The last time I built an aircraft kit I was five and it was a Red Arrows jet, poorly glued together and plastered in thick Humbrol enamel paint! This time, it was to be a more accurate job, beginning by taking the kit and giving all the components a coating of white primer then allowed to dry fully.
Once the primer was set, the wings were put to one side and given a coating of Humbrol metallic spray, then again, allowed to dry fully.
The two pieces of the wing components were then fixed into place and allowed to dry overnight.
The fuel tanks were next to be fixed onto the wing, these were removed from the kit and fixed to the underside of the wing.
Once the fuel tanks had dried in place, the wing was given another coat of Humbrol metallic spray and allowed to dry overnight.
A diorama based on a airport layout wouldn’t be complete without an aircraft to go with it! Luckily, the real airport in West Sussex has very good integrated rail, road and air interchange links, so much so that the railway station is right next door to the south terminal and the runway.
For anyone that has passed through the real airport in West Sussex, aircraft land and take off on an east/west direction and pass right over the north/south railway line, this is something I wanted to replicate on the diorama. The layout is designed with minimum space in mind, a width of only twelve inches, so I had to search for a suitable aircraft model to fill this space. In addition to this, a 1/72 scale commercial jet aircraft model would be way too big, so I chose to go for a 1/144 scale commercial jet airliner kit and use forced perspective so that hopefully the model doesn’t look too much out of place and unrealistic.
I found two aircraft kits that were suitable for the width of the diorama, an Airfix Boeing 737, or a Revell Airbus A319, however, not being an aviation enthusiast, I didn’t realise until it was pointed out to me that that neither the Airfix Boeing 737 or the Airbus A319 would be suitable for the time period and livery I wanted, the early 1990s. The Airfix Boeing 737 model was a -800 version, which the British airline livery I wanted to use didn’t fly, the Airbus A319 was too modern, more suitable for the 2000s. I eventually found the right aircraft kit and decals, a Boeing 737-400 in Landor livery.
A prominent feature of of the real terminal building above Platforms 1 and 2 is the lift housing, which provides step free access between the south terminal station building and the Gatwick Express platforms.
The cube like shape of the lift housing was replicated using styrene sheet by the manufacturer Evergreen. The range is called Tiles and the square shapes measure 1/2″ x 1/2″.
Once the cube shape was formed, the model was then given a coat of matt black primer, once this had dried, it was then given a coat of TS-3 Dark Yellow spray from the Tamiya range.
A model of an airport layout, especially based on one in West Sussex, would not be complete without a special train, a representation of the Gatwick Express service.
This model, of 9104 is a class 489 Gatwick Luggage Van (GLV) in OO gauge from the Britannia Pacific Models range of multiple units. The livery is based on the short lived Intercity Swallow period, early 1990s just before privatisation.
The history of both the rolling stock and the service is already well covered on the internet, especially at http://www.semgonline.com/gallery/class489_1.html and at http://www.semgonline.com/gallery/gatex_01.html so no need to repeat it all on this site.
The carriage carries the route head code ’20’ just like the real thing used to, when these carriages were in use from 1984 to 2005, along with the unit number 9104 and carriage number 68503.