This is the story of building our own scale model Dalek. I guess we were partly inspired by meeting Daleks at the last few Collectormania exhibitions in Milton Keynes (see adjacent photo). Anyway, to build a Dalek you need to be, not mad exactly, but certainly not quite fully hinged. Add to that two so-called adults whose formative years were influenced significantly by Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker and a son with a voracious appetite for stories relating to the “Whoniverse” and a Dalek model becomes inevitable. From Collectormania in Milton Keynes we had a good idea of what a Dalek should look like, however, we needed more details to actually get us started.
Our first port of call was the Daleklinks website. From there it is possible to find several sets of instructions for making full-size Daleks. Amongst the plans available are some published by the Radio Times in the early seventies - during the Jon Pertwee years. Interesting though these are, they looked a lot like heavy engineering and didn't quite match our modest ambitions.
Also via the Daleklinks website, we found a card model Dalek (see adjacent photo). This helped us visualize possible construction methods. We hadn't allowed ourselves a great deal of time to build our Dalek, since the aim was to have the model completed for Halloween (2006) and we started construction less than a week before.
To speed up the design process we created a CAD model by tracing two Dalek elevation views found on the excellent mindrobber website.
Our creation, now christened Derek, needed to be big enough for Alex to fit inside, however, a full size Dalek was out of the question, not least because it would be far too large to fit through a standard doorway. Our choice of scale would also be influenced by the size of available components. We didn't have any satisfactory means of creating the head or the hemispheres on the lower body so we looked for commercially available items.
Rob suggested Early Learning Centre playballs for the lower body. The size of these equates to a ¾ scale Dalek - just big enough for Alex.
Carol then had success in finding a Curver swing-bin with a hemispherical lid in our local DIY store. The lid, once trimmed down a little was also suitable for a ¾ scale Dalek. The bin itself provided a suitable interior for the Dalek, needing only a few holes cutting for visibility and operation of the arms, eye and head. The Dalek project was underway. The base is 12mm ply and pine, with castors and a cut-down plastic chair. A hole in the floor allows it to be manoeuvred Flintstone-style. The lower body is 9mm ply and hardboard (for Davros that's as far as you need to go).
The upper body is 12mm ply and corrugated cardboard. The arm sockets are medium density balsa wood, each encasing an ELC playball as a ball-joint. The arm and eye-stalk are 22mm plastic tube. The neck rings are 12mm ply and the gun is an egg whisk!. The eye socket is medium density balsa wood, while the eye assembly is a combination of plastic card and yet another ELC playball. The "lights" are disposable plastic cups and black chiffon netting helps maintain the "driver's" anonymity. The whole model was finished with household gloss black paint.
Although not 100 percent complete by the night of Halloween, Derek still looked like a pretty respectable Dalek thanks to Rob and Carol's complimentary skills of careful design and tenacious construction. Phew!
If you have access to Rhino 3D software you may wish to download our Dalek CAD file (905 KB). To do this simply click on the adjacent CAD image.