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Paint Station

by Andy Slater

If you've ever wondered what kind of idiot spends 18 quid of their hard earned cash on a few pieces of MDF that they could knock together themselves then look no further. My Paint Station is shown below and if you want to know why I think it's well worth the money, read on.

Paint Station

You can see from all the paint splodges: it's been well used, but why did I ever buy it? Well in truth, I didn't. I had been thinking I'd make myself something similar but it was my birthday and somebody asked me what I wanted. I've got more models than I'm every likely to construct and as months had passed without me finding time to cobble some MDF together I thought well why not? It wasn't until I actually started to use it that I came to realise what a superbly designed piece of kit it is.

Something that is obvious from the picture is that there are two places to hold a cup of water. In case you don't know: it's good to have two lots of water when you're painting so you can use one for metallics and one for ordinary paint so you don't end up with metallic particles (which tend to float) contaminating the water you're using for your normal paints).

Twelve places to stand brushes is probably overkill but if you're a southpaw then you will no doubt appreciate that they put some on the left as well as the ones on the right for us right-handers.

Something that's less apparent (especially if the only pics you've ever seen have been in a Games Workshop catalogue) is that it's a nice size, not only for figure painting but for other model making too. As you can see, the photos for this review were taken while I was working on a model of Hirst Arts Wizard's Tower and there's plenty of room to work.

Another major feature, and I bet you didn't notice them, are the carrying handles formed by two cut outs in the sides. Of course the whole point of a Paint Station is that you can clear all your stuff off the dining table and hide it away on top of a bookcase in one easy movement. However, even now I've drawn your attention to them, you won't realise what a brilliant piece of design those handles are until you pick one up. Clearly there is more weight at the back of the Paint Station than there is at the front but those handles are in the perfect position and at the perfect angle to balance it. Ever struggled with a tea tray? Well try a Paint Station and you'll realise that the handles are at the wrong angle on a tea tray. Grab hold of an imaginary tea tray right now and you'll see what I mean. The tea tray puts your wrists at a bad angle. The Paint Station handles are the epitome of good design.

Paint StationMoving in a bit closer, the image to the right shows many some of the other subtle design features of a Paint Station that you are unlikely to notice until you start using one.

Notice where my craft knife is sitting in that groove near the paint brushes. That groove runs right across that shelf and it's a great place to store a knife. Within easy reach, convenient, lied flat so you've no risk of jabbing your fingers when you reach for it, and not rolling about all over the place.

Now observe the groove that runs around the front edge. Although this will prevent most small rounded objects from making a bid for freedom the real advantage is that if you're doing something like cleaning off mould lines from a plastic kit, this groove is a great place to store the detritus. Rub your hand over the work surface and you push all the little bits into that groove. When you're done, out with the vacuum cleaner, swoosh the nozzle along that groove and presto hey you're done.

The last 'feature' to which I want to draw your attention is that all of the corners have been rounded off. Okay so you probably haven't just fallen off your chair in astonishment, but it's just an extra little bit of attention to detail that helps bring me to my final conclusion:

Conclusion

I'm a fairly decent model maker, I have some woodworking ability, and I like to think I'm pretty good at designing things. However, had I made my own version of a Paint Station I very much doubt that it would have been anywhere near half as good as this design. Now that I've pointed out the best features you may feel that you're better equipped to make your own but seriously, why bother?

This product comes as a flat pack but goes together in five minutes (because it's designed to) so all the hard work has been done for you. If you're prone to spilling stuff then I'd recommend a coat of varnish (because although the MDF surface will cope with paint splashes it won't like it if you give it a prolonged soaking). Why even think of wasting your time and effort trying to make something yourself (if you do ever get around to it) when 18 quid and 5 minutes spent putting it together will set you up with a brilliantly designed piece of kit that you won't ever want to be without again?

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