Wah Chang Concept Tricorder

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Eric Ardros

Sr Member
A little while ago I bought on eBay a prop lot of spare 23C and DST/AA Tricorder parts:

Spare Parts -- Pic 01
Spare Parts -- Pic 02

IIRC I got them cheap for like $5.00 plus shipping, so I figured why not? One can always use spare prop parts anyway, right? ;)

Anyway, after receiving the package in the mail, I got to looking at everything I got, and wondered just what I could actually use the spare Tricorder parts for. I mean, I didn't have any TOS kits lying around to use them for or anything.

That's when I got this idea --> Wah Chang Tricorder Sketch I got to thinking, having never really seen anyone make that version before, it would make for a kewl little scratch-build project.

With what I bought, really all I'll have to make is the skeletal frame and the flip top, so it shouldn't be too difficult to do.

Then I remembered that I had drawn up a rough 1:1 sketch, based on the Horch Tricorder I own, and rummaged through my grandiose pile of self-drawn blueprints for as-yet-unbuilt projects. I found it, cleaned it up a bit and decided to draft three slightly different variants.

The Wah Chang Concept Ver. 01 Tricorder is designed on the premise that the bottom compartment can hold two Communicators, as shown in his concept sketch. Only problem is that it ends up being excessively wider than the standard TOS Tricorder, the viewscreen is clearly much wider than on the sketch, and the number of data discs and indicator lights don't match up with what's on the sketch.

The Wah Chang Concept Ver. 02 Tricorder is designed on the premise that the bottom compartment can hold one Communicator, retaining 50% of Chang's original idea, but the rest of the Tricorder is basically the standard dimensions, with the exception the bottom compartment is a little taller than usual. On this and the next design, the correct number of data discs (16) and indicator lights (13) are shown.

The Wah Chang Concept Ver. 03 Tricorder is designed to keep all the standard dimensions consistent, while incorporating the differently detailed viewscreen and data disc sections. At most, it may be possible to store a P1 in the bottom compartment, but nothing more (certainly not a Communicator).

The following Wah Chang Concept Comparison pic simply shows all three variants side by side to give one an idea of the differences in size and proportions.

I guess I got a little carried with all the brainstorming :rolleyes lol

Anyway, after posting this on a couple other forums and getting some folks' opinions, I decided to go with the Wah Chang Concept Ver. 03 sketch I did. Haven't been able to do much with it yet, but here's a few pics showing what I've got so far:

Wah Chang Build -- Pic 01 (decided to tackle the biggest challenge; altering the shoulder strap cut-outs)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 02 (also decided to start working on the top cross bar; the lower, thicker cross bar will be built from scratch)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 03 (wasn't able to find square styrene tubing the correct size, so I got the closest I could find and then added a layer of styrene all around to give it the proper thickness)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 04
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 05 (I've also got the basic shape of the side panels cut out, working on smoothing out the contours, and have a template ready for cutting out the majority of the remaining pieces needed for this build)

After looking at how this will build up, I realized I should have enough clearance on the bottom to include the little pull-out support tab as shown in Chang's original sketch. I think that'll add an extra wow factor to it. More pics to follow :)

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Mr. Ardros,
Concept builds are my very favorite..As I'm also a giant Wah Chang fan, I'll be watching this build with enthusiasm. Very cool idea!

Eric Ardros

Sr Member
Thanks, Finney! Like I said before, as I've never seen anyone else make this version of Tricorder, I figured it would be a good use of the spare parts I had lying around.

It'll certainly make for a unique addition to my own collection. It's going to look really kewl once done, imho. I hope to get more work in on this before the end of the weekend, so stayed tuned ;)

Eric Ardros

Sr Member
As promised, here's more progress, done this evening:

Wah Chang Build -- Pic 06 (finished closing in the altered shoulder strap cut-outs)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 07
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 08 (added more Squadron putty to smooth things over and help make it all more uniform)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 09 (also started putting together the flip-up hood and view screen area)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 10
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 11 (scratchbuilt the lower, thicker cross bar)

That's it for now. If all goes well tomorrow, I should be able to get some more time in on it during the day. I'm off to bed for now :cool

Eric Ardros

Sr Member
Haven't made a whole lot of progress today (mainly just more puttying, sanding, etc.), but for what it's worth here it is:

Wah Chang Build -- Pic 12 (think I'm nearly finished with the alterations to the side panels; once the last little bit of puttying/sanding is done, onto the primer)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 13 (glued in the curved styrene edges and started puttying and sanding to shape)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 14 (think I'm finished with the cross bars, now onto the primer)

Still have to finish removing the excess material from the edges of the "aluminum" side panels and smooth their contours, then I should be able to start putting parts of it together as I continue work on the smaller parts.

Never having built a TOS Tricorder before, kit or otherwise, I'm open to suggestions from whoever has on just how to attach the flip-up hood? :confused

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Eric Ardros

Sr Member
Sorry I haven't been updating here regularly; it's been difficult to find any good chunk of time to really work on this. Here's an update to get everyone up to speed:


I know it's pretty much just more of the same -- puttying, sanding, smoothing over -- as above, but I decided to post a couple more pics of what I've done with the Tric parts lately:

Wah Chang Build -- Pic 15 (added a bit more styrene to the shoulder strap cut-outs, in order to line up the edges and corners)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 16
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 17 (have puttied, sanded and evened out more of the flip-up hood)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 18 (began puttying, sanding and smoothing out both doors; totally disassembled them for ease of puttying/sanding)


As promised, here are some pics from today's progress:

Wah Chang Build -- Pic 19 (almost finished puttying/sanding/priming side panels)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 20 (almost finished puttying/sanding/priming flip-up hood)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 21 (assembled "aluminum" side panels, crossbars, bottom and back panels)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 22
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 23 (almost finished puttying/sanding/priming doors)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 24 (test-fitting of the main parts)
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 25
Wah Chang Build -- Pic 26

That's it for today. Just need to tweak a couple things, and then I should be done with all the main parts.

Next step will be to fit brass rods for the door hinges, then scratch-build the viewscreen insert, large thumb wheel and bank of data discs with indicator panel.

It's finally starting to take shape :)

Eric Ardros

Sr Member
Thanks, Landru!
I'm putting in what time I can on it, so it's not progressing as quickly as I would like, but the results have been good so far.

Of course, all that I've done to it is to make up the basic shape, and pretty much just looks like any other TOS Tricorder.

Now that I've gotten to this point, soon I'll be able to focus my efforts on the details that will set this apart from the typical Tricorders. A very exciting time, indeed.

I plan on using some 1/4" thick PVC foam board for the thirteen data discs, and may do the same for the large thumb wheel. One thing I just remembered is that I somehow need to get my hands on two T-jet hubs for the two buttons just beneath the thumb wheel.

For the other four underneath the viewscreen, I was thinking maybe some sort of small button.

At least, that's my interpretation of those details on the sketch; they look to be slightly different from one another, and so I figured it would make sense to have two different types of buttons. Plus, the T-jet hubs nicely tie in to the screen-used version.

Hopefully, I'll be getting to all that very soon. Then I'll have one helluva unique piece for my collection :cool
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