I'll start off with an admission; I wasn't totally convinced by either the wisdom or the necessity of Eduard's Wooden Airfield Surface... after all, I thought, this is the kind of thing you can do perfectly well with balsa strip...
Well, it's good to eat humble pie once in while! The plastic base is actually really neat and offers a very quick and easy way to represent the type of wooden planked airfield dispersal areas typical of semi-prepared airfields on (particularly) the Eastern Front in WW2.
The base is approx. 16 x 22.3 cm base and is moulded in hard black plastic with a fairly regular "planked" pattern. There's no moulded wood-grain which is a relief, as it would be totally out of scale. The planking is almost, but not quite, parallel to the base, being about 1° off. The size of the base means it's just about right to display a single-engined 1/48 scale fighter.
I wanted to represent a well worn surface that had seen a few years surface, so the first thing I did was to go out in the garden and examine the wooden fence. After a few years in the sun, this was closer to grey than brown so, back in the workshop, to give the idea of a sunbleached surface on the base, I masked off the edges and roughly sprayed on a matt warm-grey enamel base coat. I deliberately aimed for a patchy effect to let some variation show up in the "planking". Once the primer was dry, I applied a coat of Mirage pastels, mixing P008 Earth Dirt and PO10 Black Smoke for darkish but unsaturated effect. I scrubbed this into the surface, letting the matt paint trap the pastels and then brushed it with a toothbrush to remove the excess. The result was a nicely varied grey-brown effect, so I sealed it with Windsor & Newton's Galeria matt acrylic varnish, which gives a quick-drying very flat finish.
With the varnish dry, I mixed up a poster-paint "sludge"of Black, Yellow Ochre and a touch of Burnt Umber thinned with Windolene liquid, which breaks the surface tension and lets the mix flow easily. I then flooded this into the lines between the planks and let it dry for a few minutes before going across the surface with a damp sponge and a paper kitchen towel to leave the poster paint in the recesses between the planks.
And that was it - job done. The base was painted in about an hour (including drying time) - and I hate to think how few individual planks I'd have managed to cut and lay in that time - and, of course, they'd have still needed to be painted or stained...
As it stands, Eduard's Wooden Airfield Surface offers a quick and easy, if obviously somewhat bare, model base. It will really come to life with added accessories, or better still, incorporated into a larger base with some extra groundwork and foliage to bring it to life. It's nice to start as a sceptic and up converted.
As a logical step in their range of aircraft bases - carrier decks and PSP surfaces - Eduard have released a wooden planked base.
Jul 09, 2006
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...