Part 1- Construction begins

If you built yourself a Water Tower, a lot of this will sound very familiar.  On to the parts list...

+++ Two building panels (I chose some from the Manufactorum sprue)
+++ Two bulkheads (the long thin pieces with rivets on them)
+++ Two Buttresses from the Basilica sprue
+++ Two of those little skull vent details from the Basilica Sprue
+++ Two Eagle brackets from the Floor / Generic sprue
+++ One Ladder from the Floor / Generic sprue
+++ One half pipe section from the Manufactorum sprue
+++ One generator cover (the short, half-round thing) from the Manufactorum sprue.

+++ Six small tank wheels from a Chimera / Lemann Russ / Basilisk kit
+++ One medium and one large tank wheel from the same sprue
+++ Two oil drum halves from the Battlefield Accessories Sprue
+++ One Necromunda Bulkhead.  If you can't find any, you can substitute another building panel from the Cities of Death sets, plus one more plastic ladder.

+++ One Carlon B122A Switch Box.  This blue plastic electrical box is should be nearly 3 1/2 inches tall.  These usually have 2 nails on them, I already cut them off in the picture above.
+++ A length of 3" ribbed drain pipe.  Be sure it's the 3" diameter and not the more common 4".   You can get an 8 foot long piece for about five dollars.
+++ One 1/2" x 6" Cutoff  Riser.  These black plastic tubes have a series of threads on them and can be found with the lawn sprinklers.  They're cheap- usually about 15 cents apiece.
+++ Two 3/4" PVC pipe couplers.
+++ A length of corrugated flex tubing,  1/2" Diameter.  This flexible, ribbed plastic tubing is also sold in electronics stores, and usually is slit down one side since it is used for keeping wires tidy.

+++ One VHS video tape.  Any length will do.  The cheaper the better.
+++ One Ziploc brand  Twist' N Loc Container, small size (16 oz / 2 cup).  A three pack costs around three dollars.
+++ One Wiffle Ball (softball size),  found in toy stores.  You want the official Wiffle brand.
+++ Four Bendy straws.
+++ Four or five Plastic Clothespins.  (You can also use wood ones, but they aren't as detailed).
+++ One Jack in the Box Medium Drink lid.
+++ (Not Pictured) A plastic lid from a 16 oz. cottage cheese / sour cream tub- should be the same diameter as the Ziploc container.

+++ Small Phillips screwdriver
+++ Razor Saw
+++ Sanding Pad
+++ Superglue and Baking Soda
+++ Nippy Cutters
+++ Scissors
+++ Hole Punch (Standard size)
+++ Hole Punch (1/16" size, available at crafts stores)
+++ Hobby Knife
Let's start by disassembling that VHS tape.  Be sure to rewind it first. Use a small phillips head screwdriver to remove all the screws from the bottom of the tape.  If the tape has a label, slice it down the seam. 

You should be able to pry open the tape at this point.  Remove and save all the contents.  Go ahead and seperate the door, remove all the metal springs and rollers, and most importantly hang onto the tape reels. 

Here's what you get when you open up one of these guys.  We won't be using all the little bits, but you can hang onto them for your bits box.  If nothing else, they make great scrap for your junkyard or Ork terrain!

Next, prepare the reels.  Hold the back firmly and bend the clear front upward until it snaps at the hub.  Do this for each of the spokes until the clear part is removed. 

If you remembered to rewind, all the tape should be on one reel.  Place your thumbs on the hub and use your fingertips to pry under the roll of tape.  If you can work the roll of tape off the hub, it's a lot easier than making a giant mess of unraveling the tape (though some folks are easily amused by this activity- whee!) 

Cut the tape where it meets the hub (or just pull on it until it pops out- the little clip might pop out, but that's fine, you won't need it.) 

 Set these aside for now- we'll come back to them later.

The Defense Laser consists of a main platform, and a turret.  We'll start working on the main platform first.

Start with the electrical box.  Saw off the nail tabs with your razor saw.  File the cuts down smooth, and sand all the surfaces of the box.

The box will be glued to the inside of the VHS case (the half with the windows).  The area where the box goes is marked in silver in this picture- some of the plastic inside the VHS case will need to be trimmed down to allow a good fit.

Use your nippy cutters to remove any plastic ridges or posts that get in the way of where the box will go.

Test fit the box, and once it fits cleanly, glue it in place as shown.


The Ziploc container forms the other main component of the platform.  Remove the lid (save it for later), and sand down all outside surfaces thoroughly with some medium grain sand paper.  Sanding the surfaces makes it much easier to glue and paint- otherwise, this kind of plastic is much harder to work with.

Now with your standard hole punch, punch out notches around the edge of the flange that rings the container.  Try to space the notches out evenly.

Next, saw off the threaded rim.  Use the flange as a guide for your razor saw.  Sand down the face of the flange to clean up any ridges left behind after sawing. 

To help the container attach to the VHS case, we'll use some ribbed drain pipe.  Use your razor saw to cut off a short section, 2 ridges tall.  Press the saw up against the side of the ridges as a guide while cutting.

Now take the sawed off section and sand both ends smooth.

Finally, glue one end of the pipe section to the bottom of the Ziploc container.  For extra strength, run a bead of superglue around the outside where the two pieces meet.  Then dust them with a bit of Baking Soda to set the glue and help fill any gaps.

To match up to the height of the electrical box that forms the other part of the platform, a bit of height needs to be added to the Ziploc container.  This is where that plastic lid comes in.  I used the lid from a Margarine Tub that was the right diameter to match up with the Ziploc container.

The soft plastic lid is a good candidate for... rivets! Using the 1/16" hole punch, you'll find you can gently squeeze a "rivet" up out of the plastic.  Be sure the hole side of the punch is on the outside of the rim and the punch side is on the inside.  Don't squeeze too hard or you'll punch a hole.  Just squeeze until you can see the rivet head start to push up. 

Make sure the lid is sanded for a good bond to the container.  There was a ridge on the lid I was using, so I shaved it off with a hobby knife.

Apply glue to the face of the container's flange. 

Slap that lid on!  The top of the lid contacts the top of the flange for maximum surface area and a good bond.

Now you can attach the whole assembly to the VHS case.  The drain pipe should fit right into the VHS case where the reel used to be.   With luck, the height of the container assembly should match the height of the electrical box.  If needed, trim down the lid edge to match them up so the platform sits flat and stable and doesn't wobble.


Now to make the top of the Platform out of  the other half of the VHS case (the one with the holes in it).   Use the standard hole punch to punch out notches around the edges of the case.  Note that the cheaper the VHS case, the thinner the plastic, and the easier it is to punch out. 

Let the shape of the case be your guide when determining where to add notches, and when you have room, just try to space them out evenly along the edges.

Now the top case half gets glued to the bottom.  Apply glue to the high areas of the bottom half since they will be the point of contact. 

Then add the top, taking care to line up the edges as straight as possible.

To add some detail, we'll make a rivet ring out of the Jack in the Box lid.  Use scissors to carefully cut around the ring of rivet-like bumps on the lid.

Then place the lid on a hard cutting surface, and use a hobby knife to trim away the lid material inside the rivet ring. 

And now you have a rivet ring, ready to glue. 

Add glue to the bottom of the ring and carefully position it in the center of the VHS case ring- the one over the electrical box.  (The other side is where the turret will go).


NEXT: Building the Turret...

Copyright 2007 Sean Patten

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