Master Your Mancave

How to build the perfect Mancave?  Whatever name you chose for your hobby area, learn how to make the most of it.

This article originally appeared on Torrent of Fire, and is the introduction to a whole series.

Master Your Mancave

Building the perfect mancave will vary between people, but a few key elements remain, no matter what.  The goal is to maximize efficiency in your space.

And it’s worth noting that how much space you have has very little impact on building a great mancave.

The first thing I want you to notice is how everything is compact.

This is not because I lack space in my mancave; this is because you want to be able to switch from one thing to another rather quickly and have everything at hand.

It’s not because you have a huge space to do your hobby in that you need to space everything out.

Figure out what’s convenient for you, and build around it.

So besides the actual paint pots and brushes, here’s the larger stuff you have to work with.

Paint rack

Now, I paint 30ish hours per week, so obviously you don’t need a massive paint rack like mine, but yes, you need some sort of convenient paint rack.

You want to be able to reach whatever pot you need easily.  You need to know which color is in which pot without having to pick up three or four pots guessing at its content to find the one you’re looking for.

Airbrush setup 

  • Gun,
  • Compressor,
  • Paper towels,
  • Thinner & Cleaner, whichever you use.

Permanently hooked up and plugged in.  Don’t put it in a drawer so you have to set everything up when you want to use it; that’s not permanent enough.  You have to make everything lazy-proof.


Mine are quite crappy, mostly because I paint during the day and there are huge windows behind me. If you paint at night or early in the morning, invest in two good desk lamps or an overhead arch


I don’t have one of the high end gamer chair (yet), but don’t underestimate the impact of a quality chair.  I used an $8 folding chair for a while, and painting for more than an hour was near impossible.

As a guy with plenty of back problems, I’ve had great success with a decent chair and the purple pad.  I’m not exactly sure what kind of voodoo is at play, but it’s been great so far.

This covers the desk itself.  Now not everything needs to be on or around your desk.  This seems to contradicts the prime directive of having everything together, but there is a valid reason behind each section.

Assembly area

Assembling models is a messy affair that usually leaves plastic, resin metal and glue residue all over.

This does not need to be anything fancy. A box lid or anything that can rest on your lap is fine.  Anything large enough to catch most of the debris will go a long way.

Basing box

As I previously mentioned, you should do all the bases for your army together. Having this stuff out all the time is pointless and can take valuable space out of your mancave.

Keep all the stuff you need for basing models (sand, flock, cork, resin bases, PVA glue, tubing, rocks… EVERYTHING) in this box. Only take it out when you are basing your army.

Bitz box

Now the term “bitz box” usually refers more to some sort of shelf or bookcase where you can unceremoniously dump all of the bits left over from your models.

Organizing this pile is a “pick your poison” type of deal, where everyone will have some levels of organizational sweet spot.  Mine is very low, because I don’t want to spend that much time sorting through leftover kits.

As your collection grows, you can invest in a shelving unit or bins to keep everything organized.

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