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The Airplane Model project

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This grouping of photos are special because they're dedicated to the nicest couple you will ever know. Shortly after I started this project four years ago, David Churilla jokingly suggested I put on there some graffiti, "David loves Lanny." That little gift is to blame for my artistic direction of making the coaster appear derelict, abandoned and injured. On Facebook I dedicated this first grouping of photos of how I built a back wall that features said graffiti.


Lastly, I included some boner shots (spoilers or bonus). I can put more if there's any interest.


The area to work on.


Made the wall back.


Scored it so it looks like boards.


Why not break a few out?


Thinned black wash brings out the lines.


Some more color and the graffiti!



This section is getting too big to lug around to local coffee houses, so on Saturday I stayed at home, set up shop next to my living room window so I could people watch while working. I don’t like being cooped up alone at home during the day.


For inspiration for getting this project finally finished, I taped up what results I have so far from my study

of Long Beach’s old Cyclone Racer, which is lined up to be my next project….maybe…


After years and years of using sandpaper for tar-paper roofing, I found a much better substitute. Masking tape!

I tape it to the back of my hard rubber cutting board and rub it to pick up the texture.


This is the underview of the catwalk that went from the (office?) door, over top of the train shed to an accessible vein of other catwalks. I will sand what look like the cleats down at an angle as when this is flipped over, it will sit level on the slanted roof.


After laying tape on the train shed roof, I used very thinned black wash to put on some color. Then I put on the catwalk that runs over the top.


And some boner shots.

Want to see more?


Bottom of first drop and the train shed on the left.


A had a little visitor on Sunday.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Been following since the beginning. And can I just say: PHENOMENAL. I'd write something more intelligent but I'm just so blown away. Amazing work and dedication to the project.


Thanks!! Hey, you can spell phenomenal, that's pretty intelligent!


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The last picture is stunning!! such incredible work! you must be so proud


The feeling is mutual coasterb. You put out a lot of great stuff yourself


HEY EVERYONE. yesterday I set up a go fund me account to raise 500 dollars so I can properly finish this thing. In 24 hours, I'm already 78℅ there.


Right now I'm at a friend's place, he's holding an art show/sale/auction and my model is the center piece.


This is the type of gathering I was thinking of having when I unveil a completed model.


With this boost in funding, I've given myself a deadline of August 6th as I'm going to work with my friend on setting up a similar gathering such as this. Can't wait to be done.


I took this photo when I first got here. It's a view I've never seen before.


The search name for the go fund me is STARVING ARTIST BIG BREAK and it features a photo of coaster.





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The thing about this I find most interesting, is that you have taken such time and effort to detail this ride exactly to scale. And when you take a picture, it is amazingly difficult to distinguish between a real coaster and this model. And, it saddens me that I can't actually ride this coaster! Its like we have been watching a park slowly build the ride over the years, and we'll never get to ride it!

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Now that I've almost reached my GoFundMe goal (See "Starving Artist big Break" on Go Fund Me), I felt inspired to finally come up with a complete design for the base on which my model will sit!


I'm 97% towards reaching my goal!


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Good news is I’ve surpassed my GoFundMe goal!


This weekend I covered four local hobby stores and bought most of what I need to help me go full speed and finish the model.

Most of what I need left to do outside of the landscaping part, are little detaily things like the spear cartouches, gooseneck lamps, new station railings.


Right now I’m focusing on the front of the station house and the two flanking turrets. Now that I have replenished funds, I can go back and give it that detail I want it to have. Yes, that means I had to start that part over…for the third time.


The old (I'll call it sign wall) is upper right. New one is the white one and I'm making a more detailed frame.


Template I’m using to chop baby diamonds.


After I have all baby diamonds, I have to make twice as many baby BABY diamonds. It occurred to me to paint these blue and sprinkle them into someone’s Lucky Charms but I don’t even want to get that close to my ex.


Instead of painting, I will be covering the outside of the turrets with a heavy textured paper. On the back, I’ve marked where I need to slice little marks...


...so that I can replicate certain design features.


I decided on a pink to carry over an art deco style that was popular in the 20’s. My color pallet was confirmed when I noticed the interior colors of a neighborhood hotspot. I walk by here all the time, I must have subconsciously absorbed data..


A sneak peek with branches I am using to make trees. I call this "Silver Winter"



I'm using a simple art program to sketch out idea for what to do with this corner.

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Now that I have most the supplies I need to finish, I’m hoping I can maintain my commitment to go full bore. I’ve been working on various aspects that will all culminate to a finished product. I’ve been skipping back and forth between the Station House, some landscaping, the base, the cartouches. I have an email in to a company that will help me locate some fine hollow tubing for the gooseneck lamps.


I could spend months figuring out different ways of how I’m going to build a particular part of the coaster and when it finally comes time to build it, I dive right in to a way I had not previously considered.


For example, I thought for years that the base for this thing would be only two plys of foam board. Because of the kind donations, I was able to design a thicker base that will not only not warp, but it will enable me to plant my trees deeper in, and also make a real tunnel at the start of the ride!


I hate hate HATED cutting thick boards. I would rather fight with the board than buy a new sharp blade. This time I’m armed with several so I always get a clean slice in two strokes. I need to practice more so I won’t have to hate it so much. Did I mention I hate it?


The beginning process of making my base.


The foam board always seems to want to warp a tad so I’m putting stiffeners between layers to keep them plane.


Set on one of the top layers and set a chair on top, let it sit overnight.


The coaster sits on the new base. I won’t permanently secure this on until I add landscaping directly under the structure. The adjoining section will plug in to this one.


I was walking to my car after work in the park past what we call Palm Canyon where the City just finished trimming palm trees. Found this hunk of husk…it will make wonderful tall dead grass and weeds!


My first test of sand and dead grass. You can also see how I masked over where all the footers need to be glued.


From all angles.


Trying out some sidewalk and test placing some certainties to help me eyeball the ongoing design.


Test placing where I’m going to put my trees so that it will maximize photo composition I will glue on foliage when its time to actually install the trees.

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Wow, I touched on a lot of bases this week. I worked on everything from props to coaster decorations.


Inside the turret on the right, I made the remnants of a popcorn stand that I think I see in one of the photos.


The process of making the gooseneck lamps that outline most of the coaster’s pathway. I can’t believe how I accidentally came across one of those little safety pins at my other job.


The aluminum hollow tubing was another lucky find. I searched and searched for a tube with an inside gauge that would snuggly fit the safety pin, and not be too ‘thick’ looking. Long story short, I happened to find it in the Hobby Store I always go to. I wasn’t looking in the right place.


My version against the real ones.


I put those scalloped (?) trims around the top of the turrets that flank the Airplane’s station entrance. I still need to do the top portion.


The spear cartouches are not that hard to build, they’re extremely tedious. It looks like I used a 3-D printer, but I didn’t. See page 12, 8 down to see how I made these.


I always knew I would use a screen from a window for a fence. Again, the timing is remarkable. Our complexes just got all new windows so I snagged one of my old screens. Just one cut on the bias and make a template to cut along to make more strips. The scale of the fence will be 6’ high which is the same as we used for around the Dipper I think.


Up until my visit to the Hobby store this weekend, I was going to use plastic rods for the fence poles. When I found the hallow aluminum tubes for the lamps, I changed my mind. I’m glad I did. That’s beading wire I’m using to tie them on.


I can’t wait to put signs on here. “Do Not Trespass” or….”Intent to Demolish”. Someone jokingly suggested I put a figure of someone trying to climb over. I like that idea.


After having made a pattern, I cut out walls and pieces for a concession stand as part of the scenery.


What do you think?


The above concession stand will go behind the yellow poles, and will become part of the decaying midway.


Boner shot of all the cartouches and the classic gooseneck lamps. I’m still debating if I want to string lights, (clear beads on beading wire) or not…


Next installment will have pictures of the completed concession area, more landscaping, and the top pulley and chain return trough. I don’t know what I’m going to use for chain yet, I might not put one on since it IS supposed to be an abandoned coaster…it could have been removed in preparation for the ride’s imminent demise.

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Working overtime, cruising speed.


I just LOVE my new tool box!


Didn't quite finish the midway, but it's coming along.


Parts of the station facade.



Using the cardboard backing from a paper pad, I made what will be there cracked foundation of the Derby Racer carousel.


Still new at trying some things like creating wear and tear on old fashioned concrete.


Painted the inside of the chain trough.


Used the same concept for the foundation for a public restroom that was torn down.


Trying to make it look like the bulbs are illuminating.


And the underside


Break them apart.


Chain return pulley. Needs a bit more work.


Squirting glue.


Fine sand.

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This is a good exercise for multitasking.


Made signs for posting on the fence which is time to build.


Cut some aluminum rods and tied to screen.


Pre punched base with fence post locations before landscaping.


Put down this paper grass sheet I bought at the train store. In short of my thinking it's fake looking, it's a start and I hope I can work on that lawn.


My first spattering of weed


More spattering.


This internal fan curve was the very first part I built.


Making my name out of seeds so I can grow a bush.


I though I'd try using a brillo pad as filler. I'm going to blend the foliages on the right. As I tear apart the Brillo pad, the pink soap that flakes off will make pretty flowers. The idea of using a Brillo pad is that the pad will oxidize and will turn brown.


Oh, my seeds took root!


The Tim bush. Buy yours for $25!


Add the fence. Next up...trees.


Oh I also added 5 guy cables. Hard to see.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Playing with an idea for the invitations for the debut.


I hope to have two of the three sections totally complete by the end of this weekend. The landscaping is coming along nicely. Still trying to come up with good trees.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I’m keeping things on track as it were…and it still appears as though I will be finished with this project by the end of July. What can I say about that. Would I have done this had I known it was going to take so long? I don’t know….


I hope that the people following this are anticipating seeing the finished product. I’m worried too many spoiler shots will take away from the final “IMPACT” of the model when it’s done.


Other than my job, this is really all I have to do this summer as I cannot afford to go the beach let alone travel to any parks. Last week it was tough watching friends post coaster con photos. It’s been so long since I’ve joined them, I feel forgotten and that has me really down right now and it’s starting to show in the model.


That being said, now that I’ve rounded the final corner and am heading into the home stretch, I’m hoping a little cheering might pick me up. The lift in spirits will show in my work.


Still trying new methods of making trees.


Recently uncovered photo of the land where the 2nd spiral of the coaster used to be. True or False?


Making more light standards


I had to remove all the cartouches and carve a slot in the back of each so they will fit better over the light standard.


Initial attempt at making it look like weeds are growing up through tracks.


Making 2nd base


The last part to be landscaped.


Like “Skinny and Sweet” vs. “Rid-O-Rat” you do NOT want to get these two mixed up lol.


The picture I will show when people ask, “Where do you store it?”


Boner shot. This is the final look.


I’m quite a sports dunce, so it didn’t occur to me that the finished base is shaped like home plate on a baseball field.

Edited by hillflyer
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I hope you all had a great fourth of July, yes, even those of you outside the USA. LOL.


Fairly productive weekend on the Airplane. I had the whole three-day weekend to work on it. One thing I learned is that I need to take at least a couple hours break every few hours. Otherwise I start to get careless.


Now that August 6th is my deadline the ogre of “OKAY, NOW THIS IS SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE TO DO” raises its ugly head. This weekend I spent the morning just staring at it and loathing it for keeping me home all weekend.


In spite of that, I think the end result is acceptable.


I had put stakes where I planned to mount the guywires but it was a complete waste of time.


Throw on some burned (actually painted) woodery. This is my burnt tree that was cut down.


There was a palm tree in front of the dentist office next door to me that was recently cut down. The fine sawdust that was left behind ended up being the winner of what I consider realistic ground cover. I put it on like glitter, glue the surface, coat with sawdust, press and brush off excess. As for what I’m going to make for the walkways…don’t know yet.


I’ve decided how I’m going to set the stage for where it looks as if there might have been some effort at one time to restore this coaster. I guess it was decided they were going to repaint it white.


I just couldn’t resist placing on the coaster to take a few shots…



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