Saturday, 14 July 2012


At 1/48 Scale, With No Turtles in Sight!

This scratchbuilt model began life when I purchased a plastic “Turtle Box” from a local pet shop. I could see the possibilities of turning it into a futuristic tower straight away, reminiscent of London Tower in a way in various episodes of "Thunderbirds", especially the round, observation deck area on top. I gathered together a number of items for its construction. The base consists of two ‘desk tidies’ that one store pens, pencils, staplers and the like in. They were joined together, but not before adding some 12 volt light bulbs for the windows which were made from strip plastic and selected kit parts.

The central cylinder of the building was the tanker section of a large truck kit given to me by a friend some time ago. The smaller cylindrical section attached at the rear was also a tanker truck body from a cheap toy. More 12 volt bulbs were added along the front of the larger tank body.

The ‘turtle box’ was glued to the top of this section and detailed with a number of cheap items – ‘witch’s hats’ from a toy car set, Clipsal connecting pieces, various kit parts and a trio of plastic pencil sharpeners in which were added three, red flashing Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). These were detailed and glued to the underside of this observation section.

To the top of this section I added a plastic artist’s palette which I had bought for a dollar. The large upper dome is a plastic sauce container from a football club dinner. I added the colour changing LED to it and ran the two wires to the underside of the ceiling where they join to a pair of 1.5 volt batteries for power.

The interior was cobbled together from plastic boxes, kit parts, tubing and sheet plastic. two more 12 volt bulbs illuminate this area. The wires run down through the centre of the building and exit at the rear of the base to be connected to a transformer. I cut a rectangular hole and built a storage box into the base for two more batteries to power the three flashing LEDs.

Taking more than two months construction time, I enjoyed this project immensely, especially when all the lights are on! As a matter of interest, the name 'Cantwell' was borrowed from a friend of mine who was going through some rough medical recovery at the time of this model's construction.
The total cost was about $50.


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