Wysiwyg: Chakotay

Main Photo

Andy says, "I built my 'Death To' Dalek, Clive in 2002 and half built an Imperial in 2003, so I think enough time has passed to have another crack at Dalek building!

Can't believe how many builds are out there now over nine pages of current builder's diaries. Holy cow.

I intended to make this one fully remote-controlled, drawing on what I learned from building R2-D2. At least this way I don't have to be too precious about weight, because it is missing the 13-stone blob in the middle".

How it was done...

Andy had the gun built with help from an engineer pal back in 2005, before the plans were available, working just from screen-grabs. All in all, they weren't that far out - 5 mm rods, 36cm to the ball and about 78mm wide. It is made from brass bosses and stainless tubing and rods. It is also totally modular and comes apart for cleaning. The bosses polish up well and Andy says he really likes the colouring.

This is the dome rotation bearing, sitting prettily on Chakotay's upturned wash basket. These lazy susan bearings are commonly used by R2 builders worldwide. Usually, they go for the aluminium version produced by Rockler, but they have got very tight with export, adding to your costs by requesting payment through money order. The plastic version is from a company called World Designs.

The eyestalk, like the rest of the build, is motorised. Here we see a chunky, metal-geared servo capable of handling the weight of the eye. Rather than connecting rods, the eye mechanism uses two cables, because rod is inclined to bend whilst "pushing". There is a 1lb fishing weight hanging from the balance rod and that works nicely as a counterbalance.

Fender built methodology: Using the protractor you can see in the first picture, Andy measured the angle of each corner as he came to it, halved the reading and transferred that onto the panels. He used some tongue and groove for the angled panels, simply because it was hanging around the shed. Also, the tongue part meant that he didn't have to worry too much about bevelling the top edge.

For the shoulders, Andy drew around the top of the skirt, rounded off the outer shape, then deducted 39mm using a set of compasses. That's 13mm for the inner band, 20mm for the outer, plus 6mm for the bendy MDF skin. He did the same with the upper circle - deducting 6mm for the skin, 13mm for the band and 29mm for the indent, working on the theory that the lower neck ring is roughly level with the slats.

Not happy with his first attempt at painting the skirt, Andy decided to have another go. He wasn't enthralled with the satin black he'd used, it showed up too many flaws and was too indistinct from the gloss. So it was off with the hemispheres, another sanding session with the panels and respray with matt black. The verdict was that this looked much better. It was a nice contrast to the hemispheres and has a velvet-like texture.


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