Tutorial: Custom Acrylic Display Base – Megaman X/Zero

Well I thought this might be of interest to some of you modelers out there. Before I show you guys my Megaman models I thought I better get them ready for photoing…and what model is ready for photoing without a display base to accompany them?…Yes quite!… So here is a custom built display base that I think any model will look good with!

Here are the tools and things I used to make this acrylic base. Not much really, 3mm clear acrylic for the base, 3mm metal tubing for the pins and 6mm acrylic tubing with a 2mm hole for the pin to fit into! As for tools well Green Putty (filling in seamlines and holes), drill with drill bits, craft knife, files, couple saws, tweesers and sand paper of varying grits.

This Green Putty is great and something any modeler should use if you’re not already. Its essentially a filler but is quick drying and really easy to use. Simply squeeze some of this stuff out and this thick toothpaste, paint stuff comes out, apply it to your hole or seam and in half an hour it’s dry and ready to file/sand.

The first thing I got started with was the feet. I cut the acrylic tubing and metal pins to size. Once that was done the next step was to file everything down to the right size. When sanding the feet I found that I could’t’ hold them very well. So I got the left over metal tube, added some masking tape to stop the foot from slipping down, then stuck the foot on the end. This meant that I could sand the foot down with ease. Having done that the next step was to glue the pins into the feet. Next was adding the putty to the tops of the feet, allowing it to dry then sanding it down to get a smooth finish.

DONE.

Finished photo of all the feet.

The next part of this build was to make the base itself. This was relatively easy but time consuming. First I cut out a piece of card showing the size I wanted for my base. I then marked this shape onto the acrylic leaving a little extra space around it to allow for sanding. Once cut out I then did some rough sanding to get them all the right size. This was the longest part of the build and rather dull. I started sanding with 60 grit sand paper, moved onto 100, then 150! I did this as I didnt want scratch marks around the edges once I had finished the base. Once that was finished I stuck them all together, placed my card template on top, (which now has drill holes marked on), and drilled a pilot hole (0.5mm) into the four corners of the acrylic. Next was to drill the 2mm hole needed for the pin to fit through. With all that done I then took it all apart and stuck two sheets together (Image 5-6), put a rough pin, (scrap metal tube), into the corners it keep it in place, and started to sand down the edges some more to get flat, relatively smooth edges. This time however I used 150 grit sandpaper then 400. Finaly I put the feet in to check out my progress so far (Image 7)!

This Image shows the result of sanding the edges to a flush finish.

Progress so far. As you can see the edges still need work to it but its starting to take shape :).

Next step was to finish up the edges. I wanted them to be smooth and as clear as possible. So starting with 400 grit sandpaper and a sanding block I got to work. 600 wet/dry grit was next, then 1000, then 1200 was used to finish up and get it really shiny!

Before and after Image

Next I removed the plastic protective film, (making it look blue), gave the whole lot a wash in a bit of soapy water, rinsed it and let it dry on some kitchen towel. This got rid of all the dust and dirt that had built up.

At this point the display base was just about done. I could essentially stop there however this base is for my Megaman models so I felt it needed something a little extra! So I got to work on some text/graphic I wanted on the base. I wanted it to look Sci-Fi, modern and simple and put something together on photoshop.

I settled with this.

The next step was to print the text out. I didn’t know what size I wanted and so I printed a sheet out with lots of different sizes on it.

I printed the text onto card at the best quality my printer could handle, picked a size that looked good and moved onto the next step!

This step was the hardest and one I was not 100% positive would work but I still went ahead and gave it a try. (If I pulled it off it would look great 🙂 )!  I started by cutting out the right sized text  I wanted. I took my time and got it looking really neat. I then stuck the whole thing down onto my cutting mat with some tape. Next was to neatly place modeling tape over the top of all that. Carefully and as best I could I cut out the letters. Then, used tweesers, I remove the letters and was left with a stencil, (Image 4). I then worked out where this stencil was going to lie and with some left over masking tape, I marked the out the positioning on the base.

My next step was to VERY carefully peel off the X and Z Stencil and apply it to the acrylic base, (Image 6). With this done it was time to get airbrushing. A simple coat of black was added to the X and Z. This was the first step to my logo/graphic. Once dry I removed the stencil and repeated the process for the Megaman, Megaman Zero text. This was the make or break part of my build and took AGES. At one point I didnt think I was going to get the stencil off the card in one piece! It came off with some tears but not too many. I then applied it, (AAAGH), just as bad as before and I really did think I’d failed, but with a bit of love and persuading I got it all lined up and in position for airbrushing white, (Image 6-7).

While I waited for this I started painting the feet. I started with putting everything onto skewers, priming them with a thin coat of black paint, then applied the silver paint and finished up with some neat “Future” to give it a glossy finish.

The last step was to remove all the tape and reveal if my stencil had worked or not! IT WORKED! Not perfect but with a little rubbing alcohol I removed some of the paint that had gotten under the tape and cleaned it up.

I’m so happy right now :)!

The final step was to carefully remove any dust, place the other sheet of acrylic over the top and put the pins in!

(The Smudge under the Megaman Zero base is on the cutting mat. Sadly I didnt see it till too late :(, but it still looks good!

And there it is! There are a couple of things I might still do and that’s things like adding a peg for the models to stand on and drill a hole in the back so that I can insert a prop to allow for flying poses but that’s for another day. I hope some of you might find this post helpful and useful or simply interesting.  As it was, the build went quite well and I’m happy with it. The text didn’t come out perfect but I can always remove it with rubbing alcohol and retry with either custom decals or stickers. As it is I think it looks great and so will keep it like it is until I feel it needs updating!

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9 thoughts on “Tutorial: Custom Acrylic Display Base – Megaman X/Zero

    1. The edges of the Z are curved rather then to a point but it might be a bad photo. The Z looks just like the Text/Graphic I put in the post…but I think I know what you mean. Thanks though :).

    1. Thanks :). Lol the build for the Megaman models is a little more advanced! I felt the models needed something to make them really stand out and I think this did the trick.

  1. you can also use blue painter’s tape for stencils if it’s a one time use, i did that for one of my stenciled shirts or if you’re going to use it repeatedly, get some clear milar sheets and spray fixative on it so you don’t have to tape it down and it’s less of a risk regarding over spray/drips or pooling from paint.

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