How I built my Time Tunnel model by John

Sometime in 1984 I got to see an early episode with a side shot and I realized the tunnel was a series of free standing walls with circles cut out of them.

The smartest thing I did was to first make tests with pieces of paper (since I have no basic understanding/instinct on things like perspective.) Using some 8x10 photos I counted the number of black bands (since those were the front of each standing wall.)

I then very carefully cut out ever smaller circles on each piece of paper, centering the circles on the page. I attached the pages on a coat hanger, and discovered it looked all wrong. My paper tunnel went straight up a steep angle to the center of the end of the model. It obviously doesn't do that on the real tunnel. So I stared at the pictures, and finally ran my finger up each wall, and realized a ways in one wall levels off, or even goes slightly down for a few walls, then starts going up again. That's why it looks level in the tunnel, even though it narrows at an upward angle. I made another series of cutouts following that design, put them on the coat hanger, and it actually looked like the tunnel effect.

Now, having some slight idea of what I was doing, I bought a long piece of balsa wood (since I had no tools to work with regular wood, and I was living in a room in a house and had no work space, and it was cheap), cut out the right number of pieces, and hollowed out each piece as necessary. I think I tried doing regular circles, but with out proper tools, they came out more like ovals, which I've since learned is the correct shape. I then painted the outside of each wall black, and the inside circles silver, and glued them in place on another piece of balsa wood (no space to build a full cyclorama back then.) I cut out two not quite crescent moon-shaped pieces, painted them white, painted in the four blue lights on each, and with two white painted toothpicks on each, glued them in place between the proper walls to look like the image area rods (whatever they are called.)

The day after Christmas, when lights were on clearance sale, I bought a set that had alternate blinking rows, and hung them accordingly so the lights blinked alternately on and off on the sliver insides.

I put it into a box so you didn't see the lights and wires, and damn but it looked nice.

Some day I would like to do it out of bigger pieces of wood...or win the lottery and build a house with one long room with the full size free standing walls...we'll see who is the more or Howard Hughes.


Created: 99/09/10 Updated: 11/05/24