Since I moved house in 2016, despite having a lot more space for the hangar, my first 1:400 scale model airport had to be taken to pieces. This has left a gap in my dioramas that I'm keen to refill. Changes to my layouts last year have given me the opportunity re-establish a small layout in the same chronological era and so Dowse National is reborn. This post represents the first part in recreating a snapshot of the 60s.
Dowse National Airport still has its section on this website but hasn't existed in reality since April 2016 when I moved to my new house. I built the original Dowse National as an example of the sort of jet-age terminals being built across the United States in the 1960s. The layout had two piers joined by a central terminal area. I designed the ground foil using MS Word. This was a lot of effort but worked well, except for the weathering. Anyway I much prefer the flexibility and ease of creating the 'foil' by hand with paint, as I've done with all my model airports subsequently.
The new larger hangar layout in the garage never had a spot for the Dowse National layout, especially with the expansion of Xin Long International, and so I had a 1950s era US layout and a 2000s layout but was missing anything in between. Mid last year I reorganised the layout of my models and this meant that two cubes of my old 10 cube US Trunk cabinet became free. This cabinet used to have all 10 open cubes full of models but nowadays only the top 4 have models in. Below you can see some early progress on the new Dowse National:
The old occupants of the cube space - Delta and Northwest:
This new space is obviously very limited and has an inconvenient central partition but still has some potential to be turned into a small airport diorama allowing me to reclaim some display space for US aircraft from the 1960s and 70s. So that was the aim I established for this area - a new Dowse National.
Conveniently I still have the piers and building components from the old Dowse National layout and I was keen to reuse some of these in the new layout. Obviously given the space there isn't much room for front to back piers so I thought I'd use the central partition to my advantage as the root of a gently sloping assymetrical Y shaped pier.
The old terminal constructs are a bit battered and need some work on them but are otherwise sound. With the limited space available there is obviously no space for proper taxiways let alone a runway but as a diorama that doesn't really matter. After some playtime with models I came up with a layout for about 14 gates - as above. Only one would be a widebody, whilst I wanted to keep that Sixties feel with some side on gates for 707s and DC-8s. With the layout defined it was time for some painting:
I used similar techniques to those from Xin Long. The background was blue and white spray paint to make a cloudy sky. The tamac was Humbrol pot paints. Initial painting onto the original white gloss paint wasn't successful everywhere and a second coat was needed in places, which added a bit of an aged feel to the apron space. Concrete lines are just pencil. Adding some paint pen lines made the layout look a lot less rough:
As you can see the gate arrangement has been altered slightly. I haven't really had the time to work on this layout as I'd have liked. This post covers a period from July 2017 until January 2018. I have progressed beyond this point but I'll leave it here for now. There's still plenty to be done - gate markings, terminal buildings, airbridges and backgrounds. Stay tuned!
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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