DALLAS — Airport dioramas are more than just a display for die-cast airplane collections; some designs have all the essential airport areas in detail.

Airport dioramas may include runways (single or dual), terminal building areas, parking and/or parking garage areas, cargo areas, fuel depots, and hangar areas in one complete diorama. Some designs offer you the flexibility to customize an area of the airport using different options included with the airport.

The dioramas can showcase new or iconic airports and current or classic aircraft, the latter being detailed in perfection to represent different time periods.

Last year, Airways spoke with airport industry veteran, airport designer, and diorama creator, Brian Keene, who is month gave us an update on his JFK Airport diorama.

He and his wife Brenda currently reside in Orlando, Florida, US. Keene has been part of airline management for over 45 years, working for Pan Am (1980), PEOPLExpress (1982), Continental (1987), United Airlines (2011), and from then until today at ABM Aviation.

An AVgeek Since Childhood

We asked Brian how and why he started making airport dioramas. “In my case, as a kid, I frequented Kennedy Airport in New York in the ’70s and ’80s.” Recalls Keene.

“I was so mesmerized by the aircraft livery colors, the sheer size of the space, aircraft movement, and building designs- I decided to try my hand at building a replica in 1:400 scale. I also had fun searching for rare classic models to ensure that I stayed within the specific time period.”  

At the time, Brian shared with Airways his work on the JFK International Arrivals Building (IAB), TWA Flight Center, and the National Sundrome as they looked in the 1970s. “A wonderful time in Aviation History as the Boeing 747 began to rule the earth.”

Brian played it coy, “Who knows? I may continue building until all nine of the JFK unit terminals are connected! (I think I may need a bigger house!).”

As you can see in the videos, he was able to complete the entire layout of JFK as it appeared in the 70s, including all nine terminals. The diorama is on a 1:400 scale. It’s quite a display covering 15 ft x 15 ft, with over 100 classic diecast models. And 2 ½ years to build.

The Pan Am Worldport section is now displayed in the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City and the TWA Flight Center will be displayed at the TWA Hotel this summer. “Lots of inspiring stories surrounding this display,” Brian tells me.

The completed JFK diorama features over 100 model aircraft.

Capturing a Moment in Time

When it comes to diorama construction materials, the options vary widely. Creators design the layouts using anything from foam board, art paper, cardboard, wood, plastic, and sometimes 3D printing.

Brian explains, “We all love Airports because they somehow welcome the beautiful aircraft that many of us photograph or collect. Airport dioramas are miniature displays of full-size airports whether real or fictional. For the diorama community, we build dioramas for different reasons.”

The airport designer says that for those AV geeks who are airplane model collectors, airport dioramas are a great way to display your collection in a real-time setting vs models sitting on a shelf or tucked away in a box. 

“The dioramas we build,” Brian adds, “remind us of a moment of time in our lives when we first were bitten by the Aviation Bug.”

Some aircraft models found on the JFK diorama are extremely rare. Can you find them? Let us know on our social media channels!

Featured image and videos courtesy: Brian Keene

Source: airwaysmag.com

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