Dad Builds Epic Star Trek Playset for His Son

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

3992 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

3992 Articles

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Maker David Weiberg built this amazing Star Trek: TOS Enterprise bridge playset for his young son. Here David explains how the project came about:

This project started when I found my old Star Trek TOS playmates figures. I gave them to my eight year old son who had become a fan of the old show. He began building simple cardboard play pieces. Inspired by the clean wooden design of some of his other toys I set out to design and create a modular play set that he could use to assemble various rooms aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. I wanted a set that could break down and store easily. I tried to use scrap materials where I could. The bridge was the biggest challenge so I started there.

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To create the extremely detailed, life-like bridge, David found a set of original plans and scaled them down to Playmates size. In doing so, he actually discovered that Playmates are not adult proportioned, but child proportioned, so he had to further adjust accordingly.

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Most of the construction was done with wood. He used filler over most everything and Flecktone on the floor to create a textured effect that mimics the carpet texture from the original set.

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To create the numerous crew chairs, David cut and assembled one from polystyrene and then used Apoxie putty to create the distinctive padding on the chair back and seat. With a master crew chair completed, he made a mold and then cast multiples for the rest of the bridge chairs.

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With everything roughed out, David set up the playset and brought in his 8 year old son for a “client review.” The client was pleased with the progress of the work.

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For the railings around the bridge, he used 1/8″ plastic sheet. The supports were then spray painted black and the railing red to give it that distinctive bridge look.

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For all of the bridge visual displays, David created files in Photoshop. He then printed them out onto glossy photo paper which created a nice glass screen effect.

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When everything was put together and David (and his demanding client) satisfied, he sprayed the entire playset with clear Polyacrylic. He decided to use a gloss because he liked the toy-like finish.

You can see more pictures and read more details of the build details at the projects Instructable page.