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The Airplane Model project

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August 6th has come and gone! Time for an update of the finished product!


Thanks for asking!


Yes. For the most part it is done. I haven't gotten around to an official photo session yet but I can throw something together tomorrow if anyone wants to see more previews.

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It was on this day, August 11 1990, that Mission Beach Giant Dipper reopened after exactly 5000 days of dormancy. So I thought today would be a good day to start posting photos of my model in its most current state. I hope it meets the expectations of those that have followed this thread from the beginning.


A friend I just so happened to reconnect with was working on an idea to bring local artists together for a new event he called "Upstairs on 35th Street” and asked if I would help him with the event. It was comprised of about 6 artists showing and selling their hand made pieces.


The first one was May 7th. It was small but successful in that everyone who came, stayed for a long time and new connections were made.


But the dollars weren’t being spent as Carlos had hoped so he was discouraged about doing another one. I mentioned in previous post that I’ve always wanted to have a little gathering for when my Airplane model was finally finished, so I suggested he hold another one anyway.


So both Carlos and I meshed our goals together in what turned out to be an acceptably better event than the last. Higher ups in the local artistic scene came to check out the event and the model.


Aside from some minor touch-ups, I could let this model go and be satisfied with it. It will be on display again at the 2nd Annual Maker Faire here at San Diego’s Balboa Park. It is at this event where I will begin putting together pieces for my NEXT project, the Cyclone Racer!!


The model is stored in my dining room. I am taking a break for the rest of the month and will continue adding all the little fine detail fun stuff in time for the Maker Faire. Before or after the faire I will get in to some heavy photo sessions.


In November, I hope that it can be arranged so that my model can be displayed in the National Roller Coaster Museum booth at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions in order to draw attention to the importance of saving our – once again – dying breed of true wood coasters.


Everything has a price. If anyone wants to buy this model….figure 4.5 years of work, a lot of sweat, tears $25,000.


Opening premier at the art event.



Those little ‘details’ would involve putting the fence in permanently


First photo after taking a sigh of relief.



I don’t know why I thought putting the trim inside the edge would be so hard. It wasn’t. Will clean this up too.


Looking down the abandoned midway. Future detail will be maybe trash and cups blown up against the fence.


Coming Soon? That billboard looks pretty old to me? What’s going on here?


Many POVs to follow at a later time.


A nice conversation piece for any room.


Me and probably what was a big waste of my time.


Carlos and I!


After I put in the railings, you won't be able to get a photo like this.


Edited by hillflyer
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What happened to the little tote next to each photo? I used that to know when to release the next batch of photos.

If you're talking about the view count, hover over the picture. I know that works on Windows (Not sure about other operating systems).

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What happened to the little tote next to each photo? I used that to know when to release the next batch of photos.

If you're talking about the view count, hover over the picture. I know that works on Windows (Not sure about other operating systems).




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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

I hope you get to read my article in the latest issue of "RollerCoaster" magazine.


I'm still trying to get it together to do a really good photo session with the Airplane.


Right now, the model is stored in my dining room.



It takes a lot of Concentration to hold up the top tier.

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  • 5 months later...

I had the Airplane on display at Pride Festival in San Diego this weekend. Last time it will be on display for a while so tomorrow I have to make room in my storage unit so I will have room for the Cyclone. So I went on a photo frenzy.


Remember Dennis, the one who broke my arm and part of the model? He's been gone for more than two years so out this stuff goes.










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  • 1 month later...
This model is absolutely incredible. What a great thing to be able to show off and display!


Thanks. If I build them for anything, its to promote the old classics with the hope of one day they'll be rebuilt.


I've also found the models inspire others to explore their artistic abilities like photography, sketching, etc.

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  • 5 months later...

That's that I guess.


Closed my storage and I can't find a place for my Aeroplane model. Was supposed to be for the National Roller Coaster Museum but I guess there are issues with getting it transported and then..where to?


4 1/2 years of my life exposed to the predicted rain, and several homeless people that use our property as a pass through.


Tried several options each at a dead end. Too bad so sad. I thought this was going to be really great. I guess it wasn't.


Next images you see may see of this, it will be riding on the top of an outbound garbage truck.



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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

It was only the year 2025, exactly half a millennial away from when Zager and Evans' musical prophecy begins the disintegration of mankind that was to last 7070 years before Christs' second coming. 7070 years worth of portents condensed into 56 years.


Life didn't end well for the humans. It wasn't a war, it wasn't a single natural disaster, there was no rapture. no second coming. Just one errant computer hacker who unwittingly brought all of the worlds countries to a halt with one stupid stroke of a key.


Ironically the third world countries, which didn't depend on the Alien's gift of technology, survived the longest. But they too, eventually died off after several new diseases arose from the millions and millions of dead lifeless corpses.


Right before it all, society had been trudging along as normal. Political turmoil, crimes, traffic, rising costs of living, the latest in computer technology, just all part of every day life.


Amusement parks were thriving. The successful peaceful end to 2020's World War 3 just minutes before complete global annihilation was the cause for partying and celebrations in each nation. People were once again daring to get a little reckless.


The Airplane roller coaster was even rebuilt near a zoo in San Diego and ran successfully for five years until...


Now the year is 2075. The human race has been long gone but not all life is extinguished for you see...for years they have been watching us, studying, learning from our ways, waiting for our eventual demise before they can take over.


The children of the world, the forgotten chimpanzees...this here is their day to rebuild what once was. They monkeys only heard of the legendary beast that overlooked the Florida canyon right outside their zoo. Time and overgrowth have made the search difficult but...finally one day.


The Save the Coaster Commonkeys


The Airplane was rebuilt in the spot where the Blue Streak Racer once sat in 1915 in the spot that would later become the San Diego Zoo.


It was based on the 1927 creation that once stood at a park called Rye Playland, seen in this old photograph.


The brand new Airplane during a test run in 2020


After mankind was wiped off the face of the earth, so were his pleasures to follow. Soon the plants took over, obscuring the coaster from view.


It was a nice fit for the zoo.


Imagine cresting over the lift hill as you look into the chasm of nearby Florida canyon.


Now our friends the Save the Coaster Commonkeys are on a mission, to restore the Airplane roller coaster.

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  • 1 year later...

Found a project that will help keep me busy during this stay indoors period. Dug out the discarded model of my Airplane coaster after nearly two years. For about a year it was out in my backyard area, the last year crammed under my dining room table. I'm going to redo the base using styrofoam (test fit pictured). If that goes well, I'll do some structural repair. If you're seeing this thread for the first time, this is a model of the Airplane coaster based on what it might look like were it abandoned and left to decay in order to make a statement on preservation.


One third of the model sits on new base which will be double-ply..


The lift hill.


The lift hill and the back spiral sections will become one.



Measurements of new base

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  • 7 months later...

Restoration of the Airplane model begins again. 

Well, instead of working on repairing this model of the Airplane, I instead involved myself in writing workshops to prepare for a book I want to write about my experience saving the Mission Beach Giant Dipper.  The workshops resulted in my writing 4 short plays for the Old Globe theater (where I work), a few songs and several poems, not to mention a two-part article on early Amusement Park authoritarian Gary Kyriazi for RollerCoaster! Magazine.  In spite of being totally burned out on model building after the completion of the Cyclone Racer, I did manage to push out a model (from a kit) of the Jupiter 2 ship from Lost in Space, and a neat 4-trough cardboard marble roller coaster.  I have been doing a lot of drawing too. I also have been active in the fight against Covid in the only way I know how.  In the meantime, my Airplane model (originally intended to be sent to the Roller Coaster Museum in Plainview, Texas) went from being crammed in my storage unit to being moved to my back yard for several months where it deteriorated a little bit.  After my new property managers cemented in my back yard (and the whole property) it has been sitting on my dining room table collecting dust and making my little dining room look cluttered.  During the summer, I did at least remove the structure from the original landscaped base which had warped and become soggy from the outside elements, and bought material to make a new base.  I also want to turn it from a three-piece model into a two-piece model.  

Well FINALLY, after actually considering just trashing it, decided to muster up some inspiration and start placing back some broken off pieces to see where this goes.  The structure isn't in that bad a shape, just a lot of tiny pieces need replacing, especially all the goose-neck lamps and cartouches, however, I think I'll wait until right before I send it off to Texas before I put those back on because they snap off so easily.  Most of the work will be the new base and securing the model on top of it, and splicing the two sections I want to make one.

Airplane fix1.jpg

Airplane fix2.jpg

Airplane paper.jpg

Airplane paper shadow.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Instead of matte board for the top cover of the 2-ply styrofoam base, I found some foam core sheets that have a cork topping.  I really like it, plus it will make the base even stronger.  

There was one section that I had to redo since some more photos of that area came to light.  Heading up towards the mid-course brake, the track has a more flat approach upward than what I had before.  

I also found what seems to suit me need for footings (it didn't have them before). I used playdough, and a straw to form them.  Before they dry I drive a stick through them.  Then I'm going to paint brown.







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