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Easy Steps to Concrete Display Bases

A question that I frequently get is how I make the concrete display bases, so I decided to do a quick step by step guide. Hope someone finds it useful!

Step 1 - Plan Ahead

As I do with scale modeling in general, I like to plan ahead. This gives you an idea of what you want to accomplish and how can you do it.

Research the place you want to represent, or a similar one. It can be generic ramp or an actual airport. For example, the base in this guide intends to represent the Blue Angels section of the NAS Pensacola ramp. To do that, I used Google Maps. Using something like Google Maps will give you an idea about how the area looks, and will allow you to estimate proportions and measurements that you can then apply to the scale you are working on.

Test your subject. Don't rush start working on your base until you can test how the overall display will look. This is as easy as drawing your layout on paper.

Step 2 - The Base

Once I know my layout, I usually use a 1mm or 2mm styrene sheet and mark the tiles with a scriber. In this step I also drill the tie down points, if any are present.

Step 3 - The Concrete Texture

For the concrete texture I use Mr. Surfacer 500. This product is basically liquid putty and has the perfect consistency and drying time for this job.

I basically pour it over the base and press it randomly and repeatedly with a sponge brush. You can repeat this process until you get the texture you like, but keep in mind that the solvent will attack the brush and as it dries will leave residue. Not a big deal though since it can be sanded, or even contribute to the texture. Below is a very short video of the process.

Once it dried, which happens fairly fast, it can be sanded until you get the texture you like for the scale. Watch out though, to much sanding can leave it completely smooth!

Step 4 - Painting

For painting I start with black basing and pre-shading. Then I move to the concrete color and finally the markings. If you need to paint circles, you will find that using a stencil is a great choice.

Step 5 - Weathering

Once I painted everything, I start with the weathering.

First some oil stains. For that I use a mix of free hand a stencils with the airbrush. The paint is Vallejo Oil Stain.

Then I seal everything with gloss (Aqua Gloss) and apply washes. First some black for the tile jointsa, and then dark dirt to give everything a dirty look. For this I use the Flory Models Washes. Below you can see the different stages when applied and then when the excess was removed.

You can repeat the dark dirt steps in different tiles so you can also get variating tones. Once everything it's done, goes the final coat with clear flat. For this I use the Micro Scale Flat.

Step 6 - Finishing the Base

I usually place the base over a walnut one. These walnut bases are from Plymor and they are awesome. They come in different sizes and you can get them on Amazon or at the Collecting Warehouse (

I also cover them with an acrylic top that I have custom made. This preserves the models. For this I have a local supplier, but usually any acrylic shop can make them. They are not cheap though.

Hope this is useful for those looking to do some display base work. If you have any questions or opinions drop me a line below. As always thanks much for reading, and happy modeling!



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