Friday, March 15, 2013

Tutorial - How to Make a Flight Line Base

Perhaps you have a model that you would like to put in a flight line diorama. Or maybe you just want a small base to add some context to your completed kit, like I did for my F-16CG/CJ from Academy. It is very simple and inexpensive, and I'll show you how!
Here we go...

Step 1:
You'll need a cheap picture frame. In this case, it is a wooden frame purchased for several dollars at the local arts and crafts shop. Hideous color, but we can change that...

Step 2:
Get a hold of some foam core board, which can also be had for relatively cheap at the same arts and crafts store. I use this the majority of the time for just about every diorama/vignette base I make. Serves as a good foundation for ground work and can also be used for walls, etc. In this case, it will be my flight line. I've sliced it with an Xacto to represent the concrete squares. Make sure the lines don't run parallel to the base...

Step 3:
Next, insert that into your frame. I secured the foam core with a good dose of hot glue which bonds well to just about anything as long as you move quickly...

Step 4:
Paint the base to represent some kind of concrete surface. In this case, I went a bit brown because the F-16 is already gray. I wanted some variety in color. I painted each panel on its own using artist oils, changing the direction of the brush strokes to break up a uniform appearance. Adding lighter shades helps with color modulation as well...

Step 5:
Fill in the gaps. Most Western flight lines have a good FOD prevention program, meaning their flight lines are fairly well taken care of. The spaces between the concrete pads are filled with foam to expand and contract in different temperatures, ensuring less possibility for cracks. I painted the gaps dark gray and used the same color to paint a few cracks that have been filled...

Step 6:
Paint whatever lines and markings you wish to display on your flight line. In this case, I kept it simple as this is where the aircraft is parked for the day. Just a simple yellow line, outlined with black...

Step 7:
Add some stains and maybe some dry brushing. I also added two small holes to represent the grounding points...

Step 8:
Don't like the color? Paint it! I painted the frame black with acrylics. I also dry brushed some white to lighten the overall color...

There you have it, put the aircraft on it and you're done. An easy way to make a simple base to display your aircraft. So easy, a cave man could do it...Doesn't take up much room and it doesn't take up much time or money.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Excellent! Looks great.

  2. Very nice work! Looks cheap and easy. A perfect way to display a model for a competition, too!

    1. Thanks, yes its very cheap and simple!