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Volpone's TARDIS build...

Started by Volpone, Nov 18, 2011, 10:44 pm

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Volpone

Thanks.  I think I mentioned it, but if I were doing it over, I would swap in a pair of 2x4s in an "L" shape instead of the 4x4s (or the full box 1x4s of a more traditional build).  I think that would be the best mix of strength, weight, cost, and accuracy for my needs.  Then finish that with 1/4 rounds.  This would've greatly simplified and strengthened my build.  I don't know if I'd do the signs the same way again--partly because I don't think I have that much scrap 1x6 laying around any more. 

You're lucky, working on models.  You can build on your experience and try over and over.  Once you do the full scale one, you're hard pressed to come up with an excuse (or the money) to do another one (and believe me, I've tried. ;) ). 

The build is less than a year old, so I can't pat myself on the back too much, but the weatherproofing seems to be holding.  Since I did the roof with leftover materials, I didn't have as much tar to stick the roofing felt on with as I'd like and it has developed a bit of a "waviness", but it isn't particularly noticeable in my opinion. 

The door is a bit of a cause for concern.  I'll watch it carefully.  My initial fit is too tight so I've had to plane off bits of it in an effort to get it to close properly.  The risk then is you have to be diligent about touching up the paint to help with waterproofing. 

My build is relatively simple and cheap.  I only have one opening door.  So the way the door wall is constructed is thus:  I took one sheet of 4x8 plywood and trimmed it down to about 3x8.  I then marked the part that would be the opening door and cut that away.  After that, the trimwork that comprises the paneling got screwed and glued into place (on the non-functional door and on the functional door).  Once all that was on, that side of the TARDIS got fitted in between the corner posts and glued and caulked into place.  It also got screwed in at places like the center 1x2, where it fits up against the base and the signs.  At this point I realized the 3 dimensional factor of my design and how there would be gaps between my walls and the base and sign lintels, so I wound up scrounging 2x4s to full in these gaps (actually there are a couple spots where there are still gaps ;) ). 

To make a long story short, while I've spent a fair amount of effort to keep water out, I've realized ventilation is essential so I've left plenty of ways for the interior to "breathe" in hopes of mitigating weather damage.  We'll see how that works out.
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

Volpone

The lamp.  >:(  The damned lamp.  I was so happy with it.  And I made it for around $8.  But I've been looking at the actual police box photos and realizing it is too small.  Now that the leaves have dropped, you can see it from the street and at a distance the small lamp is really apparent.  I'm less than happy with the windows too, but I really thought I had the lamp nailed.  :(

Ah well.  Such is life.  I just need an excuse to build another one now. :)
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

Volpone

Yeah. :(

The excuse for the TARDIS was because I was having problems with a leaky garage roof and I wanted some additional dry storage.  Accomplishments of Gilbert MacKenzie-Trench notwithstanding, a largely flat, stepped roof is a terrible idea in a wet temperate climate.  (To be fair, the actual boxes have a steeper pitch to their roof than most TARDISes.  And concrete doesn't rot the way wood does.) 

It's been very, very wet the past month or so, so today I went out to see how the interior was holding up.  The roof vent seems to be working still--as far as keeping water out--but the walls are very sweaty and the caulking has failed in one or two places.  Lots of moisture around screw heads and mold on at least one wall. 

I'll likely have to modify my plans and put weather resistant things in the TARDIS and things that need less moisture in the garage (while keeping things that need low moisture in the house).  Regular maintenance will also be essential. 
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

Volpone

OK.  A couple update points:  It looks like I've only got one significant leak.  There's a point in the roof where water is getting in.  Some work with the caulk should cure that.  Then I get to swab down the interior walls with bleach and/or vinegar to try to knock down a thriving mold colony. 

The first winter's rains have pretty much decimated my lintel signs.  I did them on gels on an inkjet printer and then sprayed the crap out of them with spray polyurethane.  OK, truth be told, I gave them a light coat before my can ran out.  Well now they've gone from a nicely weathered look to barely legible.  So the plan is to do up new, sturdier signs.  Then to do overlays in remnant plywood to give a more authentic look to the lintel signs--the new signs go up.  Then a plywood panel goes sandwiches that with the existing wood. 

The other thing I'm still not happy with is the color/weathering.  It is trippy.  1) It is amazing how much blue can change, depending on lighting.  2) You see other blue things and wish your TARDIS was that color--although if you had it you'd likely be disappointed. 

I think I'll add a couple shades of blue to increase the weathered look.  I'll go with a darker "Met Blue" and a lighter 1970s blue. I'll go with a very dry roller to get a stippled effect.  Alternately I may just do a "wash" to layer in other colors.  After this the whole thing gets more shading & highlights to "dirty up" and weather it. 

This box probably has its final lamp, but I'm not entirely happy with it--it is too small to be accurate.  Oh, and I may figure out a way to integrate a lighted lintel sign for at least over the door. 
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

Volpone

May 06, 2012, 05:08 am #34 Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 05:15 am by volpone
I went back to check the date stamps on my build snapshots.  Time flies! (No pun intended.)  I see that, while not finished, I had my TARDIS standing in place back in mid February, so she's well over a year old.  

Soon I need to rework the lintel signs. They didn't hold up through a wet Portland winter. But to do it right, I've got to get out the saw, rummage through my scrap lumber, and do some painting, so for now the weathered look will have to do.  

The interior is plenty musty in spite of my efforts to ventilate and waterproof it.  The door has swelled and fits awfully tight.  And the lock definitely is the worse for wear because of the weather and lack of protection from it.  But it all still works.  

I still regret not thinking to texture the surface before painting--but not enough to do a complete repaint.  Yet.  But after being gone for a couple months, I decided I still wasn't happy with the paint.  I really think I got the color accurate, but the problem is twofold:  1) Over time and with wear, there should be fading and touch-ups and such, like you see in older buildings.  2) Even if it is accurate, I wanted it a bit darker.  

I rummaged through my art supplies and found a half tube of "Ultramarine Deep" oil paint.  An evening with a rag and some linseed oil and she's imperceptibly darker.  And up close there is more variation in the color than there was.  I plan to add another slightly different shade of blue and then add some more "weathering".  

Once I get done with my smudges and smears I'll mix some black thick enough to spatter and thin enough to be sprayed from a squirt bottle and spray on spatter that way.  After that I'll water it down some more and give it a couple washes of "grime" to further darken it.  

But I suppose I should redo the signs first.  :(
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"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

Volpone

ARGH.  The battle with Nature escalates.  Yesterday I was finally ready to put the TARDIS to her intended purpose--storage space--but first I needed to clean the mold off the walls.  And regrettably this meant taking down the styrofoam plate "roundels".  More regrettably, I learned that the roundels had concealed water damage on the back wall.  My caulking had apparently failed and the plywood had begun to delaminate.  At this point I had to get out the ladder and inspect the roof.  The caulk had also failed above the door, causing some delamination there.  Finally, the assembly on my roof lamp/vent wasn't as sturdy as I expected and that needed some repair.  I may have to re-engineer it when I touch up the paint where I caulked.  Truth be told, there are probably much smarter ways to build exterior storage than a design with a largely flat roof, but such is life.
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

Volpone

Just wanted to share an update to get that coveted weathered look:  On impulse I picked up a darker shade of blue spray paint to add more variance in the blue.  Then I added a light spatter of a shade of light blue that I had but this showed up a LOT lighter than I expected so I did a light coat of the original shade.  Then I redid the shading and highlights--getting more or less back to the way it looked before hours of work. 

But while I was doing this I managed to step on my tube of acrylic black art paint.  Because I'm cheap and wanted to test an idea out anyway I went ahead.  First off, I needed a spray bottle.  Unfortunately I didn't have an empty one so I found one with bleach in it and poured the bleach back into its non-spray jug--after first misting down the TARDIS in hopes of getting some fading.  Then I scooped my spilled globs of paint (and more than a little dirt) into the bottle, added some water to it, mixed everything up, and misted the entire box with it. 

Initially I was a little nervous because it looked very, very dark, but it dried much lighter and now I'm quite pleased with the effect.  The biggest challenge was, whether it was the viscosity of the paint or the mixed in dirt, my spray bottle kept clogging up.  Anyway, results follow.  Again, I apologize for my cell phone camera.  And I don't know if any of the difference shows up in the photos, but here they are.  Next up is coming up with a more durable lintel sign!
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"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

domasi

Regarding the 4x4 vs the 2x4 I believe you went in the right direction with 4x4's. When I used 2x6's to make the corners in my first build I noticed with temperature changes that the wood developed a bit of a gap at the corners where the ends met. on my next construction I planned my corners from solid 6x6 and cut out the corners from them to make a solid piece. You do not have to keep the piece 4x4 and by taking out 2" of material you have a solid looking corner the same weight as if you would have used 2x4 if not a bit lighter.

Nice build :)

Domasi

Volpone

So here's the decision: The initial design is from the Brachaki prop's dimensions. But let's face it, as an American kid in the '70s, there are nods to the Baker and Davis boxes. And for whatever reason I decided to do a san serif font on the door sign. So it really isn't any specific TARDIS.  I'm redoing the lintels and vacillating between Hartnell black and a more authentic (to a Met box) blue.  I guess I can do whatever makes me happy.  It is such a mongrel build that it really doesn't matter. 
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

atomicgraph

Yea those apart bottles don't last... I know everytime I dirty something down the bottles always clog after the use.

Volpone

The backyard neighbor was out the other day and we got to chatting. I told him more than he ever wanted to know about TARDISes and possibly 1929 Mk II Metropolitan Police Boxes.  His one comment was that my TARDIS would be a perfect replica--if it only had a door.  :-\

I delicately explained to him that the door was on my side.  Unfortunately the way it is sited, he can't see the door at all from his yard.  But I got to thinking...

I based my plans on the original Brachaki prop.  But as a child of the Tom Baker era, I went with the blue door sign and windows.  I've considered going with the Hartnell paint scheme, but haven't quite worked up to it.  I suppose I could do the back wall with a second, white,  plaque, the St. John's crest, and paint the windows white...
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

mulla

Jun 07, 2012, 11:34 pm #41 Last Edit: Jun 08, 2012, 05:35 am by mulla
"If only it had a door"  ?????
not the sharpest tool in the box then, your neigbour?
no smart arse comments about it being bigger on the inside?  that wore thin very quickly with me

Had mine not been situated in a corner, I would have gone for two sets of doors too, if only for the video-ing of a football team running out!  (or in, or in and out)

atomicgraph

na she's great the way she is.

museumdave

"...because when you need storage space you could do worse than a TARDIS"- unless of course it has no DOOR, then that is the worst you could do ;)
"I could retire and be the curator of this place,"  the 11th doctor or maybe the 12th?

Volpone

Given my questionable success at weatherproofing, I've had to settle for moving things into the TARDIS that I can afford to have get wet--either things that won't be effected by moisture or things that I don't mind having wrecked.  So it is mostly paint storage and empty cardboard boxes for moving.  Luckily I have enough of those to fill up a TARDIS.  And that frees up valuable space in the garage. 

Today we had a short monsoon, which gave me an opportunity to check my most recent weatherproofing effort.  It has failed.  I've got water intrusion from the stepped roof on at least 3 sides.  So when I finish up the door signage I'll also be breaking out the rubber roof patching material and leftover flashing from working on my garage.  I'll likely Dremel a groove around vertical part of the top roof step.  Then I can fit flashing into it.  Then the rest gets bent to completely cover all the cracks with either tin or plastic, depending on which I decide to use.  Then it all gets a coat of the rubber patching material to boot. 
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.