Merkava I (1:72 scale)


After some years of building scale models, you can gather a small collection. I like to have a consistent look in my small collection and for my 1:72 military vehicle models, I settled in presenting them in a simple wood base with a brass identification label. The assembly of such base will be the focus of this post.

The model shown in the following photo was completed years ago (around 2004) and while I like it, I do not like the base I originally made!


With the intent of keeping all my 1:72 scale models with a coherent look, I am making them all simple bases, that do not require the model to be glued to the base but still keep them properly fixed to their base (when traveling to a model show, this is invaluable while transporting the models).

The materials needed are the wood base (I made this one out of cheap pine shelving material), a screw, a washer and a nut (and for the Identification label, we will need brass sheet and clear decal sheet)!


As the model was glued to its previous base, it was slightly damaged while removing it! The model was washed with tap water and a mild detergent (it is 15 years old after all and there was some dust over it, even while always storing it inside a cabinet). The damage was repaired and a hole (that will be used to fix the model) was drilled under the turret (where it is easily accessible).


The model was placed over the base and using a mechanical pencil, it was marked to be drilled.

The base was drilled using and electric drill and a drill bit of appropriate diameter. A small countersink (to accommodate the screw’s head) was made underneath the base.

The fit was tested before further work. Using a washer helps to create a smooth surface for the nut to seat (I usually glue the washer to the model), specially when the hull bottom is not flat, as in the case of this Merkava model (it has a shallow v shape).

For the identification plaque, as cited before, we will need brass sheet (the one I have been using is from Albion Alloys) and clear decal sheet. The base was stained using a mix of bitumen of judea and linseed oil and polished using a cotton rag and a lot of “elbow grease”. The brass sheet was cut to the desired dimension and fixed with double sided tape. After polishing it (protecting the base with masking material), a piece of clear decal film was cut with the same dimension (or slightly larger).

Using a basic text editor, a label was fashioned and printed in plain paper, to test it for size. After sizing it properly, a window with the dimension of the decal film piece is cut from the paper sheet. This will allow the fine placement of the decal film for printing in a laser printer (fixing the decal sheet in this window with masking tape, on the oposite side to the print), after which, the label can be applied to the brass sheet as any other decal. After one or two coats of gloss clear, the base is ready for the model.

And here is the completed result! I hope this small tutorial helps you with ideas for your future modeling projects.


Merkava I (1:72 scale)

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