Tuesday, 19 August 2014

To Fix a TARDIS - Part Two

Compromise. That's what I've learned from embarking on this project: you must learn to compromise. If you look back to first part of this blog detailing the reconstruction of this TARDIS, you will see that I was full of ideas. Oh how I dreamed of accuracy! Of a 'Pull to Open' door that was fully working and featured a phone! Of windows and frames that were set on the inside rather than the outside, so we could actually have an accurate dip! Glass sign boxes that would illuminate and look wonderful at night! Well none of that is happening.

Piecing it back together again

The first issue we had to tackle was getting the TARDIS back up right, straight and solid. This was done with relative ease. A temporary frame was constructed to hold it all together and then later thick timber and large blocks were added to fix it all in place. The doors were reattached, along with the lock, and it was already beginning to look more like a TARDIS again. 

The 'Police Public Call Box' signs along the top of the roof were buggered. Well two of them were, the other two were okay. The sign above the door needed to be totally removed, unscrewed and reattached. The one left of that was hanging off one end and sagging at the other due to rotten wood. Oh, and there was a massive black spider living in it... In fact we've seen many spiders making their home out of the TARDIS and a lot of them great big buggers too. 

It became clear that trying to cut out the fibreglass to fit acrylic sheets in was a no-no. It was just too much messing around. You'd need to remake the entire housing for it to work, and we didn't want to mess around with that. The original lettering was peeling off, so we had new ones made by a sign manufacturers about five minutes up the road. The base has been painted with black gloss so that it'll look glass-like. The font's not quite the same as what it was, but it's near enough. Along with that a new door sin was made as was a St John Ambulance sign (provided by the helpful folk on the TARDIS Builders forum). These elements will be applied once the TARDIS is painted (Oxford Blue, if you're wondering!). 

We also scrapped the idea of having a working 'Pull to Open' door, simply because of the way the doors were moulded. I don't think our two guys working on it were keen to try and mess around with that, so unfortunately this will remain a facsimile. A new frame for that part has been made, and will be painted and attached at the end. 


The most annoying process has been the windows. New frames were made, dad sanded them down and painted them white, that was fine. Dad even used his newly found internet skills to find a website that would cut acrylic sheets to size. In order to achieve both a frosted and 'pebbled' effect on the acrylic, we bought rolls of plastic sheets that you cut to size and then apply to your acrylic. This was a complete pain in the arse. The bloody stuff doesn't really like sticking. It's not done with adhesive it's achieved by using moisture, which sadly doesn't like to cling on very well. Never the less, we coated one side of each of the eight acrylic sheets in the frosted stuff and then we cut the pebbled sheet into small rectangles that would be place in the bottom corners. Sadly, we couldn't find the exact pebbled effect so we had to compromise. Yes, there's that word again. However, the 'glass' now has a more accurate smooth and pebbled finish that it never used to. So thumbs up for that! 

The next issue was 'how do we fix the frames and the glass?', and the answer has not been a simple one. Originally the windows just 'sat' in the space, glued on to a lip of fibreglass that meant it sat on the outside. In reality the window frames sit on the inside so that you have a dip. As this was my chance to try and make it accurate, I wanted to try for the latter. A variety of options were presented to see how this could be achieved, but at the end of the day neither way would have looked right. It would have looked weird and ugly and I didn't really want that. So this was the next compromise. Now the windows are back on the outside, but this time they're bolted in and fixed with sealant. No wind is blowing them out. Ever.   

Illuminating... A test for fitting interior lights...

The Fibreglass of Doom

I officially loathe fibreglass. This is the final stage that needs to be completed before all the windows can be fixed and before we can get on and paint it. So why haven't we done it? Well living in the UK means that we have pretty shite weather, and rain is no good for using fibreglass. Unfortunately we have now hit a point where my fibreglassing man is not around until September! So here I was thinking we'd have a nice new waterproof TARDIS by the end of the month. Clearly it wasn't meant to be, but hopefully we can get that done as early into September as possible... Hopefully. 

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