The primary elements that were holding up construction where the remainder of the Gemini airbridges, which took a leisurely transit from the US to New Zealand. They finally arrived a few weeks ago and unlike my first batch these ones work correctly and allow variable heights. The new arrivals allowed the completion of the gates on the East Pier so that the diorama is now essentially finished. It has come a long way from my starting place in July 2015 as the below shots hopefully illustrate:
There are still elements that can be improved - perhaps some weathering on the airbridges and certainly new backgrounds, however for the time being construction is over. The backgrounds are a particular issue as finding suitable panoramic landscapes is very difficult with just Google and Airliners.net as sources, let alone being able to print them effectively to the sizes required. Ideally I'd like something with near ground car parks and buildings and a cityscape in the background but that seems impossible to find. Then there is the issue that it needs to look ok at different angles of attack.
Taking photos close to the tarmac, as Raimond likes, is really hard as the focus is a major issue and the size of the board stops the camera getting close enough to the ground for them to look realistic. I'll have to practice that too. For now here are some of the most recent shots. In these Air China has use of the East Pier and China Southern use of the West. Enjoy:
As for the future of Xin Long. At present it is rather constrained by the limitations of my hobby room, which though sizeable is getting too small for me. I certainly can't have the airports out and when they are it is difficult to move around them to take shots from different angles. At present we are trying to sell our house and the new place, assuming we can get it (and it is probably 50:50 at the moment) has an even larger and better lit space for my models and airports. Hopefully next time you see Xin Long she'll be at a new location. Fingers crossed!
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of 1/400 scale model aircraft and airports. This blog reports work on my model airport dioramas and discussion of the model manufacturers output.