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.

STEP 1:

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.

STEP 3:

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.

STEP 4:

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.



STEP 6:

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.


STEP 7:

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!

Darren.