Several years ago, after a job change, I decided to stop dressing like a scruffy computer geek and to start being a little more careful with what I wear. I went to more business type attire and shirts with French cuffs. Mainly so I could start wearing cufflinks. Personally, I blame John Steed and far too many hours watching The Avengers.
I started building up a small collection of cufflinks (I also have a collection of salt and old 1950/60s Gillette razors but that’s another story). Cufflinks are ridiculously overpriced in NZ (what isn’t?) so I tend to order mine from overseas. You get better quality ones at better prices if you hunt about.
Above are some of my favourites. Yes, I am something of an Anglophile and a train-spotter. The Dalek ones are very cool and I always had it in my mind that the TARDIS would make a nice cufflink. It is possible to buy some but I never got around to it. The London Underground ones a friend of mine got for me when he and his wife visited London from their home in New York and I then had to wait till they visited New Zealand to bring them to me. Those are well travelled cufflinks!
One of my other (many) projects is an N scale model railway I am building to go into a dining table. That is a 1930s British themed layout and when looking around at what buildings I could get for it I discovered you can buy a tiny N scale Police Box.
This is one of the Hornby Lyddle End range of resin models. I bought one, as well as some buildings, online since they don’t seem available in NZ easily. Oh, if you’re a retailer in NZ (and elsewhere actually) and have an online shop here is a hint – listing products you don’t actually have in stock and not telling people until they get to the checkout is not good!
The Police Box arrived and it is very cute. Perfect for my railway but also perfect to make some cufflinks from. The model is about 22mm high.
It looks just like another TARDIS I happen to have here at home! I didn’t want to cut up my railway one so I ordered another from the UK. I got mine from Celestial Games and Books on eBay who were excellent. It’s interesting that ordering things from the UK is much easier than ordering from the US and shipping takes far less time than getting things sent from America.
I also bought some brass cufflink bases from a local online jewellery supply shop called Beadaholic. They, by the way, have an excellent online shop!
Next I used a modelling razor saw to carefully cut the model in half. This unfortunately results in the loss of the lamp from the top of the box but that is easily fixed later. After cutting I flattened the back of each half by rubbing them on some wet and dry paper.
Model sawn in half.
To attach the model to the bases I made some small brass backing plates. These were cut and filed from 0.9mm thick brass. I first made one then used that as a template to make the second. They are a little rough but at this scale they don’t need to be perfect and I like the hand crafted look. A quick clean up with some wet and dry and a final clean with steel wool finished them off.
Brass backing plates.
I was then able to solder the cufflink bases to the backing plates and later I could glue the model onto them.
Next I repainted the model halves. I used small tins of Humbrol enamel paint – matt number 25. I love the smell of that stuff, reminds me of childhood and making models. Unfortunately I couldn’t recreate the fine lettering that was on the original models. These were actually stickers stuck to the model. Again the loss of detail doesn’t matter too much as these will be seen from a distance usually. I didn’t have a brush fine enough so I used a toothpick to put on tiny dabs of paint. White for the “Police Box” signs and white for the “Pull to Open” sign with some black lettering.
I also made a replacement lamp using a tiny piece of styrene plastic glued on with superglue.
Finally I superglued the painted model to the brass backing and gave the whole lot a coating of satin varnish, Humbrol 135, and I was done!
Little TARDIS in front of big TARDIS.
Update April 2013:
Yesterday I went along to the Lords of Time event in Auckland where they had four Doctors (Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann as well as Nicholas Briggs who does the Dalek and Cyberman voices) on stage and signing autographs. I went along to get my TARDIS signed again.
It turned out that day was Peter’s birthday so at the autograph signing I asked him if he ever wore cufflinks. He said yes so I took off my TARDIS ones and gave them to him as a birthday gift.
Of course I then had to drive home shirt sleeves flapping in the breeze.
I might one day make myself another set but for now he has the only ones!
Peter was making his own film of the event it seemed.