The USA has always proven enticing, from an aviation perspective anyway, and it was the first area of my collection to develop. I well remember setting myself an ambitious target of acquiring up to 200 US models and leaving it at that. 1700 models later and I may have slightly surpassed my initial target! Even so it was for several years solely a US collection I was building, at least until the lure of more diverse aircraft types and liveries set me on my way globally.
For many years the majority of my US collection resided within a 10 cube MDF unit with open shelves. This continues to serve me well although only 4 of the cubes nowadays have aircraft in them. It has proven excellent for storing magazines and books in addition to models.
There have been several redesigns of the US area of the collection however I have struggled to find a layout which offers the right kind of space and an attractive view of the collection. The most recent layout looked a little hotchpotch with several major trunk airlines in a nice cabinet close to the ground and topped by a box (with Braniff inside), itself topped by an ad-hoc glass area for Continental.
This worked ok but being low to the ground wasn’t ideal for the models and being topped by the Braniff box obscured light especially at the upper section. Plus the US collection as a whole was running short of growth room. I struggled with several different layouts trying to reuse what I had but without a great deal of success.
Most recently in March I moved the tall thin cabinet that had housed my Asian fleet to near the US collection and used it for the UK fleet. This worked but only just. The cabinet was too thin to fit aircraft in well and the solid top meant it was also a little dark.
The answer to both the UK and US problems came to me a few weeks ago. If I replaced the tall thin cabinet and instead put the UK fleet in the cabinet that was on the ground with the US trunks in I could acquire a full height new cabinet to go in its place that would be wider. This could also replace the Braniff box and Continental area.
The Braniff box could meanwhile be repurposed and sit atop the wooden 80s/90s cabinet providing extra room. As it so happened I was able to find a secondhand cabinet that fit the bill and was much cheaper than buying anything new.
The big issue was could I get it in the car? I wasn’t certain but took the plunge anyway and after an incredibly tight and uncomfortable drive home, during which my drivers seat was as far forward as it could go and still fit me in, and my back rested against the cabinet itself, I had successfully transited the cabinet to the hangar.
Now the rearrangement could begin. This took me an entire day and a half but I am super pleased with the result and, although my wife doesn’t believe me, I think I may have finally got the entire layout of the hangar sorted. So what has changed?
First the UK fleet is now in a new cabinet and fits a lot better than it did before. There is even room for some additions.
Second the new cabinet takes pride of place in the centre and has shelves for Pan Am, American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Eastern, TWA and Northeast.
Third the old box cabinet now contains the smaller trunks: National, Continental, Western and Northwest.
Fourth, Braniff has replaced Pan Am in the bracket shelf cabinet.
Fifth the old Braniff box now contains US supplemental airlines.
Overall there is a much better display of the models and more room for additions. Plus, I managed to sell the tall display cabinet for $150, which was half the price of the new cabinet. Hopefully this means there won’t be anymore of these hangar reorganization posts for you to read, but then again never say never!
I'm Richard Stretton, an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale model aircraft. This blog discusses ongoing events in the world of 400 scale.
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