RLSI Airport diorama nears the end of its life…

It’s time to begin the job of disposing of the current diorama, which is now approaching two and half years old.

As it was two years ago when it was rebuilt into its fourth re-incarnation

It’s normally only 12 month intervals that I get bored with it and want to move on. This time I’m not bored with it, but it’s effectively worn out physically in places. Glue is breaking up, the base is not ideal and needs replacing (I could explain, but it’s complicated and you’d fall asleep). It took a great deal of imaginative re-purposing to make the layout work in the first place.

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Proper gates with proper jet bridges! that all look like they’ll work.

Add to that the chemical leeching from model aircraft tyres into the First Choice foil – some of them are like puddles of oil – the inevitable toll of dust, no matter how many times you clean it away. Fading also contributes slightly but I go to some lengths to make sure it’s minimised.

On top of that what really hasn’t worked is the Gemini terminals, of which there two. They’re expensive and yet they’re not well made. The central block is OK, put Gemini’s plastic jet bridges are frankly appallingly bad, falling to bits, don’t actually fit the building and just generally sub-standard.  add to that they never did make an A380 bridge so that’s always wrankled with my picky sensibilities.

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Proper A380 capable gates

The road platform for the upper deck is also a mess on one, the mould was never right and it wasn’t painted correctly.

The building colour – that strange blue-green is unrealistic, and at the end of the day, it’s just a regional airport concept that looks like a shopping shed, that’s out-of-place with anything bigger than an A330/772 working it. Nothing fits. It’s a gerrymandered hotch-potch when new, never mind when I’ve had a go at it four times to extend its practicality, and try to make the stupid jet bridges work.

The compromise to get it to do what I’ve got it to do, is big areas where dust settles and can’t be gotten at, and a general mish mash of things that I’m now fed up with.

The worst thing, is the entire thing upsets my design ideals. What I’d like to do is design and build my own, but I’m just not patient enough to do that anymore, and I’d never be happy with it.

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To get the space to the maximum I’ve used the equivalent of 4 x A1 boards and the base has a T shape. Imagine 3 x A1 edge to edge on the long side, then the fourth as two horizontally split halves end to end to create the T.  The overhangs required an engineering solution – the exceeded the size of the unit the whole thing is built on and frankly, have been a nightmare for anyone else entering the room, to the point that nobody does. I’ve almost poked my eye out on one of the corners!

Add to this the cargo centre is a totally separate section across the room, though some carefully chosen photographic angles make it look unified with the main diorama.

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So, having decided to take the wrecking ball to RLSI – whose name will also change (Leonard Nimoy International is a favourite, call sign LNIX/LNI, (both of which aren’t taken on ICAO/IATA listings, because I checked I’m that sad), the decision to take on the guise of Frankfurt Terminals A+ and part of A with some modifications to fit the size available, has been taken.

It’s a big project and over 100 hours of work, so it won’t be done straight away – it might take several months, but it’s got to be done right.

Meanwhile two Gemini terminals and all of their gates will go up for sale.

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The approx area inside the red line marks the extent of the available space – it’s over 2 square kilometers. It should be possible to utilise the 6 Herpa armed remote gates at the bottom

By manipulating the layout I may be able to do this, but it doesn’t bother me if I can’t. Screen Shot 2017-07-09 at 13.09.46.png

It seems like a long road getting to this point, trying to make do and always being inventive, but it just won’t ‘cut the mustard’ any more. I want better, and with Percy Spree’s No Point Airport buildings, and one single (how I get that down in one go I’ve not yet fathomed) foil, it should, all being well, be a nice job at the finish. 

I’ve got dozens of vehicles, more than enough to make it work, everything else is re-usable and the Herpa boarding stations will even have a place.

One of the big advantages will be the ability to remove buildings quickly for cleaning – and if they do go down hill, they’re cheap enough to replace easily.

The foil will be easy to keep clean, as again, all of the Herpa floodlights are never more than very lightly white-tac’d on.

The downside is there will be no runway, but that’s a very minor issue. It takes up too much space and really isn’t important.  I’m expecting to be able to display around 20-22 aircraft at any one time, and that’s fine by me.

At the end of the day it’s a fantasy model airport, and I can make it do whatever I like. Isn’t that half the fun?