I just turned 40, and instead of getting myself a sports car, hair plugs, or a trophy wife, I’ve decided to kick off this midlife crisis in style by fulfilling a childhood dream of mine: building a full-sized screen-accurate Dalek!
As most of you know, I’m already a hardcore Whovian and crafter. I’m the creator and primary contributor to the 3D Printing Doctor Who project, whose goal is to create free 3D printable action figures for every monster not currently available in the officially licensed 5" toy range, and last year for Halloween, I built a life-sized Ood and classic series Auton, and would have had an 80's Cyberman too, if my helmet hadn’t mysteriously disappeared while going through customs. That said, this it without a doubt, the most ambitious build project I’ve ever embarked upon.
I’m not flying completely blind though. The ProjectDalek.com website is a font of Dalek-y information, including detailed measurements and build-plans based off the original Shawcraft Models designs. I’m also cheating a bit, and have ordered a prefabricated dome, neck rings, and shoulder section from Mid Norfolk Mouldings, who also built my Cyberman chest unit. Not having to worry about constructing three of the most difficult sections of the build straight off the bat turns this into a far more manageable and forgiving project, since most of what I’ll be working on will be internal framework with mostly straight edges, so if I fuck something up, at least nobody will be able to see it.
For right now, I’m still in the parts gathering phase. Once my bank account recovers from buying the three big prefab pieces, I’ll be visiting the local TAP Plastics to see how insanely expensive it’s going to be to have the skirt panels vacuum-molded and laser cut as single pieces, or if I’m going to have to line up and attach all 56 Dalek bumps by hand. I’m going to be using my 3D printer to make some of the smaller pieces (like the blue eye rings and shoulder slats) and hopefully I can talk my cousin, who’s a professional metal worker, into building me a Dalek gun.
My goal is to have a classic Planet/Genesis style Dalek completed before next Halloween, or failing that, Christmas. Luckily, my wife is totally okay with me taking over the garage to build this massive prop that we don’t really have room for in our house, as long as when it’s done, she gets to drive it around too.
UPDATE: I started a build diary over at Project Dalek: