The Alchemy Works 'Time Machine' Diorama with Four Figures
Here are several very nice 1/8 scale resin kits from The Alchemy Works and, as you can see, they are characters and the titular device from the 1960 science fiction classic, 'The Time Machine';.
Each kit can be purchased separately with the base, George and dead Morlock as one group, Weena and the pursuing Morlock, each as separate items along with the Time Machine itself.
I had built the base kit with George a few years ago which I subsequently sold to make room for new display pieces so I was fairly familiar with this part of the set.
Weena, the pursuit Morlock and the Time Machine were all new to me and I'm happy to say the overall quality was excellent with very little clean up required. A quick wash in warm soap and water to remove any mold release agent and they were ready to paint (after assembly of course).
I slightly changed the Morlock in pursuit since I wasn't that happy his whip which was essentially a long sliver of flat brass stock. I ended up giving him a cat-o-nine tails which I made from a short piece of stranded copper wire that looked to be the correct scale. Not to get TOO technical, it is actually a cat-o-seven tails since that is how many strands the wire had. I left a bit of the insulation on the wire to hold it all together and then I drilled a small hole in the tip of the wooden shaft the Morlock is holding to accommodate his new instrument of pain.
The Time Machine was a bit more complicated since I decided to light the kit. Although Alchemy does provide a lighting kit for the machine, I decided to use my own stock of parts and save me a hundred bucks or so.. Since my kit was not designed to be lit, I had to carefully drill out a number of pieces, namely the control panel (its central core and three holes on top for the flashing lights) and ALL the vertical parts that connect all the 'stuff'' on top of the time generator. I also made a shallow trench in the left or far side scroll railing to hide the wires for the control panel lights which I later filled in with model putty and sanded smooth. I used so-called magnet wire (which is very very thin) for the control panel leads. I have included a few pictures at the bottom of this page to show how these parts looked. Click image on each to get a larger picture.
For the top three control panel lights and the light atop the time generator, I tried something a little different. My LEDs would have been very difficult to fit inside the clear pieces provided because of their size (3 mm) even if I drilled out the clear pieces to situate them.
I ended up making casts of the generator top light and one of the control panel lights using a two part latex mold making product. To make sure the molds came out all right, I filled each with 5 minute epoxy to make test castings to check for quality. As it turned out, they looked as good as the original parts.
Next, I took three FLASHING white LEDs (3mm) and single non-flashing white (5 mm) and painted each with their appropriate colors in CLEAR paint (Tamiya is a great source for this), that is red, green and yellow for the panel lights and red for the generator top light. (Note; the clear FLASHING LEDs don't blink precisely at the same rate and go out of step within a moment or two which matches the seemingly random flash rate they had in the film. I KNOW why the lights flashed as they did in the film but most people don't, so it is a minor and relatively unimportant detail for most looking at the kit.) Once the paint was dry, I mixed up a small batch of 5 minute epoxy and filled the two molds I made earlier trying to avoid making any bubbles. Then I took one of the panel LEDs and put it in its mold and the time generator light in the other. After 5 minutes, I had a perfect fixture with the LED embedded inside. I made two more control panel embedded LED castings for the remaining lights. Then I filed off any excess epoxy that may have extruded at the base of each LED fixture as needed.
Luckily, I found a three LED light source for the time generator side cones at (where else?) the Dollar Store. They sell a three LED mini-flashlight for a buck a piece whose circuit board fits precisely inside the clear side cones. Using CLEAR red Tamiya paint, I painted the inside of the cones and then epoxied the entire flashlight circuit board inside which filled the bill quite nicely and it also solved my LED mounting issue. You can try your own method of course but this worked out perfectly for me.
IMPORTANT: Note that if you try my approach of lighting this kit, be sure that ALL your LEDs are wired in parallel NOT in series. If you wire them in series, the LEDs at the end of the string will be dimmer than the rest because of the power drop. I used a 9 volt battery which I hid in the back 'wall' of the base ( along with a push button on/off switch) and added a 100 ohm resistor (in series) to protect the LEDs. I used a miniature electronic plug & socket pair to connect the Time Machine to the base power source so I could remove the machine easily for any future repair or shipping.
I should mention that Alchemy Works also provides lighted versions of George holding his torch along with a glowing eye effect for the pursuing Morlock. These kits are $150 each and include the whole figure with its appropriate clear part(s), wires and LED. This price seems a little steep to me considering that you already have the original 'plain' figures and their bases. Why didn't Alchemy just up the regular figure's price by $50 or so and throw in the LED upgrade? It ain't THAT expensive for this addition, guys.
I decided NOT to light the pursuit Morlock though this would be an easy addition since the face comes off the figure and there is a nice hollow space behind to fit an LED or two. You might have to drill out the head's interior a little to make them fit but I think you could end up with a nice effect. Drilling up through the Morlock leg and torso would provide a path to run your wiring. You can pick really LONG drill bits at Home Depot or Lowes which will come in handy for other projects as I have discovered.
Though a bit more difficult, you could do the same to give plain George a lighted torch which, I have to admit, looks very kewl but making your own casting in clear epoxy as I did with the Time Machine lights isn't that difficult.
All in all, this series of kits are very nicely cast and assembly of all the figures is pretty straightforward. The Time Machine kit has very good photographic instructions along with a separate set of pictures to painting the model. This kit as far superior to the much larger Masterpiece Model's Time Machine (reviewed elsewhere on this site) at about the same price. On the Geof scale of 1 – 5, I give all four of these kits an A+ rating. A little expensive, to be sure, but well worth it.
The Alchemy Works 'Time Machine' series of diorama kits
A photo of the time generator section not quite assembled yet showing the side cone LED light placement (see text)
Here is a picture of the 'stuff' mounted on top of the time generator. Note that a hole has been drilled through all five pieces to feed the power to the red LED at the very top. (see text)
Here is a shot of the under side of the Time Machine and the 9 volt battery hidden in the small wall that comes with the base (see text).