Once we reach Issue 108 of our Hachette 1:2 scale Terminator T-800 build, we start assembling the Display Base. While the stock base does have some nice bits and pieces of detail by the end of Issue 113, most of it is just grey plastic with some light grey dry-brushing applied:

Well, I wanted to add some color to the Display Base and its various parts so it was not so dang monotone and unrealistic. I mentioned during the build that I did not glue any of the detail parts in place just so I could do this modification at some later time. Now is that time! A friend and I spent a whole day just on this mod, but we had a blast along the way.

Painting the Display Base

First, we removed all of the existing Display Base detail parts (including the Spotlights), grabbed my GREX airbrush and some Vallejo Model Air acrylic paints that we thought looked interesting, and went to work on painting most of the raised sections of the base.

Here is a list of all the paints we used for this step:

  • Vallejo Model Air 71.022 – Light Green RLM82 (for the green shadows)
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.043 – US Olive Drab (for the green highlights)
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.039 – Hull Red (for the reddish shadows)
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.041 – Armour Brown (for the more rusted shadows)
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.039 – Mud Brown (for the reddish highlights)
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.031 – Middle Stone (for the brown shadows)
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.033 – Yellow Ochre (for the brown highlights)
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.057 – Black (for the black scorch mark)
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.048 – Engine Grey (for the edges of the scorch mark)
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.047 – Grey (for various grey highlights)

We both took turns randomly applying colors around the base starting with shadow colors and then adding highlights. As we went, I thought it would be interesting to also have a ‘scorch mark’ across the surface that would cross where the three bone pieces will be placed. We are not professional painter by any means, but I feel it turned out pretty good:

Painting the Skeletal Bones

I searched online for various pictures of real burned bones and I picked out a few Vallejo Model Air acrylic paints that might closely replicate what I was imagining in my head:

  • Vallejo Model Air 71.106 – Ivory RLM05
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.031 – Middle Stone
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.057 – Black
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.048 – Engine Grey
  • Vallejo Model Air 71.047 – Grey

I started out by applying a base coat of the Ivory RLM05, but left it light enough that some of the existing silver dry-brush detail would just barely show through.

Then, I used the Middle Stone to darken various areas where I thought discoloration and shadows would be.

Next, I used Black to ‘char’ areas of the bones that would end up touching the ‘scorch mark’ I made on the base.

Finally, I used the Engine Grey and Grey paints around the ‘most charred’ sections to appear like ash.

This is what I ended up with – it was actually a lot of fun painting these!

Adding More Details

Using the various red, brown, and green paint colors we sprayed on the Display Base earlier, my friend started painting the loose rock details in the same way. He started with a darker base coat, then added lighter highlight colors after. For his first time airbrushing, I feel he did a fantastic job!

While he was airbrushing the rocks, I used my Vallejo Game Wash 73.200 – Sepia Shade and Vallejo Game Wash 73.201 – Black Wash to fill in the cracks around the teeth of the skull and in between the spine vertebrae. I also used the washes to create some dirty depth in the holes and recesses of all of the skeletal bones.

Finally, we both used my Tamiya Weathering Powders to add even more color to edges, recesses, and other areas. These powders allowed us to create a lot of random patterns in the colors and bring out even more details:

Making it Dirty

The final thing I wanted to do with this mod was to cover up all of the flat plastic on the Display Base with something more authentic. I had some Woodland Scenics Black Medium Ballast Cinders leftover from my model railroading days, so we put it to good use!

First, we secured into place (with super glue) all of the loose detail parts that were supposed to be mounted earlier in the build (finally).

Next, we stuck some toothpicks into the speaker holes of the base so they would not get clogged up.

Then, we used paintbrushes to apply a thin layer of watered-down generic White Glue to the flat surfaces of the base, paying special attention to the seams between the panels and how the ‘dirt’ would pile up against the various rocks and details. Before the glue set, we sprinkled the ballast cinders onto the surface so the sticky glue would hold it in place. We made sure not to fill the large recess where the Skull detail goes!

NOTE: Applying ‘dirt’ like this makes a hell of a mess. You will need to frequently tip the base on its side to let the loose ballast fall away and see where you need to add more. If you have ever worked around glitter, you will know what I mean!

This was the result. We even sprinkled some Light Grey ballast around to add contrast (avoiding the ‘scorch mark’ of course):

Here is a closeup of the toothpicks we used to seal up the Speaker holes:

The Last Few Details

When I started writing this article, I did not have Issue 115 yet. This particular issue includes the final two bone parts (Details for Base Assembly in the instructions), so we painted and attached them later on:

At the very end, there is a rusty metal chain in Issue 119 that can either be simply laid on the Display Base or glued into place. With all 120 issues of the T-800 build completed, this is how my final modded Display Base looks:

I love it! Not only does the ballast hide the awful seams, but adding the ballast and the paint colors makes our Display Base look fantastic!