Amongst the pantheon of junk at my house, there is a supply of my old school stuff. Of course, I don’t need it any more, but have kept it, in case I regress backwards in time, and have to go through school again. Well, it’s possible. Anyway, for some inexplicable reason we were encouraged to make items, using our ’skills.’ However, trying to get a class of 14-year-olds to actually show any such skills was a lost cause. And so I present some of the things that I made, back when I was young and innocent. Remember, I was proud of these…
1 – The Castle
Look good fellow – what could this be? Is it… Camelot? No – aha, see how I tricked you with my insanely realistic model in a natural setting? Am I not clever?
Whilst everyone else in my DT class made robots from acrylic, and sunflowers from vacuum-formed plastics, I snubbed these methods, to produce a castle out of five squares of MDF and 2 toilet rolls. I rock! And then I painted it with poster paints… and got one of the highest marks in the class. I was so fluky back then.
See the soldier? 100% Fimo (That’s modelling clay for all you technical people). Painted, of course with gold, silver and bronze paint. No expense spared (especially when I had been painting models the day before) But what’s this… it swivels? Hmm…
Open up the drawbridge – look, it’s a radio! The sound comes out of the door, the soldiers are the volume and tuning, and the giant silver switch is a poorly disguised flagpole. The only problem is that the thing never ever worked. Actually it did work – I welded the circuit to perfection. Then between lessons, some git nicked it, so I had to do a quick botch job. Still, I’m not bitter… mate, if you’re reading this, I forgive you, I mean after all this time it doesn’t matter. just reveal yourself to me.
So I can smash your head in with a blunt object.
2 – The Fish
After the castle debacle, the next project was to build some automata. That is a “Thingumy With Cams” to you technical people… you can see the quality of education that I got. Again, MDF played a large part in this, the reason being that I had to pay for everything I made – keeping the cost rock bottom came more important than any foolish notions of quality.
I decided to make… a game! When the handle was turned, a bit of string attached to a nut that ran through the pipe would move up and down, and the fish-head (a Ping-Pong ball) would also move up and down. The tail would rotate, for no reason other than that I could make it rotate. However, this was the worst ‘game’ in the world, for the sole reason that the upwards motion of the head and the nut was exactly the same. There would always be the same distance between the two… but the teacher didn’t realise that! Strike two for me!
Note also the amazing colouring. Again, using poster paints, I went for the “Whoops, Too Wet And It’s Dripping And I Can’t Be Bothered To Repaint It” look. Quite effective, eh? The handle was a fish… with a giant eye. How cool is that?
Of course, the pathetic construction took its toll. The nut and string have disappeared totally and the tail is only propped up on that picture, having fallen off years ago. My cats have also made it their lifelong goal to totally trash it.
3 – The Mask
Art was another subject where I ‘excelled’. Well, actually I did, getting an A* in my GCSE, despite painting the most pathetic piece for my final work. I also enthused my teacher by filling up my book with prospective masterworks such as “Apple In Box” and writing pages on their symbolism. Ah well, here’s an amazing mask I made. Can you see the originality? Yup, a Cyberman with glasses, and wonky handles. I swear when I made this, the head was black rather than grey, but I was under pressure, folks. And I couldn’t actually wear the mask, needing glasses to do simple things like seeing, but it was a good effort. If ever I put it on, I could stagger about drunkenly. It was, therefore, a magical drinking mask, and I shall sell it on ebay for £300.
The eyes of the mask are in fact – shock horror – a Transformer tech-spec reader. Yes, in my sick quest for a good mark, I mutilated my childhood… well, cut up some red plastic. I only hope I don’t go to hell for that.
4 – The H.A.S.D.
The final entry in this gallery of horrors is the most terrifying, most fear-inducing… the H.A.S.D, or Hamster Accessory Storage Device. A bit of background first. Despite sucking more than Pamela Anderson at DT, for some strange reason I felt compelled to take it as a GCSE subject. This is me we’re talking about, someone who can get horribly injured just by looking at a saw.
So I took DT, and for my coursework, decided to make the most stupid thing ever – a storage device for hamster accessories. The second I announced this, my hamster actually dropped stone cold dead. This was probably a sign, but instead I got two more hamsters, forcing this monster to get even bigger. And boy, is it big. You can’t actually see the scale properly in the picture, but it’s about 2/3rd my height, and needed several square metres of plywood… yes, plywood, not MDF.
The attic section was designed to hold the bedding. Unfortunately, it also held the paint fumes, which are still trapped in there to this day. But by far the greatest thing was the sawdust dispenser (the blue bit). Somehow, I designed the holding section exactly the same size as the tray. So you’d fill it up, and then dispense all the sawdust into the tray, rendering it useless.
For some weird and freaky reason, however, I managed to get an A in DT. Woo. I also was able to buy the damn thing from the school for a mere £5, despite using up over 30 quid in materials.
As I said – I rock.
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