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Keep Your Powder Dry!

I live in a very damp part of the world.

Very damp. The cold December rain is bucketing down even as I write.

Having been in the South-West of England for the last twelve years now, I'm pretty much used to it, but it still blind-sides me sometimes, and now it's threatening to take down my toy soldiers with it... for the dreaded mould has attacked the MDF in my Gallic-Celtic and WW2 German storage boxes.

[It's yet another 2020 thing of course: because I've not been playing regularly, I haven't been able to spot the damage and so act on it!]

The trouble really is my hobby space - or lack thereof. I'm lucky enough to live in a very pretty neck of the woods (my commute is like driving through Narnia), but our cottage is old. And it's small. And there isn't anywhere inside for me to keep my toys or have any hobbying space, so I have to keep everything other than current painting projects outside in my draughty, tumbledown shed.

I even added silica gel at the start of the summer. Was it useless? - or would it have been worse still without it?

Bleurgh! Luckily, their was no real damage to the minis themselves, beyond the bases.

I take precautions too: having lost card-based scenery and storage boxes to the ravages of ravenous snails in the past(!) I now wrap my treasured cardboard army cases in plastic refuse sacks, and that works absolutely fine. I also keep all of my projects and the plastic mountains in a combination of mid-sized stacking plastic storage boxes and 4L Really Useful Boxes. But even though I knew these weren't airtight, I still didn't anticipate thais level of carnage. My suspicions are that a combination of Covid-enforced neglect and the conductive cold of the magnetic sheets must've accelerated the damage.

There's another one just like this. Boooo.

So what can I do about it?

Well, I've cleaned it all from the MDF of the models' bases (whilst wearing my mask), put them into freshly cleaned and dried boxes, and in the case of the Gallic-Celts, I've removed the magnetised movement trays, pending a final decision on their fate.  I've then put everything into our airing cupboard to get as dry as possible, but Mrs King will get bored of that arrangement fairly soon, methinks. The next step is to store my toys somewhere better, to which end I've negotiated a far warmer, dryer space up in the attic. Only the mice to contend with there, then. Oh, and the awkwardness of accessing them. Finally, some new sort of storage will be winging my way, and for that I have a plan, so please wish me luck and watch this space...

...and keep your powder dry.

My once-lovely magnetised movement trays. *sniff!*

10 thoughts on “Keep Your Powder Dry!”

  • Alex

    The damp can destroy our beloved cheap MDF. I keep a lot of my scenery in plastic storage boxes in my shed, but luckily I foresaw this issue and built it on a plastic grid base. This keeps it off the ground and away from the damp and rain so far all my stuff is nice and safe.

  • Gordon Lawrence

    I used to base my wargaming in a damp cellar and mould was a problem there and I had to clean things up regularly. Since we moved I've got a purpose built dry, insulated Room... and things have been fine.

    • Chris King

      In the grim darkness of the far future, I hope to invest in a new shed - hopefully it'll be a little more bespoke than the current one!

  • Iain

    I had my figures in plastic really useful boxes in the basement of the house when I moved in and while working away from home for a few months in the summer it flooded. The mdf was alright but my pipe cleaner trees corroded and collapsed, I have patched them up with copper wire,at least if that gets wet it won't just turn to dust! I have since built an insulated, double glazed and dry shed,so I'm hoping it won't happen again!

  • Alex

    In a previous house I decided to store my snowy terrain in my attic. To my horror all the snow turned yellow. It's funny now, but at the time I was livid!

    • Chris King

      Poor you!

      I'd never even realised yellow [model] snow was a thing until I read the advice on it in Mel Bose's excellent new book, 'Terrain Essentials'...


    Some of my 28mm Medieval suffered from this dreaded green spore. Just one or two bases in amongst the many seemed to be susceptible. And I don't use magnetic sheet. Seems some MDF bases are more vulnerable than others, and can 'turn' grim-green with any trace of damp present.

    Silica gel packets have helped, as have soft brush washes of white vinegar, and bagging the worst elements in sandwich bags, then leaving them in the freezer for a few days. I now pre-seal MDF bases with hairspray (!) before fixing figures and scenics to them. Hoping that works out as a long-term deterrent.

    But I'll admit I'm also reverting back to plastic sheet bases too.

    • Chris King

      Ahh, there are some great tips for me and our readers to try there - thanks so much, Tim, and all the best with your minis!

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