I didn’t intend for this build to be timely. In fact, it wasn’t until I told my wife what I was building, and she said something about it, that I realized the connection. And, to be honest, it’s kinda hard to feel patriotic right now. Our country is hurting, our people are divided and full of anger and hate. We’ve been laid low, and there is a long road to recovery that has yet to really begin. I can only hope for the future that some leadership will rise up to help us heal, to come together, and to show more compassion than division. And hope and healing for the rest of the world as well (sorry to those of you who are outside the USA, but given the subject matter, my reflections are more local on this one).

I do find it appropriate, though, that of all the “patriotic” models that I could have built, it ended up being this one. Cracked. Divided. Broken. But still worth something. Not completely hopeless. I believe there is a future for us, where we can heal. Where, if all are not treated exactly equal, we’re at least getting better. Where a concern for the community over self might actually be the norm, rather than the exception. Where people are less concerned about what it will cost them, and more focused on how they can help others. That… that is what the American Dream should be. Not the mythical self-made man. The community, the society that brings everyone up to a better place. That is a dream I can get on board with.

And wow, I think I digressed just a little there, eh? This is not a very complicated model, but it’s significance is strong for some of us. It’s not stunning, or gorgeous, or amazing to look at. But it does capture, in it’s simplicity, a snapshot of history, a reminder of the past. And… I just didn’t really feel like the Liberty Bell should just be sitting on the bell. So I built it a stand. And then I took my first stab at a technique to make the etchings stand out a bit more, which seemed appropriate here. It would have been even better had I the skill or gumption to try to paint this in a dark brass patina… but I’m nowhere near that level.

Unsurprisingly, this isn’t too terribly difficult of a build… for the most part. There are some curves to it (it is a bell, after all), but the scary looking ones are fairly light and simple. The most difficult part, at least for me, was the last step, where you attach the bell body to the bell top.

For the main body of the bell (part 1), I would suggest that you go ahead and start all the curves before “folding” it up. And by that, I mean the big curves (long and shallow, with a little more curve at the bottom/outside). Get a good curve going on those, and you’ll be able to adjust them as you fold/roll the bell up. However, I would seriously suggest that you consider adding some curvature to the little flaps on the top/inside, too, before fold/rolling it up. I didn’t think to do this, and found it to be rather challenging to do at the end.

When shaping out part 3, be careful around the etched part of the crack – it will try to fold sharply there, rather than be rounded. Not easy, given the fact that you are kinda shaping it into a large open cone, but it’s possible. Also, I totally ended up with a bend there, so I had to flatten it back out. So… yeah, I didn’t think it through and am just trying to help you avoid my folly. Also, make sure you line the crack up with itself as you attach this lip to the bottom of the bell body.

The next bit of fun is part 9. Now this is a case where one of my “habitual looking ahead” techniques saved me some frustration. For part 9, it says to leave the “side” flaps of the part open, so you can easily secure the tabs of parts 8 on the inside. While this is possible to do as suggested in the instructions, I would actually suggest that you pre-fold the side flaps just a little. That way, once it’s secured inside, you aren’t having to “break the fold in” while working in a tight area. Just my two cents.

Finally, at the very end, we get to the part that was the most frustrating for me… Aligning and securing the 8 tabs at the top of the bell body to the circular top (part 10). They did not want to all line up at the same time, so I had to get 3 of them lined up, and then semi-fold the middle tab. then work my way around, lining up some more tabs, then semi-folding another tab to keep those in place, and repeat. But the hardest part was that I was folding… and my big sausage fingers made it hard to hold those flaps in proper position while folding the tabs. But I did manage it, eventually.

After that, I turned off the video camera, and thought I was done. Until I decided that I didn’t want the Liberty Bell just sitting there. So I googled up some images of how it’s on display now, and the gears started turning. Two popsicle sticks, a skewer, some careful cutting and drilling, a paperclip cut up, some glue, some paint, and a lot of goofups later… I had me a stand that was somewhat styled like real thing (loosely). And not only that, it can swing! Yeah, I know, I’m a dork. In addition, I dabbed a bunch of black paint on the bell, wherever the etchings were, and then wiped it back off while it was still wet. I did this a few times around the whole thing, with the result being that some of the black paint stayed in the etchings, making it stand out more. I decided not to do it with the mounting fixture or whatever it is above it. That would have been too messy. Also, it would have probably been a lot easier to do the painting before attaching the bell body to the top, but oh well! Here’s a video of the bell being “rocked.”

The Liberty Bell took all of 50 minutes to build. As for the stand and paint job… I have no idea how much time went into that. Lots of do something, let it dry, do another thing, let it dry… you get the idea. Anyways, I only have video of building the model itself, not any of the modifications, but you can go ahead and watch that if you want.