CSF International Airport

A birdseye view of CSF International Airport.

Inspired by his travels to Guayaquil, Equador, model enthusiast Clay Franco has developed CSF International Airport which is modeled after Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Airport. The diorama shows an amazing amount of creativity and talent and currently houses over 94 1:400 scale diecast aircraft. The layout also features realistic runway and taxiway lightning and landscaping features such as grass and trees.

Name: Clay S. Franco (Modelaviator) Instagram

Current Location: Long Island, New York

Airport Name: CSF International Airport

Airport Scale: 1:400 scale, with some 1:500 scale vehicles

Largest Aircraft Serving CSF International: Airbus A380

Smallest Aircraft Serving CSF International: ATR-72

DF=The Diecast Flier

CSF=Clay S. Franco

DF: Can you tell us when you began to develop an interest in aviation?

CSF: When I was around 5 years old, I received a Fisher Price Airport set for Christmas. It came with airplanes and a terminal as well as fuel trucks and passengers. I remember playing airport with my older brother who influenced my liking in the world of aviation.

DF: Favorite Airport?

CSF: San Francisco International Airport due to the runway configuration. I’m also a fan of St. Maarten Princess Juliana International. The views of the approaching airplanes are amazing.

DF: What is your airport’s name?

CSF: CSF International Airport. If you haven’t figured it out yet those are the initials to my name.

CSF International Airport terminal building.

DF: Is your airport modeled after a particular airport?

CSF: It’s actually modeled after the Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Airport, which serves Guayaquil, Ecuador. I used to travel to this airport frequently. The welcome sign made out of grass on approach to Runway 21 made me want to replicate this airport.

Woodland scenics trees as well as crushed paper, were used to enhance the landscape of the airport.

DF: What inspired you to design your diorama? How long did it take?

CSF: I am a collector of 1:400 models and was tired of having them either in boxes or on shelves. I had seen several model train layouts and came up with the idea to create an airport to display my models. My airport project began in 2012, and I’ve been working on it daily ever since. In order to keep the layout clean I often move airplanes from their display positions in to perform a weekly cleaning and dusting of the layout.


DF: Can you tell us how you designed and constructed your airport?

CSF: I purchased a mat online from eBay and placed it on top of a computer desk. I then decided to make table with enough height to it that you can stand and get lost looking at my small world. I wanted it to have a lot of details and views.

An overview of the mat used to create CSF International Airport.

DF: What type different types of products did you use in the development and creation of your airport?

CSF: I used regular wood for the buildings and terminals, Woodland Scenic products for grass and bushes, as well as plaster and crushed paper to create the mountainous terrain. Although Woodland Scenic products are typically used for model trains layouts, they can be used for any dioramas in my opinion. I also used printed ground foils on card stock paper and ice cream wood sticks for the over pass bridge.

DF: Favorite aircraft that is part of your diorama collection?

CSF: I have so many, but right now my favorites are the Air Serbia A330, United B747 and British Airways A380.


CSF International Airlines B767 diecast model taxis at CSF International Airport.

DF: How many aircraft are based at your airport?

CSF: I currently have 94 models and hubs for United, Delta, JetBlue, and CSF International Airlines (custom fictional airline).


DF: What did you use to create the landscaping features of the airport such as the grass and trees?


CSF: Woodland Scenic products for the landscaping features such as grass cover and trees and for the road in the front of the terminals.


DF: I’ve noticed you’ve managed to create realistic taxiway edge and runway lightning? How did you accomplish this? Was it a difficult task?


CSF: I ran Christmas LED lights under the table and drilled holes in the table in order to ensure the lights would fit appropriately. I then used a hot glue gun to glue them down. It wasn’t difficult, but it was just tedious because I wanted the lights a certain way.


Taxiway and runway lightning add to the realism the layout.


DF: Are there any future expansion plans for your airport?


CSF: Yes, I’m looking to expand my airport at end of this year, or in early 2018. I’m pondering the idea of adding two additional terminals, one for wide bodies and another for smaller aircraft. I would also like to add a cargo center and hangar area as well and lightning for the entire diorama. More landscaping features as well as a moving train would be nice, but I have to find room for this expansion. I want to thank The Diecast Flier for giving me the opportunity to be featured in the Airport Spotlight Series.


DF: Thank you very much for your time Clay! Want to be part of our Airport Spotlight Series? Submit a photo with a brief description of your layout to [email protected]!