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“Grass” airfield base


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For some time I’ve wanted to make a small base that I can use for RFI photographs so I found an MDF “off-cut” approx. 12 inch (30cm) x 8 1/2 inch (22cm), 8cm thick.

 

The edges were sanded and then the whole base, top and bottom, was painted with a couple of coats of watered down PVA glue to seal the MDF.

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Once the PVA had dried the top had some “Polyfiller” type filler, I used B&Q’s own brand “Dial” as I had that “to hand”, spread over, more or less evenly.

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There’s a screw-hole in this off-cut, I’ll hide it with some extra “grass” (I hope).

 

A coat of Stynylrez black primer was sprayed over the filler and the sides, I want the sides to black once everything is finished.

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The sides were masked and then several different shades of brown were applied to give different earth/mud colour variation.

Colours used MRP-159 chocolate, MRP-167 light earth, MRP-275 6K Russian AFV brown, Tamiya XF-57 buff and XF-68 NATO brown.

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I wasn’t happy with just a painted mud base so I collected some mud, from my garden, dried it in the oven, to try and kill any bacteria or mould, and crumbled it through a fine sieve and then stuck it to the base with some diluted PVA.

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Some time ago I’d brought a cheap static grass applicator (from eBay).

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The idea is that the applicator has a couple of AA batteries, you clip a wire from the handle near to where you want the “grass”, press a button and shake the material through the sieve onto a glued surface. The wire makes a “static” circuit and the grass material will “stand up” towards the applicator, it works reasonably well however, the “grass” is very small and gets everywhere!

 

I used a mix of 2 types of grass, Hornby R7177 scatter grass spring meadow and War World Scenics 10mm summer grass, this is the effect on the base.

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While the PVA wasn’t fully cured I used a Q-tip to create some “mud patches”

 

Here’s what it looks like with my recently completed Eduard 1:48 Spitfire MkI sat on it.

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Overall I reasonably pleased with the result, I’m not convinced that I need to “paint” the filler multiple shades of brown as I think the “real dirt” covered the paint? I’d have liked the mud patches to be a little lighter, perhaps I should have omitted the dirt from these places as it was probably darkened by absorbing the diluted PVA? If I’d left only paint in these places they would have been lighter?

I am very happy with the grass, the different mixes make it look quite natural without being too uniform.

 

until next time

as always, any suggestions, criticisms or comments will be gratefully received.

rgds

John(shortCummins)

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I think that looks pretty good, John. Diaoramas/bases are something I've yet to attempt, but have a few ideas. I've got a few more tips now as well 👍

 

James

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  • 2 months later...

Excellent tutorial.

 

My only critique is that I might have liked a close up shot to see the blades standing up so to speak.

 

Also on my screen the grass looks quite blue - I might have preferred something erring towards being more yellow. Maybe it is just the photograph or camera.

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Many years ago I used pollyfilla on a plywood base to create a sea scene.

 

It worked pretty well, but after a couple of years, the pollyfilla had cracked in places and also warped the base slightly. It may well be the MDF will not be affected in the same way, perhaps others can comment on that.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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2 hours ago, ckw said:

Many years ago I used pollyfilla on a plywood base to create a sea scene.

 

It worked pretty well, but after a couple of years, the pollyfilla had cracked in places and also warped the base slightly. It may well be the MDF will not be affected in the same way, perhaps others can comment on that.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

thanks Colin

 

that's interesting about the warping and cracking, something to be mindful of!

I'm guess that the MDF won't warp as its not a "layered" product, I'm also hoping that sealing it with PVA will stop it being effected by the various products?

 

rgds

John(shortCummins)

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3 hours ago, Gordon J said:

Excellent tutorial.

 

My only critique is that I might have liked a close up shot to see the blades standing up so to speak.

 

Also on my screen the grass looks quite blue - I might have preferred something erring towards being more yellow. Maybe it is just the photograph or camera.

thanks Gordon J

 

here are some close ups...

 

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the blades aren't "standing up" as much as I'd have liked however "in the flesh" the overall colour is more yellow than blue, its probably the limits of my photography

 

rgds

John(shortCummins)

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Yea in reality that is much more yellow and looks great and is the perfect accompaniment for a Spitfire or Hurricane.

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A few years ago, I had a similar idea for a base for 1/72 aircraft. I bought a sheet of grass stuff from the train section of a hobby store.

As yet, I haven't made it nor have I finished a kit to put on it. 

 

 

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Chris

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On 4/26/2022 at 4:09 PM, shortCummins said:

There’s a screw-hole in this off-cut,

Rabbits. Useful for a snack at dispersal.

 

It looks good to me, John.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm planning on making a few of these types of bases for just the same purpose--RFI and GB Gallery photos.  I'll make a grass field, a desert-ish base, something dirty and worn and something wintry.  They will be good for vehicles as well as aircraft.  

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