Monday, July 29, 2019

Home-Made Time Bubble

Editors' Note: Today we here at the Legion of Super-Bloggers would like to present another "How To" lesson from Ultra Fan Emsley Wyatt. You may remember that he created a home-made Legion of Super-Heroes Club-House two years ago. This time, he's created a Legion Time Bubble! 

My Legion Time Bubble
by Emsley Wyatt
A while back I did an article on my scratch-built Legion clubhouse diorama.  You can find that post here. 
Well, I looked at the Club-House and Legionnaires recently and decided that it could use an additional touch: a Time Bubble! 

Time Bubbles! These handy devices have been a staple of LSH lore literally from the beginning.  I started, as I do any modeling project, with some research.  It turns out, as with the clubhouse itself, that the Time Bubble has had many different “looks.”

There was the large bubble with seating for four and a massive control system from their very first appearance:

Then there was the “SRO” (Standing Room Only) model with minimal controls used in “The Millennium Massacre.”

We’ve also seen single seaters and two seaters, as well as models with legs and models without.  So it seemed to me that as long as I stuck with certain essentials I was good.

There’s an old recipe for rabbit stew that starts out: “Step One: Catch a rabbit”.  So to make a time bubble I had to find a clear plastic sphere.  After rejecting a few other candidates, I settled on a souvenir baseball holder.  (Three bucks at a local flea market.)  
I wanted seats so I scavenged them from a die-cast Cooper Mini, filling the hollow bottoms with epoxy putty and then slapping a plastic discs on the bottom of each.  I wanted a control panel bank and thought I’d have to scratch-build one but I suddenly realized that I had an old “Invaders UFO” model (built when I was a kid and later replaced) that had a bank of control panels.  The piece would require extensive reshaping to fit the smaller diameter and compound curves of the sphere interior.  All the parts were now coming together.
I needed to make a floor for the sphere.  I got lucky on that score.  A slightly smaller sphere that I had looked at for the sphere fit neatly inside the baseball holder.  Cutting a bit off the bottom gave me a support for the floor, as well as concealing the “machinery” of the sphere.  Also, the ink pen cap I use to accommodate the brass rod I would be using to put the sphere in place. A further stroke of luck was that the slight blue tint on the smaller sphere gives the silver paint a little bit of color. 

Seats beg for someone to sit in them, but I already had all the Legionnaires represented on the diorama.  Then it occurred to me: the Honorary Legionnaires would work.  I hadn’t included them originally because, let's face it, honorary Legionnaires were a pretty dumb concept.  I did include  Jimmy (Elastic Lad) Olsen but only because I had a Mister Fantastic Heroclix and it was just too good to pass up.

But now I had a good reason to include the others so I went into my stash of “little people”, found a couple of sitting figures and painted them up like Pete Ross and Rond Vidar.
Funny, even Pete and Rond have their “costumes”.  Pete has his tan pants, white shirt and black sweater-vest, Rond his purple, white and black outfit.  
I also test fit the control panels.  The yellow and blue thingees at the right are support pillars for the panel, made from push-pin heads and pick-up sticks.  I decided to go with three.  I experienced a setback when I discovered that the yellow heads were too big to fit and had to go with smaller ones.

Looking through my figures collection yielded another benefit.  A female X-Man Heroclix named Karma, who with a little work now looks like this:
Yes, it’s Lana Lang, Legion Reservist, in her “Insect Queen” persona.  The wings were made from tissue paper stiffened with clear gloss, which gave them a nice translucent effect.  Sometimes you get lucky.  The “bug” emblem was done with some leftover decal paper but it was rather hard to get it to nestle down on such, er, uneven terrain.  I even managed later to fashion her “domino mask”, using yellow scrapbook paper.

After a couple of failed attempts to make the panels via home-printed decals, I did it the old fashioned way.  I printed the panels on regular paper, hit it with a couple coats of clear gloss, cut them out and glued them into place.  Originally, only the two panels on either side of the center had buttons, but I decided that all the panels should have controls.  So I went to Google Image search, entered “control panel” and got some really neat results.  Once I saw those I said: “Screw it”, sanded off the original buttons and went all in on the printed panels.  It looks a lot more consistent this way.  All I had to do was measure the panel locations and size appropriately.

The last shot before closing it up and placing it on the plaza.
And, voila, it’s done.


  1. Wow, so much cool stuff in there, especially those control panels, and your Insect Queen rocks! Your hard work effort are plain to see. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Fan-a lot of-tastic!

  3. Thanks for the kind comments. I don't get a lot of visitors these days and a big part of the fun of creating something like this is sharing it with folks who share the interest. Oh, a casual observer might appreciate the, if I may be so immodest, craftsmanship, but they really DON'T get it the way a fan would. And it was that desire to share that initially led me to this site. By the way, there's an "in-joke" on the diorama that only someone truly steeped in Legion lore would pick up on. Anybody spot it?

    1. If it's what I think it is, you really need to provide more in-depth photos of the Legionnaires for most of us to see it. I noticed it when you pointed it out to me but would never have noticed it myself due to the angle and distance of the photo. :-)

    2. I know that it's subtle but I kind of like doing things like that. (My train layout is full of this sort of thing.) It's a reference to the "Origins and Powers" feature.