My Useless Weekend Prop Project...

The Planet Mongo Videotron Device Thing-A-Ma-Traption.

Click on images to enlarge.

Made this just for the fun of making things using my favorite materials...recycled and found bits of junk just laying around (including a FedEx box). I had a dark corner in my studio and wanted to add some light there. I've also been itching to make something in a cool retro futurism style for a little while, so why not combine the two.

It pays homage to artist Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon comic strips and the old Buster Crabbe serials, both of which I've been a fan of and have drawn inspiration from for many, many years.

If interested, the "how to" for this is really simple. I cut the back of the box open to hang over a wall mounted fluorescent light strip. After I figured out what elements and gizmo's I wanted, I just cut holes in the box where light should shine through. Below is a loose diagram of all the materials used and how they were arranged and glued together.

The video image of Ming the Merciless is just printed on ordinary paper and taped inside. Fun part is, I can easily change images on a whim. I found an episode of Flash Gordon online and took a screen grab. Using photoshop, I enlarged it to fit my videotron window, changed color, added noise and distorted it a bit until it had a retro future transmission look to me. A little tip...I flipped the image and printed the reverse side of paper as well. This helps the color to remain saturated and not washed out by the light.

Now, have fun and watch some Flash Gordon...


  1. That is so kewl! Great piece of retro futuristic art.

  2. You are really good at what you do! This rules.

    You should get some contact vinyl and cut out lightning bolts to adhere to the wall you hang it on!

  3. That's great. Perfect for a workshop, too. Nothing inspires diligent labor like Ming's mug staring down at you!

  4. This is an awesome tip! I've never thought of it. Well, I may have thought of it a long time ago, but the notion would have been thrown out because it would dim the light too much.

    I did a test run for my upcoming paper model, and the test came out better than expected using a color laser printer. To avoid the problem of printer mis-alignment, I just doubled two identical prints instead of printing on the reverse of the paper. Thanks so much!