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Marston Mat (49017)

1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd

 

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During WWII, temporary airfields were quickly created near the battlefront on flat ground by the linking together of stamped steel planking that had the weight reduced by punching out holes in the centres where it wouldn’t weaken the structure.  These were known as Perforated Steel Planking (PSP) or Pierced Steel Planking, and were used commonly in all theatres of war, reducing mud and slurry build-ups, and providing a flat and tough surface for aircraft to land, take-off and taxy along, plus a road for other vehicles to avoid creating ruts in the surface.  The holes however led to an element of dust and debris being kicked up, which is known in aviation as Foreign Object Debris or FOD, so the design was later changed to reduce the possibility of rocks and soil penetrating the planking.  By the time of the Vietnam War, the M8A1 design had been formalised and was used to great effect.  It was lightened by the use of corrugations to provide more strength from less material, and was capable of supporting the larger, heavier jet aircraft that were more prevalent.

 

 

The Kit

This new backdrop kit arrives in a top-opening box with a painting of the subject and a greyscale P-47 on the top, and inside are just two large pieces of styrene with Marston Mat texture moulded into the top.  Each part is 316mm x 227mm x 9mm deep, and they can be used separately as individual bases, or they can be glued to another (or more) to create a larger area.  If you’re planning on building a bigger base by gluing them together, strengthening the bond by drilling out space for a couple of small bolts would be useful, especially if you have some narrow metal strips to add to the outer faces to spread out the forces.  That might just be me being over-cautious though, as I have a penchant for over-engineering things.

 

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Markings

The mat was stamped from sheet metal, and then dipped in an anti-corrosion coating to protect it from short-term rusting, which it usually accomplished, save for areas that became exposed due to scratching or other damage, with the majority reaching the job site with an oily steel colour at its surface.  In action it was seldom around for long enough to become seriously corroded, but if used for extended lengths of time beyond its original era, it can take on a dense rust colour after many years exposed to the elements.  Most of the time during WWII it was usually seen as either its original colour or would take on the colour of the substrate on which it was laid, as the lightening holes would allow some material to pass through, which was something addressed in later variants.

 

 

Conclusion

A quick, easy base for your model, and I’m certain MiniArt have their own brand-new P-47 Thunderbolt in 1:48 in mind, judging by the box art.  You could put a WWII fighter-sized model on one sheet, or go larger if you wish, or need the extra space for your scenario.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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