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How to build the ultimate airport diorama in 1/144 scale.
Author: Uwe Damaschek
Submitted by: Berlin_Uwe   Date: 04-02-2005
Comments: (3)  
Berlin Model Airport

by Uwe Damaschek, Berlin
English supported by Andy White, Bristol and Berlin

A lot of questions about my little Airport Diorama have been asked. I?ll try to answer them as much as possible.

The scale is 1/144. The ground is 2.00 meters by 2.25 meters, approximately 288 to 324 meters, in reality not so big, right ? It is made in sections, each has a width of 0.50 meters, so it can be stored on shelves. It takes 15 minutes to put it together, and about an hour to glue everything that was broken during the set up.

The Buildings

The buildings are all fantasy, they doesn?t exist in reality. I tried to find a middle ground between a realistic look and the miniaturised models. To give everything real measurements would have meant it growing too big.
You can find the correct dimensions in a book called ?Planning Modern Airports? for the basic informations, available in architectural book shops.

The buildings are scratch built from different materials, such as wood, cardboard or plastics. The basic structures are made out of wood, the fronts are made mostly from cardboard with different surfaces textures.

Some buildings are basically buildings used from model railway suppliers. The station kits are perfect to build into the Airport, as Airport related buildings. I found a lot of modern station kits from the 70?s at flea markets or second hand toy shops. Examples of brand names are ?Kibri? and ?Faller?. Now a days it is not so easy to find modern styled building kits in the shops, because most of the German model railway lovers are more interested in a romantic look, a station building from 1900 looks a little strange in front of an A320, doesn?t it ?

I tried hard to find the airbridge models from ATP-Airliners America, twhich were once produced, but I couln?t find any. So I had to find another way to build them out of special cardboard and some other household materials, such as cotton reels and film canisters.

Printed logos and details where found in the internet, scaled down and printed with my ink-printer. This gave the Airport a lot of intereting and amusing details.

The Vehicles

The most of them came from model railway suppliers. Here in Germany we have Brand names like ?Wiking? and ?Bush? and some more which do really nice vehicle models from all periods. The scale is N Gauge, 1/160 although a little too small, it works ? I think.
Additionally there are some companies which make people also in that scale such as ?Noch? and ?Preiser?.It is interesting that ?Preiser? is now doing Maintenance and ground personel (military) and airliner personel such as pilots and flight attendants in 1/144, which are avialable in Germany. They are made from white plastic, so you can give them any look you like. And for the 1930?s period, there is also figures available in 1/72.
The Airstairs were all included in Airliner models, for example: The Monogram Lockheed Constellation has Airstairs (two stewardesses, oh sorry ? flight attendants and a tractor), as well as the Airfix kits of the Vanguard, VC-10 (Airliner Kit), Trident and of course the DC-8 kits made by Revell.
Same tractors came with the old Revell Airbus A320 kit, which can be modified if desired.

The cargo containers are my own invention. I designed a model out of card using a graphic program. I print the containers as often as I want on a special silver tinted paper and then glue them together. Really easy. I designed six different containers, like LD3 or LD9, all based on original scaled measurements.
My future plan is to design a fire-brigade vehicle as a paper model. That should work.

Hopefully we will see some original airport equipment from any plastic model producer soon. It seems to be that a lot of modelers would like to have them !


There was lot of trial and error during the construction period and of course I gained a lot of experience. The configuration of the buildings changed several times, I always tried to find good perspectives in order to make photos later on.
I am still not pleased with everything ? but I was really surprised when I saw the first photos. I think the last three years have been worth it.

Now that I know how it all works out and I will start to build the real thing soon ! ?

Uwe Damaschek

by Uwe Damaschek

Member Comments :

 comment by: Ken Miller posted on 04-05-2005, comment #569

Simply incredible. Building good model airplanes are the first step. Building an airport and terminal to display them is great. I also liked the Cargolux Galaxy.


 comment by: Ted Johnston posted on 06-22-2005, comment #664

Very inspiring! Well Done!


 comment by: Loud707 posted on 06-27-2006, comment #2267

That is awesome! Very motivating!

Is there any 1/144 scale equipment available yet? I will look for Preiser.