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Steel Bases for AK47 Vehicles

Unimog Truck
Product #
Suggested Retail Price
£4.50 GBP

GAZ 469 Jeep
Product #
Suggested Retail Price
£3.50 GBP

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian writes:

Glue the vehicle or figures to the bare steel base…

OK, I tried your method (and mine) with some microscale armor. Painting and flocking the base after the vehicle is in place is more difficult; it's simple to paint and flock a bare base. Admittedly, though, it's a weaker glue join when the vehicle is attached.

Revision Log
12 August 2008page first published

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©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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It's funny how sometimes an idea for one thing will stimulate an idea for something else entirely...

This story starts with two 15mm vehicles that Fernando Painters have recently painted for my AK47 "Dictatorship" (bad guys) army. These vehicles are assigned to militia units, so I wanted them to look faded and worn:

Soviet jeep
Soviet jeep (back)

Next, I want to do two things:

  1. put the vehicles on steel bases, so they will stay snug in magnetic storage when being moved
  2. use a "basing treatment" on the bases that will look like "Africa," while looking different from my other army's bases (grassy green)

Meanwhile, I was in HobbyTown USA the other day getting some ideas for how to base some WWI figures, and I picked up the big "seasoning container" full of Woodland Scenics Fine Ballast - Brown. I was surprised to see that this particular ballast has some variety of color in it, and I was going to experiment with using it for basing figures.

And since it's handy... let's take it to Africa!

So I grabbed two steel bases, which were conveniently already spray-primed a rusty brown color. Normally, I select a base which is large enough to overlap the model on all sides. However, since these bases were meant primarily as "storage aids," I chose the smallest size that would hold all four wheels of each vehicle.

I experimented with the larger (truck) base first. I used a small gel knife to spread a thin layer of Renaissance Ink's Fine Flocking Gel over the base, then poured the ballast on top of the base (and mushed the bits into the gel a little bit).

Ballast poured over base

For my second experiment, I coated another base with Aleene's Tacky Glue (a thick white glue), then dropped the base glue-side-down into the ballast container.

The next day, I shook off the excess ballast and examined the bases. The glued base looked fine, except that despite my best efforts to spread the glue from edge to edge, there were still spots along the edge where the primer color showed through.

Jeep and base

The gelled base was a similar story, except that in a spot or two, the dried gel was showing - and it's an off-white color. (It also had more "dimensionality" due to the contours I put in the gel.) So I touched up the gelled base's white spots and rusty-brown edges with some Americana Mississippi Mud paint, screwed up and put too much on, so then decided to add "mud" splotches all across the base.

Truck and muddied-up base (front)

Then I gave both bases a good dose of Krylon Matte Finish, to hopefully help further bond the ballast in place.

When that was dry, I applied a drop of superglue gel to the bottom of each tire, and put the vehicles on the bases - trying to center them. (Which I screwed up - the truck is off-center...) I checked to make sure that all four tires were in ground contact, then set the vehicles on their backs while the glue dried.

Glue drying

And here's the final result - two vehicles ready for Modern Africa!

Based vehicles