Best Display Cases for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Wargames Models

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Best Hobby Storage Display Cases for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Wargames Models - Featured

Last updated on October 17th, 2022 at 09:39 pm

When it comes to the miniature painter/collector, there are generally 2 camps. The Painter and the Player, there’s crossover in there certainly. But it’s two distinct sides to the same hobby with people’s personal proclivities leaning towards one or the other as their driving reason to join this clique. Here we will focus on the Painter side of the hobby – those of us who have a true love or desire for painting and displaying our miniatures and various other models in and around the home. We’ll pick up hobby storage for players wanting to maximise their army storage to a small footprint and transport them for games in another article. But here, we are specifically looking at The Best Hobby Storage Display Cases for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Wargames Models

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Best Hobby Storage Display Cases – Introduction

So, we have a problem in need of a solution. It’s certainly a first-world problem – we aren’t curing the global hunger crisis here. but our problem is simple. We have awesome minis. We have spent so much time on them, in some cases this time is in the excess of hundreds or even thousands of hours.

And whilst some may say that it’s borderline narcissistic to show-off, those of us who have painted for a while will find it therapeutic to view and reflect on our beloved creations. We as humans love to be nostalgic about our personal histories but by seeing where we have come from can inspire us to create more and better things in the future.

But until recently, nobody truly solved this problem specifically for our niche, we were left as a collective to scrape around and scavenge what we could from various display suppliers online. From Amazon and AliExpress to eBay and Ikea.

I personally went with a rather specialist option of a MAG-Lite display case that I purchased for £20 from Facebook Selling Pages, when an Ex-Shop Owner looked to swiftly sell-on some of their old stuff during a refit. I was incredibly lucky. But even with this professional and super-cool unit in place, I have problems unique to our hobby.

Best Hobby Storage Display Cases – Requirements

Well, you could use anything really Any flat surface does well enough to display your miniatures. But would a desk really showcase them? Equally, you could use a bookshelf but then you have other issues, shelf height for one. Unless you have only very tall miniatures, there’s a lot of wasted vertical space unless you once again fashion your own sub-shelf structures between them. But what happens when your army-size or the models within it change(s)?

So let’s have a look at the Requirements for the perfect Hobby Storage Solution.

Hobby/Miniature/3D Print Display Case – Wall Mounted or Free Standing

More of a personal choice than a “requirement”, but depending on what you have available as space in your home, you may want a tall display unit to house your miniatures, models, 3D prints and the like. Or you may with to limit this area to available wall space.

Personally, I’d opt for the latter as I like to lazily keep my viewable models around eye level. Tall cabinets are great, but few people bar children will see the models at the bottom. Just look at Games Workshop’s own stores where the first 2-3 feet of a display cabinet are made for nothing more than hidden-away storage. and the prices of these single units, will be in the thousands.

Hobby/Miniature/3D Print Display Case – Shelf Space/Size

One requirement is to have shelves made with miniatures in mind. ideally, these would be adjustable too.

There are numerous shelving options out there but most are made with books in mind, even those for smaller items are normally made with dedicated spaces for other collection-based hobbies. Thimbles, Die-Cast Cars or Lego Minifigs seem to be amongst the most considered. But of all I’ve looked at, these seem to be at a dedicated set size. Mostly too small or too large, Miniatures can vary. Any Space marine collector will tell you that there’s a distinct difference between a Space Marine aiming forwards and a Sergeant holding his power-sword aloft.

Hobby/Miniature/3D Print Display Case – Sealed/Dust Prevention

If there’s one thing that can ruin your models over time, it’s dust. It’s such an issue that even amongst the most popular miniature display options, people are coming up with additional dust seal options in order to solve this particular problem.

Thankfully there are options out there like Curio Cabinets, which have almost sealed solutions, a big glass window covering the whole front. normally these are slide windows with a small gap between panes – like a shower screen.

Alternately you get glass cabinets with large doors having either a gap at the edges or a big wooden frame. Normally taller and wider round the edges than the miniatures sat within the cabinet.

When they are sealed though, it’s often a nightmare to get miniatures in and out of them.

Hobby/Miniature/3D Print Display Case – Style

Once again a bit of a personal choice here, but I think it’s fair to say that many of us would prefer something of contemporary design. Like the issues above, the solutions range here to products popular in the 50s and 60s, that you’ve likely inherited from your Grandmother.

But because we are displaying artwork. We most likely want to frame that artwork in a way that really sets it off. After all, when you paint the base of your mini, you would likely select a base colour to compliment the miniature itself.

So why not have a frame to compliment the whole model, or a selection of models?

Hobby/Miniature/3D Print Display Case – Lighting

Possibly the most difficult piece of the puzzle is lighting. Very few of the options we have available to us even consider lighting. Even in the day and age where LED lighting strips are on everything, the add-ons you can get are frequently external. Anyone who has tried this knows that the glare on the window is more visible than the model itself.

Where you can get internal lighting – these are also quite directional, either top-down and the upper miniatures cast a shadow on those below. or front-facing mini spots which require you to set your miniatures further back in the units.

It;s a problem that plagues painting competitions, frequently you’ll see models in cases and they are lit from above or the back. Not the best way to showcase miniatures at all! it frequently just blinds you and detracts from the model(s).

Best Hobby Storage Display Cases – Summary

So, when picking amongst the best options to display your miniatures in their full glory, you often need to decide on which of the above requirements you want Vs what you can DIY yourself, Vs what you can live without.

RankProduct
1Artis Opus Display Cabinets
2Ikea Detolf
3Ikea Kallax
4Curio Cabinets
5Crystal Fortress
6Wallhalla
7Acrylic Display Cases
8Acrylic Shelves/Nail Polish Stands
9Display Plinths
10DIY

Above we have compiled a summary of the best options, but if you want to understand why each is considered the best. Read our full breakdowns below.

The Best Tools For Miniatures?

FauxHammer.com is dedicated to finding the best tools for your hobby. Start with our list of Essential Hobby Tools which will lead you to find the Top-10 tools for each category.

Essential Hobby Tools for Miniatures & Wargames Models

To see all of our guides to the Best Tools for Miniatures, click on the image above.

Best Hobby Storage Display Cases for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Wargames Models

Ok, let’s look at some of the most popular display storage options for your miniatures below.

10. DIY

Well, this one all depends on your own skill level – and for most of us, that starts and ends with the miniatures we paint. There are arguments for or against this option. The argument “for”, is clear, it’s something truly bespoke to you and your models. Beyond just making something to the size and shape of your chosen army, you can even create it in a bespoke style to match the environment your miniatures are in.

There’s nothing, in particular, you can buy here. instead, it’s a lot of things. wood glue, crafting parts and other bitz

The quality of this output will also match your skill – though if you are painting your models, this storage nit created by you would match the style at least and be at the equal quality of your paintworks.

personally though,m I want my cabinet to be a cabinet and the model to be my model. the function of my cab should make the model stand out – rather than have the two blend.

9. Display Plinths

Ok, not really a display cabinet, but an extension of whatever you use, be it a shelf, bookcase or dedicated storage unit, these variously-sized display stands will help to elevate individual pieces above the ones in front of it – they also help the model to look like a piece of artwork rather than just stick them on a stand.

Best Hobby Storage Display Cases for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Wargames Models - Display Plinth

Ok ok, I’ll be honest, the reason these are here is purely to extend the list out to 10. If you have another option I can replace it with, please let me know

8. Acrylic Shelves/Nail Polish Stands

A slightly better option than that above is different series of acrylic display shelves. I actually use nail polish stands which I originally bought as paint racks – though I flipped them upside down so that I could display my models on the flat edge.

There are a ton of options available out there so shop around, but if you have a larger cabinet like the ones we have mentioned below. There are great additions to showcase all of your models within on different tires and avoid obscuring models held toward the back.

7. Acrylic Display Cases

These are an awesome choice if you can find one that suits your model or force. Again though they are often suited to sit on shelves or within existing display cabinets.

I managed to get a couple from Aliexpress which I thought would be great to house some of my most treasured models. Alas only the bottom shelves were tall enough to house your typical Primaris Marine – and only three of them width ways at that. the upper shelves would only fit my firstborn models. and for £30 each after shipping. no ta.

The better ones seem to be the larger cases used to house lego figures or mini funko-pop models, a shelved based with an acrylic cover is a great way to protect your models from dust, but still, you need something else to sit these in/on

6. Wallhalla

Ok, I love this, and for anyone who has followed the site/channel for a while will know I really love what 3D printing has brought to our hobby space. Wallhalla is a beautiful and growing set of modular 3D printable display units for various sizes of models.

Best Hobby Storage Display Cases for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Wargames Models - Wallhalla

Designed to be printed on FDM (so, layer-lines aplenty), these pieces can house 1-5miniatures and have various styles, mostly fantasy but some sci-fi too.

Print out the back plate and floor plate you require and they have recesses for various model base sizes.

You have holes for discreetly adding led lights within the bases underhang and can be wall mounted in various configurations to match your army.

Whilst these are usually hung in a reverse pyramid configuration, I really wanted to call out this build by heribertohobby on Instagram who has fashioned his own frame for these modules.

Best Hobby Storage Display Cases for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Wargames Models - Wallhalla Frame

It’s a super cool bespoke option that lets you continue to create well after your model is painted. definitely worth checking them out.

5. Crystal Fortress

For those unaware, we gave Crystal Fortress our storage product of the year choice award in 2019, we didn’t do one for 2020 and 2021 because we had enough on dealing with covid. so much was delayed and nothing new came out.

Crystal Fortress is a fantastic creation which is intended specifically for miniature hobbyists as a way to not only store their miniatures but to transport them too. But unlike other storage solutions. this lets you showcase the entire force – which makes it a great versatile choice for those wanting the benefits of both display and transport.

This would sit great on a corner table in your home or even to show off when on your way to a tournament.

Though the product when transported can easily crack and get scratched so 6 of one and all that.

4. Curio Cabinets & Cases

Once again a multi-choice option but I wanted to shout out about it because very few people are aware of the term. But it’s a traditionally coined word to group “collectables”, and cabinet means cabinet.

FYI, this Retails for around £65 on Amazon in the UK

They come in various sizes but for anything of decent quality – you’ll be paying.

You can get wall mounted and floor standing, but most are used by grandparents to house and display their lifetime of collected trinkets.

FYI, this natural hardwood unit retails for around $2000

Amazon and eBay sell them, along with various DIY stores, but these specialist options are normally the best part of £100 (or local equivalent) minimum for something which often has fixed shelves.

3. Ikea Kallax

The Army Builders delight. We all know Ikea Kallax – heck you probably own one of their 2×2, 2×4 or 4×4 units yourself. And to add to it’s renown I suspect that Squuidmar’s full name is Emil Kallax Nyström.

These are great units because they are multi-purpose and even better, they are relatively cheap.

Now they have 2 main problems, 1 there is no back on them, models can and do easily fall out the back. and 2, they have no front on them. meaning that models will gradually get covered in dust.

But because they are so popular, companies have come up with solutions for this and they’ll transform your standard cheap Kallax into a Storage dream.

Check out Wickedbrick who will give you back covers, including custom printed options, various sized shelves and even display windows.

It’s an incredibly versatile unit, if you are willing to customise and spend

2. Ikea Detolf

Arguably the most popular choice amongst miniature painters is the Ikea Detolf. Why? Well, it’s a large glass display cabinet, and it’s cheap.

AS standard from Ikea it comes with a hole at the top for a single light which you install and have the cable draping all the way down the back. and it’s hard to hide because, well, the cabinet is glass, you can see through the back almost as easily as the front.

Another drawback is the gap around the door, it lets in dust, lots of dust. it’s always a pain to pull out armies of minis, dust the glass and the models then put them back in.

And the other issue is the shelf height. Even if you are showcasing single large minis like tanks and demons, you’re wasting a lot of vertical space.

Once again though Ikea Hacks to the rescue, there are numerous DIY upgrades out there for dust sealing, additional shelves (between the existing ones) and spotlighting.

A great and cheap choice at the outset, but still needs some DIY to maximise the value from it.

Bonus Extra – Miniature Display Bauble

When’ “Tis t’ season” rolls around you’ll be liking these, and let’s be fair – no matter what time of year it is, Christmas is coming. Why not consider decorating your tree with some of your own themed miniature inclusive baubles

It;s a quirky little extra I just wanted to make people aware of as our good friends over at The Lion’s Tower Miniatures, keep creating cool stuff.

And whilst this probably won;t appeal to most people reading this article. We can surely all agree that this quirky little trinket is something you’d love to stick one of your favourite minis in and decorate your annual tree with? Right?

Check it out here.

1. Artis Opus Display Cabinets

So, I’ll be honest, releasing this article early was a leading post. Inspired by the recent Artis Opus release.

Best Hobby Storage Display Cases for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Wargames Models - Artis Opus Display Cases

We’ve known about this upcoming product for quite some time and whilst Artis Opus has shared it with us to preview – and we love what they sent.

Let’s look at the requirements above and see which boxes this one ticks.

  • Wall Mounted/Free Standing – You Choose
  • Shelf Space/Size – Movable shelves, different sizes available
  • Sealed/Dust Prevention – Sealed
  • Style – Contemporary – Choice of Colours
  • Lighting – front-lit built in

so thats all if them yeah.

I genuinely believe that 90% of this article is pointless to you. This is the only product which is specifically designed to be a display solution for miniatures. Everything else either does half a job or requires you to jimmy-rig the rest.

And yes, many will balk at the price. but once again, please, PLEASE! Try to find an alternative to these boxes for a better price. Even the Kallax and Detolf get expensive when we consider all the extras you need.

Here though, it has everything you can possibly want, it does it out of the box and it’s incredibly reasonably priced when you compare it to similar display shelves that do the same job, and most dont look this nice! Yeah ok, a Kallax is cheaper for more space. But so is any old floating shelf. If you want all the requirements you get here, then you’ll be paying a lot more.

So check out the kickstarter now.

Best Hobby Storage Display Cases for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Wargames Models – Final Thoughts

I started writing this article back in 2019 and struggled then to fill it with enough content to make it worthwhile. It was too early, because there was no flagship product to really showcase against the rest. It would have been an article saying little more than here are some add-ons for the Detolf and Kallax units, or buy Crystal Fortress.

But now, finally. someone has come along and made something specifically for us that we all want. and I can’t believe I’m saying this but it’s finally a “new” product, a truly original and well-thought-out idea that will once again get people excited about the hobby.

Which would you choose and why? let me know in the comments.

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support FauxHammer.com – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

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  • FauxHammer

    Self-appointed Editor in chief of FauxHammer.com - But I need to thank the team for existing and therefore enabling me to give myself role - without them, I'm just a nerd with a computer and a plastic addiction.

About FauxHammer 265 Articles
Self-appointed Editor in chief of FauxHammer.com - But I need to thank the team for existing and therefore enabling me to give myself role - without them, I'm just a nerd with a computer and a plastic addiction.

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