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Rorus

Did The Original Daleks Have Wheelchairs?

Question

Back in the 60's and 70's how did the Daleks work? I'm not sure if this is the right section (if it isn't please move it).

I know that in some episodes they had some sort of tricycle in them but what about the others?

I know that the BBC plans from '73 just had wheels

 

Were there seats inside, or did they just stand.

Did they just have wheels or were they electrical?

 

This is in advance for me making one and I would like some good information,

I'm sure that if this is answered it would help other first time builders too. 

       

                  Thanks -Rory

ray-cusick-dalek-bicycle.jpg

I reposted this in the FAQ part of the site just in case this was the wrong section (Sorry In Advance)

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14 answers to this question

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All the BBC (and movie) daleks from 1963 to present were powered by the operator. Motors have never been used for this. There have been a couple of occasions when daleks have been pulled on a rope, but I don't think that really counts.

 

The daleks which were filmed on location in London for DIOE apparently had a tricycle type mechanism fitted, but this was not the same as that shown in the image you have attached to your question, (I don't think that set up has ever existed). It has been reported that they were hand powered, rather than foot powered. The operators hands would turn a pedal/crank mechanism and a chain would make the wheels move. The speed of the daleks in some scenes suggests that this is true, though I've never seen a clear photograph of this mechanism.

 

All other daleks sit on casters and are powered by the operator's feet. The operator sits on a simple bench seat and moves the dalek around in the same way that you would move around when sitting on an office chair.

 

The reason for the simplicity is that foot power is less prone to technical failure. Downtime is expensive and could bring the whole production to a halt, so the simplest method is always the best choice.

 

I recall Raymond Cusick (the daleks' designer) telling me this, some years ago. He recounted a story of when he was working on the TV show, 'Sykes'. There was a scene where a boxing glove on a spring mechanism was meant to pop out of a cupboard/cabinet when the door was opened. There was a meeting about how this effect was to be achieved, with suggestions on how a spring loaded jig could be built. In the end, he overruled and went for the option of having a false wall, with someone stood behind it, working the boxing glove on a stick. The reason was exactly the same... it was foolproof.

 

Many fan built daleks are powered by wheelchair motors or modified mobility scooters, but this is entirely the domain of repo-props. There's lots of information on how to achieve this in the relevant Forum topics. There is also another question in this section, here, that is similar to this one and has some useful information. 

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No they didn't use a tricycle arangement, a simple interior seat, castors for wheels & trundled by foot power. 

 

As far as location filming for DIOE I imagine the larger fender was to allow the operators to stand & "walk" the Dalek over the uneven terrain, There's a quote somewhere about (paraphrased) "going over Westminster bridge & you think it looks flat until you try taking a Dalek across it!".

 

Just trying to use a trike would result in some very nasty bangs to the knee's & be very uncomfortable with heat\sweat buildup in the cramped interior.

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I'm 6 feet tall and have a relative thin physique, and I barely have any room at all inside my NSD. It would quite literally be physically impossible to pedal a tricycle inside. XD

As Ferrain said, none of the screen-used Daleks have wheelchairs or anything; theyre all powered 'Flintstone style' by the operator's feet. That being said, I definitely prefer having it motorized. You done wear out your legs and it gives it that smoother, more robotic look to the movement, IMO. Check out some of the various build diaries from users who motorized their build's. Im sure there are much better ones out there, but I just recently set up the motors for mine and got it moving, so feel free to take a peek at my diary to get an idea of what the motor setups can look like.

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The screen Daleks are foot powered, though the BBC did try some with little tricycles and they were a complete failure.

As for Electric chairs, I couldn't be without one, I'm too old and fat to walk 10kms inside a Dalek and at the end of events it is quite conceivable that I have traversed such a distance in Dreadnaught.

 

Cdngoose

 

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Thanks for the responses it is really helping!

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One thing I will add, in Dalek Dreadnaught, Dalek Drax, Davros and Dalek Nyder I have installed Electric chairs and most of my build Diaries show that installation, all of these installations so far have left the Electric Wheelchair fully intact. However I have used several Daleks that are foot powered, I honestly don't last very long before my body starts screaming at me. But having said that NOTHING is greater to see on a Dalek than its ability to move laterally and diagonally. It gives the Aura of the Dalek gliding! this cannot be achieved in a powered Dalek.

Nevertheless,  this summer I will be switching Dalek Nyder over to a new frame in which the power chair motors can Lower to the floor, with a simple lever to  engage the drive wheels and propel the Dalek long distances or when I just get tired! This setup will have the ability to lift the drive tires off the ground thus allowing me to foot power the dalek on the 4 casters, giving me the ability to float around the people close to me. I have thought of this for quite sometime and believe it will be the best of all worlds in Dalek operation.

 

Cdngoose

Edited by cdngoose
Fat finger, hunt and peck typing!
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You need to build up your leg muscles. If you build a fully fibreglass Dalek they can be as a little as 30 odd kilograms, so very light to push around. 


On the of the major problems you have with motorised Daleks is they usually can't move left/ right or make small 'circles' of movement as they rotate around their front caster. 

I would like to make one amendment to the above. The modern "Davros" chair in Magican's Apprentice used an electric wheelchair, not a Dalek. But it's interesting. 

 

with regards to the Dalek Invasion of Earth topic, my view is that they had two locked wheels on the rear and a wheel that could turn on the front, with a steering mechanism coming up into the skirt where the front wheel could be turned. I have no proof of this, beyond watching how the props through the story only move forwards/ backwards and have very large turning circles, rather than turning on the spot. This is only my view remember.

 

And cue a photo of an original 60's Dalek from the era.

 

41394-7.jpg

 

 

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Sadly, not original casters. The two rear ones are the non-swivel type.

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Sorry- that's my suggestion about the DIoE TV props, that there non-swivel casters at the rear as in the picture, rather than the film props having it, sorry.

 

 

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Ah, yes, I see what you mean. It's a pity there are no photos of the mechanism.

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Hi guys, is that a Movie dalek underside?

 

See the box at the front, I'm sure I've seen similar in another picture inside a Movie skirt.. I'm sure the box was open-topped, was this a place to mount the CO2 cylinder?

 

Wouldn't it be great if one day a photo turned up of inside the DIOE skirts... As still there's no proof / evidence either way... I'm going to have to re-watch DIOE some day to pay attention to any sideways movement, or if it's all in straight lines.

 

Cheers, Scott.

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Posted (edited)

Actually, I was thinking about those two static casters on the Bamford prop and noticed the Dalek only moves

forwards or turns in a forward arc rather than sideways, so they could be the original castors. have a look at the scene where it moves

out to block peter and bernards escape in the ship.

 

I have a feeling the DIOE did have some sort of pedal system as you never see the Daleks strafe sideways either. They usually move forwards and back until the operator

can spin the Dalek in the correct direction. The Dalek moving up to Westminster bridge also gathers up some speed.

 

was going to attach a shot of the base of a DIOE but I cant find it!

 

 

Edited by DalekSupreme4
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In the film Daleks invasion earth you can clearly see the casters on the Dalek that falls into the mine

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Posted (edited)

True, but think about how many props Shawcraft had to build. I imagine they were using any castors they could find, plus I've seen two original props with

rubber casters which, again, suggests they used any they could find. They could certainly have been replaced so I may be wrong.

 

What I've, also, just noticed is the block of wood across the front internal structure of the skirt with the hole cut out for the

fire extinguisher to sit in. I'll jot that in my little jotting pad! Wait I don't have a jotting pad! :angry:

Edited by DalekSupreme4
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