Action Figure HQ: Christmas on a Budget

Christmas is about love, family and being together. But of course, kids tend to think of it as a time to get stuff. But giving stuff does not mean you have to spend money when you add in love and make it yourself.

This Christmas, ¬†I decided to make an Action Figure HQ; a dollhouse for boys, so to speak. A large building scaled to ¬†typical 3 & 3/4″Star Wars and Super Hero action figures. And I wanted to build it by only using items I got for free or found around my garage.

In my head, the building could serve as the interior of the Death Star one day, a rebel base the next, the Avengers headquarters another day, or just the buildings Spider Man swings between. I realized such a building would need a garage big enough to go between being a space ship hanger or a place to park Tonka trucks. The building would need one or two main conference rooms that could also be the mission control rooms. And then I decided I wanted to have two towers to be suites, bedrooms, or whatever other rooms can be imagined.

I started with a cabinet I found in alley, a CD shelf I got for free off of craigslist, and piece of MDF left over from a prior project.

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I also added in a warped shelf board from some old shelves I used to have.

The MDF was cut in to three pieces. One for the base of the garage, one for the top of the garage, one piece was split to be dividers that would break up the garage into sections and add structural support. Along with short pieces of 2×4 and 2×2 I found in my garage, I had a base. I cut the bottom off the cabinet, removed the door, and that became the main two rooms. One of the rooms was rather larger in height. I got the idea to take what had been the door of the cabinet, cut it into a U shape, and made loft area with in the larger of the main rooms.

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I realized the CD tower was not as tall as I had thought, and was not going to make two towers taller than the cabinet.

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So I used an old shelf board to make two bonus rooms for the towers to sit on. The shelf board was slightly warped, but I used that to my advantage to add slightly rounded roofs to the twin towers.

I also adding a back board. I was going to use a backing board from a bookshelf I found on the side of the road, but at the last minute, I decided to keep the book shelf, and bought backing board for $10.

Once assembled, I primed it inside and out. I then tinted the primer with blue paint to make the exterior color. I bought a cheap can of blue spray paint for an accent color.

The end result:

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A close up of the loft. Yes, that really was the door of the cabinet I found in an alley way.

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My wife used pictures cut from magazines and catalogs and glued them to the walls for decoration.

She painted a landing pad on top of the main room, and two more on top of the towers. Also note doorways that lead from the main landing pad to the towers.

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Here you see the two tone paint. The doorways were cut before the structure was assembled or painted. I also found some red spray paint in my garage from a previous project, and used it to add an accent stripe to the side of the building.

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Overall cost: About $10 in primer, $10 for a backing board, $3.50 on spray paint, and $4 for “L” brackets I used to attach the pieces of the building together. It was a big hit at Christmas, as it was homemade, and it was pointed out that no other kid could say they have one just like it!

 

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