So, last year I had heard a lot about Doctor Who, but hadn’t really gotten into it. I had watched a few episodes, but I started in the middle of series 6 part 1, having no clue about anything that was going on.
Well, I gave it another go when I came to college, fell in love, joined the Whovians, and met a wonderful friend who also shared the love. So we were sitting in the dining hall one night when the conversation that all Whovians have came up:
Wouldn’t it be awesome to just have a TARDIS? Yeah, we should MAKE ONE. No, it would be too expensive. But who cares? We didn’t, so we decided we wanted to make two full-sized TARDISes (Tardi? No idea). But first, we wanted to make a model. I kinda took on the job and started obsessing over it. And the TARDIS model was created.
I never expected this many hits when I posted it. So, basically, I never thought about what I’d do for a how-to-guide. But I’ll try! Bear in mind my thought/building process is not that of an engineer’s at ALL.
First of all, when I put 9 ½ inches on the post, I was partly guessing. It isn’t EXACTLY 9 ½ inches, but it is pretty damn close.
To design the model, I basically went online and looked at pictures of the TARDIS, concentrating on the 2005 TARDIS used by the 9th and 10th Doctors. I spent a lot of time just staring at tardisbuilders.com. It was here that I found this thing:
The first pdf file, labeled ‘Tardis Front’, was what I used for basically ALL the measurements of the model TARDIS. I printed out the page, making sure that the printer itself printed the page accurately (so that 1 inch DID equal 1 foot), then took a ruler and wrote down all the sizes of all the parts on the front. These measurements would be used for all four sides (because the model doors weren’t meant to be opened, they were exactly the same as the other three walls).
I used a metric ruler in which inches were divided into tenths. I think better that way. However, the measurements themselves were not always accurate and things didn’t always pan out. Trust me, you don’t want my measurements. I spent more time editing them than I did originally writing them down. Measure it yourself and you’ll have a much better time than trying to decipher my notes.
The TARDIS model was not build from a model. It was built from scratch. The entire phone booth, with the exception of the lamp, the window glass, and POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX sign (obviously), were made from Balsa wood. My friend and I went to the Hobby Shop and bought a bunch of wood, in sheets and strips. Then, according to the horribly-recorded measurements, the individual pieces were cut out.
The base was made out of 8 pieces. Two pieces were stacked on top of each other to allow for the thickness of the base, then the resulting four pieces were attached to make a square with wood glue.
A post was created from taking two sheets balsa and gluing them together at a 90-degree angle to make an L-shaped post. Then, two thinner strips were attached to the outside to add the thickness and to create the indent in the posts where the POLICE BOX sign sits.
The posts were attached to the bass with wood glue, and I taped them to hold them up. I wouldn’t recommend doing that, it was hard to keep them standing while they dried. If you find a better way, do that instead.
The doors were made out of four sheets of balsa wood. Then, strips of balsa was cut out and glued on top of the flat sheets to create the panel-effect. A single strip of thin balsa laid on top of everything made the thin middle divider. The windows? We cut them out AFTER gluing the panel-strips, but I don’t recommend doing that. It was tedious, hard, and altogether not a good idea. The doors were attached simple by gluing them to the posts. Each door was made slightly bigger than the space between the posts, so that they could be attached with barely an overlap.
Once again, cut out after the paneling was a BAD IDEA. Don’t do it. Measure the windows before and cut it out BEFORE you glue the panel strips down.
We just got some of that thick Plastic sheeting for the windows, and cut out squares with an X-Acto knife. We made the sheets larger than the holes for the windows, then dipped each edge in super glue and adhered it to the back of the door.
For the panes, the thinnest strip of balsa we could find was just up, and those were glued directly to the ‘glass’.
The roof has a lot of components. First of all, on the inside of the posts, a piece of balsa was glued right below the top of each post so that the roof could sit on top and not slide down. Then, four pieces of balsa made were put together to make a square. The top of the square was filled with a sheet of balsa to make a platform. Setting on top of that would be another square, about .4 of an inch smaller in width, glued to the top of the platform.
Now you have that tiered look that the 2005 TARDIS has. BUT. There is one more important step: the sloped top to the torch. HOW. Well, it’s made from four trapezoidal pieces of balsa, cut in such a way that when they meet it creates a square hole about .6 of an inch wide. I did the measurements for the roof but I didn’t make the trapezoids. That’s all on Alex, my friend, whose URL is who-blue-skies. Go ask her.
They pieces were taped together, then glued, then trimmed (there were a few gaps all throughout the TARDIS. Easy solution: smear wood glue into the crevice to fill it, though when you paint it the color will be different).
The square that the lamp sits on was made of two pieces of stacked balsa wood.
A HOLE is cut in the middle of EVERY PLATFORM of wood (If you counted, that’s two holes), for the wiring for the lamp to be able to go through. It doesn’t need to be pretty, nobody will see it.
I made the lamp out of scratch again. I took a cylindrical Lead holder for a mechanical pencil (like, the separate containers that come with the pencils that hold all the extra lead), then cut a chunk off of it with an X-Acto and wire cutters (I would not recommend this). The plastic itself bent and splintered, but because the TARDIS is old and beat-up looking, I actually like that affect. For the grate-effect on the light, I took jewelry wire and wrapped two rings around the plastic cylinder. Then I placed four straight strips of wire under each of the rings and spread them out evenly around the lamp. They were superglued.
The top of the torch was made out of an aluminum needle-threader. I just cut it up to make a circle, then bent it downward. The tip was a piece of round plastic stacked on top of the aluminum. The whole thing was glued and painted the same blue as the TARDIS.
The signs sucked, I’m not going to lie. Making the little boxes was not that bad, just took strips of balsa, measured the space between the spots, and cut accordingly to make the boxes. The POLICE BOX sign was printed out from the tardicbuilders.com website. I scaled it down on the computer, printed them out, then cut the letters out with an X-Acto knife so that the light would shine through. The sign was glued to more of that clear sheet plastic, then the whole thing was glue behind the wooden box. The whole sign was attached with wood glue.
The PULL to OPEN sign was simply cut out and glued to the door.
I went to the Hobby Shop and purchased a 4-battery pack with positive and negative wires. Then, I got some scrap wire, electric tape, and a pack of WHITE LED lights. I attached the appropriate wires using electric tape, and created a circuit for two lights: one for the lamp and the other to light the inside of the TARDIS.
If you can, get a yellow-ish light, not WHITE, unless you want to make Eleven’s TARDIS. Mine doesn’t have the warm glow that ten’s TARDIS had. I’m still working on how to do that.
Please go visit your local Hobby Shop to figure out how to make a circuit. I’m not going to explain how to do it here because I’m no expert and mine still flickers and shorts out. I suggest soldering, not electrical tape. I don’t have the ability to solder, and I’ll probably go back to the Hobby Shop to have them solder it for me. It doesn’t cost a lot, and it will hold a lot better than electrical tape.
PAINT: I just bought some French Blue modeling paint. I wouldn’t use it, it’s not a very good blue, but it was all they had.
So that’s basically how I made that thing.