the Little Red Reviewer

Dalek Building 101

Posted on: February 8, 2014

RE-CREATE! RE-CREATE!

RE-CREATE! RE-CREATE!

I’ve been teasing everyone for about three weeks now that I learned how to build a Dalek.  Welllll, I didn’t so much learn how to build one as I sat and listened to two guys talk about how they had built one.  It was a panel at Legendary Confusion, a fan run scifi and fantasy convention held in the Detroit area. This con typically has a lot of Doctor Who themed programming, and let me tell you, there’s just something surreal watching a 5th Doctor climb inside a Dalek and drive it around, being chased by a posse of giggling children, most of whom are dressed as Doctor Who characters.

 

let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Saturday evening was a panel called Dalek!!!, by Alex Drummer and Kevin McCloud. it was basically their adventures in Dalek Building 101.  Here’s what they had to say:

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In the 1970s, the BBC provided plans for building a Dalek, which were intended for high school shop classes. The details plans are now online  (I didn’t write down the exact website, but a quick google search found this, this, and this), along with a huge community of dedicated builders with tips on everything from eyestalks to electronics.  As part of their presentation, they showed slides of the Dalek in different stages of being built.

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This Dalek, which has been to multiple local conventions in the great lakes area, was built as part of a grant.   Inside the base is a wheelchair base, so you can literally ride around inside the Dalek.  It comes apart in three pieces: the skirt, the shoulders and the collar.

The shoulders and the head

The shoulders and the collar.  Yes, that is an antique paint roller and a plunger. the black material that goes around the bottom of the shoulders is a dark mesh, so the driver can see out.

 

 

The arm and gun are mounted on foam balls so they can easily be rotated and manipulated from inside. All in all, it cost about $800, and other than the wheelchair base the majority of the bits and pieces came from JoAnn fabrics and Home Depot.

It's hard to see, but this is the inside of the collar. the "J" shaped handles are how you move the arm and the gun.

The  inside of the collar. the “J” shaped handles are how you move the arm and the gun.

 

During the panel he took the Dalek apart and then at the end everyone was allowed to go up and see the pieces up close.  In fact, it had to be taken apart, because the base is 2″ wider than a normal door frame. Then we carried the pieces out into the hall, put it back together, he climbed inside and drove it around followed by a giggling, shrieking posse of children, many of whom had come right from Masquerade and were still dressed in their Doctor Who themed costumes.

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fuzzy picture is fuzzy. you’ll just have to trust me that this was beyond adorkable.

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5 Responses to "Dalek Building 101"

That’s just awesome. A group of little Doctor Whos running after a Dalek is even more awesome. :)

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it was the cutest. All us grown ups were cooing over the kids instead of oohing and aahing over the Dalek that was driving around. I can see those kids growing up into proud Whovians, and telling people “Daleks? Yeah, been chasing them since I was a kid”.

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D’aaaaaaaaaaaaw. That sounds like it was a wonderful sight to behold! So special and adorable. <3

And wow. That Dalek looks great! Thank you for sharing!

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Haha, love it. My son recently went to a fancy dress and one of his friends went as a dalek! It was such a great costume it just had me in stitches.
Lynn :D

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it’s great to see kids interested enough in Doctor Who to want to dress up as the characters, isn’t it?

in a cosplay video (taken at some ComicCon, i think), someone had a plushy Dalek costume. So they could run up to people and hug them! it was very cute.

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