Miniature Bristol Airport

After the success of our first Aviation Fair, I (Callum) decided that BAS should have a better display to compete with what was already a spectacular sight in the Old Terminal on that warm September day. My plan was to create a Miniature version (or at least part of) Bristol Airport. But how? I already had experience in Airport Modelling and creating ground textures, but have never replicated an actual airfield. I started looking on Bing Maps (because the Google Earth ones were very outdated). It seemed like a pretty simple task. Just edit this and remove that and job done.

I measured my board, which was clearly not big enough for the entire airport. So I had to decide which part of the airport to do, while keeping in mind that it would be nice to have as many aircraft which fly to Bristol as possible. I looked at many areas, but I thought that where the new walkway is would be a good choice. So I chose it. It would allow me to have 7 aircraft parked, along with 2 or 3 taxiing.

To get the textures, I had to go on to Bing Maps and then press ‘Print Screen’  (which just takes a screenshot of the current screen). I was then able to paste this into Photoshop, where I removed any vehicles and aircraft.

To get them the correct size for printing, I saved different sections of the layout as an image file, and then placed it into Microsoft Word were I could determine its size. To get the actual, scaled down size, I measured the length on Google Earth with the ruler tool, and then divided that number by 400 (because the display is 1:400 scale).

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And, here came the fun part: printing, cutting and sticking! It really was very satisfying putting it all together. So here are some pictures of it getting stuck down.

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Now I have got the textures done, it’s time to start on the buildings. First of all I decided to make the basic wooden frames for them, using balsa wood. I only had very limited images of the buildings, so it was quite hard to accurately replicate the real life version. But I did the best I could, and I think it turned out pretty good. Used quite a bit of glue too.

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One task I couldn’t wait to do is custom my accessories by putting Bristol Airport logos on them. Using self adhesive paper I managed to create stickers. This really does enhance the layout and gives that feeling of realism.

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I decided to paint the buildings because if any textures were slightly missing it would just show up as a grey bit rather than bright beige.

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Now comes the daunting, long winded task of creating textures for the buildings. Unlike the ground foils, there is not any readily available, easy to use source to copy and paste them. But then I had a brilliant idea. Get some flight simulator textures, and use those instead. And boy, was it a good idea. The textures look practically the same as in real life! It was a very long task though, involving 3 pieces of software. Have to do lots of measuring and trial-and-error to get it to look perfect. In some cases I did have to edit the textures to make them fit. I was rather pleased with the result though.

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Next I did the extra details on the terminal. This included adding the support beams for the roof, where I used the sticks from Cotton Buds. I used them because they are the correct size and color.

The airport bus seems to like it!

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I decided to get the fences over and done with. Although fences are not there in real life, they will separate the layout from the backdrop. I may have another go to try and remove the creases but other things are currently more important. Perhaps laminating the fences could work.
(I never did change the fences, although I did fix them)
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Next, I had to do something which was important – write my Christmas List! Might sound not as important, but I asked for some models for the Model. These included a WIZZ Air A320 (I didn’t plan on using this on the layout – WIZZ Air announced flights after Christmas but I wanted the aircraft anyway for my collection), an Air France A319 (which I would change into easyJet) and a Finnair A321SL (which I would change into Thomas Cook).

I never got round to changing it into easyJet because soon after I recieved a tip-off from someone that said a new model company would be making an easyJet A320SL. I was super excited! Therefore, I made the decision to change the A319 to a TAP Portugal for my own collection. They also said that a TCX A321 would be made but this proved to be false, although I did find a TCX A321SL, which i’ll come on to in a bit.

So in Feburary, the easyJet A320SL was released. I bought it an hour it came out and it arived from the US a week later. I was so happy :D. Further on in the year, at about May time, a company called Phoenix came out with a Thomas Cook A321SL, taking the entire model community by suprise. I bought it as soon as I got home, and it arrived a few days later.

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So, the model’s I needed for the Bristol Airport Layout were basically complete. Ryanair, easyJet, Thomson, KLM, Aurigny, Air Malta, SAS, Thomas Cook and WIZZ Air.

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So, now it was time to add the grass. I ordered a model grass sheet from eBay and cut out the size I needed, then trimmed it slightly, and then glued it down with a pritt stick. It did make the entire layout look much better.

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Next were the taxiway signs. I again used Flight Simulator to help me with this, to find out where the signs are to be placed and what the signs have on them. I made the signs using the Microsoft Word default shapes, and also downloaded a font called Highway Gothic for the text. This font is used widely by airports as the font for the signs. I think they look great in place!

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So the layout was basically complete. All I had to do now was create a casing for the layout so it wouldn’t get damaged. Simon kindly provided the money for the casing. It was made of acrylic, and was ordered to size which was a good thing because all I had to do was put it together using hot glue. While I went to make a cup of tea my dog decided she would attempt to build it for me!

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The finished product:

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My model airport gained huge interested at the fair. I was surpised that so many people were interested! It made me so happy to see that everyone liked it.

So, that sums it up really. Below are some pictures of the finished product.

 

Any suggestions, comments or feedback can be sent to either our Facebook page or callum@bristolairportspotting.co.uk

– Callum 🙂