My First Geek Display Case | Apr 21, 2018

My First Geek Display Case
Setting Up My First Geek Display Case - Masters of the Universe toys.

My first geek display case of sorts.

In an older post, I highlighted how blogging encourages you to try new experiences. I’d now add that blogging also compels you to dig deeper into whichever niche you write about, and, if you’re not careful, suffer from insomnia because of itchy desires.


Nope, you didn’t read wrongly. I literally mean that.

What happened was this. In the beginning, I did what every other new blogger does and joined several social media groups for the purpose of networking a.k.a. self-promotion. (Ahem) Among all of these, my favourite were the retro video games and retro memories groups. The former of which I could linger for hours just geeking over the pictures and screenshots posted.

If you belong to such groups, you’d sure know many members also take pride in showcasing i.e. showing off their setups. Yes. Intricate display cases with every video game console since the 80s. Entire shelves stocked full of retro games. Every wall of a playroom adorned with collectors’ figures, with the walls themselves covered with a screengrab from Mario or Zelda, or Donkey Kong.

Short of it was that it didn’t take very long for me to turn into an avocado. For months, actually, for over a year, I yearned to mimic such devotion in my own den. Problem though, I didn’t seem to have space. The finish on my walls, left by the previous owner, also forbids any form of wallpapering.

Worse, I neither have enough retro games or still-functioning game consoles to display.

No thanks to these, I was forced to shelf all intentions. I comforted myself by thinking, ah, screw it, why give yourself more things to dust/clean every week?

… …


Well, all that changed last week. And again it’s because of Hardy Boys; devious Franklin W. Dixon continues to exert an influence on me.

While hunting for the books at my mother’s place, I noticed how my mom had shrink-wrapped all my childhood toys. My Lego sets, Castle Grayskull, M.A.S.K., etc. Not only so, she obviously also cleaned everything before wrapping. While the toys weren’t exactly pristine, they weren’t exactly unpresentable too in their current state.

It was while seeing my old Point Dread & Talon Fighter set that I suddenly realised, hey, you don’t have to just “do games.” Mix everything up! Cross display as you cross niches on the blog!

Once again, one thing led to another, and by the next evening, all my (wrapped) toys were at my place. That kickstarted one week of further cleaning and furniture buying for my first geek display case.

At IKEA Alexandra

I’m proud to say this. I go to IKEA for most of my furniture needs.

Ask any Singaporean and you’d probably receive mixed reviews about the Scandinavian Chain though. To me, though, they still provide the best balance of affordability, design, and reasonable quality.

In this “case,” it helps too that IKEA had exactly what I was looking for; something under a hundred bucks as well, I add. The gist of it, I set aside work for one afternoon and headed down to the Alexandra Road branch. While I was there, my refreshed toys awaited in a row in my living room. Their soon-to-come renewed life was on the way.

IKEA Alexandra Afternoon Visit
At the 2nd floor main entrance.
IKEA Alexandra Cafe
If you’ve ever been to the IKEA Singapore’s Alexandra branch, you’d know the café is immediately to the left of the 2nd floor entrance. I headed there before the actual shopping for my “IKEA ritual.”
IKEA Alexandra Swedish Meatball
IKEA Swedish meatballs! I love these little devils and always begin my visit to the Alexandra branch with a plateful.

By the way, I’ve read more than once that IKEA makes more money from food and beverage sales than from selling furniture. No idea whether this is true but honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is indeed so. (You’d agree if you’ve seen the crowds at the Tampines Store)

IKEA DETOLF Glass-door Cabinet.
Ta-da! What I was hunting for. The DETOLF Glass-Door Cabinet. Perfect in size and design (and $$) for what I had in mind.

The DETOLF display case wasn’t the only thing I bought, by the way. The way furniture hunting usually goes, I ended up buying a TV table, a chair, and a bagful of curiosities too.

But I’m going to skip ahead now and skim over all the bits about waiting for delivery, buying MORE toys, etc, etc. Let me close this section by saying, if you are thinking of getting Ikea’s DETOLF, you might want to consider paying for assembly.

The process requires two persons and it took my dad and me over an hour to assemble. Worse, clumsy me nearly cracked one of the glass panels while at it.

My Semi-Finished Geek Display Case

My First Geek Display Cabinet
The semi-finished project!
Old Masters of the Universe Toys
The lowest Masters of the Universe compartment. With what started it all, Point Dread.

I’m undecided on whether I should put in Masters of the Universe figurines. I still have all of mine. Unfortunately though, all have gone soft in the legs i.e. the rubber thingy connecting the legs are lax due to age. I kind of prefer the minimalistic feel too.

Plus, believe it or not, I don’t have He-Man. I loved the other characters but I’ve never liked He-Man.

M.A.S.K. Toys.
Mobile Armored Strike Kommand i.e. M.A.S.K. This is unfinished. I’m thinking of printing an NYC kapaline-mounted backdrop. Or putting something onto the base to give the impression of a road.
My Eurotrip Souvenirs
The second highest compartment is for various bits and pieces I picked up during my Eurotrips. This is unfinished too. I’m also thinking of some sort of harder-paper display for the obviously empty corner. Maybe to indicate a pond or canal.
Retro Japanese Toys
The topmost Japanese compartment. With Ippatsu Gasshin, Aura Battler Dunbine, and physics-repel Arahabaki from the Shin Megami Series. (It’s actually just a cheap Dogu souvenir I bought in Nara)

The Japanese Compartment

The Japanese compartment is currently the weirdest, the most unfinished, and what I’m going to work on after this post. My concept is, erm, a consolidation of the pop culture symbols Japan is famous for.

To fill up the background, I bought a 3D puzzle of Himeji Castle. As I have never done any 3D puzzles before, I’m not sure how this is going to turn out. Fingers crossed I wouldn’t make a huge mess of it.

CubicFun Himeji-Jo 3d puzzle.
CubicFun Himeji-Jo 3D Puzzle. Got this for SGD 19.90 at Hamleys. I’ve been aching to get a set since seeing their products while shopping for Christmas gifts last year.
CubicFun Himeji Castle 3D Puzzle
CubicFun Himeji-Jo 3D Puzzle contents
CubicFun 3D Puzzle Components.
The uncut cutouts. I suspect this is going to be the most challenging part of setting up my geek display case. But as the Japanese say, Gambatte!

Apr 29 Update: Assembling 3D Himeji Castle

Finally had time to sit down and finish the CubicFun puzzle.

Assembling CubicFun 3D Puzzle
Assembling CubicFun Himeji-Jo.

Finally had time to sit down and finish the CubicFun puzzle.

The box highlighted 200 – 220 minutes necessary for completion. I took nearly all four hours! In summary, the main difficulty wasn’t assembling or identifying the pieces. Everything was well-marked with clear instructions.

Instead, it was the end bit. The climax, so to speak, as in when you piece together the various assembled segments. Everything being made of paper, “forcing” the mini structures into place required a lot of finesse.

If you’re trying out your own CubicFun 3D puzzle soon, I have the following tips:

CubicFun 3D Tips
  1. All components are clearly marked and pre-cut. Removing them from the boards is a breeze.
  2. Nearly all components have little holes/grooves that need to be poked through before used. I recommend using a small flat-tip screwdriver for the task.
  3. Obviously, you ought to have a small container or bag to store all the unwanted bits after preparing the holes.
  4. Furthermore about the grooves, try not to miss any! I missed a couple and now the unwanted bits are permanently trapped inside my castle.
  5. Many pieces look similar or symmetrical, BUT THEY AREN’T. The differences are usually in the positioning of the legs, the locations of the grooves. Etc.
  6. Many pieces come with folding lines too. “Season” i.e. fold these before assembling.
  7. The greatest difficulty is that of coaxing the legs into the holes/grooves during assembly. I say “coax” because everything is ultimately made of paper. If you apply brute force, well, you can predict the outcome.
  8. Overall, the puzzle is well conceptualized and manufactured. It’s also incredibly addictive once you get into the mood. Preparing the holes felt a little like therapeutic bubble-wrap popping.
Cubic Fun Himeji Castle.
The revised Japanese compartment of my geek display case.

Not quite what I was hoping for. Now it feels a little crowded. I also had to retire Arahabaki.

Saga and Death Mask on the castle is also … weird, I know. But strangely, that’s the part I like. Oh well, such things are constant work-in-progress.

As For the Rest …

Where the geek display case currently is was previously an aged bookshelf where I stored all my older video games. All of these are now in the lower compartment of the TV table I bought while shopping for the cabinet.

My Retro Video Games Collection
I wanted to include my SNES and NES boxes too. But there’s no more space!
My eco-friendly TV table.
The … oddities I got from IKEA, which I mentioned earlier. I couldn’t resist buying these when I saw them. Once home, I quickly realised they looked awful when pasted to my walls without any frames.
DC Comics Themed Coffee Table.
The mini-project I was on prior to this geek display case business. I got all these from the wonderful people at DC Super Heroes Café and had them laminated.
Geeky HDB 3-Room Living Room.
Not very geeky overall, and I might be over-killing with the fake plants. But it’s a work in progress!
Update Jan 2019

I finally got down to watching Black Mirror. You know what, my display case is in Robert Daly’s office! Of all the people!

Geek Display Case Setup Mini Project
Article Name
Geek Display Case Setup Mini Project
Buying and setting up a geek display case. My first attempt at such an endeavour and a great reason for digging out my old toys.

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