Sunday, February 27, 2011

The End - Finished... for now.

This afternoon and evening I spent finishing the TARDIS. I bought a glass jar yesterday which has worked out perfectly for the top lamp, which was the last piece remaining. It's not fresnelled however, but does the job. At this stage a vegemite jar probably would has sufficed as I just wanted it finished!

The jar in place with some dowels and a round piece of MDF. It's supposed to have a dome shape on top, but I'm all out of domes, so I used a bog tin lid and glued it on.

And here is it painted and attached. It's probably off centre still, but I think looks the part. One day I'll put some kind of reflector inside and maybe even rig up a light.

The rest of the afternoon was spent putting the rippled glass effect in the bottom corners of every window frame. I used a broken skylight lens and cut it up using a cutting disc on a dremel. This puts out loads of fumes so I feel a bit off colour right now from it! Each window frame is slightly different so I had to make each one for a specific frame, required much filing (I cheated and used a bench grinder as a file). They certainly aren't perfect but most stick in without any glue.

So the TARDIS is finished! Alas I can't take a photo of it all complete because it's too tall for the porch and I need muscles to get it off the porch in the backyard. Next weekend at Armageddon I'll take some complete photos.

Special thanks to Frif and my Dad for help with some of the labour, the signage and with tools. Total cost of all parts, paint, fixings, is $699. It would probably have hit the grand if I had to pay for the window glazing and the top signs. Probably take a few bucks off too I guess, because I bought some things that I didn't end up using for this, but will no doubt use elsewhere in the future.

*I never bothered doing the corner post caps.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Signs and windowframes

Well, the end is definitely in sight! My friend came through with the Police Box stickers, which we put on the white perspex backing. Now I was to learn that for some reason sticking vinyl to perspex is 100 times harder than sticking to glass. The spray bottle and detergent trick didn't actually help with sticking it on, but made it harder and as such there is quite a lot of small bubbling in the signs. It doesn't show from a few feet away, nor in pictures thankfully, but enough that it's mildly irksome for me. Anyway they're done. Alas the crispness of the signs now highlights that the signboxes are not perfect either. I guess as the creator I'm my own worst critic.

My friend wasn't able to get the phone panel sign done, but as this was a small and quick one we took a trip to the sticker guy at the Brickworks to make up. I had the file from somewhere on the net, but the signmaker altered it slightly for size, and also as he didn't have the correct fonts. Again, it's near enough. I think it looks pretty impressive on the panel. The 'Pull to Open' bit is probably a little large, but the sign's a good fit for the panel.

Today we did a test fit of the signboxes and the both roofs in place, we had to move the whole box down onto the paving so it could clear the porch roof. With several layers of paint the second roof panel no longer fits inside the first roof panel, so there will be some sanding to get that right. Also from above there's some spacing between the first roof and the signboxes they sit on, which I may fill with a piece of fabric or something. But then again unless you're nine feet tall you wouldn't see it.

I've just realised I forgot to make the corner post caps! Ahh it's never ending.

Anyway here's another photo, note that I finally made the window frames. I kind of cheated by making 2cm strips of MDF and just sticking them to the perspex and painting them afterwards. Yes I should have painted them first. There was a fair bit of cleaning required to get it off the glass again.There's no outer edging to the frames but at this stage I don't really care.

So remaining is the lamp (which I found a nice jar that is suitable), and the pebbled glass pieces for the corners of the window panes. I may have injured myself lifting the box down onto the paving. It's ridiculously heavy. I'm also rather concerned about how I'm going to get it out, given the carport roller door has a rather shallow opening height.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Repainting and windows

So after allowing the paint to dry on Monday, I really wasn't happy with the colour. It looked too bright, yet dark, if that makes sense. Kind of like 11th doctor Matt Smith's TARDIS only bluer. Like this (kind of) -->

I guess that's okay if I was making that one, but I'm not and I don't want people to think that I was trying to. I really wanted a cross between the Hudolin 1996 film prop and the TYJ 1980's show prop colour.

This chart shows the different colours, simplified for your PC. I added some grey to the paint which made it way too light (like the Newberry prop 3rd from left), and then some black went in to bring it closer to what I want. Currently it's a cross between Newberry and Hudolin (2nd from right), but not as much like the TYJ (between those two) as I'd hoped. At this stage I'm forgetting about the paint. It's close enough.

So this is what it looks like. Again the PC screen really alters the colour, it's a fair bit darker, so to see it for real you're just going to have to go to Armageddon to have a look. 

The real win was getting the window glass. I was quite concerned about where I would find frosted perspex that wouldn't cost a week's wages, until the maintenance man at work came to the rescue. I was asking him about broken fluoro light guards as a possible source and he took me into his storeroom and showed me this giant piece of frosted perspex that had a crack in it. So out to the ute to bring it home. It was just enough to do every pane! I'm talking within 10mm of running out it was that close! Currently working on the grid work for the windows, which I'll probably just stick to the glass using 20mm strips of MDF. 
Still need a lamp and some signs and then I'm done!

Whoo a door lock

Yep, put the door lock in. Thrilling. It was quite a bit more complicated than it needed to be, simply because the TARDIS door is much thinner than your average house door. Thicknesses had to be built up under the lock for it to work correctly. Also so the barrel looks in the right spot from the outside, the lock itself sticks out across to the fixed door a little further than natural on the inside. It all worked out in the end as I needed to build up the base for the striker plate and it lined up nicely. No pics of the inside showing the lock, but here's the outside. Yes it should be an antique brass colour, but I botched that when I bought it. Plus silver was like $15 cheaper - go figure.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Alas today is my last day off work until the bump-in day for Armageddon on March 4th. I spent the entire day painting, so I would feel like I had made some major progress, as I'm starting to freak out about the remaining time. Paint was a bit of a drama as I've found that the major supplier of paint base in Australia is based in Queensland and had been damaged due to the flooding. This supplier makes Dulux and British Paints and probably others. As such, supplies are getting low and both Stratco and Bunnings were out of stock. I had to go to the Solver Decorator Centre who took my colour swatch and fortunately they had the code for it, so they were able to make me up some.  Alas the colour didn't come out of the can quite like it looks on the swatch! Straight out the can it was very bright, like Gordon the Big Engine blue, but I knew paint dries darker. 

This is probably as close to the actual colour as my camera will allow. In some light it's spot on, but in sunlight (and probably fluoro lighting) it'll look too bright. This is the two roof pieces and the four signboxes.

The whole box painted in two coats. This paint was very thick and caused some pretty pronounced brush marks. Not sure of my opinion on this. I'm probably my own biggest critic. Alas it's simply too bright, and the next coat I'll dilute the blue paint with a slosh of black. 

Still have to make the window frames, window glass/perspex, find a lantern and have signs printed. It's going to be close.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sanding and filling and undercoat

A good friend came down from Clare today to give me a hand with some laborious work, sanding and filling primarily and cutting out the holes in the signboxes for the signs. He also brought down the perpex sheeting for the signs and will bring the actual vinyl lettering next weekend.

Oh and yesterday my Dad came over and helped get the box off of the base so I could paint the base and install castors. Castors sit about 5mm below the base so it can move about freely (without the brakes on it moves about a little too freely!)

The box is bloody heavy at this stage, it was very difficult to get it to go back on its base and we ended up twisting it a bit and cracking the filler in several places. Oh well, refilled and sanded today.

Completed the roof today as well, sanded all the filler and gave it a base coat of that awful white paint I mentioned in an earlier post. Remembered to wear a mask so I don't get sick this time! The roof certainly isn't perfect, the angles aren't quite even and some of the filling is a little amateur, but it's the roof, Only if you are 9 feet tall could you even see it. The lamp box is still a bit off square too. I may see what I can do about that, although I may just leave it.

Whee, it's the roof complete and in undercoat.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Finally, today whilst wasting 20 minutes I picked up some colour swatches from Bunnings. As always on the PC screen they look nothing like they do in my hand.

The one I like the best, as does wife, is the bottom right, a British Paints (how appropriate!) colour of 'Hello Sailor'

It's bluer than it appears here. And the mat they are on is a mid-dark brown not that light hessian colour it looks on here. Anyway I'll probably change my mind three times before I decide.

The Roof

In my awe of the stupendous step making that phone panel, I forgot to mention the petty little part I did make whilst coming down with manflu, the roof!

The roof is in two parts, I guess because it's easier to transport? I have no idea - that's what they guy whose notes I'm using as a guide did, so I did it too. Mine's loads different however, that other guy went the extra yard to make all the inside framework all shiny. I think mine fits together a little more sturdier anyway. It avoids any issues with future warping too as it's reinforced a few times. Actually I think I just answered the question, with all the reinforcing the roof would be too darn heavy in once piece to put on top!

Anyway, here's part one. A two stepped square frame. Exciting huh? It will have little cross pieces of the corner pillars mounted on it. I'll explain better when I makes them and stick them on. Lots of filling and sanding here, I used up my larger offcuts. I'm pleased to say I managed to use all the planks I bought, even the warped ones by cutting them into smaller usable pieces.

Roof Part Two. This part fits inside part one sitting on those corner struts. The box in the centre is the lamp platform. I have yet to find a lamp, I think a day soon will be dedicated to finding something suitable. Yes the box in the centre isn't exactly square. I plan to sand it square enough. It's only out by 5mm. I'm actually pretty happy that everything has turned out square to within a 10mm tolerance. Again loads of sanding and filling. That open bit has another piece on it now.

Here's what it looks like thus far with the roof stage one fitted and the doors aligned, and phone panel installed. I'd like to take a photo with roof stage two on, but alas this is almost touching the roof of the porch already so I may have to move it out to the back yard first.

Windows are next and the door lock, castors for the floor and then paint!

Oh and the dang lantern. It's supposed to look like this ----------------->

No idea where to get that in a hurry. I may opt for the cheap shop mozzie lamp that the 2005 series TARDIS used.

Phone Panel

So I felt a little better today after fighting off the man flu for the past 5 days so I managed to take some photos in the fading daylight rather than night time as I have been of late. Still haven't made alot* of progress as I've only felt like doing a little sanding and filling. I did , however make the phone box panel. You know the panel that says 'Police telephone, free for use of public etc etc.'

Anyway here's a picture of the correct version of the sign, which I believe is being made up right as I type this (give or take a couple hours). 

*Edit - I didn't end up using this one after all. The sign guy ended up being a bit of a pain, so I had a local sticker-maker make one up based on one from The Tardis Builders forum. (Sorry - don't remember who to credit!)

This sign then gets stuck on this panel I made. Pretty simple stuff, four pieces of wood borders two sheets of plywood with some hinges and a handle screwed on. The panel opens too, it's held closed with a magnetic catch. Pretty bodgy job with the catch at present, but it's just to hold the flap shut for now. Eventually I'll get around to making the actual cabinet in the recess and put an old phone in there.

The panel open. As mentioned this will be another box with a phone sitting here eventually.

Here's a picture of the phone cabinet on a toy, but you get the idea of what I plan to do.

I can't believe this whole post is about the phone panel.

* for Emma and Ainsley :)

Friday, February 11, 2011


Slow progress of late, been a little busy with normal life and now I'm sick with a cold, so not much will be happening for a while.

Latest update is three of the signboxes are roughly done, they still need endcapping and to have the actual signs made up, but the general concept is there. The basic shape is pretty straightforward. I had originally planned to shape the cut outs around the corner posts, but the gaps are pretty much hidden anyway so I didn't bother.

Just a close up. This was the part I had planned to shape. I did it on one of them, but totally unnecessary. Now the actual 'Police Box' signs I want to be printed in adhesive vinyl and stuck to sheets of white perspex. Alas there's no sign shops locally so I may have to go down the other side of town to Kwikstripe or something. I may see if the Council depot sign shop will give it a shot for me first.

So the front showing where I'm up to. I'm really hoping the slight lean is due to the fact that it's being built on the back verandah which has maybe a 5 degree slope to it. Eh whatever, it's not being built to win a competition. Looking at the actual prop from the 80's and I can see that Tardis is pretty rough in places too. It had probably been dropped a hundred times during production. Only the latest series ones are perfectly square and straight. 

So the remaining major construction is the roof and the windows. Then there's just a lot of filling, sanding, adjusting, putting in signs, the phone panel, castors and painting. Okay still a fair bit to go. I'll have to move it soon as you can see it's almost to the roof of the verandah.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Walls are complete

So today was spent finishing the last two walls. All walls, doors, corner posts and the floor are pretty much complete minus filling sanding and painting.

Next job is to start on mounting the doors, finishing the staggered plates above the walls/doors and then onto the signboxes.You can see the staggered panel on this picture. I had made all four of them, but then botched the one for the front doors by cutting it too short. Measure twice, cut once as they say, which I thought I had done! Not sure how I messed that up. You may also be able to see how much straighter and squarer it now sits. Some of the small horizontals are not quite square though. I stopped using liquid nails for this reason, as when I make a mistake it's much easier just to unscrew them.

This is from another angle showing the wall and the doors. The left door will not open and be permanently mounted. This will assist is squaring up the front that just wants to lean to the left about 15 degrees.

Cornices and steel

The weather has finally changed, and is now actually suitable for doing this kind of work. I don't think there's been a day under 30 degrees when I've been working on this thing yet. I kind of subconsciously associate the heat with this project.

I'd pretty much got as far as I could with the materials I had and the amount of warpage that had occurred. With the better weather some warping had relaxed and I was able to salvage two planks by soaking them in the pool for a week. Alas the only way to force several panels to straighten is with steel reinforcement. My Dad did mention at the outset that I should have built the thing from steel to avoid the issues I have faced.

So I bought some of those angle supports used in timber house frames. They don't look pretty but they're screwed to the insides of the wall panels and they certainly do the job. Straightened up both top and bottom panels and now warpage is at a minimum. I still have a minor issue with the box not sitting square at the front, but I've worked out a way to fix that.

I finally bought some cornice material as Stratco had some cheap stuff in stock. Still at the incorrect 19mm, so I shaved a couple of mm off one edge. It fits okay, but is a nightmare to screw in as the cornice timber is denser than the box and the screws don't want to bite. Got there in the end with some force.

Cornices in place. There's three per corner post so twelve in total. I butchered one in the saw so I'll have to get another piece. Much filling and sanding still to go.