For the first two parts in this series see:
For a good long time the heart of my collection was a custom built open fronted MDF cabinet split into 10 cube areas. This was home to the major US trunk airlines of the regulated era. It remains a great space, although several of the airlines began outgrowing their cubes years ago. The problem with the space was mainly that it was open to the elements and that several of the cubes were close to the ground. This made them difficult to view well and doubly prone to getting dust and hair on them.
As I have become comfortable in the new Hangar since the house move (and even before then back at the earlier house actually) I have started to move the airlines into new accommodation in other cabinets so that the lower cubes can be used instead for housing aviation books. Until recently this left only the top 6 cubes still occupied. Modifications to the top 4 cubes, which house the 4 original big Trunk airlines (American, Eastern, TWA and United) have seen the addition of small glass shelves to increase storage. Here is the Eastern cube complete with glass shelf:
I also recently enclosed the top 4 cubes in an ad-hoc fashion with paper thin perspex sheets attached via velcro spots. It is a cheap solution to the dust issue and they are easily removable for photographs. As discussed in part 2 the Delta and Northwest occupants of the third tier of cubes has just been moved behind glass in the display case. That has left an empty space which we'll come back too.
Lighting the MDF cubes has been an issue for some time also. Most of my display cases have built in LED light strips, which are very effective but obviously the cubes do not. Fortunately LED lighting is a lot cheaper than it used to be and incredibly versatile. A few weeks ago I was able to buy some LED strip lights, which can be attached to each other and run off of a single controller. They actually can show a variety of colours but I don't need anymore than white. Attaching them was easy and so far 3 of the 4 cubes are now lit. It isn't quite as good as the lighting in the cabinets but it's still pretty decent. The American Airlines cube remains to be lit. Below are the three lit cubes:
I was also able to light up the long Braniff cabinet to the right:
The lighting makes a big difference to viewing the collection in these darker places and with the garage lights turned off certainly makes a big impression:
So with Delta and Northwest gone what am I to do with the empty cubes they occupied? I have several model dioramas but since the house move the Dowse National airport has been deconstructed. The two empty cubes give me the chance to reuse some of the elements from that and I think I'll use the small space to make a mini-diorama for a 1960/70s US airport kind of like Dowse. I haven't got far and it's likely to take a while before I can spend any time working on it but already I can see I can reuse some of the old Dowse National piers:
Overall I'm really happy with the changes I've made, which keep the collection growing, looking nicer and better protected than ever before. There's always work ongoing in the Yesterday's Airlines hangar, which reminds me I really must get back to updating on progress at Xin Long International Airport.
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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