Thursday, August 16, 2012

Father-Daughter 1/24 TARDIS Scratchbuild

My 13 year old daughter Sylvia isn't too much into model building. Or at all. But she is into Doctor Who, and (everyone get ready to say, "Awww!") spending time doing stuff with her daddy. I'd mentioned to her we could build a model of the Tardis out of popsicle sticks, based on drawings from the internet, and she was into it. In fact, she built her own Tardis out of Legos. Here it is, along with a figure of the 11th Doctor she made from a clothes pin. Adorable, huh?

The first step was research, and we found a suitable drawing of the Tardis from 2005 onwards. (The 10th Doctor is her first Doctor, so this Tardis looks right to her. Besides, it looks better to me, too, and more like a real police box than any since the original.) Here's the link. There's a side view, too, but it only differs in the lack of door detail. We printed it out full size, and it was 10 inches tall, representing the 10-foot Tardis at 1/12 scale. We decided to cut the size in half because of the length of a popsicle stick. Printing the drawing at exactly one-half normal size involved experimenting with the printer setup until we tricked the printer into doing what we wanted.

Once we had the drawing, we had to figure out what part to make first and how to do it, and take measurements from the drawing. It seemed logical to build from the bottom up, so we measured the width and thickness of the base in the drawing. We also measured the popicle sticks. Sylvia measured with an engineer's scale ruled in tenths of an inch, a machinist's pocket rule with 1/32nds and 1/64ths, and a digital caliper. She had used ordinary rulers of course, but none of these. She also ended up getting a refresher on fractions and decimals and long division, and an introduction to tolerances. It turns out that the dimensions of popsicle sticks vary rather more than you might expect, and Sylvia figured out why: tighter tolerances mean higher cost, and popsicle sticks must be cheap to make! The base was two and a fraction popsicle sticks thick, so as a compromise solution, we decided to make the base two sticks thick, with the sticks laid crosswise. The width of the base was 6-2/3 times the width of an average stick, and we didn't compromise here: a popsicle stick had to be cut lengthwise
Sylvia marked the pieces and I cut them for her. Then she glued them with Elmer's glue and used a triangle to make sure the corners were square. Below she's showing off the result.

There's more, but it'll have to wait till the next post.

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