Thursday, 1 September 2011
I've referred to The Cupboard before - I think I once mentioned that I might do a post on it.
It has come to mind again lately because it is getting to be a bit of a squeeze in there. It was all planned so carefully - I even got rid of my unwanted Ancient armies to make more space for the Napoleonics - but my recent acquisition of an unexpected Pommeranian contingent has messed up the space planning. It's only a matter of time before I start having to employ supplementary Box Files, or maybe Cupboard II...
Once upon a time, it was a glazed bookcase. An elderly neighbour of mine (in a former life) had a huge personal library, and he had a number of suitably serious bookcases. After he died, I was told that his widow would like me to have one of them, which (apparently) I had once admired. I couldn't remember ever commenting on it, but I was delighted to get it. It's a nice, sturdy item, probably 1920s or so, and has solid shelves, 0.5" thick and 12.5" apart - three of them.
When I first got it I knew at once what I wanted to do with it. I worked out that I could fit 2 glass shelves between each pair of wooden ones, giving enough height for standard bearers and chaps on horses (and those delicate games of leapfrog which are always needed to get the right units for the evening's battle), so I got some heavy quality quarter-inch armoured glass shelves made up, polished all round, and fitted them - it was a lot easier than I expected. I was also delighted to find that my unit sabots, which are 110mm deep, fit very nicely on the shelves, two deep.
It has gradually filled up over recent years - the soldiers now occupy almost all of the shelves, though the floor of the cabinet currently holds my Peninsular War buildings (which do not normally do well in boxes). Next step will be some Box Files (no idea why this should warrant capital letters - maybe it just feels appropriate for a back-up for The Cupboard, which has always had capitals). I may put some of the buildings in box files, with magnetic arrangements to stop them rattling around. Bell towers and fortress gates will not go in a box file, but this would still free up enough space to get the planned limbers and so forth a home on the bottom.
Though the dining room of our house is a fairly dark room (this being where the battles take place), some perverse accident of astronomy means that the early morning sun in the Summer falls right on The Cupboard, so - to protect the red paint and the flags - I arranged for my wife to very kindly fit black blinds inside the glass doors. This may seem a bit overprotective, and it certainly means that my soldiers live in a glazed display cabinet which does not display them, which has occasionally struck visitors as odd. I may change my mind about this some time, but at present the troops live in the dark.
The Cupboard has a significance beyond mere storage - only units which are complete and finished may go in there, so "being ready for The Cupboard" means ready for action, and no mistake. It is a standing joke here that the end objective for all my collecting, painting, basing and organising activity is to get units ready to go into The Cupboard, where they cannot be seen! All witticisms about closet wargamers to Chateau Foy, please, on used 5-pound notes.