11th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver

(Skip straight to the image gallery with this link)

Anyone keeping up with the social sites have already seen the completed images of this project. Right after completing this project, I came down with a nasty infection (Darn those Daleks!) that kept me out of the workshop for a few weeks, and then convention season hit, so I’ve been working non-stop on a number of projects. Things have finally settled down, so I’m preparing lots of nifty write-ups in the coming weeks.

This was done up as a gift for a local Who fan. A few decent replicas were readily available, and I was given a tight deadline, so scratch-building wasn’t even in consideration here.

Character Options 11th Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver. Yeah product placement!

If the Sonic Screwdriver actually looked this nice out of the package, I would’ve saved myself a lot of trouble.

I picked a Character Options replica and set out to make it look less like a plastic toy and more like AWESOME. Step one? Dissassemble…


This was actually an over-sized battle-axe I’d made for my ModiBot figures.


The Screwdriver’s assembled with tamper-resistant triangle-head screws. Solution? Take a random hunk of aluminum and file down the tip into a triangle point. Huzzah, a custom-built screwdriver to take apart… a custom screwdriver…

So which half do I feed to the shark?

Not pictured: The techy bits that let the screwdriver do everything but drive screws.

The next four hours were spent filling in gaps, sanding down seam lines, and just prepping for paint in general. You can’t have good paint without good prep. Here’re most of the parts split apart, save for a few that took a trip to get their first coat of paint.

Prime primer. Hur.

Sudden urge for grayscale props to look like old black & white television.

Looking at the last image, I only sanded the ivory handle down until it was smooth – I didn’t try to get all the factory paint off. Because the underlying plastic is so dark, however, I needed a coat of primer to ensure the ivory paint had a consistent color.


Fun fact: This ivory coat was damaged when the masking tape was removed and had to be redone.

Thanks to the primer, I got a consistent ivory color without having to use 50 coats of paint. This was then masked off for the copper paint.

What a mess~

Copper copper everywhere, and not a coin to spend.

Here are bits and bobs scattered about for copper paint.


There was so much electronic safety text on here that had to be filled in and sanded down.

The copper sprayed on with a bit of texture, but it’s nothing fine sandpaper couldn’t fix.

(Also, that awkward moment when you realize you’ve got more paint on yourself and the floor than the parts you’re trying to coat. I had the sense to use gloves for all the prep work and then forgot all about them for the paint.)

The claaaaaaw~

Test-fitting the moving parts.

The extendable “claw” at the end had a lot more work put into it than might be readily apparent. Since this was intended as a toy, the designers/manufacturers had no qualms about hollowing out components for cost reduction in the casting process. Since I wanted to bring this closer to the show model, and the actual prop claws were cut from solid aluminum plate, I had to fill in gaps before paint.

Since we’re only trying to replicate aluminum, the fact that spray-silver doesn’t actually look like true silver worked in my favor. This was an easy color to figure out.

No really. It's done.

It… It’s done.

Aaaaand here we’ve got the finished product. All the electronics were left intact, so she still lights up and fires off the show sounds. It’s a bit over 8.5″ collapsed, which I believe is accurate to the actual show prop.

Aside from the shinier metals, I also took the liberty of adding a bit of dirt and wear to it. This Doctor seems to loose his Screwdriver a number of times, so it shouldn’t look old, but any tool that’s used consistently day in and day out is going to pick up a bit of grime.

Also from a prop maker’s perspective, dirt = realism. Keep that in mind cosplayers.

Hahah, because it's another view. And the claw's extended. It's got a double-meaning. Come on. Laugh.

Extended view.

With a push of a button, the spring-loaded claw extends. Lights and sounds are still accessible in this configuration.

Full gallery available in the Props section of the site.


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3 Responses to 11th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver

  1. Matt January 4, 2014 at 14:43 #

    Very nice

  2. Bill Brown January 16, 2015 at 17:39 #

    My daughter is a huge fan of the 11th Doctor Who. I have download the 3d print plans to make her, her own sonic screwdriver. However, I want to add the electronics so that her screwdriver lights up like the one here. Could you provide me with the how to on the electronics part?

    • Kouri January 17, 2015 at 14:10 #


      I wish I could offer advice on the electronics, but I ordered a fully-functioning model and simply repainted it for this build. My recommendation would be to find an inexpensive 11th or 12th screwdriver and gut the electronics for your kit.

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