In-flight or wheels down?

How do you display your model aircraft?

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For scale modelers, like many other artists, we take pride in completing a project.  After dozens, or in some cases, thousands of hours our masterpiece is finished and we desire to share our efforts with the world.  How our models are displayed is important and each modeler has their individual preference in how it is presented.  Often times the choice of display is dependent on subject, era or pure creativity.  Whichever the choice, the modeler has his or her idea of why and the best way to share their work.  In asserting much creative freedom in scale modeling, thankfully, anything goes!

Wheels down
For many years, until recent I had always endeavored to build my 1/72 scale modern jets and helicopters in a parked, or a 'wheels down' configuration.  I'd place the finished model on a shelf and invite admirers to revel as I grinned from ear to ear.  The reason for this was an effort to duplicate how I saw the model depicted on the kit box or how they appeared at an airshow.  Building the model wheels down was a great opportunity to depict the aircraft refueling, opening panels with the ground crew figures doing maintenance.  And also showing off the hard work of a detailed cockpit.

(A-7 Corsair II VA-82 Marauders) ©2014 www.militaryminiatureshq.com

In-flight
In 2004, things changed for me.  Born simply out of the desire for a simpler build and variety, I tried my hand at an in-flight display.  Initially, I had no idea how I was going to arrive at a design I was happy with.  So, after an exhaustive Google search for examples, I was surprised to find so few.  It was a clear indication that modelers typically displayed their model's wheels down.  Fair enough.  I sketched out a custom design and went to work creating it.  I would need a weighted base so the model would not tip over unexpectedly.  A stand and a way to insert it into the model securely in an attractive pose.  The base was constructed of thick styrene and its final shape sanded smooth.  For the stand, I settled on a polished brass rod.  A square rod is preferred, as this would prevent the model from spinning should it get accidentally knocked.  To mount the model on the stand, I inserted a matching styrene square tube prior to finishing to accept the stand.  This facilitated a re-sequencing of the build so that the last thing to do was simply place the finished model on the stand.  Check out the photos below.

Let um fly
Displaying my model aircraft in-flight has been a welcome change.  It has successfully simplified and shortened my build time, allowed me to place a scale pilot in the cockpit and I can better appreciate the eloquent lines of these modern marvels of aviation.  I also love to photograph my model aircraft.  With them modeled in-flight, I can create very realistic simulated flight scenes.  For example, to compliment the historical significance of the aircraft.  The same goes, of course for models build wheels down.  We've all had the pleasure of pouring over some truly excellent dioramas at model shows and via the web.  The craftsmanship involved in both types of displays can cause one to do a double-take.

What do you prefer?  Share your preference in how you like to display your model aircraft.  It's our art, and anything goes!

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