Retro Fitting A Dalek

Retro-Fitting A Dalek
How to Turn the Product Enterprises Raido Controlled Dalek Mark II Into a Mark I

One of the great things about being a fan of a science fiction television program is the large number of “collectibles” available for one to spend their hard earned cash on.  Whether you’re a Star Trek, Star Wars, X-Files, or DaiKaiju fan, there is no end to the number of products one can buy to fill ones selves, video cabinets or CD racks.  And Doctor Who is no different.  One of the best toy lines to be associated with the program is of course, the Product Enterprises line of Talking Daleks.  These figures, while not only being affordable, are highly detailed recreations of the pepper-pods from Skaro, and the greatest to be released thus far, has to be the Radio Controlled 12 inch version.  Purest however, while overwhelmed at the release of this toy, may find some problems with the rendering of the figure.  Modeled after the popular Sevans models of the late 80s, the RC Dalek is an almost perfect copy of the studio original.  Almost.  The first “problem” with the figure is that it is not fashioned after the original version of the daleks as was shown with the prototype.  This of course is of very little concern, if it were not the rather poor way the shoulder slat section on the toy is represented.  However, with but a few alterations, one can easily convert the toy to a more accurate version of the Mark II machine, or (as this author prefers), an copy of the original Mark I machine that appeared in “The Dead Planet.”  And all one needs is a little time, a modeling knife, fine sand-paper, some paints, and a little patience.


. The first step in retro fitting the Dalek is to remove the plastic shoulder slats from the mid section.  This can easily be done by heating the area with a hair dryer and slowly pulling the slat section off (heating the area will help melt the glue).  This will leave the upper shoulder ban exposed, but covered with execs glue.


. Next very carefully cut or scrap the execs glue from the upper ban being careful not to cut into the plastic.  You will not be able to get all the glue off so don’t try.


. Next, using the very fine sandpaper, slowly sand down the upper ban until smooth, removing the execs plastic flings with a damp sponge.


. Once smooth and cleaned the ban is ready for a primer coat.  I choose a light gray primer so that the band will be noticeable from the background dark gray of the shoulder section.  Thinning it down apply a very thin layer of paint.  In most cases this will cover up any imperfections or remaining glue marks.

Once step 4 is completed the toy is now ready for the final stages of it’s conversion.  If you are like me and want a Mark I type Dalek, then the various holes within the upper ban can be filled in with modeling putty (if you wish to place the rubber slats back over the upper ban then do not fill in the holes).  Using an air brush and masking tape, mat off the exposed section of the Dalek that is not to be painted.  Lightly sand and clean the upper ban again, and then spray the upper ban silver. Spraying is recommend over painting it with a brush as most silver paints show brush strokes.  When dry you’ll have a very accurate model of the original version (once you paint in the eyestalk irs of course).

If it is a highly more detailed version of the Mark II Dalek that you want, then there are several sets one can take.  The easiest would be to reuse the plastic shoulder section that comes with the toy, cutting the slats off of the mesh.  Then using a mesh material that is available at most craft stores, cut and paint the mesh the appropriate sliver, gluing it to the upper ban.  Then glue the rubber slats from the old shoulder section over the mesh.  To achieve a more realistic look however, one should get a couple of sheets of styrene while you’re at the craft store and create the slats out of this. Then following the steps for creating the mesh, glue the painted styrene over the mesh.

Overall the whole operation should take no more than a 2 hours (not counting paint drying times), and when completed, you will have a highly detailed version of either the Mark I or Mark II Daleks to impress your friends.

If  a highly detailed version of the Mark I  Dalek is desired then the following steps are recommended:


. Using Metal Mend tape available at most automotive stores, a good pair of cutting scissors, white glue and a scribing pen – first cut two large strips of the Metal tape longer than the original plastic shoulder straps.  Then, using the original straps as a guide carefully trace around the strap.  Do not trace around the vertical sections of the strap as you want to create a rough guide on the tape.


. Next, using the scissors, very carefully cut the tape along the outline, making sure to stay within the guide marks.  The straps will be a bit wider than the upper ban on the model, but this will create a more realistic look.  Where the straps get smaller cut a vertical section on a diagonal to mimic the look of the upper band.


. Using the white glue, apply a small amount over the entire section of the upper ban doing one side at a time.  DO NOT remove the metal tape from it’s backing, this will cause the tape to wrinkle.  Slowly, beginning at the front, wrap the ban around the upper ban on the model applying a little bit of pressure.  The white glue will ahear to the tape’s paper backing.


. You will now need to cover the seam joints where the left and right sections of the new band meet.  Using the original shoulder band, carefully cut out the three of the smaller vertical slats and one of the larger ones.  Using a little of the white glue, apply one small slat to the upper front section of the shoulder straps, the lower front section of the shoulder slats (this will give the front of the model a uniformed look), and the lower back section of the shoulder strap.  Trimming the longer slat, apply this to the upper back section of the shoulder straps.


While it may not be a perfect reproduction of the Mark I Dalek, when completed one will have a highly accurate representation. Of course more experienced modelers will have not trouble retro fitting their R.C. Dalek, but for less experienced models like us, this is a simple way to re-create what this author considers the best version of the Dalek machine.

Article © 2003 John Rocco Roberto/Visagraph Films International.
Revised Articles © 2004 John Rocco Roberto.
Original photographs © 2003, 2004 Thomas Gangone.