Way back near the start of my collecting in early 2010, back when I had delusions that I was only going to collect a maximum of 200 US classics, I got a guy to custom build me an MDF cabinet with 10 cube spaces in it. Each would have a separate US trunk airline residing within it. Below you can see how the cabinet looked immediately after delivery in 2010 and how the display had grown by early 2015. As you can see, I painted the base and improved the backboard display, plus bought a ton of extra models!
Click the image to see it full size:
We moved house in 2016 and the MDF cabinet came with me to my new 3 car garage, which became the Yesterday’s Airlines hangar. The collection and display have built around the old MDF cabinet ever since despite it being open. Gradually I have transferred the fleet behind glass and the old MDF unit has been modified to store aviation books and include a small airport diorama.
Only the top four cubes continued to keep models within them. These represented 4 of the smaller US trunk airlines (National, Continental, Western and Northeast), which I couldn’t fit anywhere else. I had added in lighting and used some thin plastic sheeting to keep the dust out.
As is probably clear the collection has continued to grow and with over 2,000 1:400s now even in my hangar space this has begun to represent some space issues. There are now 12 separate cabinets for the models plus two model airports. Below you can see most of the hangar aside from the model airports. The US quarter is largely obscured in this image but is on the right:
The final piece to my collection puzzle has always been to replace the MDF cabinet with another glass cabinet, providing both a first-class display and some extra space for the US fleet. Most of the US fleet was housed in the 3 glass cabinets either side of the MDF unit.
Last week I was lucky enough to find and acquire the missing glass cabinet from the NZ version of eBay, TradeMe. I admit the price was a little higher than I wanted but the opportunity was too great to miss, especially as the new cabinet fitted in the existing space perfectly, avoiding the nightmare job of moving the existing cabinets around.
I had already got a space for the aviation books elsewhere so all that I’d be losing was the unfinished model diorama, a small price to pay. The new cabinet is wider but not as deep as the other large glass cabinet next to it, but came with 5 glass shelves so I wouldn’t have to get extras made as I had needed to for the taller cabinet.
Thanks to some help from a friend with a van I was able to get the cabinet home. Once in place place the work could begin to reorganize the displays, including the posters above the cabinets.
One of the major benefits of the new cabinet was not only getting the four smaller trunk displays behind glass but also being able to move the 1990s overflow areas for Eastern, United, Delta and Northwest out of their previous spots and put them with, or close to, the rest of those fleets.
In the below photo of the taller glass cabinet you can see that Delta has moved out and in its place National Airlines has taken half a shelf. Northwest now sits across one and a half shelves rather than the single it had previously when the bowling shoes were displayed elsewhere:
It also enabled me to move Braniff out of the smaller right-side cabinet freeing up more space for the local service airlines, especially US Air. Below is the top 3 shelves of the new cabinet containing Braniff, Capital, Continental and the United 90s overflow:
The lower two shelves of the new cabinet contain Delta and Northeast:
The 3rd US glass cabinet houses the local service airlines, territorial airlines and instrastate carriers. Here's the top of it, which is a lot less crowded now Braniff has been moved:
Lastly, with only the deregulation startups left in the 80s/90s cabinet I was able to switch the contents of it with the Oceania cabinet above, giving the fleets of Australia and New Zealand some extra growth space as well.
The end result is that hopefully I won’t have to buy anymore display cabinets (I’ve been making extra space in other areas of the collection too). The entire fleet is now behind glass and displayed properly with some growth room for new acquisitions.
Of course no collection is ever complete. I still need to work on adding lighting to the new cabinet and to the deregulation and oceania cabinets. Overall though I'm super happy with the way the hangar works now and I'm not moving house anytime soon!
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.
This site is free. Please donate to keep it going.