Thursday, 9 March 2017

How to make a simple display base- A step by step guide.

Hello again!

This week has brought some much needed R'n R and consequently I have had some very enjoyable free time in the studio. After finishing my LRDP diorama I began work on a 1/35 Academy IDF  Merkava Mk.III Tank.

This kit was presented to me by my friend  Eric who wanted to see what I could do with an armour subject. As an aircraft modeller in the main, it is good for me to stretch my modelling wings and work outside of my comfort zone. I have to say when it comes to armour subjects I am a complete novice! So it has been an eye opener and a journey of discovery as well as a very enjoyable diversion.  As I progressed with the tank, I thought it would be nice to present the finished model on a display base.

And so we come to the purpose of this post! I wanted to produce a simple but effective display base to present my finished model on and it occurred to me to share with you how I actually go about achieving this as so many people always ask me "How did you make the base?"

Well, here's how I did a simple base for my IDF Merkava:

I wanted a rectangular base that was just a bit larger than the footprint of the model I am working on so I  found an older MDF base which I had painted previously for a different subject. As this base was no longer on display I thought I would recycle it for this project.

This then, is our starting point:

Here is the old display base that I will transform into a middle east roadside for my IDF Tank.


Here I have used Tamiya acrylic NATO Black as a base colour for the road.

You will notice I have also sprayed the edges of the base with a bright yellow shade. Don't worry! There is method in my madness! Yellow makes a great base for wood varnish on MDF where there is no wood grain. I will add a wood varnish to the yellow at the end and you will see!

 STEP 2: 

On the opposite side of the base I have used Vallejo Desert sand paste as a foundation for the roadside groundwork. Notice that I have positioned the roadside at an angle, this provides much more visual interest to the scene.


After studying photo's of Merkava Tanks I noticed that many of the roads they travel on are in mountainous regions where roads are carved through the landscape. The result is lots of rocks strewn about the place. A quick trip around my garden furnished me with some small stones which I arranged in a random pattern onto the roadside part of the base. Each one was set in place with PVA glue.


Now I spray the rocks a medium grey colour, any grey shade will do as this is a base for shades to be painted later. I have also used the same shade of grey to mist a coat of paint over the NATO Black to lighten the colour of the road surface, this adds a more natural appearance to the road. Also I have masked off two road markings and sprayed them in yellow. The bright paint will be faded out later on.
 STEP 5:

Next the rocks and surrounding ground are sprayed with Tamiya acrylic NATO Brown, to replicate the reddish brown earth often seen in the colder regions of the middle east.


To blend everything together, I took a sand coloured paint and thinned it down, in this case I was using Tamiya Desert Yellow. With the airbrush I have passed over a couple of misting coats on the road surface and the rocks to give a weathered appearance.


Nearly there now! This is when we apply a wood stain varnish to the yellow edges of the base. As MDF does not have any natural wood grain, this is a cheap and effective way to replicate the appearance of a natural wood. It is entirely a matter of personal taste as which wood stain you use, in this case I have chosen Rustin's Walnut wood stain.

And here we have the finished display on which my latest build will rest!

I hope you have found this simple guide helpful, if you have let me know and I'll do some more. Until next time take care and Happy Modelling!