1996 Movie TARDIS Console (and room?) or, at least, my approximation of it.

Started by d33j r093r5, Feb 04, 2020, 07:24 am

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d33j r093r5

Around about the middle of last year, Al Dewar (one of the heads of toy development at Character Options) announced some new Doctor Who figures as part of the 2019 line-up of the 5" / 5.5" / 1/13th scale range. For those of you familiar with the line (and I can't imagine there are many here who aren't), you will know that there were essentially 8 sets included in what was to be released. For simplicity's sake, rather than naming them all and showcasing them, I'll focus on the one that's most relevant to this thread:

Seventh Doc & Dalek Small Pack.jpg

... but they are all pretty special. As a small digression, you have NO idea how difficult these were to get hold of for someone living in Australia. In the past (and it seems going forward from here as well, which is a good thing), these types of figures were available to buy internationally from a number of different outlets, at fairly reasonable prices. More recently (especially post GFC) the number of releases dropped significantly, and CO seemed to be content to release mostly exclusives, available only from certain chains / outlets. Starting from 2018, one of those outlets (B&M) made the decision that the only way people could buy them is if they physically came into their stores (a way to get people through the doors) as they found that they sold REALLY well. Partly because of the fandom / collectors who were really interested, but also because the sets they demanded were very high quality, and many of the figures were previously unseen or unreleased before (they did use previous sculpts, but cleverly reworked and with new paint jobs), making them must-haves. That's great for all you people living in the UK. That's terrible for someone like me!  :o :o :P ::)

In the UK, these figures initially sold for £18.99. Converting that to Aussie, that's currently about $36.60. That's not cheap! 8 sets, you're looking at almost $300.00. What happens when something is in demand, in plentiful stock, but difficult to get hold of? The eBay scalpers have a field day! If I was lucky, I MIGHT find someone on eBay selling the above set for about £30.00. The price did start to drop after a while when demand started to peter out, but most people had sold out by then. A few selling it cheaper would still only deliver within the UK. A few local and US suppliers managed to get hold of some (ALSO through eBay), but the prices were just as ridiculous, to the extent that I think there wasn't much mark-up on them at all. A shop in Sydney still has some of those sets for sale .... for $173.00 EACH. I think there are still eBayers with the Big Finish exclusive versions (which were available through the Big Finish website, but sold out within 40 minutes of going on sale!), selling them for about £300.00 for all 3.

... and that's not even including the SHIPPING!! UK postage to Oz was fairly reasonable a few years ago. It seems to have gone up a fair bit recently. But, eBay now offers Global Shipping Program to its sellers, for simplicity, and the mark-up on that (at every stage of the process) is astronomical! And, to add further insult, the Australian government recently introduced a GST on all imported goods. It made Amazon decide to stop allowing Australian buyers to buy through the American site, and set up a separate Australian site and Australian distribution. Of course, that also means that we no longer have access to the full range of goods on Amazon... I seem to have strayed into a full on rant, and completely hijacked my own post. Not what I intended to do, my apologies. But I do feel better for having vented...

Just to finish off that tangent though, I even asked a friend in the UK (a member of this forum no less) if they would help me out in getting my hands on the sets. By the time I'd thought to do it, they had even dropped in price at B&M to £12.99. That would have been a great bargain for me. Unfortunately, they could not find them. Anywhere. They went to 4 or 5 different B&M stores (entirely of their own accord as well, really above and beyond, I was grateful for the effort they went to). Entirely sold out. I finally was able to purchase all the sets over a period of about 2 months for more reasonable prices through eBay, but still a hell of a lot more expensive than I should have had to pay for them. By comparison, CO has announced some new 2020 figures, not exclusives, which you can purchase from a number of places, at a starting price of about £12.99. I was able to pre-order them at that price, which I think is fair (not including shipping of course)! #endrant.

Dragging us all back to the purpose of this thread, having got my hands on the above set, I realised that the only console room I have that this Doctor would look at home in (and also, every 8th Doctor figure I have as well) is the 1996 Movie Console Room! Took a while but we got there!  :D :D ;D

I had always been a bit leary about doing this console / console room; it's big and complex, and in terms of getting the dimensions and scale, there is fairly slim pickings. The alternate method is, of course, watching the movie through, pausing it frequently, taking screen grabs, and then use those as a reference to get a sense of size, scale and perspective with reference to people and things also in the frame, and the bits you are trying to gauge against other bits you are trying to gauge. Which would be fine... except that just about everything in the '96 movie inside the TARDIS is dark and gloomy, and very hard to get a sense of what's there, what isn't, what is shadow, what is not, etc...

Putting that aside, and say one does manage to get everything roughly the right size and shape, modelling it isn't the issue. Some bits are harder than others, especially given the complexity of some of the shapes, but it's do-able. Given the scale at which I want to print it, some of it is REALLY hard to do, if not impossible, given how small and detailed some of those parts are. My current equipment may not be up to the task. There are 3D printers that can, but they're currently out of my price range...

My son had been asking me about this console for some time as well. I basically gave him the run down I just gave y'all as well. But having got that above figure.... eeeeee ahhhhhhhhh, dammit! So, I decided to bite the bullet...

First thing I did was browse this forum!  :D ;D :D ;D ... because of COURSE I did! Who else is gonna have the BEST references for what I'm after!  ;D ;D

The first (and main one I've used for the console) reference I came across was the excellent 3D CG model and subsequent printed model by oslm: http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=5530.0 . Beautifully done and realized TARDIS console. If mine looks half as good as that, I'll be happy.

On his thread, he's been very kind and included dimensioned drawings of the console proper (including a section view) and the plinth. As his is already scaled to the 1/13th range, that was my starting point.

1996 Console Assembly 001_200109_001.JPG

Those plinth legs were interesting to model, and they really still are just an approximation. I'm fairly happy with with the general size and shape of them, and ultimately weren't too hard to model. However the balls at the end, well... they have very organic looking claws on them (in the original AND in oslm's model, which he's also done brilliantly btw). My issue is that I work in Solidworks, which is a parametric design tool for engineer-type people; it's not great on freeform stuff. It can DO it, but not very well, and is REALLY hard to get right. So, my feet currently don't have claws. I'm working on it...  :P

I started working on this on the 6th of January 2020. Thanks to being able to shortcut much of that initial process, I had a TARDIS console and plinth in done in a few hours. From there, I moved onto the time column:

1996 Console Assembly 001_200110_002.JPG

1996 Console Assembly 001_200111_003.JPG

... also based on oslm's work. It was much easier gauging size and scale from his excellent renders than from screenshots. I've probably got things wrong at this point as it's mostly guesswork, but it LOOKS about right. Good enough for a 5" scale model at any rate...

Rather than do the Time Rotor next, I completed the buttressing and flooring:

1996 Console Assembly 001_200112_004.JPG

1996 Console Assembly 001_200112_005.JPG

If you're thinking that the size of the buttresses in those 2 images (and some of the detailing) looks different, you're not wrong. I was playing around with size and angles to see what i thought looked better / more in keeping with the look and feel of the original. I eventually decided on the slightly taller, less acute angle version. I thought it gave a much grander sense of scale, which the original movie prop certainly did.

I then modeled the rotor. it was at this point that I also decided to start rendering the final screen-grabs. Just because I wanted to to look more realistic for you guys... ok, for my benefit as well, but I was thinking about this forum the whole time!!  ;D

The plain, modeled screen grab:

1996 Console Assembly 001_200117_006.JPG

and the rendered version:

1996 Console Assembly 001_200117_008.jpg

... some of the bits are a bit shiny, too reflective and not quite the right colour... that's ok, that gets fixed ;) . Please also note that the control slots for the instrumentation to fit into has also now been added;

1996 Console Assembly 001_200118_014.jpg

... told ya I'd fix those colours and surface textures. Not EVERYTHING is done yet, but it's getting there. I've also started adding controls. It's at about this time that I discovered another reference: http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=3413.0 started by Dino. A lot of the subsequent work, plus the control modeling came from using the pictures in this thread as a reference. I've since found a couple of others, but I'll get to those in due course.

1996 Console Assembly 001_200127_016.jpg

... more controls...

1996 Console Assembly 001_200127_018.jpg   1996 Console Assembly 001_200127_020.jpg

... and the evolution of the colours...

... gonna leave it here for a bit, gotta go and make dinner. Will post more shortly...


d33j r093r5

Ok, where was I...

As mentioned, all subsequent work I've done on the console has come from the Restoration thread that galacticprobe started. Lots of nice close up shots in good light of all sides, and a disassembled console and controls to work from has made this a fantastic reference.

I WAS going to do a breakdown of all the controls modeled thus far, but it's a bit... mmmm... boring I think. I could ramble on for hours about things people aren't necessarily interested in. Pretty sure most people come here for pics and inspiration, and if not that then problem solving. So if you have any specific questions, I'll answer em as best I can, otherwise I'll just show you the progress pics, and unravel the thorny developments and how I solve them as they arise...

Some components give me more difficulty than others. For instance, these light housings:

Panel 3 Light Housing_200204_002.jpg   Panel 3 Light Housing_200204_004.jpg

... have some interesting geometry that requires a bit of extra thought and planning, but not so much that it's a deal breaker. Others, like the clocks on some faces of the console are just too small to make with all the detail in them at the scale it will be printed, so they're left pretty bare-bones.

Anyway, these are the renders of the console as it developed:

1996 Console Assembly 001_200127_021.jpg

1996 Console Assembly 001_200127_023.jpg

1996 Console Assembly 001_200127_024.jpg

... at this point I was tired at looking at that glaring, shiny, orange surface that the console currently had, and decided I would attempt to give it that faux rosewood look it had in the movie...

1996 Console Assembly 001_200130_025.jpg

... not quite; not enough detail and still too shiny. Took a few goes, but got something I was finally moderately happy with...

1996 Console Assembly 001_200201_028.jpg

... and then, more controls...

1996 Console Assembly 001_200202_029.jpg

1996 Console Assembly 001_200203_032.jpg

... actually, at this point, I'm thinking maybe the surface isn't shiny enough. The surface of the console doesn't appear to be interacting with the light at all. Will have to do something about that methinks.  :)

Anyway, this is where I'm currently at. Feel free to ask questions. I'm sure there will be something I've forgotten to mention besides.  ::) And hopefully, I'll have something more to post in the next day or so.  ;D