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How do you organize your miniatures?


Miniatures


This is a question mostly aimed at Game Masters who utilize miniatures extensively in their campaigns. I currently have a couple hundred miniatures, about half that I've purchased over the years, and about half that I have sculpted myself. However I frequently don't have what I need and for that reason I just bought about 350 minis on eBay and now I am realizing that my current mini storage "system" is simply not workable. I need a way to organize and categorize my minis, and it needs to allow me to quickly locate a particular miniature or set of miniatures.

So, for those of you who have hundreds of miniatures, especially if they include groups of like minis and a significant number of large or even huge minis, how do you keep them organized? Do you use tackle boxes? A bunch of sacks? Shoe boxes? How do you keep them all straight?

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

brassbaboon wrote:
So, for those of you who have hundreds of miniatures, especially if they include groups of like minis and a significant number of large or even huge minis, how do you keep them organized? Do you use tackle boxes? A bunch of sacks? Shoe boxes? How do you keep them all straight?

Well, my collection is far from vast (I have maybe 4 dozen pewter minis) but I keep them in Styrofoam egg containers. Each little "cup" is about the right size for standard "medium creature" minis and the Styrofoam keeps them relatively safe from bending/breaking. I only buy miniatures to represent player characters, though, so all of mine are medium humanoids. I have them organized by role (fighter-types, caster-types, woodsy-types, and rogue-types) with each role getting its own egg carton.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps Subscriber

For most of my miniatures, I use stackable boxes purchased from Ikea (can't find them on the website to illustrate) that have movable dividers inside them.

Originally, I had everything sorted by creature type: Dragons got a box, Outsiders got a box, Aberrations got a box, etc... However certain types quickly outgrew their boxes and I have been forced to subdivide the types further. I believe I have undead split into skeletal, cadaverous and incorporeal. The major PC races each get their own box, while gnomes and halflings are divided in a single box. Outsiders are sorted by alignment. Dragons by nature (metal, colour, other). And so on.

Each box has a label on its side so it is easy to spot the box I want. The only problem is that I have two stacks of boxes as tall as I am, and I always seem to want the box at the bottom of the stack.

For huges and certain overly large larges, I keep them on display around my gaming room.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A shelf, with all of them on display. Painted on 1 shelf, unpainted on annother. Humans (and humanoids) on 1 side, monsterous humanoids next, then animals, then other monsters.

If you can't see the couple hundred minis, you will never know where to look. And what is the point of having them if they are not on display.


I have about 50, housed in 3 chocolate boxes (plastic ferrero rocher) in the trays. They're loosely divided into a monster box, an NPC type box and a box for the PCs and NPCs we're currently using. I suppose with more, I'd start by organizing them by type (animal, humanoid etc) but I don't envy you the task :)


I don't know what they are called, but I've seen cases designed for tabletop games like Warhammer that have a perforated grid of foam inside. You tear out enough cubes to accommodate your figurines snugly and just pop them in. I presume they're available at most hobby shops. Dunno if they'd work for small minis though.

Taldor

Lots and lots of foam trays and carrying cases. You see a lot of them sold for the miniature gamers out there and they work pretty well for what they do, but also tend to cost you a fair amount of coin. Hundreds and Hundreds of miniatures needing a storage solution is always a tricky problem as most of the carriers are made to hold a typical fantasy/modern/future army and those tend not to number quite so high.

Paizo has some nice solutions for sale if your FLGS is lacking them that they've got listed HERE.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have a 5 foot wide, 6 foot tall shelf that was originally made for dvd/cassettes to be displayed on. It's 5 inches deep.

I keep my 1500 or so DND figs on it, large/huge figs on the bottom, animals on the 2 shelves above that, then undead for a couple of shelves, then non-core race sentients. Finally, at eye level, are the core race sentients, divided by type (armored, druids, casters, halflings, gnomes, dwarves).

On the 5 extra shelves I keep my 3.5 inch gashapon Gundams glued to 2 inch plastic warhammer bases (for when I do mechwarrior), as well as a shelf dedicated to scenery (tables, chairs, barrels, traps, statues, etc) from various game systems that work with my D&D minis.

On a different shelf, I have about 500 star wars minis, including ships and figures.

Another shelf holds my painted minis that I have collected over the years, a couple of dozen hot wheels (for playing transformers games). I'm still organizing, but I will have 4-5 more shelves with actual Mechwarrior figs (from the clix game, for playing mechwarrior RPG).

My supers clix are currently being sorted out by gender, and will either live on a shelf, or in plastic shoe-boxes stacked up in the gaming room.

My 1000 or so pieces of tile bits (from the D&D tiles sets) are all sorted by size and type and terrain on a separate shelf.

My rolled up maps are all in a holiday wrapping paper plastic container shoved into the corner of the room, between the walla and a shelf.

My Paizo fold up flip maps and paper map tiles are all on a shelf of their own.

My 500 or so RPG books are in 4 different shelves.


I use plastic containers that have adjustable dividers in them. Purchased from Big Lots, I believe.

I find the BEST way to organize, is to go over the adventure you're running and find the mini's that the group will encounter in the amount of time that is available for the session. I have a pretty good idea of how far my group can get in one session, so I just flip through the book or my notes and take out just the mini's that will be needed for that evening.

Then I just toss em in a small tupper-ware container. It's a lot easier to sort through 15-20 minis at the table than to dig through the hundreds that I have on the shelves.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've never counted but probably have 2,000+ D&D minis...my collection got away from me quickly and I ran into the same problem you're facing!

My solution was to buy three large and one small plastic storage containers from Office Depot. I use the large ones for general storage and the small one to keep stuff I'm using regularly (general NPC people, basic monsters, dogs, and other things that appear a lot) or currently (the next few encounters and potential drop-ins). In the large ones, I have ziplock bags labled by basic type: orcs, goblin, drow, aquatic, elemental, evil humanoid, clerics, rangery, armored martial, aberrations, etc. - as you can tell, these don't necessarily correspond to official Bestiary type...I categorize by appearance mainly, not game terms, because that's what matters on the table.

I have a similar setup for Star Wars and misc minis (Heroscape, Clix, etc.) though I don't have nearly as many (maybe 500).
M


Sabol Design. has very nice mini storage but are a little pricey.

Also look for plastic fishing lure containers at your local super store


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Small plastic containers/removable trays/tackle boxes etc..

But I have a 8 level glass door and shelved cabinet from Ikea - stores several hundred minis quite happily and all the glass helps me choose whats required, they are then packed into boxes for the scenario.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps Subscriber
brassbaboon wrote:
So, for those of you who have hundreds of miniatures, especially if they include groups of like minis and a significant number of large or even huge minis, how do you keep them organized? Do you use tackle boxes? A bunch of sacks? Shoe boxes? How do you keep them all straight?

I use various Snapware containers purchased from Target, similar to these.

They've got 2 sizes that work real well for me. There's the smaller size, 2 and/or 3 tiered containers, which usually have at least 1 tier with a tray system. This works some medium sized minis. We've got plenty of races divided and then some are sub-divided by general 'class' distinctions like light armor wearing elf, magic user types, barbarians etc.

The lower empty layer fit other medium sized, like most of the heavy armor wearing fighter types. These figures are the ones in big action poses with weapons pointing everywhere. We also store the nonhuman mediums there, or entire swaths of human females.

They've got a larger container that I've found works real well for anything large sized. So the army of giants, orges, most animals, even mounted humanoids. I can usually get the huge sized minis in there as well, but they have to lay sideways.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Well, I can't take credit for it as a gamer buddy showed me how he did it ,but we use these plastic storage carts found at all sorts of places( walmart/target/kmart...etc):
here is some examples of those found at walmart:
http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng.do?

Sort as desired....rolls well so when dming I can reach over and pull the whole container to me if necessary during play and some are even big enough for the huge/gargantuan figs.

Also, I use a matting placed on the bottom so that the figs do not slide as much.


I've got just under 10,000 minitures - about 7,000 of which are painted or came pre-painted. My organization syatem is a mixed system, depending on the use of the mini.

Minis that belong to armies (historical, WFB, 40K) are organized by army. Pained figures are in hard plastic cases with foam trays, unpainted miniatures are in cardbaord boxes that fit on the same shelves (in my garage) as the army they go to.

Plastic miniatures (D&D, MageKnight, Heroscape) are in zip-lock plastic bags sorted either by type (goblins, bugbears, gnolls, etc for D&D) or by force at certain point levels (for example I have a bag with a 500pt X-men battle force, and another with a 1,000 pt Black Powder army). Extra or unused figures are loose in cardbaord boxes, labeled by type.

However, since MageKnight is now dead in mmy arera, I'm slowly converting my MageKnights to RPG figures.

For my painted RPG figures I use a large multi-drawer Craftsman rolling toolbox. I stock it with the painted figures I expect to be using during the current campaign. It can hold about 900-1000 figures on bases (less if I'm also adding scenery pieces. It rolls smoothly enough that the trip from the hall closet (where I store it) to the kitchen (where we game) doesn't knock over many figures. I have a simular small (hand carried) toolbox with mostly PC and common monsters that I can use if I'm gaming at my FLGS.

Painted figures I'm currently not using are sorted by type and stored in padded cardboard boxes in my garage. The same goes for scenery pieces.

Unpainted metal figures are kept inside the packaging in cardboard boxes, again sorted by type until I'm ready to prime them. At any given time there are probably 25-50 figures on my painting desk in various stages of completion.

It's a complicated system, but I have a serious addiction to painting and gaming on a table with minis and scenery (trees, hills, caves, buildings, etc).

One of my player once complemented me by saying that I set a pretty gaming table. I strive to do my best.

Shadow Lodge

My current system is a mess and over the last year I quadrupled or so the number of minis I have... My current thought is to use these cases from Mantic Games.

Basically you can use them to store minis in cases like books then just grab the cases you need for any given game. If you buy their minis they come with cases but you can also buy the cases separately which is what I am doing.


Halidan, I'm not sure if I should be impressed or alarmed by your post. 10,000 miniatures!!! Wow.

Funny that you mentioned terrain though, because I have also started making terrain as well. My gaming group was wowed by my custom terrain in our last session. I am currently working on a complete scale model of a four story palace where most of my current campaign is going to take place, so organizing my miniatures is just part of my problem, I also need to store my terrain.

I have considered having my minis on display on open shelves, but I don't care for dusting, and I know it wouldn't be long before my minis would be dust-covered eyesores. I suppose I could build a plexiglas display case...

For now I have my minis in three plastic storage boxes, one of which also contains my dozens of gaming dice and various markers. I also keep a bunch of large minis in a Crown Royal whiskey bag. But I am currently just piling them into large compartments five or ten at a time. I mostly try to keep some organization to things, but they tend to get all jumbled up overnight.

I wouldn't mind a more protective system especially considering that half of my current miniatures are my own personal creations. But I can't spend another couple hundred bucks on this hobby. Well, not all at once anyway.

I do like the individual foam compartment idea. I wonder if I can find a way to do that on the cheap.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Since I never host, but either DM or sometimes supply minis for the game I've developed a nice (for me) way to organize them for travel.

I buy stackable plastic storage containers - something like this!

Each container has a theme, like "orcs", or "elves", or "undead". I pick and choose from the monsters I need, and stack those containers up.

I've also got some larger containers for various other game items like maps, spell templates, and plastic mini flying stands.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Personally, I use stackable plastic drawers for all the D&D and SW minis, sorted into different types (animal, aberation etc), and use Cystal Caste Battle Hives for character figures and metal monster figures. Two cases for character figures and one for monsters at the moment.

However, my husband, who is also a wargame player in addition to RPG player, has an even cooler set up. He managed to score a large set of metal drawers that maps were stored in. There are about 10 drawers about four feet by two feet, but only about 3 inches high. He puts sheet magnet on the base of his minis and stands then up in the drawer. It is a very space economical way to store a couple of thousand figures while still allowing them to be very accessible.


sanwah68 wrote:

Personally, I use stackable plastic drawers for all the D&D and SW minis, sorted into different types (animal, aberation etc), and use Cystal Caste Battle Hives for character figures and metal monster figures. Two cases for character figures and one for monsters at the moment.

However, my husband, who is also a wargame player in addition to RPG player, has an even cooler set up. He managed to score a large set of metal drawers that maps were stored in. There are about 10 drawers about four feet by two feet, but only about 3 inches high. He puts sheet magnet on the base of his minis and stands then up in the drawer. It is a very space economical way to store a couple of thousand figures while still allowing them to be very accessible.

Hmm.... that sounds like an awesome storage system... I wonder if I can make something like that....


brassbaboon wrote:
Halidan, I'm not sure if I should be impressed or alarmed by your post. 10,000 miniatures!!! Wow.

I should mention that I started painting 30mm historicals (ACW and Napolionics) in 1975. When I started role playing in 1977, I just kept on painting

brassbaboon wrote:
I do like the individual foam compartment idea. I wonder if I can find a way to do that on the cheap.

Try using pistol and rifle cases. The plastic is actually tougher that the GW Army cases, the latches on many models are metal reather than plastic, and the foam is usually pre-perforated, so you can make any size compartments you want. If you can only find cases with the bumpy waffle-pattern foam, that's still good for holding 25-28mm figures. I recently added a couple of 4-pistol cases to my collection (which will hold 100+ figures on three levels) for $10 each.


That pistol case idea looks great actually. I don't want to buy one online and pay as much for shipping as the case, but I will check locally to see if our local gun shops or sporting goods stores have some.

Thanks!


I acquired my storage system from the local hardware store, they're a 26 and 40 drawer sized for about 10-15 mini's per little drawer, and around 40 in the larger ones. Only drawback is that crossing into huge, or oddly shaped large, there's nowhere to go, and they're spreading out across the top and onto my desk. I have a large (up to) 18 slot clear plastic case for organizing a small portion and making it mobile. This one I intend to use for society, with a bunch of mediums and many larges to fill in for the pc/npc designators.


Dragons, wyrms, and trade stock are kept in a binder.
Forests, islands, mountains, plains and swamps are each kept in their own box.
Common greens, have a box and are alphabetical. Green rares have a box. Red, blue, black, and white have their own box. Gold, artifacts and dual lands live in their own box.


I just divide them into bins based on whether they are humanoid or not. Before a session begins, I reward those who show up early with the chance to paw through the bins to find the ones I need for the adventure.


hah just kidding.
Quadropreds, monsters & pcs are in seperate boxes. These are sorted into archers and melee. I have a box of random minis that lives in my bag, and the PCs all have their own minis. Large, huge, my pcs & dragons live on a display shelf*. I take them only as needed. I have one carry case for these, though mostly the dragons just get carried by hand.
I can zip them in my gaming bag on top of my books, leaving the wings sticking out. It looks pretty cool and gives my players a bit of fret when they see the dragon's wings without seeing the dragons.

*ask me about 95 pounds of chocolate someday :)


I have 2,782 miniatures - mostly plastic prepainted with a dozen or so pewter ones. I use Plano 737 tackle boxes, Keter tool boxes, and assorted clear plastic hobby boxes with adjustable dividers. I have 4 of the Plano boxes and they work the best. The top is clear plastic and has 14 sections that you can readily see right through the cover. Then it has a deeper section under the lid that you can literally store dozens of miniatures in if you don't mind them sliding together. Then the front has three drawers with 10 long sections per drawer. And finally, it has little plastic containers with dividers that are perfect for small minis. One Plano box is just for humans - divided by class with separate sections for armored soldiers, "commoners", and females (also subdivided). The big open space under the lid I use for animals (mammals). The second Plano box is for humanoids. Elves, Dwarves, and orcs each get their own drawer. They are further subdivided by class and gender. The little boxes on the side are for gnomes and halflings. The big space under that lid is for animals (birds, reptiles, and insects). The third Plano box is for monstrous humanoids - a drawer for gnolls, lizardmen, and goblinoids. Kobolds and other small humanoids in the little side boxes. The 4th box is for undead - a drawer for skeletons, zombies, and incorporal beings. I keep my dragons in one of the Keter tool boxes because its compartments are larger. I divide them by color. I use the clear plastic hobby boxes (with handles) for everything else - one box for angels, one box for devils & demons & misc. outsiders, one for elementals, one for plant-based creatures and lycanthropes, one for flying monsters, and one for giants & giantkin. Each box is labeled with an index card that lists the contents by category and identifies which drawer or level they are in. I like this system because the boxes are easily trasportable and readily stackable. Before a gaming session, I go and pick out what I'll need for the night along with a few extras (in case of random encounter) from my walk-in closet where all the boxes are stored. I throw the current minis into a small cardboard box that my players have taken to calling "the box of doom". Then I just reach in and pull out what I need as the adventure progresses. The players are responsible for their own personal character minis so that isn't an issue except when we're just drawing up characters and starting a campaign.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have 1 of these
http://au.element14.com/raaco/126762/cabinet-organiser-44compartment/dp/136 709101


by the way, if anyone's 'getting rid' of their miniatures, I have been searching for a feasible bulk purchase. The prices on ebay and sites like miniature market are insane for me to contemplate buying them just to use. I know they're collectable, but that's never concerned me, just want variety and multiplicity (ever throw 60 orcs on the board?). If anyone's got suggestions, PM me.


As a follow up suggestion, I found a great buy last night. In the scrapbooking section of a certain store, I found a paper/stuff container that's about 4 inches deep, and completely open. They're stackable too, but on the low end of quality. In either case, they're clear see thru, and come in a variety of depths, widths, and heights.

Qadira

I use 2 of these, fastened together with short bolts and washers so that they face away from each other. All the plastic boxes inside are separate and come out. I use a sharpie to label the clear plexi above each box to tell me what is in them (or should be). I don't know how many minis I have in it but I would estimate around 500-600ish... I can fit up to large size in there so I have to keep my huge and biggers in something else.
I usually use sharpie labels like "Orcs", "goblinoids", "reptilian humanoids" (which have kobolds, serpentfolk, yuan-ti, etc), "winged creatures", and stuff like that.
It works well for me and is easier to tote than any other solutions I have found....Oh and it's really about the cheapest good solution I found.


Shadow boxes...lots of them...covering my walls. Holding my collection of roughly 1600 hand painted metal/resin/plastic minis...the plastic prepaint I just toss in a box, and leave there unless it really was a piece that blew me away.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

...organize?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed a post and a reply to it. That was uncalled for.

Andoran

We had almost all of our minatures stolen by a player. So when I started gaming I had to start rebuilding the collection. Right now we us craft sorter with removable trays. I fill the top tray with PCs and the rest with NPCs or monsters.

Monsters are still low currently as it gets very expensive to re-purchase all of those creatures you use in an encounter.

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