After building a brand new kit, many new hobbyists wonder why there are so many ‘extra’ pieces left on the sprue. As you make more and more kits, these extras start to pile up. At some point, you need to start the almighty bits box.
What might start out as a plastic bag of the remainders can quick add up over the years. In today’s post, I’m going discuss a few ways to organize all those parts, and how doing so can help with your conversion skills.
Options for Bits Boxes
The term bits box can mean anywhere you store all the extra weapon options, helmets, and even unbuilt kits.
Often, the very first bits box is the same box the kit came in. The full sprues can be slid right back into the box for later use.
A nice advantage of using the original box is that you know exactly what kit the part came from. Or if you are in need of the head from a particular set, you can quickly grab the box.
The downside is that as you get more boxes piled up, it can create a real mess in your closet. But even more aggravating when you get the box out, only to find the bit isn’t there anyway.
A quick way to cut down on the pile of boxes is to clip off all the extra parts into sealable bags. Each bag could be for that particular kit (same reasons as above). You could instead combine parts from the same faction.
By removing the parts from the sprue, you significantly reduce the space required. You can toss all the empty sprues and recycle the empty boxes. It also becomes quicker to see if you have any of the parts you were looking for by looking through the clear plastic.
The downside of the bags is that they don’t stack and can spill everywhere if you aren’t careful. You could put all the bags into a larger box to store away. It is back in a box, but a much smaller box.
Small Parts Box
I started using small parts boxes for my bits. Also called tackle boxes, craft boxes, and the like, these are plastic that is only an inch or so high and have movable walls inside to create different sized slots.
I buy a box for each of my factions and split up each slot to store heads, right arms, left arms, weapons, etc. The one above is Space Marine bits for my Mentor Legion. The provides huge benefits when I’m building up new models for that faction as I can grab each piece I need and mix-and-match between kits.
The two big downsides with the small parts box are the cost, and the time it takes to sort. While each box is only a few bucks (this one is only $8 on Amazon), it is more than the free box or nearly free bag. Regarding sorting the bits, well yeah that is a work in progress.
Organizing Your Bits
If you go with the small parts box, I mentioned that the process of actually getting all those pieces into each slot could be a challenge. But once you do, it is easy to find the part you are looking for.
I found the easiest way to get started with the bits box is to build it as you go. If you are starting a new army, pick up a small parts box to go along with it. As you clip out the extra bits, add them to the empty box. If you go for the mix-and-match approach with kits, clip out all the parts into the bins first, and then build up the units.
To overcome the backlog of boxes and plastic bags, I recommend a good movie. Grab your pile of sprues, your flush cutters, and a bits bin or two. As you don’t need to focus too much on clipping out the pieces and sorting them out, it can be easy to accomplish during movie night.
As your collection builds up, you may need to get additional bits boxes for vehicle or scenery kits (which may require deeper boxes like this one). Mine has become a collective mishmash of organizers over the years. The next step will be to add labels to the side of each bits box.
What Do You Use?
Do you have a different solution to organizing your extra bits? Or do you even hang out to the extra parts? (I’m not judging if you decided to toss them instead) Let me know in the comments and add a picture of your solution.