Vince's Timepieces
by François O. Beaulieu

Like most fans of George Pal's adaptation of The Time Machine, Vince Winskunas enjoys those moments in the movie when the dish on the Time Machine starts spinning and the various lamps light up. As we all know, they indicate that something extraordinary is in the process of occurring: Time travelling !

Consequently, as evocative of the Pal design Vince's creations may be, an animated version might be even more fascinating. Therefore, it is not surprising that, ever since Vince started making his miniature Time Machine models in 2003 (see part I of this article), Vince has been trying to figure out how to make his models come alive. But how does one go about this when the model is only a few inches long? At hardly more than three inches, the size of most of Vince's models makes this a serious challenge.

Vince's first attempt was to integrate LEDs in the rear pods, the rear lamp as well as one of the front console lamps (the same one that lights on the Wah Chang miniature). At the time, Vince had not found a motor small and powerful enough to spin the dish, but the lamps did help give the model extra sparkle.


Still, Vince felt that for the model to be true to the story, the dish must also spin. After pondering this over the following months and experimenting further, Vince remembered another dream of his: Creating a diorama of George's workshop. It occurred to him that, with a diorama, it would be possible to hide under the floor the larger motor needed to spin the dish. So Vince went to work and this was the result:

A recreation of the Time Traveller's workshop — complete with George gazing at the skylight ! Hidden under the floor of the workshop is the motor that spins the dish. A remote variable speed controller operates it as well as all the lamps in the model...

A video of the diorama with the model in operation may be seen here:

Vince made three of these dioramas and may make a few more in the future. The effect looks great, but this approach is only possible with depictions of the full-size Machine. Depictions of the miniature that appears in the early part of the movie call for a model that is self-contained since the model must be taken out of the Tantalus before it is activated. So Vince was not "out of the woods" yet

But how to go about this in such a small scale?

Coming soon: Part III featuring Vince's self-contained working models.

You can contact Vince by clicking the button below


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