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New, New TardisBuilders!

Screen used 1996 console restoration

Started by galacticprobe, Jan 29, 2012, 08:19 pm

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Jan 29, 2012, 08:19 pm Last Edit: Mar 21, 2012, 02:55 pm by rassilonsrod
Okay... I'll start here since this is where the topic started. The Mods can split things off if they feel the need. And since I brought it up, and Bob has given his blessing, let's get started. And for distinction purposes I'm keeping all of my comments in italics. Everything transcribed below was written and photographed by Bob Mitsch. (I made minuscule edits where my computer showed a misspelling. No other content was changed.)
Chameleon Circuit: The TVM Console Restoration Log Pt. 1
Jan. 19th, 2012 at 6:01 AM
(Original blog post: http://honorarydoctor.livejournal.com/14419.html)

Hey Gang,

So late October of 2011, Paul Salamoff, Brian Uiga and I embarked on a pretty special project. As some of you may know, Paul is the current owner of the Doctor Who TARDIS Console as seen in the 1996 Fox TV Movie and used on-screen by both Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann. It's a fabulous-looking prop and still in fairly good shape. The electronics were still in working order and a number of the switches and knobs were intact. Paul himself had already built a replica of the central column or time rotor to complete it as the console did not include this when he purchased it about 6 years ago.

The Console on set in 1996

More Pics and info:

Paul's Custom Remade Rotor

Here's a few pics of how the console looked prior to October, 2011.

Console in 2009.

And here's a neat video where we featured this for a Dr. Who PBS Marathon on KTEH in fall of 2009:

(Console portion runs 0:30 to about 3:45 in.)

When the guest roster announced for 23rd annual Gallifrey One convention in February included the ENTIRE main cast and producer behind the TV Movie... we decided now was the time to try and get the console ready for public display.

The Console in the TVM.


Special Side Extra panels


Bottom views when complete - and showing obvious need of a cleaning

While in good shape, the console was going to need some tender loving care to bring it back to spec and really wow the fans who might see it up close. Our Mission, Should We Choose to Accept It: Restore the TARDIS Console to its former 1996 glory!!!! Cue the flute and bongos, because we took up the challenge.

Paul and Brian figuring out what makes it tick.


Panel exploration

Paul being the owner was 100% behind it all, and he brought his extensive 12+ year background as a prop-maker and Special FX artist to the table. Brian also brought a lot of great ideas to really crank this project to "Eleven." He had a lot of experience making replica Dr. Who props (Seven's umbrella and the classic Sonic etc.) as well as outfitting replica showcase 'Celebrity' cars such as James Bond's BMW from "Tomorrow Never Dies" and Herbie the Love Bug.



Removing panels

Brian checks the electronics and lights

Brian helped a lot on sourcing and re-creating parts as well as re-wiring the console's lights and adding some nifty sound effects. I myself helped mostly to lend a hand (it's proven to be a laborious task!) and act as a 3rd pair of eyes when needed.

Lights still work


Bottom view of base

As the Chameleon Circuit Repair Team Trio, we had our work cut out for us though. Aside from a good dusting & cleaning, the console would need the following:

- Double check all the lights for functionality (as well as noting exactly which switch activates what)
- Add lights to the Time Rotor
- Brace the legs and figure out a smoother way to transport the console
- Replace any missing switches and knobs (of which there were quite a few).
- Build and replace the hand crank which was sadly now missing.
- Restore functionality to the three clocks

Clocks to be restored in working order.

- Find a way to hide extra wiring/power strips/relays that would be required.
- Replace any broken or larger bulbs with safer/brighter LED lights (as the console can get fairly hot when lights are left on for extended periods).

Fragile claw feet on legs


Doctorin' the TARDIS

Reflector lights

Interior view of lights

Some additional features we wanted to add:

- Wire up a custom sound board & speaker which would activate music & Sound Effects by switch.
- Wire lights to a relay s panels would dim & flash in alternating fashion as seen in the TVM
- Rig a motor on the middle main clock so it could spin forwards or backwards as seen in TVM
- Wire up all of these functions so they can all be activated by remote control
- Possibly look into adding some mechanical motion into the brake, lever or time rotor


Journey to the Center of the Console

The first step to accomplishing all of this was to take the console apart to get at the electronics. We knew this had to be designed back in '96 to be serviced if it had gone to series. We assumed the top lifted off in whole or in sections. We removed the central column and removed a lot of the cords and power strips which were tucked in the lower central base. We went around taking out screws and removing parts of panels only to find what needed to be removed were several strategic screws underneath the console.




First view through one of the inset panels



Picture of the Console from "Doctor Who Regeneration" showing how the wires are accessible from the bottom.


Now had we simply reviewed the "Regeneration" book more carefully we would have found the answer very quickly!!! It turns out once unscrewed the bottom of the console can be removed in three sections. Once this is accomplished the electronics are easy to get to and many of them fold downward on hinged wooden panels for quick access.

Bottom of Console once removed (1 section of 3 total)

View underneath with panels removed




A fold down board with electronics (up and then down)

Once this was done we gave it a dusting and cleaning as this probably hadn't been opened in 15 years and needed it badly.


Vacuuming away the years of dust w/ board down

An interesting thing we spotted was that several of the controls had been wired up to a tough string or piano wire! Things like the giant lever, the main radial dial, the hand brake were all still wired up in this fashion so someone laying underneath could move them 'as if by magic' and make the console appear to be working itself! It's funny when you think of the 5 million spent on the TVM how low-tech some of these solutions still are.
(Dino's note: Maybe Grace wasn't so far off with her "low-tech" comment. ;))


Collected string which pulls levers

After taking things apart and looking it over we found only ONE SINGLE bulb was burnt out and needed replacing. Nice for a 15+ year-old prop!



More bulbs/reflectors to be checked

Underneath the circular twist 4-quadrant lighted dials
The topside of the same dial is missing central knob

Brian took measurements of the base of the crank to extrapolate a design and build for the new one he would source/make.


Original Hand Crank in the TVM


Missing Hand Crank base

He and Paul also took samples of the remaining knobs, thumbscrews, black 'guitar' switches and white 'guitar' switches to look around for existing matches. Failing that the plan was to make a mold of the existing switches and make copies of them.

The seven bottom switches weren't hooked up to anything so they will be used for light/ & SFX.
The left five switches are missing and will be replaced.


Yellow 'puck' knobs - one of which will need to be replaced from a copy of one of the others.
Yellow puck switches shown complete in the movie

For transport issues we quickly hit on the idea of building a wood hexagon base to mount the console on. The base would be in the style of the wood floor from the TV movie but it would have castors underneath so it could be easily rolled around and not risk damaging the three 'claw' legs underneath. Brian had some extra bamboo wood from an entire house re-flooring project he'd been working on so that plan fell into place nicely.

While cleaning we discovered a green oval gel that needed reattaching.

The oval top light needs green gel re-attached. Right knob needs replacing. The right upper two thumbscrews on the inner radio panel were missing and replaced with thumbscrews found inside the console attached to interior components. The blue light was designated as the "Sonic" light - to turn on by Sonic/remote control activation.

To hide the extra power strips and wires we hit on the idea of finding a match to the Doctor's rather large vintage style medical bag he kept his tools in. We could position this near the console on the base and it would house the extra electronics. Over top of this a lid would be placed with replicas of various tools, gizmos and the Sonic so it would look like an 'ordinary' Doctor's tool bag serving an aesthetic function as well.

Doctor's bag on the recreation list.

The center column of the Console runs straight to the round as a giant open 'tube'. It made it easy for us to look at setting extra wires or power strips inside.

Once we were set for our plan we had a little fun connecting up the sound board Brian had made. I'd helped to locate some of the TARDIS sound effects needed and it was pretty cool to hear it in action. The Theme tune, some McGann quotes, TARDIS in flight, materializing, etc., were all there and sounded great.

Bottom Claw legs that needed bracing/protecting when the Console was moved.

Eat your heart out Jon Pertwee - the time rotor removed

Double checking the working lights

We then stored the console away and Paul began planning out how to build the wooden base. We had our search tasks and agreed to meet up again in few weeks to continue the work!

The most important thing everyone should know is that YES this console WILL BE ON DISPLAY at the 23rd Gallifrey One Convention for its first public appearance! More details about the con are here: www.gallifreyone.com

We've just confirmed final details so that fans can come see this fully restored, one-of-a-kind, screen-used iconic prop in person at the Marriott LAX in Los Angeles all three days of Gally (Feb. 17th-19th, 2012). Stop by the Cosplay Hall anytime during convention hours to check it out close-up. Special times will be arranged to get your photo professionally taken working the Doctor's TARDIS Console! Hope to see you all there!

The Console Today - Pre-Restoration

The Console Restoration Part II continues next week with Hexagon TARDIS flooring and custom Doctor's Bags!


WOW! If it hasn't been said before, this is amazing. (I am scared to death of what Part II of this blog will be like to transcribe!) And someone please send Bob a new password so we can get him back! I've never met him in person, but I've PM'd with him on another forum and he is a very kind-hearted (and talented!) individual. It would be great to have him as a member here once more.

Dino, the exhausted! (I think I'm done for the night.)
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Feb 04, 2012, 06:55 pm #1 Last Edit: Mar 20, 2012, 07:52 pm by rassilonsrod
Okay, everyone, here comes another installment on the restoration. And like last time I'll keep my comments in italics to differentiate them from Bob's blog. Again the only edits I made were to correct any misspellings my computer detected.
Chameleon Circuit: The TVM Console Restoration Log Pt. II
Feb. 1st, 2012 at 7:52 AM
(Original blog post: http://honorarydoctor.livejournal.com/15833.html)

Hey Gang,

So onward to Part II of the TARDIS Console restoration. So we're picking things up several weeks after Pt. 1 took place including some off-camera time Brian and Paul had to work ahead on projects like the Doctor's Bag, the Hexagon Base and the Hand Crank before we regrouped. Today the main goal was to get the Console mounted on the new base and check over the power cords/circuits for each of the lights.


More Pics and info

Upon arriving for the day, I was pretty impressed to see the work Paul had done on recreating the Doctor's Medical Bag or toolkit. We had tried to find a real vintage medical bag that would be a match to the one from the TVM but found nothing was really close enough and what we did find was often fairly expensive as this was quite a vintage model. Also most medical bags were too small for our purposes of hiding extra power strips and cords. So if you can't find it, build it!


Double the Doctor's Bags

Paul and I went over a few screen grabs of the TVM a few weeks prior and based on relative sizes of McGann's Hand and arms we came up with a solid ballpark for the Bag's dimensions.

Following this Paul then made up the base shape out of MDF Fiber wood. This was then re-enforced with screws on the bottom/sides and small nails hammered into the side seams.


Doctor's Bag Bottom and Side Screws

Doctor's Bag Side reinforcing nails

For the top curved closures, the same MDF was used as a base (so the underside would be flat to strap tools on) and then used plastic bendable mesh gutter material which curved outward with the help of a few carefully placed pieces of L-200 foam inserted via barge so it would hold its shape.

L-200 Foam inserts for the top curve

Curved Plastic shelving for the lid

Then he screwed in brass hinges for the lids for easy open & close action.

Doctor's Bag Added hinges for the top

For further reinforcement, and to build an interior ledge upon which a top try would sit, he placed in some square wood dowels along the side corners and the across the top horizontally with both glue and back-up screws.


Doctor's bag Wood Dowels glued/screwed in place to create a lip to rest the tray of tools

With inset tray to hide wire and show off top shelf of 'tools'

The inset tray, Paul created a 'window' frame out of some of the spare MDF fiber wood and then glued some more of the plastic gutter material mesh onto it once cut to the proper dimensions.


Doctor's Bag plastic shelving on a thin wood frame becoming an interior tray to set tools on.

A drain pipe C-clamp was then screwed into both side to act as the 'fingerhold' handle to easily left the tray in and out of the bag.

Drain Pipe clamp screwed on to act as a finger handle for the tray

Paul had really done a stellar job on these bags - and we hadn't even gotten to the fun part - adding the tools and doing the beauty pass on it. In case you're wondering - a 2nd bag was made at the same time for Brian to take home eventually as it was his first replica prop(s) and it was a small thank you for all the help he was giving to the project.

Brian's plans for the replica hand crank

Next, Brian had drawn up some plans for the Hand Crank in Solid Works.


Working out the Crank using the existing base/screen grabs to extrapolate measurements.

Taking the surviving crank base from the console & a few screen grabs, he extrapolated the dimensions of the entire piece. Once worked out the metal crank was made by mill and the two wood portions were knocked over a few hours on his father's lathe. Voila! One replica TARDIS Hand Crank made to order!

Brian's Finished Custom Made Hand Crank Replica

The other big project was the Hexagon base. Brian had delivered his spare wood from his flooring project weeks prior. Again Paul had really done a fab job making the framework from plywood, first assembling a six sided skeleton framework.

Paul builds and finishes the base

The Wood Framework that makes up the skeleton of the base.

Base frame underneath

Then adding castor wheels underneath so the base would roll smoothly and make transporting the console a LOT easier.

Castors underneath the Base allow the console to easily roll smoothly from now on

Also three floor stops were added underneath as well to be sure the Console would lock in place and stay rock steady once it would be set up for the convention.


Added floor stop on three points so it will lock down.

Finally the flooring flat wood was added on to mimic the flooring of the TARDIS in the TVM. When I arrived Paul was just finishing cutting the Side boards and applying them with liquid nails.


Finishing the Hexagon base

Setting liquid nails onto the final side boards

Next for reinforcement, we went over the base with a nail gun to nail in all of the top boards to better secure them down.


Applying the side boards

Then Brian, Paul and I pulled out the console and emptied its interior which was housing all of the power cords and strips. We made a note that each Power Strip was denoted by a letter-number configuration.




Pulling out the cords and power strips from the center of the console to make way for base mounting & determine which lights are on which strip/cord.

The nice thing was the empty hollow center of the console would be great for hiding rotor lights, the sound speaker and as before, some of the power cords and strips.

Down the now cleaned out hollow center of the console

While looking this over Brian showed us his idea to recreate the small rectangular Beryllium Atomic Clock Chip the Doctor Used to repair the TARDIS in the TVM. Recreating it was done simply with a micro cassette and a couple of red lights. While not perfect it looked the part. We set it aside for the moment but planned to add it later.

Looking at a possible "Beryllium Atomic Clock Chip" Replica out of a micro cassette and some lights to add another bit of bling to the console.

Brian's designs for the Clock Motor

Brian also removed the large center clock to take home for further work. He wanted to apply a design he had to motorize it so it could spin forwards or backwards by switch - as seen in the TVM.

Removing the main central clock so Brian can take it home to motorize it

Brian also unloaded a lot of wiring relays which would eventually be used to help hook up a collection of electronic bits which he'd field-tested on the various car projects. Brian has designed a fully interactive display using sound effects, light sequences, and various motors which would be connected and eventually activated by the panel of black 'guitar/toggle' switches on the 'star' panel.

Relays, relays, relays

Finished base

We'd given the base a little time to set with the liquid nails. Now that we deemed it ready, we lifted the HEAVY Console up on to its new home and spent about 15 minutes arranging it this way and that in order to get it perfectly centered.


Situating the Console on the base to be properly centered - then marking it off to cut a hole for the wires that will have to snake underneath

Once we determined we had it in the perfect spot, we marked its position on the base and removed it.


Drawing the Hole for cutting

Then a hole had to be cut in the center to allow the wires and cords to go through the center of the Console, then come back up underneath the base through in the Doctor's Bag which would house the rest of the electronics.

Sawing out the hole

Cutting out a smaller hole through the framework to allow a passage for the wires

This process was done twice. Once for the floor of the base and again for one of the framework studs (which was a pain and a half!) so the cords could pass through easily across to the segment where we determined the Doctor's Bag would sit.

Drilling holes for the screws to mount the Console on the base.

Then it was a simple & tedious matter of drilling holes through the console and base and applying four strategic bolt screws to lock it down for good! And yes folks the bottom of the Console is also made of wood and not metal as it implies on screen.


Bolting it down.

Our final chore of the day was also tedious but very necessary. Brian and I slowly looked over the Console plugging and unplugging each separate light cord from each of the 7 power strips to determined which plug turned on exactly WHICH light (or Lights as was often the case). A few plugs turned on nothing at all which was puzzling as pretty much every light was accounted for save for the 1 burnt out light bulb. It took some time of course but we got it all down in the end which would make things much easier for when we had to wire up certain lights to switches on the console as well as test things out once we got to bulb replacement.


Panel 1 - Codename 'Timing'


Panel 2 - Codename 'Star'


Panel 3 - Codename 'Screen'

After we laid out which plug went to its destination light, Brian made nice reference PDF files for each of the panels which we gave reference names. I tended to think of the panels as a six 'man' IMF/A-Team with the Codenames as Brian noted above :)


Panel 4 - Codename 'Crank'


Panel 5 - Codename 'Radio'


Panel 6 - Codename 'Resistor'

With that work done we called it a day! We would re-convene in another couple of weeks to start wiring up sound and go over the missing switches.



Paul Salamoff is a twenty-plus year veteran of the film industry. He has found success as a Writer, Producer, Film Executive, Comic Book Creator, Author, and originally as a Special F/X Make-Up Artist.

Born in Natick, MA, he was raised on a healthy diet of sci-fi and horror from the age of five. After high school, he moved to California to attend film school at USC. Salamoff parlayed his obsession for genre filmmaking into a successful run as a professional Special F/X Make-Up Artist. In his years doing FX, he worked on over forty films, ten television series, and numerous commercials.
His Film and TV writing credits include THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING, THE ST. FRANCISVILLE EXPERIMENT and ALIEN SIEGE. He was recently hired to write the high-budget SINBAD: ROGUE OF MARS for Morningside Entertainment. He is also author of two non-fiction books: ON THE SET: THE HIDDEN RULES OF MOVIE MAKING ETIQUETTE and THE COMPLETE DVD BOOK: DESIGN, PRODUCTION AND MARKETING.

As a Comic Creator, Salamoff is the writer of a number of Comic Book Series including the wildly popular VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS, ROGER CORMAN PRESENTS BLACK SCORPION, PUPPY POWER: BO OBAMA and LOGAN'S RUN: LAST DAY and LOGAN'S RUN: AFTERMATH both written with William F. Nolan. He is also author of the critically acclaimed graphic novel DISCORD and the upcoming THE CAST OF DOCTOR WHO bio-comic.
In 2005 Salamoff became Vice President of Production for David Lancaster Productions working on WES CRAVEN'S THE BREED and HOLLOW MAN 2. After a successful merge with BOLD Films, he became their Vice President of Production and worked on such films as LEGION, BOBBY and STARSHIP TROOPERS: MARAUDER. After leaving Bold, he accepted the position of President of Production for Rat Bastard Productions working on the festival darling DOWN FOR LIFE.

Having been involved with THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY & HORROR FILMS for over twelve years, he produced the 22nd, 23rd, 33rd, 34th and 35th Saturn Awards. Salamoff has also produced Video Game TV/Web Development videos and Trailers for G-Net Media. Working on such high-profile projects as THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, BULLETSTORM, MAFIA 2, MASS EFFECT 2, GEARS OF WAR 2, DEAD SPACE and the upcoming RECKONING: KINGDOMS OF AMALUR

(Dino's note: This guy is also - as we said in The Bronx - "one lucky slob" to have gotten his hands on this original work of art!)


Brian Uiga has been building gadgets and props since 1996, when he saw the Dr. Who TV Movie, fell in love with the show, and was compelled over the next four years to build a complete TARDIS toolkit, as well as other props and costumes from the classic era of the series.
Over the last decade, his other prop replica projects have included: a set of the puppet robots from "Mystery Science Theater 3000", a fully working Herbie, the Love Bug car, a gadget laden James Bond's BMW from "Tomorrow Never Dies", and Horace, the Hate Bug car. These Celebrity Replica cars are kept busy most weekends during the year at charity or police events with a group of TV and Movie cars at www.starcarcentral.com.

Brian is currently working on a "Super Pursuit Mode" Knight Rider KITT car alongside these TARDIS Console repairs. He feels fortunate to be able to restore and add life to he centerpiece prop from the film that inspired him to start tinkering 15 years ago.
When not pursuing his hobby of replica cars and props, Brian has worked as a Special Effects Supervisor and Producer of sketch comedy. He currently works as a mechanical engineer designing precision optical equipment for film post production and restoration. He is a graduate of the UC San Diego with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

(Dino's note: Bob is a prior member of TARDIS Builders, back in 2009, and hopefully soon will be again.)

Bob Mitsch is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in English and Screenwriting. In addition, to having five years experience as a marketing copywriter, he has spent an additional five years working in Television Post Production at a local PBS affiliate, Riot! Santa Monica and Starz Media.
When not pursuing the above, Bob's hobbies include writing, films and costumes. In his youth, he wrote and directed over a dozen student & fan films and also acted in a handful of Los Angeles independent theater productions. Bob dove into the cosplay convention scene over a decade ago with a replica of a childhood favorite - "The Greatest American Hero"'s super suit. A handful of other superhero/science fiction characters followed before Bob tackled the daunting project of putting together costume replicas (and props) for all 11 incarnations of the Doctor, plus several Villains such as the "Revenge" Cyberman and a VOC Robot.
He is the organizer of the Costume Panel Track for the Gallifrey One Convention, Co-Moderator of dw-cosplay on livejournal as well as the writer/host of the 8 part "How Who Are You?" Dr. Who Marathon segment series for KTEH TV in the fall of 2009. Recently, he was ecstatic to be featured along with his friends in costume on Matt Smith's iPhone during the Xmas 2011 Graham Norton Show.
On Matt's iPhone as Hartnell

He has found the cosplay hobby a lot of fun and a rewarding way to meet other fans and new friends. He has been a fan of Dr. Who since he was 6 years old. (And for the record Tom Baker will always be HIS Doctor.)

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Clock and Crank attachments, replicating switches and wiring up light and sound FX in Part III!


So that's it for Part 2 of the restoration. (I just know everyone is hanging on for Part 3!)

Dino (exhausted once more!).
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Feb 11, 2012, 04:45 pm #2 Last Edit: Mar 20, 2012, 07:51 pm by rassilonsrod
Okay... time for the transcription of Part 3 of the TVM Console Restoration.
(Same disclaimer as with Parts 1 and 2.)

Chameleon Circuit: The TVM Console Restoration Log Pt. III
Feb. 8th, 2012 at 3:51 PM
(Original blog post: http://honorarydoctor.livejournal.com/16448.html)

Hey Gang,

So onward to Part III of the TARDIS Console restoration. So we're picking things up a couple of weeks after Pt. II took place including some time over the holidays that Brian and Paul had to wire Sound FX to 4 of the toggle switches and mounting the new Hand Crank before we regrouped in full. Today the main goal was to hook up the remaining three switches to lights/clocks, check suitability for Black Toggle switch replacing, re-mount the main clock, and start wiring all of the toggle functions o the remote control.


More Pics and info

Original crank

So first easy step was to attach the brand new Hand Crank which came out smashing! Still needs some staining to get the color right but that will be reserved for the final day.

Brian's Recreated Hand Crank


Brian mounts the new Hand Crank


Newly Mounted Hand Crank

Then Brian wired up the sound effects with the Ride Tones Drive to 4 of the guitar/black toggle switches to that each would be activated depending if you moved a switch up or down.



Testing with the Volt meter before wiring in the sounds

The lights were all hooked up to a couple of Christmas Light controller boxes which when activated would allow the lights to cascade and alternate on and off and create a nice 'pulse of life' to the TARDIS as seen in the TV Movie!


4 of the switches now wired to go for sound!


Ride Tones Sound Effects Drive which will be hidden by the Doctor's bag

Check out the TARDIS Sound Testing here:


Little other items had to be assessed and addressed such as noting where gels would be replaced and what areas were a little loose and needed hot gluing down (which incidentally is what the original prop guys clearly used on a lot of these controls to hold them in place)

Loose Turn Dial will need to be hot glued in place.

The Speaker for the sounds was placed in the center of the console while we tested it out. This would later be mounted further within the column base, hidden away from view but still packing a good wallop of volume.

Speaker for the sounds. This will eventually be mounted lower in the central base column.

Then we assessed some new part for the replacement black toggle switches. The size was good so we tested if they would fit.


Replacements for the Black Guitar/Toggle Switches

It was a bit tight so this was drilled slightly larger ad then it made the fit perfect. Paul then took each of these and belt sanded them down to curve the ends down to replicate the shape of the original switches. The color and ends will be finished off for the final 'beauty pass' with some sculpty and paint.

Testing replacement guitar switch screw to make sure it'll thread nicely

Drilling the screws to improve the threading.

Perfect fit



I'm sure the Doctor's done this many times before...

Meanwhile Brian continued to check the wiring and assess the various lights. In the cases where we'd keep the halogens the brackets were adjusted to move the lights closer to the console to improve the brightness levels of the display.


Adjusting the light mount to move the bulbs closer to test for brighter light display

Then Brian connected up the two side clocks to the power and restored their functionality. They now turn on with the flick of a switch! These were then hot glued back into place.

Soldering the connections to the 2 side clocks to restore functionality

Check out the testing of the two clocks here:


Then the main center clock was now ready to be connected. Brian had rigged it up with a motor in the back so it will 'speed forward' or even backward - again by a flick of the switch. This was then mounted and hot glued back into place.



Mounting the newly motorized clock.

Check out the action of the new motorized spinning main clock here:


The structure of the console itself was *slightly* wobbly in the interior around the column, so Paul braced these sections with 4-inch wood block to make sure everything was rock solid.


Paul added support block to re-stabilize the interior structure.

We sized up the Doctor's Bag for eventual placement. Everything looked good to go!

Sizing up the Doctor's Bag for eventual placement.

The lamp, wire for the eventual rotor lights, and the brake light were all wired in as well. The Brake was rigged to go on when you brought the lever down to a connector switch which would also initiate the TARDIS Crash Land Sound Effect.

Brake light switch


Brian wires up the clocks and light functions


Underneath we also gathered and labeled the 'control strings' that were designed to activate certain things like the Scanner Screen lever, brake, and several dials with piano wire.


Labeling the control strings

The last big chore of the day was prepping relays to wire up the same functions of the toggle switches (sounds, clocks and lights) to the remote control. Paul and I got the relays ready while Brian got this job started. He made it about halfway through until we had to call it a day.

Paul and I prep up extra relay connections for the remote control

The remote control which will activate all the same sound, motor and light functions.


Just another day in the TARDIS

Thanks for reading! Doctor's Tools, finishing the Doctor's Bag, solving Rotor lighting and changing light bulbs, light bulbs, in Part IV!

Be sure to see this Prop Feb 17th-19th at the Gallifrey One Convention at the LAX Marriott. You can get your photo taken with this prop n the Fan Room free of charge (though tips are appreciated) Fri & Sat 12-1PM and Sunday 10AM-11AM! Though bear in mind there will be no printout/hard copy photos, you will need to have a digital camera memory card, USB/flash drive to load your photos onto.

Also as a special bonus: for a set donation to the TARDIS restoration fund you can buy one of the screen used halogen light bulbs that once lit this prop that have now been replaced with LED lights! Limited quantity and these will go fast so FYI!

Dino's note: I didn't transcribe the "TEAM TARDIS" bios that were in Part 3 because they are transcribed in Part 2, so rather than repeat those I left them out. If anyone would like them transcribed again in Part 3 just let me know and I can modify the transcription.

Dino. (Panting away, and eagerly awaiting Part 4)
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Feb 16, 2012, 04:09 pm #3 Last Edit: Mar 21, 2012, 09:26 am by rassilonsrod
Okay! Moving on to Part 4 of the Restoration Transcription. (As a note, Page 1 of this thread is taking forever to load. I hope this isn't going to blow something up!)

You know the disclaimer, so here goes:

Chameleon Circuit: The TVM Console Restoration Log Pt. IV
Feb. 13th, 2012 at 8:03 AM
(Original blog post: http://honorarydoctor.livejournal.com/16946.html)

Hey Gang,

So onward to Part IV of the TARDIS Console restoration. So we're picking things up a week after Pt. III. Today the main goal was to finish wiring up the remote control, mount the wires/relay box inside the console, get the Doctor's bag cosmetically finished, decide on our Rotor lighting options, replace as many of the key 'hot spots' of halogens with new LED lights and trouble shoot any other small areas we could fix.


More Pics and info

So when we first got together Paul and I were pretty blown away by the work Brian had done on replicating various gadgets and tools for the Doctor's bag made or modified or simply found from various spare parts, toy sonics, and model kit parts. (and while there is a toy Co Master's Laser Screwdriver and Smith Sonic in this mix, I promise the metal McGann era sonic WILL be in this bag too!)

Original TARDIS toolkit





Doctor's Tools recreated from Spare parts by Brian

While we were off to a great start here the one key tool we still looked to re-create was the Magnetic clamp Grace clocks the Doctor with toward the end of the movie. We'd get back to this one on the following week!

Tools reference guide

The Smith Sonic will make a cameo appearance from the future in the bag

Brian then showed off his centerpiece of the gadgets: A wired up CO Tennant Sonic which now acts as a sonic remote for the Sonic Sound effect and Blue light on the console. This was pretty fun to switch on and I know throughout the day we were all taking turns on this.


CO Sonic now wired to be a functional remote control

See the new remote Sonic in action here:

Dino's note: I finally figured out how to get that Youtube window in here (thanks to another post I saw from Crispin). So I'll go back and edit Parts 1 thru 3 to get the Youtube windows into them. Enjoy!


Brian also busted out the new sets of LED lights we'd be placing into the Console that day. Three different levels of power, 1 for the smaller jewel lights, another for the radial dials and the strongest for the largest lights such as the Green oval light or largest radial center dial.

The new brighter LEDs

Halogen vs. LED

He had already pre-cut a nice hole in the bottom large enough to accommodate all the wires and electronics which would fit over the pre-cut hole that was put into the base back in Part II of this blog.

Hole cut for wires to pass-through and mount the electronics.

Brian had recommended the use of some of the larger small CPU fans which we would place inside the console and at 1 or two of the lower gratings to help keep air circulation and keep the console cool as the heat it produces with the lights was one of our chief concerns to solve.

Making sure the mini fans will mount nicely under the grating

To make our lives and backs easier we finally got smart from here out and started rigging up benches from plastic crates and wood planks so we could lay beneath this prop and concentrate on the bulb replacement work.

Our new under TARDIS work bench to lay on for easy/comfort access

Essentially I would help Brian replace certain halogen bulbs for the new LEDs and he would also focus on finishing the wiring up of all the black toggle functions to our nifty remote control.

The remote control which will handle all sounds and lights

Brian's checklist to get done on this weekend.

We also checked over some of the minute details such as deciding on a set of screws to use in remaking the white toggle switches for size and shape. Once we found one we liked we set 14 aside, making a note to add a little sculpty to take away the Philips indentations.

Checking Screw sizing for the white toggle switches. With a bit of sculpty will work fine.

Paul then brought out some tan suede leather and dark brown faux leather he picked up at Jo-Ann's on sale to begin the process of cosmetically finishing up the Doctor's bag to make it ready for tool mounting.

Starting to outfit the Doctor's Bag



Prepping leather wrap for the cosmetics of the Doctor's Bag

While Paul was working on the bag, I readied up a few more spare relays for the remote.

Prepping extra relays

Brian goes crazy on wiring!

Paul's experience doing FX and props (and our recent Morbius monster!) helped him greatly on the bag project. A lot of the tools we used on our creature such as barge and spray glue were coming in mighty handy again right now.

Prepping the interior suede leather for the open bag 'lids'


Barge and spray gluing the leather on the bag


Placing LEDs into place - LEDS on right and old halogens on left under a radial dial.


Halogen powered Radial Dial.

Brian finished the wiring on the remote, and replaced some of the bulbs on the star panel while I started on replacing some of bulbs the radial panel. The New LEDs generally looked great as we were often testing them once a new set was in place! The one hitch though was some of them didn't like staying in the sockets as much as their halogen brothers so often we had to tie them in a little or use some silicon or hot glue to help hold them in place.

Brian re-enacts the end of the TVM

Wiring, wiring, wiring

Showing off the Brake light & sound function here:



Scanner Screen Handle - detail and up close

One of the details that got seen to was for Paul to swap out for the lamp light simply to a newer bulb and more importantly, secured in better with better screws and washers as it had been a tad loose before.

Lamp Light- replaced and re-enforced to be more solid

While we were busy working on the bulbs and wiring, Paul had finished the Doctor's Bag! It looked BEAUTIFUL! He had finished off the edges and added vintage clasps and a handle from a vintage 16mm film carrying case given to Brian by his friend Ari Bayzid (from Starcarcentral with the JP jeep) and it really looked the part now.




Finished bag

Original bag

Clasps from a vintage medical bag

Interior bag - only requires tool mounting

Even the interior was looking quite fab. Paul was already mocking up the straps for the tools using spare suede material wrapped around some inexpensive 1/2" white cotton trim.

Suede wrapped white cotton trim will be used for the tool straps.

While Paul worked on tool mounting to the bag we got back to the work of LED bulb swap outs.


LED spotlights being placed under some of the jewel lights on the console

For the jewel lights the halogens were quite small and the LEDs in comparison were enormous so this usually required some re-thinking on the mounting straps - either by re-shaping them or replacing them altogether with new one to better fit and lock them down.

Original small halogens for the jewel lights

While checking over more of the console we discovered how bright those halogens had been! When we checked the 'gold grating' light we found the reflector had been melted!




Powerful Halogens - Melted light cover for the gold grated light which needs replacing.

So we promptly got some spare material at lunch and replaced this as well as changing the bulb to one of the LEDs. Good as new.


Grated light replaced with LED, custom hood glued in and re-fixed

By the white toggle switch panel, we decided to add via hot glue/silicon some plastic PVC couplings as mini-hoods to help with light brightness as well as removing the bits of wood in-between to allow room for these as structurally they weren't serving much purpose. We kept the original halogens here since the LEDs would have been too large for this section.


Removing some of the interior bits of wood from the underside of the white toggle switch panel


Hot gluing in some PVC plastic mini hoods to make the lights brighter.

While I finished up work on the white toggle switches, Paul was making great headway on finishing the mounting of the top tools of the Bag with the mocked strips, spray glue and carefully hidden screws.




Mounting and strapping in the top tools

While finishing up, we kept thinking about where all the remote relays would collectively sit to easily mount into the console. We had a wood box nearby that was our temp box but we ultimately knew this would be impractical size wise.

Potential Remote control relay box



Soldering connections

We checked around on the underside and found the perfect spot to the lower right on the star panel to mount the relays in place without getting in the way of anything else.

Paul checks the right area to mount the relay box.

Meanwhile, Brian was still checking the function of the LED lights which were really kicking up the brightness on this thing! One thing we noticed was that in certain spots such as one of the small radial dials and a couple of the jewel lights, the console expected to feed more power to the sockets and the LEDs taking far less just didn't turn on! Brian had to have a re-think on this issue but to play it safe we temporarily replaced these problem areas back to halogens until the following week.


Checking that the new LED lights work

Also one of the white toggle lights kept being persnickety. Luckily it was one of the ones that was easy to unglue the PVC 'hood' for a bit and check out so Brian got this fixed.


Brian troubleshoots a bulb that refuses to turn on

Toward the end of the day though disaster struck the project! After many times turning the console on and off during the day to check out the function of the lights, at some point the power strip had sent a surge which in turn ended up frying the Ride Tones drive which held our Sound Effects! We now had a silent TARDIS console! Now part of the issue here is that the drive and code for the files was proprietary to Ride Tones and they discontinued this product with little to no support back in October. It was a bleak cloud to end the day under as most of the alternatives to get the sound up and running again were too time or cost intensive for what we had left. I'll explain how we got out of this predicament in the next entry!

Ride Tones Drive

Meanwhile, we had two main things to finish up. Mount the relay box and decide on rotor lighting. So having pretty much finished the doctor's bag, Paul found the perfect box to house all the relays which was a perfect fit for the spot they'd picked.


Paul works on finishing the remote control relay box.

It took a little finagling, with Paul belt sanding a couple of the connections slightly to make the fit work... but it all came together nicely in the end.

Belt Sanding down a couple of the connections to ensure best fit

After some fidgeting with a screwdriver Paul and Brian got the relays secured and mounted. The Remote Control function was finished! Brian double checked it and all connections were in working order. A major item checked off the list.



Paul mounts the remote relay box inside

Finally, we turned to the Time Rotor. Brian had brought along a couple of lighting options which we tried out to light the base. We looked into lighting it directly from beneath and even into trying to side mount the lights to give a better light source into the column.

LED Lights for the rotor

Checking where the lights will go on the rotor

We also looked at throwing various blue gels onto it to give it a blue cast but ultimately this ended up cutting the power of the lights down and the trade off was too great.

Trying the lights on the rotor.

Testing various lighting ideas for the rotor with and without gels

We finally decided on using some powerful LED lights which already had a terrific blue cast as the underside lights. Brian only had two of these but he made a note to order a few more in so they could be mounted onto the bottom under the hollow rods and interspersed evenly on the underside.


The LEDs prove much brighter - and blue!

For the top, we got a little creative as we didn't want to deal with trying to hide and snake a wire from the bottom where all the power came from, up to the top. So we opted for some powerful but small cheap flashlights (almost mini-maglights LEDS) which we would mount individually on each of the rods. These would be held in place by more of the small PVC couplings I'd used on the white toggle switch board with hot glue. The only hitch was we knew we'd have to change these out daily if not twice a day. We made a note to load up on AAA batteries and pick up another 7 flashlights for the top. At least this lighting issue was now solved!


Test holds up well in the dark.

With that settled, we called it a day. Another full TARDIS weekend accomplished!

Thanks for reading! Lighting the rotor, beryllium chips, more TARDIS tools, finishing bulb replacements in Part V!

Be sure to see this Prop Feb 17th-19th at the Gallifrey One Convention at the LAX Marriott. You can get your photo taken with this prop in the Fan Room free of charge (though tips are appreciated) Fri & Sat 12-1PM and Sunday 10AM-11AM! Though bear in mind there will be no printout/hard copy photos, you will need to have a digital camera memory card, USB/flash drive to load your photos onto.

Also as a special bonus: for a set donation to the TARDIS restoration fund you can buy one of the screen used halogen light bulbs that once lit this prop that have now been replaced with LED lights! Limited quantity and these will go fast so FYI!

Part 4 entry complete! Wow! This thing is really taking some work. Serious applause go out to Brian, Paul, and Bob for this!

I've started transcribing Part 5, but that one is going to take a little longer because of all the photos, and as I mentioned earlier I'll have to post that one as two entries because there are over 100 photos in it. Still, I'll try to get Part 5 up by the end of the weekend. Hopefully you can bear with me on that.

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Feb 19, 2012, 04:57 pm #4 Last Edit: Mar 21, 2012, 02:12 pm by rassilonsrod
Here goes with Part 5.
And again, you know my disclaimer.

Chameleon Circuit: The TVM Console Restoration Log Pt. V (First half)
Feb. 15th, 2012 at 2:57 AM
(Original blog post: http://honorarydoctor.livejournal.com/17188.html)

Hey Gang,

So onward to Part V of the TARDIS Console restoration. So we're picking things up another week after Pt. IV. Today the main goal was to mount/wire up the Rotor lights, mock up the Beryllium Atomic Clock chip, get the Doctor's tools cosmetically finished, finish replacing the halogens with LEDs, secure all the internal light fixtures and mount the sound speaker.


More Pics and info

So today we jumped right into the fun of some props and gizmos for the Doctor's tool bag which was nearly complete. I took a bunch of doodads we had ready to go and blinged them up a bit with some plastic inlays, nuts, bolts, and other odds and ends to make them more spacey and Doctory.



Finished decking out found items as Doctor's tools and gizmos

The coolest thing was seeing Paul's work on recreating the Magnetic Clamp that Grace clocks the Doctor with! It looked awesome and the little gold dial actually turns.


Magnetic clamp!

A lot of work - but I'd say we did pretty well getting close to what was used on screen!

Original TARDIS Tool kit


Our toolkit replica almost ready for action

Paul then worked on hot gluing in all the Jewel light covers/hoods into place as many of them were loose and one or two needed cutting down to accommodate the larger LEDs.




Jewel light

Our work and tool table

Brian then got to work finishing the LED/Halogen light Bulb swap outs, and really working at re-fixing all the lights down with some new brackets in spots and a nifty metal plating Paul whipped up to really lock them in position and prevent any shifting when the console would be transported.


More wiring

Gadget making stuff

Then I set to task recreating the Beryllium Atomic Clock Chip. Using ref screen grabs and Brian's idea of jury rigging it out of a micro cassette, I basically stripped the stickers, had the holes drilled into the case, glued a brass backing on the underside, then carefully superglued on various circuitry looking bits that came from a set of metal manufacturer's cards, added to more strips of brass striping for the 'cross hairs' with punched holes for the lights, slapped it and glued it all in and bob's your uncle the TARDIS can leave San Francisco again. I finished it off by hot gluing the lights into place after feeding the wires through the rubber mount cap Brian provided.








Making the chip

Finished beryllium chip

Brian's pre-connected flashing lights worked great - only on a simple 9-volt battery.

Wired up for lights
Back of the chip where the light wires go through

During the interim before we met up again, Paul had worked out a neat solution to the Rotor placement so it would sit higher for the bottom inner plate to be seen and allow more light to get inside - adding some sections of 2X4's and a wood disc underneath to lift it about 4-5 inches higher up within the base.

New Lift for the Rotor base to bring it up within the console
Then we got busy hot gluing the wired up Rotor base LED lights in place now that we had the quantity we needed.

Mounted lower rotor lights

Clearing out more dust!

The base of the Console needed some work on reattaching the half-spheres as well as a bit of a touch up. This would wait until our final day though.
The 'iron' rotor base would need some love and work to bring it back to shape



Brian fits in the remaining LEDs
Paul also fixed a couple of the transistor panels back in place with hot glue when the screw looked a bit stripped if not the original screws themselves.

Gluing a panel back on with silicon


Team TARDIS at work
Black toggle switches on the Star Panel now fully wired up for sounds and lights

Scanner lights


TARDIS in flux


Paul's custom Metal plate fixes in trickier lights

Brian also replaced the missing radial dial turn knob which helped a lot!
Radial dial knob replaced

Most important on our save list was the sound issue. After spending a couple of days mulling over back-up options, Paul decided to try his luck with the Ride Tones people. His people's skills served him well here as he did NOT take no for an answer and finally got through to Irma, the president of the company. He explained the situation and realizing the importance of the cause, Irma gladly agreed to help reformat the sound for us to use on a new drive, of which we had a couple of spares thank goodness. So we sat down and took the time to re-select our sounds making a few minor corrections from the first time around to keep it TARDIS and TVM centric. We made our choices and sent them off to Irma who promised a speedy turnaround. Crisis averted!
Meanwhile Brian printed a list of the new sounds so he knew where each would now go on the switches which were still wired and ready to go.

Revised sound list

Ride Tones drive - to be replaced!

Mounted relay box

Some tricky areas we ran into were mounting the internal fans to keep the console cool. After adding a lot of wires and relays for the remote the main spot we had left to add one of the fans was slightly blocked by the wood of one of the electronics hang-down flaps. So... we cut a section out of it to make the fan fit! We hated to cut into the original but it had to be done to serve the long term future of the prop. Besides no one would ever see this on the outside.


Making room for an internal fan
Mounted fan

Meanwhile we painted up some of the PVC tubes in the back so the top of the rotor would blend in when the flashlights were placed up there.

Painting taller PVC 'hods' for the flashlights so they'll blend on the top
Once all the LEDS were in place it came time for a FULL lights testing! The brightness was greatly increased and everything was looking pretty darned good.




Testing the lights!!!!

Then we re-tested the sounds with one of Brian's Herbie the Love Bug drives which was mighty odd having the TARDIS making Herbie noises but at least these switches worked.


Testing lights and sounds
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Feb 19, 2012, 05:53 pm #5 Last Edit: Feb 19, 2012, 07:12 pm by galacticprobe
Chameleon Circuit: The TVM Console Restoration Log Pt. V (Second half)

When replacing the white toggle switch panel the new PVC 'hoods' made it slightly too big so more wood had to be sanded down from the original in order to make it fit now. Again, hard call but very necessary.


Brian files down the wood slightly to fit in the slightly larger light panel

Then Brian continued work wiring up the fans and wires for the Rotor into the console.




Securing connections

Next came mounting the three main fans n the grating underside. But we ran into an issue when we found the grating that needed the fans had a functioning vent on the other side.



Another hard call, but we decided to permanently remove this vent piece. It was only in the way and the Console NEEDED to have proper ventilation with the fans so away it went.


Removing vent

After this it was a fairly simple task to fit the fans and secure them down with brackets and hot glue.




Fitting fans

Extra bits of the TARDIS we'll be offering to fans at the con

Once this was done and Paul had secured all the connections on the underside of the Screen and Brake panels, it was finally time to put the first section of TARDIS under flooring back in!

Putting the first under floor panel back in place

Folding up the wiring panel to put the flooring back in

Another little task to finish - hot gluing and screwing the telephone plug-in switches back into place as these had been loose before.



Hot gluing & screwing the telephone operator plug-ins back down to secure them


Re-securing the panel

Doctor Who The Garage of Props


Center grated light on the Resistor Panel - with new hood and LED light and replaced reflector

Relay wires all numbered should something go wrong for easy troubleshooting

Then came some of the more laborious and tedious tasks. First was mounting the remaining fans.




Mounting the next fan

When going to mount this new section of fans into the base console itself we discovered that while the outer portions were wood... the inside hollow column it was all connected to was in fact a hard plastic resin! That came as a surprise but it was still easy to mount to.

The center core is actually plastic resin, not wood.

After this came the task of mounting the speaker for the sounds and the two lower base 'spill' lights Brian wired up.


Mounting the Speaker

These tasks were challenging because it often meant Brian having to lay at odd angles holding lights or speakers in position while Paul would secure them with a screwdriver or power drill from above.


Brian not having fun holding screws and brackets in place while Paul tightens them in from above


Final fans and relays mounted

The hardest thing to mount was the center support disc for the rotor. It was a giant pain to align all of the screws, have them held in place from below and secured in by wing nuts from above... all aligning exactly right. A lot of strained muscles, curse words and scratched arms resulted but the job finally got done.


Mounting the particleboard support disc - challenging!


Now we were ready for some rotor action. So Brian got the wiring ready with the base LED blue lights.

Brian connects the wires for the underside rotor lights

We then carefully placed the Rotor back in place, but noted it was a bit of a leaning tower of Pisa.... which was something we'd planned to straighten out on the next meet up.

Rotor on - though slightly crooked - something to correct for the final meet.

Then the rotor lights were permanently fixed on with some silicon.

Pre-mounting the lights for the rotor with silicon


Testing mounted rotor lights

Then we opened up and added all the small mini $ flashlights into place for the top (pre turned on of course!). Again - We made a note to load up on AAA batteries and pick up another 7 flashlights for the top.


Mounting Flashlights for top of the rotor

$1 flashlights to be placed in the top.

And I have to say the result was pretty striking!

Looking smashing in the dark!

The new base lights looked especially cool with the shadow pattern they created on the floor. It really brought the console to life.

Blue base light

In normal mode, the base light remains blue but in brake mode it turns red and stays there till released!

Red Brake Base light - only when the brake is activated!

We gave it another full light test in standard and cascade mode and it was looking pretty spectacular!

Brian Pilots the TARDIS






LED Lights in full glory

Still nicely bright in room light

Another day accomplished - we were now close to finishing up!

TARDIS Team tired but happy with an accomplished day of work done!

Thanks for reading! Putting the bottom 'floors' back in, replacing missing switches, mounting power strips, cleaning/painting the cosmetics and locking down the rotor in the final Part VI!

Be sure to see this Prop Feb 17th-19th at the Gallifrey One Convention at the LAX Marriott. You can get your photo taken with this prop in the Fan Room free of charge (though tips are appreciated) Fri & Sat 12-1PM and Sunday 10AM-11AM! Though bear in mind there will be no printout/hard copy photos, you will need to have a digital camera memory card, USB/flash drive to load your photos onto.

Also as a special bonus: for a set donation to the TARDIS restoration fund you can buy one of the screen used halogen light bulbs, mounting brackets, and even some of the actual console wood that once lit/housed this prop that have now been replaced with LED lights! Limited quantity and these will go fast so FYI!

So that brings us to the end of Part 5 (and Team TARDIS isn't the only ones who are tired <he says gasping and clawing for his bed in desperate need of a nap ;D>. Anxiously awaiting the conclusion in Part 6!

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Mar 03, 2012, 06:08 pm #6 Last Edit: Mar 21, 2012, 02:23 pm by rassilonsrod
Okay, let's keep the flow going for as long as I can without too much bogging down. Onward to Part 6 of the Restoration. (Same disclaimer applies as before.)
Chameleon Circuit: The TVM Console Restoration Log Pt. VI (First Half)
Feb. 27th, 2012 at 1:56 AM
(Original blog post: http://honorarydoctor.livejournal.com/17557.html)

Hey Gang,

So onward to the final Part VI of the TARDIS Console restoration. So we're picking things up a few days after Pt. V. For the home stretch, the main goals were to finish last connections to mount the last of the flooring, replace/remake all of the missing switches, correct the lean and secure the rotor, make sure the new sound replacement drive worked, troubleshoot the little things and clean everything while giving it all a beauty sweep including painting, minor repair and aging the hand crank.

Photo by Scott Sebring

More Pics and info

So we had a lot to do and very little time left to do it in to make Gallifrey One! So we dove in head first with a lot of the little things that needed looking after.

The Console ready for the final round of tweaks and upgrades

First Paul had done a great job getting all of the cords and main power strips and the sound drive all cleanly mounted inside the Doctor's bag for easy access as well as making sure none of it got tangled on itself.




Power strips, cords and sound drive now secured and ready within the Doctor's bag

Then Paul secured all of the top layer of Doctor's tools down with nicely hidden zip ties to make sure this top 'shelf' could be removed easily and none of our tool replicas would go flying about anywhere.



Tools now zip tied down for easy removability

Paul also added some flair to the tools with some antique gears/bits he found at Michael's in the scrapbook section!



Antique gears and bits from Michael's

Next we noticed that the console would shift a bit when we moved it around, literally twisting a bit on the base central column. So we maneuvered it back into the correct position and then we locked it into place with a few carefully placed bolts drilled into the bottom. It was now tight and unmovable.




Securing the base from twisting/shifting

Paul also spent time adding silicon to the half-spheres on the top/bottom parts of the rotor to prevent light bleed as well as hitting them both with a new coat of paint (with some dry brush detailing) so they now looked back to spec and ready for time traveling action.


Rotor base and top now lined with silicon to prevent light bleed

Then Paul spent a lot of painstaking time smoothing and reinforcing the leg joins to the foam sculpted "claws/globes." He accomplished this with a lot of putty 9000 and sculpty, all carefully sanded down by hand to give the smoothest finish possible.




Claws now reinforced with sculpty and putty

Then we noticed one of the castor wheels under the hexagon base was sticking badly and creating a skid mark when we tried to movie it. We tilted it up and discovered one of the discarded screws from an earlier day had hit the floor and gotten lodged inside of it! We removed the screw and now it was good as new. Minor crisis averted.

Problem with base wheel

Tools for the job

Team TARDIS on the case

Meanwhile, we discovered that the PVC tubes we'd used as mini-hoods on the white toggle switch board for the jewel lights burned due to the heat generated. We couldn't have this hazard, so we replaced these tubes with Copper ones which I re-glued in with hot glue and silicon. Now they still looked great and it was much safer.

Copper tubes replacing the PVC ones

Paul and Brian then worked at securing all of the final wires and connections with hot glue and zip ties to make sure everything stayed as snug as possible for future transport.



Securing final connections

Power plugs/cords re-secured and zip tied

Next we had to look at replacing the missing switches. We tried the original plan of using some sanded down screws with some sculpty molded over them but these just didn't quite cut the mustard.

1st aborted attempt to make switches from the screws and sculpty

We then had the eureka moment thanks to Paul's wife who noticed as he was trying to get the shape right with the sculpty that the switches resembled long craft beads one would normally see on a beaded curtain. She'd nailed it. Paul found perfect sized craft beads that would work as switch replacement at Michael's, the arts and crafts store.


Craft Beads - new switch source

For the top of the switches we'd complete the look using some small silver nails we got at Osh Hardware. Cheap and effective, they would do the job nicely.


Nails for the tops of the switches

The next step was to painstakingly sand down each of the craft beads to remove the lines and make them all a nice ivory color which was a nice match to the white toggle switches. This was done with use of power tools and a hand polish to finish it up.





Sanding down the beads to make the new White toggle switches

Once the new switches were ready we re-secured the panel back into place with screws. We double checked all the electronics still functioned properly and the new copper tubes were good to go. Once confirmed, then each craft bead was carefully glued into place on the panel with 5-minute epoxy. Each small nail was then placed into the 7 switches/beads also with the same epoxy. This was fairly easy and cured well overnight so they were rock solid and ready for TARDIS control action the next day.






Gluing the beads and nails into place as the new white toggle switches with Epoxy

White Toggle switches back in place

For the black switches, the now sanded beads would have to be cut down by about ⅓rd to match the original size. This was done easily with a Dremel tool.


Cutting Beads down to 'black toggle switch' size

Once completed, each of the seven beads had to be re-sanded down to create a better shape with a belt sander and a lot of extra sandpaper polishing by Brian and myself.


Sanding down the beads into the Black Toggle Switch shapes

For the single missing yellow 'puck' switch on the 'readout' panel we wanted to make a mold of one of the existing switches and make a resin copy. But we ran too low on time to do this and getting even one of the switches off was proving more difficult than we'd thought. So we went for option 2 which was to simply make a new switch out of sculpty. Paul took a first crack at this and then Brian sanded the new puck down to size to match the others.


Yellow Puck replica switch made from sculpty

Puck being belt sanded down to size

While we worked on the switches, Paul completed the rather arduous and tedious task of mounting the panel power strips and cords inside the Column again to prevent anything from getting tangled or disconnected during transport. This was accomplished mainly with well placed Velcro strip but was quite a pain due to the limited angles one had to physically reach inside the thing and do any fine tuning or finessing of placement.





Mounting Power strips inside the column

Once finished we went over the piece for last-minute fine tuning such as hot gluing the round grating light cover into place.

Light cover hot glued back in place

Then we straightened out the radial dials so the lights actually matched where the colored stain glass was and hot gluing these back into place.




Hot gluing the Radial Dial back in place straightened out

A neat feature we found while exploring the Console was what Brian dubbed the TARDIS 'dip stick' - one of the buttons actually pulled out and resembled the oil change gauge on a car.


TARDIS "Dip Stick"

A few missing thumbscrews were replaced on the Radial Panel from screws present underneath the console already - cheap and accurate, easy solutions like this were no-brainers when they presented themselves.

Replaced thumbscrews

The reflector underneath the radial dial readout was replaced to give it a brighter display.

Replaced reflector under the Radial dial

The green gel underneath the oval light was also put back in place and heavily cleaned out for dust and cobwebs with a Q-tip.


Replaced Green Gel for Oval Light and Cleaned/Dusted out

Brian then tested out the fans which were mounted inside already. He'd rigged it to the side corner button on the radial panel. Up for off and pushed down for on. A nice side effect: The fans gave a nice low hum to the TARDIS which gave the piece a bit of extra life!


Knob hooked up to the fans - down for on and then up for off

With all of this now complete, we were ready to put the last two sections of underside TARDIS 'flooring' back on and close it back up.


Ready to re-mount the underside TARDIS Flooring


Getting ready to hot glue/silicon the last of the connections


Folding last of the electronics back up


Securing final flooring piece in place

This was really a three man job, two to place and hold it in position while he third had to speedily secure it in place with the Canadian screwdriver bit. We noticed additional spots for screws where there were none so we added a few extra to keep it extra secure.



Putting the flooring back in

Once this was all put back together, Brian properly mounted the Beryllium Chip into the underside of the phone toggle flip panel so it could be brought out and easily switched on during the convention.



Beryllium Chip now connected and attached into the actual console.

Extra cleaning still had to take place. We spotted some guck and grime (the remains of an old Wasp nest on the underside of the console) that had to be carefully scraped away.


Scraping off some dirt and guck under the console

Once this was all done we had to tackle the rotor. Mainly we wanted to correct the small lean it had and make sure once it was on it would stay secure.

Re-working the Rotor mount

We noticed part of the problem was a screw/washer sticking up from the plate which was not giving the rotor an even surface to sit on. So Paul drilled out a hole into the rotor base to compensate.

Pre-drilling holes or dips into the wood so it will rest evenly over some screws sticking up.

Then the wood which was designed to hold the rotor in place was re-cut and shifted higher (where it not sat to reveal the bottom "teeth/mesh plate" inside the base).


Cutting wood to place it closer and higher in the base to better secure the rotor

Also Brian took this opportunity to hot glue in the last of the LED lights in place (these had a tendency to want to pop out of the sockets) that were toward the top of the console which was another worry now gone.

Hot Gluing last lights in place

Back to the switches - both the black toggle switches and the now sanded down puck piece had to be painted to primer before their final coats.

Painting Switches

Priming the puck

Once the curved wood pieces were re-situated inside the base it held the time rotor much more secure and it sat fairly even now.


Re-situating the wood curves to correct the leaning rotor
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Mar 03, 2012, 07:51 pm #7 Last Edit: Mar 21, 2012, 02:54 pm by rassilonsrod
Chameleon Circuit: The TVM Console Restoration Log Pt. VI (Second Half)

Paul and Brian struggled to think of a way to hold the rotor down without creating more headaches taking it on and off until they hit on the idea of creating wood clamps which would effectively twist on and off the small circular lip the wood of the lower rotor base afforded them. This was a slight pain to implement but once in place it worked like a charm.



Making and adding wood 'clamps' to twist on and off and hold Rotor in position underneath

The final touch was adding a large washer to one side to correct the last of the Rotor leaning problem.

Hidden large washer corrects the slight leaning problem

Once done we placed the rotor on and gave all of the lights a fresh test to make sure everything still worked smoothly.




Re-testing lights to make sure everything still works


We also re-tested the new sounds which got delivered in the nick of time by Irma and the Ride Tones folks and dropped onto one of our new back-up spare drives. Due to space we had to sacrifice the TVM Theme song for the Big Finish theme but otherwise they all sounded great and we were back in interactive TARDIS sound business. A Big thanks to the Ride Tones folks for helping to save the day on that score!

Ride Tones drive - Replaced and fixed!

I took a moment to take inventory of all the spare parts - wood, small and large halogen bulbs, piano wire, vent, light gels and mounting brackets we would offer for donations at Gallifrey One.



TARDIS Parts people can buy for a certain donation at Gallifrey

Then we had to tackle the 14 or so half-spheres that had fallen off the base of the TARDIS over the years in storage. Tedious... but this was easily done with epoxy and hot glue and in several cases, added screws to really make sure they stayed put.



Beginning the process of epoxying/hot gluing the half spheres back onto the base column

Because these had a tendency to fall off we hot glued around the joins of ALL of them. While doing this we discovered we were one half-sphere short. One had gone missing in the intervening years.



Finished re-applying the broken off half-spheres - all save one!

We would replace the missing final half-sphere with a wood sphere from Michael's that was just about the same size. It would be measured to the others and cut in half (and hollowed out!!!) to be ready to go on the base.


Re-enforcing Spheres with Hot Glue

The hot glue created a gloss texture that stood out though and we had to hide this by re-applying a layer of murky grey paint over all of them to match the base and take the curse off of it.

Taking curse off the hot glue gloss with acrylic paint

The cut wooden sphere was then gooped up with some glue and paint to match the texture of the others and let to dry before final painting.

Cut wooden sphere, gooped up to match texture with acrylic and glue

Finally it was painted to match and applied with epoxy glue.

Adding in the final replacement half sphere

The black toggle switches then got spray painted with gloss black paint.

Finished painted black toggle switches

These were then carefully glued into place on the Star panel again with 5-minute epoxy, and cut down nails dropped into place with more epoxy. The final result was pretty awesome and very close to the real deal. After a night of curing these were pretty secure and ready for more TARDIS control functions!


Black Toggle switches glued back in place with epoxy

We noticed the Enigma keyboard was loose at this stage. So it was given a thorough clean with some WD-40 and then hot glued and screwed back into place.

Enigma Keypad cleaned with WD-40 and re-fixed with screws and hot glue

The half-sphere wasn't the only thing missing. One of the three underside gold grating vents was also missing. Originally we thought we'd have to go without but at the last minute Paul called in a favor and was able to make a silicon mold of the 2nd grating.



Grating - prepping and making a silicon mold

Using this mold he created a plastic resin copy of the grating making up the 3rd missing one.


Grating - resin copy

This copy then had to be thoroughly sanded and cleaned up by machine and by hand.

Sanding copy for painting

The paint job to match was trial and error, using several gold spray paints until finally the right finish was found using a dull gold and some gold leaf which was dry brushed on by Paul to replicate the look of the originals fairly well.



Painting the Grating

Both of these gratings were then put in place underneath the console (where the fans were now blowing) using hot glue and a few strategic screws.

Both Gratings put in place with hot glue and screws

Now came the daunting task of giving the console a big beauty sweep. And it really needed it as over the years the edges had taken a lot of dings, nicks and paint scrapes. Here are a number of detailed shots showing the damage.






Console nicks and Dings - Before

We weren't sure how we were going to solve this. None of us were really painters - at least not in the meticulous 'matching-to-color' sense. So we called in Kelly Delcambre and his assistant Rachel. Kelly was a friend of ours who worked in prop restoration and had a good eye for color matching. He literally saved our bacon on this one. Although it helped both were Doctor Who fans and were pretty excited to work on the Console (and see Paul's Dalek in the process!)








Painting the TARDIS for touch ups

They only had time to give it a 'quick n' dirty' fix for 4 hours 2 days before the con but the work they did on matching the paint and hiding all of the flaws was really amazing.




Painted TARDIS - After

Afterwards they graciously helped us on a few other finer points such as painting/aging the Hand Crank.


Unpainted Hand Crank

Painting Hand Crank

The first try was good but we felt it was a bit off, re-consulting the Regeneration Book we saw the handle needed to be jet black gloss (something Paul himself handled on his own) and the metal handle needed to be really rusted and aged.

Hand Crank paint - stage 1

Rachel took a second crack and really nailed the look. Paul went in afterwards and sanded down the edges to give it a worn look.


Painting Hand Crank for more aging

Kelly then hand matched the yellow color tone of the other puck switches to match on the missing switch handle which we then glued into place.

Painting Yellow Puck replacement to match others


Painted and replaced Puck switch

The paint job was really stellar and added a lot of character to the console.


Hand Crank Stage 2

Paul knocked out the new black Hand crank knob in no time.


Painting Crank Handle Gloss black

Putting new gloss black handle on and distressing the edges for more wear

At last the new Hand Crank was ready for display!

Finished Hand Crank

Paul took the time to paint the central button for the Magnetic Clamp at the same time as well.

New Black Button for the Magnetic Clamp

The last job Kelly and Rachel tackled was to paint over the grey putty/sculpty on the legs and match it to the rest of the legs/base with that greenish/grey murky color. Again this was a fast job (and done on a freezing Wednesday morning I might add) but it all came out great and hid the patch job Paul did on the legs quite well.





Touching up paint chips in the base and hiding the grey sculpty on legs

The final result was pretty impressive for a quick 4 hour job. We had a nice talk with Kelly regarding further restoration and improvement options to really take the dings out and further 'beautify' the prop which we plan to do in a few weeks time after the convention.


Legs After

Then we repaired the broken PVC Flashlight holder on top with hot glue while re-securing the other seven spots and adding the painted tops to each to help disguise them once the top was placed on.

Fixing the top rotor Flashlight holders with hot glue and hammering in the painted tops

Then we took the rotor apart and I gave it a really good interior cleaning with some Windex and vacuum cleaner while Paul gave the TARDIS a good wipe down with a wood laminate safe Swiffer.



Cleaning the rotor

The Console was now DONE and ready for display at Gallifrey One - and only JUST in the nick of time. (I'll get into the logistics of how we got the console there and that set of challenges in my Gallifrey con report.) For the weekend of Feb 17th-19th at the LAX Marriott attendees of Gallifrey One got the special treat of seeing this in person and having their photo taken with it!

Ready For Gally Attendees

While at the convention it was a real joy to see the look of awe and happiness on the 300+ fans' faces who got their photo with the TARDIS Console. That right there made all the hard work and time worth it.

For anyone who got their photo with the TARDIS Console and have still not received their photo via email, please look for your picture on one of these links:




Click on original size, then it takes you to the page where you can download your picture.

Team TARDIS! Photo by Scott Sebring

Inspector Space Time doesn't care for this TARDIS Photo by Scott Sebring

Daleks in the TARDIS! Photo by Scott Sebring

We also got visits from several guests and VIPS including: Phil Ford, Richard Dinnick, Michael Troughton, Gary Russell, Nick Briggs, Caitlin Blackwood, Inspector Spacetime, Daphne Ashbrook, Yee Jee Tso, Eric Roberts, Philip Segal, and of course, Paul McGann!


Eric Roberts visits the console Photos by Scott Sebring

Caitlin Blackwood Photo by Scott Sebring

Nick Briggs Photo by Scott Sebring

McGann and Segal were especially pleased to see the old girl and were the most in awe to see it restored. They both thought it had been junked years ago so it was quite the pleasant surprise. They were happy to share stories and take photos with it again. It was extra cool to see the '96 TARDIS Crew (Ashbrook, Tso, and McGann) together and back at the controls on Sunday! It was a highlight of the con for Paul, Brian and myself!

Mcgann, Ashbrook and Tso reunite to fly the TARDIS Photo by Scott Sebring

Team TARDIS with the 1996 TARDIS Crew! Photo by Scott Sebring

There have been a number of write-ups about the console and a very cool video posting which you can see/read here:











More on the TARDIS Console and pictures in my full Gallifrey One 23 Con report which I will be posting in three parts later this week!!!!

Thanks for reading! This part pretty much wraps up the current stage of restoration. Down the line we're going to be looking at adding a motor to the Time Rotor to make it move and look at improving a few of the quick fixes like improving the yellow puck switch replacement, really giving it a nice beauty pass for paint, wax and finally some preservation steps to keep it in its current condition. When we do, I'll post about it then for sure.

It was a pleasure to see all the fans (and VIPs and Stars) who saw this beautiful prop at Gallifrey One last weekend. The looks on everyone's faces made these past three months worth it!

I'll be back with a full report on Gallifrey One 23 VERY soon!

Phew! Okay! So there we have it. All six parts of the restoration loaded up. (I'll leave it to the Mods to move them around and put them into the appropriate area. It is really bogging this thread down now!)

Many thanks go out to Brian for leading the charge (so to speak) on the restoration and letting us all know this was happening, to Bob (Honorarydoctor) for all of the documentation of the restoration and for allowing me to transcribe his blog on it, to Paul for rescuing and keeping this console safe and his generosity for sharing this treasure with everyone at Gallifrey One 23 (I am so wishing I was able to make it out there!), and especially to Team TARDIS for their magnificent and hard work that went into restoring this console to its original beauty. WELL DONE, ALL!

So, I'm taking a break now, with fingers cramping from scrolling and clicking. Enjoy this, everyone. I know I did as I read it while getting it in order and lined up.

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"