WebFind: Recreation of a Shawcraft Dalek

Work in progress on recreating an original Shawcraft Dalek
Work in progress on recreating an original Shawcraft Dalek

The team behind a new Doctor Who-inspired project,”Recreation of a Shawcraft Dalek“, have begun documenting their work on Facebook.

A joint consortium of extremely knowledgable Doctor Who experts are attempting to recreate an original 1960’s Shawcraft Dalek, down to very exact detailing where possible, and the Facebook Page will feature their build diary and support for the project.

Professional prop maker James Burgess, who built and operated the lead Dalek for the University of Central Lancashire’s Mission to the Unknown remake, has been chosen to put together and build this replica.

Matthew Doe, who specialises in original screen-used Doctor Who props, is also assisting the team with colours reference and photographs, and assistance in finding fibreglass pulls from an original Shawcraft Dalek; and Jon and Gav, who been researching Daleks together since 2005 and run the terrific Dalek 63•88 site, are on board as Doctor Who Dalek Prop consultants.

John Kelly has also supplied invaluable information and sources material, are not available in the public domain.

A Dalek fan reading a Dalek annual beside a Shawcraft Models van in the 1960s
A Dalek fan reading a Dalek annual beside a Shawcraft Models van in the 1960s

The Dead Planet page of the Dalek 63•88 charts the development of the original Dalek props, monsters created by writer Terry Nation, including BBC designer Raymond Cusick’s role as creator of the iconic Dalek design. However, one of the key men who helped realise the Daleks was Bill Roberts, the man behind Shawcraft Models. The BBC outsourced Doctor Who work to Shawcraft because their own internal visual effects department couldn’t handle the load.

What purport to be the oldest available plans of a Dalek are credited to draftsman A. Webb (Tony Webb) based on Raymond Cusick’s outlines. Webb also had a small part to play in the actual design of the Daleks as it had been he who had sat on a chair against a wall for Cusick and BBC trainee, Jeremy Davies, to measure for the general size of the props. The plans themselves are headed “Zero 20th Nov” which would have been the deadline for the project and they are dated 27/10/63. Via Dalek 63•88
What purport to be the oldest available plans of a Dalek are credited to draftsman A. Webb (Tony Webb) based on Raymond Cusick’s outlines. Webb also had a small part to play in the actual design of the Daleks as it had been he who had sat on a chair against a wall for Cusick and BBC trainee, Jeremy Davies, to measure for the general size of the props. The plans themselves are headed “Zero 20th Nov” which would have been the deadline for the project and they are dated 27/10/63. Via Dalek 63•88

“Shawcraft’s contribution to the final design can never truly be measured,” the site notes, “but Ray Cusick acknowledges Bill Roberts put his own ingenuity into the creation of the props, such as suggesting the inclusion of a camera’s diaphragm shutter to act as an eye. Cusick alleges that it was during one of their lunches together that a pepper pot was supposedly used to illustrate to Roberts how the Daleks should look when in motion – and thus a legend was born.”

Frank Hampson’s illustration for the Radio Times Doctor Who Tenth Anniversary Special
Frank Hampson’s illustration for the Radio Times Doctor Who Tenth Anniversary Special

Recreating Daleks has long been a passion among many dedicated fans, as groups such as groups such as Daleks Forever, the Dalek Builders Group and even “Daleks Daleks and more Daleks oh no not Daleks again“, also on Facebook, testify. Back in the 1970s, the BBC published plans for how to build a Dalek in the Radio Times Tenth Anniversary Special, an article illustrated by Dan Dare co-creator Frank Hampson. While editor of Doctor Who Magazine I was informed that these plans were, as far as purists went, wildly inaccurate.

Check out the Recreation of a Shawcraft Dalek Facebook Page

• Are you ready to take the plunge and build a Dalek? If so, Project Dalek is the place for you, offering free, downloadable plans for every major Dalek type. All the plans are the result of many years research and development and are, without doubt, the most accurate and comprehensive you will find online (or anywhere else)

Read a 1970’s letter from Carmel Maguire in the BBC Doctor Who Production Office responding to a request for Dalek blueprints

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: Doctor Who, downthetubes News, Other Worlds, Television

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