let me focus on the diorama construction in this second part. As you
can imagine, it all started before the Dove was finished. I had a
general idea of the display base and decided that a passenger stair and
a generator/compressed air cart would be necessary, plus a couple of
figures. Between stages of the Dove construction (part 1)
spent some time scratchbuilding these items, as we will see.
The general arrangement was based on a photo of PH-MAD at Southampton:
PH-MAD of Martin's Air Charter at Southhampton, 1964. Barry Friend collection
a scene where the Dove, by late 60s an already old traveler, was being
serviced on a corner of the ramp, when an IATA delegate appears to
check something... some grass, a drainage gutter, and let's see how it
base itself is one of my standard wooden bases. To model the ramp,
I started with a thick piece of construction paper board and applied a
thin layer of wood putty using a large spatula. This is not a perfect
process, leaving imperfections on the surface that will simulate small
eroded spots that we see in old concrete structures. Once the putty was
dry, I scribed the separation between the concrete blocks, as well as
the characteristic cracks.
A 5 mm wide depression was made to
install the drain channel, another common occurrence in airports.
The channel grate came from a 1/87 railroad platform and it worked
like a charm. The whole process took me one night, but I strongly
recommend that the cardboard is sealed with lacquer paint or
next steps were the fun ones. I painted the concrete area and played
with filters to produce tonal variations among the blocks. Then a
dark grey was applied to simulate the tar between the block edges and
show the texture obtained with the putty. When it all was dry, I
simulated dried fluid pools here and there with acrylics. Speckling
with dark colors increased the realism. A coat of flat varnish,
followed by a gentle drybrushing with grey oils finished off the
grass was applied to the corners of the base using an electrostatic
applicator and a mix of 2 and 4 mm grass. The grate was
painted, weathered with pigments, and installed in place. But not
before putting water running inside it. I wanted that the glossiness of
the water (or who knows what!) draining could be seen from above. I simulated the water with
Engine Oil from MiG, but any murky glossy medium will do.
common occurrence in runways is weeds. I simply glued small medium and
light green flocks of Woodland Scenics turf. Evidently, the weeds
happen close to the drain and the borders of the ramp.
the base done, I could add the scratchbuilt items that I made
especially for this diorama. The first is an accumulator/compressed air
cart. These carts are very similar to the ones that we got used to
seeing feeding Spitfires and Hurricanes. They are a civilian version
very common in airports up to the late 60s. I was told that the Dove
uses compressed air for everything: flaps, landing gear...
thing that must be around small passenger aircraft is the stairs.
Usually, these items are specific for each aircraft, not rarely painted
in the colors of the company livery. It is relatively easy to find
photos of Doves being serviced by these carts. and some of them have
all the elements I wanted:
cart was scratchbuilt based on eyeball approximations from a few photos
of the real equipment. Some pieces of plastic rods, a few leftover
wheels, metal tubing, and some old school-sanding... The passenger
stair was also scratchbuilt and is a more delicate item. I wrote a small report detailing how it was built.
painting and weathering them, I also made two sets of wheel chocks,
again using things that I could see in period photos. The metal chock was made using a technique described in another article. The tail support
was not used in the diorama, but I made it to take photos of the Dove
first arrangement of the stairs and cart would not make sense, because
the stairs cannot be removed from that spot - it would hit either the
fuselage or the wing of the
Dove... Duh! But it is a nice photo:
final items were the figures. Like I said, I wanted to portray an
airport employee talking to an IATA (Intl. Air Transport Association)
representative. The thoughtful guy is an Orion German tanker. The IATA
guy, wearing a hat, I printed from a public domain file.
wooden chocks were positioned under the main wheels. The metal ones
were used on the nose wheel, and the other under one of the cart's
wheels, probably a safety measure that I saw in a photo. The hose
connecting the cart to the Dove is a piece of 0.6 mm soldering wire,
painted in rubber color and glued to an old watch piece simulating the
And voilá! My first airliner aircraft model in almost 40 years
was finished in a proper setting. The build of the little Dove
presented some challenges at times, considering the short-run nature of
the kit, but the construction of the diorama was a pleasure from the
a couple of days, I decided to print some background posters and take
new photos, pretty much like F. Verlinden used to do back in the day.
course, I could not resist to playing digitally with the new shots.
And you know what, I decidedly will be doing the same in my next
models. In the case of the dioramas, treated photos many times can
convey much better the story being told.
Here is Flying magazine from the month I was born. By the way, all headlines came from real Flying issues of the 60s.
I hope you liked this model. See you in the next one.
Link to Part 1
Another version of this article was published on Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine in
June/2022. It is a wonderful modeling magazine. Consider subscribing