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We often hear that we are living in the "Golden Age" of model building and that's quite true! Never before the modeler was confronted with such an important choice of subjects. However, there are still things that are difficult to find and "niche markets" do exist, even nowadays. Display bases and airfield structures fall into this category. Of course, you can build these things yourself, but it requires a lot of researche and it's very time consuming in the end. That's why, even if most modelers would like to display their latest model on a small diorama, they give up the idea because of the additional work that is implied. Fortunately, some people are willing to do the "dirty" job to leave only the more gratifying part of the hobby to the modeler. One of them is Marc Toillié, a French craftsman who has developed a complete range of airfield structures under the name Mark58. When I speak of complete range, I mean over 100 references!

Mark58 website
The Company Mark58 as such exists since 2007 but Marc Toillié works on his project since 2005. In the past years, his products were almost only available in France and Germany, where Mark58 has built up a growing community of modelers who are using his display bases regularly. More and more they are visible at shows and even featured in well known magazines such as Air Modeler, Replic, Tamiya Magazine and Wing Masters. Until now, Marc Toillié found most of his customers at model shows but fortunately, for all the others, he has built up his own website: Mark58 homepage. The aircraft display bases can be found under the Modélisme (modeling) sub-category. There are also other products available (or in preparation) even if they are not related to our hobby. You can check them out as well of course.

Display bases on offer
Browsing through the Mark58 catalogue can be intimidating the first time. However, the products are seperated in various categories and this will help you to make your choice, depending on the model you are building and the setting you want to create. Below is a pictures which shows the various sizes of 1/48 scale display bases available as well as the pattern they are made of. The aircraft represents a single-engined fighter (a Fw 190 in this case).

Display bases in 1/72 and 1/32 scale are available as well even if there is less choice than 1/48 scale at the moment. But Marc Toillié is currently working on the case, so more and more references will be available in the smaller and bigger scales in the near future.

Various patterns
Depending on the geographical location and the historical period, the type of airfield ground covering can be extremely different from one to another: concrete, wood logs, steel planking, bricks etc... everything was used during aviation history to give to an aircraft a sufficiently hard base so that it could be used operationally under the most difficult weather conditions. The Mark58 display bases reproduce almost every type of ground coverings that were used in aviation history. Below are some examples:

- Wood bases: these are available in all scales, all sizes and all patterns from Mark58. They have been widely used by the Luftwaffe during WWII but also by many other Air Forces in Europe such as Russia or Finland. The Germans even designed huge vertical structures for bigger aircraft such as the He 177 or the Fw 200. They are available in 1/48 scale from Mark58 as well although they are not listed on the website at the moment. If you are searching for something in particular, you can ask Marc Toillié ([email protected]) directely. He speaks fluent French, German and English.

- PSP (Perforated Steel Planking): this is the well known metal ground covering used during WWII (and behond) by the Americans and the Allies . Also called Marsden Matting, it consists of punched through steel strips clipped together to form a runway or and aircraft dispersal. They are available from Mark58 in all scales and sizes. You can even purchase several modules and put them together to build up an entire airfield if you want to! The PSP display bases are perfect for U.S. and Allied aircraft based in Europe and the Pacific. They were widely used well after WWII, during the Korean war for exemple. A modified version (for jets) was used during the Vietnam war. It is to note that the Japanese experienced a similar revetment at Rabaul during WWII. Both the U.S. Vietnam and Japanese steel mat bases are available from Mark58 in 1/48 scale.

- Concrete: this is probably the most common airfield ground covering. It does exist in many different patterns (squares, rectangles, hexagonals) and many different sizes. Everything you can imagine is available from Mark58: from 5X5 meters square patterns to the typical hexagonal Russian pattern. Marc Toillié even designed egg shaped display bases specifically made for modern jets or helicopters.

- Bricks: although not common, this kind of revetment was sometimes used, especially in Holland during WWII. Bricks display bases are only available in 1/48 scale at the moment.

Diorama kits
If you have a more ambitious project, you can also buy a Diorama Kit from Mark58. These kits are composed of a base and several vertical pieces. So far only two Luftwaffe Fighter Splinterbox and one RAF Dispersal Set are available but others will follow. Of course the price of such a kit is cheaper as when you buy all the items separately. Again, if you have something special in mind, send an e-mail to Marc Toillié. There are many vertical structures available and not all are currently listed on the website.

Mark58 is also currently working on a range of products for 1/48 scale Armor. He already has North African buildings in his catalogue and other stuff will follow soon.

The alchemy of Mark58 products
All the products manufactured by Marc Toillié are made of a composite material resulting from the mixture of a coloured acrylic resin with mineral powder. It is not Polyurethane resin but it allows the same precision of moulding without the dangerosity of it. In fact, it looks more like ceramic or plaster. Sometimes sand is added in the mixture (to reproduce concrete for example) and in most cases it is not necessary to brush paint the bases. In fact one can achieve a very realistic finish with a simple wash. However, for those how don't want to bother with the painting of the bases, Mark58 also sells painted bases.

If you want to present your aircraft model on a nice display base or if you have an ambitious diorama project in mind, make sure to visit Marc Toillie's website. There, you will find plenty of interesting stuff for any aircraft type, for any nationality and for any period. Mark58 can send bases worldwide (payment via PayPal) and all his products are well protected within a self designed packaging. If you don't find what you are searching for, send him an e-mail and he will probably make your dream come true.
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About the Author

About Jean-Luc Formery (TedMamere)

I'm mainly interested in WW2 aircraft and I build them in 1/48 scale.


Totally agree that Mark 58 stuff is really good and worth its price To add a bit to what Jean-Luc posted here are some pix: This is Jean-Luc's diorama, who designed much of the Africa stuff now available at Mark 58: Two models of yours truely on Mark 58 plates: And there are also such things as a tend in the Mark 58 programme: not to forget my WIP on one of the Mark58 Shelter types: Ostfront Splitterschutzbox cheers Steffen P.S. If you think I am advertizing Marc's stuff .. you are right .. but just because this is good, I win nothing with that
FEB 22, 2009 - 06:57 AM
Truly amazing bases. my only problem would being able to do them justice with my (sometimes lacking) painting and weathering abilities
FEB 24, 2009 - 12:31 AM
I would love some of these bases for my collection - especially my German WWII birds. The only problem is that he only accepts Paypal. I had some problems with Paypal in the past and deleted my paypal account. Do you know any internet stores selling Mark 58 products where I can obtain them?
FEB 24, 2009 - 01:02 AM
After searching the net I have now found out that modelsforsale.com has the range in stock.
FEB 26, 2009 - 09:34 PM
Hi Jesper sorry I missed you first question. Why don't you just contact Marc. I think bank transfer (SWIFT, IBAN, BIC) is no problem, as this should be without fees inside Europe. I am pretty satisfied with paypal ..but I do not need to get money over this medium. I have read it is pretty expensive. all the best Steffen
FEB 26, 2009 - 11:30 PM
Hi Allen and Jesper, If you are interested in some of the products made by Mark58, like Steffen, I would suggest you to contact Marc Toillié directly via e-mail. He will give you any information you need. Allen, Mark58 also sells already painted bases but, really, painting them is so easy! Again, only a wash is needed. [email protected] Jean-Luc
FEB 28, 2009 - 01:14 AM
These bases open up a whole new catagory of possibilities to modeling. They are really great pieces. I've been looking at his website and I'm really impressed. Just wish I could read French! Hermon
MAR 04, 2009 - 05:29 AM
i Hermon, You don't have to. At the left, there is a menu bar with three flags. If you want to have the text in English, just click on the appropriate one: Mark58 in English Jean-Luc
MAR 04, 2009 - 07:08 PM
Hi all Spent a nice day at zeiskam model show last sunday ... and I also got a new item from Marc plus some more photos this week. Have a look here: Luftwaffe apron France my preliminary colouration (I will put it in a dio, thus no grass yet) Marc's approach all the best Steffen
MAR 11, 2009 - 08:25 PM