Whitelight's 70s Dalek

Main Photo

The most unusual aspect of Whitelight's Dalek is that it sports papier-mâché dome. While papier-mâché is a viable way of making a dome, most builders tend to go for the more traditional fibreglass version. Here we have a rare chance to see someone making a good quality dome from some very basic, simple materials.

What follows in this showcase is just a small taster of the detailed instructions which Whitelight has provided. To view the documentation for the whole process, see his Build Diary on the Project Dalek Forum.

Whitelight says, "when most people think of papier mâché they think its just bits of paper glued on but its not. It's boiled paper (to a pulp), then drained, dried, crumbled. Then PVA glue sawdust, chalk and linseed oil are all mixed up so it ends up looking like very smooth plaster".

How it was done...

As a complete departure from the conventional methods normally used to build the dome plug (plaster plug and board former), Whitelight made the dome plug from 16 segments of card which were bent and stuck together. This gave the basic shape, with some slight angles to the surface which would later be hidden beneath the outer papier-mâché skin.

The inside and the outside of the dome plug were covered with newspaper, applied with PVA glue. This strengthened the surface and smoothed out the angles on the outside. Note that this is not actually the dome itself, but rather the 'plug'. The dome was built on top of this plug and then the plug was removed. Further information on the creation of the dome itself is available in Whitelight's build diary.

Pictured is the shoulder frame with the gun and arm box assembly pre-attached, ready for the outer skin to be applied. Note that the gun and arm box is recessed, away from the front support strut. This is quite correct and allows the boxes to protrude through the outer skin in the correct position, once the skin is added.

The outer shoulder skin was made from hardboard which was cut to shape using card templates, which were temporarily fitted to the shoulder frame. Steam was used to bend the hardboard into shape, over the more difficult curves towards the back of the shoulders. Panel pins held the skin in position, during fitting.

The gun took four hours to build and was made completely from scrap materials. The main shaft is a Dyson vacuum cleaner handle. The ball joint is a cistern ball-float and the eight metal rods came from garden ornaments, bought at a car boot sale. Holes were drilled in the main tube, the rods pushed in and soldered at the front, then super-glued at the back.

There we see the mounting of a mobility scooter frame, in the base. This is the first attempt, to get an idea of size shape, etc. Later support brackets were made from angle iron salvaged from a bathtub. These were welded onto the existing frame. The single wheel at the front was to be used for steering, controlled by the operator's feet. The rear wheels are fixed.


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