>> Sunday, August 4, 2013
Meet the Barbie TARDIS!
I built this for my daughter Jo, who is eleven years old and super into Doctor Who. (As she should be.) She has dressed up one of her dolls in a Who-esque costume, and calls her the Lady Doctor. I couldn't let the Lady Doctor travel without a TARDIS of her own!
The TARDIS is made out of scrap plywood of different widths I had lying around from previous projects. The windows are a thick frosted plastic, with the casement lines drawn on with a Sharpie. They let in a soft light, which I like, and Jo likes putting electric tea candles inside and letting the windows glow from within. With both doors open, you can see inside where I glued the windows in.
The "POLICE BOX" signs at the top were found online (thanks, Who-builders!) and glued on with Spray-Mount. The blue paint was chosen by Wendi and Jo on one of their trips to Asheville--I think they nailed the TARDIS blue!
The sign on the telephone door was printed out from a larger image I found on the web. In this picture, you can also see the teeny-tiny handles I bought from woodvictoriandollhouse.com. They came in brass, so I spray-painted them black. The handles, the paint, and the hardware for the light on top were the only things I had to buy for the project.
I should also point out that though I like to call this "The Barbie TARDIS," that doll is not a Barbie. She is, in fact, a Monster High doll, which Jo much prefers. This is the Robecca Steam doll, who is steampunk-themed. The clothes, however, are homemade--they are pieces from the Project Barbie challenge Wendi and I did together years ago, when we made Barbie clothes to match the challenges on a season of Project Runway. Jo likes the colors because she feels they are very Doctor Who.
While I was building the TARDIS (which took MONTHS, much to Jo's chagrin) I saw this little K-9 advertised on ThinkGeek, and I had to get it for her!
And look--the scale is perfect! I surprised her with it (and the finished TARDIS) when she got back from sleepaway camp last month. The TARDIS itself is pretty large--about 16.5 inches tall and 8.5 inches wide. Jo likes it because her Lady Doctor can fit a lot of companions in there with her, including K-9.
I'm really pleased with the look of the signage, and the slightly mottled look the plywood took on when I painted it. It looks like a weathered and used TARDIS.
I decided to add the St. John Ambulance logo, which is on the 11th Doctor's TARDIS. Here again you can see one of the super-tiny handles.
I struggled with how to do the light at the top. I trolled the dollhouse aisles at our local hobby shops and surfed around online looking for a sort of hurricane lamp I could appropriate for a light on top, but never found anything. Then I had the idea to use a test tube--and we just so happened to have a tiny one already, which was being used to hold beads! The test tube is inserted upside-down through the three layers at the top, and held in place with a swinging hatch made out of the window plastic, so I can replace the little light bulb if and when it blows out. The light bulb was bought at a hobby shop--it's meant to light streetlamps and homes on a model train layout.
The light is strung to a 9-volt battery on the inside, and then to a little switch I acquired at Radio Shack. Because who doesn't love flipping switches!? The light switch sticks out the back corner of the TARDIS, and is pretty unobtrusive. I had dreamed of attaching a sound chip to it with the sound of the TARDIS taking off and landing, but alas, that's beyond my very limited technical abilities. As it is, the TARDIS goes "WERRRN-WERRRN-WERRRN" only when you flip the switch and say "WERRRN-WERRRN-WERRRN" at the same time.
Here's a pic of one of the unpainted panels. I used a coping saw to do the windows, and ended up using a chisel to hack out the top layer of plywood to create the panels. When my chiseling got rough, I smoothed it with wood putty, as you can see in that top right panel, then sanded it flat.
The Barbie TARDIS, exploded view, during the painting phase.
I'm thrilled with the result, and so is Jo! Allons-y, Lady Doctor!