Exterminate. Exterminate. Exterminate.

One of my coworkers, after learning of my interest in model-making, was kind enough to give me various items from his old collection. These included a couple vintage ARII and IMAI Macross kits, as well as “Fred” here…

This is the old Sevans 1:5 scale Dalek kit, released in 1984. It’s about a foot tall when assembled. It’s a vac-form kit, which means that all the parts are hollow, made of 1mm thick styrene, and generally have some excess plastic to them that must be trimmed off. Also, any place where the kit is supposed to have a hole, you have to cut it yourself…

One of the interesting little features of this kit is that in the various places where there might otherwise be a large, blank area of plastic that would otherwise be unseen, there is instead a little panel filled with mechanical detail. These panels are apparently meant to be cut out and used elsewhere: I guess for people who want to create a “set” for their Dalek, these would work as control panels and wall decorations, to recreate that low-budget sci-fi look. I think it’s kind of neat that they threw that in there.

The kit includes a handful of injection-molded parts for the plunger, gun, and eye stalk, as well as a couple vacuum-formed clear parts for the lightbulbs mounted on top of the head. I seem to have lost one of these clear parts, so I’m replacing them with leftover parts from my Polar Lights Enterprise kit… I don’t really care about accuracy here, I just want the thing to look cool and take advantage of parts I have on-hand…

Everything I’ve done with the upper body so far has just been for the purpose of seeing how the finished kit will look. The lower body is where I’ve spent most of the time so far: cutting excess plastic from the edges of parts and assembling the Dalek’s skirt. Each panel must be cut out, chamfered on the edges to create a good join with its neighbor, and then glued down. The size and shape of each panel isn’t precisely correct, so I had to tweak a few of ’em to get them to sit at the correct angle.

One of the things I’m concerned about here is making the assembly very solid. I take pride in my seam work, and good seam work demands a high degree of stability between neighboring parts. Without that, a little bit of flexion can introduce cracks in your carefully-sanded putty. So for starters I’ve reinforced each panel with styrene strips, and I’m using Aves to reinforce the joints on the inside. I haven’t yet worked out whether I’ll be doing anything more extensive in the way of reinforcing the panels. Actually, it seems quite solid so far.

You may have noticed that the edges between panels had some gaps in ’em – particularly in the rearward-facing panels, the ones I did first… This was sloppy work on my part, but I’ll deal with it later with putty. I think all the panels will require this kind of attention – even on the ones where there’s no gaps, there’s still uneven joins and so on… I find it easier to correct minor issues like that after assembly than to get the initial assembly of hollow, boxy structures made of styrene plate right the first time.

There appears to be a problem with the four panels that sit right at the front of the skirt: basically, the top contour of the frame for these panels doesn’t match the bottom contour, so to install the panels you need to bend ’em. I installed the first one (L3) by gluing down the bottom and aft edges, and then when that was dry, bending the panel to glue down the top edge and holding it down with rubber bands until the glue dried. I think on the other three “problem” panels I’ll just bend the panel before gluing it down. Perhaps, in the following photos, you might be able to tell that the L3 panel is no longer planar…

3 Comment(s)

  1. Just thought you might like to know, the twist in the front panels *isn’t* a problem with the kit – it’s a deliberate part of the original design which is well-known to the many builders of full-size Dalek props… see http://www.projectdalek.com for details ;-)


    ukwookie | 2009-11-09 | Reply

  2. Ah, I stand corrected, then. It makes sense, actually – to build the thing without warping those panels, the skirt’s top plate would have to match the angles of the skirt’s bottom plate – that would probably be a pretty substantial change to the design…

    tetsujin | 2009-11-09 | Reply

  3. Dalek builders call it the ‘X Factor’ – not related to the bizarrely popular TV show of the same name :-)

    ukwookie | 2009-11-09 | Reply

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