Doctor Who: LightWave TARDIS model

I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past 12 to 18 months working on my model of a TARDIS in LightWave, most of the time being a few hour stints of actual work interspersed with many months of inactivity. [For those not in the know, a TARDIS is a time-and-space-ship from the popular British television series, Doctor Who.]

Image © Richard D. LeCour

This project has had quite a bit of a learning curve associated with it, the door panels being the most difficult part of the entire project.

I’ve restarted the entire project from scratch about four times, each successive time getting more accurate and more detailed, but with fewer points and polygons. The previous version had 4,033 points. The most recent version (which has a lot more detail and only 1,959 points!) I began from scratch about two weeks ago, only working on it on the weekends.

So far I’m quite pleased with this version. It helps that I am now 80% certain that a plaguing problem of objects flickering when moving them around during layout is a hardware issue, not a problem with the object or layer that I previously thought — one of the several reasons I restarted the project several times! That problem will hopefully be solved within the next couple weeks with the arrival of my new 64-bit 3D graphic workstation from Dell.

I still have the lamp at top to finish, as well as the signage both on top and on the front door, the phone compartment door, the handle and pivots on the main door, and a bit more detail at the top of each of the panels. The worst part will be the surface maps, graphic images to overlay on top of the component parts that add realism. After that, I have to create some realistic scenery to put it in! Having done a lot of Googling for other TARDIS meshes, I must say that my model is unusually closer to the actual blueprints than most others. My goal from the beginning has been to keep accuracy to at least 1/100th of an inch.


The version of LightWave I had wouldn’t install on the new 64-bit Windows platform. When I finally broke down and purchased an (expensive!) upgrade, LightWave wouldn’t recognize their own hardware dongle. Frustrated with LightWave’s lack of support and the disappointing product performance and usability of ¬†core features, I abandoned LightWave for good.

Sadly, I never finished the TARDIS model. Even though it was almost complete — before anyone asks — no, I don’t have a copy of the model available for download.

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