[FYI, this is Part 2 of 3 of the WBW TARDIS build series. In case you missed it, start with Part 1 here!]

I picked up a little something that I was saving for a rainy day. Literally. I mentioned this country’s tendency to deliver rain in Part 1. Thus, the next time rain prevented me from working on the box, this was an indoor alternative to outdoor-TARDIS progress.

So much “research”, if you can call it that, went into the lantern, but in the end it was solved through sheer happenstance. Having scoured the internet for ready-made lanterns, garden lights that weren’t deceptively lilliputian, appropriately sized jam jars, hipster vases and anything else that might be fashioned into a TARDIS lantern at an acceptable cost, I eventually stumbled upon this solar-powered garden lantern on sale for only £9. The lid felt pretty cheap and the light would burn out in no time, but the glass was solid and at the very least it’d do as an interim solution.

The plan was to detach the top handle and then screw and/or superglue four actual door handles straight down the sides, from the lid to the bottom.

It was scorching outside, though, so I’d eventually revisit that at a later stage.

Sanding and filling

In the meantime, the temporarily glorious summer offered ample opportunity for outdoor TARDIS work while the calories just melted away in the sun. Most of this comprised sanding down what I had of the box so far.

Before sanding on the left / after sanding on the right:

I also managed to fit in sawing the plywood and attaching it to the sides, which made for an absolutely fantastic transformation! Suddenly the TARDIS, previously just a skeleton, looked a lot more substantial, at least from the outside.


Alas, this also revealed the flaws. You can suddenly very clearly see the gaps between corners and side here above, for example. Oh, and I still didn’t have a floor.

What followed was an intense rain season. September 2017 was steadily approaching, and with it ever shorter days and colder nights. Consequently, to stay dry and allow for round-the-clock work, the TARDIS materialised indoors, with our dining table doubling as a workbench and the corner pillars leaning against the fridge in the kitchen. All-in-all, I found it was pretty great having a TARDIS for a housemate!!

The first task post-indoor-rematerialisation was to fill in all the gaps in the sides and base with wood filler, but the biggest step was assembling the roof.


This was undoubtedly one of the most fun parts of the process. Originally intending to replicate the Newbery box from 1976, I had at first decided to make the roof flat. However, the fear that rain might eventually weigh it down and/or cause rot made me think twice. Really strained my medulla oblongata calculating the angles required:

See that question mark? That was the starting point. Perhaps I’m misremembering, but I’m sure these things didn’t take as long when I was in high school. It transpires I should have looked closer at The Roof section of tardisbuilders.com, as I then stumbled upon the glorious TARDIS Roof Calculator. When I later decided to change the angle of the roof slightly, I used the calculator in a fraction of the time. Thanks!


Finally, the roof dome frame was clad in plywood. Again using the roof angle calculator, I found that I needed to measure roughly 45 degrees. So I googled “45 degrees”, printed out a high-res pic of the angle in question, cut it out and used it as a template. Perfect.

Stupidly, I decided to saw these bits out using a jigsaw. This was a huge mistake. It transpires that using a jigsaw may be easy if you have an ounce of carpentry talent, but is positively disastrous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Unfortunately I fall into the latter category, so the sides didn’t quite match up. I couldn’t saw a straight line with the jigsaw to save my life!

I ended up using a regular, manual saw, which it appears almost anyone can handle, as even I managed to straighten those edges. Here’s a pic of the plywood screwed onto the dome frame, the gaps filled with polyfiller and the whole thing sanded down:

The roof as such at this stage comprised two separate parts, the roof dome (the sloping top part) and the roof frame (the square-ish bit immediately above the sides, so to speak, where the top signs normally rest). These may not be official terms — apologies for any confusion caused.

Time to prime and paint!

Over about 6 weeks, I applied 2 coats of primer (Dulux Weathershield Exterior Preservative Primer) and 2-4 coats of paint (Dulux Weathershield Exterior Quickdry Satin, Oxford Blue), depending on the part of the TARDIS. You can tell she’s been primed, by the green tinge.


Painting the TARDIS was probably the biggest transformation she underwent, in a way. No other addition had made the thing I was building look and feel more like parts of a TARDIS quite like seeing those blue sides leaning against the wall.

Here are some pics of the transformation, step by step:


Behold, the before and after!


Part 3 coming soon!

This article was written by Leon
Hey there, I'm Leon, but I often go by 'Ponken'. I'm based in Oxford, the proud owner of my very own TARDIS and the founder of Who Back When. I'm also one of the hosts of the Who Back When podcast (or DocPast), so if you want to hear what I sound like, then subscribe! Kablammo! High-5 Leon on Twitter and say hi from us: @ponken