Making my model railway man-cave a bit more comfortable

I spend a lot of time in my model railway man-cave. It’s time to add a few creature comforts.

With the weather at last improving, I’m spending more time in my man caves. Specifically, my shed and loft, where I keep the model railways.

In fact, the weather has been so nice recently I’ve been getting hours in my dens. My model railways have benefitted enormously as have my other model making efforts.

But with this prolonged time at the workbench in warmer weather, a problem emerged.

I grow thirsty (especially if working with paints and have an extractor fan on) and needed a drink and this entailed a trek to the kitchen.

This is particularly the case when working in my attic man cave. The loft is accessed and exited via a ladder and negotiating is something best not tackled at speed.

The time to get up, manoeuvre down from the loft, make a cuppa and then reverse the journey is lost model making time.

Additionally, while not a priority, having somewhere I can keep superglue chilled would be useful. (Unlike most other glues and paints, superglues last longer if kept in a colder water-free environment).

I set about looking for some creature comforts, namely a mini fridge for both.


Mini-fridges, of course, aren’t new but one that meets the needs and requirements for a model railway man-cave and where I also work imposed a few requirements above and beyond the normal mini-fridge spec.


For starters, I wanted something small enough to fit in a small space below my layout. Daft as it sounds, many fridges advertised as mini are actually quite large.

What’s needed is something not too big but not too small either. It doesn’t need some Tardis-eques illusion to fit more inside than appears possible from the outside but needs to store milk and a selection soft drinks.

Having looked around the ChillQuiet Silent at 470mm x 380mm x 380mm (HWD), plus 130mm to the side and rear for air circulation, is just right.

These dimensions are needed for space where I want to put it which is to the right of my chair and below my workbench. This neatly takes me to the next requirement.

Strength and Colour

For most this isn’t a big deal. In fact, for many life-style man-caves that now seem fashionable pastel or brightly coloured mini-fridges are de rigueur.

However, I paint, spray, glue and solder in mine something that could take a few knocks and on which splashes of paint etc wouldn’t be too noticeable.

The ChillQuiet Silent meets both of these of criteria. It’s black so won’t show paint and glue splashes too obviously and is pretty robust so will survive the odd knock and dropped tool and track.

Sound level

Lastly, and most importantly I wanted a mini-fridge that is quiet.

Many mini-fridges produce noise levels more like a small plane taking off. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration but they are noisy.

This just wouldn’t work for me.

For starters, I’ve spent time and money equipping some of my trains with DCC sound. I want to hear those diesel and steam sounds, not have them drowned out by a drinks cooler!

Additionally, I also record video in my loft and shed for my youtube, Instagram and Facebook accounts and a loud humming in the background just wouldn’t be acceptable.

Having looked and listened to many fridges, this unit is wonderful. It’s pretty much near silent – at least to my ears – and I can’t hear it when running my trains!

So that’s the one I’ve gone for and it’ll hopefully end my tea-making expeditions and allow me to focus on my modelling.

What creature comforts have you installed in your model railway man cave?

The ChillQuiet Silent mini fridge is available from Amazon.

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>A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.

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