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iansrobinson

Ian's Dead Planet Regeneration

33 posts in this topic

Hello everyone

 

As I mentioned in my introduction, I recently bought a now third-hand Dead Planet dalek build, which I plan to repair and restore.

 

The dalek's currently lodging with my parents, but I've agreed with my wonderful wife that it can move down to London and squeeze into my home office.

 

Last weekend, my son and I went to visit my parents and their loving dalek, and I took the opportunity to assess what really needed doing, and do some first early repairs.

The first thing I should say is that I'm hugely impressed with the overall quality of the build, and that any repairs and enhancements I make can only take place because someone somewhere invested a lot of time and energy and dedication, and achieved something I certainly don't think I could do today. In fact, I'd love to know more about the history of this build – if any of you recognize it, please let me know.

 

Some details. It's almost all fibreglass: skirt, shoulders, neck cage, and dome, with wooden neck rings and base. The skirt is unusual in that to my untrained eye it looks like a single cast that includes both flats and hemis – that is, the hemis aren't bolted on, nor are they push throughs. Reading around this site, it sounds as if this is a rare, and perhaps old-fashioned method?

 

inside-skirt.jpg

 

The ball joints for the arms are both resin, and a little smaller than the plans – around 3.8 inches in diameter rather than 4. But the arm holes themselves are the correct dimensions, as are the holes in the resin inner brackets. The insides of the arm holes have been built up with filler, and shaped to the ball joints. At some point, I'd like to cut this away and fit chamfered wooden brackets.

 

arm-collar.jpginside-shoulders.jpg

 

The gun is missing 5 of its rods, and as fitted was 13 inches long. I've removed it and taken it apart, and brought it back to London to do some work on it. I bought several 4" Christmas decorations from B&Q – hopefully one of these can serve as a new ball. 

 

gun.jpg

 

The other things that I think need some work are the top of the neck bin and the inside of the dome. The wheels on the neck bin are bent, but solidly attached with resin. Similarly, the eye pivot is attached to the inside of the dome with resin, making it difficult to remove. I plan to cut away both the wheels and the eye pivot, and add wooden mounts to the top of the neck bin and inside of the dome, with new wheels and bracket for the eye bracket. 

 

neck-ring.jpginside-dome.jpg

 

So beside surveying it, musing over future changes, and taking apart the gun, have I done anything else? Yes. I fitted new dome lights – perhaps the simplest thing I could possibly do! I've used seamless table tennis balls, and cut-down collars from an old desk lamp, with cork inserts that allow them to be pushed onto the screws that project from the dome. In the future I'll drill out the dome and add bulbs, but at least for now I've got something approaching the Dead Planet look.

dome-light.jpgdome-lights.jpgdalek.jpg

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Interesting project. :) 

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Instead of restoring the gun that came with this dalek, I've decided to build a new one, starting with the sleeves to house the rods, and the leaves for the firing mechanism.

 

Before cutting anything, I sketched out the leaves, octagons and sleeve hole templates in OmniGraffle, and printed them out onto a sheet of sticky-backed paper. (I've also used OmniGraffle to plan to the inch where the dalek can fit in our office/spare room. It's going to be cosy.) 

 

template.jpg

 

Sticking the leaf templates to a sheet of aluminium, I then cut 5 leaves with a pair of scissors:

 

firing-mechanism-leaves.jpg

 

Still some work to do here, to round the ends, and flatten them.

 

The gun sleeves I made from a piece of 25 mm inner diameter PVC pipe connector. Before cutting the connector in two, I sanded the inside so that it would fit over the aluminium tube I have for the gun. Even after a lot of sanding, it's still a tight fit, but I'm hoping the whole thing will be robust enough for a display piece with just the minimum of glue in the holes to attach the rods.

 

pipe-connector.jpg

 

After sanding the pipe, I sawed it in half, and then attached the paper templates, and drilled and sanded each sleeve:

 

drilling-collar holes.jpgcollars-with-holes.jpg

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Very nice!  🙂

 

If you're interested, I can't find it now because I'm on my phone and just leaving for work, but there exists a photo of one of the Bernardo's Dalek's that shows that the Dead Planet props had 6 leaves per gun, rather than 5.

 

Good luck with the refurb. 👍

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Thank you - that's very useful to know. I was thinking of recutting them with a nibbler rather than our best scissors, to avoid curling them, so I'll cut 6 slightly narrower.

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The image in question can be found here:

 

 

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Thank you John for the link to the image.

 

A couple of weeks ago I ordered some laser cut gun mantles using monkeytennis' wonderful templates. Yesterday, they were delivered, so this evening I decided to make the gun rods and add spokes to the mantles.

 

The gun rods are made from 12" aluminium rods from a local hobby shop. To bend them, I made the simplest jig I could. First, I measured the distance from the inner hole on one of the laser cut mantles to the notch where the rod will sit. Then I drilled a hole to the same depth in a piece of wood. Using the jig, I was able to bend the rods by hand, first along the long surface of the wood, and then turning the rod around, and bending it against the short surface, to achieve a 90 degree bend.

 

jig-1.jpgjig-2.jpg

 

With the rods bent, I quickly assembled the gun: sleeves, rods and mantles. No glue at this stage, but it all hangs together quite snugly. The rods bow out a little from the mantles at the moment, but this may be because I've set the sleeves too close together. Overall, however, I'm very pleased with the result so far.

 

test-gun-assembly.jpg

 

For the mantle spokes, I'm using silver 3 mm pin stripe coachline tape. It's slow work, and I only had time to do one octagon this evening. I've put tape on the outer, laser cut edge of the acrylic, but because of the slightly ridged texture there, I've a feeling it may peel off. We'll see over the next few days.

 

octagon.jpg

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I'd welcome some advice on a couple of repair issues:

 

1. Chips in the rim of the dome. As you can see in the photo, there's still some matting behind the chip. What's the best material for filling here on the edge? Filler (P40/P38)? Epoxy resin? Any tips for strengthening and thickening the rim?

 

chip.jpg

 

2. Filling and recutting the gun hole. Shoulders and gun box are fibreglass. The gun hole is slightly larger than the arm hole. This wouldn't be a problem in itself, but the space on the inside, between the ball and the wall of the gun box, is very narrow, to the extent that it hampers the nut and bolt threaded through the bracket.

 

gun-hole.jpg

 

So my questions: Is it a good idea to refill and cut the hole? What materials and technique should I use to to do that?

 

Thanks for any help you can offer.

 

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This topic, and the other filler topics might be helpful

 

Trimmed grp, like the bottom edge of a dome, is often chippy, where the gelcoat has popped off. If the chips are tiny, maybe a bit of filler putty is all that's needed? There's nothing you can do really to strengthen the outer surface of the dome, but you could make the bottom edge of the dome thicker (stronger) with a layer of fibreglass on the inside. This wouldn't stop the tiny chips though.

 

Generally, many people remove their dome and neck as one piece, so the dome never gets put on a surface. If you treat the dome-and-neck as a unit, the dome edge should be fairly safe.

 

I can't think of an easy way to deal with your point #2... it could be done in many ways. Are the gun and arm balls the same size?

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Thanks for the suggestions.

 

#2 is something to look at longer term. I'm assuming the alls are the same size – they've both been cast in resin – but now you ask, it's definitely worth my checking.

 

#1 – the chips in the dome – is the tip of a more interesting challenge. I'd prefer to have a single dome-and-neck unit, but instead, at the moment, the neck cage, which is fibreglass, is attached to the shoulders. The eye pivot is attached to the inside of the dome, and the wooden ring inside the dome, which would normally balance the dome on the rollers on the top of the neck cage, has parted from the fibreglass walls of the dome and sits partly loose higher up in the dome, butting against the bottom of the eye pivot. The eye itself is very heavy, with the overall result that the dome tends to sit low on the neck cage, leaning forwards with the weight of the eye, and knocking against the top of the struts.

 

So – to make it worthwhile making cosmetic repairs to the dome, I think I need to overhaul the neck and dome:

  • Cut the eye pivot away from the dome.
  • Separate the neck from the shoulders.
  • Replace the crooked and broken rollers on the top of the neck bin.
  • Create a new mount for the dome and the eye.
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It's a lot easier to manage a Dalek that breaks into 3 (dome/neck - shoulders - skirt) or 4 (dome/neck - shoulders - skirt - fender). Raiding a hardware store can produce all kinds of clips and attachments for (for instance) keeping the dome/neck fixed to the shoulders. You have to be really careful with a free dome, with the eyestalk flopping around, delicate eyediscs, and possibly eyestalk control rods/wires. Much better having it captive (but releasable).

 

Ideally, the eye (and eyestalk) will be as light as possible. Depending on the arrangement of any Dalek's anatomy, it might be possible to add some kind of counterweight to the rear of the eyestalk, or the rear of the dome. One of my Daleks had a heavy eyestalk, but I was able to come up with a system of springs that kept the eyestalk level (not a priority for you at the moment).

 

 

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And... I've separated the neck from the shoulders. I ran a thin blade between the seams, and with a lot of cracking and popping the two came apart. This then gave me the opportunity to remove the neck rings from the bin.

 

neck-bin.jpg

 

Looking at the rings and the struts, I see they too are made from resin. The struts have a wood grain in them, and one of them is even bent outwards at the bottom: 

 

resin-neck-ring.jpgstrut.jpgbent-strut.jpg

 

Reassembled, the dalek now looks in a sorrier state than ever, but that seems to be a real prerequisite for bringing it back up to scratch. It's interesting being presented with a combination of someone else's design choices and build practices, and the overall wear and tear of the years.

 

sad-dalek.jpg

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Having refurbed Daleks myself, including those by some fairly well-known Dalek builders, I have found it can be quite an adventure. A bit like moving into a new home and coping with (or undoing) someone else's DIY "creations". :)

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Not a lot of building, but quite a bit of disassembling.

 

Over the Christmas period I cut the eyestalk from the dome and removed the two screws use to attach the dome lights (before and after): 

 

dome-eye.jpgdome-inside.jpg

 

I cut the wheels from the top of the neck bin (before and after):

 

neck-bin-wheel.jpgneck-bin-top.jpg

 

And I removed the filler from the insides of the gun and arm boxes (before and after):

 

ball-socket-filler.jpginside-shoulders.jpg

 

I did do one small piece of building: new struts for the neck:

 

neck-struts.jpg

 

For the neck, I plan to fill and sand the rings, and then reassemble the rings and struts using the fibreglass neck bin as an alignment guide. If there's sufficient gap between the neck bin and the rings, I'll probably attach mesh to the bin, and attach a plywood top with wheels over the existing return. If, however, it's a tight fit, I may choose to cut the top and bottom returns from the neck bin, and remove a narrow vertical portion of the bin, and then fibreglass in new wooden returns with a slightly reduced diameter.

 

The shoulders are still a puzzle. They're obviously movie-style shoulders (13" tall), and as I mentioned previously, the arm and gun holes are different sizes.

To address the arm holes, I think I have 3 options:

  1. Fibreglass the existing holes and cut new ones.
  2. Cut away the face of each box, and replace with a wooden face.
  3. Cut the boxes out entirely, and replace with a wooden box.

I'm inclined towards 3 – building a new wooden gun box. From the plans, the faces of the movie-style gun boxes are a little smaller than the original wooden boxes. A quick test with some card shows that if I create new boxes to the original dimensions (i.e. a little wider and a little taller than the faces of the movie-style boxes), the extra height is just enough so that the downwards sloping sides meet the wall of the shoulders just a little below where the flat top of the movie-style boxes project out. If I were to create wooden boxes  with taller sides and a near flattened top, I think I can get away without having to do too much filling. Not quite screen accurate, but given the variations in the originals, perhaps a passable interpretation:

 

card-box-1.jpgcard-box-2.jpg

 

Oh, and I've sourced a couple of solid wooden 4" wooden balls from here: https://www.wooden-balls.co.uk/. Not cheap, but very solid:

 

wooden-balls.jpg

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I would be tempted to go with option 3 but make the new gun boxes the same size as the front of the movie shoulders.  The PDF plans are way oversized, especially for a movie shoulder section.

 

I did something similar with a set I cast.  I'm away from home so only have a couple of photos on my phone but I ended up modifying the fibreglass movie boxes to have right angled sides and used filler backed with fibreglass to fill in the gaps.

 

IMG_0950.JPGboxes.jpg

 

moviedalek did something similar with his Dalek here, with great results.

 

A minor difference between the original gun boxes and the DIOE/movie gun boxes are that the later boxes are inserted at a less steep angle, which means the gap between the front edges gun boxes is wider at the bottom than it is at the top.  For the original shoulders the gap between the gun boxes is effectively parallel, which means the boxes are tilted slightly further back.

 

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