A European Space Agency capsule lands on the planet Skaro. The landscape looks uncannily like a back garden in England. The pilot emerges from the lower access hatch and waits; teeth gritted.
ESA have teamed up with the last of the Time Lords to rid the universe of the Dalek menace once and for all. The moment is right and our intrepid pilot pounces. The conquest of Skaro begins.
Alex's space ship den was designed by Rob in late 2003. In 2004 we cut out the major components and Carol spent quite some time levelling and paving the area where it would sit. It was all looking pretty cool. Then in 2005 we had to sell up house. We spent the next year (2006) looking for a new pad - and fixing it up once we'd found it. Den-building was put on hold. The den had originally been conceived as a tree-house substitute. Although we threw together an arboreal platform for Alex in 2006 we still had all the bits for the rocket-den and decided to continue building it in 2007. At Easter, final assembly took place and soon the vehicle was ready to explore new worlds.
The den had been inspired by various spacecraft. The corrugated white plastic sheet found in the clearance section at Sid Telfer's DIY store looked satisfyingly like the panelling on the Gemini capsule.
With such a long gestation period the design went through several modifications, from an extravagant monster, to a more compact, cosy capsule that still maintained the original 2 storey concept. The solid roof, was initially intended to have Gemini-like contours, however, as we built the den it became apparent that an open top might actually provide a better play area.
Carol set about making the "cabriolet" version by tailoring some suitably high-tech looking silver material.
A general-arrangement CAD model (Rhino 3D) can be downloaded by clicking on the assembly animation.
The finished craft has so far been greatly appreciated by both Alex and his friends from next door. The problems associated with building it have almost (but not quite) been forgotten: transporting huge pieces of plywood at a snails-pace on the roof of our car, dealing with wood that remained straight for over 30 years and then warped badly just before we needed to use it and of course, lugging it all round the country to its final resting place in Merseyside. Here's hoping the weather this summer is suitably clement and allows for plenty more missions.
The versatile rocket-den is even suitable for youthful grandmothers to play on.