for a 4-years-old and his slightly older dad ;-)) and according to them also well explaind in the manual.

The cases are sturdy and capacious so I can entrust my models for the time of travel to them. I usually use stuff like patafix or blutack to attach models inside transport cases, or in case of heavier models – a little modification that is drilling  a few holes in the shelves and using screws to fix the models there, especially if their bases are heavy, like the wooden ones I use. My boxes haven’t been modified like this yet, but when I am to transport a heavier model I will surely persuade my boys to modify my cases.  This will assure me that the models remain in place – they will rather snap or break than unscrew themselves from the shelves, and even then the only risk comes from these severed parts hitting others as long as I attach the models to their cases securely. A few holes should not be a problem, and the versatility and security of transporting heavier models should make up for the esthetic detriment.

Skoro chłopaki uporały się z pracą i nacieszają się dziełami własnych rąk, mogę spokojnie ocenić ich wysiłki. 🙂

Jak już Mahoń wspomniał, skrzynki były wykonane bardzo dobrze, montaż był prosty (w sam raz dla 4-latka i jego nieco starszego taty ;-)) i ich zdaniem dobrze opisany w instrukcji.

Skrzynki są solidne i pojemne, więc spokojnie mogę powierzyć im swoje figurki na czas podróży. Do mocowania zwykle stosuję masy typu patafix albo blutack, lub – w przypadku cięższych modeli – drobną modyfikację polegającą na wywierceniu kilku otworów w półkach i mocowaniu modeli za pomocą śrub, zwłaszcza jeśli mają ciężkie, drewniane podstawki. Moje skrzynki jeszcze nie zostały w ten sposób przerobione, ale na pewno przy transporcie jakiegoś cięższego modelu namówię moich chłopaków do zmodyfikowania moich skrzynek. Dzięki temu mogę być pewna, że modele się nie odczepią – już prędzej się rozkleją albo połamią, a wtedy – o ile dobrze rozmieszczę modele – jedyne ryzyko uszkodzenia wiąże się z uderzaniem odłamanych elementów modeli (lub źle przymocowanych figurek) o inne. Kilka dziurek w półce nie powinno być problemem, a jej wszechstronność i bezpieczeństwo transportu cięższych modeli zrekompensują niewielki ubytek estetyczny.

Hobby Zone miniature transport case review
Preparing for the struggle 😉
Przygotowania do zmagań 😉

If you care about keeping your transport case clean, I recommend varnishing or maybe even painting it before it gets dirty. Unfortunately unvarnished plywood is very prone to dirt, especially on the edges. Mine haven’t have too many opportunities of catching some dirt, but I saw what an unvarnished case can end up looking like! :-O

There’s another review of HobbyZone transport cases on Arbal’s blog. He described the cases there in detail, so I don’t think repeating what has already been written is of any use. Of course if there is anyone who still feels the report from my men’s heroic struggle with two plywood cases is not enough. 😉

Jeśli komuś zależy na zabezpieczeniu skrzynki przed zabrudzeniem, radzę pomalować ją lakierem lub nawet farbą zanim się pobrudzi. Niestety nielakierowana sklejka jest podatna na zabrudzenia, zwłaszcza na krawędziach. Moje jeszcze nie miały zbyt wielu okazji się pobrudzić, ale widziałam jak może skończyć nie polakierowana skrzynka! :-O

Inną, dokładną recenzję skrzynek HobbyZone zamieścił na swoim blogu Arbal. Dokładnie je tam opisał, więc nie widzę sensu powtarzać tego, co zostało już napisane. Oczywiście jeśli jest ktoś, komu nie wystarcza nasza relacja z bohaterskiej walki moich mężczyzn z dwoma sklejkowymi skrzyneczkami. 😉

HobbyZone paint station review

Recently I got hold of products of Polish company HobbyZone and I’ve been using them (HobbyZone paint station and paint stands) for over two weeks now. I must admit that despite my initial reservations based on my experience with the Games Workshop Paint Station, they allowed me to organize my paint station and made fitting it into my constanly shrinking miniature painting space much easier.

Catalogue photos:

HobbyZone paint station review (1)

HobbyZone paint station review (2)

I mainly tested the paint station, but in addition to the HobbyZone paint station review I also managed to prepare a review of the two paint stands that I have. Now I can see all my paints! Previously I kept them in my drawer. I hoped they should remain in place on the Ikea antislip mat, but whenever I opened the drawer I found them in a completely changed order. Ikea can wipe their backs with their mats! 😛

After testing HobbyZone products I prepared a review of the HobbyZone accessories I had. You can read about my opinions below.

Paint stand

Much joy from a small thing!
According to the producer’s description, the paint stand is a perfect solution for keeping your painting place tidy while painting models. We’re assured that thanks to firm slots chances of spilling paint are really slim.

It looks like this:

HobbyZone paint station review (1)

HobbyZone paint station review (2)

HobbyZone paint station review (3)

What do we get?

The stand measures 42,5 cm x 18 cm x 9,5 cm and is supplied in elements which need to be assembled. Assembly is childishly easy, doesn’t require and gluing and parts fit perfectly. Adding even a simplest manual (even on the company’s website) wouldn’t be a bad thing, as it could that shelves should be mounted in a zipper-like way (with slots shifted in relation to the previous shelf) – just like on my photos.

Parts to build the stand:

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Building is childishly simple:

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Of course it’s not necessary, but it would answer the only doubt one could have while assembling the stand.

Variants

Paint stands are available in 2 variants, the difference being in the size and number of paint bottle slots. It can be either 40 x 36mm slots or 54 x 28mm slots.

These smaller slots are suited for “dropper” bottles, for example Vallejo or Reaper MSP. The larger ones can hold even more “bulging” bottles – like Games Workshop‘s or P3, but also those of smaller diameter. Unfortunately it results in a disadvantage: when something is universal, it’s never perfectly suited to its purpose. It’s true also in this case – many of my paints fit pretty loosely to those 36mm slots. It doesn’t make them any less usable, but is not as “professional” and convenient as better fitting smaller slots, which hold paints (for example Vallejo) much better.

Vallejo and Reaper MSP series paints sit perfectly in 28mm slots:

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Unfortunately universal 36mm slots have their disadvantages:

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Inks and pigments don’t fit into slots:

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When placing an order one should choose the version of paint stand they want shipped. Moreover, the producers are very flexible and don’t even mind such sophisticated ideas like mixing different types of shelves within one stand – you just need to write what kind of shelves you want and it can surely be arranged with HobbyZone!

Comfort

I have one stand for my Vallejo and Reaper paints (smaller slots) and one for P3 and Citadel paints – the universal size (which means: larger slots).

As you surely know I have a complete mix of various paint bottles, but despite this the universal size didn’t suit my needs that fine, which I already described above. It is surely a personal thing, because a person relying more on Games Workshop paints would surely have a different opinion. I have few paints in such bottles and smaller bottles move loosely in those large slots.

As you can see on my photos, even GW jars sit there pretty loosely, just like P3 ones. The best fit I got was with Vallejo alcohol-based metallics:

Only alcohol-based Vallejo metallics sit firmly, while other paints sit rather loosely:

HobbyZone paint station review (11)

I tried to fill unused slots with MIG pigments and Winsor & Newton inks, but they didn’t fit there. Fortunately I managed to find room for them on the HobbyZone paint station (which you will see below).

I can suggest that introducing additional types of shelves with different slots, better suited to other popular products, would make HobbyZone’s offer more attractive. Especially if people are going to order customized choices of shelves depending on their needs (for example 1 x pigments shelf, 1 x Citadel paints shelf, 1 x P3 paints shelf and 1 x Vallejo shelf).

Currently I am only missing one Vallejo stand and a benchtop organizer for complete happiness, but there’s always time to pick these up… 🙂

HobbyZone paint station

The paint stand I have is called a professional paint station by HobbyZone. Actually I prefer to call it a “tabletop”, but let’s use the name given by the producer. The difference between types of paint stations is in sizes and number of shelves. The professional one has three shelves and measures 60 cm x 40 cm x 8 cm.

What do we get

The paint station is made of a base and three shelves with slots for paints, brushes and tools, and two additional side shelves (that I call “ears”). My table came assembled and glued, and only the “ears” (side shelves) required putting into prepared slots, but it was very easy.

Paint station in parts:

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It’s very easy to add side shelves:

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Completely assembled HobbyZone paint station:

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Wide choice of different tool slots:

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The side shelves are stabilized by additional supports, which prevents them from bending and makes them stable

Moreover, the paint station is very functional even without these additional shelves and some may even prefer it this way as it takes less space. I was told one can also order it unassembled, but I didn’t make use of this option as it has no impact on pricing.

Holders on sides of the paint station make it very portable, which solves my current organization problems. Additionally I can have all the useful things really close at hand, and paints selected for painting 4 models simultaneously fit into their slots just fine. 😀

Variants

Just like paint stands, paint stations are also offered in 2 versions: with larger and smaller slots, and the choice is made when placing the order. Moreover, you can use the without changing the price and creating a freely selected choice of shelves customized to your needs.

As I already mentioned it, since the producers were really flexible regarding customization of their products, I could choose the kind of slots I wanted for my paint station. As far as I know they wouldn’t mind similar requests from other customers too. 😉

My paint station has slots for large and small paint bottles:

HobbyZone paint station review (21)

Surface of the Paint station

I remember I used to have a Games Workshop paint station, but it became really worn and ugly with time – I didn’t mind glue and paint stains but I felt that instead of washing the thing I was rubbing dirt into it. (Hehe, I must sound like a frustrated housewife, but hey, you must be cleaning your desks before major holidays, too ;)) I like to have my workplace clean because working in a mess makes me tired fast. That’s also one of the reasons why I didn’t decide to get the HobbyZone paint station before.

Then I was convinced by laminated suface of the paint station. I think it will make the table more resistant to damage and wearing, and will allow it to look neat for a longer time. And it has to look this way because it sits in my dining room, which is also my workshop. So far cleaning is easy and I haven’t experienced any problems, so keeping the paint station tidy and in good order didn’t cause any problems, but I’ve been using it only for like two weeks.

Convenience

Now a few words about the base of the paint station – the tabletop. The first thing is that HobbyZone offers paint stations in a few sizes, and I decided to get the biggest one (which is called “professional”, so how could I resist! ;)) The width is comfortable – moving from a large table onto it was no problem for me and I didn’t feel it’s too small for my needs. Of course I can’t tell if a broad-shouldered man would say the same, but for me the size is OK. I only find the depth of the tabletop a bit too short, so I keep it pushed like 10cm back onto the table, which increases the depth of the paint station and my workspace. But would I decide to order a deeper one? Not really, because I would be unable to keep it on my wardrobe. So in my case the size is just fine 🙂 I think I don’t really find the difference in levels of both tabletops a problem, because the base of the paint station is pretty thin.

This reminds me of a problem I had with the Games Workshop paint station, which had a thicker base and it made my forearms hurt after working for a longer time. You know, the difference of levels and sharp edge of the paint station made my arms go numb and painful. Bear in mind that I often happen to sit and paint for longer periods of time, so such problems can discourage to use this kind of equipment. That was one of the reasons why I was unsure if I would like the HobbyZone table. Fortunately its thickness is just right – it assures stability of the whole thing, while not making it painful for the painter’s arms. I have to admit that while carrying the loaded paint station around I felt as if the base was pretty flexible due to its low thickness, but I hope it won’t end up in the same way as the Games Workshop paint station, which soon became warped… But whatever I would call the GW thing, I wouldn’t call it “flexible”.

The base is thin enough so it doesn’t cause any pain even during long painting sessions:

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Workmanship

Quality of the paint station caused no objections on my end, and the HobbyZone logo doesn’t jump at you, and is a nice visual touch instead. You know that for me such little things can mean a lot 🙂

Of course, like a typical woman I had a crazy idea to repaint the paint station to a color more harmonized with my apartment, but I quickly realized that the white color of the paint station has a big advantage – it doesn’t create any color cast, which would alter the way painted models look. White also reflects more light, which makes your workspace brighter and better lit (without blinding you ;)). I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but even if it was just accidental – it must have been a lucky accident.

Elements of the HobbyZone paint station are glued solidly and neatly, and edges are finished in a clean way so it seems there’s no risk of tearing or chipping. Of course I am judging after like two weeks of usage, so I can’t tell what it’s going to look like after a year or two.

Gluing is neat, workmanship is flawless:

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Possible improvements:

I did a little improvement to the table, which allows me to carry it more securely (and it’s very important to me). I fixed the miniatures and elements I was working on to the paint station with Blu-tack or Patafix. This keeps them secured to their places and I don’t have to fear the possibility of anything dropping from the table when I am transporting it.

My problem was that I couldn’t find suitable water glasses to fit in the slots prepared in the paint station. They could become another product from HobbyZone, but on our miniature painting forum I was told to use disposable plastic cups, and they fit perfectly, so this problem was already solved. Not that I wouldn’t prefer something more durable…

On the photos you can see that for now I prefer to use the slots originally planned for water cups to keep my sculpting tools and a coaster on which I keep spare little bits, and I carry my water glasses on the tabletop:

I keep my water cups on the base, as I don’t have suitable glasses to fit in the slots:

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Final verdict

As you can surely see, I am very satisfied with the improvements and reorganization I managed to achieve thanks to the paint station and paint stands. I would rate the quality of these products as very good, they’re easy to keep clean and much room for paints, toold and miniatures I am painting allows me to keep most of the things I might need while working on miniatures (and surely also other models) close at hand. I hope these products are durable enough so I don’t have to replace them with new ones (and remember they’re getting some rough time from me – painting every day and being carried around a few times a day).

If there’s anything I don’t quite like, it’s the larger-sized paint slots. I can’t say they’re bad, but they simply don’t suit my needs all that well. Although supposed to be universal slots, they aren’t well suited to some of more frequently used products. And if they’re supposed to be a good fit for a particular kind of bottles, then they could be fitting more accurately. It may be a matter of taste though. I dealt with it by moving some of my supplies onto the paint station, but this means I have some of my rarely used products there where I don’t really need them so much. They could rest on paint stands, but I hope such paint stands are still to be produced. 🙂

I think that HobbyZone started well with a line of products for us, painters. Now they should open their minds to suggestions coming from the hobby community and react to market situation. There are some suggestions from me in this very review. 😉

Prices of their products are not high in my opinion. People who spend a few hours daily painting, should be able to spend some money on equipping and reorganizing their workspaces.

Would I recommend these products to other painters? Yes, with completely clear conscience. Just remember that it’s not any kind of a magic solution which will tidy up and reorganize your workshops. In my case it worked well because I always wanted to have easy access to tools, paints and models that I am working on, and to be able to carry my painting equipment easily – and both the paint station and paint stands allow for easy portability. I got what I expected.

Ideas and suggestions

First thing is what I already mentioned: shelves with different shapes and sizes of slots. It would allow to customize paint stands for the kind of products one actually uses. Especially that HobbyZone is pretty flexible as far as customizations go.

Another idea I have is to make similar shelves, but instead of paint bottle slots, they would have little drawers for fine modeling supplies, like glue, flock, sand, static grass, etc. If they keep the same size as paint stands, one could build a whole wall of such shelves.

Alternatively they could also split benchtop organizers into smaller modules (let’s say in 3 variants: empty, shelves and drawers), which could be combined depending on your needs and preferences.

The last idea I would like to remind about was to provide those unfortunate water cups, which would fit the slots in paint stations. I would most likely buy them for my paint station.

And let’s not forget the display cabinets section on HobbyZone website, which is still empty. I really wonder when we will see anything there and what will they look like.

And what would you like to suggest to HobbyZone? Maybe you have used their products and would like to share your own opinion? I am curious what you have to say on this subject and sure that the HobbyZone crew will check this review and comments here.

— Ańa